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Friday, September 30, 2016

September, 2016

Of course I'm waiting for the vernal equinox this year to arrive on the 22nd. The Indian Ocean is still too cold for me to venture in. When spring has truly sprung I shall be trying out my newly found blue fin. If I body surf a few more waves this year I'll be happy. Back in the 50s what made so many American families happy was the ability to be able to buy a new car every year trading in last year's model for this year's. Most of those families had one wage earner almost always a father. The rate of surplus value for the capitalist class of America herself was lower. What with the stagnation or even retreat of real wages the rate of surplus value is much higher today as real output per hour of labour increases two to three percent per annum on average through the decades since the peak of real wages was reached in 1964. When you're old it makes you wonder why you're seen as a burden. You've retired from producing surplus value in exchange for the value of your labour power. You are not being employed to produce wealth. To the upper 10% and the companies they own you have become part of the surplus population. Forget about the surplus value you produced as a class in harness over your working life. The wealth you produced was never yours to enjoy. You exchanged it fairly for wages. You are a leaner not a lifter. You pay less tax and yet the public purse is straining because of your continued life of leisure. The public purse must not be made to grow because of your useless existence. So implieth the media amplified voice of the capitalist conservative. Free speech/expression should be a principle embedded in a democratic society. Instead most on the left take up Lenin's dictum about freedom of speech being a bourgeois prejudice thus paving the way for the dictatorship of the Party. This insidious notion has trapped radical liberals into silence for fear of hurting another's feelings. Reason gets substituted by dogmas concerning trigger warnings thus dialectics of progress toward more freedom is suppressed. Every law passed is a reform. The social revolution was taken off the political agenda by leftists who couldn't grasp what Marx was writing about e.g. abolition of the wage system and commodity production and how that related to workers establishing common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of their labour. Bill Gates owns the rights to what the workers he employs for wages produce. That he is now using some of that wealth for helping those less wealth advantaged in poorer parts of the world through funding health initiatives is a good thing. That he accepts the fact that state funding for public education has been going down for years and that higher education costs for students have increased is not a good thing for those less wealth advantaged than he is. Real wages in the USA have not increased since 1964 while the price of education for students has increased by leaps and bounds as universities have had state revenue flowing into supporting education cut. After students graduate the poorer ones are saddled with debts to wealth finance capitalists which they must repay during the course of their working lives. Gates represents a conservative political view of higher education one which sees a business opportunity in turning the Academy (where education takes place i.e. schools) into a business for expanding the wealth of investors both the students who begin to see their degrees they hold as commodities for sale to the highest bidder and for its controllers in educational institutions as a way of expanding the wealth of those who own rights to the collective product of labour issuing out of the Academy. Mr. Gates uses the word radical to mean thinking outside of the norms of doing things norms which tend to form ruts in the road to innovation to do doing things more efficiently quicker and with improved outcomes. Thus radical comes to be equated with imagination. According to Gates imagination tends to be stifled in large bureaucratic organisations. But Mr. Gates does not propose a radical solution to funding the Academy by raising taxes on wealthy people such as himself taxes which were once much higher on wealthy people such as himself until the conservative political establishment headed by President Ronald Reagan's Republican Party cut taxes on the upper 10% and the companies they own. What Gates proposes is for the Academy to use an ever dwindling supply of revenue coming from the state more efficiently employing market economics. This is the logic of commodification. The less labour time used by employers in the education industry through hiring teachers in small classes the better because it is cheaper. It is cheaper to televise a lecture to thousands of students over the Internet than to hire one teacher to speak in dialogue within a classroom of 30 students. The cheaper commodity gains market share through its sale. This is the logic of commodification. And it fits in with the conservative political project of lowering taxes for business and encouraging greater sales at the same time thus increasing the Gross Domestic Product. The question is: Will this dynamic lead to a more educated graduate from the Academy. Humans were once like all the rest of the animals subject to nature in terms of controlling where their food came from. Domestication of plants and animals gave humans some modicum of control over their living conditions but with that control a whole set of new challenges to their freedom began to form up: private property class divided society debt of one to another the need to pass private property down to the offspring--the material basis on which patriarchal marriage and political power rests and so on. The radical subjectivity necessary to establish socialism will not be achieved by radical liberals. Radical liberals need leadership because they don't know where they're going. Class conscious workers know that their emancipation from wage-slavery depends on their own desires for freedom from the rule of Capital. What the hell that means to a person caught up with darning socks because they can't afford a new pair is relevant. If it means nothing then nothing will change other than the value of socks which will plummet with price as the productivity of labour grows. That's what's usually missed in this conundrum we find ourselves in. Commodities become cheaper as productivity grows. That's why the stagnation and fall of real wages doesn't seem to register on the sock darner's mind. The frustration of a tired child crying because it's nap time is not affected by this dynamic. It does register. The tiredness of the sock darner does as well. Not only the tiredness but the time freed up by not having to darn socks in our modern industrialised commodified world which is actually just a market right. Much of the left moralistically condemn the working class for buying commodities. Consumerism they call it. Workers are so wound up in buying things that they forget the great moral issues of the day. They're too busy shopping to notice the hundred million cut from the ABC budget every year. This moralistic critique is also applied to sports. Peoples' attention is focussed on whether their favourite team won to notice homeless people continuing to increase in number along with the increase in the construction of prisons. Purchasing cheaper commodities does take up a considerable amount of our mind space. What I think is forgotten is that it always has. We had to plan our days of labour time around water fetching cow tending washing clothes slaughtering animals harvesting vegetables and a thousand other tasks which have now disappeared in the magnificent machinery of the modern age. The machinery of course is our own creation. Through automation we create the potential of more and more free-time. As that space grows our knowledge and authentic selves can more fully develop. Our free-time these days seems to be dominated by buying and selling. We sell our labour time in order to buy commodities. We spend a lot of time outside our eight hour days deciding which of the commodities our class has produced are the ones to purchase. Why do we do we feel almost compelled to do this. We are tied to commodity sale in ways which waste our free-time. There is a kind of subconscious realisation of this tension between free-time and waste. You can sense it. Depends on the moment's context but it's in the air. A vote of no confidence in the ideological authority of the ruling class is what Habermas was getting at in his concept of a legitimation crisis. Commodification has brought us a wonder world full of cheaper communicative paths from mobile phones to supercomputers. Remember the times when getting a long distance call caused panic in the household. Now we can video chat with friends living international distances away for next to nothing in costs via Facebook and other social media outlets. Our cultural horizons have been exponentially widened. Instantaneous possibilities for contact have not much expanded our grasp of matters historical. In many parts of the world the memory of the past is still informed by nostalgic desire for a time in the past without conflict and misery. Such is the mirage.  The conservative consensus which emerges from this quicksand labels non-conformist behaviour as being psychologically deviant. The death culture has been around as long as class rule has existed. Another casualty of commodification is the fragility of memory. Thus history is cheapened made brittle. It is enjoyable to think of yourself as doing what you want most of the time you're awake. Do women repress their erotic selves more because of patriarchal cultural dominance. Anyone who has much paid attention to ancient Indian art knows that norms of sexual behaviour differ over time place and culture. Perception of sin varies within history's erupting cultures. Amiable sloth is something to worry over if you expect maximum effort from the wealth producers you hire. Sobriety at all times protects the soul from uncleanly behaviour or so say some on both left and right. Of course shit happens as the bowel moves and as the political worm of historical movement wiggles freer. Godliness is a form we take-on as we wash away spots of blood which touch us. Out of sight out of mind. We protect ourselves from the worst. There would be more insanity if we didn't. We desire security and sociability in our daily lives.  Is that so very wrong. The point of socialism is to end class conflict by abolishing private ownership of collectively produced wealth. You can't be a capitalist or a landlord if you can't legally own and control what others' produce and what lies in nature. Common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of labour as we consciously live in harmony with the Earth would end the link between the possession of political power with the quantity of currency we can access at any moment. It would totally undermine any attempt by one gender to dominate another. Platonism might finally succumb to such egalitarian social relations. People who want to dominate others could be shunned without fear of losing one's ability to live a good life with others. Think about how the risks of interpersonal violence would diminish. Shakespeare's HENRY V reveals a different consciousness peculiar to its time. The battle of Agincourt was won by Norman aristocrats claiming their territorial due. But Shakespeare's Harry feels he's Welsh. The fundamental critique of religion is that humans created god not vice versa. God is an idea. Odd that so many of our ideas require us to strike a masochistic pose when ordered to do so by our idea's sin-management employees. There is an underlying conservatism in the USA which yearns for the days of relaxing with Ike looking forward to the new fall models and "Gunsmoke" on TV not in the local neighbourhood for what seems to have been a very long time now. The inevitable gunfight in the streets of Dodge City was comforting. The bad guys always lost. Today real heads are rolling terror as drone fired missiles suddenly erupt through a non-combatant's home. The family's dinner conversation is taking place. The bad guys seem to be winning. There is a definite resemblance between the high pitched fears propagated in the 50s and those being bred during the various wars which have been declared since in the end of the Cold War. Even as The War to End All Wars failed so will the pacifist. Refusing to physically defend yourself on principle is an invitation to continue domination by the abused become abusers themselves. Back in 1958 I was living in San Diego which is 12 miles from the Mexican border. I used to watch Jai-Alai on XETV from Tijuana sponsored by Jax beer. Javier was my favourite player. Jai-Alai became one of those two favourite sports of mine which I never got to play. Footy is the second. Bonobos show us that repressed sexual possibilities and violence are connected. Chimps are often violent. Bonobos are never without possibilities for sexual expression. Interpersonal violence is rare amongst Bonobos. Murder and gang warfare are parts of Chimp culture. There are no classes of owners and producers amongst Chimps or Bonobos. It should be noted that Chimps are presented as an argument against communism because of the wickedness inherent in the human condition which grew out of Chimps. Bonobos are genetically closer to humans than Chimps. In the meantime socialism is unnatural because it conflicts with human nature. We are told this in oh so many words when we watch nature shows and reality TV.  Certainly Chimps or naked apes if you prefer must be the true reflection of human social relations. We disobeyed God and here we stand outside heaven's gates. I'd rather dance and play than believe that living my life according to aforementioned doctrine would lead to fulfillment. Lives of quiet desperation are certainly infused with this social malady the world around. The popularity of pornography proves it. Of course the erotic like everything else is commodified these days. Sex is big business mostly because so many men are miserable. Lots of women are unhappy too. Headaches abound. Much wealth is made from selling us our own desires. Alienated sexuality ties itself to the object for sale with a view to profit. Romance novels fit here as well. Find the perfect man to marry and live happily ever after. Find a need and fill it. The need is there because human social relations are cheapened as commodification develops. A certain amount of labour time is required. Consumption becomes alienation as the sex becomes an exchange-value and humanity falls into the abyss of buying and selling to satisfy its most basic psychic needs. Neuroses abound. The conservative impulse calls for stricter law enforcement in the world at large. The prisons swell. Public health education and welfare are cut. The poor bourgeoisie want more tax cuts. There becomes a certain urgency to say what you mean before you die. Dead humans tell no further tales. We tend to see the poor as failures in the rat race to climb the commodified paywalls of private property. Some of us give to charities but know in our minds because of beliefs taught to us in our religions that the poor will always be amongst us. This Bronze Age notion still lies like an alp on the minds of modern day humans. My parents were in the lower strata of the working class. I contend that like them most of us cannot see the forest for the trees that is we can see cases of injustice here and there i.e. the trees but we cannot see the system which generates the forest. The social product of labour doesn't not belong to its producers which is why I keep banging on about abolishing the wage system. We trade our hours for a handful of dimes and with that exchange we give up control and ownership over what we produce. Don't you just hate the way left-wing Americans yammer on about how the country is becoming Fascist. They've been doing it for years. " the name of freedom we are rapidly creating a police state; and in the name of democracy we have succumbed, not to creeping socialism bu to galloping Fascism." Lewis Mumford, IN THE NAME OF SANITY, New York, 1954. The inability of garden variety American leftists to tell the difference between bourgeois democracy and fascist dictatorship is probably rooted in the same libertarian reaction to the imposition of any political power other than the one they are ideologically attached to. Conservatives have their own version anticommunism. Communism for the garden variety reactionary is the equivalent of Fascism to the radical liberal. Liberty is the great achievement of the bourgeois political revolution which overturned aristocratic absolutism. In my humble opinion liberty is worth protecting and extending into the future. Note Bene neither Lenin nor Mussolini were fans of liberty. Marxism-Leninism is NOT the same as Fascism but the two share an aversion for encouraging sovereign individuality. The Libertarian Party's version of the sovereign individual calls for an end to government interference with private property owners' rights to control the wealth they own.  Of course most of them don't want to go to the trouble and expense of hiring their own private police and military forces to protect them from each other's political desires to own more property at their expense. Damn the proletariat. They are free to start a business of their own. What the proletariat shows when it does not grow a business is a lack of intelligence a quality the Libertarian Party member/voter will assure anyone listening they possess in spades. The worker deserves to be a wage-slave. Let charity take care of the needs of the unemployed producers. They're failed individuals. Failures deserve wage-slavery. This view slides easily into social Darwinism an ideology fully compatible with Fascism which includes its most virulent expression Nazism. While dictatorship is not what the Libertarians want it is the reality of their dogma in political power for Libertarians reflect the reified world of Capital the social relation dependent on the masochistic acceptance and sadistic employment of wage-slavery for its continued existence. A King Parrot munches on the petals of one of my Geraldton sunflowers. Seeds drop on the ground. He is colourful and a bit messy when he eats. The last of the winter rains fall as the Sun disappears and the cold evening light descends only to be followed by earlier and earlier sunrises until the December solstice. Spring equinox occurs this Thursday and I have promised myself to take a dip in the Indian Ocean to celebrate. But really there's no point in being unkind to someone else unless they're trying to kill you. Be kind to people who are kind to you. Be kind before people are kind to you. A more civilised world will emerge from these social dynamics. Comrades spoke about how most of the union leadership doesn't know what it's doing and the need for a rank and file newsletter in order to elect a more informed leadership because the rank and file don't know what's going on either as official union publications don't tell them that they produce the wealth for the companies they work for. With the exception of rank and file gossip within very small circles of fellow workers nothing is politically and industrially focussed on class interests. It was noted that such rank and file forums already exist on Facebook e.g. Unions Australia. Comrades spoke favourably about tactically organising toward a strategic goal. With the state election six months on the horizon of what was envisioned was mass rallies taking place outside Parliament pressuring MLAs to support pro-working class positions i.e. publicly supporting the Collie workers in their struggle over the wealth they are producing for a capitalist corporation based in India. Other matters of working class interest would certainly come up during the tactical run up to our descent on Parliament. My critique of Leninism is that socialism was established by the Party as a transitional form of class dominated wage system. The workers and peasant producers were ruled by workers and peasants who joined the Party and followed the line set down by the highly bureaucratised Party hierarchy. Communism became an abstraction to be reached far into the future as wages were equalised much like a utopian version of the New Jerusalem. I think it has to be remembered that the "immense majority" to use the term used by Marx and Engels in the "Communist Manifesto" to describe those who would establish communism were peasants not workers in the Czarist Russian Empire of 1917. To be sure the political revolution in Russia was made by the workers and peasants but for the most part they had no conscious desire to change the mode of producing and distributing socially created wealth. (I'm not convinced by Voline) The Party's wage system strategy failed to bring about the New Jerusalem. The Party's centrally controlled wage system complete with planned generalised commodity production morphed into private property a capitalist class and its political State after 1989 not only in the former U.S.S.R. but in every country ruled by a Marxist-Leninist Party. This despite circumscribing the power of the marketplace for commodities with the State's provision of free healthcare heavily subsidised rents basic foods like bread and so on. Nature never cheats. Nature always plays fair. In the rush to industrialise the Party neglected that ancient lesson. Now we have the results in the environmental disasters of the Aral Sea and Chernobyl. Today we see jets take off 24/7. Now shipping is so major to the distribution and sale of commodified globally traded wealth yet very much a factor contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Nature will not let us off the hook. Nature doesn't care. Nature will exact its toll. Like it or not we cannot save the wage system. I date real wage stagnation from 1964. As productivity of wealth rises and real wages stagnate the rate of profit increases to combat the tendency for the rate of profit per sold commodity to fall. Here's another morsel of thought to munch on: as the productivity of labour grows the value of the commodities produced declines because there's less labour time socially necessary to manufacture them. When value declines so can price if the increased production is placed in the marketplace of commodities. Housing is a case in point. If more than enough homes were being produced and marketed at the same time the price of housing would go down. Ask yourself why home prices rise when car prices don't. Cui bono. Who benefits from constant increases in the price of dwellings. Could it be the people who buy them and sell them. If the market really drove prices houses would be cheaper today than they were yesterday because of increase in labour productivity. But price has been manipulated in the marketplace of housing commodities. Cui bono. Fichte’s and Hegel’s frustrations over being misunderstood were real. Appropo is Heine's tongue and cheek observation about Hegel "Als Hegel auf dem Totbette lag, sagte er: 'nur Einer hat mich verstanden,' aber gleich darauf fügte er verdrießlich hinzu: 'und der hat mich auch nicht verstanden.'” (When Hegel was lying on his deathbed he said: “Only one man has understood me,” and then he added glumly“And even he did not understand me.” Libertarian capitalist ideologists believe in wage-slavery for the majority and freedom for the capitalists to own the collective product of their employees' labour. Freedom for the capitalists means wage-slavery for the immense majority. The government of any time of class rule is the government of the ruling class. The ruling class of any epoch is the class which owns the lion's share of the wealth being produced be those producers slaves peasants or workers. That should clear matters up. UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE according to Engels: “And lastly the possessing class rules directly by means of universal suffrage. As long as the oppressed class – in our case, therefore, the proletariat – is not yet ripe for its self-liberation, so long will it, in its majority, recognize the existing order of society as the only possible one and remain politically the tail of the capitalist class, its extreme left wing. But in the measure in which it matures towards its self-emancipation, in the same measure it constitutes itself as its own party and votes for its own representatives, not those of the capitalists. Universal suffrage is thus the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the modern state; but that is enough. On the day when the thermometer of universal suffrage shows boiling-point among the workers, they as well as the capitalists will know where they stand.” In a more rational time marijuana would grow like wild grass. One could mow it when one wished and do whatever one wanted with the cuttings. In a more rational time use could be made of things on the basis of need. Silly. How could we possibly construct an economy without the threat of material deprivation being visited on us by those who know better. Why the world would disappear in a puff of chaos. Hobbes taught us that. We should really listen to Hobbes and bring back absolutism. The kid next door is crying telling her mom to stop crying. Crying to stop her mom from crying. I want to play she cries. We do need a kind of parental guidance when we are still young. The kid is used to crying when she doesn't get her way. She yells at her mother as she is yelled at by her mother. Maturation is taking place. The stay at home mom. The FIFO dad. The sad child can also be happy giggly. A nap is needed. Need is resisted. The father's voice is not heard this last day of winter. It won't be heard for awhile. The jet fly over the neighbourhood taking more FIFO workers in and out of Perth. Capitalist intercourse taking place in public. Other jets take people to their vacation destinations where they spend the money they've saved from their wages or rents or profits. Pablo Picasso said somewhere "Art is a lie that makes us realise the truth." Many say Pablo was an asshole. Pablo did join the French Communist Party. But it's about his relations with women which get him denounced more vociferously today. He painted well with a vivid imagination embracing love for life's libidinous urges and a hatred for death. I don't presume to know much about his private life. Perhaps I shall read a bit about how others thought he carried on with women someday. Perhaps. I expect that I'll spend more of my precious time to read Chekhov's humorous observations on everyday family ramblings amongst the landlord class and their acquaintances amongst professionals in the late 19th century. I agree that freedom of expression is essential to our progression toward a freer society and eventually to a society where the condition for the freedom each is the condition for the freedom of all. Restriction on freedom of expression are not new to the left or to the right. One only has to go back to the errors of Lenin and his followers early on in the Bolshevik Revolution to see their implementation on the left. On the right one can easily see it in the religious movements which criminalise blasphemy. Thus a Trotskyist could become an "enemy of the people" and a Protestant could become fuel for a Catholic king's fire. Mass acceptance legitimises obedience to the ruling class and political murders by the State. The fundamental error of the fundamentalists is putting ideas created by humans in charge of individuals' lives by criminalising speech or expression which falls outside the ideological boundaries set up and enforced by class rule's political State. Of course conservatives will point to the absurdities of left-wing ideological fetters put on speech and liberals will point to the artistic bondage which prevents the Mapplethorpes of the world from exhibiting their work. Finished reading "Uncle Vanya" in the backyard. This is my third reading in as many decades. The comedy becomes more laugh out loud apparent the older I've gotten. Comedy is lost on some who criticise Chekov because as they see it nothing really happens in his plays but what they miss is the class nature of these non-producers in dialogue. The useful producers of wealth are just objects seen as such by vapid appropriators of their labour time. But Chekov is no Tolstoy glorifying the inherent God fearing wisdom of the peasantry. The useful producers remain useful to the bored idle rich who continually compare reality with an unreachable Ideal. Free time for them becomes an endurance test to death and paradise in a life after death. They feel unfulfilled because they are not making more than formal connection with each other and their hired hands. They confuse love with the romantic Ideal of love. They own the material content of others' labour but they do not produce much other than empty abstractions which of course they live by as they connive against each other.  Fully one third of the former wealth producers entering retirement on the age pension in Australia are now living below the government's defined poverty line. The government continues to borrow from its rich bond holders as opposed to taxing the upper 10% and their assets sufficiently to provide adequate levels of public health education and welfare. Thus debt service payments are making ever greater demands on the government's budget revenue. The conservatives' view is that the lion's share of the wealth workers produce for wages should remain in the hands of the upper 10% and the companies they own. On the other side of the class divide producers want more of the collective product of their labour to fund an adequate social wage. Which side are you on. Took me 70 years to grow up or maybe just to grow old. Maybe growing old is growing up. Fifty push-ups every morning around 5 am or so or whenever I awake starts the day. Ten squats while watching the coffee drip into the glass pot. All the warnings about the temptations of the flesh are promoted by ruling classes wanting to hoard the time of the wealth producing classes. Keep your nose to the grindstone. Forget about passion. It's a sin. We revolt against the perfection embodied in celibacy. Spirituality is dualism. I give Hegel a huss because he lived so long ago before Darwin. The end of Idealism as a serious philosophical challenge for materialists happened around the time of Hegel's death. I once went to pay homage to Hegel in East Berlin when it was still Hauptstadt der DDR. Brecht and Weigel were buried in the same graveyard. A lot of grass grew around Hegel's burial space. Sometimes the libido is turned more toward honey bees flying around flowers than a naked woman. Perhaps it's just old age taking its toll on the physical. Fortunately my imagination is still connected to my balls. Hard-ons are still naturally stimulated by naked sexy women. Price is not value although it is often mistaken for same. Price is a measure of supply and demand for some good or service. Values are intrinsic to the good or service. Values are made up of crystallized labour time and natural resources. If their supply is greater than the demand for them their price is less. Vice versa of course if the situation is reversed. Unowned nature has no price but much in the way of use-value. Quality trumps quantity as content trumps form. Welfare is that portion of the collective product of labour unemployed labour gets back after creating the collective product of labour in the first place. The less civilised the country is the lower the social wage and the more the populace is likely to think of the unemployed as being part of the surplus population as opposed to blaming the unemployment on how the wage system plays out in the marketplace of commodified labour power. A large part of the problem associated with police killing civilians in the USA can be located in the gun fetish culture. In Australia most people other than the cops don't pack heat. When you get humans in situations where they feel under murderous threat by others e.g. war you get a hell of a lot of people killed by friendly fire. In other words the killings are mistaken reactions not conscious murders. This is why company commanders in Vietnam finally ordered soldiers and Marines on guard duty to go to their posts without ammo. And all he wanted to do in the end was read drink fuck and toke.  It was all of what he really wanted not what he said he believed in. Bullet strikes the helmet head.