Capitalism

Error message

  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).

Jairus Banaji, A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/09/2022 - 6:00am in

Tags 

Capitalism

In his 1973 essay ‘Marxist History, a History in the Making: Towards a Dialogue with Althusser’, the French historian Pierre Vilar wrote ‘Anybody can call himself a historian. Anybody can add ‘Marxist’ to the title if he sees fit. Anybody can call anything he likes ‘Marxist’. Nevertheless, if there is one thing more difficult and rare than to become a historian, it is to be a Marxist historian’. The self-styled Marxist historian Jarius Banaji considers himself in the company of these rare few, and his A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism is another contribution to his long list of works of Marxist history and historiography. The fundamental premise of the book is that Marx and Marxists have grossly misjudged the period and extent to which merchants were not only involved in, but also directly organised, global production. In this misjudgement, the Marxist tradition has been doomed to fail in its understanding of the history of capitalism as such. Banaji responds to this failure by presenting a specifically Marxist study of merchant and commercial periods. Whether Banaji does in fact stand among the ranks of the all too rare Marxist historians remains to be seen

This brief history is a temporally and geographically sprawling historiography of commercial and merchant capital that draws on historical accounts written in an impressive seven different languages. Chapter 1 addresses the Marxist ‘orthodoxy’ that relegates merchant capital to a purely intermediary function; mediating exchange of commodities but bearing no direct role in production. But this orthodoxy, Banaji contends, is at odds with not only the non-Marxist historiography since the 1940s but also Marx’s own comments on situations where merchants do in fact dominate production directly (85, 107). Chapter 2 then moves to discussing the three infrastructural cornerstones of commercial capitalism: trading colonies, wholesale markets, and bills of exchange. Chapter 3 reviews the competitive struggle from the twelfth- to the eighteenth-century between the prominent trading nations such as Venice, Genoa, Portugal, the Dutch Republic, France, and England, but also the Byzantine Empire, India, and China. It was between the sixteenth- to the eighteenth-centuries, but especially the seventeenth-century, that the state became intimately bound up with these commercial conflicts in the interest to secure commercial dominance as a national entity (48). Chapter 4 homes in on British mercantile capitalism and its managing agencies where ‘The blurring of lines between commercial and industrial capital was nowhere more evident’ (67) since control of industrial enterprise was subordinated to trading companies. The chapter also discusses the commercial expansion of the nineteenth-century and Greek dominance of the Levantine trade.

Another case of this ‘blurring’ is examined in Chapter 5 where Banaji explores ‘the putting out system’. There, Banaji shows the way that a range of industries were directly subordinated to, and hence commanded by, merchant capital. In discussing three major examples of this ‘merchant manufacturing’––the Florentine wool industry, Lyon’s silk industry, and Oriental Carpet Manufacturers across vast regions––Banaji shows how the ‘merchant controlled, managed, and coordinated production itself’ (86). The final chapter concludes by discussing the large merchant firms of the early twentieth-century and the significant role of brokers in the sectors of wholesale trade, as well as how ‘By compressing the chain of circulation’ (99), mercantile interest was bound to different levels of the commercial system as a result of what Banaji terms ‘vertically integrated’ firms and industries. Lastly, an appendix on ‘Islam and Capitalism’ asks why ‘the Middle East down to the final years of the Ottoman Empire (and in Iran, even later) [did] not evolve into a modern capitalist economy’. Banaji’s response to this is that, on one hand, capitalists failed to form a class and, on the other, there was an absence of an Islamic counterpart to the West’s aggressive mercantilist expansion and the state backing of merchants (132–3).

In a paper entitled ‘Commercial Capitalism in the Mediterranean from the Late Republic to Late Byzantium’ Banaji contends that historians writing about merchant and commercial capitalism ‘almost never define the object of their discussion’. Ironically, A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism exhibits this same trait. Its object––commercial capitalism––is never defined. This lack of explanation, especially from an avowed Marxist historian, is particularly odd considering that in Marx’s writings on merchant capital (kaufmännisches Kapital, Kaufmannskapital) and commercial capital (kommerzielles Kapital, Handelskapital)­­, never once did he speak of commercial capitalism (Kapitalismus). Regardless, this book is largely a Marxist response to and problematisation of the ‘Marxist reticence about merchant’s capital’ (3). Rare though Marxist historians may be, as per Vilar’s proclamation, Banaji claims to be among their ranks. And so it is worth asking, what exactly is Marxist about Banaji’s response to this Marxist reticence?

The book first opens with an outline of the various notions of ‘capital’ across a long range of centuries and landscapes; ‘capital’ as property or assets, sum invested, money put to work, and so on. In a somewhat indirect way Banaji demonstrates how an economic category––in this case, capital––transforms across different historical contexts. That is to say, how this concept is historically specific. For this, Banaji can certainly claim his status as a Marxist. After all, Marx’s critique of political economy relies a great deal on this historicising––that is also to say de-naturalising––gesture. As against ahistorical bourgeois economists, who in conceiving economic categories independently of society characterised capitalist relations as natural and pertaining to all social life, Marx, as early as the late 1840s, was adamant that such categories are social, historically determined, and therefore transitory. However, Banaji’s continuity with Marx on this point lasts all too briefly. Despite his opening, the remainder of the book unreflectively relies on transhistorical notions of capital, wealth, value, labour, and profit. This transhistorical use of economic categories facilitates his presentation of a long durée narrative of the history of capitalism in which disparate mercantile and commercial practices are treated, pros hen, as instances of a coherent system of merchant or commercial capitalism.

What especially unites these disparate conceptions and practices across these vast periods of time as ‘commercial capitalism’ is an all too broadly conceived notion of profit-seeking. This, however, poses problems for the Marxist historian because it robs the Marxist account of its central contribution to the understanding of capitalism: the peculiarity of surplus-value and exploitation (not to mention Marx’s analysis of the homogenisation of concrete human labour to equal abstract human labour as well as value-creating socially necessary labour-time in a commodity-producing society). Contra to profit upon alienation of the mercantile class (buying cheap and selling dear), the extraction of surplus-value in capitalism still begets profit even when commodities are sold at their value. And while the putting-put system is certainly a case of the latter, as many Marxists have long agreed, it is difficult to see how the vast stretch of history­––at least from the twelfth-century onwards––can be subordinated into commercial capitalism if not for an expanded and universalising grasp of economic categories and practices. The assumption that capitalism is simply when profit, trade, and labour transpire is neither an historically nor theoretically refined assessment. Fundamentally, the conflation of different economic categories, and particularly of profit-seeking activities, loses the elemental piece of Marx’s critique of political economy.

The use of such transhistorical notions, however, is not only a misstep for a Marxist historian, but for a historian per se. After all, several non-Marxist historians have, for some time, questioned the extent to which the term ‘mercantilism’ has given a false unity to disparate events in history (see, for instance, a summary of several debates in Lars Magnusson’s The Political Economy of Mercantilism). This unified narrative is nevertheless made possible when the broader components of the historical context are abstracted away from, as is the case in A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism. Aside from the lack of attention to the historical specificity of economic categories and practices, among these decisive components are also the various economic ideas of the times. These are especially important, as the ideas of mercantile thinkers influenced public opinion, state policies, and economic activities. The different ideas put forth in many of the periods, with which Banaji is concerned, have profoundly shaped mercantile and commercial processes and realities. To account for these ideas is therefore to understand these periods with greater veracity. Apart from some passing remarks on a few prominent figures and economic principles, that Banaji, a thinker well-known for his insistence on the intimate relationship between theory and history, treats these periods largely in vacuo from economic ideas of the relevant periods is surprising, to say the least.

At any rate, it could be argued that the Marxism of the book lies in Banaji’s incorporation of Marx’s historical remarks into his economic history. Of course, isolating the historical writings from Marx’s theoretical framework is questionable considering how closely associated Marx’s studies of history were with his project of critique. Nevertheless, the historical remarks ‘scattered through the corpus of Marx’s own writings’ (9) illuminate fascinating paradoxes in Marx’s understanding on merchant and commercial capital (85, 107). But even Banaji’s treatment of these texts is analogous to how he treats economic categories; in complete isolation from their historical context. Many of the texts consulted by Banaji are in fact manuscripts, and not completed works, that were edited and published posthumously (Grundrisse, Theories of Surplus-Value, Capital, Volume III; Capital, Volume II). That Marx’s thinking is full of ambiguities comes, therefore, as no surprise. The writings in these manuscripts were a direct product of Marx’s ever-developing historical knowledge over the course of life-long investigations. Marx’s extensive historical studies from 1863 all the way to 1882––in tandem with his studies of the Physiocrats, Mercantile systems, classical political economy, national economy, and so on––went far beyond his own nineteenth-century European milieu. Even as early as 1850 in the Neuen Rheinischen Zeitung. Politischökonomische Revue, the young Marx and Engels were following the developments of world trade:

The centre of gravity of world commerce, Italy in the Middle Ages, England in modern times, is now the southern half of the North American peninsula. The industry and trade of old Europe will have to make huge exertions in order not to fall into the same decay as the industry and commerce of Italy since the sixteenth century, if England and France are not to become what Venice, Genoa and Holland are today. In a few years […] the Pacific Ocean will have the same role as the Atlantic has now and the Mediterranean had in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages – that of the great water highway of world commerce.

Given the weight that Banaji places on Marx’s historical remarks, it is surprising that he does not investigate Marx’s broader corpus–­–the latter of which is spent exploring matters such as Italian merchant cities, long-distance trade, and world trade networks. In considering only Marx’s canonical texts, a plenitude of such relevant historical writings and excerpts are simply neglected in Banaji’s ‘Marxist’ analysis. Neither does Banaji consult the historical works that informed Marx’s historical studies. This ultimately leads Banaji to provide an either incomplete or completely empty assessment of Marx’s analysis of the historical subjects at stake in A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism.

Yet, the insufficiency of the investigation does not end there. Recalling Banaji’s fundamental preoccupation about the Marxist reticence, the extent of his attempt to search for researchers ‘consciously working in a Marxist tradition’ (8) is questionable in the face of a great tradition of Japanese Marxology, of which a number of works have either been translated or reported upon in the languages Banaji reads. Since the 1950s, beginning with Uno Kōzō’s theory of capitalism, Japanese Marxists have contributed considerably to the studies of commercial capital. After Uno, this field developed in the form of the Unoist school with Uno’s notable student Yamaguchi Shigekatsu, and his 1983 publication of Competition and Commercial Capital. Today, this area of study remains one of most popular in Japanese Marxian economics. Among the contemporary scholars of this tradition is Shimizu Masashi who considers commercial capital not simply as an agent of industrial capital but also, like Banaji, a direct organiser of production processes, seeing the putting-out system as an exemplary case of this wider role. This surely casts doubt on the thoroughness of Banaji’s efforts to find Marxist traditions and researchers in the thick of this reticence.

The title of A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism certainly does not deceive. As a general history of mercantile and commercial capital, Banaji offers an expansive historiography that brings together a breadth of sources. But Pierre Vilar was correct to declare that it is difficult and rare to be a Marxist historian. Banaji’s own attempt at a Marxist history perhaps falls short on at least three separate fronts: 1) accounting for the historical specificities of capitalism (a fundamental element of Marx’s critique of political economy); 2) ignoring Marx’s broader historical studies; and 3) neglecting past and present Marxist research on merchant and commercial capital. In view of these problems, does Banaji still stand among the rare few?

The post Jairus Banaji, A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

The Profit Motive Is Crippling Humanity: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/09/2022 - 12:06pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/9a9dacca8d8d79f3da0d231f0d87c77d/href

The US military has seven branches of service:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • Coast Guard
  • Space Force
  • Mainstream Media

It’s hard to grasp just how badly humanity is handicapping itself by excluding all solutions that can’t generate a profit. There’s a whole vast spectrum of potential solutions to the troubles we face as a species, and we’re limiting ourselves to a very small, very shitty fraction of it. By limiting solutions to ones that are profitable, we’re omitting any which involve using less, consuming less, leaving resources in the ground, and leaving nature the fuck alone. We’re also shrinking the incentive to cure problems rather than offer expensive, ongoing treatments.

Or even a project as fundamental to our survival as getting all the pollution out of our oceans. The profit motive offers no solution because there’s no way to make a surplus of money from doing so, and in fact it would be very costly. So the pollution stays in our seas, year after year. People have come up with plenty of solutions for removing pollution from the sea, but they never get rolled out at the necessary scale because there’s no way to make it profitable. And people would come up with far more solutions if they knew those solutions could be implemented.

How many times have you had an awesome idea and gotten all excited about it, only to do the math and figure out that it’s unfeasible because wouldn’t be profitable? This is a very common experience, and it’s happening to ideas for potential solutions to our problems every day.

The profit motive system assumes the ecocidal premise of infinite growth on a finite world. Without that, the entire system collapses. So there are no solutions which involve not growing, manufacturing less, consuming less, not artificially driving up demand with advertising etc.

It’s hard to appreciate the significance of this artificial limitation when you’re inside it and lived your whole life under its rules. It’s like if we were only allowed to make things out of wood; if our whole civilization banned the entire spectrum of non-woodcraft innovation. Sure such a civilization would get very good at making wooden things, and would probably have some woodcrafting innovations that our civilization doesn’t have. But it would also be greatly developmentally stunted. That’s how badly we’re limiting ourselves with the profit motive model.

A lot of the “Great Reset” environmental chatter comes from the capitalist class flailing around trying to reconcile impossible contradictions baked into capitalism like the premise of infinite growth on a finite world and the fact that there’s no way for saving the environment to be profitable. So they’re planning all these new models which won’t do anything to save the environment, but will yield massive profits.

Anyone accusing you of “repeating Russian talking points” is just saying you criticize the foreign policy of the US and its allies. That is always what they truly mean by that once you really drill down on what they’re saying and why they are saying it. The argument is that because Russia criticizes the foreign policy of the US-centralized empire, you never should. Which is self-evidently extremely moronic.

It’s literally impossible to be an aggressive critic of US foreign policy with a sizeable audience and not be accused of repeating Russian taking points. Literally every single high-profile person who does so gets accused of Kremlin loyalty, without a single, solitary exception.

Those who tell you to “move to Russia” when you criticize the foreign policy of the western empire are the same people pushing for internet censorship and the silencing of unauthorised media and demanding retractions from any western outlet that forgets to parrot the official line.

“Move to Russia!” No, you move to Russia. You’re the one trying to suppress dissent and criticism of the powerful. I’m the one who is living by western values as they were sold to me and demanding normal scrutiny of the most powerful empire of all time. You don’t belong here.

Hello we’re the westerners, we’re awesome because we live in free democracies with a free press where everyone is equal. Also, let’s spend weeks crying over a dead monarch at the urging of the news media because her blood makes her better than normal people.

One of the many consequences of learning about how fucked things are is a growing frustration over wanting things to change while they only get worse. In my experience, which you may of course take or leave, the answer to this dilemma is contained in the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” A more secular version might read, “Make peace with what you can’t change in this moment, bravely make whatever changes can be made in this moment in your surroundings and in yourself, and learn to distinguish between the two.”

You’re only one human in a chaotic, confusing cacophony of eight billion, and there’s very little you can do to single-handedly effect the massive changes our species needs no matter how clever you are. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can do little things to help make this planet a slightly gentler place every day, you can work to spread awareness of what’s true, and you can contribute in your own small way to the expansion of human consciousness (both in yourself and in the world).

Act to whatever reasonable extent you can act, then let go and relax into this beautiful existence. Make peace with what you cannot change in this moment, make what small changes you can, and learn to tell the two apart. The more you learn about our current plight the more necessary it becomes to learn how to do this.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Feature image via Pixabay

It’s A Big Club, And You Ain’t In It: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/09/2022 - 11:54am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/a5c13b7c845ffc43b500403f31b3456c/href

Brian Stelter went from a mainstream media gig to a gig at Harvard. Jen Psaki went from a gig in the Biden administration to a gig in the mainstream media. Mike Pompeo went from a gig in the Trump administration to a gig with a DC think tank. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.

I’m actually less disdainful of the British royal family than I am of all the sniveling sycophants who are worshipping them right now. The royals were born into this ridiculous charade; these losers are choosing it.

Brits who lived their whole lives thinking it was their free choice to have a royal family have been getting a rude awakening these last few days:

Darshna Soni on Twitter: "NEW: The 22-year old woman who was arrested after holding up this anti-monarchy placard at St Giles' Cathedral has now been CHARGED "in connection with a breach of the peace", @PoliceScotland confirm. Will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date. pic.twitter.com/gFdBkoISB6 / Twitter"

NEW: The 22-year old woman who was arrested after holding up this anti-monarchy placard at St Giles' Cathedral has now been CHARGED "in connection with a breach of the peace", @PoliceScotland confirm. Will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date. pic.twitter.com/gFdBkoISB6

Lowkey on Twitter: "A man was arrested in Oxford yesterday, reportedly for asking "who elected him?" at the proclamation of Charles as King. / Twitter"

A man was arrested in Oxford yesterday, reportedly for asking "who elected him?" at the proclamation of Charles as King.

Paul Powlesland on Twitter: "Just went to Parliament Square & held up a blank piece of paper. Officer came & asked for my details. He confirmed that if I wrote "Not My King" on it, he would arrest me under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended. / Twitter"

Just went to Parliament Square & held up a blank piece of paper. Officer came & asked for my details. He confirmed that if I wrote "Not My King" on it, he would arrest me under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended.

blakandblack on Twitter: "Rory, arrested for shouting at Prince Andrew on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh:"Powerful men shouldn't be allowed to commit sexual crimes and get away with it"Rory is facing a stiffer penalty, than Prince Andrew got, for actually being an accused nonce & paying off his accuser! pic.twitter.com/TNCfZ4bVu7 / Twitter"

Rory, arrested for shouting at Prince Andrew on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh:"Powerful men shouldn't be allowed to commit sexual crimes and get away with it"Rory is facing a stiffer penalty, than Prince Andrew got, for actually being an accused nonce & paying off his accuser! pic.twitter.com/TNCfZ4bVu7

The Australian Football League was going to have a moment of silence for the queen but cancelled it when they realized it was the AFLW Indigenous round, meant to honor Indigenous Australians. Which actually tells you everything you need to know about the queen, and Australia.

“Oh wait it’s the Indigenous round, we probably shouldn’t celebrate Her Majesty.”

“Oh yeah why not?”

“Well you know, on account of all the genocide and killing and stealing and oppression and brutality.”

“Wait, so you’re saying it would have been okay honor people who did those things any other time?”

“Sure, yeah.”

It’s like saying we were going to have a moment of silence for the Hitler family, but then we realized it’s Yom Kippur and we didn’t want to be disrespectful to Jews who might find honoring Hitler offensive on that particular day.

Of course the US empire wanted the war in Ukraine. That’s why it knowingly provoked it and actively intervened to prevent peace from breaking out in the early days of the conflict. It’s been using this war to advance its geostrategic interests in Eurasia at very little cost to itself.

From 2016–2019, mainstream liberals were indoctrinated with hatred of Russia using a conspiracy theory born of the US intelligence cartel that the White House had been infiltrated by the Kremlin. Now a deliberately provoked, totally unrelated war leverages that hate.

Hmm.

Spinmeisters now act like the discredited Trump-Russia collusion narrative never happened; this narrative which monopolized the news media and greatly altered public perception of Moscow on totally baseless grounds has been memory holed while its propaganda effects live on. We’re looking at a war in Ukraine that was knowingly provoked, by the very same empire whose propaganda engine just spent years manipulating the public into hating Russia for reasons that were (A) false and (B) completely unrelated to Ukraine. And now those very same liberals who spent years insisting that Trump’s entire family and cabinet were moments away from being dragged from the White House in chains are all waving blue and yellow flags and shouting “Slava Ukraini!”

It would have taken a pretty strong propaganda push to shift mainstream liberals from the position they were at just a few years ago:

https://medium.com/media/d48ca3bd4ec8143b9a43710b08308851/href

Hmm. Hmm, hmm, hmm.

If we were being told the truth about this war they wouldn’t be banning Russian media, we wouldn’t be hearing propagandistic messaging like “unprovoked invasion” at every mention of Ukraine, and those expressing skepticism about all this wouldn’t be swarmed by astroturf empire trolls.

My critics are like, “You’re not a REAL anti-imperialist, if you were you’d be assisting the propaganda campaigns of the most powerful empire that has ever existed to help it subvert and conquer the nations who disobey its commands.”

I will not mitigate my criticisms of the empire I live in by equating them with the lesser crimes of other countries. Why would you even want me to do that? The only honest reason I can think of is that you want me to go easy on your cognitive dissonance. No. Fuck off. Face it. Turn and face the horror our empire inflicts on the world.

Of course it would be easier to shake my fist at foreigners rather than demand change in the empire that my country is a part of. Duh. That’s why you do it. I will not.

People want me to equate the full magnitude of the murderous butchery and weaponized starvation that our western empire is engaged in with these piddling crimes of other countries so they don’t feel bad. Fuck that. Feel bad. Feeling bad means you’ll need/want to change it.

Gosh that Pentagon-commissioned 2019 Rand Corp paper on how to break Russia is just chock full of convenient coincidences:

Paweł Wargan on Twitter: "In 2019, the Rand Corp., the brain of US militarism, published a report with nearly six pages on how the US could stoke conflict in the Caucasus - esp. between Armenia and Azerbaijan - to help weaken Russia's influence. Last night, Azerbaijan invaded Armenia. When does it stop? pic.twitter.com/sdQIYGpOIu / Twitter"

In 2019, the Rand Corp., the brain of US militarism, published a report with nearly six pages on how the US could stoke conflict in the Caucasus - esp. between Armenia and Azerbaijan - to help weaken Russia's influence. Last night, Azerbaijan invaded Armenia. When does it stop? pic.twitter.com/sdQIYGpOIu

People defend capitalism on the grounds that it creates abundance, and in a sense they’re right: capitalism is an effective way to drive up production and consumption. The problem is there’s no wisdom guiding it, so the world is being choked with garbage while people go hungry.

Haves exploiting the labor of have-nots will indeed get the gears of industry creating lots of stuff. But now we’re creating too much stuff, so much that it’s killing our biosphere, even as vast inequalities remain and far too many go without the basic necessities in life. The “invisible hand” of the free market is worshipped as a sentient deity who always knows what’s best, but in reality it’s completely bereft of wisdom and intelligence and cannot move in harmony with the real needs of the real world. It’s a mindless force that is driving us to disaster.

This isn’t a problem you can just ignore. You can’t keep waxing on about how much stuff capitalism has been able to create while that stuff is destroying our ecosystem and making this planet uninhabitable. It’s a problem that urgently needs solving, and capitalism can’t solve it.

Capitalism offers no solution to the problems of ecocide and inequality. As long as exploitation remains profitable, exploitation will remain. As long as ecocide remains profitable, ecocide will continue. Human behavior cannot remain driven by profit. We need something new.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

The Meaning of ‘So-called Primitive Accumulation’ in Marxism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/09/2022 - 11:49pm in

By Ian Angus

Climate & Capitalism

Sep 07, 2022

In Part Eight of Capital, titled “So-called Primitive Accumulation,” Marx describes the brutal processes that separated working people from the means of subsistence, and concentrated wealth in the hands of landlords and capitalists. It’s one of the most dramatic and readable parts of the book.

It is also a continuing source of confusion and debate. Literally dozens of articles have tried to explain what “primitive accumulation” really meant. Did it occur only in the distant past, or does it continue today? Was “primitive” a mistranslation? Should the name be changed? What exactly was “Marx’s theory of primitive accumulation”?

In this article, written for my coming book on The War Against the Commons, I argue that Marx thought “primitive accumulation” was a misleading and erroneous concept. Understanding what he actually wrote shines light on two essential Marxist concepts: exploitation and expropriation.

This is a draft, not my final word. I look forward to your comments, corrections and suggestions.

+ + + + +

On June 20 and 27, 1865, Karl Marx gave a two-part lecture to members of the International Workingmen’s Association (the First International) in London. In clear and direct English, he drew on insights that would appear in the nearly-finished first volume of Capital, to explain the labor theory of value, surplus value, class struggle, and the importance of trade unions as “centres of resistance against the encroachments of capital.”1 Since an English translation of Capital wasn’t published until after his death, those talks were the only opportunity that English-speaking workers had to learn those ideas directly from their author.

While explaining how workers sell their ability to work, Marx asked rhetorically how it came about that there are two types of people in the market–capitalists who own the means of production, and workers who must sell their labor-power in order to survive.

How does this strange phenomenon arise, that we find on the market a set of buyers, possessed of land, machinery, raw material, and the means of subsistence, all of them, save land in its crude state, the products of labour, and on the other hand, a set of sellers who have nothing to sell except their labouring power, their working arms and brains? That the one set buys continually in order to make a profit and enrich themselves, while the other set continually sells in order to earn their livelihood?

A full answer was outside the scope of his lecture, he said, but “the inquiry into this question would be an inquiry into what the economists call ‘Previous, or Original Accumulation,’ but which ought to be called Original Expropriation.”

“We should find that this so-called Original Accumulation means nothing but a series of historical processes, resulting in a Decomposition of the Original Union existing between the Labouring Man and his Instruments of Labour.… The Separation between the Man of Labour and the Instruments of Labour once established, such a state of things will maintain itself and reproduce itself upon a constantly increasing scale, until a new and fundamental revolution in the mode of production should again overturn it, and restore the original union in a new historical form.”

Marx was always very careful in his use of words. He didn’t replace accumulation with expropriation lightly. The switch is particularly important because this was the only time he discussed the issue in English–it wasn’t filtered through a translation.

In Capital, the subject occupies eight chapters in the part titled Die sogenannte ursprüngliche Akkumulation–later rendered in English translations as “So-called Primitive Accumulation.” Once again, Marx’s careful use of words is important–he added “so-called” to make a point, that the historical processes were not primitive and not accumulation. Much of the confusion about Marx’s meaning reflects failure to understand his ironic intent, here and elsewhere.

In the first paragraph he tells us that ‘ursprüngliche’ Akkumulation is his translation of Adam Smith’s words previous accumulation. He put the word ursprüngliche (previous) in scare quotes, signaling that the word is inappropriate. For some reason the quote marks are omitted in the English translations, so his irony is lost.

In the 1800s, primitive was a synonym for original–for example, the Primitive Methodist Church claimed to follow the original teachings of Methodism. As a result, the French edition of Capital, which Marx edited in the 1870s, translated ursprüngliche as primitive; that carried over to the 1887 English translation, and we have been stuck with primitive accumulation ever since, even though the word’s meaning has changed.

Marx explains why he used so-called and scare quotes by comparing the idea of previous accumulation to the Christian doctrine that we all suffer because Adam and Eve sinned in a distant mythical past. Proponents of previous accumulation tell an equivalent nursery tale:

Long, long ago there were two sorts of people; one, the diligent, intelligent and above all frugal elite; the other, lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living. … Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth, and the latter sort finally had nothing to sell except their own skins. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the great majority who, despite all their labour, have up to now nothing to sell but themselves, and the wealth of the few that increases constantly, although they have long ceased to work.

“Such insipid childishness is every day preached to us in defense of property,” but when we consider actual history, “it is a notorious fact that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, in short, force, play the greatest part.” The chapters of So-called Primitive Accumulation describe the brutal processes by which “great masses of men [were] suddenly and forcibly torn from their means of subsistence, and hurled onto the labor-market as free, unprotected and rightless proletarians.”

These newly freed men became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And this history, the history of their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.

Marx’s account focuses on expropriation in England, because the dispossession of working people was most complete there, but he also refers to the mass murder of indigenous people in the Americas, the plundering of India, and the trade in African slaves–“these idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation.” That sentence, and others like it, illustrate Marx’s consistently sarcastic take on primitive accumulation. He is not describing primitive accumulation, he is condemning those who use the concept to conceal the brutal reality of expropriation.

Failure to understand that Marx was polemicizing against the concept of “primitive accumulation” has led to another misconception–that Marx thought it occurred only in the distant past, when capitalism was being born. That was what Adam Smith and other pro-capitalist writers meant by previous accumulation, and as we’ve seen, Marx compared that view to the Garden of Eden myth. Marx’s chapters on so-called primitive accumulation emphasized the violent expropriations that laid the basis for early capitalism because he was responding to the claim that capitalism evolved peacefully. But his account also includes the Opium Wars of the 1840s and 1850s, the Highland Clearances in capitalist Scotland, the colonial-created famine that killed a million people in Orissa in India in 1866, and plans for enclosing and privatizing land in Australia. All of these took place during Marx’s lifetime and while he was writing Capital. None of them were part of capitalism’s prehistory.

The expropriations that occurred in capitalism’s first centuries were devastating, but far from complete. In Marx’s view, capital could not rest there–its ultimate goal was “to expropriate all individuals from the means of production.”2 Elsewhere he wrote of big capitalists “dispossessing the smaller capitalists and expropriating the final residue of direct producers who still have something left to expropriate.”3 In other words, expropriation continues well after capitalism matures.

We often use the word accumulation loosely, for gathering up or hoarding, but for Marx it had a specific meaning, the increase of capital by the addition of surplus value,4 a continuous process that results from the exploitation of wage-labor. The examples he describes in “So-called Primitive Accumulation” all refer to robbery, dispossession, and expropriation–discrete appropriations without equivalent exchange. Expropriation, not accumulation.

In the history of capitalism, we see a constant, dialectical interplay between the two forms of class robbery that Peter Linebaugh has dubbed X2–expropriation and exploitation.

Expropriation is prior to exploitation, yet the two are interdependent. Expropriation not only prepares the ground, so to speak, it intensifies exploitation.5

Expropriation is open robbery. It includes forced enclosure, dispossession, slavery and other forms of theft, without equivalent exchange. Exploitation is concealed robbery. Workers appear to receive full payment for their labor in the form of wages, but in fact the employer receives more value than he pays for.

What Adam Smith and others described as a gradual build up of wealth by men who were more industrious and frugal than others was actually violent, forcible expropriation that created the original context for exploitation and has continued to expand it ever since. As John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark write in The Robbery of Nature:

Like any complex, dynamic system, capitalism has both an inner force that propels it and objective conditions outside itself that set its boundaries, the relations to which are forever changing. The inner dynamic of the system is governed by the process of exploitation of labor power, under the guise of equal exchange, while its primary relation to its external environment is one of expropriation.6

In short, Marx did not have a “theory of primitive accumulation.” He devoted eight chapters of Capital to demonstrating that the political economists who promoted such a theory were wrong, that it was a “nursery tale” invented to whitewash capital’s real history.

Marx’s preference for “original expropriation” wasn’t just playing with words. That expression captured his view that “the expropriation from the land of the direct producers–private ownership for some, involving non-ownership of the land for others–is the basis of the capitalist mode of production.”7

The continuing separation of humanity from our direct relationship with the earth was not and is not a peaceful process: it is written in letters of blood and fire.

That’s why he preceded the words “primitive accumulation” by “so-called.”

Notes:
1 Quotations from Marx’s 1865 lectures, “Value, Price and Profit,” are from Marx Engels Collected Works, vol. 20, 103-149. Quotations from “So-Called Primitive Accumulation” are from Marx, Capital vol. 1 (Penguin, 1976) 873-940.
2 Marx, Capital vol. 3, (Penguin, 1981) 571.
3 Ibid, 349.
4 See chapters 24 and 25 of Capital vol. 1.
5 Linebaugh, Stop Thief! (PM Press, 2014), 73.
6 Foster and Clark, The Robbery of Nature (Monthly Review Press, 2020), 36.
7 Marx, Capital vol. 3 (Penguin, 1981) 948. Emphasis added.

About Ian Angus
Ian Angus is a socialist and ecosocialist activist in Canada. He is editor of the ecosocialist journal Climate & Capitalism. He is co-author, with Simon Butler, of Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis (Haymarket, 2011), editor of the anthology The Global Fight for Climate Justice (Fernwood, 2010); and author of Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System (Monthly Review Press, 2016). His latest book is A Redder Shade of Green: Intersections of Science and Socialism (Monthly Review Press, 2017).

Free Market Genocides: The Real History of Trade

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 11/09/2022 - 12:40pm in

Tags 

Capitalism

One reason this hushed-up history matters is that even today economic “rationality” and plunder often remain partners in crime.

The post Free Market Genocides: The Real History of Trade appeared first on Evonomics.

Our Entire Civilization Is Fake And Stupid

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/09/2022 - 11:49pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/17bce318a58c1f6b4ddde7e5d327233a/href

You’re not jaded; everything really is just as phony and vapid as it looks.

I say this because if you are reading this it’s likely the result of a personal quest for truth which has led to a gradual peeling away of the lies our society is made of. Your eyes probably found this text because you’re the sort of person who’s been trying to make sense of the world in a sea of propaganda and deception, which often results in a growing disgust not just with the power structures which oppress and tyrannize humanity, but with our entire civilization.

This experience is very common for people like yourself, and it’s very common because it arises from a clear perception of reality. From the very beginning human civilization has been built around serving the interests of the powerful, from religion to philosophy to the arts to law. As the world has gotten smaller and it’s become possible to artificially manufacture culture with mass-distributed media, this has only become more the case.

That’s why the more you learn about the world, the more fake and stupid our civilization looks. It’s because it is fake and stupid. Our news, our entertainment, our jobs, our legal systems, our political systems, our education systems, our financial, monetary, economic and commercial systems; the way our entire civilization is structured and organized has nothing to do with what’s true and good and everything to do with keeping human organisms compliantly turning the gears of capitalism and empire.

body[data-twttr-rendered="true"] {background-color: transparent;}.twitter-tweet {margin: auto !important;}

function notifyResize(height) {height = height ? height : document.documentElement.offsetHeight; var resized = false; if (window.donkey && donkey.resize) {donkey.resize(height);resized = true;}if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var obj = {iframe: window.frameElement, height: height}; parent._resizeIframe(obj); resized = true;}if (window.location && window.location.hash === "#amp=1" && window.parent && window.parent.postMessage) {window.parent.postMessage({sentinel: "amp", type: "embed-size", height: height}, "*");}if (window.webkit && window.webkit.messageHandlers && window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize) {window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize.postMessage(height); resized = true;}return resized;}twttr.events.bind('rendered', function (event) {notifyResize();}); twttr.events.bind('resize', function (event) {notifyResize();});if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var maxWidth = parseInt(window.frameElement.getAttribute("width")); if ( 500 < maxWidth) {window.frameElement.setAttribute("width", "500");}}

Mainstream culture is one giant psyop geared toward keeping people fueling the oppression machine. Not because of some grand conspiracy (though there’s plenty of that too), but because the manufacturers of culture have a vested interest in preserving our unwholesome status quo. The media are owned by plutocrats who have an interest in making sure everything they’re putting out sustains the imperial status quo upon which their kingdoms are built. The Pentagon has more influence over Hollywood than people like you or I ever will.

Things get elevated to mainstream levels of attention and influence by the people with the wealth and power to elevate them, and they’re always going to elevate things which serve their interests by manufacturing consent for the status quo their wealth and power are premised upon, not things which harm their interests like material that expands class consciousness or highlights the depravity of the US-centralized empire.

So mainstream culture presents a fraudulent image of reality. It’s written into the code of everything that’s mass produced — not just in Prager University lectures on the evils of socialism or propagandistic news stories about weapons of mass destruction, but in sitcoms, in advertisements, in clothing brands, in pop music, in textbooks, in trends. When it’s not constant messaging that capitalism is totally working and the world is ordered in a more or less sane and truth-based way, it’s manipulations designed to shape our values and measures of self-worth to make us into better gear-turners.

If you’re noticing this ubiquitous fraudulence, it’s not because you’re becoming distant from the rest of society, it’s because you’re becoming more intimate with it. You’re getting in real close, so close you can see the nuts and bolts of it, see how the sausage is made.

body[data-twttr-rendered="true"] {background-color: transparent;}.twitter-tweet {margin: auto !important;}

function notifyResize(height) {height = height ? height : document.documentElement.offsetHeight; var resized = false; if (window.donkey && donkey.resize) {donkey.resize(height);resized = true;}if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var obj = {iframe: window.frameElement, height: height}; parent._resizeIframe(obj); resized = true;}if (window.location && window.location.hash === "#amp=1" && window.parent && window.parent.postMessage) {window.parent.postMessage({sentinel: "amp", type: "embed-size", height: height}, "*");}if (window.webkit && window.webkit.messageHandlers && window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize) {window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize.postMessage(height); resized = true;}return resized;}twttr.events.bind('rendered', function (event) {notifyResize();}); twttr.events.bind('resize', function (event) {notifyResize();});if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var maxWidth = parseInt(window.frameElement.getAttribute("width")); if ( 500 < maxWidth) {window.frameElement.setAttribute("width", "500");}}

So if this is happening to you, don’t worry. You’re not turning into some kind of jaded hipster who’s too cool for what everyone else is into, you’re just seeing the bullshit for what it is. Sure a rejection of mainstream culture can just be pure ego-driven “look at me I’m so special” crap, but it’s also what happens when you sincerely move in for a closer look at the mass-scale psychological fabric of human civilization.

This is what Terence McKenna was talking about when he said “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.” And it’s what Jiddu Krishnamurti was pointing at when he said “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” A lucid perception of reality today will necessarily be accompanied by the ever-present smell of bullshit.

And that’s not your fault. It’s not your fault that you were born into this world where so much of everything is fake and stupid. So be gentle with yourself in your sense of alienation. And take comfort in knowing that others see what you’re seeing too.

But mainly learn to take comfort in the fact that, just underneath the logos and screens and suburbs and Hollywood actors pretending to be people, reality is roaring. There’s a whole world of wonder and authenticity shining ferociously from just beneath the surface. It’s just got nothing to do with the artificial culture that’s been mass-produced by the powerful and funneled into our minds.

body[data-twttr-rendered="true"] {background-color: transparent;}.twitter-tweet {margin: auto !important;}

function notifyResize(height) {height = height ? height : document.documentElement.offsetHeight; var resized = false; if (window.donkey && donkey.resize) {donkey.resize(height);resized = true;}if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var obj = {iframe: window.frameElement, height: height}; parent._resizeIframe(obj); resized = true;}if (window.location && window.location.hash === "#amp=1" && window.parent && window.parent.postMessage) {window.parent.postMessage({sentinel: "amp", type: "embed-size", height: height}, "*");}if (window.webkit && window.webkit.messageHandlers && window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize) {window.webkit.messageHandlers.resize.postMessage(height); resized = true;}return resized;}twttr.events.bind('rendered', function (event) {notifyResize();}); twttr.events.bind('resize', function (event) {notifyResize();});if (parent && parent._resizeIframe) {var maxWidth = parseInt(window.frameElement.getAttribute("width")); if ( 500 < maxWidth) {window.frameElement.setAttribute("width", "500");}}

Underneath all the social engineering and power-serving control mechanisms, there’s a whole life of raw terrestriality that is much, much older and much, much stronger than the lies of the machine. You can see it crackling everywhere, even in the densest parts of the matrix.

You can see it in the sky. You can see it in the bushes and the pigeons. But you can also see it in the bus billboards and skyscrapers, in the flashing signs and blaring screens. And you can see it in the giant-brained bipedal primates you’re surrounded by each day, hiding just behind the dance of imperial fraudulence in their heads. You can see it even in those who are most asleep at the wheel, the most enslaved to the mind viruses of the machine, if you look. Once you learn to see it, you can observe nature winking at you even from inside the most rage-faced pundits and most self-absorbed social natterers. It’s there.

In reality this sense of alienation is just an awkward transition phase between buying into the imperial dreamworld and a deep, deep intimacy with humanity as it really is beneath all the obnoxious programming. Beyond the revulsion at the phony facepuppets, something ancient, authentic, and exuberant is dancing. And it is more real and more true than our disgust with this civilization.

Look closer and you see the fraudulence. Look even closer and you see what’s real. Your sense of alienation is entirely valid and based in truth, but we’re not meant to stay there. Truth beckons us forward. Truth is beckoning us all forward. And these mind cages they have built for us aren’t real enough to hold us in for much longer.

___________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Capitalism Has No Solution To Ecocide: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/09/2022 - 11:23pm in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/bd7ed2f37010e7d220b41b29306461f3/href

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible get to just stay in power indefinitely and suffer no meaningful consequences of any kind.”
~ John F Kennedy (paraphrased)

Ecocide will continue as long as ecocide is profitable. No possible iteration of capitalism can address this problem. This, in and of itself, is a sufficiently strong argument that capitalism must be abandoned.

No model where human behavior remains driven by profit can address the problem that ecocide will continue as long as ecocide is profitable. That’s why so many capitalism proponents are reduced to simply pretending that ecocide isn’t a problem.

Eco-consciousness and anti-capitalism go hand in hand, but the liberals are dominating environmentalist discourse while the commies frequently neglect it. This is a strategic and moral error. This is the strongest argument against capitalism, and it’s one which needs to be made.

It can take a while for a principled antiwar leftist to learn that in the big picture they have very little in common with so-called progressives who mostly ignore US imperialism and just want the empire to forgive their student loans. The difference between a leftist who opposes capitalism and empire and your average Bernie Sanders progressive is considerably greater than the difference between your average Bernie Sanders progressive and your average MSNBC Clintonite.

None of this means progressives can’t be worked with on points of convergence, it just means they’re ideologically different and it serves no one to pretend otherwise. The same is true of antiwar right-libertarians. Ultimately there’s commonality wherever class interests align.

I’m as distrustful as anyone of the new mainstream UFO narratives, but when congress is saying UFOs are a threat that is “expanding exponentially”, it probably deserves attention. I don’t know why they’re saying it, but they’re not saying it for no reason. There’s an agenda here, whether it’s weaponizing space or running cover for new military technology or just securing more money for the military-industrial complex. I’m not willing to commit to any position on what exactly they’re up to, but they’re clearly up to something.

Not many people from my sector of the political fringe are looking at this, and I think that’s partly because there’s so much uncertainty and partly because it doesn’t really fit into any of our models for understanding the world. But whatever it is, it’s worthy of at least some attention.

The more information that comes out about the effectiveness of psychedelics in treating psychological trauma the more outrageously criminal it looks that these medicines have been suppressed for generations while the world was being destroyed by a highly traumatized species.

We’ve all had the experience of wanting to change something undesirable about our behavior but not being able to. This happens because the forces driving that behavior are not yet conscious. This is what’s happening with the self-destructive behavior of humanity as a whole, too.

There’s a misconception in our society that people stop their self-destructive behavior when they apply “willpower”, which is really just empty head noises. Actually people change when there’s an expansion of consciousness. That’s what we’re waiting on with the human species too.

That’s ultimately why we’re destroying our planet despite knowing it’s bad for us. We can talk all we want about capitalism, corruption, empire and ecocide, but underneath it all what we’re really looking at is the struggle of a thinking species to become a conscious species.

So for me the answer to the “what can we do?” question is usually, expand consciousness. Spread awareness of what’s going on in the world, expand our consciousness of what’s going on in ourselves, anything you can do to bring awareness to previously unconscious important matters.

And people are already doing this. That’s all healthy activism generally is: people working to spread awareness of an important issue. That’s also what real journalism is, it’s what real political dissent is, and what authentic spirituality is. It’s all about expanding awareness.

Working toward a healthy humanity is essentially the task of strolling through the dark hallways of our collective unconscious and flicking on the lights, one by one. It’s not easy, but the more lights get switched on the more awake people there will be helping us switch on the rest of them.

__________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Feature image via IndoMet in the Heart of Borneo (CC BY 2.0)

The History of the Market: Opportunity or Imperative?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/08/2022 - 1:11pm in

Tags 

Events, Capitalism

What has the ‘market’ in capitalist society ever done for us? Is the ‘market’ an enabling force in our everyday lives, that unleashes prosperity, entrepreneurialism, unlimited economic growth, and asset inflation by way of offering choice and opportunity? Or, is there a concealed role to the ‘market’ that is more constraining in the way that it circumscribes our actions, limits and structures both individual and collective agency and ultimately ensures specific imperatives of competition, profit maximisation, and compulsion at the cost of socio-environmental degradation?

For Social Sciences Week 2022, this Roundtable brings together leading political economists to examine critically the past and present history of the market. It does so by covering broad topics related to the organisation of financial markets (Claire Parfitt); the role of institutions such as the World Bank in facilitating private sector finance, rather than public funding (Susan Park); the presence of giant corporations in concentrating power and eschewing accountability (John Mikler); and how market society itself first came into being through acts of enclosure and its associated ideology of improvement (Adam Morton).

Featured speakers:

  • Dr Claire Parfitt, Discipline of Political Economy, University of Sydney
  • Professor Susan Park, Discipline of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney
  • Associate Professor John Mikler, Discipline of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney
  • Professor Adam David Morton, Discipline of Political Economy, University of Sydney

Date: 8 September 2022

Time: 11:00-12:30 AEST

Location: Room 650, Social Sciences Building, A02, Science Road, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006

Registration: FREE HERE

Join us in-person or online via Zoom. Zoom webinar details will be provided to registrants via email.

The post The History of the Market: Opportunity or Imperative? appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Everyone’s a Critic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/08/2022 - 9:57pm in

A radical tradition of cultural critique is at risk of extinction.

Cultivate A Habit Of Small Acts Of Sedition

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/08/2022 - 1:21am in

Listen to a reading of this article:

https://medium.com/media/dd0d3ea60719021d7f62fcc6edc290c4/href

It is not easy being someone who cares about the world and opposes the status quo. It’s a series of disheartening failures and crushing disappointments amid an endless deluge of information saying that everything is getting worse and worse.

The environment keeps degrading. Ruling power structures keep getting more and more controlling. Capitalism gets more and more imbalanced and exploitative. World powers get closer and closer to a mass military confrontation of unspeakable horror.

And what do we get when we try to oppose these things? Letdown after letdown. Politicians we support lose their elections, often after brazen interference from the very power structures we’d hoped they’d oppose. Political organizing breaks down in sectarian infighting. Activist leaders get caught up in sex scandals. Agendas we helped push for fizzle into impotence. Power wins time after time.

What passes for “the left” in the English-speaking world is basically either controlled opposition or a glorified online hobby group. Or both. The real left has been so successfully subverted by power that the mainstream public doesn’t even know what it is anymore; most think the left is either a mainstream political party that’s wholly owned and operated by the empire or a loose bunch of vaguely related ideas like having pink hair or saying your pronouns. The left really has been so successfully dismantled that it has almost been purged from memory.

Every time, at every turn, power wins and the people lose. After a while it starts to feel like you’re bashing your head against an immovable object. Some people fall down after a few hard bashes. Some don’t get back up again. Others keep bashing away, becoming harder and harder and more and more miserable and neurotic the longer they go at it.

And most people don’t even know any of this is happening, that’s what can really make it hard. You talk to your loved ones about what you’re seeing and they just get uncomfortable or look at you like you’re crazy. They don’t see the problems you’re pointing to because none of the places they’re getting their information from tell them it’s happening, because the powerful control those information sources.

As Terence McKenna put it, “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.” And as Marshall McLuhan put it, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is a hallucinating idiot.”

And it sucks. No matter how you slice it, it sucks. It sucks watching this massive juggernaut slowly devour your world and see everyone’s attempts to stop it fail, and to have most people in your life not understand it or even see what it is you’re pointing to.

So what can you do? Is there a way to beat the bastards? Is there a way to stop the machine in its tracks and turn this thing around?

Well, no. Not right this moment anyway, and not by yourself. The machine’s far too big, far too entrenched, and its control over information systems means you’re not going to get help from other people in the numbers that you will need them. It’s just you and a few others against an entire globe-spanning power structure.

But that doesn’t mean you are powerless, and it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. It just means you’re not going to be single-handedly knocking out the bad guy and saving the world in some grand, ego-pleasing way like an action hero in some stupid Hollywood movie.

What you can do as an individual is cultivate a habit of committing small acts of sedition. Making little paper cuts in the flesh of the beast which add up over time. You can’t stop the machine by yourself, but you can sure as hell throw sand in its gears.

Giving a receptive listener some information about what’s going on in the world. Creating dissident media online. Graffiti with a powerful message. Amplifying an inconvenient voice. Sharing a disruptive idea. Supporting an unauthorized cause. Organizing toward forbidden ends. Distributing literature. Creating literature. Having authentic conversations about real things with anyone who can hear you.

Every day there’s something you can do. After you start pointing your creativity at cultivating this habit, you’ll surprise yourself with the innovative ideas you come up with. Even a well-placed meme or tweet can open a bunch of eyes to a reality they’d previously been closed to. Remember, they wouldn’t be working so frantically to restrict online speech if it didn’t pose a genuine threat to the empire.

People tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish in a day, but sorely underestimate how much they can accomplish over a span of several years. Finding little ways to undermine the oppression machine every day gradually adds up to hundreds of acts of defiance in a year, which after a few years becomes thousands.

Do this, and then relax. Don’t expect yourself to save the world on your own. You’re only human, and there’s only one of you. You can only do what you can do, and humanity will either make the leap into health or it won’t. Just exert influence over the things you can exert influence over, and outside that little sphere of influence you’ve got to let go and let be. Don’t put any unfair or unreasonable pressures on yourself.

Perpetrate regular small acts of sedition, and then surrender to whatever life brings. I personally see many reasons to hold out hope that we can bring that machine crashing down together one day.

_________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube, buying an issue of my monthly zine, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fi, Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my American husband Tim Foley.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Feature image via thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

Pages