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.

The Red Sponge: Spongebob’s Role in Enforcing an Oppressive, Capitalistic Society

Every millennial who grew up watching “Spongebob Squarepants” has come to the same horrifying conclusion: you have turned into Squidward. No matter how buoyant, how cheerful, how optimistic you were as a child, there comes a point where you begin to identify with Squidward more than any other character in the show.

You could explain this phenomenon with the disillusionment and cynicism of growing up, or the burdens of being a teenager in a post-John Hughes society. There is, however, an even simpler answer. Spongebob is an allegory for Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto. The show revolves around Spongebob, the hardworking proletariat, accepting a low-level fry cook job and enduring Mr. Krabs’ exploitation with a grin on his face.

The face of compliance

It’s not hard to draw the parallels between Mr. Krabs and the bourgeoisie. He’s a cheapskate who underpays and overworks his employees for his own personal gain. Mr. Krabs famously ripped off his own arms (claws?) to retrieve a dime that fell down the drain. He took his workers on a boating trip to retrieve his millionth dollar from the jaws of a giant clam. He has zero regard for his employees’ safety and almost routinely puts them in danger for his own benefit.  Mr. Krabs’ daughter, Pearl is an extension of the bourgeoisie archetype. She’s vain, self-centered, and largely unaware of others’ misfortune. She lives in a bubble, obsessed with clothes, makeup, and celebrities — because she has the leisure for such frivolities.

Remember when Pearl gentrified The Krusty Krab

Speaking of living in a bubble, Sandy is not exempt from analysis. Sandy is quite literally shielded away from the rest of the world. She represents the intellectual elite, using her privilege and higher education to jeopardize working class jobs and further the industrial revolution. Her endeavors into space mirror the Cold War-era “Space Race,” capitalism versus communism. Her voyage ends on the moon, just like the U.S.’s did. On top of her scientific record, Sandy is independent and self-sufficient, exemplifying capitalistic ideals of individualism.

If Sandy is the intellectual elite, then Patrick Star is just the opposite. Patrick represents the bourgeois caricature of the working class that capitalists want you to buy into. He is ignorant, undereducated, and lazy. He lives under a rock, likely because he can’t afford anything else — although he doesn’t seem to mind. Patrick appears to deserve his poverty because he does nothing but sleep, yet he also seems at peace with his lot. This idea of the happy, unproductive bum simultaneously vilifies and justifies the proletariat. “See, they’re poor because they just don’t work hard enough! In fact, they like being poor!” Patrick Star is arguably one of the most offensive cartoon depictions of this generation.

Blatant vilification of blue-collar workers

Spongebob, on the other hand, represents the ideal proletariat. Spongebob is hardworking, humble, and endlessly optimistic. He’s a lot like us before we realized the inherent evils of a capitalistic society. Day in and day out, Spongebob gleefully works a minimum-wage job flipping burgers with no hope of promotion. He’s a cog in Mr. Krabs’ greasy machine, but he doesn’t even realize it. He just continues to skip to work every day, chanting “I’m ready!”. Ready for what, Spongebob? Ready for the bourgeoisie Kool-aid he’s been absorbing through his poriferous sponge body.

Spongebob is the ideal worker, and as children, we aspired to be just like him. The very first episode of Spongebob showed him getting his first job as fry cook. According to the show, the very best achievement you could receive is being gainfully employed. Not only employed, but tirelessly productive and efficient to maximize your manager’s profits. Spongebob famously served busloads of anchovies at a never-before-seen pace. It wasn’t enough that Spongebob could perform his job well; he had to go above and beyond his duty in order to seem valuable. These are the principles we instilled in the youth of today. What went wrong?

Back, finally, to Squidward. Squidward isn’t like Spongebob or Patrick. He isn’t satisfied in his low-level employment. What Squidward seeks is artistic satisfaction and world renown. He covets the success of his employer without achieving the work ethic necessary for someone of his class to ascend. Squidward has realized that the cards have been stacked against him at every turn, and resigns himself bitterly to the clutches of capitalism. If Squidward were less jaded, he could be the catalyst to prompt full-scale class warfare, perhaps ending in a communist utopia. Unfortunately, Squidward’s defeatist personality and egoism prevents him from implementing social change.

Mfw I realized I will never dismantle oppressive power structures that infiltrate our economic landscape

That is why we are all Squidward. We’ve uncovered the limits of capitalism and realized that hard work may not always pay off. We’ve begun to notice the oppressive economic and social structure that infiltrates our everyday life. We yearn for something higher, but feel that change is out of our reach. We become bitter, combative, self-deprecative, and cynical. There’s a reason Squidward is the unhappiest character on “Spongebob.” Not only for faults of his own, but for his own rotten luck. The show subliminally punishes Squidward for his views, hoping to prod viewers back towards Spongebob’s blithe, unfounded optimism.

Their efforts were to no avail. Millions of millennials are finding themselves disillusioned, realizing all along that Squidward was the reasonable one. He had a right to protest Mr. Krabs’ vile working conditions, and his sarcasm was merely a coping mechanism for the injustices placed against him. Squidward is the dissatisfied proletariat, and we identify with him more than ever. The difference is, we have the energy and collective power to succeed where he could not. Together, we can rise up and defeat the bourgeoisie, establishing an egalitarian society that does not prey on the lower classes. In the words of Spongebob, “I’m ready.” Are you?

congress on tumblr

paul ryan: interesting how all of you are now criticizing my healthcare proposal instead of obama’s despite the ACA having problems…just saying #vague #dont rb

bernie sanders: omg…just admit u hate the working class lmao. #capitalist parasites

paul ryan: i have done…so much..to help the working class. like you assume facts about me from one single post.

bernie sanders: i have receipts on your tax plan that benefits the rich though…

paul ryan (crytyping): ii litereally madde thtatt prroposal wheenn i was havigng a brekeajdown?? ggood tto see u dodnjt ccare abtt politiciaans wit h anxietyy :) #youre fuckigng blocked #im literally working on a helsthcare pproposal right now

  • 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*

art-johnreach  asked:

What's your response to the ML criticism of anarchism that posits that revolution is an inherently authoritarian process since it involves a class forcing it's will upon another class?

it’s actually older than Marxism-Leninism, this is one of the oldest criticisms of anarchism, first articulated by Engels in his essay “On Authority” in 1872. It’s all built on the false assumption that is something can be described as an exercise of “authority”’ in any sense or from any perspective at all, anarchists are automatically against it.

For communist anarchists like myself, who have politics rooted in class struggle, the observation that a revolution involves “a class forcing it’s will upon another class” is obviously true - but it also leaves out an important bit of context which is that one of those classes is already forcing it’s will on the other. Classes aren’t just free floating discreet groups of people who can either be on the top or the bottom, they are produced and reproduced in relation to one another through specific, violently enforced relations of production.

The way this question is usually framed is as if our antagonism with the bourgeoisie is just a simplistic battle between two sets of people with the same aim - to repress the other by force - but our aims are fundamentally different, it’s about the reinforcement or abolition of class society… and our enemy isn’t just simply the group of people who currently compose the capitalist class, it’s class society itself, and the social relationships that produce and maintain it.

The ultimately violent authority of private property, capital and state is an organizing principle of society which determines every aspect of our lives. We are submitting to authority right now, is it “authoritarian” to stop? If someone has their boot on your neck, is it authoritarian to kick them off? From the perspective of the bosses, sure - the same people who perceive strikes and picket lines as violent incursions on their liberty, for them any sign of people rising up from their knees appears as an act of aggression - if we look at revolution from their perspective, then yes Engels had a point, we are authoritarians and every anarchist who ever punched a nazi or threw a brick at a cop is a huge hypocrite. This is of course the ancap point of view, and I accept that it exists, but it hasn’t really troubled the conscience of communist anarchists through 100 odd years of punching and brick throwing.

Anyway that was a much longer answer than I thought it was going to be, but Iain McKay dedicated a whole section of the anarchist FAQ to refuting this argument:

Didn’t Engels refute anarchism in his essay “On Authority”?

  • 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*

the Left is male-dominated just like how the Right is. The whole damn political spectrum is male-dominated. Radical feminism is the only political alignment that reframes all politics as a matter of addressing female interests (including in relation to race and white patriarchy, socioeconomic class and capitalist patriarchy, male militarism/ imperialism/colonialism, violence, etc). Radical feminists ask “How does this materially improve or harm the conditions of women’s and girls’ lives?”, “How can we reshape power structures around female materiality in positive ways?”.


I suppose it’s important to acknowledge that there are many right-wing libertarians who aren’t raging ultra-nationalists underneath a thin veneer of liberty rhetoric. I remember back several years ago, when I fell into the right-lib camp, I considered myself a “cosmotarian” – Reason Magazine’s term for someone who was “culturally-liberal and fiscally-conservative”. I suppose these “cosmotarian” types, alongside other “might-as-well-be-a-liberal” types, probably don’t have a hyper-reactionary bootlicker lurking just beneath the surface, and I’m willing to give them that benefit of the doubt. However, I still think “cosmotarians” and other Propertarian-Lite™ types (”socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative”) are intensely naive to the ramifications of their ideology. 

The preferred economic setup will usually have the biggest sway in the social makeup of a society. Top-down economic arrangements are often “socially libertarian” when the dominant class’s power isn’t threatened. Smoke some weed, have a gender-neutral marriage, carry a gun, allow for a nominally censorship-free press, etc – as long as these all take place on the terms set by the dominant class, they can be “peacefully” reconciled into the capitalist status quo. Once dominant class interests are materially threatened by strikes, occupations, direct action, mutual aid, dual power, and cross-racial solidarity, however….then the libertarian pretense goes out the window. A militarized police state and partially-legitimized right-wing militias are the agents who will “restore law and order” when the “degenerate leftists” push for “chaos and depravity”. The right-libertarians who recognize this and openly embrace it are the ones who start dabbling in ultra-nationalism and fascism, the ones who see the class privileges of property and whiteness slipping out of their fingers. Anti-capitalist, anti-racist movements challenge the class structure’s legitimacy and therefore “require” a swift reaction from the powers that be. 

Because “cosmotarians” lack a class analysis of any sort, their perspective is limited to celebrations of “personal freedoms” – a convenience store is allowed to sell gallon-sized jugs of soda, a sales tax is lowered by 4%, an increased minimum wage proposal is struck down, regulations on cars are cut back, etc. At no point does it occur to them that there are dominant class interests at play and that the state manifests itself mostly in accordance with these interests. Thrust the moral dilemma of right-libertarianism-turned-fascism onto them and I do believe many of them might be receptive to some class struggle outlook, but just as many of them will find some circular justification for the rising police state they’re witnessing – ultimately similar to other liberals. 

TLDR: Not all right-libertarian types are secretly fascists, but most of those who aren’t secretly fascists are also intensely naive to the ramifications of their ideology and the natural functioning of the capitalist class system.

Really gross conservatives are always telling me their really gross opinions in this conspiratorial voice like they expect me to agree, even though they’ve been acquainted with me for a while, and that means that either 1) maybe they’re truly oblivious and they do it to everyone? Or 2) I’m so quiet and passive on the surface most of the time that they’re like “no way is this girl one of those RADICALS”

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.

  • leftists: we demand a higher minimum wage so that some of the burden of poverty can be lifted from the shoulders of the working class
  • libertarian capitalist nerd: lol look forward to machines replacing your jobs then
  • leftists: rad bro, we just wanted a higher minimum wage but we ended up with machines replacing menial jobs and fully-automated socialism that can reduce the work week and actively meet human needs
  • libertarian capitalist nerd: hey wh--
  • leftists: *start seizing the means of production*
  • libertarian capitalist nerd: hey wait stop no
  • leftists: *continue seizing the means of production*
  • libertarian capitalist nerd: what have i done

International Socialist Republican Solidarity with Standing Rock!

We, the undersigned socialist republican organisations from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, express our complete solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their heroic resistance against the imposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline on their sovereign territory.

The ongoing resistance at Standing Rock in defence of land, natural resources and the right to water, is providing inspiration to anti- capitalist and anti- imperialist struggles around the world. The resistance at Standing Rock resonates in particular, in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where our peoples have, and continue to fight against the joint systems of Capitalism and Imperialism and in defence of our homes, our natural resources and our right to clean safe and free drinking water.

We recognise that the fight of the Lakota is our fight and we further recognise that Standing Rock is a key battle ground in the struggle of the international working class and oppressed peoples around the world against the exploitation and oppression of Capitalism and Imperialism.

We condemn the US Imperial administration for its ongoing attacks on the Standing Rock Sioux. The militarisation of tribal lands, and the brutalisation of those acting in defence of their future is unacceptable and must end immediately.

We note with concern the recent raid on Last Child Camp and the subsequent mass round up of protestors. We demand that all those arrested are immediately released.

It is our view, that the US administration, acting as it is, in support of the private capitalist interests behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, have convincingly demonstrated, the fundamental truth of James Connolly’s maxim, that ‘governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class’.

We call on all progressive forces in the United States to rally behind the resistance at Standing Rock. For our part, we pledge our continuing support and solidarity and vow to do what we can in our own countries to highlight the outrages being committed at Standing Rock and to build international support for the resistance!

Defend natural resources!
Release All Prisoners!
Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline!

Signed (List in formation)

Ireland- Éirígí
Wales- Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr - The Great Unrest

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