Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Politics and other such topical creams.
Silent Majority
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 17 May 2018, 3:05am

Had a good experience down the road with the boys from the revolutionary anarchist group. Great bunch of lads. I'll give 'em another meeting and decide if they're a good fit. It was nice to see Niomie in full on-political outrage mode, like a fucking flamethrower, and not see people backing away.

I wrapped up both the audiobook of Capital and the podcast of David Harvey's Reading Marx's Capital lectures from 2008. I still skipped through a few sections, where Karl waxed on for ages about how terrible the working class were treated in the 19th century, but I've got a very good gist. I'll have to return to it again with the actual text in a while, and also finish the other extant volumes, but now I don't need to read Capital any more, and that's good. I agree with Gene who said you don't actually need it to get a full understanding - the ideas, mutilated by the mainstream and lionised by the left, are pretty much all out there. It's a book that explains where we are and where we've been but is very quiet on where we're going. The idea of dogmatising a witty, snarky, poorly structured book (one that can easily leave the reader behind for no other reason than opaque choices of language) about how much capitalism sucks which details the exact manner your employers are fucking you, they're fucking you, dude, and building a society on top of it is inherently ridiculous. It goes without saying that Marx is blameless for how regimes which called themselves communists in the 20th century carried on. Very glad to getting into the actual theory of this stuff, it's been rewarding and enriching.
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Silent Majority
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 17 May 2018, 3:09am

Gene, I'm ready to start on Sweezy. How would you like to do it, one chapter at a time?
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eumaas
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by eumaas » 19 May 2018, 3:57pm

Silent Majority wrote:
17 May 2018, 3:09am
Gene, I'm ready to start on Sweezy. How would you like to do it, one chapter at a time?
Didn’t see this. Sounds good. Some of it is pretty dense so a chapter at a time is good.
I feel that there is a fascistic element, for example, in the Rolling Stones . . .
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Silent Majority
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 20 May 2018, 11:00am

eumaas wrote:
19 May 2018, 3:57pm
Silent Majority wrote:
17 May 2018, 3:09am
Gene, I'm ready to start on Sweezy. How would you like to do it, one chapter at a time?
Didn’t see this. Sounds good. Some of it is pretty dense so a chapter at a time is good.
Now starting chapter 1.
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Silent Majority
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 21 May 2018, 8:10am

Silent Majority wrote:
20 May 2018, 11:00am
eumaas wrote:
19 May 2018, 3:57pm
Silent Majority wrote:
17 May 2018, 3:09am
Gene, I'm ready to start on Sweezy. How would you like to do it, one chapter at a time?
Didn’t see this. Sounds good. Some of it is pretty dense so a chapter at a time is good.
Now starting chapter 1.
Not much there, a philosophical explanation of Marx's method and a setting up of how the rest of the book will go. Short and easy to understand. Glad I read Capital before this, really, and its easy to see this will be informative.
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eumaas
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by eumaas » 21 May 2018, 12:22pm

Silent Majority wrote:
21 May 2018, 8:10am
Silent Majority wrote:
20 May 2018, 11:00am
eumaas wrote:
19 May 2018, 3:57pm
Silent Majority wrote:
17 May 2018, 3:09am
Gene, I'm ready to start on Sweezy. How would you like to do it, one chapter at a time?
Didn’t see this. Sounds good. Some of it is pretty dense so a chapter at a time is good.
Now starting chapter 1.
Not much there, a philosophical explanation of Marx's method and a setting up of how the rest of the book will go. Short and easy to understand. Glad I read Capital before this, really, and its easy to see this will be informative.
Just a couple things to draw attention to:
1. In the introduction, Sweezy criticizes Pigou and Robinson for thinking of exploitation as being just cases where workers don't receive wages equivalent to their marginal productivity. Just keep things like this in mind every time you hear Sweezy is a "Keynesian."
2. The example of the law of increasing immiseration (p. 19) is the first example of Sweezy's eye for countervailing tendencies. A lot of what Sweezy does with Marx is pull out the countervailing tendencies that operate in actual capitalism. Some of these were understood by Marx himself, while others have been developed by successors (for example,theories of imperialism and fascism). Sweezy is concerned less with transmitting an orthodox doctrine than with Marxian econ as a kind of method. I think this emphasis on application and extending the theory to cover new countervailing tendencies is why he comes under attack from Trots and neo-Orthodox Marxians.
I feel that there is a fascistic element, for example, in the Rolling Stones . . .
— Morton Feldman

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eumaas
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by eumaas » 21 May 2018, 12:25pm

Chapter 2 on qualitative value is a contribution to debates between neo-Ricardians and Marxians, where the former tended to assimilate Marx to Ricardo.
I feel that there is a fascistic element, for example, in the Rolling Stones . . .
— Morton Feldman

I've studied the phenomenon of neo-provincialism in self-isolating online communities but this place takes the fucking cake.
— Clashy

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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 26 May 2018, 5:42pm

eumaas wrote:
21 May 2018, 12:25pm
Chapter 2 on qualitative value is a contribution to debates between neo-Ricardians and Marxians, where the former tended to assimilate Marx to Ricardo.
Commodity fetishism as the way that capitalism hides the magic egg of value creation from the workers. Okay, Chapter three starting now. Been very hard to get any time in this week, will pick up the pace now.
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Dr. Medulla » 26 May 2018, 6:25pm

Silent Majority wrote:
26 May 2018, 5:42pm
Commodity fetishism as the way that capitalism hides the magic egg of value creation from the workers.
Marxism's own version of Original Sin—everything is fundamentally the result of stolen value.
Endut! Hoch Hech!

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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 26 May 2018, 6:33pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
26 May 2018, 6:25pm
Silent Majority wrote:
26 May 2018, 5:42pm
Commodity fetishism as the way that capitalism hides the magic egg of value creation from the workers.
Marxism's own version of Original Sin—everything is fundamentally the result of stolen value.
It's a decent thesis.
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Dr. Medulla » 26 May 2018, 6:59pm

Silent Majority wrote:
26 May 2018, 6:33pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
26 May 2018, 6:25pm
Silent Majority wrote:
26 May 2018, 5:42pm
Commodity fetishism as the way that capitalism hides the magic egg of value creation from the workers.
Marxism's own version of Original Sin—everything is fundamentally the result of stolen value.
It's a decent thesis.
It's useful in refuting the idea of ethical capitalism.
Endut! Hoch Hech!

I travel nowhere without Zabu!

Silent Majority
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 29 May 2018, 2:49pm

Sweezy Chapters 3&4 wrapped up. Further thoughts on them to follow.
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eumaas
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by eumaas » 29 May 2018, 3:14pm

Silent Majority wrote:
29 May 2018, 2:49pm
Sweezy Chapters 3&4 wrapped up. Further thoughts on them to follow.
Sorry, I have fallen behind because Kim is on vacation plus I have been working on an album and composition sometimes takes all damn day.
I feel that there is a fascistic element, for example, in the Rolling Stones . . .
— Morton Feldman

I've studied the phenomenon of neo-provincialism in self-isolating online communities but this place takes the fucking cake.
— Clashy

eumaas
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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by eumaas » 29 May 2018, 3:23pm

Will try to catch up today and tomorrow!
I feel that there is a fascistic element, for example, in the Rolling Stones . . .
— Morton Feldman

I've studied the phenomenon of neo-provincialism in self-isolating online communities but this place takes the fucking cake.
— Clashy

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Re: Anarchism, Marxism and Radical Politics

Post by Silent Majority » 04 Jun 2018, 12:24pm

Hiya Gene,

III.

Sweezy talks about taking these ideas to their most abstract in order to see them more clearly.
We get into socially necessary labour time, the time it takes for a person to create a commodity.
There's an invoking of Adam Smith's example of deer and beaver hunters (snigger) to point out that competition has an integral part to play in calculating the value of labour. The role of demand comes down to how much income the buyer has access to.
To copy straight out of the book: the law of value shows what's behind "a} the exchange ratios among commodities, b) the quantity of each produced, and c) the allocation of the labour force to various parts of production."
If you have a monopoly you'll a) have a disagreement with your family over the board game or b) be able to set what ever price you please, particularly if you have a market that needs your goods to subsist on. A monopoly doesn't disturb the qualitive value of capitalist relations.

IV.
We make the value of whatever we produce to stay alive. The capitalist makes their profit off the extra value which we produce for them. The capitlaist has to see this profit at the end of this process, otherwise they wouldn't involve themselves in it in the first place. Their money has to move, has to grow or else it will decrease. The capitalist rents the labourer's capacity to work and this capacity is used when a specific task is set. You can work out how much this renting of labour costs when you work out a) how much it takes to give them the means of subsistence - that is a warm bed, food, etc - and also the means to make more tiny little labourers for cleaning chimneys and shit. From this, Sweezy gets into some very simple algebraic formula which my mediocre humanities brain refuses to take in. He goes on to talk about the rate of profit and departs from Marx's thesis that it is bound to fall, because having capital means having the power to continue to get more surplus value over time, thanks to being able to invest in the latest technology.

Let me know when the time's right to move on to chapter five.
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