Listen to Radio Mike Ballard

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November, 2016

Bees butterflies and flowers. Spring has truly sprung. The weather's warmer. Spring is best time of the year to live in Perth. Temps in the mid-20sC. And what do I do after finishing Ibsen's "Wild Duck". Pity about Hedvig shooting herself on purpose. So young too. I guess she couldn't bring herself to kill the lame duck. Better she should have aimed that pistol shot at the system of dominance and submission extant in late 19th century Norway. Comrade Trotsky said,"The part can conquer only together with the whole." This all in the context of arguing against the possibility of socialism in one country. The abolition of the wage system by the workers themselves is not mentioned in Leon's criticism of the possibility of building socialism in one country. Marx would have laughed Trotsky out of the room if he spoke in this uncritical way about such conceptual contradictions as a the establishment of a "socialist State". Why can't workers establish a classless Stateless democracy essential in changing the mode of production and exchange in one especially industrially advanced country like the U.S.A.. As you know now from reading all these thoughts which go down the memory hole contemporary governments are under the control of the upper 10% and the companies that they own. The identity people need to see is that of being a wage-slave to those who own the product of their labour. However fear eats their hearts and this fear is based on their need to sell their labour power to the employing class in order to make a living. This dependency structure breeds pusillanimous pussyfooters who are ready to sacrifice to the last militant. If workers can't establish socialism in one country they certainly cannot establish socialism in all countries Comrade Trotsky. Workers are so unconscious of their class interests now. Proof is in the laws of a bourgeois democracy like Australia where the workers have their unions' hands tied behind their backs by notions of free markets in their elected officials' heads translating into the laws of the State. The Trade Practices Act section 45 parts D and E are prime examples wherein workers in one union are required to cross the picket lines of workers in another union during industrial actions. Laws made to prevent a restraint of trade are a euphemism for capitalists' freedom to market the goods and services workers produce. Workers' abilities to market the only commodity they own to make a living are under a great many restraints in terms of trade. Workers' solidarity is made illegal because otherwise the bourgeoisie figures these wage-slaves would be able to organise strikes which would have the power to restrain the trade of the commodities they produce and the public good would not be served. The public good is identified as being what's good for business which of course we all know is good for the country or the public or the nation. Workers who make up the vast majority of voters 90% are not aware of their power to punish politicians who make laws which hogtie working class interests. Tie them to the whipping post of national interests and let the investor class prosper under the guidance of politicians who freely move through the revolving door from parliament to chief executive officer of corporation x in the quid pro quo of our bourgeois democratic republic. Our lives would be poorer if we were banned from getting fucked up. There are always dominators around who want to curb your pleasured centred appetite. Let my libido go. The demos is weakened through systemic violence for that to happen. This is why bourgeois democracy is such a scandal in the U.S.A. and elsewhere in the world. The demos can't see through the candidates that the beneficiaries of the wage system select to run their political State. SBS used to broadcast the World Series free to air. No more. Murdoch's Fox has the private property rights. So I'm shit out of luck in terms of seeing whether the Cubs can overcome the Billy Goat curse. When the pay wall is steep the poor slide to the bottom. Anyway the Cubs won 8-7 in extra innings. First World Series win since 1908. With the exception of the emancipation proclamation Republicans have never done anything to benefit the working class. The only good POTUS the Republican Party ever nominated was Abraham Lincoln. It's hopeless really. The working class remain unconscious of their interests in controlling the collective wealth they produce aka capital and the world is colliding with fossil fuel driving climate change. The working class is the key to changing the situation but is regularly divided and left powerlessly grasping for each other's throats along the lines set out by the philosophical Idealism embedded in identity politics. I'm Italian. I'm gay. I'm straight dont' chase me. I'm a person of colour. I'm white. I'm Jewish. I'm Muslim. I'm Christian. I'm Buddhist. I'm Hindu. Working class. What's that. Some factory worker in a manufacturing job long since sent overseas to the cheaper labour markets of the world. I should feel guilty. I won't look at the amount of wealth being produced by my class because I'm too worried about poor people getting welfare and making my taxes rise. I want to punish the lazy unemployed bludgers. Send them to prison. Where did I get this idea. I thought of it myself. It's obvious that the unemployed are a drag on business. I was told by the brain police at Facebook that a photo I had copied from the Internet which I had long ago placed in my archive was being removed because it violated the sex and violence standards of that social media platform. Censorship still exists in societies proclaiming freedom of expression. I thought the photo revealing of power. It used to be a commonplace mental leveling exercise in the Marine Corps to say that even the general has to pull down his pants to take a shit. And our recently inaugurated Nobel Prize winner has a song in his repertoire which proclaims even the President of the United States sometimes has to stand naked. So does Angela Merkel. What's ironic is that the old DDR was in many ways freer than today's brain police want to admit for this was a photo taken of Ms. Merkel and friends maybe some of her friends in the Free German Youth Freie Deutsche Jugend of the day emerging strolling near some lake perhaps in Berlin perhaps the Müggelsee. Let this photo fall down the memory hole amen awomen.

Of course a photo of a dead child washed up on a beach would not violate Facebook community standards. As long as nudity is a violation of community standards you can be sure that humanity is still enslaved in one way or another. The POTUS heads up the executive committee of the ruling class. Foreign policy is not made on the basis of morality but calculated on the basis of whether the ruling class can extend its political power beyond the borders of its nation State. Any class ruled State doing this is imperialist. One does not have to barrack for a nationalist to oppose imperialism. In fact it is the national structure of class power which produces these hideous murderous conflicts.  Trump is on record as being for privatising Social Security and a bunch of other conservative moves which would hurt the working class in the USA and benefit the bourgeoisie materially. As if they needed even more of the wealth the workers produce. To me it's a no brainer for someone in the bottom 90% of the population. The electoral system in the USA is set up in such a way as to preclude anyone from a third party winning election to become POTUS. It's either Trump or Clinton. If you're in the bottom 90% in the USA and you don't vote for Clinton you're a political ignoramus in my book unless you want to express your desire to abolish the wage system via a write in vote for the SLP or WSP. We shall see what happens on that fateful second Tuesday of the month of November. In the meantime we'll all retreat to our own ideological hiding places of choice attempting to best our opponents in screen technology's flame wars. Enough time has passed for me. I've said what I thought should be said publicly. Time to retire from that activity and focus on another. I'm declaring vacation. Solidarity. It's a form of action where one individual acts in concert with another individual. Why do this when you could do it yourself. Because the power of 100 is greater than the power of one and to accomplish your goal you need more power than you as an individual can provide. Reading Getting Married by G.B. Shaw now. One tires of being sexually rejected or really rejected in any way. But it is especially damaging to be sexually rejected all the time. Getting married so that you can have sex when you want. Forget it. It's not happening. In this sense there are no good monogamous marriages. Freud wrote about repression's necessary tie to civilisation. The whole legal system which grew out of class rule is bound up with sexual repression especially for the immense majority. And so civilisation goes. As the tethers of religiously inspired sin-morality ebb the divorce rate increases. But what's the point. Another marriage. Even more solitude via the single life. The Idealism of monogamous family ideology creeps in from every available public voice. And so Freud boils down to not much more than the imposition of a ruling class invented ideology from womb to tomb being necessary for civilisation to go on. Otherwise we go back to nature and the rule of the id. Scary. Of course I think society would be much more civilised in a classless industrialised democracy. Private property and the political power over others which goes with it must be preserved or civilisation as Freud conceptualizes it will collapse. Patriarchally powered marriage is key to upholding the whole kit and kaboodle. The lives of quiet desperation must continue for the good of the economy and the rule of law. End Freud's politics which are ever conservative. Sigmund made discoveries in the realm of psychology. This does not mean that he should be looked up to as a political leader. Of course law is necessary for civilised behaviour to prevail. But what does law mean other than the control by humans over the conduct of their social relations. Humans have been designing that control since at least our lives and times in classless societies of hunter gatherers. The development of that control is synonymous with our development of moral codes. And so despite shooting himself in the foot and placing said foot in his mouth many a time an electoral college ratified majority of those who voted in the U.S.A. have made Donald Trump President. The executive committee of the ruling class has been decided upon and it is decidedly not what the majority of the more cosmopolitan bourgeoisie wanted. The President sets the political tone of American society. Another Clinton was apparently too much for the voters to take although she did win the popular vote by a little over one percent as of this writing. This was even demonstrated in the Democratic primaries where people expressed their desire for another FDR via Sanders not another Clinton. I doubt that the so called people of colour came out in the droves that came out to vote Democrat during the time one of what most would probably describe as their own was running for POTUS. There was another division in this election a division Joe Bageant wrote of the alienation of the people living in the country from the rest of the people living in the urban areas. Oh well the workers of all skin tones are divided and defeated by notions of the importance of skin tones on a regular basis. The price of racial identity is very high. The workers divided will always be defeated. The last time a Clinton was President a Bush was elected to replace him as he had replaced the Bush before him in '92. The Bush brand was also lacking lustre with voters this time around as shown in the Republican primaries. The Bush brand had become identified with the elite. The triumph of Trump was a defeat for the pollsters just as the Brexit vote was before. Nobody seems to be able to get their head around this. What the election of Trump demonstrates is the profound political ignorance of the immense majority aka the demos but that is true for every election in which class rule is tacitly endorsed. What Trump's election demonstrates with a vengeance is a belief by a heck of a lot of voters about how the nation has been betrayed by the pointy headed intellectual elite who do not publicly blurt their ignorance as Trump and his followers do. Most of these people live outside the urban areas of the U.S.A.. There's a lot of anger with this elite out there in voter land and a lot of voters feel the urge to punch the elite right in the kisser. This is because the immense majority have had nationalism and anti-socialist religious messages ideologically pounded into their minds from birth. In their Ideal the class collaborationist nation is supposed to be sovereign and the President upholds this sovereignty and thus we taxpayers are protected. We can live long and prosper. Yet the average worker sees the nation's jobs being exported overseas by the elites with their trade agreements. They also see their wages and working conditions being undermined by a flood of immigrants. The elites promoted a continuation of this and were obvious in their support for Clinton. You see the Trump voting nationalist believes there are only so and so many jobs and so if you increase the supply of job applicants you decrease the chance that you will be employed for forty hours a week nowadays along with your partner in marriage who has been liberated from the kitchen and now works forty hours too--if you're lucky. Not to mention the Chinese who seem so numerous and willing to work for less than nothing a day. Damn Commonists. The sacred nation is not respected by other peoples who trample its borders and kill its honourable soldiers overseas our boys and girls who are just trying to bring the benefits of democracy to other parts of the world. Nobody respects us anymore especially the elites. This is what is seen by the conservative nationalist. The reactionary nationalist is angry. Of course both the conservative and liberal nationalists have long since embraced the wage system of private property and both admire the captains of industry who provide jobs. Nothing in the way of taxation must be done to harm business because business gives the rest of us our standard of living thank-you very much. Besides as any neo-liberal or conservative politician worth his or her salt will tell you if you raise taxes on profits business will move offshore. It's only natural in a free market economy and it's the economy stupid. But for awhile now the elites have cuddled up to other nations and not paid attention to U.S. citizen taxpayers. Trump voters know this. Only the flabby liberals who've never done an honest day's work in their lives deny it. In fact they have been giving away our precious bodily citizenship to greedy foreigners who take advantage of naive government bureaucrats handing out welfare. Thus we have the usual political ignorance about how the wage system actually operates as a system of exploitation combined with the belief in nationalism or what amounts to faith in the material benefits of class collaboration. Faith has been broken by the elite who sit in their universities and mansions manipulating numbers totally disdainful of the average church going gun owning taxpayer who is now ruled by fear of going outside at night because that's when the lawbreakers roam. Our great police force is being overwhelmed by unemployed layabouts and immigrants who are out selling drugs to make quick fortunes while we taxpayers are being reduced to working in a McDonald's in our old age. Thus we must be tough on crime lock 'em up and throw away the key. The nation's taxpayers cannot afford this and so Trump was elected to make America great again like it used to be in the past. The man on the white horse has appeared to the nationalist faithful. Faith in the ability of a successful billionaire businessman to spit in the face of the elite and turn the economy around has been demonstrated in this election. Of course the economy has already been turned around for the upper 10% and the companies they own. But the bottom 90% haven't seen it. They don't see much of the collective product of their wealth making labour come back to them. And they've been taught that this is because their taxes are too high. Trump will cut taxes big time for the upper 10% and the companies that they own and by about 7% for the the bottom 90% as more and more revenue is subtracted from public health education and welfare. Thus the Trump Administration will make America great again. Have faith. When our nationalist bully boy starts preaching from his bully pulpit the world will listen and respect us once again just like they used to when Ike was POTUS. The Zeitgeist of narrow nationalism is gaining credence amongst the reactionary political cretins of the world from the Islamic States to the Russian Federation to the Hungarian State and the newly emerging Caliphate of Turks and that lonely little Jewish State. The New World Order is crumbling into its older fixed borders manifestation even as the technology of international communication expands and the more or less constant drone of contending ruling classes send their nationalist believers out to make war on the others and the tide of displaced citizens from foreign nations tries to escape political murder by patriots of one faith or another. A shrewd capitalist can make big bucks off all this suffering. The boat business to Australia was an example of this particular aspect of the commodification of human relations. And in fact the toxic ideology of the bourgeoisie afflicts the left side of the political ledger as well. Class collaboration with good capitalism is taken for granted witness the continued greenwashing propaganda of our times. It is only evil capitalists and evil politicians who need removing. Trump and his hillbilly followers will be considered one of these evils by the politically correct radical liberals and polling experts. The contemporary mind is imprisoned within the nationalist ideology of patriotic class collaboration and the notion that there is no alternative to the wage system. Competition between individuals for position and power over other individuals is a genetic given or what is usually described as human nature. The possibility of an association of individuals who know that the condition for the freedom of each is dependent establishing a society of freedom for all is relegated to a silly utopian notion as opposed to what it is an existential necessity at this stage of history for the survival of the human race. The bottom 90% can ignore the upper 10% when they figure out that they're producing the wealth of the nation and then figure out that they can organise politically and industrially as a class to claw back a decent social wage at the hustings and through the power of strikes. When that happens we'll begin to get a consensus on abolishing the wage system altogether and establishing common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of our labour.

And now for a critical and prescient observation from an old Comrade of mine dated July 19, 2016:

The GOP Convention got underway in Cleveland yesterday. I thought I might be
amused to watch it, but instead came down with a bad case of fear and loathing. These
reactionary bastards have closed ranks behind Donald Chump, and the resulting
spectacle of flag-waving hate-filled blind ignorant sycophancy is frightening and revolting
to see. Their blood lust is up; they smell defeat for Hillary festering in the small cracks of
suspicion she's left in her wake with her haughty (and, yes, dishonest) reactions to
accusations concerning her behavior during and after both the e-mail-server and
Benghazi controversies. In both cases, in any honest assessment, she can be seen to
be free of criminal intent regarding the initial incidents. But, in both cases, she also tried
to cover up her relatively innocuous (and predictably “political”) discretions with lies.
And she's clearly on the record for statements showing her dismissive attitude toward
some family members of the four State Dept. employees killed in Benghazi (though I'm
not sure how much she knew about the decision to initially try to hide the culpability of
Islamic terrorists for the attack on the U.S. Embassy and instead blame it on Libyan
popular reaction to a just-published story supposedly demeaning Muhammed). In other
words, “Crooked” Hillary has acted just badly enough to leave the door wide open to
attacks from right-wing pols anxious to take her down.

At the convention, an apoplectic Rudy Giuliani looked and sounded very much like
Mussolini standing on the podium waving his arms and raging against Hillary for her
criminally unpatriotic behavior. The mother of one of the Benghazi victims called Hillary a “liar” and a “murderer” and called for her arrest and prosecution. Tears could be seen in the eyes of some female members of the audience who waved signs reading “Jail Hillary” and “Protect Our Borders,” and roared with delight. Prior to this nonsense, a Navy Seal sole survivor of an Afghani Taliban attack in 2005 (who wrote a book about the incident and, for all I know, had a movie made from it) regaled the crowd with his literally militant patriotism, and his faith in Donald Trump to make America strong again by building up the military and attacking “radical Islam” in Whack-A-Mole mode wherever it raises its ugly head. Since Obama is portrayed as having done nothing but sit on his hands, this will undoubtedly solve the problem. Then Chump's wife took the podium (introduced by Dufus Donald himself) to illuminate and celebrate her hubby's humanitarian virtues ...his stellar record of philanthropy, his love for her and his children, his love for America and all her people (including Muslims and Mexicans), his corporate business savvy, his strong leadership, his blah blah blah.

But nowhere did anyone talk about policy solutions to any of America's real
problems. Which, of course, really doesn't matter. Because the Repugs falling in line
behind Chump to kiss his ass are betting that this bitter pill of blood-lust hatred wrapped
in phony saccharine sentiments may go down for tens of millions of U.S. voters just
stupid enough to swallow it. And that may very well happen. The American electorate is
riddled with angry boneheads looking for a leader to kick some ass and bring back the
Disneyland Magic Kingdom version of America they're sure once existed. And Hillary, a
dyed-in-the-wool wheeler-dealer politician with the same tired old policy objectives that
have failed so often (not least because GOP pols have shot them down) provides a
convenient target for their wrath. Too bad the Dems don't have a cleaner truly honest
candidate to offer as an alternative, say, someone like Bernie Sanders. They may, after
all, wind up regretting blowing him off.

Just finished reading another Kent Haruf novel. Haruf has a way with plain language. Bukowski has this way in his lumpen and proletarian milieu. Flannery O'Connor had it as well. Well so, Haruf might be a liberal Republican. Hemingway at his best had this natural sounding style as well as Hamsun, Traven, Yates, and Steinbeck. Kent concentrates on the inhabitants of one small town in Colorado. In OUR SOULS AT NIGHT a long time resident of Holt decides to visit her equally long time resident neighbour with an invitation. "Let's spend the night together. Now I need you more than ever." This is an all out of the blue proposal for Louis. Addie insists no hard feelings if her sleepover suggestion is turned down or doesn't work out. The 70 year old Louis says "Yes." to his 70 year old neighbour. After all she's been a widower for years and Louis's wife died long ago. Hint: they develop a loving relationship. Small town America is portrayed in a tender light in Haruf's fiction. And it can be as I've lived that life. Lots of negatives left out but that's okay. Haruf's writing is superb. It flows like a cold clean clear Colorado mountain creek. She who must be obeyed. That line comes from G.B. Shaw's play "Getting Married". The Marquis de Sade makes it into a reference during the play's last gasps. The libertine is invoked but the devil must be repressed. Shaw says civilisation needs to repress its discontents in order to avoid becoming vulgar. Even the Communist agrees. Of course the Communist role is taken on by the devout religious dogmatist. Shaw was too witty for his own long lasting good. I suppose though that many people calling themselves Communists in 1908 were of the dogmatic mindset that Shaw thinks they all are. Even in 1908. Even I say. All goes to show how Idealist the old Marxists were even as far back as 1908. No wonder the anarcho-Idealists revolted. They always do. What's really wanted remains under cover of the night twisting the mind into accepting authorities of power who are themselves philosophical Idealists and religious believers as well. What is lust anyway. Just sexual desire made sinful by those who pass on class rule's religious tenets meant to keep our libido in bondage. The treatment of the sexual other as object is a direct result of treating humans as property as opposed to treating them as human beings as subjects with their own human desires. The psychological roots of sado-masochism lie here. Being stubborn sometimes has it rewards. But my experience has been that women aren't as equally driven toward the pleasures of sex. I hope that this is because of patriarchal social relations with all the implications for property control embedded within them. Being stubborn is more regularly punished these days. Laws develop with the development of class society and even before class society became the dominant overall social relation.There's a thin line between being stubborn and sexual harassment. Males often cross it. It is next to impossible to women to cross it vis a vis males. Think about why that is. We love to cheat death. It gives us an adrenal high from stress. Think skydiving or martial arts or group sex. We don't want to die. We just want to escape from the humdrum life demanded by the nanny State's sin taxes along with extra safe family approved activities. And therein lies the success of the so-called sex industry. That old capitalist dictum find a need and fill it exists here too. Fill it with a commodity of course. After all we live in a marketplace of commodities. Everyone is buying and selling what they can to make a living. Thus images become commodities through the usual mode of production wage labour. The male fantasy of a woman who wants nothing more than to enjoy sex is probably just that. I say probably because hope springs eternal in the young man's or even old man's breast. But back to buying and selling: One couldn't have others who are in way more demand giving sex away. That would be unrealistic. That would be communism. What happened to the "socialism" which used to be attached to the label Fabian when the likes of G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells identified with the ideology. Tony Blair was no socialist. I'm afraid what passes for Fabian today is an earnest belief in neo-liberalism, the sanctity of the wage system and the dominance of an elite who knows better. I doubt that Eleanor Marx or her father thought much of any of these but of course they were not tied to the notion that there is no alternative to the capitalist mode of producing and distributing wealth through the wage system. Along with Marx and his daughter I too am a grassroots democratic socialist for common ownership and democratic control of the collective product of labour under a different way of creating wealth, not commodified wealth for sale but the production of wealth for use and need, not the wages system of commodified labour time. A letter from Taiwan I got via Facebook with some questions from a worker reads:
Mr Ballard: I am not a FB user so this communication is being relayed to you by friend who is. My acquaintance with marxism was entirely via the SLP. I am some ten years younger than you and as a teenager in Seattle was an SLP sympathiser from c. 1969, and later was in contact with some of the disparate groups that left in the Disruption of around that time, the only group whose name I recall being Philadelphia Solidarity, whose contact person was Alan Oslick (sp?) and later Ben Perry.

I know of you because of recently having read of your novel Wage
Slave's Escape, which I have just come into possession of but have not yet begun. Having read your brief biography seen in connection with looking up information about Wage Slave's Escape, some questions:

1) In what year did you join the SLP?

I joined the SLP in 1972.

You do not mention leaving it. Did you ever?

I stopped paying dues in the first half of 1977. Effectively, I left
the Party when I stopped paying dues.

And if you did, what was the cause?

I was working for the Party at the National Office as a writer for the
"People". I wanted members' letters published in the paper and the
majority at the paper and those working in the National Office didn't
want anything but laudatory letters published. This matter and others
concerning the question of reform caused friction. On the question of
reform, my position was similar to De Leon's in his pamphlet on Victor Berger. The dogma that "every reform is a concealed measure of reaction" had become a fetter on the Party's work, IMO. The lack of democracy, not publishing the few letters from members which we got, and what I learned about the manipulation of meetings via agenda setting well in advance of meetings, made for some stormy
conversations. At the last Party meeting I attended along with my
wife, my wife and I were called anarchists and at that point, my wife
and I left the meeting got in the car, drove home. The next day, I
told the National Secretary that I no longer wanted to write for the
Paper. I was asked by the National Secretary to write a letter of
resignation which I did and which he later used to deny me
unemployment benefits.

2) I know that the SLP no longer has an office, but do you know
whether a membership still exist? Is Robert Bills still alive and in
any way 'active' or interactive with the existing membership?

I have no idea. Bills is the one who denounced my wife for being an
anarchist. His wife and mine used to work together in the NO.

Perhaps writing a history of the SLP?

3) What is you view of the short history of the SLP by Perry and Girard?

I knew Frank Girard. I didn't know Ben Perry. I thought their book was spot on.

4) Did joining the ('bummery') IWW conflict with being in the SLP? (I mean, as per the SLP was it 'allowed'?)

I don't recall a rule against joining the IWW; but there was a fixed
idea that the only legitimate union would be a Socialist Industrial
Union. No Party member was also a member of the IWW when I was in the SLP. This was part of the problem, IMO. The Party leadership at the NO was unable to examine ideas outside of its fixed set of dogmas and aphorisms without imploding. So, they were kept at bay by denouncing anyone who had such ideas. For instance, I tried to bring up the question of reification and its relationship to the lack of class consciousness. There was great fear that such discussion would lead the Party to fly apart. Instead, the Party died on the vine, much as the Shakers of old had.

5) What caused you to leave the IWW?

I decided to stop paying dues in the IWW when I was brought up on
charges of racism and sexism. The IWW was/is honeycombed with
dogmatists of various sort, especially of the anarchist variety. That,
I understood when I joined. I still carried along with my own vision
though in the IWW which was to unite the workers as a class both
politically and industrially to abolish wage labour and replace the
system with common ownership and production of wealth for use and need. However, around the time the "Industrial Worker" got a new editor in Diane Krauthammer, the organisation began to morph into a gaggle of identity politics types and postmodern liberals toying with notions of progressive nationalism via the Palestinian question and various and sundry other issues of identity. As identity began to
trump class, the question of organising to abolish wage labour was put into the backseat. My own denouncement came as I questioned the wisdom of the IWW supporting Aboriginal sovereignty which I saw as being riddled with nationalist illusions. Many of the newer, younger Wobs came into the IWW as social justice warriors, radical liberals really, freshly minted from the universities and full of postmodernist sensibilities. So, I stopped paying dues in 2012 after spending 22 years in the union. I felt the "charges" process in the IWW Constitution would be used, along with the push for identity politics, to purge, humiliate and intimidate the membership, just as SLP's NO had used the SLP Constitution to expel "disruptors" i.e. people who had differing views. And so, it has come about witness the latest debacle in the Boston GMB.

6) What is your view of the claimed resurrection of the WIIU? (I have no idea whether it is real or only a few people on Internet).

I looked into it. It seems hopelessly reformist to me with little or
no focus on the wage system. I have no idea how many workers are in it. I suspect very few.
Ah but today's demonstration by unionists at the WA Parliament was marvelous. Today I was called a CIA agent a Stalinist and a crank. And this was by my friends. I think that about does it for me. Time to retire to the backyard to read toke and quaff ale. The left is plagued with psychological casualties. We who were not brought up as red diaper babies don't know this when we become 20 something leftists. Heck even the red diaper babies miss it. The fact of the matter is that those who were abused by their parents when they were still under parental control or even foster care control are ashamed. This happens whether they were brought up by politically active parents or not. The same dynamic holds for societal sadism. The only way most of these casualties have been able to deal with the shame is to build their self-esteem back up by putting others down. According to my old recognising Type A behaviour class this is the classic dynamic of Type A behaviour--put the other down. This will give the Type A a brief adrenal buzz but will not cure the shameful memory scars. The adrenal buzz is addictive. Of course this leads to unsatisfactory outcomes for the victims of the abused when they lash out or call out the other's oppressive behaviour. I believe this is the psychological source for circular firing squads most actual murders and other violence we experience under class rule. I've been called a Stalinist and an anarchist before by my comrades as well as a racist and sexist by my fellow workers. Ah yes and a conservative as well as a liberal and of course the old dismissive silly. Ballard. You know what's wrong with you. You just don't care. More than a couple of authorities in society have said this to my face including those of superior rank in the Marine Corps. I also remember well a stranger at a political function back in 1974 when I was the Socialist Labor Party's Congressional candidate for the District representing East Lansing among other burgs of Michigan informing me I'd end up a bitter old man. I suppose I have. After all is said done and written one usually ends up a category in the minds of others. Such is the power of the ruling ideas of our time and our own attachment to one or another strain of philosophical Idealism.

"Marx's assertion that capital, and not the proletariat or the species, is the total Subject implies that the historical negations of capitalism would not involve the *realization*, but the *abolition,* of the totality."

M. Postone

The abolition of the totality of Capital is dependent on the workers' abolition of the wage system because they've become conscious that they produce the totality of Capital both the wealth aspects and the social relation by their continued acquiescence to wage labour. I reckon the rot on the left started to set in about the time Engels died. Most leftists today have no idea what the abolition of the wage system means, except that it sounds quaintly silly to their ears. I reproduce here one of the last things Engels wrote before he died. Note well that the socialists who came after were more interested in achieving offices in government or unions or even armies than in the long hard road of convincing workers that it was in their class interests to strategically aim for the abolition of wage labour and establishing common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of labour. Political and industrial amnesia set in. The emancipation from wage-slavery was put in the back seat and forgotten especially with the popularisation of Lenin's and Bernstein's versions of socialism:

"In the second chapter, in connection with the 'right to work,' which is characterized as 'the first clumsy formula wherein the revolutionary aspirations of the proletariat are summarized,' it is said: 'But behind the right to work stands the power over capital; behind the power over capital, the appropriation of the means of production, their subjection to the associated working class and, therefore, the abolition of wage labor as well as of capital and of their mutual relationships.' Thus, here, for the first time, the proposition is formulated by which modern working class socialism is equally sharply differentiated both from all the different shades of feudal, bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, etc., socialisms and also from the confused community of goods of utopian and spontaneous communism. If, later, Marx extended the formula to appropriation of the means of exchange also, this extension, which, in any case, was self-evident after The Communist Manifesto, only expressed a corollary to the main proposition."

And so by the end of November 2016 Trump has been elected POTUS and Fidel Castro dies. The right-wing's man on a white horse has arrived on the the world historical stage as the left's man on a black horse departs. A majority of the left whines about Trump's dictatorial style as they engage in apologetics for Castro's repressions of free speech and freedom of association. These people are like say Bruno Bauer mainly morally motivated probably without the sophisticated mindset of a left Hegelian. Like Lenin and his Bolsheviks Fidel and his 26th of July movement seized the political State. To be sure a political revolution occurred and to be sure certain necessary goods and services were taken out of the marketplace of commodities and made freely available e.g. healthcare. But the social revolution which Marx and Engels barracked for workers to make did not occur as a result of Castro's and Lenin's political revolutions. Both established regimes where at first an equality of wages was established. Equality of wages was a proposal Proudhon made for his brand of anarchist socialism a proposal which Marx made merciless criticism of. As time marched on the Leninist wage system morphed on closer and closer to full blown capitalism. Witness contemporary Russia and even Communist China today. This was and is the line of march for all Marxist-Leninist States: from an attempt to control commodity production through a non-market based wage system to a full blown marketplace where the sale of the commodity is king and all the moral Idealism possible is invested in creating the socialist human. The children of Che have spoken the lingo of saints. Saints are rare in the world and so the left remains weak purging itself of ideological apostates of one sort or another. Circular firing squads are made up of philosophical Idealists.  Purify purify purify they scream as they denounce their comrades and wait for the New Jerusalem to arrive. As Engels pointed out once at the end of his life both he and Marx considered that socialism could only be established by the immense majority (see the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO). Communism was to be the result of the workers themselves, organising as a class for their own EMANCIPATION from the wage system the end of class rule and commodifying wealth for sale (see Engels's Anti-Dühring). Of course most of the left's leaders from Bernstein to Lenin to Castro have rejected the abolition of wage labour and the workers emancipating themselves from this form of bondage as being quaintly silly. Moralists are rarely materialists at the same time. The point is the dynamics of political power between individuals. Why do they need to be if all depend on each other's labour to survive. To be sure Fidel never took Marx's advice seriously and so we have today the capitalist owned media howling for the return of the freely commodified marketplace the democratic rule of the bourgeoisie and the freedom of workers to sell their labour power to Monsanto etc. for the market price of the only vendible commodity they own. I chose not to eat meat including fish in the mid-90s. I didn't adopt a vegetarian diet for moral reasons but because it made sense to me. I chose to become a socialist because I wanted to emancipate myself from the wage system and engage in a more rational way of producing and distributing collectively produced wealth i.e. for use and need not to commodify it or our time for sale. Self-emancipation is a selfish thing to do. A class for itself is greedy to own the whole of the collective product of its labour. I didn't become a socialist for moral reasons or what I can only consider to be masochistically motivated emotions of looking for a leader but because it made sense to me. The human subject is alienated from the objects of his or her creation by a system based on private property. The subject object relation is reversed. The object is privatised and commodified for sale by its owner. Its user must first buy or sell it to use it. These are the roots of alienation under the wage system. I must comply with the power of the landlord's inspector over me in order to keep the use of the abode I inhabit. My abode should be just a use-value not an exchange value potentially for sale or rent to a higher bidder.  The object I use which is of course a product of labour has been commodified. It is alienated from me via private property and its political power vis a vis the laws made within the political State by representatives who are committed to my continued alienation. The subject must sell control of his or her product to make a living in the workplaces of those who own. The subject owns his or her labour power. The subject must alienate time for the market price of his or her skills and end up having no control over the product of labour as the product of labour the object has been alienated via the system of private property. The necessity to sell one's labour power puts one in market competition with other subjects. Alienation is the result of the ongoing process of commodification under class ruled systems of private property. And what other kinds of systems of private property do humans live under within what has been touted as being civilisation other than systems of the alienation of humans from the object of their creation and from each other. I've seen the wage system as being irrational for a long time now. I'm on the left because I want more control and ownership of the collective product of labour by its producers myself included. As far as I'm concerned labour is entitled to democratically control and socially own what labour collectively produces. The right has an argument with that notion which is why the class struggle exists. Idealist notions of peace genuine democracy open borders and social justice will remain in the realm of the mind's other empty abstractions as long as class rule is allowed to exist. I reckon 90% of the population is in the working class because 90% of the people have to exchange the product of their labour for the price of their labour power in order to make a living. This immense majority would be a politically potent force, if it organised itself as a class dedicated to the strategic goal of common ownership and democratic control over the collective product of its labour. Dividing the immense majority into competing identities ensures defeat. Free speech is the enemy of class domination. The workers united can never be defeated. The opposite is true as well. The workers class consciously organised is what is needed. In bourgeois democracies that means politically and industrially organised as a class subjectively motivated for its own interests in owning and controlling the social product of labour. I think I've said enough now both in this stream of consciousness endeavour over the months since February 2016 and in that Internet artifact with the ever increasing number of broken links Wobbly times. Fer gawd's sake don't worry about me. I'm perfectly satisfied now with turning on tuning in and dropping out. Just finished Kent Haruf's BENEDICTION and will take up where I left off in G.B Shaw's plays. Currently I'm on "Overruled". Credit to Shaw for bringing his playgoers'/readers' eyes and sense of humour to the sexual repression involved with conflictual desires associated with a fulfilling sexual frequency. A proper monogamous marriage can be full or not of this aforementioned phenomenon and their potential for comedy and drama. Tying it all to cultural effects associated with maintaining the current order is what still makes Shaw relevant. 

Take care. Don't despair. And hang in there. Ooroo!

"In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes."

Taken from 1984, a piece of speculative fiction penned by George Orwell 

No comments:

Post a Comment