new economic policy

The gathering of information to control people is fundamental to any ruling power. As resistance to land acquisition and the new economic policies spreads across India, in the shadow of outright war in Central India, as a containment technique, India’s government has embarked on a massive biometrics program, perhaps one of the most ambitious and expensive information gathering projects in the world - the Unique Identification Number (UID). People don’t have clean drinking water, or toilets, or food, or money, but they will have election cards and UID numbers… To digitize a country with such a large population of the illegitimate and “illegible” - people who are for the most part sum dwellers, hawkers, Adivasis without land records - will criminalize them, turning them from illegitimate to illegal. The idea is to pull off a digital version of the Enclosure of the Commons and put huge powers into the hands of an increasingly hardening police state.
—  Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story

2. Hamiltonopolis
When Hamilton celebrates New York as “the greatest city in the world,” it’s not quite historically accurate (it took the Big Apple a while to pass Boston and Philadelphia as America’s cultural capital), but then again, it’s being told from Hamilton’s point of view. Even as an orphan immigrant, Hamilton found a home in New York. It shaped him politically, and his later treasury policies greatly aided the city’s merchant class. When the new U.S. Constitution was officially ratified, thanks in large part to Hamilton’s efforts, New York merchants threw a parade in his honor. “So exuberant was the lionization of Alexander Hamilton that admirers wanted to rechristen the city ‘Hamiltoniana,’” Chernow writes. Later, Hamilton’s enemies also derided the city as “Hamiltonopolis.”

Underneath these silly city names, the connection between Hamilton and New York was real. After a young adulthood full of globe-trotting and fighting in the Continental Army, Hamilton finally found a home in New York. Later, his economic& policies and political maneuvering did much to help NYC eventually become “the greatest city in the world.” Chernow has a particularly beautiful description of Hamilton looking back at New York as he rode up the river to his duel with Aaron Burr:

“At one point, Hamilton glanced back at the raucous, lively city that had given this outcast of the West Indies a home. During the past decade, New York’s population had doubled to 80,000, and the vacant downtown lots had disappeared. The sight of the growing city apparently touched something in Hamilton, for he pointed out the beauties of the scenery and spoke of the future greatness of the city.”

3. “Laurens, I like you a lot”
In Hamilton, John Laurens is portrayed as the protagonist’s best friend and the best man at his wedding. To further emphasize their familial connection, Laurens is played by the same actor as Hamilton’s son Philip. The two may have been even closer than friends, however. Chernow excerpts a letter Hamilton wrote to Laurens in 1779, sayin “I wish, my dear Laurens, it might be in my power by action rather than words to convince you that I love you.”

Noting that “sodomy” was a capital offense in all 13 colonies, Chernow refrains from suggesting that Laurens and Hamilton were ever physically intimate, instead noting that “Hamilton developed something like an adolescent crush on his friend,” and that their relationship was “the most intimate friendship of his life.”

Unfortunately, Laurens was shot down by a British soldier near Charleston in 1782. Chernow notes that this not only deprived Hamilton of a lifelong ally who may have helped him in his later struggles with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams, it also affected him psychologically. “After the death of John Laurens, Hamilton shut off some compartment of his emotions and never reopened it,” Chernow writes.


5. “And Peggy”
The third Schuyler sister, Peggy, is mostly a joke in Hamilton. Her cry of “…and Peggy!” has become a bit of an Internet meme. But Hamilton also has a line about how “Peggy confides in me,” and Chernow’s book tells a touching story behind that. In 1801, after Thomas Jefferson had been elected president and Hamilton was starting to fade from public life, Peggy Schuyler grew very sick. Peggy was married to Stephen Van Rensselaer, the lieutenant governor of New York, and was thus posted up in Albany. Hamilton’s legal business happened to place him in Albany just as her condition worsened. As Chernow writes, “Hamilton visited her bedside often and kept Eliza posted on developments. When Hamilton finished his court work, Peggy asked him to stay for a few days, and he complied with her wishes. In mid-March, Hamilton had to send Eliza a somber note: ‘On Saturday, my dear Eliza, your sister took leave of her sufferings and friends, I trust, to find repose and happiness in a better country.”

As a result of this, Hamilton threw his energy into supporting Van Rensselaer’s campaign for New York governor. This put him at odds with Aaron Burr, who supported Republican candidate George Clinton, and helped escalate their political feud that would result in the fatal duel three years later.

6. Hamilton’s health problems
As the musical makes clear, Alexander Hamilton was indeed “non-stop.” He was constantly processing information and churning out articles and theses that formed the very structure of American government. However, his body didn’t always keep pace with his mind. When he was a boy in the Caribbean, he and his mother got deathly ill at the same time; though Hamilton survived, he struggled with physical health problems for the rest of his life. He had both a constant kidney ailment and a tropical malarial infection that recurred every summer. His illnesses sometimes caught up with him during the Revolution, causing him to miss George Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware. After the war ended, Hamilton spent two months recovering in bed.

Later in life, Hamilton fell ill as part of a yellow fever epidemic, but was saved by the medical attentions of Edward Stevens, his boyhood friend and possible half-brother.

In case y’all were wondering

While female infanticide in Punjab was present before the British came, it wasn’t as bad as it is today. The British introduced invasive and archaic social/economic policy into Punjab- the result was the complete removal of women from almost all economic affairs (under Sikh rule, Punjabi women had rights that far exceeded their Victorian British counterparts ex: ability to inherit property, control of dowry, etc) Because women were removed from the Punjabi economy, more sons were needed to financially support Punjabi families. This also resulted in a higher demand for dowry because Punjabi women had nothing economic to offer in the new superimposed, Western, capitalist economic policies the British introduced. Higher demand of dowry, no opportunity for women resulted in a higher value placed on male infants, causing the rates of infanticide to actually increase under British rule. So the problem of infanticide today in Punjabi is the aggregate effect of cultural sexism as well as a vestige of colonialsm (in my opinion, as a (not advanced) history student/enthusiast, if the British hadn’t colonized South Asia, Punjabi women would probably have a lot more access and a lot less stigma attached to them today)

anonymous asked:

How did the Soviet bureaucracy emerge? How bad was it? And to what extent was Stalin responsible for it? Thanks.

This article gives a very good historical overview and for the most part answers your question.  What it touches on the least is the reason for the emergence of a bureaucracy in the Soviet state to begin with, and in order to understand the reason for this emergence, we most go back to the very beginnings of the revolution - to the days of Lenin.  An important thing to keep in mind is that, given Russia’s material conditions at the time of the October Revolution, a bureaucracy was simply unavoidable.  A country as vast as Russia, with a shortage of managerial and technical expertise, and a dire need for centralization (for the war effort) would necessarily entail a swelling bureaucratic stratum in society.  Indeed, Lenin’s own words testify to the existence of

“bureaucratic distortions of the proletarian state and… all sorts of survivals of the old capitalist system of government offices” (‘The Role and Function of the Trade Unions Under the New Economic Policy,’ C.W, vol. 33, p. 187. See also Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)C.W, vol. 32, p. 212)

Which were in part due to

“the political immaturity and cultural backwardness of the mass of the working people on the other.” (Ibid.)

He furthermore maintained that

“our state apparatus is to a considerable extent a survival of the past and has undergone hardly any serious change. It has only been slightly touched up on the surface, but in all other respects it is a most typical relic of our old state machine” (‘How We Should Reorganise the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection,’ C.W, vol. 33, p. 481)

Lenin however did not hold that such an evil could be done away with in a single stroke.  To those who claimed that it could, he could reply that

“It will take decades to overcome the evils of bureaucracy. It is a very difficult struggle, and anyone who says we can rid ourselves of bureaucratic practices overnight by adopting anti-bureaucratic platforms is nothing but a quack with a bent for fine words”. (See Lenin: Collected Works Volume 32; pp. 56-57)

The reason for this was noted by Stalin in 1927,

“The surest remedy for bureaucracy is raising the cultural level of the workers and peasants.  One can curse and denounce bureaucracy in the state apparatus, one can stigmatize and pillory bureaucracy in our practical work, but unless the masses of the workers reach a certain level of culture, which will create the possibility, the desire, the ability to control the state apparatus from below, by the masses of the workers themselves, bureaucracy will continue to exist in spite of everything.  Therefore, the cultural development of the working class and of the masses of the working peasantry, not only the development of literacy, although literacy is the basis of all culture, but primarily the cultivation of the ability to take part in the administration of the country, is the chief lever for improving the state and every other apparatus.  This is the sense and significance of Lenin’s slogan about the cultural revolution” (The Fifteenth Congress of the CPSU (B), December 2-19, 1927)

So, the cultural development of the workers was a major area requiring improvement in order to do away with bureaucracy.  But what does “cultural development” even mean?  Well, it refers to both the ideological mindset of the proletarian and peasant masses, and their capacity to manage an economy of scale in a manner which subjugates capital to its own interests.  Illiteracy, which you could say was fairly dominant in Russia, was a major evil which needed to be conquered in order to advance the struggle against bureaucracy.  With regards to the “ideological mindset” and “capacity to manage an economy of scale in [the masses’] own interests”, Lenin himself spoke of a general lack of this capacity, which prompted a growth in bureaucracy.

“[Lenin] explained that the Soviet state’s recruitment of "bourgeois specialists” was a “compromise” with the bourgeoisie, and one the magnitude of which went beyond what had originally been foreseen, but which had been made necessary by the fact that the workers’ councils, the soviets, and the factory committees had not proved able to organize production on a national scale: “Had the proletariat acting through the Soviet government managed [my emphasis – C. B.] to organise accounting and control on a national scale, or at least laid the foundation for such control, it would not have been necessary to make such compromises.” (Bettelheim, Charles. Class Struggles in the USSR. New York: Monthly Review, 1976. Print., p. 156)

Indeed, the economic history of the RSFSR’s first several months was one of disaster.

“The case of the railways will suffice as an illustration…. the overall management of the railways was entrusted, and complete control by the workers decreed on 23 January 1918. Within a few months the railways were in a state of collapse. The ‘complete and utter disorganization’ was growing daily:

The workers by present-day rules are guaranteed their pay. The worker turns up at his job … does his job, or not, as he pleases, no one can control him, because the [railway repair] shop committees are powerless. If the workshop committee attempts to exercise some control, it is immediately disbanded and another committee elected. In a word, things are in the hands of a crowd, which thanks to its lack of interest in and understanding of production is literally putting a brake on all work.“ (Leonard Schapiro. The Origins of the Communist Autocracy. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1965. pp. 137-138.)

"The conditions existing immediately after October did not make it easy to go over to a unified form of control. The workers were not spontaneously convinced of the need for the powers of their factory committees to be limited by subordination to an outside authority. In the eyes of many of them, the establishment of more or less centralized control looked like a "confiscation” of the power which they had just succeeded in wresting from the bourgeoisie and which they wished to retain at the level of their own factory. This way of looking at the matter was encouraged by the opponents of the dictatorship of the proletariat, especially by the Mensheviks, who incited the trade-union organizations in which they had influence to defend the independence of the factory committees and even of the railroad “station committees. 

Transition to workers’ control in this sense, and abandonment of the type of "decentralized” and anarchical control favored by the factory committees, came up against especially strong resistance from the bourgeois and petty bourgeois ideology, still deeply rooted in the masses, of “everyone for himself,” of “individual enterprise egoism,” and of an abstract notion of “freedom. (Bettelheim, p. 146-147)

Ergo, the ideology dominating the proletarian masses was one of a petty-bourgeois nature, one which dramatically hampered both advances towards socialism and production in general.  Further difficulties in trying to improve the system of complete authority in the hands of the broad masses eventually resulted in the increasing reliance upon specialists, experts, and capitalists from the old Tsarist regime who held a general monopoly on the technical capacity to manage an economy of scale.  This was arguably the chief factor which buttressed the bureaucratic stratum in the USSR.

Another conceptual coup has to do with foundations’ involvement with the feminist movement. Why do most “official” feminists and women’s organizations in India keep a safe distance between themselves and organizations like say the ninety-thousand-member Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan (Revolutionary Adivasi Women’s Association) that is fighting patriarchy in its own communities and displacement by mining corporations in the Dandakaranya forest? Why is it that the dispossession and eviction of millions of women from land that they owned and worked is not seen as a feminist problem?

The hiving off of the liberal feminist movement from grassroots anti-imperialist and anticapitalist peoples’ movements did not begin with the evil designs of foundations… But significantly, the liberal feminist movement has not been at the forefront of challenging the New Economic Policies, even though women have been the greatest sufferers. By manipulating the disbursement of funds, the foundations have largely succeeded in circumscribing the range of what “political” activity should be. The funding briefs of NGOs now prescribe what counts as women’s “issues” and what doesn’t.

—  Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story
On the NEP

“At the beginning of 1918 we expected a period in which peaceful construction would be possible. When the Brest peace was signed it seemed that danger had subsided for a time and that it would be possible to start peaceful construction. But we were mistaken, because in 1918 a real military danger overtook us… and the outbreak of civil war, which dragged on until 1920. Partly owing to the war problems that overwhelmed us and partly owing to the depserate position in which the Republic found itself when the imperialist war ended–owing to these circumstance, and a number of others, we made the mistake of deciding to go directly to communist production and distribution. We thought that under the surplus-food appropriation system the peasants would provide us with the required quantity of grain, which we could distribute among the factories and thus achieve communist production and distribution…

That, unfortunately, is a fact. I say unfortunately, because brief experience convinced us that that line was wrong, that it ran counter to what we had previously written about the transition from capitalism to socialism, namely, that it would be impossible to bypass the period of socialist accounting and control in approaching even the lower stage of communism. Ever since 1917, when the problem of taking power arose and the Bolsheviks explained it to the whole people, out theoretical literature has been definitely stressing the necessity for a prolonged, complex transition through socialist accounting and control from capitalist society (and less developed it is the longer the transition will take) to even one of the approaches to communist society.

At that time, when in the heat of the Civil War we had to take the necessary steps in economic organization, it seemed to have been forgotten. In substance, our New Economic Policy signifies that, having sustained severe defeat on this point, we have started a strategical retreat. We said in effect: ‘Before we are completely routed, let us retreat and reorganize everything, but on a firmer basis…’

The New Economic Policy means substituting a tax for the requisitioning of food; it means reverting to capitalism to a considerable extent–to what extent we do not know. Concessions to foreign capitalists (true, only very few have been accepted, especially when compared with the number we offered) and leasing enterprises to private capitalists definitely meant restoring capitalism, and this is part and parcel of the New Economic Policy….

The issue in the present war is–who will win, who will first take advantage of the situation: the capitalist, whom we are allowing to come in the door, and even by several doors (and by many doors we are not aware of, and which open without us, and in spite of us), or proletarian state power?…

On the other hand, if capitalism gains by it, industrial production will grow, and the proletariat will grow too. The capitalists will gain from out policy and will create an industrial proletariat, which in our country, owing to the war and to the desperate poverty and ruin, has become declassed i.e., dislodged from its class groove, and has ceased to exist as a proletariat. The proletariat is the class which is engaged in the production of material values in large-scale capitalist industry has been destroyed, since the factories are at a standstill, the proletariat has disappeared. It has sometimes figured in statistics, but it has not been held together economically." 

-V.I. Lenin, Collected Works , Vol. 33, pp.62-67

Black Americans today earn even less relative to their white counterparts than they did in 1979, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

The report, released by the left-leaning thinktank on Tuesday, shows that the gap between wages of both black and white men and black and white women has widened over the last 36 years.

Black men’s average hourly wages went from being 22.2% lower than those of white men in 1979 to being 31% lower by 2015. For women, the wage gap went from 6% in 1979 to 19% in 2015.

“The finding that stands out the most, our major result, is that the racial wage gaps were larger in 2015 than they were in 1979. That’s huge because the impression people have, in general, is we know there’s still racism in this country, but we think or at least believe that it’s getting better,” said Valerie Wilson, director of the EPI’s program on race, ethnicity and the economy and one of the report’s authors.

Anons are always “lol stop complaining about America unless you can come up with a new economic policy or you can go back to your country”

1) I’m already in my country so fuck you
2) A new economic policy from me is literally common sense. Like it would benefit the people and not corporations or rich fucks
3) Me being a 21 year old senior in college would do a better job than most people in Washington cause I’m not bought out by greedy asswipes who only looks out for themselves