the elite ruling class

I’m not saying that free-market economics is bad or dangerous, I’m saying that it doesn’t even exist.

The mythical butcher-baker-candlestick-maker view of capitalism only existed in the very earliest days of capitalist development, when it was little more than a social experiment embarked upon by adventurous minor nobles and desperate peasants in fast-growing early-modern cities. The whole reason capitalism survived as a way of organising economic activity was because the newly-wealthy capitalist elites were best placed to wield influence over tottering European feudal states as they crumbled under their own weight - taking them over to run them as glorified protection rackets for their profit-making schemes. From its earliest inception within feudal societies, capital has sought the benefits of the state - legal regulation, economic protectionism, military repression - and used them to secure its future.

Even the most dimly-conscious free-market ideologue knows this. What ‘free-market’ ideology really conceals is a civil war between staggeringly wealthy elites, over which faction of capitalists should reap the rewards: those who benefit from the huge resources of states being poured into subsidising the profits of manufacturing, industry and trade, or those who can make a killing from bank bailouts, government-secured property deals and state-backed oil ventures.

Modern states, therefore, are to capitalism both nursemaid and childhood playmate: they are utterly inseparable, bound together in a Faustian bargain written in the blood of workers.

Pinky: What about capitalism?

Daisy: Capitalism is incompatible with justice and compassion.

Pinky: How about progressive teachers? You like them, right? What if we just stock our schools and universities with more progressive teachers?

Daisy: Sanctioning institutions don’t work like that. Schools allow a certain amount of critique of hegemony, especially if they think it won’t lead to threatening, destabilizing action by the masses.

Pinky: Hm …Are you saying we should get rid of schools?

Daisy: I’m saying we need alternatives to schools.

Pinky: But a lot of our friends work in schools. Aren’t they doing important work?

Daisy: Yeah. Obviously there’s always going to be a certain amount of socially progressive work produced even in elite, ruling class institutions. I’m not contesting that. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement - on one hand, the system benefits from the symbolic presence of work that positions itself as critical of The Establishment, the main reason for this is so it can present itself as politically neutral and ideologically balanced. Meanwhile the so-called progressive and radical academics that produce this work get to enjoy a range of benefits that typically comes with affiliation with elite institutions. And all they have to do to keep enjoying these privileges is to limit their political maneuvering to anything that doesn’t directly threaten to destabilize the fundamental organizational logic of the university, or society itself. So okay, that’s the choice they’ve made.

But let’s ask a different question. Is there a reason why counter-hegemonic intellectual work can’t be done outside the university? Is there some kind of law of physics or mysterious, hidden power that makes serious intellectual activity only possible on a university campus? No, of course not, the constraints are primarily economic. Cultural. I would even say, emotional.

—  I miss the pinky show I think they were bought out… so sad.

At no point would I necessarily label my political convictions as “collectivistic”, as in the opposite of “individualistic”. Randian individualists have a habit of painting the true political spectrum as a rift between the individual and the group, but it’s an oversimplification. Maybe this might make sense in a classless society where free neighbors were trying to strike a balance where the community respects the individual and the individual respects the community. But as it stands now, class divisions – that is, the rift between all-producing laboring classes and parasitic ruling classes – are more important determinants of political shifts. If you are right-wing, you generally favor the established order whereby elite ruling classes arbitrarily own the workplaces and resources and utilities, while the laboring classes sell their capacity to work so they can simply make ends meet; if you are left-wing, you typically favor an overhaul of this order, in effect turning those workplaces and resources and utilities over to common democratic management. While Randian individualists certainly fall into the former rightist camp, you might notice that there’s nothing particularly, well, individual-nourishing about that setup. When the average person lacks ownership stake and input over the things they build and contribute to, and furthermore lacks comfortable livelihood, they fall short of their potential.

With this in mind, the collectivization of the means of production and resources, the goal of the communist project, does not presuppose a suppression of the creative individual. Seeing as self-actualization is a privilege overwhelmingly reserved for those who have sufficient access to resources, I only see an upsurge in plurality following the establishment of a socialist order. What center of ruling class domination will be pumping out cultural hegemony to conform to? What hierarchical market economy will there be to sink or swim in?

Take the famous line from the Manifesto: “The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” Actualized individuals create healthy societies. Now swap the two: “The free development of all is the condition for the free development of each.” Common democracy in the social complements individualized autonomy in the personal.

Terry Eagleton takes it a step further: “If human beings are self-realizing creatures, then they need to be at liberty to fulfill their needs and express their powers. But if they are also social animals, living alongside other self-expressive beings, they need to prevent an endless, destructive clash of powers. This, in fact, is one of the most intractable problems of liberal society, in which individuals are supposed to be free, but free among other things to be constantly at one another’s throats. Communism, by contrast, organizes social life so that individuals are able to realize themselves in and through the self-realization of others…In this sense, socialism does not simply reject liberal society, with its passionate commitment to the individual. Instead, it builds on and completes it. In doing so, it shows how some of the contradictions of liberalism, in which your freedom may flourish only at the expense of mine, may be resolved. Only through others can we finally come into our own. This means an enrichment of individual freedom, not a diminishing of it. It is hard to think of a finer ethic. On a personal level, it is known as love.”

The starry-eyed daydreaming kid in me always gets chills whenever I come across descriptions of leftist thought like that. That’s why my main blog is titled “One with the All” – I see political endgame and spiritual truth as a situation where the individual empowers the larger whole and the larger whole empowers the individual. Only a massive overhaul can achieve this, finally giving people direct influence over the institutions they build and contribute to. For the One and the All to achieve actualization, we must abandon class.


Eleven Million Documents That Shook The World

This evening, the largest ever data leak was made to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung - eleven million documents exposing in detail a titanic off-shore tax fraud spanning dozens of countries, implicating hundreds of political and business elites, up to an including serving heads of state.

Doubtless it’ll take days if not weeks for this vast quantity of data to be sifted and arranged into a full picture, but it is already clear that Panamanian legal firm Mossack Fonseca have been aiding the global capitalist elite squirrel away nearly-unimaginable amounts of cash, laundering hundreds of billions of dollars via shadowy front companies - allowing the cream of capital to dodge tax, to circumvent international sanctions, and to scrub dirty money clean.

The implications are almost without limit: this is the mechanism which the hubristic ruling-class use to cheat the rules of their own game. This isn’t merely some predictable confirmation of open-secret institutional corruption - the documents expose the sordid details of, for example, the Icelandic Cabinet’s personal aggrandisement in the supposedly-post-corruption era; they detail the disastrously dodgy finances of Argentine President Mauricio Macri as his nation struggles to support massive public debt; they bring to light the dealings of at least 33 blacklisted US corporations managing to trade with Mexican drug cartels and other prescribed organisations.

Like all scandals of this scale, it derives most exactly from, and has its roots in, the specific regime of accumulation in which it grew. Since the Financial Crisis of 2008, blind self-enrichment on the back of deepening neoliberal social relations has now become built into the very core of the capitalist system, all perched atop crazily unstable foundations of shifting sand: as Marx put it almost two centuries ago, “If the rate of profit falls… there appears swindling and a general promotion of swindling”. This leak shines a light on the final link of an unbroken chain tethering the elite’s unimaginable wealth to enforced poverty, imperialist war and environmental degradation.

Tonight, it became impossible to use the excuse of a ‘few bad apples’. It’s plain to see that the problem is with the whole stinking orchard. And the only cure for the rot will be the lumberjack of the working-class cutting them all down to size with the chainsaw of mass industrial action.

  • me: not voteing for clindton because the ruling class elite refuses to believe that spiders are too fast
  • doctor: Spiders may be fast but any human can cover 200x the ground at top speed
  • me: sounds like blue pill bullshit to me. fuck off to mars, doc

It was a stroke of genius on behalf of the ruling class to get rebranded as “elites” - a floating signifier that you can define yourself against regardless of class background, Billionaire? Newspaper proprietor? Member of the House of Lords? You too can be against “elites”!