Answers to Frequently Unasked Questions
- The agent-executioners of and for the bourgeoisie, those bagmen and bagwomen, thugs, lawyers, economists, politicians, preachers, shills, all those always ready always eager for the wet-work that has been so integral to the accumulation of capital, have demonstrated through their individual and collective incompetence, with their programs that always begin with targets, always lead to indiscriminate destruction, that the only thing the big bourgeoisie produce is junk and the only thing they will leave behind is wreckage.
And that’s the best case scenario, possible only if the rest of us are infinitely more lucky than we are wise, and prepared.
It’s all about war, their wars of all against all.
War on drugs? A mechanism for advanced capitalism to threaten, bribe, coerce, convince the state power of less developed capitalisms to wreck anything that looks like social equality.
War on terror? Capital’s mechanism of seeding, and dispersing, infinite micro-cells of terrorist groups. Let a thousand ISIS, ISIS-K, ISIL, Daesh bloom, spread to all corners by cruise missiles, cruising investment bankers, predator drones, predator hedge-funds, and the never-ending supply of assault rifles.
Here are answers to questions you might never ask.
- Movable property, circulating as value, is the origin of, the limit to, and the self-destruction, of bourgeois rationality, of “enlightened” thought.
- Property commands time; inverts it through exchange into periodic, cyclic waves of loss. “Individual opportunity” is the body and the blood of capital. Social emancipation is heresy.
- How did we get here? We can trace these things back to 1970, the decline in the rate of profit in the US, the bankruptcy of the Penn Central, etc. etc.
- We can trace the waves of asset liquidation.
- We can identify the devastation of rural communities in the US. After being advised to “get big or get out,” and spurred on by price increases, small and medium sized farms took on major loans, leveraged the loans into more equipment, into more capital intensive production. The attempt to convert increases in productivity into greater output, and into more cash, ran head long into the double-dip recession of the 1980s, the decline in commodity prices, the collapse of land values, the evaporation of cash flows. The big got bigger. The rest? Got out, even with no place to go.
- Coincident with that devastation came “The Great Paring Down, The Great Pairing Up” with the liquidation of smaller industries in smaller towns that were once stations on the transcontinental circulation of capital called railroads, as the weaker railroads sold themselves off to the stronger; and the stronger spun off low return lines into new “short lines,” with worker protections eliminated. The shuttering of these towns/stations meant the closures of shops spawned by the industries and farms, thereby destroying the tax base, the revenue stream, which was the very life of and for rural communities. Schools, medical facilities, withered away, leaving human beings ready for three things: Mergers, Methamphetamine and Wal-Mart. And a fourth–reaction.
- The Reagan Counterrevolution was nothing other than a general attack on living standards– all living standards: wages, rural income, workers, small producers, work rules. America saw its future and it was free-lance, temporary, part-time, big-boxed, shut-down, shuttered. It was merged, digitized, asset-backed, long-hauled, cruise-missiled, micro-processed, supply-sided and liberalized, FDIed and re-imported.
- The counterrevolution was all those things, each spawned by the others, all spawned in the attack on the conditions of social labor. “Individual Opportunity” was the slogan. “Down with Social Equality” was the meaning. “Up with poverty” was the practice.
- Whatever the problems there are to capital accumulation, the real problem is there are an equal if not greater number of equally powerful offsetting tendencies that keep the bourgeoisie just where they want to be. Overproduction, declining profitability, disproportion are not simply crises of capital, they are intrinsic, essential, critical to capital’s reproduction.
- So when engaging Marx’s critique, when engaging with the ambiguities, contradictions, discrepancies, inconsistencies in that critique, the impulse behind the engagement is not to enhance our grasp of a theory, but to translate the recognition, and (if possible) the resolution of this incompleteness into a deeper program for social revolution; a program the revolves around the complete abolition of the capitalist condition of labor, that is its existence as a commodity, a value creating value; to put an end to the aggrandizement of months, weeks, days, hours, minutes…the loss of life to capital.
- The elements of the revolutionary program unites the class to itself, for itself, as something other than a remnant of modern history. So it speaks to the movement immediate to the condition of the class, its migratory status. The history and immediate reality of capitalism is the forced movement of labor, whether compelled by dispossession, famine, climate, or war; or “induced,” incentivized by opportunity, wages, welfare.
- In its support for the protection of all migrants, by workers, from arrest, attack, deportation, a revolutionary program recognizes that history and the existence of the class beyond national boundaries, with loyalty to all its members regardless of location. The revolutionary program seeks to emancipate that history from the market forces that are the trigger to xenophobia. “Let them in.” All of them.
- Opposition to the policies that restrict the ability to vote is not done out of an allegiance to democracy as a means, as an end, or even as a tactic. Democracy itself is a market relation, erected on the supposed universal possession of properties. No such community of properties exist. Class struggle does. The opposition to voter suppression policies is class opposition based on the need to expose, undermine, abolish and replace the institutions that function on behalf of capitalist property.
- Throughout his works, Marx repeatedly identifies the “division of labor” as a primary element in the advance of the capitalist mode of production. The near infinite fractionalization of labor, transforming labor into task, and multiplying the task through repetition, is the (near) perfect conversion of labor-time into object, and the objectified labor-time into property. Wage-differentials embody the division of labor in the service of capitalist appropriation. The “progression” of the division of labor fragments the class through tasks and wage scale that offsets the needs shared by and common to the class. Wage-differentials are essential to the bourgeoisie’s response to the fall in profitability. Recession, creating unemployment that leads to reemployment at compensation rates reduced by thirty or forty percent is a more acute expression of the everyday differential in wage rates. The application of technology, de-skilling labor, works to reduce the average wage for the class. For all the talk about “unifying” the class through the struggle against employers, neither unions nor those to the left of unions advance the single demand for a single wage rate at the highest level. Whatever contribution AC may or may not make to the emancipation of labor, it will be more than just a remnant of the specter that Marx envisioned haunting capitalism. The transition from specter to substance, the transcendence of agitation by program, will be identified by the words “One Big Wage!”
September 18, 2021