capitalist class

If you would go out of your way to argue how easy it is for capital to automate away jobs when labor costs become too high, then you should probably know that you’re giving all kinds of credibility to those of us who advocate fully-automated luxury communism. I mean, think about it: you’re arguing that so much of human labor ISN’T NECESSARY because said jobs can be done by machines, and yet you STILL want the bulk of humanity to pointlessly scrape by laboring for the capitalist class, receiving meager wages to buy the shit they helped generate in the first place. The above billboard is a THREAT. Let’s not mince words – that billboard is bourgeois propaganda designed to turn the working class against each other and against the broader goals of resource democratization. “If you fight for a basic livable wage, just know that you’re easily replaceable, peon!”

This is what leftists mean when they say that capitalism is an economic system filled to the brim with tensions and contradictions; it’s also what they mean when they say that capitalism inevitably produces its own gravediggers. Automation is one of those gravediggers, and it’s a major one at that. As more and more jobs become automated in the coming decades, the working class will face widespread dispossession, ramping up revolutionary class consciousness in the process. At that point, capitalism will either focus on generating more superfluous jobs for people to work or set about instituting a universal basic income – regardless, the point is to keep enough scraps flowing downward so that people don’t call for a broader system change. In this way, capitalism’s ruling class can maintain control over the wealth-producing means of production and imperialist capital accumulation can continue unrestrained.

For these reasons, “more jobs” and universal basic incomes are not enough. We need to democratize the broader social infrastructure and eliminate the profit system. If you recognize how possible it is to automate away human labor, then you should defenestrate yourself out of the Overton Window and use some political imagination – cut out the unnecessary jobs, automate all the labor you can, produce for human need rather than elite profit, and you end up with drastically reduced working hours and bountiful leisure time. This is the essence of fully-automated luxury communism – the natural conclusion of the conditions that capitalism set in motion.

Be wary of automation in the present climate, but always trace it back to the class struggle. Robots taking our jobs SHOULD be cause for celebration; why should we treat these potential liberators as harbingers of dispossession? Technological advancements are pushing us exponentially towards a de facto post-scarcity world, where everyone’s needs can be comfortably met alongside their desires for community and leisure and entertainment, and yet we’re held back by Empire’s insistence on keeping the means of production hoarded under the command of a superfluous ruling class. As long as we are divided into capitalists and workers, humanity will never know full liberation.

There’s “TED Talk liberalism”. This is largely an economic position that takes an implicitly trickle-down approach; very much concentrated among wealthier cosmopolitan types who drop all kinds of techno-jargon and pseudo-progressive terms when discussing basic capitalist tactics. The Edgy White Liberal page on Facebook is the pinnacle of this. Think millionaire/billionaire CEOs who actively campaign for Hillary Clinton and other establishment shills, CEOs who donate lots of money in bulk at set times to increase their cultural capital and to supposedly offset the structural theft they participate in every day. Obviously not everyone who fits this bill is a CEO, but they are pretty much exclusively wealthy.

There’s “Buzzfeed liberalism”. This one may acknowledge the existence of white supremacy and patriarchy, but it condenses all of the revolutionary potential of knowing these things into a defanged form of privilege politics. White supremacy and patriarchy are understood as merely held in place by attitudes rather than by a structural reality of capitalist class society. Sure, class may get acknowledgement here, but it’s generally within the context of “don’t be classist” alongside the “don’t be the racist” and “don’t be sexist”. This form of liberalism gets insidious because all kinds of mainstream outlets are jumping on this bandwagon. Hegemonic liberalism has become perfectly comfortable elaborating vaguely on injustices, but you’ll never see it point to the root causes, lest otherwise receptive people organize and topple the system that maintains the TED Talk liberal’s power.

At what point will Buzzfeed liberalism go to? Will it ever acknowledge owning the means of production as problematic? Will it ever trace the power of white supremacy and patriarchy to the material oppression of class society? I highly doubt it.

  • Capitalists: Socialists just want an economic system where they don't have to work and can live off the labor of others!
  • Capitalists: *produce nothing*
  • Capitalists: *own the means of social reproduction in an autocratic class relationship*
  • Capitalists: *accrue profit off the backs of propertyless workers who have no choice but to sell their labor to significantly more powerful capitalists in an uneven playing field*
  • Capitalists: *sit at the top of pyramids and collect surplus and rent through their ownership over the means of social reproduction*
  • Capitalists: *produce nothing*
The State

The state is, fundamentally, an organisation of force.

It exists because there are unequal social classes. It is used by the capitalist class to suppress workers, through protecting the means of production as the private property of capitalists.

The means of production are factories, plants, facilities, machines, and so on.

The state is used by working people to take ownership of the economy, so that the economy belongs to the people who operate it.

It does not mean persecuting workers who are self-employed.

Social ownership of production means that everyone in society has equal relations to property. This eliminates economic inequality and abolishes social class.

Without social class, there is no group to oppress, and so the state, without a function, does not function at all. The conditions that gave birth to the state would have been ended.

A stateless and classless society is referred to as ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’.

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@anarchlist @marbleflakes @blueymcphluey

These are fantastic points to tie into that last ask about division of labor and automation and post-capitalism.

It’s important to remember that there would likely be less work to do in a system that prioritized need over profit. If you cut out a hierarchal profit-driven market system and the accompanying jobs that only exist to maintain that setup (advertising, PR, sales people, etc.), you in turn cut down work to the extent that we recognize it as only economically-useful if it’s fulfilling the needs of people in society; all else ought to be removed from the economic realm and dealt with on a voluntary basis. As I’ve mentioned in a post a couple days ago, if you want to develop a device that flings cheetos into your mouth under socialism/communism, you should be able to pursue it, but it should be removed from a context where people must work positions like that for their daily sustenance. This logic applies double for genuinely artistic pursuits (I can’t foresee the cheeto-flinger being super popular or viable, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯; it was just a hyperbolic example). Art, leisure, social relationships – we ought to de-commodify these things as much as possible, taking them back from the Weberian bullshit of capitalist alienation.

If capitalism focuses on unceasing search for profit through any outlet it can find, thus creating superfluous jobs entirely meant to extract more profits for the competing capitalists, then socialism and communism should aim to take the opposite approach – figure out what people need in society to live comfortably, focus the economy fundamentally on meeting those needs, cut out work through automation or obsolescence wherever possible, divvy up the remaining work, and you wind up with a GREATER SUPPLY of the fetishized value of capitalist society (freedom). If freedom isn’t the ability to influence affairs that impact your life (democratic economy) or the ability to pursue your passions during abundant leisure time, then what the hell even is freedom?

Capitalism, will never fall on its own. It will have to be pushed.
The accumulation of capital will never cease. It will have to be stopped.
The capitalist class will never willingly surrender its power. It will have to be dispossessed.
—  David Harvey

This land belongs to the Indigenous people. This is a fact that the African People’s Socialist Party is clear on and expresses continuously.

What is evident here is that the construction of the pipeline is a reflection of settler colonialism. Still, the Indigenous people of this land have no self-determination and exist at the whim and mercy of the colonizer––foreigners.

The struggle against colonialism must be made. All attempts for the struggle to be co-opted by the white left and turned into an environmentalist struggle must be struggled against. We see plenty white activists, celebrities and politicians infiltrating the struggle, lamenting on how we need to save the Earth.

In reality, it is the system of parasitic capitalism, created and upheld by these same white people, which is responsible for the damage of our planet. Parasitic capitalism sacrifices the Earth’s natural resources and well-being of its inhabitants for the monetary gain of the white ruling class and capitalist corporations. We should not lose sight of this.

The African People’s Socialist Party, stands in solidarity with our Indigenous sisters and brothers. We, too, demand “No Dakota Access Pipeline”!

Smash colonialism

Smash Parasitic Capitalism

This land belongs to the Indigenous people!

—  Kalonda Mulamba, African People’s Socialist Party

chasing--the--universe  asked:

I'd to point you to a couple of things. They are. Soviet Russia. Maoist China

Original.

Soviet Russia and China are examples of countries that were still entrenched in feudalism at the times of their respective socialist revolutions, which effectively catapulted them into variations of state capitalist development instead of full workers-democratically-control-production socialism. The state became the analogous capitalist class and instituted developments and policies over the course of a few decades that private capitalists elsewhere were pushing for centuries – think forced proletarianization of peasants and concentrated industrialization. The state took over the functions of a bunch of private capitalists, appropriating surplus value generated by workers and distributing the surplus where deemed necessary; they often put this towards the industrialization of infrastructure and public services, but it just as often was used to enrich the party apparatus. Even Lenin literally deemed this setup as “state capitalism”, the idea being an intermediary stage for formerly-feudal societies before full socialism. 

As a libertarian socialist/Marxist, I don’t defend the actions taken in these countries, but it’s important to contextualize what was going on. The idea is that it’s near-impossible to just jump from feudalism to socialism – a period of capitalist development/accumulation and liberal institutions makes the jump more viable. As far as I’m concerned, this could have been accomplished through mutualism or market socialism, combining the liberalism of markets with the democratic accountability of worker control (thus mitigating much of the poverty and violent consequences of class domination).

To quote Terry Eagleton:

“Marx himself never imagined that socialism could be achieved in impoverished conditions [i.e. Russia and China]. Such a project would require almost as bizarre a loop in time as inventing the Internet in the Middle Ages. Nor did any Marxist thinker until Stalin imagine that this was possible, including Lenin, Trotsky, and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership…

Building up an economy from very low levels is a back-breaking, dispiriting task. It is unlikely that men and women will freely submit to the hardships it involves. So unless this project is executed gradually, under democratic control and in accordance with socialist values, an authoritarian state may step in and force its citizens to do what they are reluctant to undertake voluntarily. The militarization of labor in Bolshevik Russia is a case in point. The result, in a grisly irony, will be to undermine the political superstructure of socialism (popular democracy, genuine self-government) in the very attempt to build up its economic base…

As Marx insists, socialism also requires a shortening of the working day – partly to provide men and women with the leisure for personal fulfillment, partly to create time for the business of political and economic self-government. You can not do this if people have no shoes; and to distribute shoes among millions of citizens is likely to require a centralized bureaucratic state. If your nation is under invasion from an array of hostile capitalist powers, as Russia was in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution, an autocratic state will seem all the more inevitable…

To go socialist, then, you need to be reasonably well-heeled, in both the literal and the metaphorical senses of the term. No Marxist from Marx and Engels to Lenin and Trotsky ever dreamt of anything else. Or if you are not well-heeled yourself, then a sympathetic neighbor reasonably flush in material resources needs to spring to your aid. In the case of the Bolsheviks, this would have meant such neighbors (Germany in particular) having their own revolutions, too. If the working class of these countries could overthrow their own capitalist masters and lay hands on their productive powers, they could use those resources to save the first workers’ state in history from sinking without a trace. This was not as improbable a proposal as it might sound. Europe at the time was aflame with revolutionary hopes, as councils of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies (or soviets) sprang up in cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Munich, and Riga. Once these insurrections were defeated, Lenin and Trotsky knew their own revolution was in dire straights.

It is not that the building of socialism cannot be begun in deprived conditions. It is rather that without material resources it will tend to twist into the monstrous caricature of socialism known as Stalinism. The Bolshevik revolution soon found itself besieged by imperial Western armies, as well as threatened by counterrevolution, urban famine, and a bloody civil war. It was marooned in an ocean of largely hostile peasants reluctant to hand over their hard-earned surplus at gunpoint to the starving towns. With a narrow capitalist base, disastrously low levels of material production, scant traces of civil institutions, a decimated, exhausted working class, peasant revolts, and a swollen bureaucracy to rival the Tsar’s, the revolution was in deep trouble almost from the outset…

Imagine a slightly crazed capitalist outfit that tried to turn a pre-modern tribe into a set of ruthlessly acquisitive, technologically sophisticated entrepreneurs speaking the jargon of public relations and free market economics, all in a surreally short period of time. Does the fact that the experiment would almost certainly prove less than dramatically successful constitute a fair condemnation of capitalism? Surely not. To think so would be as absurd as claiming that the Girl Guides should be disbanded because they cannot solve certain tricky problems in quantum physics. Marxists do not believe that the mighty liberal lineage from Thomas Jefferson to John Stuart Mill is annulled by the existence of secret CIA-run prisons for torturing Muslims, even though such prisons are part of the politics of today’s liberal societies. Yet the critics of Marxism are rarely willing to concede that show trials and mass terror are no refutation of it.” 

TL;DR:

1) You can’t just expect socialism to quickly arise in materially- and socially-isolated countries in the throngs of feudalism (Russia and China). A material base of industrialization and a social base of liberalism are generally understood to be useful/basically-necessary prerequisites to build from. If other capitalist countries had undergone socialist revolution and provided aid to the struggling formerly-feudal state capitalist countries, they probably wouldn’t have congealed into top-down bureaucracies. A domino effect of worker revolutions across capitalist countries is considered necessary for socialism to fully take hold, just as a domino effect of bourgeois revolutions across feudal countries was needed for capitalism to fully take hold.

2) The violent primitive accumulation of early capitalism and the concentrated industrialization of state capitalist Russia and China served similar analogous functions in the broader context of historical materialism. Private capitalism for the enrichment of individual capitalists over the centuries, state capitalism supposedly for the enrichment of society’s material base and an eventual transition to full socialism. 

3) Capitalist societies have unleashed violent imperialism, mass enslavement, systemic poverty, and police states. If we’re going to bring up the disasters of isolated countries that set their aims at socialism, then we need to bring up the centuries-long disasters of not-isolated capitalist countries that have actively oppressed domestic and foreign populations of people. 

4) We live in an era of material abundance aided by advanced technology and automation; any attempt at socialism in late-capitalist countries would be significantly easier than what Russia and China experienced. As such, these industrialized late-capitalist countries need to undergo social revolution and provide aid to each other and to struggling countries that would have otherwise been state capitalist. 

(This answer has mainly been for the benefit of people already at least relatively sympathetic to anti-capitalism; I realize it is unlikely to sway someone so entrenched in capitalist ideology that they have no clue what socialist movements have entailed and strove for. If your analysis stops at “Russia and China were bad and that’s what socialism means and therefore it’s not worth fighting for”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. If your analysis stops at “capitalism preaches liberal individual freedom so therefore it is good”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. Dig past the ideology you’ve been spoon-fed by capitalist media and the state since childhood and recognize that you’ve been conned, all for the enrichment of the bosses and the bureaucrats.)

-Daividh

Do you remember how shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad started off as condemnations of institutions, ideals and culture that were predominantly toxic, capitalist, middle class, and male? And how their lead characters were men who were portrayed as being unable to process the disappointments of misfortune, and acted out, capitalizing on the privilege afforded them by the loose social constraints around their behavior? And how they caused untold amounts of misery all around, particularly for the subordinate partners in their relationships? But you remember how, despite that, loads of young men with loads of disposable income started idolizing the cosmetics of Don Draper’s and Walter White’s behavior, and emulated it? And they dropped a small fortune on memorabilia and merchandise? And then how that apparently influenced the marketing of these shows, particularly since these were boutique programs on cash-strapped basic cable programs and they needed to exploit the opportunity? And how that evidently began to influence the creative directions of these shows? Like, either the network was guiding the show with notes, or that the creative staff began buying into the marketing fable? And then the shows ended up draping these characters in valor, who were otherwise built to be wretches, and turned them into tragic, fallen nobility? Remember that? How these awful human beings were turned into anti-heroes because a bunch of insecure nitwits were so loud that they totally corrupted and hijacked the narrative? Remember?

I can’t imagine what brought that to mind today.

The Republican & Democratic Parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic Party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system & such differences as arise between them relate to spoils & not to principles. With either of those parties in power, one thing is always certain, & that is that the capitalist class is in the saddle & the working class under the saddle.
—  ~ EUGENE V. DEBS 1904
  • Anarchists: *some of the most passionate and consistent advocates for power to the people, historically supporting strikes, unions, movements for gender and racial justice, mutual aid to struggling communities through food drives and direct action, and broader protests against concentrated power*
  • "Anarcho-capitalists": *shout at working-class folks on the internet, calling them entitled snowflakes and telling them that animals practice capitalism so therefore it's natural*