Capitalism Hits the Fan, A Marxian View

Repost from the old site.

Great video by Richard Wolff, professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Wolff is a Marxist, and the lecture is from a Marxist POV. However, it is interesting in many ways.

One thing that is clear to most sensible folks with an understanding of economics is that Marx’s analysis of capitalism is one of the greatest ever done by anyone. For a long time, it was taught in all economics departments. With the advent of crazy Friedmanite neoliberalism in the past 30 years or so, Marx may not be being taught so much, but that’s a mistake.

It’s sometimes said that Marx is great for analyzing either what capitalism does well or poorly, but not the opposite. Not true. Marx is great for analyzing capitalism both when it is doing well and when it is doing poorly.

In my opinion, where Marx has problems is in proposing alternatives to capitalism, and history has born this out to some extent. Capitalism, with all of its chaos and problems and horrors and deaths, may just be the only way forward for the time being. Like death, disease and taxes, it may be a necessary evil.

Wolff describes how US workers saw 150 straight years of growth and improvement in their living standards, from 1820 to 1970. This is correct. He doesn’t lay out how this happened, but there are many explanations for this. He also says that this scenario was rare to unheard of in the rest of the capitalist world.

After 1970, things changed. Productivity kept going up, but wages went flat or even went down. A US worker in the late 1970’s made more per hour than a worker working today. As productivity rose and wages went flat, capitalists began raking in incredible profits.

This is what has happened to the US economy over the past 35 years, as neoliberalism took hold and 80% of the population saw its wages stagnate or go down. The top 20% of the population, and especially the top 1%, saw its income explode. But the vast majority of workers of every race got screwed.

As workers got more and more screwed and the capitalists, the owners, those who lived off the labor of others, saw their incomes skyrocket, confused workers began advancing all sorts of explanations about why this was happening. Anti-Semites, as usual, blamed the Jews. White nationalists and White Supremacists blamed Blacks and Browns. Lots of middle class and working class Whites blamed Big Government.

The truth was that the culprits were the business owners who were reeling in superprofits while workers got the shaft.

As this process continued, capitalists found more ways to keep the cost of labor down. They began importing massive amounts of legal and especially illegal immigrants as labor to drive labor costs down even further. They began moving many enterprises offshore and later, began offshoring work via the Internet.

Confused workers scrambled to keep up their standard of living. Others in the family, often the wife, began taking a job, bringing in a second income. Then one or more persons in the household began to work second and third jobs. Americans worked more and more hours, setting new records for workers in the West.

The despicable US media extolled this fact, and praised US workers for working themselves nearly to death, taking pains to point out how tough and hard and slaving-away Americans are compared to pampered, wussy, “soft” Europeans kicking back under socialism.

It’s true – part of the US war against European social democracy has been to declare that Europeans are soft, wimpy, sissified and wussy. How did they get this way? Socialism turned hard self-reliant European men into soft, pampered girlymen. Americans were hard, tough and macho. They didn’t need no nanny state to help them out. They could do it on their own. The American worker as Marlboro Man.

Wolff points out that that extra workers did not necessarily fix matters, as when the wife started working, it turned out that she needed many things, for instance a vehicle to get to work in.

Working more than one job didn’t seem to work very well, nor did having others in the household go out and work, but it did the trick for a while.

After some time, Americans would have to turn to some new tricks to try to keep up their standard of living. They turned to loans. At first they ran up their credit cards. Americans were setting records for going into debt on credit cards and were among the Western world’s poorest when it came to saving money.

This isn’t really very good personal economics, but the vile media cheered it on nonetheless. Silly, wimpy Europeans and Japanese saved their money for a rainy day, presumably because they were too neurotic to enjoy life. Americans went for the gusto! They spent ever nickel they earned and then went in debt up to their waders! Cheers, cheers, cheers!

After the credit cards were maxed out, there was an explosion in US housing prices. Call it a housing bubble. This came at a propitious moment, for it enabled Americans to use as collateral the biggest asset they owned, their homes. Americans borrowed on their homes, refinancing them, taking out second mortgages and using the money like a credit card to continue to pursue the standard of living to which they had become used.

The capitalists continued to reel in the dough from the leveling of wages, now via outsourcing and use of immigrant labor, and now the capitalists found a new tool – debt.

They loaned money to their own workers! It was like the old days when you lived in a company town, bought at the company store and ate at the company diner, all deducted from your check. Not only will we pay you a crap wage, we will snag every dollar you spend on food, rent and shopping too.

These same capitalists were now swimming in ultraprofits with the money they were making off loaning money to workers and home mortgages (just another type of loan). They had so much money they did not know what to do with it. They threw it into the stock market, and the market for high-end goods of all sorts went through the roof.

Conspicuous consumption came back with a vengeance, and the scummy media once again sang and danced the praises of the most idiotic and obscene ways the rich chose to blow their unneeded and often unearned cash.

A whole new financial industry, a parasitic industry on the economic body of the nation, sprung up, an industry that created no products and no real wealth. It was nothing but a gigantic casino on Wall Street.

All sorts of funky instruments that no one understood were dreamed up – derivatives, CDO’s, mortgage securities and all sorts of other stuff that probably shouldn’t even be legal. Almost no one understood these things and no one seemed to understand what they were worth.

The inevitable bubble came and the party crashed, as it always does when capitalist bubbles go bust.

The root causes were the destruction of the regulations put in in the 1930’s, during the Depression, in order to prevent another Depression. As soon as these regulations were put in, the capitalists began plotting and working to get rid of them.

Over the next 80 years, the capitalists created a Gramscian cultural hegemony that attacked socialism, government and regulation and exalted free market capitalism. Socialism, government and regulation were described as possibly good ideas, but doomed to failure. The only way to avoid the inevitable failures of socialism, government and regulation was to completely deregulate the economy. Anything less was the road to ruin.

With their money, the capitalist interests bought up all the media and most of the politicians. They used this to get rid of the Depression-era regulations and create the manipulate US culture to where your average worker thought that was a great idea, if he understood it at all.

There are various proposals for how to deal with this economic mess. As discussed in a previous post, conservatives, reeling and increasingly discredited, have tried to blame the catastrophe on too much regulation, not too little. Even the slimy media that normally goes along with this crap is finding this too much to buy.

White racists are promoting the racist notion that liberals (via affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws), niggers* and beaners* are the ones that destroyed the US economy. The Republican Party has to some extent bought into this, as has the business press, their amen corner in the mass media, and their academic hacks, but the argument is too slimy and racist for most decent people, plus there isn’t an ounce of truth to it.

Steve Sailer, an excellent writer who is widely read, is the latest to promote this racist travesty, much to his shame. Sailer is looking more and more like a Republican Party hack than a really deep-thinking, independent and empirical author.

Furthermore, Sailer has been skating on the edges of racism for some time now without really going over. More often, he seemed to be giving the racists lots of nice talking points. Now he’s finally pushing an explicitly racist discourse, and it’s not even true. Too bad.

Rate of subprime mortgage defaults by race:

Whites       19%
Blacks       19%
Hispanics    19%

End of discussion!

Liberals, Leftists and social democrats have proposed re-regulation, but the problem here is that we are probably going to re-do the 1930’s experience all over again. We will put in a bunch of great regulations and as soon as we put them in, the capitalists and their mass media machines will start plotting to get rid of them.

Then the capitalists and their media machines will launch a jihad, for as many decades as it takes, to reverse all these regulations and get back to total deregulation again. In time, workers will forget why they put the regulations in in the first place, and they will go along with it.

The capitalists will buy most of the politicians all over again, and the politicians will vote to deregulate again. The capitalists will work to recreate their Gramscian cultural hegemony, and the average worker will once again think deregulation is the smart thing to do. The economy will blow up again and we will be right back to 1929 and 2008.

Wolff suggests that there is a third alternative. He describes a paper done by a colleague that describes Silicon Valley workers who hated their jobs. They had to dress up, sit in a cubicle and take orders and crap all day from a bunch of assholes. Can they pay anyone enough to put up with that? With the destruction of the Silicon Valley workforce, these workers were laid off.

A number of them got together and formed IT worker-run cooperatives, a non-capitalist form of ownership along the lines of anarcho-syndicalism. The study found that these workers said that they had never been happier. They were manufacturing software, selling it to buyers and dividing up the profits among themselves. The workers themselves were the new owners.

Wolff said that as a condition of the bailouts to the financial industry, we should mandate that they staff their board of directors with workers, not management, as a first step towards workers democracy.

Wolff also said that he had been giving speeches like this for 25 years now and he has had more interest in the past five weeks than in the previous 25 years.

That’s ending on a hopeful note for now. Enjoy the video.

*Used sardonically

Please follow and like us:
error0
fb-share-icon20
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

47 thoughts on “Capitalism Hits the Fan, A Marxian View”

  1. Great post apart from this paragraph:

    “Capitalism, with all of its chaos and problems and horrors and deaths, may just be the only way forward for the time being. Like death, disease and taxes, it may be a necessary evil.”

    I use the word Capital rather than capitalism. Capital is what is reproduced under the socioeconomic arrangements of capitalism. It is indifferent to human needs, and it is indifferent to human survival. Under the conditions of commodity fetishism in which we live, it appears as a living thing, a vampire sucking our blood as it seeks to reproduce itself.

    It isn’t a “way forward”.

    You imply that Capital can be regulated to produce progressive outcomes for humanity. While it was the case temporarily under the New Deal in the 1930s, and under post war European social democracy, those times are past. Capital cannot abide limits!

    In a sense Capital is now decadent, as David Harvey points out in this 11 minute animation “Explaining the Crisis”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&feature=search.

    It’s brilliant and quite funny.

    One of the barriers to the continued accumulation of Capital, now that most of the world is in its grip, is nature herself, the other source of capital apart from labour. The word for these natural limits is biocapacity, the capacity of the natural world to absorb human impact. In 1961, according to the footprint network, the percentage of the Earth’s biocapacity used by humanity was 62%, which is very high for a single species, but more than 200% lower than the 2006 figure of 144%. (http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/ecological_debtors_and_creditors/)

    144% is heading down the road of self-destruction, fast. We see the results in the beginnings of rapid global warming, with a consequent increase in natural disasters as a result of extreme weather, rapid species and habitat destruction, the spread of desertification, and the destruction of the planet’s lungs, the great rainforests. The oceans, our other source of planetary oxygen, are dying as they warm up. Cause: anthropogenic global warming. Increased atmospheric CO2 – at its highest level in 650,000 years – causes oceanic acidification as well. Lowered oceanic ph threatens the subtle web of life. There’s a 40% decline in phytoplankton.

    Phytoplankton produce half of the oxygen we breathe. I guess we’ll all have to breathe less in the future (http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/the-dead-sea-global-warming-blamed-for-40-per-cent-decline-in-the-oceans-phytoplankton-2038074.html).

    We are now embarked on changing the atmospheric composition. Falling oxygen levels are one outcome; rising levels of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas, are a possibility if global warming ratchets up a notch (Under a Green Sky: Global Warming and the Mass Extinctions of the past

    Capital recognises no limits, human or natural. As it can’t be regulated it has to be overthrown. We do have an alternative to its overthrow: a descent into utter barbarism and mere survivalism. Read Marcel Theroux’s excellent novel Far North (better than The Road by Cormac McCarthy) and you will get the picture of where we’re headed with Capital at the helm.

    There is ONE country in the world that lives within its ecological limits, Cuba (http://assets.wwf.ca/downloads/canadianlivingplanetreport2007.pdf, page 14).

    Surprise, surprise, it’s a socialist country.

    Generally, though, the Communist world’s relationship with nature was about as indifferent and ruthless as that of the capitalist world (see Mao’s War on Nature, by Helen Shapiro). Cuba has a pretty unique concatenation of historical and ecological circumstances.

    It is possible that we shan’t overthrow the reign of Capital.

    In which case, don’t worry, be happy (the advice of Meher Baba, the famous Indian guru), take happy drugs if necessary and don’t think too hard about anything, enjoy the next 10-20 years because after that it ain’t fun, and if you have kids, explain to them why it might not be a good idea to have kids themselves.

    1. Here’s a cheery article on how fucked we are:

      http://culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=124&Itemid=1

      Through our relentless pursuit of the American Dream and our blind adherence to our American way of life, we have become overextended — we have exceeded America’s capacity to sustainably support our existing population at our current standard of living. That is, the natural resources and economic resources required to support our ever-increasing consumption levels by our ever-expanding population are simply not available; nor is the capacity of our habitat sufficient to assimilate the ever-increasing amounts of waste disgorged by our ever-expanding population.

      To compound our predicament, we have become “irreversibly” overextended — we are past the point of “painless” return. We have so consistently and drastically overshot our sustainable consumption and population levels that returning to sustainable levels will necessarily involve significant lifestyle disruptions — living standard degradation, population level reduction, and the possible loss of sovereignty; there can be no “soft landing.”

      Note: We are temporarily able to maintain prosperity and growth, despite our overextended condition, because the adverse effects associated with our continuously accumulating ecological and economic indiscretions — which enable our current prosperity and growth — have yet to be felt. We are essentially living on borrowed time.

  2. I’m taking a break from commenting for two weeks, as I don’t think it represents a productive use of my time. Behind Mr Abiezer Coppe (a 17th century English writer of the Ranter sect) is a real person who lives, worries, works when he can, has adult kids who claim his attention, gets laid occasionally (not frequently enough!) and has an offline life to get on with.

    And anyway, is anyone listening among the motley collection of internet obsessives and plain old obsessives (I’m both: welcome to my gang fpy3p, Lafayette Sennacherib and Robert Lindsay)?
    The anti-semites on here scratch off the scabs of their problem with the Jews, and I continue my quixotic duel with Capital. Tilting at windmills sounds more fun!

    I mean, is anyone listening to ME? Because I’M the only one who talking any sense on here, I’M the one who has something interesting to say….LOL. I forgot to add “MEGALOMANIAC” to “internet obsessive” and “plain old obsessive”.

    It’s like giving up smoking. Personally I love smoking, and I’m lucky because I can do it occasionally without being chained to the drug nicotine on a weekly basis. You either have to stop completely or admit you’re an addict for life.

    Internet obsession is now a recognised and treatable condition in the UK. But I don’t need treatment because I’m self-aware. It tends to affect disproportionately single adult males with too much time on their hands….HAH! It’s still summer, man. Beyond the computer screen there’s a beautiful world out there!

    1. I’m listening to you, buddy. I haven’t found many people here to be that interested in discussing economic issues. Racial issues are much more fun, apparently.

      The points you bring up about Cuban sustainability and global overshoot are vital, but not very popular even among self-proclaimed social justice activists in the US. How many white anti-racist activists, for instance, are willing to live the lifestyle of the average Cuban? I am no fan of the cartoonish rhetoric of Amerikkka-bashing Maoist Third Worldists, but they do have a point. Even poor Americans are wealthy in global terms. How many of them live a sustainable lifestyle? Any advocate of social or economic justice who isn’t willing to confront this issue cannot be taken seriously.

      Given that even the so-called left is more interested in moral masturbation than giving up the “American dream”, it looks to me like we’re headed for the Olduvai Gorge on roller skates. In any event, looking at that biocapacity map, it looks like I need to move to Canada.

      Or work on stocking my booze cabinet.

      1. So you think the Maoists have a point when they say that even poor or working-class Americans are part of the privileged oppressor class?

        1. They do in a sense, but not in the sense that those idiots say.

          They do because those people routinely vote for rightwing economics and turbocharged US imperialism, yes! If they voted for progressive economics and anti-imperialist foreign policy, I would not call them that.

          American workers are their own worst enemies. They’re the ones who keep voting for these idiots. I’m too the point where I do not have much sympathy for them anymore.

        2. I probably should have said Maoists instead of Maoist third worldists.

          I would accept a discussion of the relative privilege of poor and working class Americans from Maoists who are actually from the third world. I would not accept elitist worker-bashing from twits like Noel Ignatiev who have cushy tenured jobs at schools like Harvard and MassArt.

          The US Maoist third worldists do have a point, but they go way too far in asserting that American workers are not exploited. Unfortunately they write off western workers as a force for change and content themselves in fetishizing third world struggles. They’re basically poseurs.

          They overlook the fact that Americans have no job security. The safety net is largely nonexistent for the unemployed who have exhausted or never received unemployment benefits, and who don’t have dependent children. Americans who lose their jobs can’t exactly go farm the commons. Even poor Mexicans have better access to health care than millions of Americans.

        3. Fair enough.

          I don’t know much about foreign Maoists. They don’t care much for the US Maoist Third Worldists from what I understand. Robert would probably know about that.

      2. This blog has a real problem, but it’s very popular and gets a lot of traffic.

        The problem is this. The way we talk about race automatically makes just about everyone on the Left uncomfortable, so they stay away from here in droves and even blacklist me, refuse to link to me, etc. So the Left is not on this site very much, and a lot of the commenters are not even very progressive on economic issues. I would guess that they are almost independents politically. Even the Dems here often hate Hugo Chavez, support US imperialism, etc. IOW, typical US Dems.
        Truth is most commenters here are more or less bourgeois people living middle class lives with comfortable incomes. It’s hard for them to get excited about progressive economics. But they love to talk about race, because, well, most normal people do.

        So I drive away the Left with my race talk, and then I sort of drive away the rest of them with my Lefty economics stuff.

        It’s amazing this site has the traffic it does, actually, and traffic is good – 10,000 hits/day.

        1. What about me? I’m progressive on economics and staunchly anti-imperialist.
          And guess what, I’m a fascist! What does that tell you?

        2. I wasn’t happy with your two posts on gypsies to be honest. These lumpen, marginal groups don’t interest me at all.
          You might as well attack tramps and hobos for being tramps and hobos. There’s no reforming them, but as a Brit I acknowledge that gypsies in my country come in for more than their fair share of ostracism, discrimination by the authorities
          and general abuse. France is deporting them, where to I’m not sure. Romania I think. The settled, many of us with jobs and families as well as homes, find the chosen outsider status of gypsies, and the accompanying crime and lack of respect for the environment (wherever they’ve been they leave a mess), very hard to take.

  3. Yeah, I’m listening to you, mate. Just haven’t got the time to give it much thought right now. I’ll get back to you on this. Far North sounds good – I’ll check it out.

  4. Yes, I just listened to that. Pretty good really. And it gave the Black Panthers a not unsympathetic airing, which is unusual.
    Yes, I understand that Capital is a blind god with one command – profit – who even the rich must serve. But the trouble I have with all the Marxist economists, and Harvey is maybe the most comprehensible of them, is that they seem happy just to demonstrate that they have a correct understanding of Marx, and then advocate simultaneous world-wide worker-led revolution, which is impossible.
    Likewise a world organised on the basis of workers’ councils; that just shows that Wolf is basically a Utopian. Sure, it’s nice for these software writers that they can have their nice little cottage industry. But when it comes to the rather more complex problem of maintaining our civilisation so that everyone can be fed and housed, it just doesn’t cut it. Maybe he has more fully developed ideas elsewhere – his site has been recommended to me by a few people. He DOES identify the main problem – large private concentrations of capital corrupting the political system. But he evades the responsibility for offering a solution. And there are solutions that have pretty decent track-records, which used to be common fare in European social-democratic discourse – nationalisation of the biggest and most strategically necessary industries, including the banks. All these so-called socialists just seem to have surrendered to the ‘socialism is dead’ propaganda. They don’t really seem to believe in socialism anymore, but they’ve got reasonably secure, well-paid jobs talking about it – so they talk about it.

    1. Well I’ve stowed my computer, but now I’m in a library. Interesting that the library computer has an obscenity filter that wouldn’t let me on Robert’s site initially because it contains too many banned words like fuck, cunt, piss, shit, kike, nigger, bollocks, crap, bastard, motherfucker…etc, but I snuck in a back way, by the anal route ha! ha!

      Yes, of course Lafayette, the social democrats have abandoned social democracy as the the whole political discourse has shifted rightwards.
      Only the British Green party represents some of the goals of radical social democracy, but when the Greens sniff political power, as they did in Germany, they move to the Right too. Maybe social democracy was always the great Moving Right show. Clement Atlee was no radical, but he looks leftwing compared with Harold Wilson, who looks leftwing compared with Blair/Brown. The current crop, brothers Millipede must have their old dad Ralph shaking his head in disbelief from the grave at the parlaimentary cretinism of his sons.

      I haven’t listened to the Wolff discourse, and can’t right now because of my self-imposed limitations, but I’ll give it a hearing sometime.

      Admitting social democracy’s dead leaves us on the Left with various avenues, all dead ends, like single issue campaigns (what I did in the 80s when it was clear the Communist Party was dying:- I rejoined, with a great sense of timing, the year before it expired),revolutionary grouplets all with more or less bizarre views, the Green Left or becoming honorary members of Communist Parties of less developed countries, a harmless fantasy. I am currently an honorary member of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party of Pakistan (cmkp.wordpress.com).

      The local SWP have a meeting in my city tonight on “The Need for A Revolutionary Party”, referring to themselves, of course. It’s the best joke I heard all week. They couldn’t organise a shagfest in a brothel. On the other hand third world marxist-leninist groups, often operating in conditions of much greater difficulty, or even illegality, continue to accomplish a great deal.
      The British CPGB(ML) probably aren’t all that bad. I’ve met them at PSC AGMs.

      Speaking for myself, I’ve no security at all, no job for a year now, and I’m dropping into the black economy as the only way to survive. So I’ve become very interested in socialist transformation of the economy…by any means necessary. There’s more point in studying political economy than in fruitless job hunting. I was looking for public sector jobs but they’ve been taken off my Jobsearch contract because THERE ARE NONE. The public sector is shedding jobs.

        1. No no no…work for cash. I don’t do crime. I do socially useful work for cash. The taxman and the benefits system never see it, and I hope the latter never see this comment! Technically it’s fraud, but when it’s hard to find a job you have to survive. On benefits alone I’d pay my bills but I wouldn’t eat. I would only consider crime as a career if I had an exceptional talent for it, and I would go for redistributive crime, teaching people on working class sink estates to defeat the security systems of the very very rich and steal them blind. If they had the talent for it.

          What is sad about the drug dealing of the young blacks in the Wire (best American series I’ve seen in a while, by the way) is that it hits their own people. Redistributive crime would at least have a progressive social content. But then most criminals are reactionaries politically.

        2. My bad. I just got the impression in America that “black economy” was a euphemistic term for crime. I was just gonna tell you that it’s unwise to write online that you’re involved in these activities if you are indeed involved in it. Then again, I have a hunch that pretty soon everybody will be involved in the black economy when the Tower of Babel global economy inevitably collapses out of its own greed and insatiability.

        3. Re divulging that sort of private information online fyp3p, you are right, of course. I am sure that right now the British welfare fraud operation are combing Robert Lindsay’s blog for evidence of benefit fraud by an English 17th century writer who appears, like Jesus, to have undergone a resurrection in the flesh. Having just acquired a copy of the original Abiezer Coppe’s actual writings, I wouldn’t put it past him!

      1. CMKP is good! I like them. I wrote a piece on them recently. They actually have good support in the rural areas organizing the more or less feudal landless peasants working on landlord’s estates in debt bondage. I knew a Pakistani woman from a landlord family who actually supported them! She said they were good for the peasants. They take a soft line on Islam, thank God.

  5. Since we’re on the topic, what is the meaning of the term “cultural marxism” I see on this blog a lot? I think I have a vague idea what you mean by it, but I don’t see the Marxist element. What does it have to do with anything Marx himself taught? And if the answer is nothing, then why would a self-professed Marxist who despises the phenomenon put Marxism in disrepute by associating it with the stuff that goes under the name? It seems like it might be synonymous with what others call identity politics, or perhaps cultural radicalism.

    This may seem like a minor point, but it matters what you call things, especially in the American Idiocracy where people have no tolerance for anything they can’t figure out in the first 30 seconds.

    1. Cultural Marxism is essentially identity politics, so yes, you’re right. It’s “Marxist” in the sense that it sees conflict between different groups of human beings as integral in explaining history and the present. Instead of class, it focuses on race, gender etc.

    2. This may seem like a minor point, but it matters what you call things, especially in the American Idiocracy where people have no tolerance for anything they can’t figure out in the first 30 seconds.

      Good point. It really should be called cultural leftism or identity politics or something. No use in helping right wingers, who I often see using the term, in giving the Moor a worse name than he already has.

  6. ” It’s “Marxist” in the sense that it sees conflict between different groups of human beings as integral in explaining history and the present. Instead of class, it focuses on race, gender etc. ”

    That’s exactly why it’s nothing to do with Marx. Marx is about conflict by classes as defined by their relationship to the means of production e.g. financiers and shareholders against workers, NOT about conflict between different groups like race, gender etc. There can be Marxist (i.e. economic based) explanations for things like racism and the subjection of women, but as stand-alone causes they are just about petitioning the powerful for a slice of the cake, and therefore useful to the elites who seek to ‘divide and rule’. The term ‘cultural Marxism’ was probably dreamed up in one of the thousands of think-tanks funded by the foundations of the rich, and fed into their directly-employed academics to insidiously work into the ‘discourse’ in academia, left politics, the ‘womens’ and gay movements etc, to muddy the waters, to dissipate the force of class-based models, and to divide rather than unite.

    If you and I have heard the well-known story about Confucius – when asked what would be the first thing he would do if he had control of the kingdom, he said he would ‘correct the language – well, you can be sure that all those well-paid academics in the think-tanks have thought of it. The term ‘cultural Marxism’ is part of a project to correct the language to fit the needs of the elites.

      1. George Galloway – a mixed bag. The best of the UK politicians by a long shot, respect for his consistent support for the Palestinians and his always calling a spade a spade re UK/US foreign policy including supporting Serbia and Milosevic against the NATO bombs and slanders – he’s much much better than any of the self-styled Marxist sects. And respect for his putting that US Senate committee in its place, and for hosting a radio show for years which was the only place in the MSM some truth could get an occasional outing. He espouses a lot of good old no-nonsense socialist wisdom; he even gives the official communist states of the Soviet bloc their due for their very real achievements in healthcare, housing , education and employment. Much better than any Trot. And best of all, he hates Billy Bragg.

        Downside – he sometimes seems to be supporting Fatah ( the US/ Israel recognised unelected collaborationist ‘ Palestinian Authority’ in the West Bank) by being in regular contact with some officials like Saab Erekat; on the other hand he’s forbidden by law from supporting Hamas.

        He’s a Roman Catholic, opposes abortion, and has really reactionary views on prostitution, porn , lap-dancing – I mean he’s entitled to dislike these things, but not to support restricting others’ behaviour. He’s also a bigoted anti-Protestant, by which he means white Scottish non-Catholics like me – most Scots are secular atheists. He’s constantly trying to paint a picture of Scots Catholics as an oppressed group, whereas apart from a few football nuts, Catholics and Protestants have integrated thoroughly for generations. I have many Scots friends whose nominal religion I’ve never even given a thought to. This victimhood politics has a bit of mileage in Scottish Labour Party politics where the the Catholic Church is still a force, and it has mileage with London lefties who are reflexively against WASPs.

        And he exhibits the usual range of centre-left politically correct traits: against ‘conspiracy theories’ i.e. 9/11, supports mass immigration – the more the better ( he justified this on one show by repeating over and over again that the whole human race could stand on the Isle of Wight – small British island), loves the jews, and pays occasional lip-service to sentimental nationalism by adulating Churchill ( I think Pat Buchanan, asshole though he be, is nearer to the mark).

        Well, you asked. So there it is – a mixed bag. Much better than we’ve any reason to expect from any parliamentarian, great showman, publicist and activist, but his politics are too incoherent and self-contradictory for him to offer leadership.

        1. That’s a fair assessment. I never liked Galloway as an individual all that much – too big an ego, too much of self promoter.
          Dennis Skinner was more to my taste. But my respect for Galloway has increased since a Jewish Telegraph reader called him an anti-semite.

        2. PS I should explain for American readers that the Daily Telegraph is the most Zionist of British newspapers, with the exception, of course, of the weekly Jewish Chronicle. If you want a real insight into the self-identity and value set of the British Jewish upper middle classes, read the Jewish Chronicle: http://www.thejc.com

    1. It’s one of the less happy outcomes of the Wankfurt school…some of these people were marxists, like the historian Franz Neuman (plug for Behemoth, on German fascism) but the majority abandoned Marx in various ways, and forgot the centrality of the working class in Marx’s project. Read One Dimensional Man by Marcuse and you get the picture. Adorno is even worse. Salon radicals the lot of them. Cultural Marxism just took the degenerative and revisionist tendencies of the Frankfurt School further.

  7. I don’t know much about foreign Maoists. They don’t care much for the US Maoist Third Worldists from what I understand. Robert would probably know about that.

    Foreign Maoists never say two words about Western workers, nor do they ever mention Cultural Marxist crap like race, gender and orientation in the West. In fact, many are backwards on these questions. Sendero Luminoso executed homosexuals and the Nepalese Maoists have come out against homosexuality.

    IOW, the Maoists who are winning struggles in this world do not give two shits about the obsessions of the Western Maoists, who have utterly failed for decades now.

    1. Would you consider me economically progressive and anti-imperialist? And why is that it seems anti-Semites are indeed the most progressive on these two issues?

  8. Something of the huckster in Wolff’s presentation and demeanor. His wife is a psychoanalyst, which is another warning signal.

    Yeah, tech innovation often comes from garage companies. Wozniak and Jobs, the classic case. But average IQ at Silicon Valley is 140. So looks like starter communism with happy creative worker/board officer firm has a high IQ bar.

    Also, dot com bust was tsunami clearance of these “communist firms”. Success rate is something like 1 in 10 for venture capital firms.

      1. “There are no worker run firms in Silicon Valley”

        There aren’t any, because they couldn’t survive the competition. That’s seems to be the flaw of worker run firms. They can’t compete.

        I meant 140 for the programmers and engineers there. I recall the number from an article in a mainstream publication. But sounds high. Maybe 135.

  9. Wasn’t the failing of the Soviet-supported Afghan govt. in the 80′s that they were too anti-Islam?

    Yes, but you know something? The Afghan Marxists were doomed no matter what they did. They were the finest of their generation, and they failed. Afghanistan is simply condemned to a forseeable future of horrible reaction, possibly extending for decades. They pretty much deserve all their problems for being so backwards.

      1. They are an Arabized people from way back. In addition, they have the feudal land relations and near caste system of this shit region of South Asia, which is infected by Indian culture and in particular, that shitty religion called Hinduism, the most evil religion on Earth.

  10. How are they Arabized? Aren’t they the purest, ancient Aryans?

    Dunno, the entire Pakistan-Peruvian Axis is an Arabized region. Arabized culture. Not really a good thing either. Fuck Arab culture.

    They are ancient Aryans, but they’re the same as Iranians and the rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *