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Re: Does unemployment add value?: THREE fragments on machines

Tom Walker
 

Closely related. Kalecki's essay looks at how finance capitalists regards the more obvious political benefit to them of unemployment. The Grundrisse passages probe depths of the effects of unemployment that are presumably not comprehended by capitalists (or by just about anyone else). I think people grasp the regulatory function of the industrial reserve army at an empirical level. I don't think the foundational status of what Marx called "the theory of surplus population and surplus capital" has been grasped even by most Marxists. Kalecki may well have understood.


Re: Does unemployment add value?: THREE fragments on machines

gilschaeffer82@...
 

Tom, This suggestion looks a lot like Michael Kalecki's Political Aspects of Full Employment, no?


Re: Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

Michael Meeropol
 

EXCEPT -- in 1968, the Dems were the party of the Vietnam War and were hated by a strong, almost totally united left.

NOW -- the left is disunited because of the faction that sees Trump as a new Mussolini/Hitler and I think that group is a higher percentage of the "left" such as it is ....

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021 at 5:28 PM Andrew Stewart <hasc.warrior.stew@...> wrote:



With Biden potentially stepping aside, can you imagine a repeat of 1968? Admittedly the margins of possibility are far more constrained than they were 50+ years ago, the conventions are not decided by the old ward boss machines and the American Left is not as cohesive because of a variety of issues. But still, the parallels are eerily similar…

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Re: The Communist International, A Critical Analysis - Part IV

gilschaeffer82@...
 

Hi Dayne, I don't mean to be picky. All of us have come into these discussions from different starting points. My question is why the issue should still be put that Lenin came around to agree with Trotsky when Lenin believed in the concept of uninterrupted revolution before Trotsky wrote Results and Prospects. From "Social-Democracy's Attitude Towards The Peasant Movement" Lenin, CW, v. 8, p. 237, 9/14/1905: "...from the democratic revolution we shall at once, and precisely in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half-way." There are other similar statements in Lenin's collected works concerning the character of a revolutionary provisional government that were published at the time containing similar formulations as early as March 1905, although the passage quoted is probably the clearest. I read Lenin's collected works in 1971-2 before I was ever aware of the controversy over Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution and have always been puzzled why the debate was framed as Lenin coming around to Trotsky's view. Marcel Liebman also pointed to these 1905 writings in his Leninism Under Lenin (English Translation 1975). I know that this debate became a political issue in the struggle between Trotsky and Stalin and other Bolsheviks in the 1920's, but shouldn't this politically loaded and distorted controversy be separated from the historical account of Lenin's views in 1905? Joffe's statement seems too bound up with the later factional conflicts and  doesn't acknowledge Lenin's 1905 published writings.


Re: Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

Andrew Stewart
 

I think that a serious component of this will be the midterm outcomes AS WELL AS the not so remote possibility that Biden opts to be a one term president and defers to Harris.

With the midterms, things will hinge upon whether the victorious Republicans ally with Trump or the institutional leadership, many of whom are still righteously pissed at Trump still over the January 6 raid on the Capitol. The winning faction will play a decisive role at the Convention.

With Biden potentially stepping aside, can you imagine a repeat of 1968? Admittedly the margins of possibility are far more constrained than they were 50+ years ago, the conventions are not decided by the old ward boss machines and the American Left is not as cohesive because of a variety of issues. But still, the parallels are eerily similar…


Does unemployment add value?: THREE fragments on machines

Tom Walker
 

Spoiler alert: my answer would be "no." But the question is not as ridiculous or irrelevant as it may at first appear. In chapter 25 of Capital, Marx describes relative surplus population as "the pivot upon which the law of demand and supply of labour works." What does that imply? In part, it implies that without the benefits that unemployment confers on capital, there would be less total demand for labour, less employment of labour power and thus less creation of value and surplus value. Of course, that is a counter-factual scenario. Capitalism unable to procure an increasing mass of surplus value would cease to function.

In English and in Italian, at least, publication of a translation of a portion of the Grundrisse nicknamed 'the fragment on machines' preceded publication of the full translation. This has had the consequence of elevating that fragment to iconic status. Moishe Postone, Antonio Negri and others have used the fragment as a 'key' for interpreting and/or criticizing Capital.

Textual evidence suggests, however, that there are actually three closely related fragments on machines in the Grundrisse. The two overlooked fragments illuminate the meaning of some of the most evocative passages in their more celebrated companion. The traditional fragment on machines is on pages 690-712 in the Penguin edition. The other two fragments are on pages 397-401 and 608-610, respectively. All three fragments explore the dialectic of the superfluous [überflüssig] and the necessary [notwendige]. That particular dynamic is not discussed elsewhere in the Grundrisse or in Capital, although it is alluded to in the chapter on accumulation (volume one) and the chapter on the internal contradictions of the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall (volume three).

Taken as a whole, the three fragments present the rationale for Marx's assertion, in Capital, that relative surplus population is the pivot (or 'background') of the operation of the laws of supply and demand for labour power.

There is an analogy here between unemployment and machines in that less total value would be produced without either one of them. One might say, then, that unemployment adds value because without it there would be less value created. But that would be one of those semantic paradoxes -- Zeno, et al. -- that turn on the ambiguity of the meaning of "add." 


Re: Reuther and Ford

Tom Walker
 

Reuther also told the story in his 1955 testimony before the Joint Congressional Subcommittee Hearings on Automation and Technological Chang:

Every tool on every operation has a green light, a yellow light, and a red light; and when all the green lights are on, it means that all the tools at each work station are operating up to standard. When a yellow light comes on, on tool No. 38, it means that the tool is still performing, but the tool is becoming fatigued and that is a warning sign, so that the operator sitting there looking at these panels will know that he has to get a replacement tool for tool No. 38. He stands by at that position on the automated machine, and at the point the red light would kick on, on the board, he walks over — the machine automatically stops — he puts the new tool in the place of the tool that is worn out, and automatically the green light comes on and the machine goes on.  
When I went through this plant the first time I was told by a top official of the Ford Motor Co.: 'Mr. Reuther, you are going to have trouble collecting union dues from all of these machines.
And I said: 'You know that is not bothering me. What is bothering me is that you are going to have more trouble selling them automobiles.' That is the real significance. We have mastered the know-how of mass production, and what we need to do is to develop comparable distribution know-how so that we will have markets for the tremendous volume of production that automation now makes possible.


Re: Moderator's note: machine/value wrap up

Ken Hiebert
 

I was interested in the topic, but by the time I was ready to turn my attention to it, there was an accumulation of messages.
I was left behind and perhaps others were, too.
It’s OK to wait a day to reply to a message.
ken h


Reuther and Ford

John A Imani
 

Dear Quote Investigator: An article on the Economist website recently told an extraordinary anecdote about automation. The rivals in the tale were two titans in the world of automobile manufacturing who took a tour of a newly built and highly-automated factory. The forceful executive, Henry Ford II, and the leader of the automobile workers union, Walter Reuther, both saw many examples of advanced machinery operating at the plant. The words they exchanged brilliantly encapsulated the paradox of automation:

Henry Ford II: Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?

Walter Reuther: Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?  https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/11/16/robots-buy-cars/


Re: Moderator's note: machine/value wrap up

Jeffrey Masko
 

I loved the discussion, this is one of the lists' stronger elements: good back and forth with educated responses, not just throwing out opinions but responses based on debates in related fields, respecting the other postings and not going below the belt with personal attacks. I learned a lot and respected all the posters.

What was problematic was the multiple postings on the same subject, making it hard to follow and generally mucking up our inboxes. Not sure why folks do this, but I asked Louis once and he said they were "interventions" where someone "intervenes" in the dialogue to redirect focus on what they said. I have no idea if this is true or not, but maybe someone can explain why so many postings on the same subject? If you stick to one thread, folks can take it or leave it, no?

Btw, Louis always asked folks to clip the text so that only your post shows to keep it tidy and I notice folks have thrown that to the wayside.  Just my two-cen



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Some think discussion of Marxism on Marxmail has gone on too long

Tom Walker
 

Oh, wait. Was this sarcasm and it went right over my head?


Re: Moderator's note: machine/value wrap up

Donal Deroiste
 

The mysteries, so called, of the capitalist con job must be unravelled.  However long it takes.  Mar was not a marxist merely a mighty brain dedicated to healing the oppressed from the yoke of thor oppressors.  Every time I hear that work "the markets" decide I throw up as the markets are run by the oligarchs.  The revolution will not be televised because it is not in the interests of the ruling class to politicise their subjects.  Dare to fight - dare to win is the only motto for the workers struggle.   le Meas dónal


On Sun, 10 Oct 2021 at 15:53, Tom Walker <lumpoflabor@...> wrote:
A couple people have mentioned to me that the thread on machines and value has gone on too long

Interesting. There is no compulsion to read messages in the thread. I am wondering what metric the couple people use to determine "too long"? Perhaps another couple of people find the thread illuminating.

 
Cheers,

Tom Walker (Sandwichman)


AW RE: [marxmail] Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

abraham Weizfeld PhD
 

However, there will be many who will refuse to vote for the Democratic Party nonetheless. What kind of choice is it when the choice is fascist or semi-fascist. A vote for the Democratic Party is a vote for war with China, is it not?

 

abraham

 

From: marxmail@groups.io <marxmail@groups.io> On Behalf Of Michael Meeropol
Sent: 10 octobre 2021 08:41
To: marxmail@groups.io
Subject: Re: [marxmail] Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

 

I KNOW this is a pollyanna response -- but I think the majority (maybe as many as 60 percent) of the country has NOT been taken in by Trump's lies and sees him for what he is.

 

Unlike 2020 when the pandemic reduced the ability of the Dems to go door to door, 2024 will be conducted in an "all hands on deck" response to the danger of a second Trump term.   People who will "crawl through broken glass to vote against Trump" will flood the polls.  YES, voter suppression will be a serious problem but I sincerely believe (again pollyanna??) that the public at large is DONE with Trump === either for good reasons, they see him as a racist, fascist, misogynist, xenophobic pig who is enabling anti-choice and anti-immigration extremists with whom the majority of the people strongly disagree ---

 

So I see a Trump renomination as a GOOD THING for the Dems ---

 

NOW --- whether that helps or hinders the development of independent working class solidarity and political activity, don't know about that --- because a Trump candidacy also brings people like me --- radicals who should 

"known better" into working for the Dems ---

 

(there I confessed it!!)

 

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021 at 3:51 AM Roger Kulp <leucovorinsaves@...> wrote:

Trump's age and health is a consideration, but he is still a likely contender for 2024, for reasons we all know too well. What's more, I think he stands a good chance of being reelected. If he does run again, there is a good possibility he could pick a much younger running mate even further to the right.


Re: Moderator's note: machine/value wrap up

Tom Walker
 

A couple people have mentioned to me that the thread on machines and value has gone on too long

Interesting. There is no compulsion to read messages in the thread. I am wondering what metric the couple people use to determine "too long"? Perhaps another couple of people find the thread illuminating.

 
Cheers,

Tom Walker (Sandwichman)


Re: Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

Michael Meeropol
 

I KNOW this is a pollyanna response -- but I think the majority (maybe as many as 60 percent) of the country has NOT been taken in by Trump's lies and sees him for what he is.

Unlike 2020 when the pandemic reduced the ability of the Dems to go door to door, 2024 will be conducted in an "all hands on deck" response to the danger of a second Trump term.   People who will "crawl through broken glass to vote against Trump" will flood the polls.  YES, voter suppression will be a serious problem but I sincerely believe (again pollyanna??) that the public at large is DONE with Trump === either for good reasons, they see him as a racist, fascist, misogynist, xenophobic pig who is enabling anti-choice and anti-immigration extremists with whom the majority of the people strongly disagree ---

So I see a Trump renomination as a GOOD THING for the Dems ---

NOW --- whether that helps or hinders the development of independent working class solidarity and political activity, don't know about that --- because a Trump candidacy also brings people like me --- radicals who should 
"known better" into working for the Dems ---

(there I confessed it!!)

On Sun, Oct 10, 2021 at 3:51 AM Roger Kulp <leucovorinsaves@...> wrote:
Trump's age and health is a consideration, but he is still a likely contender for 2024, for reasons we all know too well. What's more, I think he stands a good chance of being reelected. If he does run again, there is a good possibility he could pick a much younger running mate even further to the right.
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The Privatization of “Jihad”

Ron Jacobs <ronj1955@...>
 



--


Re: The Communist International, A Critical Analysis - Part IV

Dayne Goodwin
 

Thanks Richard for your work choosing and sharing these brief
selections from Claudin's history of "The Communist Movement: From
Comintern to Cominform". The sample you have provided reinforces my
judgment over the years that it did not belong at the top of my
priority reading list. Claudin does address strategic communist
movement problems as he sees them but i think his primary motive is
rationalizing his personal shift from Stalinism to open reformism.

If it works out someday i would enjoy reading Claudin's history to
enrich my understanding of historical experiences and practice. With
your first selection Claudin introduced me to the article Lenin wrote
in late 1905 or early 1906 (but not published during his lifetime;
details below) which expressed the same views Trotsky had developed on
the "permanent" nature of socialist revolution under the circumstances
of global capitalism.

Lenin's article tends to corroborate the testimony of lifelong
revolutionary socialist Adolf Joffe [
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolph_Joffe ] that Lenin had
acknowledged his agreement with Trotsky's perspective: "And I have
repeatedly told you that I heard with my own ears how Lenin admitted
that you and not he was right in 1905." [ Joffe's "Letter to Leon
Trotsky, 1927" https://www.marxists.org/archive/joffe/index.htm ]

V. I. Lenin "The Stages, the Trend, and the Prospects of the Revolution"
https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/31.htm
Written late in 1905 or early in 1906; First published in 1926 in
Lenin Miscellany V. Published according to the manuscript.
Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10,
pages 89-92.

- Dayne

On Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 10:53 AM Richard Fidler <rfidler@...> wrote:

https://lifeonleft.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-communist-international-critical_8.html


Re: Nicaragua’s new way | Becca Mohally Renk | The Morning Star

Dayne Goodwin
 

Nicaragua: The other revolution betrayed
by Eric Toussaint, Nathan Legrand
CADTM, Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, January 5, 2019
www.cadtm.org/Nicaragua-The-other-revolution-betrayed
 . . .
In the 1980s, major social progress was made in Nicaragua in the areas of health-care, education, improving housing conditions (even if they remained rudimentary), fuller rights to organization and protest, access to credit for small producers thanks to nationalization of the banking system, and more. These represented undeniable progress.

However, throughout the 1980s the FSLN government had to fight a decade-long war against the counter-revolutionary forces known as the Contras, heavily supported by the United States which could never satisfy its ambition of direct military intervention to topple the Sandinistas but settled for a “low-intensity” conflict which would strangle Nicaragua economically and isolate the FSLN politically.
 . . .
First, the FSLN leadership did not go far enough in taking radical measures in favor of the segments of the population who were most exploited and oppressed (beginning with the poor rural population, but also factory workers and health-care and education workers, who were generally underpaid). It made too many concessions to agrarian and urban capitalists.

Second, the leadership of the FSLN, with its slogan “National Directorate – Give us your orders!” did not provide sufficient support for self-organization and worker control. It placed limits that were highly detrimental to the revolutionary process.
 . . .
It was not overly radical policies that weakened the Sandinista revolution. What prevented it from advancing sufficiently with the support of a majority of the population was its failure to put the people at the core of the transition that followed the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship.

In short, the government maintained an economic orientation that was compatible with the interests of Nicaragua’s wealthy bourgeoisie and major private foreign corporations – that is, an economy oriented toward exportation and based on low wages in order to remain competitive on the worldwide market.

This was not doomed to happen – alternative policies could have been implemented. The government should have paid more attention to the needs and aspirations of the people, in rural as well as urban areas. It should have redistributed land for the benefit of the campesinos, developing and/or strengthening small landholding and, to the extent possible, forms of voluntary cooperatives. The government should have promoted wage increases for workers, both in the private and public sectors.

If the Sandinistas had really wanted to break away from the export-oriented extractivist model that depends on competitiveness on the international market, they should have gone against the interests of the capitalists that still dominated the export-oriented extractivist industry. They should have done more to gradually implement policies in favor of the small and medium-sized producers who supplied the domestic market, such as protectionist measures in order to limit importations. This would have allowed the peasants and small and medium enterprises not to have to make sacrifices for the sake of competitiveness on the international market.

Instead of encouraging the masses to follow orders given from the top of the FSLN, self-organization by citizens should have been promoted at all levels, and citizens should have been given control over the public administration as well as over the accounts of private companies. The political institutions that were installed by the FSLN did not fundamentally differ from the ones of a parliamentary democracy with a strong presidential role, something which would impede the capacity of the masses to constitute a counter-power when the Right would be elected in 1990.

Concessions were made to local big capital, which was wrongly perceived as being patriotic and an ally of the people: the increases in wages were limited, fiscal incentives in the form of lower taxation were given to the bosses. Any such alliance should have been rejected.
 . . .
Nicaragua can still be characterized by its very low wages. ProNicaragua, the official agency promoting foreign investment in the country, brags about “[t]he minimum wage [being] the most competitive at the regional level, which makes Nicaragua an ideal country to set up labor-intensive operations.” Over the recent years, labor insecurity starkly increased: informal economy represented 60% of the total employment in 2009, a figure which stood at 80% in 2017. No progress was made towards a diminution of social inequalities, and the number of millionaires increased. The growth in wealth produced was not distributed to the toiling classes but benefitted the big national and international capital, with the help of Daniel Ortega’s government. Furthermore, the latter and his family also became richer.
 . . .
By Means of Conclusion

The Sandinista revolution started as an extraordinary experience of social liberation and renewal of national dignity in a dependent country whose status as a backyard for US imperialism had been accepted by its authoritarian, dynastic rulers for decades. The achievements of the Sandinista government between 1979 and 1990, however, did not go far enough. While they allowed for significant improvements of the living conditions of most of the Nicaraguans, they did not break with the export-oriented extractivist model, which was dominated by the big capital, nor did they significantly promote the active participation of the masses in the economic and political decision-making processes. The political institutions and the internal organization of the FSLN were not developed as tools that could have empowered the masses, an error which allowed for the FSLN degeneration during Ortega’s road back to power.

This understanding of the Nicaraguan revolution and its degeneration stresses the need for revolutionaries and socialist activists to encourage the broadest possible participation of the masses in the fight for their emancipation, as well as to help ensure their self-organization. A corollary to this idea is the need for revolutionaries to struggle against the bureaucratization of their organizations’ leadership – which begins with building organizations that respect internal democracy. This was strongly underestimated by the FSLN, which remained a political-military organization after it had seized power and waited until 1991 before it organized its first congress as a political organization. While the Sandinista leadership made the right choice when it recognized the victory of the Right in 1990, the subsequent steps taken by the FSLN leadership under Daniel Ortega were clearly meant for him to come back to power for power’s sake. The left-wing of the FSLN, which organized as critical currents during the 1990s, was too timid in its opposition to these moves.

Finally, the international Left needs to have a materialist analysis of social and political processes, and shall not cling to fantasized ideas of experiences of really existing socialism. The evolution of the FSLN and the policies led in Nicaragua since 2007 should be analyzed for what they are rather than on the basis of what Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo presumably stood for as FSLN activists during the 1970s and 1980s. In this sense, Ortega and Murillo’s deepening of the neoliberal policies pursued by their right-wing predecessors, as well as their total ban of abortion should be denounced by the international Left. Furthermore, the Left should strongly denounce the criminal repression currently organized by the regime against protesters and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. When adopting such a stance, the Left should in no way compromise itself by supporting a right-wing, pro-imperialist opposition. On the contrary, this stance should be accompanied by an effort to link with and reinforce the critical Sandinistas and other members of the progressive opposition to Ortega and Murillo, in particular the youth who mobilized strongly since April 2018, the feminist movement, and the peasant and indigenous movement who opposed the project of transoceanic canal and other destructive projects linked with the export-led capitalist model.
  # # #



Re: Al Jazeera on a likely Trump victory in 2024

Roger Kulp
 

Trump's age and health is a consideration, but he is still a likely contender for 2024, for reasons we all know too well. What's more, I think he stands a good chance of being reelected. If he does run again, there is a good possibility he could pick a much younger running mate even further to the right.


Re: Do machines add value?

Marla Vijaya kumar
 

I am sorry for the repetition of my post. I will adhere to the norm of less than 5 posts per day.

Vijaya Kumar Marla

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