“Any attempt to solve the ecological crisis within a bourgeois framework must be dismissed as chimerical. Capitalism is inherently anti-ecological. Competition and accumulation constitute its very law of life, a law … summarised in the phrase, ‘production for the sake of production.’ Anything, however hallowed or rare, ‘has its price’ and is fair game for the marketplace. In a society of this kind, nature is necessarily treated as a mere resource to be plundered and exploited. The destruction of the natural world, far being the result of mere hubristic blunders, follows inexorably from the very logic of capitalist production.” - Murray Bookchin
If the capitalist merely executes the logic of capital, then it is not he, but rather capital, self-valorizing capital, that is the “subject” of the process. Marx refers to capital in this regard as the “automatic subject,” a phrase that makes the paradox clear: on the one hand, capital is an automaton, something lifeless, but on the other, as the “subject,” it is the determining agent of the whole process.
Michael Heinrich, An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital (2012)
tbh this is one of the reasons why i like heinrich but of course everyone else hates this stuff because it’s much easier to practice a revolutionary politics against bill gates than against a system that produces and reproduces bill gates (in the plural sense). also to say that heinrich is simply saying that capitalists are victims, in opposition to marx’s representative “character masks” of capital, misses and misunderstands heinrich’s crucial point.
in fact, heinrich explicitly brings up the notion of character masks, despite its persistent deletion from theorizing outside of the german language:
“A person is therefore a “capitalist” only when he or she is “capital personified,” meaning that his or her activity follows the logic of capital (limitless and ceaseless valorization), and for this it is not necessary that this person be the owner of capital. And only in this sense, capitalists as capital personified, is the term capitalist used in the following chapters.
Capitalists are “personifications of economic relations” or “economic character masks” (Capital, 1:179). This is similar to what we observed with regard to the activity of commodity owners (see sections 3.2 and 3 .6): a person behaves like a commodity owner or capitalist insofar as his or her behavior follows a specific rationality. This rationality is a result of the form-determination of the economic process (the economic form-determination of the commodity or capital, respectively). As people’s behavior conforms to this specific rationality, they reproduce the preconditioned economic form-determinant. In Marx’s presentation, the economic form-determination must be analyzed first, before the behavior of people is addressed.”
or, to sum it up as he does,
“If the capitalist merely executes the logic of capital, then it is not he, but rather capital, self-valorizing capital, that is the “subject” of the process. Marx refers to capital in this regard as the “automatic subject,” a phrase that makes the paradox clear: on the one hand, capital is an automaton, something lifeless, but on the other, as the “subject,” it is the determining agent of the whole process.”
Architecture, Cityscapes and Capitalism: A discussion on Fredric Jameson & Blade Runner
By: Alyssa Logie (MA in Media Studies Candidate, Western University)
In his piece “The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”, Jameson refers to how postmodern
culture, and all analyses of it, are always attached to the nature of capitalism—more
specifically, the present state of multinational capitalism (Jameson 558). Jameson
urges us to see postmodernism not so much as a style, but as a cultural dominant
of late capitalistic logic. He also asserts
that the movement towards postmodernism and the subsequent modifications in aesthetic
production are “most dramatically visible” in the realm of architecture (557). Jameson’s
discussions of architecture intrigued me. He goes on to discuss architecture in
more depth, stating:
“Of all the arts, architecture is the closest
constitutively to the economic, with which, in the form of commissions and land
values, it has a virtually unmediated relationship. It will therefore not be
surprising to find the extraordinary
flowering of the new postmodern architecture grounded in the patronage of
multinational businesses, whose expansion and development is strictly
contemporaneous with it” (560).
The “aesthetic new world” (567) of multinational
capitalism is most visible in the art of architecture. If we are to view this
particular use of aesthetics as related to the nature of capitalism, we must
think about how the aestheticization of architecture is directly related to the
goals, beliefs and motivations of multinational capitalistic logic. In other
words, through architecture, we can most clearly see the hidden motivations and
insidious nature of capitalism before us; the blatant expressions of “America
military and economic domination” (560) stand before us in the towering and
mystifying horizons of our cityscapes. Jameson’s discussions of how
architecture reveals the militarized nature of capitalistic aesthetics reminds
me greatly of Paul Virilio’s book, Pure War,
in which Virilio discusses how everything and everyone in our world is
mobilized towards the intentions of war. (A great read, check it out!!!). Virilio
asserts that the city is “the result of war…of preparation for war”; the
constitution of our cities is based in the perpetual preparation for war (Virilio
19). Virilio also echoes Jameson’s notions of capitalism’s militarization of
architecture in his work, “Bunker Archaeology”—he believes that the
architecture of war-time bunkers is actually present in our current cityscapes
I began to think about Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049’s depictions of capitalistic cityscapes. A common
motif of both films are the prolonged shots of sprawling, dark and insidious cityscapes
all of which are entirely submersed in advertising culture. The prolonged shots
serve to call attention to the economically-dominated spaces of the cities that
are, not so deep beneath their shiny, hyperreal surfaces, highly militarized.
The cityscapes of both films allude to “how urban squalor can be a delight to
the eyes when expressed in commodification” (562)—it is the commodified nature
of these spaces that is familiar to us, where we may find comfort in the dark,
all-encompassing landscapes of Blade
Runner that threaten to “crush human life altogether” (563). This calls to
mind Jameson’s discussions of a technological sublime: an experience bordering
on terror, the fitful glimpse, in astonishment, stupor and awe…” (563). I think
these films are calling us to think about the dual nature of our cityscapes—they
are both euphoric, and terrifying. Our cities are not that different than those
depicted in Blade Runner (consider
how Blade Runner depicts Los Angeles
in 2019…). Our cities are exhilarating and anxiety-inducing all at once; the “alienation
of daily life in the city can now be experienced in a strange new form of
hallucinatory exhilaration” (562). In a sense, the advertisement and
commodified nature of our cities seems to conceal the militarized nature of
I’d also like to point out
how the landscapes in Blade Runner
and Blade Runner 2049 are highly
antianthropomorphic—they are not spaces for humans. Think of the sprawling
digital advertising boards, the large holographic women and the never-ending
display of artificial lights…The highly technical, digitized and mediatized
spaces render humans as alien. There is a “derealization of the surrounding
world” in which the world has lost its depth, and is reduced to nothing but a “glossy
skin…a stereoscopic illusion, a rush of filmic images without density”:
The current architecture of
our international capitalistic societies, as well as the sprawling landscapes
of the Blade Runner films reminds us how “throughout class history, the
underside of culture is blood, torture, death and terror” (560).
The era of automation places the Marxist in an ironic situation. For exactly 150 years he has been exclaiming that the low wage worker is an object of exploitation at the hands of the greedy Capitalist. By his own logic then, he must welcome the unemployment which has and which will come about through automation, since it will mean there is a need for fewer and fewer workers to be "exploited".
How will he deny the Capitalist’s right to his own wealth in this situation ? He certainly cannot declare that the wealth generated on an on-going basis here belongs to the original workers who built the new machines themselves, for the very same reason he declared that the original Capitalists were not entitled to the on-going wealth they acquired through their ownership of the machines. “Capital is dead labour”.
The further time goes on the flimsier Marxism becomes.
hi. tell me what kind of fcked up shut should be changed in todays school systems
Kids shouldn’t be taught that they’re passive participants in the process of education, because once they think that’s how learning works they’ll either adapt to that fucked up game to get good grades, or they’ll be uninterested and not actually learn the information (and tbh most people will be some mix of both).
Teachers should not be viewed as the sole sources of knowledge, it needs to be recognized as a bidirectional relation.
At all levels, but especially at a young age, “play” needs to be a core guiding principle. That necessitates abolishing formal penalizable grades, and instilling a desire to learn for learning’s sake by showing how rich the world of things that you do not know is.
The school must be an outgrowth of the surrounding community rather than an entity simply geographically located within it.
It would have many hands-on applications of the material learned (or extracurricular), and frequent visits to the places where the rest of their communities produces what the resources held in common & hands on learning of technical and practical skills like cooking to Fibre optic cable splicing to rock identifying to seeing their place within their own local histories.
Education shouldn’t be something separate from the rest of your life, not only in the sense of your mindset of approaching the world, but also in that structured learning should be freely available to all at any point in time. The distinction between when one goes to school and when they “go out in the world” imposes a capitalist logic of efficiency upon the structures of pretty much any educational institution embedded within it, and are an explicit boundary to a deep education.
Students should take significant part in the running of the school, from having a say in what they learn about, to where more resources should be allocated, to cleaning and taking care of the area.
Striated grade levels and strict boundaries between subjects would be dissolved, creating a more multifaceted environment for learning to expand oneself.
Anyway there’s some broad sleepy strokes of my pedagogy, feel free 2 add ur own
Hey, I'm a little confused as to what voluntarism and anarchic capitalism are. A quick google of voluntarism said it's all things which are done voluntarily which didn't seem right considering the context in some of your posts. If you have the time, would you mind explaining to me? If not no worries and thanks for your informative blog xx
“Voluntarism” and “anarcho”-capitalism are clever bits of capitalist ideology that rely on ahistorical bits of information about what anarchism is, what voluntary means, and how violent capitalism is/has historically been. Basically, they advocate a voluntary capitalist society without a state, ahistorical bit #1 (capitalism has always relied on state violence to uphold private ownership (autocratic ownership) over the means of production and other social institutions). They advocate property rights whereby individually-operated toothbrushes and socially-operated factories fall under the same definition (i.e. they define both of them as personal property individuals can own), and they seem to think that every bad thing that capitalism has done was a result of state involvement – they’re kind of right, since the state and capitalism are actually part of the same ruling class paradigm in the present system (even though they argue that capitalist action and state action are diametric opposites, something that doesn’t hold any kind of credibility water).
If a person is born in an area where all the social institutions are owned by capitalists and all the land is owned by landlords, it isn’t a “voluntary” or “consenting” decision for that person to enter into employment under a capitalist (and have most of their labor product sapped by the capitalist) or live on land owned by the landlord (and pay rent to the landlord). This is a glaring flaw in “anarcho”-voluntarism-capitalists’ logic, since they assume that those choices are completely voluntary and never look into the deeper picture about why the choices were made in the first place. The only way to have a genuinely free society is to make social institutions (means of production, collective housing, etc.) fall under social management; turn democratic control over to all the participants, essentially. To a “voluntarist”, it violates the “non-aggression principle” for a person to stand on land that is owned by a landlord without the landlord’s permission, and they are fine with retaliation on the landlord’s part. This goes beyond just owning the surrounding area for a home of your own – voluntarists are fine with individuals owning forests, mines, essentially swaths of land that other people may need to access for survival (again, how they maintain those autocratic ownership claims without a state to back it up is anybody’s guess). It all upholds class relationships to the extreme. The ownership of land you are not using – land that you then rent out to people who need it for survival – is an unjust class relationship, but class relationships aren’t something these guys (and they’re overwhelmingly guys) take into account; “class doesn’t exist, only individuals”, or some BS like that. It’s true we shouldn’t lose sight of the individual, but it’s ahistorical garbage to argue that class relationships to production haven’t been some of the main driving forces of history and society.
Hope that gives a general description. There’s more to these guys than that, but at a root level this is the core of their beliefs – keeping property relationships the same and then saying things would be better without minimum wages or corporate regulation and such. If you want legit “small government”, you need to change how property rights function, and that means social management for that which is social. Minimum wages and corporate oversight and such are needed in the current system because, by default, it doesn’t work for us – it works for the owners. As much as we need those regulations presently, they’re ultimately middlemen that never solve the core problem – autocratic control over social institutions, something “voluntarists” want REINFORCED.
Pal, what do you think of Russia? Politically/ as a country / as a global power? I find Russia so fascinating, I want to read up on it. They contributed heavily in ww2 and liberates countries from the nazis, they were against capitalism under the USSR, they didn't colonise or imperialise like Western European countries, nor did they take part in the Atlantic slave trade/slavery in general, in addition they had good relations with African countries under the USSR interestingly.
I similarly find it fascinating. It was the first country I got really interested in, I’ve always wanted to go there. A ex-police ushanka my dad got from St Petersberg is a treasured possession of mine. The sheer suffering inflicted on them in the war is (my friend’s family is from Belarus, and the stories his granddad’s told him about the war are just. ugh. fuck man).
I wouldn’t say Russia hasn’t engaged in imperialism though. Lenin’s got some good stuff on Russia’s practices in Uzbekistan, where it colonised the country to set up cotton plantations. If I’m honest though, I know more about post-Soviet Russian history than the past. My dissertation is on the Ukrainian conflict, and I’ve done a lot of research on Russia’s economy in it. It’s quite clearly an imperialist power, but one that’s a bit different from the West. Generally states are guided by territorial logics (the desire to protect and expand the power of the state) and capitalistic logic (the desire to protect and expand capital accumulation), with a dialectical relationship between them. Generally in the West, this dialectic is heavily weighted towards capital, and the logic of the state has been pretty much subordinated to capital accumulation - if states do not facilitate this expansion, they too will find themselves in crisis. In Russia, because the oligarchs are too rich to give a fuck about the rest of the economy, and because the state is a much more powerful institution compared to its economic base, the weight of this dialectic is a little different. It’s a very different kind of capitalism that’s emerged out of the Soviet Union, one which puts much more emphasis on state owned industries. Purely geopolitical, statist visions based on Russian nationalism and a desire to bring Russia’s satellites back into its sphere of influence play a big role in its foreign policy. This serves as a perfect diversion from Russia’s severe inequality - it is no coincidence that Russia begins to take on a much more expansionist, imperialist foreign policy shortly after the global financial crash, where Russia faced the greatest drop in GDP of a G8 country (7.8%!). Often the state will pursue foreign policy goals that go against the interests of Russian capitalism - the seizure of Crimea has not benefited Russian capitalism greatly.
But that’s not to say that capital accumulation plays no part in Russian imperialism. Generally there’s two elements in Russia’s policy. Like the Eurasian Customs Union, Russia’s attempt at an EU, is driven greatly by Russia’s desire to reassert itself as the geopolitical power in charge of the former Soviet Union. But, being a customs union which greatly restricts trade from the rest of the world, it’s also driven by a desire to provide Russian industry with a market (which, due to the sheer poverty of the Russian working class, it simply doesn’t have at home). It’s also got pretty low profit rates at home, meaning capital must find new markets abroad.
Russian intervention follows a particular path. When a nation in Russia’s sphere of influence begins to lean towards the West, it typically applies the neoliberal model pretty dogmatically - privatisation of utilities, freedom of entry for foreign capital, reduction of wages, that sort of thing. The usual Russian response is a short, sharp conflict, usually around a breakaway region. Nagoro-Karabakh in Azerbaijan (or Armenia, depending on your opinion) and Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia are good examples. This conflict destablises the country, too much for Western capital, which swiftly withdraws.
Georgia is a good example of this in practice. European investment into Georgia, which spiked after the pro-West Rose Revolution, has never recovered following the Russo-Georgian War. In its place comes Russian capital, usually linked to state owned companies (although ‘state owned’ is a bit disingenuous - these state owned companies are usually run by oligarchs who, through corruption and bribery, use them as a means of accumulation by illegal means), which then gobble up the spoils of that were meant for Western capitalists. The Georgian energy sector is a particularly good example. After the War, Georgia privatised most of its electricity sector in order to bring back “strategic” investors. However, it was pretty much universally bought up by the Russian state electricity company, Inter RAO. The same process has occurred in Armenia (although without western prompting). This fulfils the state’s objective by binding the fate of the Caucuses’ electricity supply to the Russian state, and satisfies capital’s needs through allowing the export of electricity generated in Georgian (now Russian owned) hydroelectric plants to the energy starved Turkish market.
This is what Russia has tried to do in Ukraine - it has tried to destablise Ukraine to such an extent that European investors would find it too unstable to invest in, and then Russian capital can take a hold of rapidly privatised Ukrainian state industries and utility companies. However, Western capital has been able to preempt this by sanctioning most Russian state companies rather than leaving the door open to them as they did in Georgia. The conflict in Ukraine is ultimately a conflict between two imperial powers over the right to dispossess the common property of the Ukrainian people.
I don’t think you asked for a summary of my dissertation, but it’s what you’ve got! Thanks for your question!
just because actors/ of color know how to drop buzzwords about “diversity” and “representation” and “role models” doesn’t mean they’re committed to - or have the power to - dismantle a media industry that’s ultimately, at it’s core, wedded to white supremacy and capitalism. we should be constantly interrogating how “representation” becomes co-opted into capitalist logics of profit with its subsequent limitations, rules, and pitfalls. And we should definitely always remain doubtful that the industry could ever prioritize the subjectivity and humanity of queer/people of color.
Ideas catch on among the ruling class when they are useful to them under specific historical circumstances, neoliberalism is the appropriate ideology for the bourgeoisie in this phase of capitalist development - if you doubt this have a look at how they get along if they don’t embrace it vs if they do… What Hayek and co did was just spot this early and give it a name, champion it - they didn’t foist it on us, the logic of capitalist accumulation did.
[NEWS] 141010 MBLAQ’s Lee Joon Cast in Upcoming Romantic Comedy Drama “Mister Baek”
MBLAQ’s Lee Joon will be expanding his acting resume in the romantic comedy series “Mister Baek” which is slated to air this November.
The singer-actor will star alongside actress Jang Nara and actor Shin Ha Kyun in the fantasy romantic comedy drama that will air on MBC.
“When I received the scenario, I (saw that) it’s a role that I’ve always wanted to try. I decided on appearing (in this drama) because I think I will be able to show an opposite of the role I played in Gapdong through this character. I will try my best to show a perfect image through this good project,” said Lee Joon.
“In ‘Mister Baek,’ the new Wednesday-Thursday drama of MBC, Lee Joon will play the role of Choi Dae Han, the son of the conglomerate president Choi Go Bong (Shin Ha Kyun),” revealed a representative from MBC Drama on October 10.
The role of the second generation chaebol Choi Dae Han that Lee Joon will play is offensive towards the director-level and low-ranking employees of the company and unlike normal second generation chaebol, he doesn’t subscribe to the capitalist logic of ‘the more money, the better’ and instead, he only has the exact money that he needs. He’s also quite accident prone. However, he starts changing for the better when he meets the intern Eun Ha Soo, which will be played by Jang Nara.
MBC’s upcoming drama “Mister Baek” is slated to air this November after “My Spring Day.”
My girlfriend and I just had an epiphany together about our anxiety and unhealthy thought patterns.
We apply capitalist logic to the good shit in our lives. Have a loving, long-term relationship? Well, you haven’t earned the right yet and now you have to pay it off by subconsciously sabotaging your ability to make/save money. This is just one example that I commonly fall into, but there are a myriad of other ways to punish oneself to pay off for things that are going really well. In life, misery the currency we use to pay for our happiness. This is the consequence of living in a world where everything has a cost, even basic necessities for your suvival has a price attached to it.
And I’ve only just now realized why I think and behave this way. I didn’t take out a loan to the universe for my well-being. I don’t need to feel like if things are going well for me then I need to inflict misery on myself because I’m somehow in debt to Life. There is just no need to do that. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my chest. I can just be happy and improve the areas of my life that need improving with zero self loathing. I am currently typing this with a kitten in my lap while having eye-opening conversations with the love of my life. My skin is clear. Goodnight.