Volatility

March 4, 2015

Notes Toward Analysis of the TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. Government by bureaucracy is government directly by power. This contrasts with how constitutional government, a so-called government of laws, is supposed to function. As Hannah Arendt puts it in Origins of Totalitarianism, “Power, which in constitutional government only enforces the law, becomes the direct source of legislation.” In reality the “government by laws” never really existed except maybe for brief periods and only for certain groups. Far more commonly government dresses up its might makes right nature with sham facades of constitutionality, law, democracy. Neoliberalism represents the conscious, systematic application of this government-by-facade strategy. (Throughout these discussions I refer to modern states, the states of the fossil fuel age, the age of extreme, ahistorical energy consumption. I’m leaving aside pre-oil and possible post-oil forms.)
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Government at the directive of corporate bureaucracy is the most direct and brutal form of government by bureaucracy, government directly by power. Indeed, unlike with the lies the system tells about government bureaucracies and police, corporate bureaucracies are increasingly declared explicitly to be above the law. This is the main purpose of globalization pacts like the TTIP and TPP. Specific provisions of these pacts essentially override all law wherever this might interfere with an assumed pre-society, state-of-nature right of corporations to seek and collect plunder in the legalized form of “profit”. ISDS gives corporations a weapon of aggression to seek even the most speculative theoretical “profit”, not by running the risks of investment and actually having to produce a good or service, but by attacking the legal basis of society in a secret World Bank tribunal. Here a Mafia-style stickup is carried out. The corporation names the amount of profit it demands the taxpayers hand over, and the World Bank orders the society to cough it up.
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(“Profit” is nothing but a metric of corporate power and corporate looting, and has no special economic meaning beyond that. The government of course allows every kind of fraudulent accounting, from fictitious mark-to-market pricing of securities to the direct transfer of government handouts to the balance sheet, to the monumental level of negative externalities which are shrugged off as nonexistent. All corporate oligopoly sectors are completely dependent on corporate welfare and government “forbearance”, i.e. winking at massive crimes like pollution and accounting fraud. All big corporations would collapse tomorrow without these. No big corporation has “earned” a textbook profit in decades. They all hemorrhage wealth.
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As far as what capitalism really is, the corporations are way ahead of everyone else. They understand that every concept and tenet of “capitalism” is sheer bunk, and that the only thing real for them is control, domination, the never-ending expansion of power. Profit-seeking is only one form of this power accumulation, to be used or abused or jettisoned as necessary. Profit as the Economics 101 textbooks depict it is already a myth. Eventually the corporations won’t even formally measure it at all, even in the fraudulent way they do today.
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Power is the only thing corporations understand, and a world based upon nothing but this psychotic fantasy is the world they are trying to force upon humanity.)
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Beyond these “sector specific” and thug enforcement provisions putting corporate activism outside and above the law, the TTIP seeks to institute a permanent process of corporate-government bureaucratic Gleichschaltung, called “regulatory coherence”. Here government regulators are to be coordinated under corporate direction to advocate or oppose existing or proposed laws, to oppose existing regulations which the corporations feel hamper them, advocate those which accelerate the race to the bottom as well as regulations of aggression vs. alternatives to corporate domination. (We also have an excellent current example of how government regulators are openly conspiring with corporations to murder c. 200 people over the next 20 years as the “collateral damage” of shale gas and oil export. Collateral damage is of course not an accident, but by definition is premeditated.) In all of these ways “law” is to be nominally maintained but twisted in practice under the command of the corporate sectors.
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2. Ideologically, both aggressive globalization and the systematic demolition of civilization under the campaign name austerity are versions of the “progress” ideology. This aspect of Progress is based on the notion that only limitless power and wealth accumulation can maintain the stability of alleged economic “laws”. In reality there are no such “laws”, only politically chosen frameworks, and it’s the expansion and accumulation process itself which is the greatest destroyer of stability and of civilization itself, as the corporatists themselves admit in another, contradictory branch of their propaganda, the paean to “creative destruction”.
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Expansionism is the accumulation ideology as applied to the state, which effectively provides the subsidy basis for the growth of all the corporate sectors, and whose sword arm makes global corporate activism possible. “Profit” does not mean actual wealth creation; more often it is destructive for the country as a whole.
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Supply-based productionism, the wholesale destruction of the planet to enable mindless production for its own sake, is the practical basis of “expansion for expansion’s sake”. The alternative is a demand-based economy.
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The logic of course shipwrecks at the limits of the globe itself, and that’s where it extrudes the parallel earth-hating cults of “getting off the rock” and of genetic engineering. Both are fantasies of breaking free of the Earth’s physical limits, one by allowing elites to literally colonize other planets, the other by technologically generating a repeatable, “creatively destructive” blank slate where nature and/or prior agricultural orders used to be. This is one of the many ways GMOs embody a precise analogy, and not just an analogy, to war, which also resuscitates faltering accumulation processes by destroying on a massive scale what already exists.
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3. With today’s globalization in its most extremist forms – NAFTA and the pacts which are modeled upon it, culminating in the TTIP, TPP, and CETA – we have the most extreme, crusading imperialist form of US-based corporate rule.
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Europe seemingly wants to relinquish its centuries-old doctrine of seeking a balance of powers in favor of lying prostrate while the US corporate boot stomps it. This is inherent in the transformation the modern state underwent starting in the latter half of the 19th century, a transformation which is reaching its totalitarian consummation only now.
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If the nation-state was first organized in an unproductive way, its reorganization was forced by the rise of fossil fuels and the tremendous temporary leap these afforded in energy consumption, and therefore of economic activism. The nation-state tried to act as a non-profit state rather than as a business. The bourgeoisie has acted to take over the state and run it as a profit-seeking, power-seeking entity. The capitalists’ accumulation-seeking activism had embroiled it in conflict around the world, and they needed state protection and aggression on their behalf. The modern business state’s primary action has been to foster and support “private” economic accumulation. Its foreign policy has been based on expansionism and military aggression on behalf of this accumulation. The state had to be reorganized in an accumulation-seeking way, otherwise it would be superseded by a government form which was so organized. This is the morphology of modern power concentration. Corporations are the most direct, distilled form of accumulation-seeking power, and the profit-oriented state has become more and more a corporate state. With globalization pacts we’re now at the threshold of a unprecedentedly direct form of de jure corporate government.
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The government itself was now put on a profit basis, and all subsequent foreign policy, including so-called “trade” policy, was undertaken more or less from the point of view of a corporation seeking to plunder and extract.
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This was the main driver of the abandonment of the old “balance of power” mindset in favor of an all-or-nothing mindset. This change was most spectacularly displayed in WWI, where the Germans openly proclaimed continental annexation goals while the Allied-imposed Versailles Treaty intended to permanently cripple Germany economically and militarily. But this transformation had been developing over decades.
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The state was transformed into a political form based on the accumulation of wealth and power and the export of economic commodities and of raw power. This was driven by and reinforced the development of a political class which sees all of politics as being about nothing but power. Power and violence aren’t new, but the modern business state is new in making these the very basis of the whole political and economic system, power for its own sake. This is the essence of the corporation’s world view. With the globalization pacts we’re undergoing the formal enshrinement of this Hobbesian framework as the overriding action and basis of government as such, while all human values and concerns are to be literally outlawed wherever they stand in the way of the corporate imperative.
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So the nation itself, civil society in all its aspects, are to be quashed in favor of the power prerogatives of the corporate sectors. This direct corporate rule is being enshrined by its own pseudo-constitution. We can indeed read the text of the TTIP and TPP, and NAFTA and others before them, as comprising a Corporate Constitution overriding the constitutions and laws people think they live by today. But in truth, just as we can view corporate oligopoly as an extraconstitutional Fourth Branch of government to which the first three branches are ceding all power, so we can see how the entirety of the US Constitution has been swallowed up and dissolved by three clauses – the Commerce clause which is today deployed in a veritably totalitarian way, the Supremacy clause which is used to quash democracy and civil society action in every sector, and the treaty-making power under which the nominal “public” government is abrogating much of its power to the TTIP, i.e. the corporations. So looking at it that way leads us to back to the first track – “public”, “constitutional” government is shifting all power to the “private”, extraconstitutional corporate branch of government. This is the legalistic process by which corporate government is being instituted. The globalization pacts play a major role.
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4. In the practical sense, what corporate elites want is for the state to act as corporate welfare conveyor and violent enforcer through threats and military/police means, and to take all the financial and other risks upon itself (i.e. the taxpayers) but not engage in public policy beyond this. Beyond this the state should just maintain a sham facade of “elections” and the two primary astroturfs, the Democrat and Republican Parties. Whatever’s left of public interest government, anything which could actually help people, anything which isn’t directly profitable for the corporate sectors, is to be gutted and dismantled. All true politics are to be eradicated and replaced by a corporatized anti-politics. I call this the bagman/thug model of government.
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This sums up neoliberalism and austerity, and is also the reason why anything the government undertakes which is allegedly for the public benefit, such as “health care reform”, is intentionally set up primarily as a corporate toll booth and to further organize such a core element of human society as medicine under corporate rule. Any government policy must be first and foremost corporate welfare, while a policy like Single Payer that directly helps people and doesn’t convey wealth to the corporations is literally inconceivable by the elites and the political class. This is true no matter how beneficial, rational, and less expensive the public interest policy would be, and no matter how harmful, destructive, irrational, and vastly more expensive the corporatist policy is. The globalization pacts represent the ultimate enshrinement of the this corporate policy derangement.
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5. So we have:
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A. A basically unitary, monolithic corporate elite class, which is roughly synonymous with the 1% and its flunkeys. These include the political class and “professionals” as groups. The organizations wielding tremendously concentrated power are big corporations grouped into oligopoly sectors. The sectors exist in a rough hierarchy with Wall Street at the top. Relations within each sector are based more on collusion than conflict. There’s jockeying for position but only rarely does a serious fight break out.
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B. In the US government system, the political class is transferring power and control from the three constitutional, nominally accountable branches to the extraconstitutional, unaccountable in principle Fourth Branch of government, the corporations themselves.
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Parallel processes are well underway in academia, among professional groupings, and as written into the very ideology of such endeavors as science and journalism, which now exist primarily in the form of corporate-dictated “science” and the corporate media.
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C. The first three branches are to remain potent as corporate welfare bagman and thug, promoter of the pseudo-democratic facade, and as holder of all risk.
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Now that corporatism, and the bourgeois ideology of which it is the ultimate consummation, has won for the time being, the corporate government’s goal is to cause the state to wither away in favor of direct corporate rule, except insofar as the state serves as bagman and thug.
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6. As Arendt put it, the corporations and their supporters want “power without a body politic”. Corporations are to have total power and license, individuals are to be atomized and stripped of all effective power and rights. We can trace the evolution of a yet another parallel track, the evolution of the obscene concept of “corporate rights”. Corporate personhood was first surreptitiously smuggled into constitutional jurisprudence, from there asserted as a precedent, from there became the assumption of the law, and from there to a presumably normative assumption of politics and the public consciousness. This morphed into an affirmative concept of corporate “rights” which was first asserted in court decisions, then elaborated by the courts into a de facto corporate “bill of rights” overriding the people’s bill of rights, and has become a mainstay of media propaganda and corporate rhetoric. Thus Monsanto calls itself a “global corporate citizen” (doubly an oxymoron). From this aggrandizement of corporate “rights” we reach the effective condition where only corporations are presumed to have rights, only corporations are seen as “citizens” (the jargon substitutes the term “stakeholder”), and human beings are disenfranchised. Rather than formally denationalize citizens as prior modern tyrannies have often done, corporate government seeks to render citizenship itself effectively meaningless. It wants to render us all effectively stateless. And today we have globalization pacts like the TTIP which seek to formally enshrine this infinite corporate empowerment and complete human dispossession. Such a concept as the “right to profit” seeks the end of all human and earthly existence as anything but a resource mine and waste dump.
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7. “Profit” is just a pretext for the corporate accumulation and exercise of power, while the goods and services corporations allegedly provide comprise the same kind of propaganda scam as the services allegedly provided by the austerity governments of today. In reality goods and services come from the same source which has always provided them: Nature, and the people who do the actual work. People have always provided the goods and services of civilization in spite of the government and corporate hierarchies which “organize” them, not because of these. The greatly superior moral, rational, practical alternative to all supply-based economic and political policy is a demand-based economy.
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The first step of humanity’s liberation must be the conscious realization that the corporations are not legitimate but alien and tyrannical, wherever they exist and exert power.

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79 Comments

  1. We are already experiencing a dramatic collapse of civil liberties in Europe (and also the USA, etc.) just to protect the bourgeois oligarchies (what you call corporations, remember that they are owned by extremely powerful and machiavellian individuals such as Rockefeller, Rotschild, Soros or Murdoch – we don’t know exactly who owns what normally but that’s the hidden reality of Capitalism: corporations are just a convenient tool for those mega-powerful oligarchs). If this treaty is actually implemente (I doubt it somewhat because things are begining to change and anyhow Capitalism is dying) the situation will become extreme: the so-called “libertarian” ideology would have succeded and societies would be (apparently) deprived of political existence (state and other more or less representative entities).

    However that is also an opportunity because there’s no way Capitalism may survive in such conditions or in any other: its level of sustainability is horribly worse than anything I can gather from the historical references. In the past there was exploitation, and very brutal, but now that exploitation has taken over Earth itself at levels that just cannot work at all. Without states (or effective states that can pretend some sort of representativity for the society), human society can only do one thing (other than die in slavery): self-organize antagonically to Capitalism and its mercenary forces. In fact I can only predict, as we have seen in Ukraine, a collapse of social structure and of capitalist profit itself.

    It’s a suicidal trend for the status quo.

    “… what corporate elites want is for the state to act as corporate welfare conveyor and violent enforcer”…

    Nowadays they only want the latter (welfare is being destroyed everywhere) and they are even creating their own private armies, particularly in the USA. Monsters like Blackwater/Academi are the vanguard of the ultimate destruction of the state by “libertarian” ultra-capitalism.

    ““Profit” is just a pretext for the corporate accumulation and exercise of power”…

    Call it what you want: money and profit were never any different from power. Money is in fact a social code that is roughly equivalent of power. For common people it just may mean the “power” to buy a home, a car or education (or a hire a servant or other kind of worker as well, what is indeed direct power over other people) but for the oligarchs it means the basic capacity to control power resorts of all kinds: other money-making or power-making engines (corporations) but also the media, politicians and nowadays even private armies. Of course it also affords all kind of luxuries, including illegal ones.

    Bureaucracies are not autonomous: they serve their masters on hierarchical grounds. In corporations those masters are the owners, while in capitalist states they are the state hierarchy but this one serves the owners of the corporations, so same thing. Only in pure socialist states like the USSR, the bureaucracy ever became a power on its own right, but that led to eventual stagnation (after initial successful revolutionary innovation) and the refurbishing into a capitalist system, much as Trotsky predicted. Trotsky (regardless of his many contradictions in his role in the Russian Revolution) understood well the class conflict and so he understood that the bureaucracy was not a class in itself but that it had a tendency to become a new burgeoisie. This tendency was delayed by revolutionary fervor, including that of most bureaucrats early on, but eventually had to incorporate the right of property and inheritane in order to become a class as such: a new bourgeois class, almost inexistent in Tsarist Russia.

    A bureaucracy as such does not have the quality of a class, at most of a sub-class. Class is defined by property and inheritance. A bureaucracy (incl. the military) is always dependent (barring corruption and other individualist or selfish behaviors, which are not definitory) from its bosses: it’s nothing but a hierarchical organization for management under goals defined by its bosses.

    Comment by Maju — March 4, 2015 @ 12:51 pm

    • Hi Maju,

      It sure is a level of exploitation and destruction far greater than anything which went before. Just the environmental destruction alone is unfathomable and inconceivable without fossil fuels to power it.

      The corporation is the basic form of tyrannical power in the fossil fuel age. The individuals are worthless and fungible. Other than their egos there’s no reason their names would even be known. (And where that kind of ego is lacking, their names aren’t known. How many people who know Monsanto know the name of the CEO?)

      I’m surprised you’d say that about corporate welfare. Name a single oligopoly sector which wouldn’t collapse tomorrow without massive government subsidies and absolution for negative externalities. Finance, Big Ag, the weapons racket, the telecoms, Big Oil, Big Auto, just to name a few of the dependent sectors.

      The corporate bureaucracies are the ruling masters of this time, and they dominate government, certainly through lobbying and buying politicians, but on a day to day level through coordinating the government bureaucracy. It’s a moot point since the “elected” leaders are always on the same page, but for a US president, for example, to want to overthrow this system would require a veritable revolution from above and below at the same time. Altering the government bureaucratic trajectory could never be done on a reform basis.

      It was possible in theory for industrial and technological tyranny to take a different form. For example, industrial communism was a rival to profit-based corporate rule. But the corporate form triumphed once and for all (for as long as capitalism can sustain itself; I agree it’s grotesquely unsustainable), and I think it’s meaningless to talk about opposing “capitalism” unless one focuses on fighting and destroying its primary formal weapon. Russian soldiers in WWII didn’t spend much time pondering how “Nazism” was attacking them. They focused on destroying German tanks. I’m focused most of all on the tanks.

      Comment by Russ — March 4, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

      • “I’m surprised you’d say that about corporate welfare. Name a single oligopoly sector which wouldn’t collapse tomorrow without massive government subsidies and absolution for negative externalities”…

        Most people tend to think of welfare as a drip of money towards the weakest sectors of the working class. Subsidies to industries are not “welfare”, as they do not contribute to the WELL BEING of the society, but looting of the social resources by the elite.

        “The individuals are worthless and fungible”.

        I do not think it’s the case for the wealthiest 1% (or whatever figure best represents the wealthiest elite: the Rotschilds and Rockefellers). They are, as Mr. Gecko of “Wall Street” would put it, the ones who create wars and allow famines and decide if the other 99% live or die. That’s not decided by machines: it is decided by way too powerful individuals, who act as an elite class, backed by most of the other 9% of the bourgeois class and even by many of the 90% working class, because of mercenariate, laziness or stupidity.

        Of course as a class they have solidarity ties and common values, of the kind imparted by elite university fraternities: bullying is good but keep it secret (machiavellianism: the prince has not to be righteous but he has to pretend to be), values that allow them to stay on top and not lose control, not just to upstarts (sometimes unavoidable) but to the oppressed masses.

        “The corporate bureaucracies are the ruling masters of this time, and they dominate government”…

        It’s the owners of those corporations who do. Sure that corporations (i.e. the middlemen appointed by the mega-rich to manage their business) do play a lobbying role in their own fields but these represent their masters in their respective sectors and brands, nothing else. If their masters are not happy with their performance, they will be promptly replaced. The revolving door for example is nothing but a way for the oligarchs to give prizes to their political tools and bring management tools to the political arena on convenience. Good dogs deserve, so they think, good bones.

        When we look for example to the macabre “debt and fascism” experiment in Ukraine, there is a particular name that always comes around: George Soros. Of course, Soros is surely just the semi-visible head because he’s by personality more outspoken and brazen than others of his class, and no doubt he is acting in concertation with those others (they know each other, they talk to each other, they probably have secret meetings where they decide these things – the most infamous being the Bildelberg Group, led by Rotschild or Rockefeller – can’t recall which one, but surely not the only one). Then of course you also have politicians like Nuland or McCain or local Ukrainian oligarchs whose name I don’t recall. That’s not a corporation: it is a political faction! A more technical name could be “conspiracy” but the word is so charged these days with association to tin foil hats that never mind. The Ukraine coup has not been decided by any corporation but by a bloc of very powerful individuals, working in full agreement and coordination, some are class A (Soros), others class B (McCain), etc. but all belong to the elite of the bourgeois class and work as conspiracy or organize political faction at global level. And they earn money and power from it, or so they expect at least.

        “… the “elected” leaders are always on the same page”…

        Particularly in the USA where there is an effective single party regime with a pretense of bipartisanism. But in that same USA, to which class do “elect” leaders belong to (with every day rarer exceptions)? To the high bourgeoisie!

        It’s a class issue! Then of course they are systematically bribed, pressed and even coerced by the mega-rich, usually not directly but via their middlemen, who may well be corporate managers. But that’s not the corporations as such, much less the bureaucracy or technocracy, but the powerful individuals who are systematically pulling the strings to secure for themselves the right to plunder Earth.

        “… for a US president, for example, to want to overthrow this system would require a veritable revolution from above and below at the same time”.

        Of course. Well, at least from below (wouldn’t be the first time that the masses take power and wipe the dust of the guillotine). In fact very little can be done from above. Even when a popular anti-system party takes power, as recently happened in Greece the capacity of the oligarchs to react is huge. Of course Greece is a small state and if something like that happened in the USA it’d be very different, as the USA is the core of today’s capitalism and a revolution there would shatter the world. But such scenario still has to happen. The oligarchs know well which states (the USA particularly) they need to keep stable to help them in their endless plunder and they will make sure, as much as anything can be (Chaos never died), that North America remains under control. Much of the same can be said of Germany, Britain, France and the Benelux.

        “Altering the government bureaucratic trajectory could never be done on a reform basis”.

        Absolutely. However sometimes it’s difficult to discern between “reform” and “revolution” at the initial stages. In fact nearly all serious revolutions began as failed reform attempts. When the bourgeois representatives gathered in the ball court in Paris, they demanded reforms… one year later the revolution was unstoppable. When the women of Petrograd marched on March 8th demanding something as basic as bread, they did not think their movement would depose the Tsar or implement a radical socialist experiment: they just wanted food in their family platters and the return of their relatives from a hated war.

        “It was possible in theory for industrial and technological tyranny to take a different form. For example, industrial communism was a rival to profit-based corporate rule”.

        Not quite “communism” in any case: communism implies a society without state as we know it: extremely decentralized and democratic. It was a case of real socialism with a bureocratized state frame on top of all. That model fit Fordism (as did classical fascism) and succeeded initially under such conditions but then stumbled and collapsed when a new stage in capitalist development arrived: Toyotism. Unable to reform itself, the USSR collapsed into national capitalism.

        The term communism is used because the party called itself that way, following the lead of the early communists of Marx’ times (initially the name was social-democrats, majority faction, bolshevik=majority, menshevik=minority). At some point (Kruschev) the party decreed that communism had been achieved in the USSR but that can’t be taken but as a ridiculous claim. Lenin, who was much more serious, rather suggested that they had achieved capitalism (something like: “we may not have achieved the goal of making a socialist revolution in Russia but at least we have made a bourgeois one”), of course this was before the mass colectivizations and centralization under Stalin.

        But anyhow the USSR system was extremely “corporatist”: the ruling bureaucracy was not just the CP but also and maybe critically the industrial technocracy. The new oligarchs, the new bourgeisie arose from those ranks: CP and technocracy and, even when the socialist ideal was still dominant (serving a national development purpose, i.e. capitalism without bourgeoisie), they enjoyed quasi-class privileges such as dachas, cigars and pelts. This is well reflected in Orwell’s distopic novel “1984”, largely based on the soviet evolution towards “classless” totalitarian capitalism. Of course the seeds of the classes were there, in the regime’s hierarchy, and eventually the classes would arise again, consolidating their gains within the bureaucratic parenthesis.

        One can reconstruct that primitive accumulation was largely made that way also: scribes, priests, generals and other bureaucrats, as well as traders and the occasional mercenary-invaders, managed to rob (legally or not) the social wealth, first belonging to the state, making it private and inheritable. But we don’t know enough of the early civilization to be 100% sure. What we do know is that this private power (wealth) was largely exerted directly, and not through corporations, until Capitalism coalesced. While Capitalism is radically innovative in many aspects, the fundamentals of society remained the same: wealth = power (roughly, efficiency in managing that basic unit of power may be multiplicative) and the oligarchy uses the state for its own purposes against the working class at home and abroad (colonialism, imperialism).

        So rather the USSR “opposition” was mostly a international inter-capitalist conflict under an ideological pretext. And there was never any serious threat of revolutionary change from the USSR because it contained the seeds of new capitalims in its (not so) “classless” bureaucracy. Corporations were all the time there and if you look up at the rise of Milosevic or other post-socialist oligarchs, you will see that they rise precisely from corporate ranks, using their knowledge and position to their advantage. Milosevic for example led the banking and oil sectors in Yugoslavia and his interest was to keep his power position even at the expense of the country. Sadly for him, Yugoslavia was seen as expendable in Washington and other Western power centers and nobody supported his plan at least with any effectivity nor dedication.

        “Russian soldiers in WWII didn’t spend much time pondering how “Nazism” was attacking them. They focused on destroying German tanks. I’m focused most of all on the tanks”.

        That’s not the view an ideologist or intellectual should have, as you have not destroyed any single “tank” (corporation) with your articles nor will probably do… unless you manage to do some quality research journalism of the kind that exposes the elites and grants you political persecution, as happened to Thierry Meissan (now refugeed in Syria) or to Edward Snowden (in Russia) or to Julian Assange (in the Ecuador embassy) or to Michael Hastings (killed in most mysterious circumstances), etc. Those are the ones blowing the “tanks”… and risking their lives in the attempt.

        Anyhow, if you read Sun Tzu, you learn that to win the war you must take what the enemy values more, then surrender is unavoidable. Soviet fighters did not have that chance, so their losses were massive, but still they only won once they took Berlin (and the few kilometers between the the Oder and the Elbe were the most painful of all).

        I agree that corporations are like the “tanks” of the oligarchy but I disagree that just blowing up “tanks” is they main way to go, particularly for someone who writes socio-political-economic analysis. One like that is or should be more like Sun Tzu: trying to find out how to “win the war”, rather than any particular “battle”. My opinion in any case but I do think that talking about corporations rather than about Capitalism and bourgeisie (or oligarchy) is messing things and confusing the mind. Corporations are intrinsic to Capitalism since the Dutch revolution and they are not going to be destroyed while this one continues.

        Similarly neither the French nor Russian revolutionaries focused on feudal charters as such but on the overthrowing of the feudal system as such, including the absolute monarcy and church. You just fail to explain what do corporations serve to and that is a shortcoming that I feel the need to criticize, because it obscures the problem rather than shedding light onto it. It’s like wishing for a “human capitalism” in which those in power would be known by their names rather than their subservient acronyms. But how would that make any difference?

        Comment by Maju — March 4, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

      • When I said the persons who make up the 1% are worthless and fungible I meant that no one among them matters as an individual. If one or all of them were to drop dead they’d be replaced effortlessly and the system would keep going without missing a beat. The great man theory of history you’re propounding is applicable here least of all. (If it could matter anywhere these days, it would seem to matter most of all among dissidents, there’s so few of them doing any constructive work at all.) Shareholders and CEOs, those you’re calling the masters and listing some by name, come and go. As I said all are worthless and fungible. I consider the likes of Soros, let alone bottom-feeders like Nuland, to be irrelevant cogs, which is why my posts seldom focus on individuals, and then only for polemical purposes or as examplars, as in my recent credentialism post. Needless to say the individual pro-GMO activists are the most worthless and fungible of all. (The rare times Lenin acknowledged the existence of the tsar he would refer to him as “the idiot Romanov”, a nobody. So it is with the likes of Soros, the Koch Brothers, and so on.)

        Only the structure, only the corporation endures. Indeed, I’ll be writing on the Eternal Monsanto and the Eternal Dow in order to disprove the lie popular among the hacks, that the Roundup-focused Monsanto is a “new Monsanto”, not the nasty PCB, Agent Orange, dioxin Monsanto. No, it’s the exact same Monsanto, and the lies and cover-ups of today are the exact same lies and cover-ups as with PCBs and dioxin, and today’s pro-Monsanto liars are the exact same people as the pro-PCB liars of a few days ago. None of this has anything to do with particular personalities. There’s literally not a single individual who played any significant “great man” role in the history of industrial agriculture. I’d bet the same is true in every other sector.

        Corporate welfare is a well-established term in America, and everyone knows what it means.

        It’s odd that you accuse me of being insufficiently analytic, when it seems that the most obvious conclusion of even the most cursory analysis is that the standard modes of “leftist” analysis are among history’s great failures, as far as changing the world and not just interpreting it. For that matter, Marx’s #1 prophecy, that there would arise a “proletarian consciousness”, is one of the great failures of prophecy. It turns out that Herzen and Bakunin were right from the start – the worker was just the aspiring bourgeois. Today the bourgeois ideology is 100% triumphant, and mentally the only “classes” we have among the 99% are the petty bourgeoisie and its related precariat, and the lumpenproles. Only delusion could deny this.

        The fact is that it seems to me you want to focus on the meaningless and unassailable abstraction “capitalism” at one extreme, and also on meaningless personalities at the other, but don’t want to focus on the actual formal weapon of economic and increasingly political tyranny, the corporation. My analysis is the exact opposite – I’m satisfied that deploring “capitalism” on the one hand, or bogeymen like the Koch Brothers or Sarah Palin on the other, doesn’t work and isn’t really meant to. But if people could be convinced to see corporate power as illegitimate and corporations themselves as institutional monstrosities, the corporate form is actually potentially vulnerable, and even the existence of a movement threatening it would disturb its mechanisms (stock markets and such) and give people who want to fight a clear operational goal, and give the rest a clear alternative to the neoliberal bourgeois monoculture of the mind which currently prevails everywhere.

        As for the French and Russian Revolutions, the one started as an attempt to reform the monarchy and force a constitution upon it – a very specific goal. The Russian Revolution started spontaneously and was immediately fueled by many latent and festering forces, none among them significantly anti-capitalist. That part got going only slowly. We can hope for such a spontaneous uprising, but there’s no reason to expect it, no way to predict it, and probably no analysis which can help bring it. Analysis needs specific plans and goals against specific weapons of the enemy, not just the same old broad, vague, unspecific as to prescriptions, denunciations of the enemy. I look around at the critics of capitalism and see little but self-indulgence, and sticking with the already-disproven old modes seems to be part of that. What’s the plan? I see none. I want to try something different.

        Comment by Russ — March 5, 2015 @ 5:36 am

      • “If one or all of them were to drop dead they’d be replaced effortlessly and the system would keep going without missing a beat.”

        If Soros vanishes today there’s no position to be replaced: he’s a personality, a possibly irreplaceable dynamic leader of his class. His properties would be inherited but his personal style of power execution, his goals, etc. probably not. That’s because he is a leader of a class and not a mere cog in the bureaucratic machinery.

        There’s a huge difference between class and function. Class is not function but privilege, wealth, power (in the case of the proletariat: lack of it), bureau-/technocratic roles instead are function and not usually imply any privilege/wealth other than salary nor more power than the position requires.

        “The rare times Lenin acknowledged the existence of the tsar he would refer to him as “the idiot Romanov”, a nobody. So it is with the likes of Soros, the Koch Brothers, and so on”.

        In total disagreement. One can think of decadent monarchs as “idiots” and “flowers in a jar” but I bet Lenin would have never said that of Peter I or Catherine the Great. Unlike aristocracy and monarchy, bourgeoisie does not work by means of mere inheritance (that’s limited to wealth in principle, as well as opportunities associated to it) but by dynamic internal competition and its leaders are truly “self-made” (even if they begin with advantage). Nobody appoints a “director of Soros affairs” because there’s only one George Soros. These prominent leadership roles and the plans and cospiracies associated to them come from elite networking not bureaucratic appointment. They are quasi-spontaneous leadership roles, much as can happen in a grassroots movement, just that with very different goals (objective and subjective class interest, which in the case of the burgeoisie is to perpetuate itself as class and expand its wealth and power as much as possible).

        It is the class and its interest what makes it all appear as replaceable but there’s nothing (other than rubber-stamping of property rights) bureaucratic about it.

        “The great man theory of history you’re propounding”…

        I’m not proposing that, not exactly at least, what I’m stating (and I think it should be obvious) is that true power positions in the capitalist hierarchy do not work in any way as in bureaucracy but as in a free flowing dynamic ecosystem, or, as said before, as in grassroots movements or classless societies. Hence the individuals do make some differences, even if the overall class and social tendencies constitute the frames and tendencies in which they perform, but not, not at all, the bureaucracy.

        “Shareholders and CEOs, those you’re calling the masters and listing some by name, come and go”.

        Shareholders as in control share holders, right? They may come and go (in the long term) but they do leave their mark. And companies succeed or fail partly because of how those people perform.

        Anyhow owners probably don’t play such a critical role in management (except in the media and other tool-like corporations, where it is very clear that they do in extreme ways) but rather they use those assets to consolidate their personal power. This difference may be confusing you: Monsanto for example is a money-making machine, as is BP or whatever other “purely economic” corporation and owners only rarely intervene in management, but FOX or Academi are tool-like corporations where profit is less relevant than direct utility and there owners do very actively intervene in management. If FOX collapses economically because of that intervention… another media corporation can be bought or created, no big deal. So the Koch bros. or Murdoch are particularly powerful because they are media moguls and their propaganda machine is a key resort in power politics of all kinds. Instead someone like Bill Gates who is just mega-rich, probably exerts less (but not nil) power (also because he’s a newcomer to the elites, old money commands better as there is a tradition of power networking in those dynasties). One such dynasty is the Bush clan, which may still place a third US president (even if the sons are semi-dumb and the father is uncharismatic, the power exerted by this Texan clan is not worth ignoring).

        “Only the structure, only the corporation endures”.

        Actually not: corporations come and go. Wealth, class, endures. Some high bourgeois dynasties like Rotschild are more than 200 years old, many others have more than a century. Old Rotschilds were already speculating, very succesfully, in Napoleon times. In any case the bourgeois class and its interest is what actually endures. The corporations serve that interest and, when they fall (it happens), they are replaced. Similarly dynasties and individuals may be replaced, of course, it’s a class, not a caste!

        “There’s literally not a single individual who played any significant “great man” role in the history of industrial agriculture. I’d bet the same is true in every other sector”.

        Well, I don’t know about agriculture but people like Ford were key once upon a time, and not just in industrial development but also in the rise of fascism in Europe and the extension of racism in the USA. You can argue that if Ford had not existed, someone else would have done roughly the same. Maybe but we don’t know for sure. If certain Chinese emperor whose name I don’t recall would not have sunk the Canton fleet, history would have been quite different. Sometimes individual decisions do matter.

        But anyhow it’s not my point. I’m not talking about the “great man” but about the class being above the corporations and even the states. Corporations serve their owners and the state also serves the owners of the corporations. Those men and, more rarely, women who control the corporations hold true power within the context of a class system, not within the context of a bureaucracy (that was in the USSR). Buraucracies in Capitalism are subservient tools.

        Comment by Maju — March 5, 2015 @ 11:48 am

      • “Marx’s #1 prophecy, that there would arise a “proletarian consciousness”, is one of the great failures of prophecy”.

        It’s possible that you are right here. The lack of a class consciousness among the proletariat is a clear problem. However you have to consider that Marx (in his large but clearly not infinite wisdom) also forecast (posthumous texts) that Capitalism would undergo two other phases after the initial one Marx lived through: (1) the “formal subsumption of work into capital” (roughly equivalent to Fordism, also described as disciplinary period or mass worker era in Negri’s revision) and (2) the “total subsumption of work into capital” (roughly equivalent to Toyotism, also described as social worker era by Negri). He also thought that the proletarian revolution could only happen in the most advanced industrial countries (core Europe, the USA, etc.) and not in the periphery and he also described the rise of the “lackey” subclass in England and France as colonialism advanced, predicting that it would become much larger once China would be split (what never happened as such but happened anyhow).

        Many Marxist theorists have attempted to understand what causes the rise of proletarian consciousness and in general the consensus is that misery and police state are the triggers, particularly in an educated proletariat. We are probably reaching that stage right now but it remains to be seen if and how much Marx was right. I do agree with treating Marx (and other thinkers) critically. I also think that, even if Marx was quite obviously a genius, he is not infallible by any means and that his analysis belongs to the 19th century, when key scientific notions such as Chaos (which debunked Newtonian ideas on a clockwork universe, which no doubt influenced Marx’ “materialism”) were not yet known. Uncertainty is very real so Marx may have been wrong. The potential is there and, as you say, there’s no room for reform: revolution is necessary and this revolution can only be defined in class terms.

        A key issue that I will just outline is which is the power of the working class? The bourgeoisie managed to rise and grab even more power within the Old Regime before it could make its revolutions, how does that happen (if at all) with the working class. I’d say that within the complex 19th and 20th century class struggles the proletariat has gained more power in terms of rights, democracy and knowledge. The social proletariat as described by Negri owns the know-how (maybe not patents and copyrights but the actual know-how of production and does it collectively, as class). All these are key powers that the proletariat has collected in its struggles and development as class.

        In the 19th century the coalescing proletariat was just a tool for bourgeois revolutions, almost cannon fodder, but especially in the 20th century we see it making its own “hybrid” revolutions: capitalist ones but under a red banner for the sake of national interest. What can we expect to happen in the 21st century? I perceive current Capitalism as terminally ill, heavily financiarized and destructive (in both the social and environmental aspects), so I don’t think it has any chance in the short or mid term. So I do expect new revolutions and these ones to approximate better the ideas of Marx.

        “The Russian Revolution (…) got going only slowly”.

        There are only eight months between the February Revolution and the October Revolution. The process was even faster than the French Revolution. No idea why you say that.

        “We can hope for such a spontaneous uprising, but there’s no reason to expect it, no way to predict it, and probably no analysis which can help bring it. Analysis needs specific plans and goals against specific weapons of the enemy, not just the same old broad, vague, unspecific as to prescriptions, denunciations of the enemy”.

        What do you think of the rise of Syriza and Podemos? It’s a mere pointless accident or the beginning of radical change? Remember that Occupy mirrored the M15 squares’ movement in Spain, should we expect a “Podemos” of sorts in the heartland of Capitalism? The seeds and ideas are roughly the same, I don’t see why not (although so far nothing of the kind is known of). US proletariat is clearly being very dramatically attacked, be it in salaries and working conditions or right away in the streets (every other day a proletarian is murdered by police). The electoral system is even less democratic than the Spanish one but in general terms I’d say the conditions are there. I actually have greater hopes for radical change in the USA than in Europe, which is largely going down the way of fascism (which is hopeless: can bring pain but no solutions). However it’s possible that the USA is such a global superpower that some sort of huge crisis must happen first such as a Chernobyl or an Afghanistan of sorts.

        Something interesting re. Podemos is that they (mildly) reject the label “left” and prefer the label “bottom”, underlining that it’s not so much about ideas as about class. For pedagogic reasons they don’t use the classical class terminology but rather a simpler and easier to accept one: bottom 90% vs top 1%, clearly borrowed from the Occupy movement. Another interesting thing is that they vote everything (partly using Internet), what makes near-impossible that a government can ignore the masses.

        I’m still not voting for them because I am Basque and they fail to defend Basque national interests, existing similar alternatives of our own, but I can understand their appeal and even their urgent need. They may still be somewhat “reformist” but radical-reformist of the kind that put a system upside down, as in Venezuela or Bolivia, and can lead to a revolutionary process if things get tough.

        Comment by Maju — March 5, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

      • 1. Lenin thought Stolypin was significant, but that was precisely because S was working against the regime’s reactionary inertia. Who is comparable today?

        What do you think would be different if Soros were no longer there? I suppose the closest thing to an individual driver in agriculture is Bill Gates, whose foundation is extremely aggressive with money and “humanitarian” propaganda. But I don’t think that if the Gates Foundation didn’t exist that there wouldn’t be a campaign in motion to recolonize Africa on a corporate-dominated Big Ag basis. That’s because there’s nothing voluntary about the policy; it’s part of the necessary accumulation logic. GMOs are either reaching market saturation or politically stalling out almost everywhere else, and will soon in Brazil as well. (For two years running now the only “growth” market for them on Earth.)

        Regarding grassroots movements, I said that the smaller and more incipient the grouping, the more likely an individual can be significant. But nothing could be larger and more calcified and entrenched than corporate globalization. You yourself keep repeating that capitalism must collapse. But that’s not necessarily true in principle. In theory if the leaders were sane and rational enough, i.e. if they were as dynamic and fluid and adaptable and innovative as you say, they could act rationally to perpetuate the system indefinitely. The reason the system is doomed is that the leaders are really an undifferentiated mass of zombies mindlessly heading in one direction. Soros is one of them, and he doesn’t believe in or act toward alternatives to TINA any more than the propaganda itself does.

        2. Corporations don’t “come and go” in the time frame relevant for my analysis. My analysis focuses on how to fight right now, in particular how to organize to fight better, to liberate humanity and to prevent the worst physical destruction from corporate industrial agriculture. In all those paragraphs you didn’t offer an alternative nuts-and-bolts explanation for how capitalism is attacking, what is the main organizational form of the attack, what are the most important specific weapons (what I called its tanks), how to fight.

        Unless that’s what you meant when you mentioned Syriza. Unfortunately Syriza seems to have proven my prediction true even faster and more definitively than I expected, that any allegedly and vaguely anti-neoliberal, anti-austerity party that was largely cobbled together on the fly (as opposed to arising out of a coherent, grounded, deeply rooted movement framework), would in power continue on the neoliberal austerity path. But then Syriza a priori ruled out the Grexit and renouncing the odious debt, so there was never any doubt about how serious they were anyway. I was already convinced that such “alternative” parties offer no alternative, and this confirms that further.

        3. I agree with what you say about Marx and Marxism. But I can’t envision how a non-bourgeois consciousness can spontaneously arise out of masses who have nothing on the philosophical level but bourgeois ideas. My strategic ideas run toward focusing on wedge movements within this mass philosophy, in that way trying to introduce a more comprehensively alternative idea set. That’s one of the reasons I focus on the corporations – large numbers of people of various political/partisan persuasions who regard “capitalism” as sacrosanct are less impervious to anti-corporate ideas and prescriptions.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/why-i-became-a-gmo-abolitionist/

        Let me stress, when I refer to analysis I’m not writing as some kind of pure theorist. I’m a soldier on a war front analyzing the extant enemy attack. You could say I see myself as an intelligence officer analyzing the make, capabilities, and tactics of the enemy’s tanks, looking for vulnerabilities and formulating strategy and tactics for how to counterattack and destroy them. As I said, I have less interest in the enemy’s alleged ideology, which is just a sham anyway.

        So my anti-corporate focus is meant to be both strategic and tactical doctrine vs. the enemy as well as a potent political tactic for maximizing potential allies and support.

        Comment by Russ — March 6, 2015 @ 5:13 am

      • Regarding Soros, etc. I’m not saying that the individuals matter that much, I’m saying that those individuals are not mere cogs in a bureaucracy but relatively autonomous actors within their class (incl. power networks, which are informal and flexible, not bureaucratic).

        Regarding corporations, it’s obvious that many die. Some are very long-lived, indeed, but you can’t take the part for the whole.

        Re. this: “I can’t envision how a non-bourgeois consciousness can spontaneously arise out of masses who have nothing on the philosophical level but bourgeois ideas”.

        Yes, that’s the keystone of worker class revolution. But what other agent of change can we envision? When Podemos and others (Green Party in the USA?) talk of “citizens” they are meaning common citizens, working class by another word, the natural majority, divided and paralyzed by capitalist propaganda and daily blackmail.

        “My strategic ideas run toward focusing on wedge movements within this mass philosophy, in that way trying to introduce a more comprehensively alternative idea set”.

        What movements? And what “mass philosophy”? We can use language adapted to the capitalist ideological paradigm (for pedagogic reasons) but we cannot use that capitalist ideology as such, we need our own ideological tools regardless of wording.

        “large numbers of people of various political/partisan persuasions who regard “capitalism” as sacrosanct are less impervious to anti-corporate ideas and prescriptions.”

        I see your point. But I think you go beyond the issue of wording and focus and clearly fail to criticize the class problem, which is even more pervasive in the USA than (so far) in Europe, with a Congress made up of silverspoons and not just corporate lackeys. Let’s face it: they are rich and want to remain rich or even get richer! And that’s why they act the way they do.

        I don’t reject your anti-corporate focus as such but it seems that you are just talking about bureaucracy and not profit-making tools via exploitation of the people and the land. Bureaucracy is unavoidable at certain scale of social organization and, mostly, is a tool to whoever holds power over it, not the essence of the problem. You seem to be attacking the foreman rathern than the plantation owner. And sure: the foreman must be ferociously criticized but he is not the root of the problem, the planter is (or rather the collectivity of all planters: the oppressor class).

        Comment by Maju — March 6, 2015 @ 7:59 am

      • That is interesting, about Podemas preferring “bottom” to “left”. It seems to me the left-right spectrum is obsolete as a meaningful way of classifying ideas and prescriptions, if only because “the left” no longer meaningfully exists, in idea or prescription form. But is the 90% vs. 1% framework really focusing on class in the conventional sense? The few old-style leftists still kicking around have mostly scoffed at the alleged lack of sophistication of the 99% vs. 1% concept.

        It actually seems to me that this concept correctly emphasizes the atomized and massified character of people in modern corporate-ruled societies, and the inadequacy of old-style class analysis for our situation, precisely because “the proletariat” turned out to be mostly a myth and only short-lived where it did exist.

        Comment by Russ — March 6, 2015 @ 5:22 am

      • The 90% (nobody seems to use “99%” anymore, as it’s obvious that some 10% are bourgeois across the board and therefore neutral at best) is indeed not too sophisticated but it is pedagogical. In a capitalist dominated ideological frame talking about “proletariat” (a term borrowed from ancient Roman history anyhow and not too precise either) is not functional. Even the term “working class”, which emphasizes productive power, conflicts with the bourgeois-impelled notion of “middle classes”, which emphasizes pseudo-affluence and consumerism. And most people don’t want to be “working poor” but somewhat “well off”. So you have to fight the capitalist propaganda with pedagogy.

        However it must be said that older school left is still relatively strong in Spain and that Podemos is not taking all their voters but just some and mostly appeals to former abstentionists and people frustrated with social-democracy, and even to some “decent” center-right people, who don’t want the welfare state (particularly healthcare, pensions) to collapse nor can put up with the widespread corruption that pervades the system, and acknowledge “reform” is necesary and urgent. Very particularly it appeals to the extremely frustrated working class youth, who are being denied education, jobs, homes… but also to the older ones losing jobs, healthcare, pensions and even their homes.

        About Syriza, we’ll see. So far they had no option but to buy some time so they can implement at least parts of their program. I wouldn’t be surprised if things change very radically in summer, when this pathetic deal ends and taxes have been collected. Give them a year or so before judging.

        What is clear is that they can’t keep this Brussels-imposed path because it is not acceptable even to the party itself. The deal was approved by a very narrow majority, obviously on the grounds of desperate need, but a similar deal in summer won’t be accepted for sure: the party would rebel, they’d lose their parliament majority and fracture.

        Comment by Maju — March 6, 2015 @ 7:41 am

      • Of course it’s up to the Greeks to decide about Syriza, but I observe that according to the standard pattern of alleged change-bringers heading “rightward” once in power (and fearing the unleashing of radical forces far more than they loathe the Troika, Wall Street, etc.), a pattern to which Syriza is so far holding true, there won’t be any change, and they’re not really playing for time except in the sense of placating left-leaning supporters with empty apologetics. According to that pattern we’ll be hearing the exact same pleas come summer when nothing changes, and so on for as long as they can gull people, which on the previous evidence (cf. the Democrat party, for example) can be very long indeed. If Syriza does radically change course come summer, they’ll be the first of the neoliberal era to break with that pattern.

        I can’t imagine why people want to knuckle under and concede the enemy’s line that “99%” is incorrect. We have a stark, elegant, simple slogan and concept: It’s the 99% vs. the 1%. Why would anyone want to muck with that, especially given the pedagogical aspect of it which you point out. As for the thugs and flunkeys and terminal supporters of the 1%, who cares about acknowledging them in the percentages? I assimilate them to the 1%.

        Comment by Russ — March 6, 2015 @ 9:21 am

      • I instead sense that the situation is more similar to when Hugo Chávez reached power in Venezuela. At first I was like: “uh, another mini-Napoleón: much ado about nothing” (i.e. more or less like the current Peruvian president) but then he and his movement have basically changed everything. Chávez did speak loud and appointed some leftists (particularly to control police, a key ministry) but also appointed many conservatives and followe an initial center-left “moderate” course, following the dictates of IMF, visiting the NY stock market, US President Clinton, the then Governor of Texas George Bush, etc. His constitutional reform was backed by the Spanish social-democrats (a NATO twin party). Only after the constitutional reform and the comprehensive elections that took place afterwards, two years after his first elections, Chavismo (or more formally Bolivarianism) became the force to contend with that we know now, establishing close relations with Cuba and letting the relation with the USA collapse (particularly after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan).

        As I do believe that both Syriza and Podemos are “Eurobolivarianism” and are clearly inspired by Venezuela and similar Latin American processes (Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, to some extent also Uruguay), I wouldn’t dare to judge until some time have transcurred. The pattern is likely to be roughly the same assuming that Syriza stays in power and that Podemos reaches it. Of course, Venezuela is still a semi-capitalist country where corporations can do business but under state control, not controlling the state anymore.

        “I can’t imagine why people want to knuckle under and concede the enemy’s line that “99%” is incorrect. We have a stark, elegant, simple slogan and concept: It’s the 99% vs. the 1%.”

        Simple: because the 9% of “petty bourgeisie” are almost universally allied to the 1% of the high bourgeisie. They don’t want things to change in any substantial way and in the best case they are neutral, not allied to the 90% (barring the occasional individual exception). The petty bourgeoisie do not want welfare nor worker rights and don’t care about the environment, at most they are worried about corruption and concentration of power in too few hands but they are at best very poor allies and most normally very hostile to the 90% and our demands. For example the typical farmer who exploits immigrants in semi-slavery… and then voices racist hostility and even joins KKK or equivalent only to keep his manpower subservient. Those are not my allies nor of anybody in the 90%, they are our declared enemies as much as Golman Sachs.

        In any case the 99% line seems to have vanished from the discourse, at least in Spain.

        Comment by Maju — March 6, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

      • Why are you asking “what mass philosophy”? You just agreed with me that bourgeois ideology is almost completely triumphant in the minds of Westerners, and indeed of most people on earth. The wedge movements are the ones I want to see come into being, as I’ve been saying all along in this exchange and in innumerable posts.

        I envision a disciplined movement with a rigorous philosophy and publicity which seeks whatever kind of targeted reform and/or delaying action is possible within the sector where it operates. As I wrote in the link I gave and elsewhere, one of the reasons I focus on the food and agriculture sector is that there’s far more opportunity here for building the new within the old and mustering real public support vs. corporate crimes, since these involve poisoning the food and water.

        But most of all the task of this organization, and allied anti-corporate organizations focusing on other sectors, would be sustain itself and to relentlessly publicize alternative ideas so that these are part of the public consciousness. Then when the erosion of capitalism’s foundations accelerates to the point that people can no longer close their eyes to it, they’ll already be aware of the alternative ideas and modes and the movement dedicated to realizing these.

        In the final analysis I don’t think a purely political change is possible so long as corporate capitalism remains intact. Its abilities to co-opt, misdirect, corrupt, and if necessary repress are too potent for that. (And anyway what would Syriza do if the Eurozone gave it total freedom to do whatever it wants? By its own proclaimed ideology it would continue with participation in destructive, unsustainable neoliberal globalization. So even leaving aside the possibilities of
        deception or selling out or cravenness, that kind of party is in the end no real alternative anyway.) A significantly accelerated internal structural erosion will have to get going to open up opportunities for real transformation. Until then a movement has to create itself, sustain itself with integrity, and do the best it can delaying and where possible rolling back the corporate assault, and most of all impressing the knowledge of its existence and the practicability of its
        ideas on the mass consciousness.

        As for your plantation analogy, I don’t even need to stick with analogy, I can go literal. Globalized industrial agriculture itself is the destructive force and structure. Both plantation owner (who BTW nowadays is likely to be a de facto employee, de jure contractor, and de jure debtor of the commodifiers) and foreman are indeed cogs, epiphenomenal. Plantation owners have very little freedom to decide how to run anything, even if they’re not indentured by corporate contracts. The structural rhythms of globalized corporate agriculture would still dictate. Your analogy is actually the strongest for confirming my analysis.

        Comment by Russ — March 6, 2015 @ 9:49 am

      • “You just agreed with me that bourgeois ideology is almost completely triumphant in the minds of Westerners, and indeed of most people on earth”.

        But it’s not useful to us, just like religion is not useful to an atheist. We may need to adapt the discourse to make it understandable to the masses, skipping words like “communism” but still sticking to the facts of class exploitation, regardless of the terms used. One thing is being pedagogic and another thing is surrendering.

        “I don’t think a purely political change is possible so long as corporate capitalism remains intact. Its abilities to co-opt, misdirect, corrupt, and if necessary repress are too potent for that.”

        I agree to at least a large extent and my discourse is more radical that Syriza’s or Podemos’. In fact I remember a comment I made to one of the economic idelogues of Podemos, Montero, when he appealed for the exit of the Eurozone: I said that such exit would not work unless the big companies were all nationalized simultaneously, that Neo-Keynesianism alone could solve nothing. He replied saying that the people was not yet ready for such radical measures.

        “As for your plantation analogy, I don’t even need to stick with analogy, I can go literal. Globalized industrial agriculture”…

        I was precisely trying to abstract from your obsession with corporations in order to underline with a very real example how it is class and class interest what matters, not bureaucracies. So it’s a bit pointless that you come all the way around, what I meant is that exploitation and class war exists with or without corporations. However corporations are useful for the oligarchs as tools and masks to hide their identities.

        I have demanded and demand total transparence of shareholding, so we don’t have to say “Monsanto” but “Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones”, with photo and address. Because there are indeed those “nameless” owners of Monsanto and all other corporations who bear the ultimate individual responsibility and must be held accountable for it. The corporations largely serve the purpose of masking the persons behind them and making them amorphous, anonymous and quasi-invisible and that is to our disadvantage only.

        Comment by Maju — March 6, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

      • But for me corporations are not “bureaucracy” but tools of class (and individual) exploitation. You seem once and again to deny class war in favour of smokescreens like “bureaucracy”, which are nothing but tools for their masters. The same middlemen are not real actors but tools of those who hire them, corporations are nothing but larger “middlemen2 of sorts for their owners.

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 4:22 am

      • Scrap the previous comment, I was accidentally replying to things that are old, so repeating myself. Sorry.

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 4:23 am

  2. Even my husband (who is not overly interested in these matters) was incredulous when he went to the Verizon store to have the battery on his company phone replaces, and the salesman told him he has the choice of either buying a whole new phone, or carrying around this huge charger with him. Talk about production based economy! Discard a phone because the battery is dead?

    Comment by DualPersonality — March 5, 2015 @ 3:44 am

    • Fixing things or replacing spare parts is too productive and rational to be part of maintaining a supply-driven, overproductionist commodity economy.

      Comment by Russ — March 5, 2015 @ 5:41 am

  3. Just came across this typical example of a purely destructive “profit”-generation proposal, and how government bureaucracy increasingly sees its job as to maintain and boost profit levels through corporate welfare, in this case escalating destructive externalities.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/28/us-usa-north-dakota-waste-idUSKBN0L11Z420150128

    Fracking is a perfect example of an industry which is 100% dependent on corporate welfare and is indeed little but a finance sector bubble scam. But unlike junk bonds or credit default swaps, fracking is horrifically destructive of the environment, communities, and public health. A sane society with a rational, productivity-based economy would of course ban it completely.

    I’ll be writing much more about this logic and the resultant policies as they apply most of all to pesticide regulation. Regulators mechanically raise the allowed poison residue levels in direct response to how much poison the corporation expects to sell and how much “profit” it wants to steal. This is literally the only concern of regulators like the EPA.

    Comment by Russ — March 5, 2015 @ 6:05 am

    • Of course. But that’s class rather than bureaucracy. Bourgeoisie’s power is expressed as property and money: they always want to make as much of those as possible. Again the corporation only serves its masters’ interests, i.e. the profit. Where does the profit goes to? Shareholders. This is like a plantation of sorts: it makes cash and serves no other purpose.

      So the same as tobacco and cotton planters had their class interests (such as retaining slavery, land-grabbing the natives or Mexico, etc.), industrial capitalists have their class interests invested in corporations like fracking ones. Planters are a good example because they did not have corporations but rather owned the lands on individual basis, yet the interest was in essence the same: make profits (i.e. make power).

      You could call slavery or even the brutal segregation system that continued it “planters’ welfare”. But no corporations… because corporations are just tools of capitalist hunger for profit, that is: power.

      If corporations would be as autonomous as you believe, profit would be much less important than, say, salaries or even working conditions. But the reality is that profit is what leads them and that’s because they have to satisfy their owners or face problems.

      Comment by Maju — March 5, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

    • A real example related to your latest comment on fracking corps.: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/wolf-richter-default-monday-oil-gas-companies-face-creditors.html

      Richter mentions a chain of fracking corporations filling for bankruptcy within the context of low oil and gas prices: “Now oil and gas prices have collapsed, and so has the ability to service that debt”.

      Now, we know that the oil & gas price collapse has been engineered at the top levels and is somehow related to the conflicts with Russia, Venezuela and Iran. Naturally the interest or corporations is never to collapse (yet they do) or even, within my class-based approach, to provide never-ending profits (yet these will be missed). However it is surely true that some people in the highest echelons of the bourgeisie are not losing: they have their analysts, intelligence offices and in general top-level networks and they surely knew of all this in advance (even before the prices collapsed), so, as old good Rotschild in his famous Waterloo maneuver, they will still be making profits and accumulating even more wealth and power. The corporation (tool) fails but the high bourgeois (class and individual) succeeds. Only the low bourgeois and the aspiring bourgeois (proletarian but wannabee) lose, as well as the workers of those companies (bureaucrats and technocrats included), who will probably lose their jobs and, if the situation persists and can’t recycle elsewhere, their social status as well.

      If a single high bourgeois is affected, well, natural selection, you know. Not everyone can be the smartest (and sometimes luckiest) guy in such highly competitive elite.

      Comment by Maju — March 5, 2015 @ 2:02 pm

    • In terms of system power, natural gas fracking is an extremely unstable finance bubble. No oligopoly sector has congealed yet, and because fracking’s actual product is largely fraudulent (even the small percentage of drilled wells that make a real strike fizzle out in a year or two) there’s a chance it never will. So while government will do all it can to prop up this zombie sector, it may not be physically (in terms of the resource available to be viably extracted) or financially (in terms of keeping the bubble sufficiently inflated) possible to do so to the point that we have a Big Fracking to go along with Big Oil and Big Coal.

      In other words, fracking isn’t yet an example of the entrenched sectors I’m talking about. But even so it’s providing corporate welfare and externality-enabling examples, as with the one I linked here. To the extent possible it’s adhering to the pattern.

      Meanwhile, even though there’s a shake-out of the most fly-by-night operations, “fracking” as both a propaganda mainstay and physically destructive assault are continuing. I’ll accept a counterexample to my analysis when fracking largely ceases in the physical sense and is largely renounced in the corporate media, and these not because it’s economically impossible to sustain it despite the government’s best assistance efforts, but because, for example, environmental political action defeats it politically.

      I’m not the only one to notice that New York’s vaunted “ban” on fracking was acquiesced in by the state government only since this oil price decline has damaged fracking’s economic prospects for the time being. Before that Cuomo and much of the rest were gung ho and deplored the way (mostly NIMBYist) political pressures forced them to enact a moratorium.

      Comment by Russ — March 6, 2015 @ 7:43 am

  4. But it’s not useful to us, just like religion is not useful to an atheist.

    Lenin disagreed with you where it came to the Bolsheviks’ land program of October. But perhaps you’d say I’m really “petty bourgeois” anyway since I do indeed want for the people to take back ALL the land and steward it along decentralized lines, restoring naturally regional/local agricultural and food economies and politically organizing according to food sovereignty principles like those elaborated by Via Campesina.

    We may need to adapt the discourse to make it understandable to the masses, skipping words like “communism” but still sticking to the facts of class exploitation, regardless of the terms used.

    Therefore this is exactly what I’m doing, nor is it just pedagogical. I understand that by now we’re all petty bourgeois (where not really lumpenproles, at least psychologically), while the “proletarian” notion is just empty attitudinizing.

    What you call my obsession with corporations is really a practical focus on the enemy’s primary organizational form and weapon and a clear operational goal for a movement, abolition of this form. Thus I eschew “left-right” and -isms in general and simply call myself an abolitionist. How many other analysts can state their analysis and prescription while standing on one foot? But that’s what’s necessary in humanity’s great crisis.

    You correctly point out a core feature of corporations, how they’re designed to set up legal and publicity barriers between criminals and their crimes. So why wouldn’t it be worthwhile to make this a key part of propaganda and agitation, and one of the proclaimed reasons to abolish the corporate form, and one of the reasons this abolition is necessary and could even be temporarily sufficient? This abolition goal is common sense and moderate in principle (it’s corporatism which is objectively extreme and radical), yet would be revolutionary in practice. So it has vast political potential.

    Comment by Russ — March 7, 2015 @ 2:57 am

    • I am not Leninist (with due respect to the main leader of the Russian Revolution and also a major thinker) and my idea of petty bourgeois is someone who owns a small or medium sized business, i.e. it’s the low segment of the bourgeois class, and therefore also the most common one. You can be bourgeois and revolutionary like Engels but that’s usually the exception, most bourgeoises are rather conservative (moderate reformist to reactionary arch) because that’s their objective interest.

      I do agree with your land program and I’d dare say that land is central to the class conflict, as well as the parallel environmental one. There’s no more absurd concept of property than that of land, yet it’s also the oldest and most central one.

      “… the “proletarian” notion is just empty attitudinizing”.

      The more I think on the issue of proletariat, the more I tend to agree with the basic concept: proletarians were defined, using an obsolete Latin term, as those who have nothing but their own workforce to sell (the original Latin term actually emphasizes the children for some reason: “prole”: sons and daughters, still occasionally used in Spanish as such original form: “con toda la prole” = “with all the kids”). It’s very debatable if acquiring some property on consumables like a home or a car changes that situation, I’d say not in substance, although it may affect the way of thinking towards property and therefore be one of the causes of “bourgeoisization” or “poshization” of ample sectors of the working class (more in the past than in the present, as things have changed a lot since 2007).

      Hence I do not think it’s “attitudinizing” although I rather tend to use “the workers”, “the people”, “the working class” or “the 90%” because “proletarian” is a rather technical term and ideologically loaded. Also some Marxists argue that proletarians are only the industrial workers and hence a sub-sector of the working class, something I disagree with but not worth arguing once and again.

      “You correctly point out a core feature of corporations, how they’re designed to set up legal and publicity barriers between criminals and their crimes. So why wouldn’t it be worthwhile to make this a key part of propaganda and agitation, and one of the proclaimed reasons to abolish the corporate form, and one of the reasons this abolition is necessary and could even be temporarily sufficient?”

      I’m against corporations also, of course. But the impression I often get when reading you is that you’d be happy with personal property capitalism, yet it’d be nearly the same (although not really feasible because corporations, as organizational form, will only fall when Capitalism does, not one minute earlier). So I also think that you’re wasting your time by shooting at the decoys instead of shooting to the actual enemies. It’s OK: you believe it’s a useful propaganda stunt, so fair enough – I just don’t share your vision, really.

      Comment by Maju — March 7, 2015 @ 4:03 am

      • The corporate abolition focus is a strategic and tactical principle and clear operational goal as well as a line of agitation I think is politically potent. As opposed to vague denunciations of “capitalism” with no operational goal in sight. That isn’t even a “useful propaganda stunt”, but what seems to me to be self-indulgence, part of why “the left” is so marginal.

        I’m against all capitalist accumulation, though I don’t see how it can continue anyway once there’s no economically accessible resources left to accumulate, a condition the world is fast approaching. I suppose I’m agnostic as regards ideas of mutualism or market anarchism. But then I think what follows the collapse of corporate capitalism is something that will be worked out only then. Via Campesina’s Principles and the Nyeleni Declaration of Food Sovereignty encompass the social and economic arrangements I’d call for, but these days I’m focused mostly on the anti-corporate fight.

        Among these dinosaurs I focus on survival and how to subvert and where possible openly fight. Politically threatening the main organizational forms and accumulation devices (including the hopes for GMOs, not just of those particular corporations but of the finance sector and all of capitalism; including, in the same sense, intellectual property) may not directly impact material conditions, but given how the elites are totally committed organizationally and psychologically to the corporate weaponry, a political victory against corporatism would inflict a severe shock to the material systems as well. How, for example, could Big Ag continue to function if its subsidies were stripped? It would cease to be economically viable, with tremendous material implications to follow from that fact.

        Of course this negative part of the movement has to be accompanied by the affirmative aspect rebuilding local/regional food economies. I’m actively involved in that but don’t write as much about it, since unlike with the abolition imperative there’s already a vibrant community of excellent writers on Community Food.

        As for the class character, it seems we’re talking past one another in that you seem to be talking strictly about economic denotations – whether and how much technical property someone has – while I think bourgeois ideology has triumphed completely for the time being and dominates the psychology of all classes whatever their technical denotation. Maybe things are different in Europe than in America. (Just to be clear if it wasn’t already, what I write is first of all about American conditions and looking for ways to fight in America.) Though everything I see of the EC bureaucracy, at least, looks the same as here.

        Here, at least, all groups, even the super-rich, basically subscribe to the petty bourgeois ideology. There’s only individual exceptions, no group exceptions that I’ve seen. That’s why I regard it as attitudinizing to still talk about a “working class” in America as a discrete political grouping. There’s still plenty of workers, though mostly in precarious jobs rather than stable, real ones, and very little class consciousness. Most of the unions of course have long been business unions.

        Comment by Russ — March 7, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

      • “I think bourgeois ideology has triumphed completely”

        Possibly but ideology does not make class, objective factors do, particularly ownership of the means of production: either you have that (bourgeois or “grey” self-employed zone maybe in some cases) or you do not (worker). Ideology is part of how people is integrated in the system, so it’s only normal that they are petty-bourgeois in ideology and hope (quite hopelessly these days) for upwards social mobility and a modicum of affluence.

        Something I read today is a theory of convergence of between the interests of the “productive” bourgeoisie and the active workers vs that of the “parasitic” bourgeoisie and the unemployed workers. Not sure how real this is but it underlines that, unless you consider class relations, you can end up in a transversal mess. What revolutionaries want to is to gather the forces of all (or most of) the working class around our objective interest (economic democracy) because that’s the only way to force change, reactionary forces (bourgeois political manipulation) want to impede that class unity and keep workers serving their capitalist “leaders”.

        “That’s why I regard it as attitudinizing to still talk about a “working class” in America as a discrete political grouping.”

        Class is the only reason for revolutionary politics. No class or an effectively unconscious working class and there’s no hope of changing anything. Basically either there’s a socialist revolution around worker interests or Humankind is doomed. You can use whatever wording but there’s no hope within bourgeois parameters, because, as you admit: these are predatory and there’s not really much more to exploit, so we are at a life-threatening cancer-like stage of this phenomenon known as Capitalism.

        Only by democratizing the economy (the companies and in general all economic decision making, by taking it from the “dictatorship of markets”, i.e. of the bourgeois elite, and putting it in the hands of the people) can production be made environmentally and socially friendly. Else production serves the selfish hedonist purpose of a parasitic class and can only lead to doom with this out-of-bounds technological development associated to it.

        It’s not anymore “communism or barbarism” but rather “communism or extinction”.

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 4:40 am

      • Certainly if industrial “civilization” continues much longer then it’s socialism or extinction, though I expect that after whatever travails humanity undergoes during the erosion and eventual collapse of this civilization, history will basically resume its normal course. The big wild card, short of the likelihood of nuclear war, is how devastated the soil and ecosystem will be left. A big part of why I think humanity needs to fight on the agricultural front right here and now is to preserve any possible basis for post-industrial recovery.

        Have revolutions broken out on a class basis in modern mass societies? It doesn’t seem that way to me. Was the February Revolution class-based or mass-based? I’d say it was the latter, triggered by food shortages and general discontent about the way the war was going. That example seems typical of subsequent disturbances in Western countries.

        Comment by Russ — March 9, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

      • “Certainly if industrial “civilization” continues much longer then it’s socialism or extinction”…

        Industrial civilization will continue one way or another, even in a socialist society, just that hopefully refurbished to be sustainable (no need for “growth” nor extreme short-term “productivity”, renewable energies, population growth control, etc.) There’s no way humankind is going to fall back to previous civilizational stages such as agricultural society or drop key advances like telecommunications. And doing that (IMO impossible) would not help the revolutionary agenda anyhow but rather lead back to feudalism.

        “… history will basically resume its normal course”.

        History has no “normal course”: it’s been an escalation in technological and productive developments all the time, even in the apparent setback parentheses of the dark ages (the Greek dark age saw transition to steel or the European dark ages to heavy cavalry and heavy plough that allowed the development of Northern Europe). However since the Industrial Revolution this escalation has just gone mad in an exponential way.

        I do agree that the environmental front is critical anyhow. However there’s little we can do wile the bourgeoisie leads with their individualist and productivist ideology: they can reform mildly but only under great pressure, and won’t bother about the future themselves because their morals are ultra-hedonistic and the future is not, they think selfishly, their problem. As Keynes said: “the future will take care of its own problems” (problems inherited from the past, of course).

        “Have revolutions broken out on a class basis in modern mass societies?”

        Definitely yes: we have first the bourgeois revolutions: Swiss (and arguably Renaissance Italian ones), Dutch and English first, then the main ones in the 18th and 19th centuries. In these the peasants and workers played a subservient role mostly, lacking a class consciousness of their own, but the bourgeoisie was clearly leading.

        There was also the slave revolution of Haiti, contemporary with the French one, which succeeded (but was brought on its knees by French imposition of arbitrary debt, debt that Haitians are still paying, now mostly to the USA). In any case it’s clearly a class-based revolution and not a bourgeois one at the origin (but surely manipulated by the mulatto free segment towards such outcome).

        In the 20th century we have a long list of European working class based revolutions of which the Russian one is the best known but certainly not the only one. In those same dates a huge wave of revolutionary uprisings took over Germany, Hungary and other countries, eventually failing. Then we have the Spanish revolutionary attempts of 1921 and 1936 and the revolutions that took place in Central Europe under Soviet backing: Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece (failed), Czechoslovakia…

        Outside Europe we have the Mexican Revolution of 1910, with clear class elements but rather bourgeois in the outcome (with socialist elements anyhow), the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and many African revolutions, as well as the Cuban revolution, all them with clear worker & farmer base, much like the Russian model they followed (also some in West Asia: South Yemen, Afghanistan and the never succeeding but everlasting Naxalite uprising of India, recently achieving major success in Nepal).

        So yes, there are a lot. However my impression is that 20th century revolutions are “para-bourgeois” nationalist in most cases if not all: as the global eurocentric bourgeois system did not allow such nations to develop, they “instinctively” resorted to working class without a bourgeois lead, replacing this one by a boureaucratic one (party). The result has been similar to the bourgeois industrial model they aimed to imitate.

        With the implosion of the fordist model however we’ve witnessed a relative (but not total) decay of these also fordist revolutionary processes. Negri describes fordism as “mass worker” stage (among other labels: “disciplinary industry” also), so maybe this is where you see that “mass” thing. Anyhow there’s no obvious divide between the masses and the working class, who else could the masses be?! My fascist wannabe-bourgeois gramma always emphasized the difference that for her had “people” (she didn’t care about) and “persons” (individuals of some sort of standing she could admire and relate to). She feared and disdained the masses a lot but these only seemed to include poor people.

        “Was the February Revolution class-based or mass-based? I’d say it was the latter, triggered by food shortages and general discontent about the way the war was going.”

        There’s no substantial difference between mass and working or disposessed or proletarian class, really. In any case the February Revolution was strongly class based: demos of working class women, strikes in key industries, soldiers taking over the army, etc. Another issue is what role played the farm workers as opposed to the industrial workers, a serious issue that has clearly affected all peripheral revolutions and has led to endless theoretical debates on its causes and consequences. The October Revolution, culmination of the former, was also very clearly class based.

        Today anyhow, those instances seem “primitive” and not a good model, much as Cromwell’s Roundheads or Italian Guelphs were not a good model for late late 18th and early 19th century bourgeois revolutions (yet they are intrinsicly related).

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 7:40 pm

      • By modern I meant the period of fully developed industrialism and imperialism, modern media and communications, etc. Basically the 20th century, for the West and increasingly for the rest of the planet. That’s also describing what I see as the time of the complete triumph of bourgeois ideology, even where the class stratifications remain in place. But when I use the term “mass” (influenced by Arendt but also by Fanon and others) I’m talking about these Western and Western-dominated societies where the class structure itself has basically dissolved, at least psychologically. When I ponder how there’s practically nothing outside of an increasingly precarious middle class and those who have been effectively liquidated economically, and the former clearly headed toward the latter, while even those still hanging on are often practically lumpenproles in their minds already (the most vulgarized version of bourgeois ideology and psychology; most of them don’t even have petty bourgeois class consciousness), the word “mass” seems more appropriate than trying to dissect them into classes. And the same liquidation is going on everywhere on earth, mostly skipping the “middle class” phase. Neoliberalism clearly intends to dispatch the vast bulk of humanity with one-way tickets to terminal slums which might as well be called concentration camps, with all the psychological decomposition which goes with it.

        It’s class war, but conventional class analysis seems to be inadequate to deal with it. Of what “class” are concentration camp inmates? But that’s basically the end goal of the system, a small handful of elites, their thug cadres, and the mass of those completely dispossessed and, wherever economically necessary to the tyrants, enslaved. But they clearly need far fewer slaves than there are people.

        As we’ve discussed before, I don’t subscribe to your versions of the Progress ideology and technological determinism. I reject both as factually untrue, physically impossible, and highly undesirable even if they were possible.

        I don’t understand anarchists who can’t comprehend that some kinds of technology, such as nukes, offshore drilling, genetic engineering, space travel, etc. by their nature require authoritarian hierarchy. Yet for each of those examples I’ve seen people say “they could be good if done democratically”. It’s not possible to democratically accumulate such capital surplus. Such accumulation is inherently authoritarian and piratical. And that’s not even getting into the need to hand power over to technocrats. This is an example of what I was talking about in referring to the triumph of bourgeois ideology – the fundamentally non-political, authoritarian cult of technology is rampant across all ideologies including the most nominally democratic ones like anarchism. I think the problem is the underlying “Progress” infection, which was a bourgeois infiltration of all modern ideologies. I think it’s a basic problem to religiously assume “things get better” (and in defiance of the facts, no less) if humanity just stays the course of supply-driven overproduction (but just not in “capitalist” form, of course; but how’s it possible to have accumulation and “growth” other than on a capitalist basis, no matter what one calls it?), when the rational and evidence-supported alternative is to jettison the whole “progress” faith and work to make the best of the world we actually have, including the political and economic set-up we actually have. Institutions could certainly be rendered adequate to human freedom, self-determination, and self-realization, if we didn’t shackle all these to the Progress death march, which in practice only concentrates power and wealth and is increasingly destructive. “Progress” itself is the problem, not “abuses” of it the way a liberal would say.

        Comment by Russ — March 10, 2015 @ 7:54 am

      • “By modern I meant the period of fully developed industrialism and imperialism, modern media and communications, etc. Basically the 20th century”…

        You’re being nit-picky: revolutions only throw down rotten doors, stable systems are effectively impervious to revolutionary attempts. Actually revolution happens when much needed reform fails or is just impossible. The situation is increasingly that one everywhere in the West (at least) but has not been the case in core capitalist states since the 19th-20th century transitional period (1871 in France, 1919 in Germany). You may be thinking in 1968 but, while this year (in which I was born, incidentally) had some important “growing pains”, symptomatic lessons of the transition between Fordism and Toyotism (assimilated in the West and repressed in the Soviet sphere) that we should not ignore, it was far from being a revolution proper, precisely because it largely lacked a class dimension.

        Only now that the Western Capitalist imperialist entity is losing its grip everywhere, forcing it into financial decadence, growth stagnation and internal colonialism (i.e. end of the historical “privileges” for the central domestic worker classes relative to semi-colonial ones, i.e. austerity for the poor) can revolutionary processes take a new impulse because Capitalism is more and more shown in its naked and brutal uglinness.

        Now two elements converge in favor of revolution in core (and not-so-core) capitalist states: (1) a terminal Capitalism that is powerless (and unwilling) to generate social well-being in any way anymore and that instead resorts to blunt repression and propaganda (fascism, open or hidden) and (2) an advanced “social worker” class with high levels of education and know-how, who feel entitled as “citizens” and “humans” but are thrown to the dumpster of long-term unemployment and extreme precariety.

        “… some kinds of technology, such as nukes, offshore drilling, genetic engineering, space travel, etc. by their nature require authoritarian hierarchy”.

        Debatable. I’ll focus on nuclear energy because they are the most clear example of long-term destructive technology, and hence useless for Humankind as such. Nuclear energy has a single reason to exist: nuclear arsenals, otherwise it’s not useful in any way. And nuclear arsenals (and related rocket capabilities) are a kind of military power that guarantees that your polity won’t be invaded by the global bully (typically the USA but could be any other), so it’s only normal that states resort to it when they can. Only when a global humanist (socialist) federation of some sort has been established can nukes be dismantled. Notice that this is not something I want, but something I painfully admit to.

        Space tech is needed for modern telecommunications, from GPS to Internet, I doubt it will be ever abandoned, barring a Mad Max kind of apocalyptic scenario. The other two would require too long discussions, so I’ll ignore them here.

        “This is an example of what I was talking about in referring to the triumph of bourgeois ideology – the fundamentally non-political, authoritarian cult of technology is rampant across all ideologies including the most nominally democratic ones like anarchism”.

        I have to disagree: it’s not a “cult” but realism. You may be happier as hunter-gatherer but nearby farmers will sooner or later force you to change, while the opposite will never happen. Similarly it’s impossible to abandon technology in general (another thing is particular instances of it such as nuclear or transgenics, which seem only destructive in essence) but things like satellites are here to stay. Small farmer hippy anarchism is not a realistic force. I like it to some extent and it underlines important issues but it’s not an alternative for 7 billion humans. On the other hand serious ecological farming is a fundamental “new technology”, which, like reneweable energies, etc. are part of the solution: methods that seem to allow us to rebalance our needs with the needs of the planet and of future generations. It may be “post-industrial” to some extent but certainly not “post-technological”. There’s no going back.

        ” I think it’s a basic problem to religiously assume “things get better” (and in defiance of the facts, no less) if humanity just stays the course of supply-driven overproduction (but just not in “capitalist” form, of course; but how’s it possible to have accumulation and “growth” other than on a capitalist basis, no matter what one calls it?)”

        You’re mixing things here: technology (which won’t be renounced to, no matter how much we want it) and exploitation of Earth, including the very harmful Capitalist need for “growth”. What has been known can’t be unknown. If there’s anything of worth pondering in the biblical mythology that is the myth of the tree of knowledge and subsequent loss of paradise. The challenge is to restore “paradise” without the impossible (and arguably undesirable) renounciation to knowledge (i.e. technology in general terms, not necessarily each instance of it).

        According to all I know of Marxist theory, the forces of extreme technological development unleashed by Capitalism (led by the bourgeoisie, but manned by the working class) precisely allow for the kind of restoration of societal horizontal communication even at global level that is necessary for that reconstitution of “paradise” in new parameters, after the Metal Ages’ despotic parenthesis. However for that the exhaustion of the Capitalist exploitative drive and a worker (social worker) revolution are needed.

        It may be wrong, but then we are just doomed to a growing dystopia and very possibly extinction, because there is no way back to hunter-gathering.

        Comment by Maju — March 10, 2015 @ 11:56 am

      • Well, you’re attributing all kinds of reductive notions to me I never said. Since you’ve been reading my site for awhile, at least off and on, you know I don’t consider “going back to hunting-gathering” likely or desirable. I’ve written dozens of times that agroecology is the only possible post-fossil fuel path, and food sovereignty the best prospect for doing it in an egalitarian way.

        You’re the one saying it’s either space technology or Mad Max. On the contrary, in more and more places we’re already getting close to the social environment of the first Mad Max film, and the surest way to experience the rest will be if corporatism can force an apocalyptic collapse rather than a combination of erosion, collapse, and the new being built within the old. But no one who keeps yearning for everything about capitalism except for the capitalist himself (again, I don’t see how that’s possible) is likely to help in building the new.

        Comment by Russ — March 11, 2015 @ 9:04 am

      • “I don’t consider “going back to hunting-gathering” likely or desirable.”

        I didn’t mean that you said that. I would consider very desirable a return to hunter-gathering but also think it’s absolutely impossible. That’s my own thought as “primitivist”: I believe that the desire for communism stems from our evolutionary roots in hunter-gathering and that farming destroyed that socio-economy we are best adapted for, allowing for property accumulation, militaristic hierarchization, civilization and industrialization.

        However I painfully reckon that we can’t go back to that root evolutionary stage but similarly we can’t go back either to the farming stage.

        Anyhow I don’t see anything desirable about farming and herding anyhow: domestication seems to be the root of all evil. What you do to plants and animals, soon translates to people and Earth in general: the first signs of sexist slavery appear already in very early farming populations: certain groups of early Neolithic Anatolia already show that but we can also see that kind of brutal exploitation along gender lines today among many Papuan groups, who are among the oldest farmers (silviculturalists) of Earth. Soon comes slavery and other forms of serfdom and the problem of inequality and exploitation becomes chronic.

        “I’ve written dozens of times that agroecology is the only possible post-fossil fuel path, and food sovereignty the best prospect for doing it in an egalitarian way”.

        I can’t but agree with this but that doesn’t mean renouncing to technology like communication or weather satellites.

        “You’re the one saying it’s either space technology or Mad Max”.

        Yes. A “Mad Max” scenario is the only possible situation in which I can envision (partial) loss of scientific and technological knowledge. Not renounciation or control of technology but actual loss. Some sort of extreme post-nuclear “dark ages”, in which humankind does not go extinct but survives in random pockets, however the ecosystem is extremely damaged anyhow.

        “On the contrary, in more and more places we’re already getting close to the social environment of the first Mad Max film”…

        I rather see a tendency towards a “soft” version of “1984”, with possible future elements of “A Brave New World” if the transgenists succeed. Unless you’re thinking of the Islamist militant pockets, fed by the USA and allies in areas it wants to destabilize (not any real genuine force but mere puppets).

        But what I’m talking about when I say a “Mad Max” scenario is nuclear catastrophe, coupled with other environmental collapses, including epidemics, famine and what-not. Whether nuclear catastrophe triggers the social collapse or social collapse triggers nuclear catastrophe is accessory.

        “… if corporatism can force an apocalyptic collapse”…

        Why would they? Corporations can only operate in state protected environments of some sort. They could never exist without the laws that enable them: they are not “natural” beings that can exist in an unregulated environment. Right-wing “libertarians” have it totally wrong when they imagine or pretend to believe that their dear corporations and capitalism can exist without state, without some sort of law and order.

        The only quasi-corporation that can thrive in such environment is the mafia, and that’s not quite a “corporation” but a neo-feudal system of personal dependency, one that is very unstable and prone to intestine conflict.

        “But no one who keeps yearning for everything about capitalism except for the capitalist himself (again, I don’t see how that’s possible) is likely to help in building the new.”

        Now it’s you who are twisting my words. I don’t yearn for everything about capitalism and I’m no old-school “developist” commie at all. I know that tackling the environmental catastrophe problem requires of radical measures, notably but not only: quick development of renewable energy sources (and storage systems based on hydrogen, no matter how “costly” they are in paper-money terms) and forcible “ecologization” of all the production system, beginning with agriculture, as well as effective population control and reduction of consume (i.e. the ecological footprint) to sustainable levels (“ungrowth”).

        But I do not support the destruction of the Internet or telecommunications in general and see absolutely no reason to do that. In fact the key problem is one of democracy and we do need those tools in order to implement an effective “real time” participative democracy that can manage the economy (and other issues) in communist conditions.

        Also I realize that Capitalism is transitional between Agrarian Feudalism and something new (Communism hopefully) and that it is penetrated by the forces of the old (in decay) and the new (emergent). Capitalism had to concede to many worker demands, beginning by formal egality, human rights and formal democracy. These are obviously not enough but are concessions that Capitalism had to do because of: (1) class struggle and (2) its own inability to create anything in the social-political aspect (so it has to borrow from other sources, be them residual or emergent).

        In any case I realize that Capitalism has radically changed the way the World is and that we have to build on what we have. Some things are obviously perverse and must be suppressed but the overall scientific and technological development is rather neutral, as neutral as it can be, and can’t in any case be suppressed in its totality (nor is surely desirable anyhow). The answer is to put the economy under direct democratic rule, so the worker-citizens can decide what is best in each case. Not all communities will make the same decisions but in general they will tend to make good decisions as long as nobody can accumulate power, either in form of property or political (bureaucratic, management) positions, as long as the people is the one making the decisions in a free solidary social and political environment.

        Comment by Maju — March 11, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

      • When I say corporatism forcing total collapse I mean if it can maintain its power fully intact until it catastrophically collapses all at once. Obviously this system cannot sustain itself. That industrial agriculture must certainly collapse for any of several reasons is only the most assured of these fates, and there’s several other reasons this monstrously complex and high maintenance system 100% dependent on a nonrenewable energy source which can never even remotely be replaced cannot endure.

        I didn’t say or think anything about any kind of politically-driven destruction of communications technology. I’ll leave it to reformers in that sector to figure out what’s needful there. I was saying that modern communications sector is 100% dependent on irreplaceable cheap fossil fuels and non-renewable metals. These are the reasons physical reality will insist on at least a tremendous down-scaling, if not the complete eradication of these technologies.

        I do think we need to do all we can to attain politically the controlled demolition of industrial ag before it collapses chaotically on its own, and I think the political possibilities for generating the will to undertake such a demolition are more promising where it comes to this sector than with many others, especially since the superior alternatives already exist and just need to be greatly expanded.

        Just to make sure we were talking about the same Mad Max, I referred to the first, pre-apocalypse movie, not the latter post-apocalyptic ones. Even in the West we already have spreading areas of basic lawlessness, including any extant police acting as yet another agent of lawless disorder.

        I’m simply astounded when I see radicals who pride themselves on being analytical talking about the alleged “neutrality” of science and technology. This is the most rife and extreme example of the bourgeois corruption and takeover of all other superficial ideologies. It’s Analysis 101 that technological determinism is a bourgeois lie, that no technology can exist except within an economic and political context, and that all scientific research and technological development is actively chosen by political interests. Whether or not opposing interests can subvert such technology and science to their own ends and against the elites who sought to use these to reinforce their own power, is just a further development of the fact that science and technology are always weapons of economic and political struggle. The vast majority of scientific ideas and technological products inherently support a particular social order, and those which don’t still need to be deployed in an inevitably politicized way. Earlier I mentioned some of the examples of technologies which require surplus accumulation, hierarchy, and technocracy by their very nature. Needless to say such technologies are invariably deployed in elitist ways as well. As I’ve said many times, no one would have invested the first penny in biotechnology if the goals hadn’t been enclosure via patenting toward incalculable profit and total power and control.

        Comment by Russ — March 12, 2015 @ 7:20 am

      • Re. Mad Max, I understand all the films represent the same “apocalyptic” scenario just that at different stages. Anyhow for me the one Mad Max scenario is best described in films 2 and 3 (very particularly the one co-starred by Tina Turner), with part 1 being apparently introductory and a bit hard to understand. Anyhow, I’m just using the analogy to describe a post-industrial imploded future (there are surely better artpieces on that but it’s the best known one). I would consider it post-nuclear, although apparently (I read now) the argument is based on the silly idea of fossil fuel collapse, as if it could not ber replaced at any time by renewables & hydrogen just by mere political will (but also because we have the know-how, it would have been impossible 100 or 150 years ago).

        Anyway, the idea was to describe a post-industrial Dark Ages in which society is so much destroyed (not just lawlessness: the low densities and lack of any power centrality of the movies imply mass death and destruction) that feels almost like a return to the Middle Ages or similar. I’m familiar with this kind of post-apocalyptic scenarios, which filled the comics I read when I was a teenager back in the 80s, very particularly “Hombre” of Segura & Ortiz (by comparison, in my mind at least, Mad Max is a footnote, wouldn’t be for Tina Turner’s themes and cool leather jackets with spikes). These kind of references I mix with stuff like “The Day After” and the permanent fear we had (and we still should have) to nuclear catastrophe, which is one of the worst dangers we face, as seen in Chernobyl, Fukushima, etc. (the other big one is destruction of biodiversity).

        So forget Mad Max (as it seems we interpret it differently): I’m talking of a post-industrial Dark Age in general in which Humankind has failed to be anything better than big-brained chimps who know too much for our own good.

        Comment by Maju — March 12, 2015 @ 11:05 am

      • “I didn’t say or think anything about any kind of politically-driven destruction of communications technology”.

        You talked about the implicit verticality of “space travel”, which so far basically means satellites and a few exploratory robots (whose data are most interesting, IMO). It’s of course true that its development is related to that of weapons of mass destruction (missiles) and that rockets use big loads of fuel (although surely a drop in the ocean of industrial consumption) but I don’t understand why some people decide to charge against the avant-guard of human curiosity and the technological capacity that relatively low-cost payloads provide for all the planet in terms of communication and environmental surveyance, among others (GPS for example allows for very precise hydrographical surveys without need of complex manual sounding and topographers – this is a sector I’ve worked in and would have never been able to without technology, be this computers, radio or satellites).

        “… modern communications sector is 100% dependent on irreplaceable cheap fossil fuels and non-renewable metals”.

        All them are replaceable. It’s a myth that fossil fuel can’t be replaced. I can be replaced right now. As for metals, research produces every other day forms to avoid the use of the rarest and costlier materials. I’m more familiar here with what’s going on in terms of solar energy generation and the related hydrolitic storage into hydrogen fuel but I know enough to realize that stuff like graphene could solve all the component problems if need be (or again, if there’s political will to speed the transition up).

        “It’s Analysis 101 that technological determinism is a bourgeois lie”…

        Is it as simple? Of course there’s an issue of political will but in chaotic conditions (and all conditions are ultimately chaotic) technology enables or not certain paths. For example the development of North Europe would never have been possible without the heavy plough, which multiplied its agricultural output, allowing for the socio-economic the centrality of what used to be a marginal area. I wouldn’t say “technological determinism” because, in the short term at least, it’s obvious that decisions are being made now and in the past, to favor or disfavor certain potentials, but the fact that a technology does or does not exist is a materialist bottom line for X developments being possible or not. Example: time travel or long distance efficient space travel do not exist nor are likely to exist in the near future, what closes certain potential gates for our immediate social evolution (however if they’d exist, it’d be very different).

        “no technology can exist except within an economic and political context”

        Within materialist analysis I’d say that rather technologies tend to promote the political context, rather than the other way around. One example is military evolution: in those periods and circumstances when infantry was crucial, democracy (of some sort) tended to flourish, while in those periods in which cavalry (or chariots) was instead, aristocracy ruled and the masses were deemed nearly useless save for subservient work and deprived of power because they could just not match an armored knight in most cases.

        Another example is agriculture, which dramatically changed Humankind, allowing for accumulation of wealth (land primarily but also livestock, cereal stocks) in private hands, as well as for the exploitation of more or less forced labor (slavery, serfdom).

        The technology available sets the rules of engagement. I wouldn’t dare to say “determinism” because there’s no such thing (Chaos rules always in the long run) but still pretty much fundamental.

        “… all scientific research and technological development is actively chosen by political interests”.

        Then why to research solar energy, for example? There are clearly pockets of exceptionality to this “rule”: it’s not “all” but much or even most.

        But I do agree that the academy is very much rotten and sold to private bourgeois interests, even if many scientists are still very honest and selfless. The best example is economics, which rather than a science is a religion, where dissidence is barely allowed (and never promoted in any way).

        Comment by Maju — March 12, 2015 @ 11:41 am

  5. I’m still not following you on the 99% vs. the 1%. 99 vs. 1 is a slogan and concept, not an ivory tower mathematical theory. I asked why anyone would want to pedantically dissect it. In that case why stop at 90%? Why not 89.6, or 90.3? It’s certainly true that the 1% wants the “99%” line to vanish from the discourse, and if the people who ought to be keeping it alive fail to do so, it will disappear. Well, I’ll keep saying it.

    Comment by Russ — March 7, 2015 @ 3:00 am

    • “Why not 89.6, or 90.3?”

      Because that would not communicate the idea with the same simplicity and emphasis. I don’t really know the “exact” figure but for what I have seen it is around 90% in all countries, at least the ones I’ve checked. 99% would include all the petty bourgeoisie and that implies a conflict of interest: revolution (the objective interest of the 90%) or mere reform (which would be the interest of the privileged 9% petty bourgeoises, only interested in social peace and better governance, not the abolition of property). In the end it’d be putting the working class at the service of the reformist sectors of the bourgeoisie and at most fighting yet another pointless bourgeois “revolution” (these could be progressive 200 years ago but nowadays they are pointless or even reactionary, at least in the Western World).

      Of course the petty bourgeois and even the grand bourgeois are welcome to join the revolutionary ranks, IMO, just that they must know (they will know eventually anyhow, so why try to deceive them?) that they are betraying their objective interest and taking sides for what will cause their downward social mobility, the loss of their wealth, big or small, in favor of society – a better, fairer society, of course. Only the best among them can assume that and they are not dumb, so they will know anyhow, why pretend? And very especially: why to risk confusing the real revolutionary class which is the 90% of society? Why risk that they end up serving the same old dogs with just new collars? No, we must be bluntly honest because only from truth comes consciousness and only from consciousness comes the power of making things change, the power of revolution.

      Comment by Maju — March 7, 2015 @ 4:21 am

      • “Because that would not communicate the idea with the same simplicity and emphasis.”

        Exactly why I think 99% is best. Obviously the thugs and propagandists and trolls of the 1% don’t count as part of the people, if what you’re saying is you want a punctiliously “accurate” statistic. I don’t count such traitors as part of the people at all. That’s why I said I assimilate them to the 1%. The 99% are those who are part of and identify with the people and against the criminal elites.

        Are you saying the figure “99%” is what confuses people and makes them think e.g. cops are part of the people? I don’t think so – I think those people confuse themselves on a point like that and aren’t misguided by the banner slogan.

        Comment by Russ — March 7, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

      • “Exactly why I think 99% is best.”

        Not at all: I can consider myself part of the 90% but not of the 99% which unavoidably will be led by the small and middle bourgeois elites. We must exclude them (other than individual generous class defectors) in order to be a class force. If we include without any conditions the small and middle business, we risk diluting our demands not in favor of more protection of Earth’s and workers’ rights but against them. Small and middle business are not generally better in any way than the big ones: they usually exploit workers and the planet as much as the big ones – even against the consciousness and desire of the owners in some cases but anyhow it’s not bureaucracy but that chaotic force called “market” which forces them to compete in such a destructive and desperate way.

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 4:46 am

      • I’m not following why you think the use of a slogan necessarily compels anything in terms of philosophy or strategy. If my slogan were “Pro-Union” I’d be taking it for granted that doesn’t include the prison guard or police unions, and if that wasn’t obvious to someone, I’d explain why at that point. If you insist on philosophical niceties, then I don’t consider thugs and propagandists to be part of the people at all, so I don’t philosophically worry about which “percentage” they comprise. I think it’s silly to nitpick a slogan.

        Comment by Russ — March 9, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

      • Facts and figures on wealth structure:

        → Oxfam Report (global focus): http://forwhatwearetheywillbe.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-oxfam-report-extreme-class.html
        1. Millionaires: 0.7% owning 41% (each owns > 1 million $)
        2. Sub-millionaires: 7.7% owning 42% (each owns > 100,000 $)
        3. Buffer or middle class: 22.8% owning 23% (each owns > 10,000 $)
        4. Poor class: 68.7% owning a mere 3% (each owns < 10,000 $)

        So the 90% (or more precisely the 91,6%) already includes the buffer class of "affluent workers" or "poor bourgeois".

        → Some video games Forbes blogger (US-focused): http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/10/11/we-are-the-80-not-the-99/
        1. Top 1% owns 43% of financial wealth and 35% of net wealth
        2. Second 9% owns 40% of financial wealth and 38% of net wealth (I added up two segments here for simplicity)
        3. Third 10% owns 10% of both financial and net wealth
        4. Bottom 80% owns 7% of financial wealth and 15% of net wealth

        He argues for an 80% figure but his data and arguments are rather supportive of the 90% one. You could push for a 95% figure but 99% is just unreal, including a large segment of people who don't give a damn for anything but money, controlling major fractions of economic power as class-like segment, but are just not lucky enough to be in the elite 1% club. Those people, wielding such a major share of economic and social power (and doing nothing good with it), are not my allies. I belong to the bottom layer and I know those intermediate segments have their own individualist agendas which converge with those of the top 1%, except possibly on issues like corruption and transparency: they generally prefer fair play because they are too small fish to benefit from mafia-like networks (and may even have some morals!) but won't risk anything make even that minimal agenda happening. I know that psychology very well, as I come from a family in those buffer segments (not sure if second or third segment, we just never could get along as they could not shape me to be like them even remotely).

        "then I don’t consider thugs and propagandists to be part of the people at all"

        Obviously the working class does comprise such mercenary segments too. It'd be unrealistic to deny that but class-wise they are in the lower tiers, just that they play the socio-economic game as it is: individualist. Marx would call them "lumpenproletariat" but that's a most controversial category: IMO they are just class traitors and express the worst of the degradation that Capitalism imposes on the masses by forcing us to rent ourselves on the (quasi-slave) market for survival.

        Comment by Maju — March 9, 2015 @ 6:42 pm

  6. There’s the physical limits of technology, and then the political choices are made within those limits. At no point does technology have its own mystical inertia. Same for science. As for your example of solar energy, 1. Of course elites don’t have 100% domination (yet), just the great preponderance, and I never said anything different. So there’s always alternatives which exist at minor levels. They just don’t get chosen by the society against the will of an intact elite structure. 2. Those who lobbied for it and invested in it were of course betting on what they hoped would be the profitable wave of the future, so most of them were certainly not revolutionaries against the basic thrust of the system. The vast majority of organic growers, processors, retailers, are perfectly orthodox capitalists, and most of them don’t even object to the existence of industrial ag, merely to some of its so-called “abuses”. 3. The fact is that the solar buildout, first proposed in the early 60s and then again in the 70s, was defeated, and only in recent years has it gained some slight momentum. But to this day it remains 100% dependent on government subsidies and the fossil fuel physical subsidy. Without these it would be economically and physically impossible. While the economics could possibly change, the physical subsidy will always be necessary. (In the case of agriculture it’s the other way around – the system’s industrial ag is overwhelmingly dependent on corporate welfare and fossil fuels and would collapse immediately the moment either was withdrawn, while agroecology is the scientifically and empirically proven way to attain low-input, low-maintenance, low-tech abundance.)

    In those senses renewables are like nukes, which have also never been economically or physically viable without those subsidies.

    And to say it again, if this renewables buildout were possible it would be done under corporate control and neoliberal auspices.

    Comment by Russ — March 12, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

    • “… renewables are like nukes”…

      Not at all. They are extremely efficient ways to “redirect” (and potentially store) naturally occurring sources, essentially solar energy. Subsidies are only needed to compensate for the subsidies in terms of environmental neglect that fossil fuel and nuclear get already. Otherwise solar (or wind) is already as efficient or more as fossil fuels in the production of electricity and the only obstacle (other than political) is the relatively low rate of conversion when transformed into hydrogen (but who cares: the “hidden” costs of fossil and nukes are so brutal that anything is better).

      Renewables also have the advantage that they need to be relatively decentralized, something the oligarchies hate, because it’s much harder to control and act as means for power-mongering of all sorts. In that they are like the Internet vs the mass media…

      Now, you seem to be appealing for beans-based (purely biological) energy and, sincerely, do you know how many hours of people pedalling on a dynamo are needed to produce the energy of a single solar panel? I don’t but I bet it’s many. Also beans-based energy needs of many potentially destructive previous processes: agriculture (which in turn needs more beans-based or some other kind of energy), transportation and (maybe worst of all) the proliferation of those pesky humans and their so-annoying implicit ecological footprint (or their similarly harmful cattle/horse symbionts).

      Luddism never worked because, even if its conerns were no doubt legitimate, their approach was reactionary and not progressive.

      “… agroecology is the scientifically and empirically proven way to attain low-input, low-maintenance, low-tech abundance”.

      Sure, permaculture particularly is most interesting (albeit complex), but, regardless, you are going to need other sources of energy than just beans. We are not talking just farming here, are we? We are talking of how to make sure (within reason) that 7 or more billion people can live with dignity in an environmentally stable planet. And while there may indeed be some going back to the farms, we are not arguing (I hope) in Pol-Potist terms of forcibly relocating almost every single urban worker to the country. There will be a role for cities unavoidably, and that role is at least partly industrial. Promoting urban orchards is fine but that doesn’t supply the caloric bulk that the masses need anyhow: cereal does (and legumes, meat, but these are less central).

      “… only in recent years has it gained some slight momentum”.

      It’s very hard to build communist means in a capitalist context, more so when they are economically so central.

      “But to this day it remains 100% dependent on government subsidies and the fossil fuel physical subsidy”.

      No, incorrect. One could argue the same for ecological farming – it would be wrong indeed.

      The government subsidies are only needed to compensate for the (implicit or explicit, open or hidden) subsidies to destructive energy generation techs like fossil or nuclear. The fossil fuel physical “subsidy” is only needed because hydrogen (storage, fuel) tech is not being applied – partly because of its monetary costs, but very low ecological ones, costs that are anyhow decreasing fast, and partly because of lack of political will.

      Again (and we come full circle) the problem of renewables is at least largely technological and thechnological research is largely dependent on political will and investment (and the issue of patents probably, but again political). So lack of political will tends to delay the much needed change, yet it can’t stop it altogether.

      Notice that I do not advocate for persistence of the Capitalist waste and inefficiency (caused by the need of Capitalism to market its produce, as well as power-mongering around certain sectors like the energy one): I reckon that efficiency must be maximized and that, in this sense, properly done ecological agriculture is much desirable. But it’s not the only ecological pillar on which to build a better future: renewables are definitely another key pillar.

      In the end the farmer (or an associate) will have to bring his or her produce to the cities (or whatever distribution centers) and how is he/she going to do that? On a diesel truck or on an environmentally friendly vehicle powered by solar-generated hydrogen, whose only residue is water vapor?

      Or is the farmer family/community going to produce only for themselves? Every single crop? Clothes and tools and vehicles and construction materials too? It’s an economic network what we have not isolated self-sufficient farms. So only eco-farming, while necessary and urgent, is not enough.

      Comment by Maju — March 12, 2015 @ 8:15 pm

  7. I’m talking of a post-industrial Dark Age in general in which Humankind has failed to be anything better than big-brained chimps who know too much for our own good.

    I’ve long thought humans are for the most part psychologically unbalanced primates who are good with tools. We have an an extremely bad ratio of raw intelligence to wisdom and judgement. I’ve never seen a shred of evidence that this will or can ever change, which is why I reject clearly disproven prophecies of improvements in class consciousness. I can’t see the persistence of these prophecies (among liberals and a diminishing group of radicals) as anything but cult exercises in Progress ideology, which by now is clearly at the point of “I believe because it’s absurd.”

    Comment by Russ — March 12, 2015 @ 2:02 pm

    • It’s the only hope, Russ. Else Humankind will collapse and go extinct almost certainly. So I keep trying.

      It’s like Zeus vs Prometheus: I’m absolutely on the side of Prometheus, the god who loved humankind, and hope that Humankind will eventually find the way to not just survive (rats and roaches do) but to live worthly lives of empathy, solidarity, dignity and freedom on a re-stabilized planet Earth.

      Comment by Maju — March 12, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

      • Maju, you and Russ are not understanding the bigger picture.

        I read Russ because he provides the valuable service of independent media. But as far as discussions such as you are having here, you both need to be willing to look into suppressed areas of knowledge. Or you will continue to miss a large part of what is really happening on this planet.

        Just as religious fundamentalists live in a deep rut where they will not look at any evidence that conflicts with their dogma, so it is in other areas. For example, there’s a pretty good independent activist library in Gainesville, but its information is limited to a narrow range. They run from anything that is labeled “fringe” by establishment academia. But establishment academia is controlled behind the scenes, and it is precisely in the areas they label “fringe” that the keys to getting out of this global mess lie.

        Being willing to look at all the evidence takes courage, and most don’t have it. Learning that you’ve been had regarding fundamental ideas, can be frightening. But this is part of learning. letting go of fictions to be able to accept truths.

        Three ways into this suppressed knowledge are:

        1) Doing your own investigations in the real world.

        2) Seeking out the knowledge that “primitive” cultures have, particularly their medicine people.

        3) Seeking out the knowledge that real scientists have.

        One such scientist is Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the Moon. He has for decades researched into areas forbidden in academia. He’s risked his life publically blowing the whistle on the government’s ufo coverup (other astronauts such as Gordon Cooper also have). His main area of interest though is human potential. His website is noetic.org.

        I’ve posted a thread in the forum there (under “Discussions”), it should be on page one or two at the moment. Sadly the forum is flooded with government spam, but that’s business as usual for them. My thread refers to a much larger writing of mine in a different forum, but if you just read what I’ve written at noetic, it will very quickly get you up to speed on the overall situation on this planet. For anyone that can handle it. Some of us at least, need to have our eyes all the way open.

        I’ve researched these areas I write about over many years, and realize most people today are not prepared to understand these things (due to how they’ve been programmed by the system), but since you both have taken up an enormous amount of space here in your exchange, I figure you might be interested in some new information.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 12, 2015 @ 11:05 pm

      • I took a look at your “Noetic” site but all I find (on a shallow look) is imprecise blah-blah about inner development-collective interaction that seems very basic to me. It seems totally inspecific and a bit cult-like looking.

        What you say is (1) basic, (2) and (3) a bit too much looking for authority for my taste – I don’t mean to mispreciate the shamans and scientists but I’d rather feed on wider experiences such as the Zapatista revolutionary process, rather than alternative but still elitist knowledge. As I explained to someone once: I don’t believe neither in white nor black magic, only in red magic, that is: power for the people. Only that way we can move forward from obscurantism and elitism. I also think that the process is much more social than fundamentally personal. Personal development is fine but sooner than later you clash with the limits imposed by the real world “as it is”, then what? Then revolution.

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 2:20 am

      • forgot to add, read my comments to the thread at noetic, they start at the bottom and go up.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 12, 2015 @ 11:18 pm

      • Well, at least you’re admitting that you’re thinking in mythological terms rather than the terms of physical reality. I reject all progressivism just like any other religion, and reject all versions of capitalism both on moral grounds and on grounds that it’s not physically sustainable. It’s ironic that you were trying to see me as some kind of capitalist-reformist, when I expect a reversion to normal history and something much closer to a steady-state economy, while you expect an endless line of Promethean miracles to keep “Progress” going, but (the biggest miracle of all) with elite hierarchies magically disappearing.

        Your self-evidently absurd notion that ecologically harmonious horticulture requires subsidies is of course echoing Big Ag’s slanders. Are you even paying attention to your own words at this point?

        Comment by Russ — March 13, 2015 @ 5:22 am

      • I’m using (very few) mythological analogies, don’t distort the matter, please.

        … “a reversion to normal history”…

        What is “normal history”? History is not “normal”, there’s nothing stable about history, it’s an always changing reality and increasing complexity (with minor temporary decelerations at most).

        … “you expect an endless line of Promethean miracles to keep “Progress” going”…

        I don’t expect any “miracles” I just know that acquired knowledge can’t be “unknown”, that scientific findings stay and pile upon each other and that we can’t effectively hide our heads under the wing before that reality, we like it or not.

        … “something much closer to a steady-state economy”…

        I also hope for that. I agree 200% with the error of “growth” being the cause of the ongoing catastrophe. But that doesn’t mean that we can renounce to environmentally friendly and very much viable energy sources. On the contrary, I think they are urgently needed to promote a stable economy and society. And you are not debating about this aspect at all, I must add. It’s like you’d feel that energy = evil, regardless of whether it is sustainable and decentralized or wasteful, destructive and centralized. Similarly you seem to think that technology = evil even if it is environmentally friendly one.

        “Your self-evidently absurd notion that ecologically harmonious horticulture requires subsidies”…

        Certainly each time I buy eco products I pay quite an extra bit relative to industrial ones. I am subsidizing them from my private pocket, so I know what I’m talking about. I still buy them because of their quality and my own moral comfort but they are somewhat luxurious, even if their prices have been going down, and it is a fact that for many other people the extra cost is not worth it.

        It’s market monetary cost anyhow and not absolute cost. Just as happens with renewable energies. The hidden costs are not being factored in either sector: food or energy, so the good environmentally friendly product appears to be costlier, when it’s not (once hidden costs and state subsidies to destructive methods are subtracted).

        What I’m trying to show is only that both aspects (agro-food and energy) are affected by the same kind of forces and I have no idea why you make that distinction, taking one position re. one sector and the opposite in the other, accusing me of taking the stand of Big Ag in the food sector and not understanding that you are taking the stand of Big Oil in the energy sector (being that the only reason I used the pseudo Big Ag argument).

        My only hypothesis upon these contradictions you show are that you have some sort of hippy luddite ideology that rejects technology upfront, quite hopelessly.

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 9:36 am

      • If the government ceased to exist tomorrow, agroecology would continue and eventually flourish, industrial ag would also immediately cease to exist. I don’t see how the fact can be explained more clearly than that. And thus the completely differing dependency on corporate welfare/subsidies – 0% vs. 100%.

        As for the fact that when you buy organic food you’re paying a price much closer to the real cost of production (and to compensating the organic farmer for the generally unpaid services he renders society and the earth), while when you pay for industrial food you’re paying far less than the real cost because of the massive subsidies, well, if you want to call that “subsidizing them from my private pocket” then you’ll do so, but that’s certainly not an ecological or socialist way of looking at it, to say the least.

        It’s clear that you’re never going to understand that a liberated agroecology would be part of a self-sustaining overall ecological process (and already/still is in many parts of the world), while renewable energy in the sense of CSPs, industrial wind farms, etc. is inherently part of an overall unsustainable industrial process. From Big Oil through the nuke shills and agrofuel shills (including many alleged biotech applications – corporate algae is going to replace cheap oil, and so on) to the pure renewable energy advocates (though the latter often overlap with some or all of the former, and of course the likes of the Sierra Club were able to support fracking) is a smooth continuum. They all agree that it’s possible, and indeed some kind of theological imperative, for this level of energy consumption to continue.

        It’s clear that the record of modern technology is mixed at best, and most of its alleged boons are really fraudulent. For example, contrary to the hype modern medical technology has done very little to extend life expectancy. Most of the big factors like the decline in child mortality occurred prior to the deployment of this technological apparatus. That’s just one of several such examples. Meanwhile technology has been used by elites to drive political and economic agendas and social set-ups (like America’s enslavement to the car) which I certainly do consider malign. Of course the wholesale literal poisoning of the earth is absolutely unprecedented, and nothing in history even approaches this level of evil and destructiveness.

        So if my recognition of the fact that modern technology is inevitably chosen and used by elites in harmful ways, while its alleged benefits are overblown at best, causes you to see me as a “luddite”, so be it. But from my perspective nothing could be more hippie-ish than your cult of Progress and technology which somehow magically makes things Better (in ways you can’t quite articulate), and will truly bring Heaven On Earth as soon as this technology is freed from elite control (again this will happen in some magical way, a way totally unlike the communist revolutions which of course just installed new groups of predatory elites). Far from my being a luddite, it’s technophile progressives who are really reactionaries because they believe as an article of fundamentalist faith that “as it has been [for the last few years], so it shall be for all eternity”. How many times in this discussion has your argument taken the form of, “we need it to be this way, therefore it’s possible for it to be this way.” Assume a can opener, indeed.

        “Hopelessly”? On the contrary I’m quite cheerful, since I understand thermodynamics and what “renewable” means, i.e. that it has to be placed within the context of the entire system. What I don’t understand is how one can be optimistic that e.g. weaponry is going to continue to technologically “advance” but is somehow miraculously going to become democratic and peaceful.

        Comment by Russ — March 13, 2015 @ 10:08 am

      • “If the government ceased to exist tomorrow, agroecology would continue and eventually flourish”…

        Very possibly (although other forms, hopefully more democratic, of political organization woul emerge anyhow: humans are political animals).

        Anyhow what you say about agroecology applies also to renewable energy production.

        “As for the fact that when you buy organic food you’re paying a price much closer to the real cost of production (and to compensating the organic farmer for the generally unpaid services he renders society and the earth), while when you pay for industrial food you’re paying far less than the real cost because of the massive subsidies”…

        Exactly what happens with oil and nuclear energy vs. renewable energies, just that in this case we can’t select the source as consumers, at least not in terms of electricity. And that is again my only and central point.

        “It’s clear that you’re never going to understand that a liberated agroecology would be part of a self-sustaining overall ecological process”…

        How come? I do understand and I have repeated that once and again. Your giants are just windmills, Don Quixote.

        “… while renewable energy in the sense of CSPs, industrial wind farms, etc. is inherently part of an overall unsustainable industrial process”.

        I haven’t in any single moment advocated specifically for these “centralist” forms of renewables. In fact, for what I’ve seen in Germany, where the transition process is most advanced, the key is largely in solar energy and semi-decentralized solar energy in rooftops and such. Today even windows can be made into quite efficient solar panels.

        However conversion to hydrogen (for either storage or distribution as portable fuel) still requires some sort of “industrial centralization”.

        I must say anyhow that even if large scale renewable projects are questionable, they are still a zillion times better than oil, let alone nuclear. By comparison, even those monsters’ environmental impact is near zero. But I do agree that there are better approaches to eco-friendly energy production.

        “They all agree that it’s possible, and indeed some kind of theological imperative, for this level of energy consumption to continue”.

        I do not think that this level of energy consumption is desirable and I agree that at least a large fraction of it is waste and must be scrapped. However some level of energy consumption is unavoidable, unless we go back not to hunter-gatherer but to animal status. We need to cook (what in arid parts of the world has a tremendous impact in deforestation and physical work), we need to warm ourselves (particularly in colder latitudes) and we need energy for many other economical processes, from transportation to manufacturing and communications. I’d dare say that even something as simple as washing machines or hot water are beyond what people is willing to renounce to, so we have to provide energy for them too.

        So the problem of energy generation is far from being solved by mere talking about reduction of wasteful energy consumption, which no doubt is part of the problem and must be addressed as well. There are forms wich have negligible ecological impact and we do need them, urgently so and at almost whatever monetary (market) cost.

        The problem of market costs, which are largely caused by subsidies to oil and nuclear, is why the res publica has to intervene, because individual consumers can’t make a choice of utilities or power sources. So far what I see (with the German partial exception) is that the state generally subsidizes dirty energy production and makes difficult or even impossible to generate alternative energy. So the problem is political in this sector.

        “It’s clear that the record of modern technology is mixed at best, and most of its alleged boons are really fraudulent. For example, contrary to the hype modern medical technology has done very little to extend life expectancy”.

        But hot water and regular showers, plague control, improved nutrition, etc. have done the job instead.

        I do agree however that the socially benefitial redits are decreasing in spite of the technological “madness”. If you’d ask a Marxist, he or she would probably say that this is because of the decreasing rate of surplus value extracted and blah-blah. And they might even be right. What is clear is that the law of diminishing returns applies to everything, not just farming, so more is not always better.

        An example we can see in the relatively famous curve that correlates wealth with happinness: a small initial increase on wealth multiplies happinness but further increases on wealth, even very large ones, do not. That’s why Costa Ricans can be as happy or more than US-Americans, because Costa Rica is on the “sweet spot”.

        “So if my recognition of the fact that modern technology is inevitably chosen and used by elites in harmful ways, while its alleged benefits are overblown at best, causes you to see me as a “luddite”, so be it.”

        Not at all. My reaction is because you seem not to discern between modern technology in general and in its specifics. As they say, the devil is in the details, and your attitude seems often to be just generically anti-technology without any further considerations (hence the “luddite” label). I have a much more nuanced and pragmatic approach, I believe, and I don’t agree particularly with your incomprehensible disdain for renewable energy, very particularly solar+hydrogen, which I consider pretty much a panacea.

        Of course this solution is being sabotaged by the oligarchy. They can’t surely stop it in the long run but they are delaying it, much like they are delaying graphene computers, etc., because their short-term profit and power-mongering interests. These kinds of technologies are surely critical in enabling a transition to an ecologically re-stabilized planet and humankind and we must promote them, not disdain them.

        “as soon as this technology is freed from elite control (again this will happen in some magical way, a way totally unlike the communist revolutions which of course just installed new groups of predatory elites)”.

        Well, the so-called “communist” revolutions (Soviet model) were, and Lenin recognized it initially, just sui-generis bourgeois revolutions. Without direct democracy (popular power) there is no communism and neither the USSR, nor China, nor Vietnam, nor Cuba ever reached any sort of communism, just Capitalism without bourgeoisie, which is an extreme form of Reinische Capitalism (Capitalism with state supervision in favor of the “national interest” and social cohesion).

        The revolutions and related parties were called “communist” because they initially followed an ideology that demanded the abolition of the state in favor of popula power (the commune = the municipality or local community, whose historical reference was the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871). However they soon betrayed their ideals in nearly all aspects, building a sui-generis new form of Capitalism without bourgeoisie (although in the long run it did produce a new national bourgeoisie).

        These revolutions succeeded only in the peripheral semi-colonial states and in a general context of Fordist Capitalism (disciplinary manufactura, mass worker, unfinished Capitalism: “formal” and not “total” subsumption of work into capital, in Marx’ terms). They are interesting because they seem to be transitional between bourgeois revolutions (which they were in fact) and true worker revolutions (which they wanted to be but failed) but their products can’t be at all be described as “communism”, lacking effective empowering of the working class.

        In order to find a real communist society, you may want to look at, say, the Iroquois. Primitive communism however and not replicable in modern conditions as such – but still a reference.

        Technology in the hands of the people is the most we can aspire to. You or I may have the best ideas but we need a real force to implement them and this force, the People’s Power (= successful worker class), may have its own (and diverse) opinions on how to do that. We can’t force it, we lack the power and it’d be undesirable if we’d have it anyhow. Also diversity is a key part of ecological balance, we must value it as well.

        I at least have a plan on what force (class) can implement the much urgent radical changes, why (their objective interest, which is the same as that of Humankind) and how (via People’s Power = total democracy = communism). Which is your plan?

        … “since I understand thermodynamics and what “renewable” means”…

        If so, you should understand that renewables capture the solar input (except geothermal), much as plants do (at least in the case of solar) and that therefore the result is sustainable, as long as we have minimal consideration and, very particularly, the excellences of these techs are not subverted (as sometimes are) in favor of bourgeois accumulation and power-mongering.

        … “i.e. that it has to be placed within the context of the entire system”.

        Absolutely! Renewables or even agroecology without People’s Power is useless. We already had some of that in the Middle Ages and people were miserable, while, in the long run, the environmental harm increased, because of the interest of the elites that controlled the economy and society.

        So the system, class power structure, is central to the result. However I don’t see how in “normal history” (before modern tech) people could be empowered to control the socio-economy, so elites did (with rare exceptions at best) resulting in the latest part of history, i.e. capitalist industrialization. This part of history is still part of “normal history” because the elites still control everything, although their grip is faltering because of growing class struggle and the hard facts of Earth’s bioplanetary limits.

        “What I don’t understand is how one can be optimistic that e.g. weaponry is going to continue to technologically “advance” but is somehow miraculously going to become democratic and peaceful”.

        I haven’t discussed weaponry, sorry. Ideally we shouldn’t need any of that but I don’t know how will it play out.

        Alternatively maybe we need weaponry that ensures popular power (in any case not weaponry just in the hands of an elite and their mercenaries). I, for one in the left, am strongly against “gun control” but that’s because we are still in the middle of class war and I want to empower the people by all means necessary: un unarmed people is to a large extent a disowned people who can’t ensure popular power by its own forces. It’s a tricky issue anyhow.

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

      • History is not “normal”, there’s nothing stable about history, it’s an always changing reality and increasing complexity (with minor temporary decelerations at most).

        19th century “progressive” social Darwinism, and known to be factually false even at the time. Spencer had to write so many thick books not because he was telling a simple truth like he claimed, but on the contrary because it takes a lot of obfuscation to tell such a Big Lie.

        Obviously history isn’t “stable”, but it does not progressively increase in complexity. Cyclical theories fit the actual record far better.

        Comment by Russ — March 13, 2015 @ 10:12 am

      • “Cyclical theories fit the actual record far better”.

        Sorry but they do not. There was once upon a time a hunter-gatherer stage (still some residual groups survive here and there), then an agricultural one, then came the Metal Ages with their religious and militaristic oligarchies and finally the Industrial era we live in. Even in each one of these periods you see a more or less gradual increase of complexity along time. There’s nothing cyclical on all that, unless you are thinking in dialectic cycles, which are rather like a screwer: accumulative pseudo-cycles which evolve in the third dimension and not true closed, eternally repeating, cycles.

        “Spencer”…

        The fetish author of conservatives?

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 8:55 pm

      • “It seems totally inspecific and a bit cult-like looking. ”

        If you read my posts they are very specific.

        “What you say is (1) basic, (2) and (3) a bit too much looking for authority for my taste – I don’t mean to mispreciate the shamans and scientists but I’d rather feed on wider experiences such as the Zapatista revolutionary process, rather than alternative but still elitist knowledge.”

        Nothing I wrote is about looking to authority, it’s about empowerment of the people and understanding how “authority” on this planet really works, what they are doing to you, and why. There’s nothing elitist about basic knowledge.

        “I also think that the process is much more social than fundamentally personal. Personal development is fine but sooner than later you clash with the limits imposed by the real world “as it is”, then what? Then revolution.”

        Your revolutions never work because they are fundamentally flawed, and you will never understand “social” until you open your eyes. For example, we are not birds, we are mammals. Some birds live in nuclear families, but for mammals this is almost unheard of. You can’t have a coherent society when the basic building blocks are fundamentally contrary to Nature. Most activists can’t see this is being done to them because they don’t know the bigger picture.

        I assume you didn’t read my thread. Well it’s there in the archives if ever you want.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 10:16 am

      • “I’d rather feed on wider experiences such as the Zapatista revolutionary process…”

        Question: What percent of these “revolutionaries” are members of the hierarchal establishment organization known as The Catholic Church? What percent are members of establishment organizations known as “Protestant” churches? What percent are now members of establishment hierarchal organizations known as “Islamic” religions?

        I think you will find the majority are. So much for “revolution”.

        It’s called, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

        As long as people join Oldsmobile to fight Pontiac, and never figure out that they are both owned by GM, they will keep losing. Russian AK 47s were supplied to the “North Vietnamese” while mega weapons and troops were supplied to the “South Vietnamese” by the US. But unfortunately the US and the USSR are both run behind the scenes by the same transnational group, so what was the war really about? It was an attack to crush the Vietnamese people.

        They’ve been pulling this scam for centuries. Until people get their heads together, understand what is being done to them and why, and learn to form groups that are in harmony with the Universe, you can expect them to keep losing.

        I’ve posted a lot of information to help people understand how the psychological warfare being used on them works. I guess people wake up when they are ready to wake up.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

      • Uh? Protestant sects are generally destructive and tend to play in favor of the oligarchy. I recall recent clashes in the Zapatista area between “protestants” (manipulated by the oligarchs) against Zapatistas. I don’t think the Catholic Church has any more than a residual influence, although no doubt acts as firefighter of sorts mostly (most “catholics” are not really catholic anymore but agnostics with some vague memory of their child education, which they may use ritually for weddings and funerals and little more – this is a global process). Islam is effectively non-existent in Mexico or for what is worth all the Americas. I don’t see your point, sorry.

        “I think you will find the majority are. So much for “revolution””.

        I think you know very little about these class struggles and that you’re being dogmatic and patronizing here. Learn first, discuss later.

        “As long as people join Oldsmobile to fight Pontiac”…

        Ahem, pathetic useless fallacious comparison. Class struggle is against all them, or rather the owners of those copanies and all others. It’s about empowering the People.

        … “the US and the USSR [were] both run behind the scenes by the same transnational group”…

        Not really. For some seven decades Global Capitalism (which is not a corporation but a class power network) struggled to contain the USSR, even taking some major risks like the elevation of Hitler or outright nuclear war (at the very least in the Cuban missile crisis it was extremely close). This was that way because, at least up to the late 60s, it provided a formidable challenge to their socio-political structure and class power.

        Even today, as the capitalist oligarchy is divided along national interests (read Lenin on imperialism and war please), they fight each other and hence the US aggression against Russian interests in Ukraine, among others. These fights are very real, much as mafia fights for power can be, however they do not challenge the social sturcture in the least and that’s why Russia is not supporting Syriza, for example, because they are more interested in supporting bourgeois “nationalist” forces like FIDESZ, Le Pen or Farage and not Euro-Bolivarians with an easy trigger for collectivization of private property.

        “They’ve been pulling this scam for centuries”.

        Yet you have no evidence of it. Cool: tin foil hat party! I love those! XD

        “… learn to form groups that are in harmony with the Universe”…

        Sounds nice but you’re not providing that lesson in any synthetic way, probably just trying to direct us to some scam of “personal development” course, at a price, of course.

        You have to learn Ubuntuism and open-source-ism. We do everything gratis because we are really free already (sometimes it does get uphill but what else?), we also do not try to attract people to our sect, we may not even have a sect at all (certainly I do not).

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 8:47 pm

  8. forgot to add, read my comments to the thread at noetic, they start at the bottom and go up.

    Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 12, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

  9. Maju, you don’t know what you are talking about. Watch the video on youtube, punch in “Rothschild Trillionaire family puppet masters”, that should bring it up, the one with over a million views, about 55 minutes, not well referenced but you can get the references if you dig, watered down a bit but still mind boggling, a family that controlled over half the world’s wealth..

    The “Cold War”, “Cuban missile crisis”, Communists vs Capitalists… is just a soap opera they wrote, to play their divide and conquer game. These countries are all tightly controlled behind the scenes by the same global structure, focused in the “intelligence agencies”, which are all arms of one thing at the global level.

    “I think you know very little about these class struggles and that you’re being dogmatic and patronizing here. Learn first, discuss later”.

    Actually I lived in Latin America. I know what I’m talking about. People there are crushed by establishment religions. You read too much in a very narrow rut, you need to get out in the real world and learn. Good luck. (and see my next post here for some basic history you don’t understand).

    Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

    • I’ve actually watched that video (or a very similar one) and I’m indeed fascinatied by the Rotschild clan to some extent. However that doesn’t mean they controlled the USSR, not at all. They don’t control China either. The power base of the Rotschild and other Western capitalists is in Europe and America.

      “Actually I lived in Latin America. I know what I’m talking about. People there are crushed by establishment religions.”

      OK, fair enough but you haven’t been with nor apparently read much about the Zapatistas, that’s very clear.

      Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

  10. People who cling to the infantile idea that Earth is the only planet in the Universe will never understand what Big Brother is. But I’ve already given links to detailed information on this for those that are ready. For those looking to free themselves and humanity from the present global system, here is a quick summary of what cultures in recent centuries have encountered when being welcomed into Big Brother’s global family. Btw there is a whole spiritual aspect to this attack I won’t go into here, but rest assured the establishment is a multidimensional nightmare:

    First the culture is attacked by government troops, paramilitary groups, they get “caught in the middle” of wars, … and their leaders are killed. Some peoples have fought to the death but often they surrender to the invaders.

    Their homelands are taken from them, their forests are clearcut, their rivers are polluted and if they manage to keep any land they are often charged “rent”.

    With their food supply wrecked, they are forced to work on plantations, as servants, move into city ghettos, etc.

    Missionaries are sent in to monkey wrench their minds, they are taught their bodies are obscene, that God punishes you for having sexual desire, that you must not touch others unless you have a marriage contract… children are kidnapped and sent to boarding schools run by missionary organizations, such as was done with Native American children.

    The psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich asks in one of his books, after seeing how much damage sexual repression does to people: What interest does Church and State have in it? He concludes, sexual repression tends to make people violent and submissive.

    This obviously serves Big Brother’s program to keep people divided and conquered. The “nuclear family” straightjacket these conquered societies are forced into insures people will no longer be able to live in community, unless it is very repressive, such as the Amish. The most natural of family structures, the matrilineal free love family, is all but unknown today.

    With the child’s connection to the Creator within damaged by false religious teachings designed to instill terror into the victim, with ideas of eternal hells, etc., the child is then forced into prisons called “schools”, for years and years, where he is punished if he thinks for himself and acts on his own feelings, and rewarded if he lets Big Brother control him. This further alienates him from his inner guidance and helps makes him into a good robot. And while the child was actually a little genius before Big Brother got ahold of him, a superlearner, once in the establishment school system learning slows way down. But that’s acceptable to Big Brother because the main goal of school is to crush the person and convince him that our thoughts and feelings are meaningless.

    With the people’s lands gone and food supply destroyed, they are forced to eat establishment slop food, such as refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, etc., and so where they used to live into their hundreds active and in good health, with all their teeth, now they are plagued with health problems.

    Violent and neurotic from their sexual energy having been monkey wrenched, the flames are further fueled by illegal drugs Big Brother floods their community with, creating lucrative business for violent gangs, role models for the kids.

    The Jesuits say “Give us your child till age 7 and we will have him for life”. Sadly, this is generally true. Once the children have been crushed and programmed, this programming tends to run the rest of their lives, and through the monkey see-monkey do principle, they pass it on from one generation to the next. Cultures quickly forget their histories and in fact are programmed to be ashamed of them.

    … and so after time this now “converted” culture can pull itself up by their bootstraps, and after a few generations take jobs working for defense contractors and other monopoly corporations helping to make components for cluster bombs… watch tv, incur heart attacks, diabetes, cancers… that they never knew before, neurotic, possessive, unable to live in groups, arrogant, spaced out…

    Vive La Revolution

    Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

    • Is not “big brother” (have you read “1984”?) it’s social control and it doesn’t matter if Earth is the only planet (what for our practical purposes is, as we have no means to travel significantly outside it) or not. Unless you believe in extraterrestrial invasion theories of the kind of the famous Carpenter fim “They live!” (a nice metaphore of capitalist exploitation but, as happens with Matrix, not to be taken literally – else send me those glasses please).

      “The Jesuits say “Give us your child till age 7 and we will have him for life”. Sadly, this is generally true.”

      I went to a Jesuit school for some 10 years and survived. It’s true that religious schools are very oppressive but it’s also true that most of my class mates were not religious at all: they also survived. It largely depends on social context and I grew up in a context (the 70s and 80s, Southern Europe) in which those traditional religious values were collapsing (mostly Punk did that but also fanatics tend to shoot themselves on the foot, because they are plain dumb in most cases) and the usually very pathetic priests were powerless about that. Jesuits are hyped, the real very dangerous destructive cult within the Catholic Church is nowadays the Opus Dei. Of cours I hate-hate-hate everything Christian, Yahvist or Jesuit but let’s not exaggerate beyond their very terrenal and limited powers.

      My personal revelation against religion was around the issue of divorce: for some reason I felt that it was obvious that love cannot be bound by arbitrary rules and divorce was just natural and straightforward. Other kids today may experience the same on the debates around gay marriage and what-not. Briefly I considered myself “Anglican” at the age of 12 or so but soon the very idea of God and religion became totally pointless (or more exactly developed my own Pantheism, not in the slightest different of Atheism, just that within Pantheism I can declare God myself, but so is everything else, so pointless), I quit church and even began agitating against Catholicism in school (then the Jesuits persuaded my parents to allow me to go to public school, such a nuisance I was for them).

      What you don’t seem to realize is that, while I agree that all that process of acculturation and religious brainwashing is indeed very destructive and should be eradicated, it is part of the so-called “train of history” and mostly beats us, at least in what regards to the past. The future is open though and there’s where I mean to leave my mark, mark that can only be that of communist revolution.

      In fact, even in Latin America (much more than in Anglo America certainly) some of this progress is very apparent. You may put the emphasis on religion but what is happening in Venezuela, Bolivia and many other places has nothing to do with it. And the “illness” (cure in fact) is beginning to spread to Europe as well, while our comrades from Kurdistan for example have some of the most advanced theoretical and practical approaches to People’s Power, which they are successfully implementing in their struggle against the pseudo-Caliphate (IS) and its Western promoters (Turkey, Saudia, Israel and the USA). I also look with great interest to the persistent Naxalite struggle in Nepal and India.

      However the key process will most likely only take place in the core Capitalist countries when they are ripe. I look with particular interest to the USA since the Occupy movement, however it has yet to crystalize in something able to challenge the system, what may only happen once the crumbling of EU and NATO begins in serious form (probably very soon, although in a complex and contradictory manner). Without Empire the USA will have to look inwards and that surely means radical social and political change beyond what we usually imagine.

      Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

      • “…just that within Pantheism I can declare God myself, but so is everything else, so pointless”

        Not necessarily pointless. I’ve been a seeker since I was a kid, and I’ve concluded, based on certain evidence, that there is a Creator and it is me within, but there are levels to the Universe, and we exist at that Source level within. I certainly understand and respect atheists, given the nightmare on this planet, but I believe the answer to the riddle has to do with the math of the Universe, there’s a price to get things done, easier and harder ways… and, there was a complication in the launching of the Creation.

        “…a nice metaphore of capitalist exploitation but, as happens with Matrix, not to be taken literally – else send me those glasses please”

        If you want to read something that will only take a minute, but you need a globe string and compass handy to verify this, you might be willing to rethink some of your ideas about how isolated we are. Read Part 1 of my post, The Noah’s Ark/Arc Code, in the Pull Up a Chair section at thepolkadotapron.freeforums.org

        if you want a totally different take on things. I’ve been working on this stuff for 20+ years.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 10:46 pm

      • There’s no “creator” in Pantheism: all is God and God is all. It’s just a more “mystical” of “philosophical” version of Atheism. It has nothing to do with Theism except when I discuss theology with Christians and the like and have some fun at their expense, because they seem unable to grasp what God actually means: not something separated from the Multiverse but the Multiverse itself. They are just a superstition bunch, but, well, blame God for it because they are also God.

        Read Spinoza, especially the first chapters of Ethics.

        I’m hard pressed in my time to search for your links, sorry.

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 11:28 pm

      • “I’ve been working on this stuff for 20+ years.”

        I’ve been working on this stuff all my life and I’m already 46.

        Comment by Maju — March 13, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

      • 20 plus years referred to that line of research I have posted. I’m 54. You will have to rethink your ideas about history and much more, if you check out what I’ve found in that part 1, it’s on page one at the moment. But if 20 years boiled down to minutes isn’t fast enough… so be it.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 13, 2015 @ 11:37 pm

  11. Maybe I’ve been misunderstanding you all along, but I certainly thought you meant CSPs, industrial wind farms and so on since you said or implied many times that you envision renewables being able to replace a significant portion of the the energy production of fossil fuels. You implicitly think space travel will still be possible with renewables (otherwise how do you think those satellites will keep being put up there)?

    I’ve always been all for decentralized small-scale renewable energy. For example passive solar will accomplish wonders for on-site heating. It’s the notion that solar panels will generate electricity to light up and power cities the way we’ve known it (and keep those millions of cars in commuter circulation) which is crazy. On-site biodiesel does make sense for “building the new within the old”, and may or may not make sense for the post-industrial era, depending on whether it can fit into sustainable decentralized agroecology. But industrial-scale agrofuel production is a pure evil, wasteful and destructive in every way.

    That’s two examples.

    I agree on the bogus “socialism” of the capitalist/communist revolutions.

    In my writing I’m a GMO abolitionist, so it’s in the nature of things that I critique and attack this technology and the scientism/technocracy ideology as such. As for my attitude toward technology in general, I haven’t developed it here yet except to observe that:

    1. Elite hierarchy is always authoritarian and predatory.

    2. Many technologies by their nature require surplus accumulation and/or hierarchical oversight.

    3. Therefore many technologies are de facto elitist and authoritarian by their nature.

    Beyond the implications of that, you have no basis to judge my view of it.

    Comment by Russ — March 14, 2015 @ 5:09 am

    • “Maybe I’ve been misunderstanding you all along”…

      I fear so.

      … “since you said or implied many times that you envision renewables being able to replace a significant portion of the the energy production of fossil fuels. You implicitly think space travel will still be possible with renewables (otherwise how do you think those satellites will keep being put up there)?”

      I haven’t thought about it actually but hydrogen is a powerful fuel in any case: an environmentally friendly one if produced from (properly designed) renewables. A wild-thought possibility could be to raise the satellites to the “near outer space” zone (~20-50 Km) with balloons and only then activate rockets to place the “junk” in orbit – not sure how viable but seems to me it worth a second thought if it saves significant amounts of energy.

      What is clear is that satellites provide services of general interest (GPS, wheather and climate survey, communications, etc.) and that Humankind will hardly renounce to them.

      “It’s the notion that solar panels will generate electricity to light up and power cities the way we’ve known it (and keep those millions of cars in commuter circulation) which is crazy”.

      Probably the way to go is somewhere intermediate. Mega-cities and excessive use of transport, especially inefficient one, surely need “nerfing” but I believe it’s impossible to just get rid of all that, at the very least in the short run. We always build on what’s already there and there are huge mega-cities and 7x more people than just a century ago. Even the most radical and determined revolution can only change so much.

      I’m not even sure if moving the urban masses to the country, a la Pol-Pot, would be ecologically friendly at all. Notice that by moving them you’re also moving their ecological footprint (or much of it at least). So some other solutions, pragmatic ones that do dramatically reduce the footprint but keep the people fed, warm and content (or happy), are the way to go. Do we need “ungrowth”? Yes. Can we “ungrow” fast and extensively enough for what you envision? Probably not – not without a huge catastrophe which would have many other side effects in terms of, for example, nuclear pollution.

      I agree that biodiesel is not any solution. You forgot to mention that is also a hydrocarbon fuel and that therefore also favors global warming (among other evils). Biodiesel may be “renewable” but is not or mostly not ecological. Those agricultural lands are better used in food or other useful production or even leaving them for re-wilding.

      “I agree on the bogus “socialism” of the capitalist/communist revolutions”.

      I appreciate that, after all the squabbles, we are coming to a convergenge of ideas.

      “1. Elite hierarchy is always authoritarian and predatory.

      2. Many technologies by their nature require surplus accumulation and/or hierarchical oversight.

      3. Therefore many technologies are de facto elitist and authoritarian by their nature”.

      In agreement. Maybe we can discuss over the details but I do agree on the general picture.

      Anyhow, regarding solar, what is clear is that Big Oil (or other big energy companies) cannot really compete in that market, because, even if it’s about energy, the kind of decentralization it implies beats them completely. For the same reason it is much less likely to become a tool for power-mongering.

      Comment by Maju — March 14, 2015 @ 3:23 pm

      • I’ll add that at the industrial level agrofuels aren’t renewable at all since industrial ag is dependent on the fossil fuel foundation, just as an industrial “renewables” buildout would be.

        Obviously the same process which will restore the cities to sustainable sizes will also restore the modern Western ecological footprint. I’ll say again, this entire energy consumption level is going to be drastically slashed by the physical/economic unavailability of the energy to keep powering it. Obviously the only way the high-maintenance bourgeois parasites of the cities will ever leave that lifestyle will be once it’s no longer physically possible.

        Comment by Russ — March 15, 2015 @ 2:55 am

  12. “Cyclical theories fit the actual record far better”. Sorry but they do not.

    Throughout history civilizations and cultures have followed a standard pattern of development, rising complexity which may be progressive at first, then becomes decadent and self-destructive, and eventual collapse. To think modern industrial civilization will be an exception to this (ignoring the overwhelming evidence that this “civilization” is deep into the self-destructive stage already), and to then read this alleged exception back into history in general, is the essence of Progress ideology. But that’s religion, not materialistic history.

    At the core, I reject all the progress ideologies – liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, capitalism, industrial communism, scientism/technocracy – because they get this basic historical fact so wrong, and are therefore at best incapable of confronting the crises of the time, since they’re part of the affliction. Of course in practice almost all the adherents of any of these are in fact willful criminals who actively support the crimes and tyranny of the elites.

    Comment by Russ — March 14, 2015 @ 5:56 am

    • But even there is decadence and collapse, there is not loss of technology (save for some “high tech” minor developments, known only by a few, like the famous Atikithera mechanism). Even when they are lost, they are reinvented sooner or later. In general the tendency is to increase in complexity and, very especially, scientific and technological knowledge. What we have today is admittedly mind-boggling and night-on-impossible to manage and may indeed suffer some of those setbacks you mention but most of the advancements won’t be lost anyhow.

      Also nuclear: what happens if society just collapses and nuclear plants are left unattended? That’s very bad. On one side armed groups may take hold of the materials and build weapons out of them, on the other the abandoned nuclear plants may well go on meltdown events of some sort or at least retain tons of nuclear fuel in a decaying infrastructure that will contaminate the surrounding areas (and Earth in general) in unpredictable but clearly negative patterns. As radioactive uranium and plutonium are “forever”, this is not a mere short-term pollution issue but one that will affect Humankind for the rest of its history. The only way is implementing a well planned strategy of dismantling and burying the remains deep under stable chunks of Earth, so we can forget about them and start all over.

      … “industrial communism”…

      This is a clear point of confusion. As I say “Industrial Communism” (or rather “National-Capitalism without bourgeoisie”, a very sui-generis socio-political stage that is not Communism at all, regardless of the professed ideology, but rather “Red Banner Fascism”). In any case it is not part of the present array of possible paths of solution (the Fordist “disciplinary manufacture” and the “mass worker” are all but dead, at least in developed countries, so no way it will be repeated, as its fundamentals are lacking) but a mere historical accident, more related to Capitalism than to Communism.

      For me Communism will be Ecologist or won’t be. And vice versa: Ecologism will be Communist or won’t be, because there’s no real room for Ecology within Capitalist parameters: the production forces, the economy, must be democratized. It’s corporations but it’s beyond them too: it’s property, very particularly the most unnatural case of land property. Land can only belong to the community, regardless of use rights (temporary posession) being ceded to individual or cooperative actors.

      Much of the same can be said of technological production means. The difference is a bit philosophical, as land is a natural object, while machines and other infrastructure are artificial. However they have not been produced by any single person but by the “collective worker”, so their property must be social as well. Of course radical demicracy is needed to ensure that these collective rights are not again appropriated by a minority elite, as happened in Russia or China, and also that they serve the best interests of the people, of Humankind.

      Comment by Maju — March 14, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

      • Certainly any philosophy or strategic doctrine which isn’t ecologically-based is far worse than worthless. This is true because ecological consciousness is necessary for humanity’s very physical survival, and it’s true politically because one of the most unbroken patterns of history is that environmental domination (in thought and practice) always goes hand in hand with social domination, so for someone to be dismissive of the ecological aspect is a litmus test for their authoritarian attitude/intent as well.

        Comment by Russ — March 15, 2015 @ 3:02 am

      • The classical communist or socialist ideology that fueled the Russian and successor revolutions belongs to its age, it’s dated. Before the middle 20th century very few people was aware of environmental problems and that includes Marx and Lenin but also nearly everybody else.

        It has all the vices of Capitalims: developist obsession and total disrespect for Nature, but that’s because it belongs to that period. And maybe also because the needs of developing countries (which Russia used to be) are different: on one side the immediate needs of people without food or other resources are above any other consideration or almost and, on the other, if they are competing for power, they have to accumulate economic power according to the rules of the global game, which they can’t just ignore. Someone who ignored the global game was the Chinese Empire, ordering the destruction of its commercial navy quite blindly and arrogantly, what doomed China for the next many centuries to be a semi-colony of the Western powers (and almost to be split among them).

        Comment by Maju — March 15, 2015 @ 3:56 am

      • It was possible to know about it. Marx himself touched on the agricultural/environmental problem in some early writings about Liebig and the separation of town and country. But that was among several excellent early threads Marx didn’t develop.

        At any rate we all know now and have for a long time, and it’s no longer possible for anyone with even modest media access to be ignorant of the ecological crisis, just willfully lying and destructive, Streicher-style.

        Comment by Russ — March 16, 2015 @ 4:23 am

      • There is a historical-cultural context that really limited the eco-consciousness before around the mid 20th century, probably already in the 60s. There were a few authors who are really avant-guard but they are rare. Re. agriculture, there was a strong impact of liberal ideologues like Smith and Ricardo (who dramatically influenced Marx’ thought) and a sense of failure regarding the physiocrats, who, in a sense, were “primitive ecologists”. Only since the 1960s and 70s true ecologist thought begins to arise and become more or less commonplace. So it’s been like 50 years, people born in that period are now in our mid-life and much of power (incl. mere voting power) still lays on the previous extra-long-lived and relatively affluent generation.

        Of course reducing it to a generational issue would be wrong but there is no doubt an element of it. People like my father (but also my brother admittedly) still admire icons like De Gaulle and Churchill or have racist slips, while they imagine that nuclear is “progress” and hence “good”, almost no matter what. What I mean is that their mentality belongs, sadly enough, to an almost remote past in which ecology was “nonsense”, “God” was still “real” and Western Civilization (incl. industrialization) was “the best thing ever”.

        Getting rid of that mentality is hard, yet necessary and almost unavoidable. For someone like Marx, who belongs to an even older generation (he was coetaneous of my grandfather’s great-grandfather), all what for us is so evident, was almost invisible.

        Comment by Maju — March 16, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

  13. If only it were the remote past. But the scientism ideology, which dominates the basic thought of most STEM disciplines as well as that of “professionals” and “educated people” in general, remains at the extreme of modular, Cartesian reductionist mechanism, including the faith that ecosystems don’t matter (usually implicit, and most of them would deny it, but their actions prove the truth) since elite technocrats can engineer them to be “better”. Indeed it’s common to hear the fundamentalist sentiment that nature is “messy” in some “inefficient” and ugly way. This of course directly descends from the 19th century “reclamation” ideology and is part of a trend of millennarian religion going back at least to the 10th century. One of my core points, which I haven’t started systematically developing yet in published posts, is that there’s no such thing, yet, as “science” as a stand-alone thing, but so far just engineering used and abused by capitalism and fundamentalist religion. I’d like to help build a true science starting upon the ground of ecology, chaos theory, and a few other disciplines which focus on real-world dynamic systems and not on self-interested ideology.

    BTW that general infestation of scientism and implicit faith in technocracy among “educated” Western thought is a big part of what I mean when I say bourgeois ideology has triumphed for the moment.

    Comment by Russ — March 17, 2015 @ 6:24 am

    • I’d say it’s unfair to blame science as such. It’s rather a mentality of property and exploitation that has its roots in the development of bourgeois society in the 18th century (and consolidates in the 19th). I believe that was Locke who wrote something like “what I produce with my work is mine, what my horse produces is mine and what my slave produces is mine”, which explains the deeply exploitative ideas that underline bourgeois mentality: exploitation of other people but also of Nature, equally and almost without difference. The only difference is that people can be somewhat conscious, grow angry and rebel, while Nature cannot. Although of course exploitation of Nature also has consequences, they are more generalized and initially maybe less obvious.

      Science (research of reality) is a natural and legitimate human trait, just that, as with everything else, it’s being exploited in the capitalist frame, which directs it to “evil” (exploitative) practical aplications according with its own logic of short term maximization of benefits.

      Comment by Maju — March 17, 2015 @ 8:57 am

      • I don’t disagree with that in principle, so much as that I’m finding it less and less meaningful to distinguish what something “ought to be” in the abstract from what it always is in practice. After all, and as some of the “libertarian” types like to make a big deal out of, capitalism itself has never functioned the way its own textbooks claim it should (actual competition, perfect information, steadily falling profits as a product/sector matures, etc.). But we don’t agree with them and say the answer is to liberate “real” capitalism, because we know the actual capitalism is always the same.

        Now, I don’t think that necessarily has to be the case with science, though it certainly will be the norm for as long as hierarchical modern systems exist. But like I said, here we do have opportunities to build the new. Of course for me the most important aspect is how agroecology is being put on a scientific basis, starting in the mid 20th century with Howard, Rodale, and other pioneers. That, I think, will be the one indisputably beneficial heritage of the modern period.

        Comment by Russ — March 18, 2015 @ 6:28 am


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