Wednesday 31 May 2017

Capitalism 2.0? Yeah, Right.

As national anthems go, "Advance Australia Fair" isn't in the same league as, say, "La Marsellaise" or "The Star-Spangled Banner". It's not so much that people hate it, but that I don't know anyone who really likes it. That's why every now and again someone wants it changed.

The big debate starts. There are three parties: (1) It's not broken, don't fix it. (2) C'mon! Let's adopt a new anthem (me, I like "Waltzing Matilda" better); (3) Let's be realistic. We may not like it, but let's keep it anyway. To keep everybody happy, let's change its lyrics.

People argue and argue, until they tire and forget all about it.

That reminds me of Daniel Little's post "Capitalism 2.0?" (June 17, 2016). 

Friday 26 May 2017

Einstein the Marxist.

Life Magazine, April 5, 1949 (source)
My post "Scientific Socialism: a Primer" (April 22nd) earned me a little off-line ear pull.

I wrote then that Albert Einstein's essay "Why Socialism?", published originally in the first issue of the Marxist journal "Monthly Review" was a good primer on Marxism. In my opinion, the fact that Einstein's article appeared in 1949 -- during the opening stages of McCarthyism -- together with its content and Einstein's support for the new publication revealed his civic courage and also justified considering him a Marxist, regardless of whether he ever used that adjective to describe himself.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Bits and Pieces: Let's Read.

The discussion around The Donald seems to have changed, Corey Robin thinks. This is probably a good thing. You don't see so much feverish speculation on the fascism of the freak show characters inhabiting the White House: with any luck, their fifteen minutes may be all but over.

Saturday 13 May 2017

This is Why the Modern Left Sucks.

"This sphere that we are deserting [i.e. exchange], within whose boundaries the sale and purchase of labour-power goes on, is in fact a very Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham. Freedom, because both buyer and seller of a commodity, say of labour-power, are constrained only by their own free will. They contract as free agents, and the agreement they come to, is but the form in which they give legal expression to their common will. Equality, because each enters into relation with the other, as with a simple owner of commodities, and they exchange equivalent for equivalent. Property, because each disposes only of what is his own. And Bentham, because each looks only to himself. The only force that brings them together and puts them in relation with each other, is the selfishness, the gain and the private interests of each. Each looks to himself only, and no one troubles himself about the rest, and just because they do so, do they all, in accordance with the pre-established harmony of things, or under the auspices of an all-shrewd providence, work together to their mutual advantage, for the common weal and in the interest of all."
Observe in that passage the four notions of "Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham", which I emphasised. Marx, author of that text, had a purpose in mind when he directed our attention to them.

Those four words will help us understand why the modern Left sucks and blows at the same time.

Sunday 7 May 2017

Hobsbawm: Dr. Marx and the Critics.

Say what you will about Eric Hobsbawm, he was an intelligent and well-read man. In "Dr. Marx and the Victorian Critics" (The New Reasoner, Summer 1957, number 1) Hobsbawm replies to Hugh Trevor-Roper, some kind of a British bourgeois scribbler, or something.

Hobsbawm general approach is to contrast earlier Marx critics with more modern ones, like Trevor-Roper. It's an eye-opening exercise.

Thursday 4 May 2017

The Fairfax Strike and Other Australian Stories.

The story they tell us is that under capitalism you get what you deserve. You work hard, better, more intelligently, and you are paid accordingly. Isn’t that what they say?

The reality is that Fairfax Media is planning to sack 125 journalists, a quarter of its editorial staff, in order to save $30 million, to pay their managers’ performance bonuses. Take away from some to give to others. That’s the reality. Any other story is bullshit.

The reality is that after cutting penalty rates in hospitality, retail, and fast food, now Clubs Australia, a bosses’ combination, is planning to cut their workers’ penalty rates. Again, take away from some to give to others. That’s the reality. Any other story is bullshit.

The reality is that capitalism is a scam. Join a union, get ready to fight for your and your family’s livelihood, and pray to God it’s not too late.

Anything else is bullshit. Strike!

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Bye Bye, Free Speech?

Corey Robin remembers a time when free speech was sacred to the liberal/leftish intelligentsia. Those were the days when they would get on their high horses fulminating anyone to their left -- namely social justice warriors and Marxists alike -- for being totalitarian. Free speech was their absolute principle, their equivalent to Sh'ma Yisra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

Monday 1 May 2017

May Day

Monument to 1886 Events in Haymarket Square.
Chicago, Illinois. USA [A]

Beyond the history of May Day, the plaque symbolises the union of workers worldwide and reads:
"In memory of the many Iraqui trade unionists killed by the enemies of organized labor.

"May the bonds of international labor solidarity help us all as we struggle for justice, peace, democracy and workers' rights.

"-Iraqui Federation of Oil Unions.
"-Electrical Utility Workers in Basra, General Federation of Iraque Workers."
08-05-2017. "What are the Origins of May Day" by Rosa Luxemburg, at Jacobin.

Image Credits:
[A] "Monument to 1886 Events in Haymarket Square - With Plaque from Iraqi Trade Unionists - Chicago - Illinois - USA". 11 April 2011. Author: Adam Jones, Ph.D. Source: Wikimedia. File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. My usage of the image does not imply the author's endorse me or my usage of said image.