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Marxism ain't dead yet...

It is ironic that within the context of the largest economic boom since the mid-70s, the left is again rising. It was in the mid-70s when the left reached a tipping point, a negative one. Being brutally suppressed all over the developing world starting with the modern bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes in Brazil/Indonesia in 1964-65. culminating in the coup d'etat in Argentina in 1975, the left was systematically destroyed. The mythology that the left was conquered by, "the logic of the market" has been propagated much. In the West, the left was being subverted by their own failures to go farther than they did, and slowly making concessions to the neoliberalism of Hayek, and Freidman.
Recent articles that I have been reading have been confirming a trend that has become apparent to me, the left is coming back. It is interesting that the great swings from left to right last about 30 years, and about 30 years after the implementation of neoliberalism, the tensions and contradictions that neoliberalism have created world-over are starting to bite back.
Three articles that I read have confirmed this for me, and from the most unlikely of sources. Two are from The Economist magazine, of which I have great respect. The first article, "The post-communist Karl Marx", discusses the increasing popularity of Marxist thought, making the explicit case that it is more read than Adam Smith's work. Since it is from The Economist, he derides Marxism as irrelevant: "It is the breadth of Marx's continuing influence, especially as contrasted with his strange irrelevance to modern economics, that is so arresting." Of course Marxism is not irrelevant to "modern economics" because it was the Marxist critique of classical economics that pushed economists to create neoclassical economics. The article makes BOLD assertions like, "Class war is the sine qua non of Marx. But the class war, if it ever existed, is over." Anyone with ANY sense of history KNOWS that not only has class struggle been the defining characteristic of the 20th century, it is still with us today.

This brings me to the second article that proves the existence of class struggle in the world's future superpower, China. Titled, "Conditions of the Working Class in China" by Robert Weil. The work shows that with the reforms of Deng Xiaoping and the increasing inequality and dispossession that it wrought, old cultural revolutionaries and the "new left" are making connections to raise awareness of an alternative. As stated in the article, "Class conflict and social turmoil have
surged to levels not seen for decades. The workers, peasants, and migrants in China today are mounting some of the largest demonstrations anywhere in
the world, at times involvingclashes with the authorities."
With hundreds of millions of peasants, the reforms of Deng, which started in the 1970s, enabled China to have the manpower to become a major world power. Problematically, like all industrializing states, there are increasing social tensions. What the article is pointing to is the awareness of the old generation of the rights and proto-democratic rule they enjoyed under Mao-although the author does not discuss the negatives of Mao's era-and the new generation's organic ties to the old generation through the mass diffusion of university education to all members of society. What makes China so different is that indeed it has had the experience of socialism, and workers activism. Is this what The Economist was talking about when it stated, no more class war? Nonsense!
The last article actually contradictions the bold assertion of the initial article. The article in question is named, "Communist survival and revival". The article is informative because it dispels the notion that communism is dead, quite the opposite it is in a stage of revival. The new communist movement, it notes, has gotten over much of the bitter divisiveness that has characterized communism in the 20th century: "Eurocommunists can rub shoulders with Stalinists who would once have called them traitors; even different brands of Maoists turn up, ranging from the Chinese party to former admirers of Albania's Enver Hoxha."The revival of the Italian communist party is indicative of a strong connection that the communist party has in continental Europe. This is not to say that communism is a good thing unto itself, as Marxism like neoclassical analysis is riddled with unsuportable assumptions, principally the transformation problem. However, what it does show is that in the myth from the 1980s, of a "property-owning democracy" of Thatcher, people are still capable of thinking beyond themselves.


Traitorous ignorance

Organically I am from the working class, thus I defend the interests of the working class. I am surprised how some members of the same class, become traitors not only to their class but to themselves. I am currently reading Steve Keen's book, Debunking Economics. After reading the chapter on how economists justify exploitation of labour through anti-minimum wage positions and anti-union positions. All of it is based on the notion of perfect competition, no such situation can theoretically exist and thus, has never existed. The economists make so many morbid and unrealistic assumptions about the functioning of the human being and the economy it makes you want to laugh if it weren't so influential.

For instance, economists would argue that as people make less money they work less. Which, to even the most reasonable of observers is a ludicrous assumption. People work more when they are making less money to survive, economists assume that there is an actual "indifference" between leisure and work, meaning that people choose the amount of time they work. In the real world, people want to work more because they do not make enough. Economists must assume as Keen points out that workers have alternative means of income, they simply do not. Work is not a choice, its a coercive act.

I am not going to explain the whole illogical assumptions and conclusions that Keen points out in his book. It pains me to understand and hold all of the information in my head, so I am not going to be so pretentious as to know exactly how to articulate the idea's presented in the book. You will have to trust that the notions of a downward sloping demand curve, and upward sloping supply curve is nonsense.

What about the traitors? They know no better, they are usually conservatives who in the grand tradition of conversatism, do not know terribly much. I have debated conservatives on the idea of unions for instance. They argue that, in their articulation, that "unions are greedy". Thus, that almost primal understanding of the economy determines the power of labour to demand fair wages and conditions at the ballot box. I do blame these individuals who went to university, for their ignorance. The argument in reality is that there is no perfectly competitive market, we have oligopolies and monopolies, but we do not have the equivalent in the labour market. Instead, we have a "competitive" labour market, where you have millions of people fighting hand over fist for positions, positions that increasingly pay less and offer less.

This asymmetry of power is not being corrected, in part thanks to the economics of false assumptions and ignorance of reality of the real world. We need to counteract the power of amalgamated capital-corporations-with amalgamated labour power. To go beyond the trade-union movement, to get workers to organize, even the unemployed, in the field in which they seek to find employment. LIke a medical association, or the bar association, and use that association of labour to find and demand fair wages and working conditions for labour. Its a working idea.

Until later


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