Monday, September 29, 2008

Marxism and needs

Is the “world of abundance” traditionally advocated by socialists feasible? Not according to Claude Bitot, known as the author of a book on the future of the movement for communism (see Socialist Standard, December 1995), in his recent book Quel autre monde possible? (“What other world is possible”?). Echoing the ideas of some Greens but denying any affinity with them as “bobos” (trendies), Bitot argues that the only viable form of communism (or socialism) today is the austere pre-industrial communism advocated by Babeuf and his followers during the French Revolution and first part of the 19th century.

His criticism of Marx – that he accepted the development of capitalism as a necessary step towards socialism – can be traced back to the influence of a “productivist” or technological determinist reading of Marx, based on The Poverty of Philosophy and the Communist Manifesto, which the great man was considerably qualifying by the time he got round to writing the Grundrisse. According to this simplified version of Marxism – faithfully trotted out by Bitot – it is the development of the forces of production that drives history. Capitalism in the form of merchant capital develops in the pores of feudalism, notably in the towns. Over time the forces of production develop to the point where feudal relations become fetters on the possibilities of further development. Feudalism therefore disappears with the rise of the revolutionary bourgeoisie whose task it is to abolish lordly privilege so as to permit the further development of the forces of production. Eventually the enormous development of the forces of production – notably industrialisation and mass production – would enter into contradiction with the limitations placed on the restricted consumption capacity of the proletarians. The latter in their turn become the new revolutionary class capable whose “historic task” is to overthrow the capitalist class and unleash of the forces of production to meet a greatly expanded range of human needs.

To further add to the confusion, the building of what was falsely called ‘communism’ in Russia by the Soviet authorities popularized the idea that a long transition period – misleadingly called ‘socialism’ – was required in order to bring about the communist utopia. During the transition period working class consumption would be sidelined to allow the breakneck development of the forces of production, (tractor factories, dams, electrical power plants and the like). And there was of course doctrinal justification for such a position given that Marx was absolutely clear that in underdeveloped countries like early twentieth century Russia ‘communism’ was not in any way feasible. Although Marx never separated the ‘socialist’ stage from the ‘communist’ one, the early enthusiasm for the Soviet experiment led to the transitional stage idea sticking. Indeed, many left-leaning thinkers became obsessed with technological development as such, with Bordiga – as Bitot conveniently points out – in the uncomfortable position of trashing the need for further technical advance in capitalist Italy whilst recommending the rapid development of the forces of production in Soviet Russia. This has created a good deal of confusion about what progress towards socialism really means.

Bitot’s objection to capitalist development seems in many ways to be an attempt to overcome the legacy of these confusions in the light of what he rightly considers to be a looming ecological crisis. But he adds a few more confusions of his own. To begin with he goes back to the very origins of communism as a political movement: the agrarian communism of Buonarroti and Babeuf and he contrasts this with what he sees as the consumerist interpretations of socialism popularized during the twentieth century. As we know these pioneering communists were imprisoned and – in Babeuf’s case executed – in the years following the French revolution. Bitot sees in these interpretations an anticipation of the errors which socialists would make in the second half of the twentieth century.

Incorrectly believing that the emergence of agricultural capitalism could be largely explained by the immoderate expansion of needs and taste for luxury, the agrarian communists turned their backs on the unconstrained development of industry and championed a system based on fair but austere shares for all. In this communist utopia technological development in the shape of machinery would take place simply as a need to lighten manual labour, production being oriented toward the meeting of a fixed standard of living.

The development of English commerce depended, Bitot tells us, on the sharpening of acquisitive appetites and the introduction of machinery to meet an ever-expanding sphere of consumption: the upward spiral of capitalist production. This simplified depiction of capitalist development has the advantage of wrong-footing Marx who notoriously celebrated the technical achievements of the English industrial revolution in the Communist Manifesto and castigated the narrow material basis of the agrarian communists in France (he called them “crude communists”). Indeed, since Marx was prepared to admit that industrial capitalism provided the material preconditions for communism, he had in effect became a de facto fellow-traveller in the capitalist party, albeit a pretty unruly one. The solution, according to Bitot was to have nipped the capitalist weed in the bud by a bit of revolutionary action and Bitot appreciates the fact that French agrarian communism was an extension of the revolutionary political approach adopted earlier by Robespierre, the advocate of revolutionary terror. If only, one thinks, the English had read these thinkers rather than that scoundrel Adam Smith then they would have abandoned their silly economic ideas and got us to socialism a lot earlier.

Bitot’s French communists may have been poor but they were neither wage-labourers nor serfs. Subsistence with only limited participation in the monetary economy still remained a possibility and the village could still operate as a community. In this sense, the emergence of capitalism could all too easily be identified with the inability of individuals to control their own desires once faced with the temptations of the marketplace. But however admirable their thinking was on any number of issues – and they were interesting thinkers - they were nonetheless not faced with the peculiar economic system which we now call capitalism. Furthermore, even if agrarian communist communities could have resisted the advent of a world market in agricultural products it is more than likely that an ever-more powerful capitalist class would have found a way to break them up as they have always done and continue to do today.

The problem with Bitot’s interpretation of the communist tradition is that it facilitates the treatment of technological development as a force which develops in a social vacuum justified by a largely ahistorical appreciation of the development of needs. In fact, the aim of the mature Marx was always to demonstrate that the ‘immutable laws’ of political economy were in fact nothing more than the expression of highly specific social and historical relations. The hothouse development of technology under capitalism, for example, was simply a vector of its unremitting search for new markets and its insatiable appetite for profits. As Bitot himself concedes, Marx shows how the needs of the wage labourer under capitalism contain a historical and relative element beyond the purely physiological necessities which also have to be satisfied: in other words my wages now allow me to obtain some commodities which used to be considered as luxuries but I can still be ‘poor’ in the (Marxist) sense that I still have to sell my labour-power to another. Dependence on the capitalist is neither based on being starved nor reduced by the possession of a few luxuries; it resides in the fact that my access to the means of subsistence has become indirect in that it is mediated by the possession of money.

Thus, although Bitot seems to have discovered a convenient jumping off point for the criticism of capitalism, his ideas provide few clues about how to find a way out. In the terms of this critique socialists who continue to believe in the possibility of open access to the means of consumption under socialism can be too easily accused of wanting to continue the consumerist game and Bitot doesn’t hesitate to tar the SPGB. with this brush. On the other hand, Bitot seems to accept that a fairly austere socialism is possible following the abolition of commodity production. But with the wants created by consumer society unconnected to the overall functioning of production, he is left with the difficulty of defining ‘moderate needs’ and showing how they would emerge within a society where commodity production no longer existed. After all, even if we can all agree that socialism will place more emphasis on meeting essential needs over the satisfaction of the trivial desires excited by capitalism, one still has the difficulty of defining these ‘essential needs’ no matter how austere one believes that socialism should be. But the problem of ‘austere’ or ‘abundant’ socialism is perhaps in the final analysis something of a quibble over words. As anyone who has argued the socialist case on a street corner will know, the ‘abundance’ referred to by socialists has never referred to the open-ended consumerism encouraged by the advertisers but has rather as its target a stable and more satisfying way of life in which the scramble to get things is no longer central. With material survival removed from the casino of the marketplace by the abolition of commodity production we can expect that individuals will calm down their acquisitive desires and pursue more satisfying activities.

Fortunately even though he rehearses the usual arguments against socialism brought up by conservatives, Bitot seems reluctant to abandon the revolutionary idea altogether. He remains committed to the abolition of commodity production and has adopted the notion that production under socialism needs to be co-ordinated and de-centralized. (The SPGB can tell him how to do this without the price system). On the down side, he has now taken up the Third World population problem as a factor which he claims has been totally neglected by socialists. Regardless of the charge of inconsistency he then argues that further industrial development in these countries is necessary presumably on the grounds that the Third World exists on another planet. But capitalism is now more than ever a global system – witness the avalanche of books on the ills of globalization. The green beans in our plates come from Kenya, the knives and forks from China and the shirts on our backs from India. Subsidized crops from the advanced countries are killing peasant production in Africa. But the Third World industrial proletariat now outstrips that of the so-called First World. Bitot’s argument here is clearly self-defeating: If there is already a major population problem, then socialism as a world system is not only impossible but it is getting more impossible with every day which passes. So why write a book on the subject? Whilst there is clearly a need to deal with this problem lucidly, Bitot seems to have accepted the Malthusian legend at face value. But he gives only one statistic to prove the case about agricultural production in the Third World whilst First World production is subject to a statistical over-kill. Even Malthus, whose jeremiads have so far proved disastrously wrong, provided more substance to his arguments.

One is left with a curious diatribe against the word ‘abundance’ coupled to an off-centre accusation that socialists advocate a world of passive consumerism and idleness; a picture of the Third World as a boundless reservoir of illegal immigrants associated with the conviction that the abolition of commodity production is nonetheless possible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We are all socialists now

A long time ago Milton Friedman asked Richard Nixon why he never took his economic advice to which Tricky Dick replied “We are all Keynesians now”. Less than ten years later Ronald Reagan would declare “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”, and we were all Reaganomists now. At least until last week.

What makes this economic downturn different from the other recessions post-1980 is not so much the size, but the reaction of the powers that be. While Treasury Secretary Lex Luther wanted a 700 billion dollar blank check that “may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” (a plan referred to as an economic PATRIOT ACT), the usually spineless Democrats have actually said no. They have plans of their own. The most likely of these to pass is Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) which would cap CEO pay, include foreclosure relief, and give the government a share in the profits the bailed out firms. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is floating an idea to put a tax on stock transactions. Getting a lot of ink on the Internet is Debbsian socialist Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) four point plan which includes a wealth surtax, increased regulation, increased social spending, and busting up the big financial firms. None of this is really socialism, but everything’s been laissez-faire so long it looks like the Paris Commune in comparison. While this kind of faux-populism is to be expected during an election year crisis other less than expected critics are questioning the status quo.

From a Yahoo article entitled Many economists skeptical of bailout comes this quote from University of Chicago professor Luigi Zingales:

“For somebody like me who believes strongly in the free market system, the most serious risk of the current situation is that the interest of a few financiers will undermine the fundamental workings of the capitalist system. The time has come to save capitalism from the capitalists.”

A capitalism without capitalists if you will. Eric D. Hovde, the CEO of Hovde Capital and Hovde Acquisitions, writing in an op-ed praises government regulation, and decries Wall Street’s influence on government. Actually most of the op-ed is a concise and well written history of this mess that blames everyone who deserves it. For example:

In an attempt to protect his legacy after the Internet-bubble collapse, [former Fed chairmen Alan] Greenspan provided unprecedented stimulus to re-inflate the economy and maintain his popularity with Wall Street. (Remember the “Greenspan put”?) But in doing so, he spawned the largest debt and asset bubble in U.S. history.

In case you couldn’t tell Greenspan was a close personal friend of Ayn Rand. In putting the blame where it’s due Hovde also gives what I think is the definition of capitalism:

And in my view, there’s no need to look beyond Wall Street — and the halls of power in Washington. The former has created the nightmare by chasing obscene profits, and the latter have allowed it to spread by not practicing the oversight that is the federal government’s responsibility.

What was the great fraud of Reaganomics was the belief that the government and the free market are two totally different and opposing forces. The government was either well intentioned (or evil) but incompetent, and only interfered with the perfect, all wise free market. The events of the last week have shown that’s to be bullshit. There is no such thing as a “free” market. During the good times the state is there to put a veneer of respectability on fraud and extortion. During the bad times it’s the knife that cuts off a finger to save the hand, but it is always capitalism’s co-conspirator. This current down turn will lead to the state taking a greater role in the economy, and we might even get some increase in social spending (a la the New Deal). Capitalism will be saved from itself, and inevitably when the economy gets better and we’ve all forgotten (remember the Glass-Steagall Act? Me neither) these reforms will be repealed; we’ll be right back here. The bad times is also when we should push for a real change that scraps capitalism and it’s good buddy: the state, not just make them nicer. -JM

-From the Marx and Coca Cola blog

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bail Out!

[pdf leaflet]

So Wall Street has their cake and gets to eat it too. No surprise. And the politicians of all stripes wring their hands and make grandiloquent sound-bites of how they should be listened to.

It’s just so much noise. Both Democrats and Republicans are shocked. SHOCKED! So much for the reputation of Ivy League education being excellent. Most of us could have seen it coming.

Most pathetic are the various leftist groups coming up with more and more ludicrous slogans and demands. They call themselves “socialist” but advocate for the government to administer capitalism, an option which can only fail.

We’ll make no such pretense. The WSP can only speak some truths and watch as the chips fall. Or more accurately, watch as the chips are raked in.

The bail out of the US investment banking industry illustrates one of the major lies which justifies the whole of capitalism. The capitalists - stock and bond holders - deserve their money because they “take risks”. What risks do they take when the government comes to their rescue? How does the “risk” of massive stock incentives and tens of millions of dollars of CEO severance packages compare to workers’ losing their pensions and their homes?

Capitalists take no risk. Workers do. Workers create the wealth of society through real work. Capitalists amass wealth through legal con games. For their failings, the capitalists will receive $4750 in public wealth from each worker in the US. The money working people invested in their foreclosed houses also go to the same capitalists. As do the homes.

Capitalism is a racket, a confidence game. That’s why we are socialists. Once you see how the game is rigged it’s pretty simple to make new choices. As more people accept socialism, it becomes possible to create new movements to stop the capitalist game once and for all. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conventional Logic

A demagogue, H.L. Mencken once said, is someone "who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." This is a pretty good description of the US presidential candidates in action at their late-summer conventions. Although, to be fair to those who listened to the convention speeches, it was more a case of preaching idiotic ideas to people who wished those ideas were true.

The contrast between the gassy rhetoric of the politicians and the weighty problems facing workers was particularly striking at this year's conventions, highlighted further by the juxtaposition between jubilant delegates inside the convention hall and the pepper-sprayed protestors outside.

The candidates from both parties employed the same basic template for demagoguery in writing their convention speeches. We encounter the same sorts of rhetorical techniques and the logic of "pubic relations" shapes every line. The candidates are less interested in conveying ideas than manipulating them to fashion images to sell the product – in this case, the candidates themselves.

Family lies

The first chapter of Convention Speeches for Dummies, if such a book were ever to be written, would probably be entitled: "Making the Most of the Family." Each candidate, without exception, began with extravagant praise for the family – the candidate's own family, that is. The candidates informed the American people that they too have spouses who are loving and loyal, children and grandchildren they are proud of, and hardworking parents as wise as they are kind. (Perhaps this convinced the skeptics who thought that the candidates had been hatched in a secret laboratory in North Dakota.)

Behind my plastic exterior, each candidate seemed to be saying, is a real live human being, just like you. Just like us, but even better. Thanks to the "quintessentially American" values of hard work, perseverance and personal integrity that the candidates acquired as children from their saintly mothers.

In his speech, Joe Biden described his 90-year-old mother as a person "defined by her sense of honor" who "believes bravery lives in every heart" and that "it will be summoned." She taught little Joey the "dignity of work" and that "anyone can make it if they try" and emphasized that it is important to "live our faith and treasure our family." Biden said that his "mother's creed is the American creed: No one is better than you; you are everyone's equal; and everyone is equal to you." (And US Senators are more equal than most.)

McCain mentioned his mother too, saying: "I wouldn't be here tonight but for the strength of her character." Thankfully he was not as long-winded as Biden – perhaps to secure adequate time for another thrilling episode of "John McCain: War Hero" – but he did mention that his mother taught him some patriotic claptrap about how "we're all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country."

Obama praised his mother "who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships." For good measure, Obama threw in his grandmother too, "who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management" and taught him "about hard work."

The mother featured in Palin's speech was Palin herself, who "was just your average hockey mom" whose political career began when she "signed up for the PTA" because she "wanted to make my kids' public education better." Palin had a small-town upbringing that encouraged "honesty, sincerity and dignity" and she thanked her parents for teaching her that, "this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity."

It wasn't just the parents who were mobilized for the cause: children and grandchildren served as useful props too. Palin's 4-month old son, who suffers from Down Syndrome, was brought to the raucous event and passed around on stage for the photo op. Obama made use of his two daughters, who told daddy how much they love him. And Biden said that when he looked at his grandchildren, and at Obama's daughters, he realized: "I'm here for their future." Many watching this strange spectacle must hope that the candidates' love for those little ones will be enough to keep their powerful fingers away from "the button."

But, lest we feel too safe, in the next breath these politicians are talking about their sons who are headed off to war, such as Beau Biden or Jimmy McCain. Palin also got some good mileage out of her son Track, who not only is headed to Iraq but will conveniently ship out on September 11 "in the service of his country" (by securing the Starbucks in the Green Zone).

It is rather sickening to see how willing the candidates are to squeeze out whatever political advantage can be had from their children. Even the pregnancy of Palin's teenage daughter –and shotgun wedding – is good election fodder, appealing to those families who have experienced that common side-effect of "abstinence education."

We feel your pain

Once the family motif had been fully exploited, right down to the last grandchild, the candidates shared some snapshots of "less fortunate" families and individuals in the US. Luckily for them, there are literally millions of hard-luck stories to choose from!

Obama, for instance, spoke of "a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement [who] finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work" and "a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news."

Notice how careful Obama was to choose examples from crucial "swing states" (and also throw in China as a convenient scapegoat). One can easily imagine political advisors sifting through such evidence of capitalist misery to get to the political gold, weighing each situation carefully.
Biden said in his speech that he looks out at people's homes during his evening train ride home from work and "can almost hear what they're talking about at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed," imagining the following sorts of conversations:

"Winter's coming. How we gonna pay the heating bills? Another year and no raise? Did you hear the company may be cutting our health care? Now, we owe more on the house than it's worth. How are we going to send the kids to college? How are we gonna be able to retire?"

Biden's little story (punctuated with his "gonna's") is meant to highlight his compassion and solidarity for working folk – and he is so proud that he rides a train that he had Obama mention it too! – but the image of a powerful US Senator breezing through town, as he daydreams about stick-figure citizens in between sips of coffee, only underscores the distance separating him from those kitchen-table conversations.

McCain tried his hand at this compassion stuff too, recognizing that "these are tough times for many of you." Unfortunately there was no train window separating him from a heckler (and Iraq War veteran) who proceeded to berate the candidate for his poor record on veteran's rights. After the ungrateful citizen had been dragged out of the hall, and the chants of "U.S.A! U.S.A.!" to drown out his heckling had subsided, McCain continued reading from his teleprompter: "You're worried about keeping your job or finding a new one," the monotone voice intoned, "and you're struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home." And later, McCain threw in a few swing-state stories of his own, such as "Bill and Sue Nebe from Farmington Hills, Michigan, who lost their real estate investments in the bad housing market" so that now Bill has a temporary job and "Sue works three jobs to help pay the bills."

In recounting these stories, the candidates showed no hint that their own political parties bear any responsibility, nor did they recognize any connection between such problems and our current social system. The whole point was just to show off their own compassion, which Bush Sr. tried to do on campaign trail back in 1992 when he succinctly said, "Message: I care."

Policy promises

Only around the middle of their speeches did the candidates finally begin to sketch some of the policies they plan to implement if elected. But these promises are so vague as to almost defy analysis.

For the few ideas that they did discuss in any detail – regarding taxation, education and foreign policy – the similarities between the candidates far outweighed the differences. Both McCain and Obama pledged to lower taxes for the "middle class," improve education, and somehow win the war in Afghanistan (while keeping Iran and Russian in their place).

Obama kicked off his list of policy solutions with the vow to reform the tax code so as to "cut taxes for 95% of all working families." Even setting aside the question of whether sweeping tax cuts will be possible, while waging two wars in the midst of deep recession, it is telling that Obama and the Democrats focused so much of their attention on the issue of taxation, which is not a working-class issue to begin with (as taxes ultimately come out of the surplus-value created in production). Moreover, Obama is quietly stepping back from an earlier promise to rescind Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy in recent months.

After listing many of the grave problems facing the country earlier in his speech – and harping on the need for "change" throughout his campaign – ultimately the best that Obama can come up with is to steal a page from the Republican playbook and call for tax cuts as an economic cure-all. This is change that John McCain can believe in, who also promised to cut taxes in his speech.
And the two candidates are on the same page for other issues as well. Both call for something called "energy independence" and made the usual pledge to root out corruption and eliminate corporate loopholes as a means of securing the necessary government funds.

Both also promised to improve education, although there was a difference between Obama's promise to "recruit an army of new teachers and pay them higher salaries" and McCain's vow to "shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition [and] empower parents with choice." Still, Obama is reluctant to veer off too sharply from the current administration and in his speech he threw in a line about calling for "higher standards and more accountability," which indicated his agreement with aspects of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy.

Perhaps the biggest policy difference concerned health care. McCain ignored the issue, except to say that he opposes "government-run health care system where a bureaucrat stands between you and your doctor," while Obama emphasized the need for improvements. Yet Obama only calls for an expansion of access to medical insurance, not a reform that would drive out the private insurance companies.

The candidates seemed a little bored by such domestic issues, but warmed up when it came to demonstrating that they are reckless and bloodthirsty enough to be "Commander-in-Chief." Both promised, repeatedly, to keep America and its people safe. Neither expressed any hesitation in sending troops to war and pledged to strengthen the armed forces. Both vowed to continue the fight against Al-Qaeda and issued threats to Iran and Russia. It seems that Obama's days as the "anti-war candidate" are long gone.

This discussion of policy, which should have made the distinction between the two candidates clear, only underscored their similarities, while again revealing the enormous gap between the severity of the problems faced – whether economic, diplomatic or environmental – and the meager "solutions" that both parties are offering.

Orchestrated response

No sooner had the candidate uttered the obligatory "God bless America" to end the convention speech than TV commentators were breathlessly informing viewers that it was a "homerun" that electrified the crowd and will energize the base of the party. It was as if the pundits were frightened that, if given a split-second for reflection, viewers might reach the alternative conclusion that the speech was rather pointless and insipid.

Both parties made every effort to generate the most favorable reaction to their candidate's speech. Even before it was delivered, there were newspaper articles revealing what the speech would discuss, with titles like: "Obama to Get Specific" or "McCain to Strike a Bipartisan Note." At first glance this custom of disclosing the content of the speech in advance seems rather bizarre, as it makes the speeches even less interesting to watch, but it gives the TV commentators an idea of how they should frame the discussion.

The entire process surrounding the convention speeches is hermetically sealed from the public and from reality itself. If the candidates manage to "hit one out of the park," as the cliché goes, it is only because US politics is a game played on a narrow field of little-league proportions.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is Obama Socialist?

We got an e-mail recently from some right-wing blogger for the New York Times who asked if we considered Barak Obama a socialist and if we supported his tax plans. blah, blah, blah. We won't pass judgement on an article which may or may not see the light of day. But most likely this was another piece attempting to get someone calling themselves socialist to endorse Obama or one of his policies. Once that confession is procured, it will be widely touted as proof of Obama being a socialist, an elitist, etc.

But is Obama a socialist? OMF no-G no.

Obama isn't anymore a socialist than McCain is a fascist, a leprechaun or sincere. Sure, Obama wants more government control of economic matters. But as even Obama said if you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig. Capitalism administered by the state is still capitalism. Duh.

No one's calling Bush a socialist because he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because it's not socialism. So why call Obama a sociaiist?

This election is all about two factions of capitalism competing for power with each-other.
The methods each faction uses to mobilize the working class to support them says much about the lack of class-consciousness in the US today.

The Democratic faction uses appeals for "justice" and "equality", for tax breaks for workers even though most workers don't "pay" enough taxes to make the breaks more than pavlovian whistles. Sure "equality" sounds nice, but it cannot happen in class society. The vast majority of people are workers for a reason - to create wealth for new rounds of capital growth. Those who benefit from that capital growth can be individual capitalists or state functionaries, but it's workers who do the physical labor which creates the wealth. there can be no equality or justice in capitalism. Even if the capitalist class has now opened it's membership roles to non-whites and females.

For being so slavish to Christian zealots, one would think the Republicans would "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's". But being able to pay for such things as public infrastructure - ie highways, electric system, etc. takes a backseat to the accumulation of capital for massive investment in China, Mexico and India. So like the Democratic faction, they seek to slash public spending and taxes. Of course, underscoring their religious hypocracy, the Republicans have spent more than any other administration building US federal debts to record highs. It is fortunate that US federal bonds which pay for all that debt are held by those whose taxes were cut - the capitalists. Kaching! profit on both transactions!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stephen Jay Gould

On the anniversary on the birth of the famous scientist Stephen Jay Gould, who sadly died in 2002 at the young age of sixty, readers might like to see what Socialists have to say about his work, evolutionary theory and related matters:

Gould v. Dawkins

Dawkins wars (1 & 2)

Socialism & Darwinism

Why Gould was wrong, and why Dawkins might be even more wrong

Are we prisioners of our genes?

Poles Apart - New World Socialist Video

Poles Apart is the new video from the WSPUS’ companion party in the UK. It’s a filmed debate between a reform advocate for “Arctic Voice” and a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The contention is if Global Warming can be constrained within capitalism.
It’s available via bit-torrent in 2 parts: Part 1 and Part 2 Its also available on youtube in 14 parts DVD copies should be available in North America soon…