What is the meaning of ‘working class’?

If we critique ‘historical materialism’ we are left with a very large corpus of Marx material. That material is pervaded by a set of basic assumptions about history that put them in a wrong contexts. But even so the issues of class, and ideology remain a core inspiration for a new kind of left.
One key is the theme of the working class. We should be wary here because any attempt to recreate Marxism could suffer the fate of misconstruing the working class issue(s). But it should be said at once that Marxism itself is the first culprit here. Beside historical materialism, Marxism has another claimant for the ‘dynamic of history’: class struggle. But does that really work? Class pervades history, but it is mostly a victory for the pervasive class domination of ‘rulers’ and their elites. The reality seems rather that the modern left, with Marx et al. in the fore, have created organizations of class struggle for the first time. In fact, as always we see that archaic Greece shows the birth of class struggles in its city-states,and the birth of democracy in that context. If this is true we can suspect that if we look closely Sumer as usual came first: the creative focal zone of the first ‘higher’ civilizations.
The point here is that class struggle shows amplification in the eonic effect and is a macro aspect. Remarkable. Marx’s insight is highly relevant, but we have slightly modified the theme: democracy is associated with class action but this is driven by the macro effect as other times show the comebacks of corrupt elites. Let us note that beside that stolid bourgeois, Luther, the birth of the modern shows the spectacular action of Thomas Munzer. Class struggle indeed. Here we must however see the peculiar fate of ‘democracy’, so visible in the wake of the English Civil War and the Restoration as the phenomenon of the Parliament (an ancient theme for medieval times) overtakes real democracy in a kind of bourgeois muddle that is not really resolved until the era of the French Revolution, the birth of socialism, and Marx’s cogent critique: democracy shifted from class struggle to bourgeois ‘democracy’ of the Restoration type. Marx’s significant expose here has however tended to suspicion of ‘democracy’ as the term suffers its semantic shifts. The point is that ‘democracy’ and class struggle are in origin one and the same. Class struggle in ancient Greece is the canonical case. But we must amend the idea to see that ‘republics’ are commonly the outcome, but but in Athens only do see the full realization.
Here the theme of the proletariat and ‘socialist democracy’ suffer a classic discombobulation as the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat theme emerges meaning one thing until it starts meaning another thing and we end up with the Marxist bourgeoisie as a new ruling class enforcing ‘dictatorship’ in the name of the proletariat. The Leninists thus join the list of screwball screwups of the democratic idea. Hal Draper has an indispensable study of this terminology and the way ‘dictatorship’, more like ‘dictation’ at first, ends up with dictatorship by the Marxist bourgeoisie of Bolsheviks, now in control of the entire productive apparatus, and a working-class now without nary a single ‘union’. Noone can quite face the monumental failure of the Marx project here.
We can critique bourgeois democracies but we should nonetheless consider that constitutional fixation of rights did better over all than the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.

We should be done with such a pernicious terminology. Here our idea of a ‘democratic market neo-communism’ enters with a new approach. Let it be said that this model requires careful consideration of ‘working class’ issues, which seem absent at first. But the approach is constitutional: equality, economic rights, rights of nature, etc, have to be given constitutional foundations. I would be delighted if a group of working-class revolutionaries took over and realized this model in practice. But in any case, the American model shows the strength and limits of the constitutional approach. We can add in a whole slew of working class organizations and we certainly require a set of labor unions in its mix of elements. The DMNC model is not utopian perfection but has constitutional guarantees on working-class issues. Marxists would in theory reject that, but the muddle of Bolshevism warns us to be wary of their claims. Another approach is to this liberal system and build a socialism around it: democratic market neo-communism. The key contribution of the revolutionaries/reformists is to exproriate the capital factor and create a Commons, not the Marxist bourgeoisie taking control of production.

The working-class theme is Marx’s (and the early socialists who first proposed the model) great master theme but is the object of strange mystifications. Although the early proletariats had a special dignity in their plight they are not other than the rest of homo sapiens, and can not as such be expected to produce some ideal man. The problem however is that the implication is that a working-class social nexus as the dictatorship of the proletariat theme shows is going to create equality when in reality it was swindle by the marxist bourgeoisie. And what is to happen to all the other classes? The dreaded undertone lurks: they must somehow disappear. It can’t and won’t work short of a massacre. We need to make statements about a new system will treat all the old classes.
Here the constitutional model is superior as a foundation. Equality to the best of our hopes is built on a legal foundation with a Common, a system of socialist markets, planning sectors, and has a place for all the classes at entry in a system that is not utopian perfection but a viable communism that functions with a sane economy that is kicked upstairs from capitalism.

We must interject a ‘trick play’ here: the term ‘working class’ is so vague (it must have meant factory workers, to start) that we must take Marxists by the sleeve and ask, who’s who here? Semantic precision never graced the term: the working class is a. a set of factory workers, now mostly overseas, b. all those who perform wage labor. The latter is very suggestive for a correction, albeit a trick play: the working class is all those who work as ‘wage labor’. But this includes virtually everyone, including capitalist managers who are also salaried employees.
We have thus no settled definition of terms, and would do well to follow our constitutional approach which offers foundational rights and liberties by law, and an equal share by all including a working class in a factory system that has a legal connection to the Commons, and a right of suit to make sure that happens.

In a way the working class a the class of wage labor works better because it is more inclusive but as we can see all the different definitions are so vague semantically that we are at risk of incoherence.

Beyond the flawed Marxism to a new socialism: we were running out of time, now out of time?

postcapitalist_ futures_NWBK_ver2a_LFT_2021: The Last Revolution

I have been following Marxmail for decades without being able to contribute, then suddenly was able to post after Proyect’s passing. (He had actually and graciously allowed me to join the list in 2000 after being unsubbed by the old Pen-l, but that didn’t last long). But within days I was (apparently) unsubbed (I can’t figure out my status).

It is ‘my fault’ for rapidly (since I suspected this would happen) tossing taboo subjects into the mix: balling Marxists out over 9/11, (Darwinism, ran out time, but many posts here on left and that theory), Marx’s flawed theories of history. But I got a lot of links onto the list, and people are reading The Last Revolution, link above. So maybe, success?

I rushed that book to a usable but unfinished PDF form instead of a paperback to post on it on Marmail. I apologize for its rough spots but it makes its point more or less, and actually is better very short and as a PDF. The modern world has a huge tribe of leftist Marxists who are ideologically paraplegic given the confusions of Marxism. And the charge that it is really that ‘ism’ that led to Stalinism is unfair, but only up to a point.
My diagnosis/opinion is Marxism post Bolshevism has to reinvent itself (and drop the cult of personality in its Marx-ism name), consider the implications of ‘smashing the bourgeois state’. Instead, it would work better along the lines of my idea of (eco-socialist) ‘democratic market neo-communism’. ( I use the terms socialism, (neo-)communism interchangeably. This is not reformist compromise but a shift in reference to a four-term system, which is four times more complex than the one-term, but in a way simpler for that same reason. It can’t veer off into Stalinism, one would hope, because a democracy is not a democracy if it is not socialist (i.e. strong equality and shared resources and economic rights, etc…), and a socialism is not socialism if it is not democratic. With similar thinking about BOTH markets and planning (this time ‘socialist’ markets based on a Commons where capitalists now managers license resources from the Commons). This kind of system will work if a liberals system works. Marx made the whole question too complicated and his work has confused every generation of Marxists since.

It comes with a catch: you must expropriate (large-scale resources and Capital into a Commons, which is not State Capitalism)
Using this approach, Bolshevism was not a communism at all because it had no democracy. Period, in this four-term system. This kind of fail-safe would make it very easy to create a postcapitalist system that is really viable, subject to the ‘catch’. Note that both the US and China (and all other cases) are actually malformed versions of the above model which applies to all cases in theory. The US if you look close has some shared resources, but no socialist markets, etc…China has actually added (not socialist) markets to its still pseudo-communism, but has no democracy, etc,….

So, guess what, the US is not a democracy because it is not socialist. Thousands of critics have made the point in their own way for over a century, so the idea is not so strange. Capitalism has coopted democracy.

It may be too late to recast the system, by reform or revolution, but then we are doomed to go over Niagara Falls in a fireball of global warming.
Consider the issue of private property, that is Capital. To allow Exxon-Mobil et al. to own natural resources as private property was seen as unjust at the start but it has now become malevolent. The case of Exxon is that they knew in the seventies of the last century that they were doing something dangerous, but they suppressed their own research and still to this day are indifferent to their own reckless crime against humanity. Right now in the news of the Biden era bill Exxon is in the background trying to move one of its paid-for dummies in Congress to sabotage a last chance for some action on climate change. If you still believe in private property for resources like oil you may be a hopeless dummy, very much the American type.

Americans need to face reality: idiots! Idiots with the power to destroy a planet. Their manipulated stupidity is simply the way capitalism has always destroyed democracy. The danger was seen early on by the first socialists, taken up by Marx/Engels who took over and then monopolized the whole subject, but their mistakes have proven a curse and the failure of Bolshevism was always ominous: capitalism is now so entrenched and its victims so willingly brainwashed that it could be too late. The Last Revolution refers to the era of 1848 and its failed revolutions, with Marx/Engels very much in the mix. The socialists spoke then of the Last Revolution and their ‘prophecy’ should prove to be just that if we wish to survive. But this ‘revolution’ can in principle be reformist, because a reformist project can in theory makes constitutional changes.

Let us note that FDR-ism was trying to invent our DMNC model, but his New Deal still falls short. If only the (pseudo-) communists of that era, very much in play ca. the FDR constellation, could have had a better platform. But the Bolsheviks lurking in the background blocked anything beyond FDR-ism from happening.
Note again our point: Bolshevism was NOT communism because it had no democracy. And no ‘socialist markets’.
We should note also that our model of DMNC or ‘Democratic_Market_Neo_Communism_ver_5(2) is not about state capitalism, but a Commons, with its own legal checks and balances. Fake Bolsheviss with their private dachas controlling ‘state capitalism’ could never arise in a DMNC (with an eco-socialism in the mix). And so on.
It would have been relatively easy to set up such a system far earlier but the legacy of Marxism confused thinking, in fact, it was the lack of any thinking, since Marx refused to predict the future with anything specific.
Marx’s theories of history are the problem. Much of his other thinking is still very cogent. But the failure to model communism/socialism in specifies proved fatal.
The same could happen with our superior model: maybe still not complex enough.

We should cite Decoding World History because it offers a very simple outline of world history instead of the false economic fundamentalism of Marx.

postcapitalist_ futures_NWBK_ver2a_LFT_2021
Decoding World History_ED1

China COVID: 95,111 Cases and 4,636 Deaths – Worldometer

China did far better than the US idiot state on covid. Time to rub it in.

Although the reality of the pandemic crisis is repressed from consciousness and ‘censored’ indirectly in the news, the tragic reality of the US’ monumental failure on the control of covid lurks as a challenge to whole American democratic muddle. A democracy should be able to do better than China’s almost complete control of the disease but the current reality is that China has been relatively hugely successful in controlling the disease where the US has failed miserably leaving the spectacle of a nearly psychotic social state. This will counted by some as a deficit in the democratic ethos, but the US democracy is in fact nothing of the kind and the covid failure really shows American democracy so-called corrupted at multiple levels by mysterious insanities, not least the deliberate attack on vaccines and masks by conservative nutjob pols.

Even so the disaster counts against American democratic fantasies and forebodes one of two revolutionary outcomes, from the left…or, the alright…

China Coronavirus update with statistics and graphs: total and new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends and timeline.

Source: China COVID: 95,111 Cases and 4,636 Deaths – Worldometer

 DMNC and democracy in relation to socialism

Our idea of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ or a liberalism remorphed as (neo-)communism (or neo-socialism) and vice versa requires seeing that democracy in fact requires a kind of socialism, as this article from CP makes clear.

The supreme value of democratic republicanism is freedom, which can only be possible if the whole population enjoys the material conditions of freedom. Since poverty also entails dependence on the arbitrary dictates of others, social isolation, and the resulting vicious circle of physical and mental damage, it’s more than a matter of a bit of redistributive justice but must be actively eradicated. And freedom isn’t just about equality of resources. It requires reciprocity in freedom, which is only possible in a society where the political institutions recognize the civil equality of all its members who, then, must all have the status of materially independent social actors or equality of conditions.

Source: Republicanism For The Anthropocene – CounterPunch.org

 Afghanistan: dot.gov opium mafia behind the botched occupation?

The history of the US in Afghanistan is so grotesque that one has to wonder how anyone could think the US could create a democracy there. US generals on Cable News makes for depressing viewing indeed. The US needs to simply shut up on the question, and never be allowed to inflict their stupidity on any more state victims again.
A key question in a long list is whether the whole thing was giving cover for covert operatives and others controlling and making billions from the opium trade which revived at the start and thrived all along. One can only misjudge the level of cynicism needed here. The memory of Gary Webb and the unwitting stumbling into a mafia at work in US politics resurfaces.
This is a question, not a conclusion, but the issue of the drug trade in the core of American deep politics lurks as a monster, hopefully a monster of thought only.

The US needs to simply begone from this absolute mess they have made. The issue of democracy is especially sad. The US is not a democracy itself. So what is the model? There are none. Create an oligarchy of capitalists, plus a mafia, plus an imperialism,…
Afghanistan is likely once again to be the graveyard of an empire. Between Trump, the pandemic and Afghanistan the endgame of American democracy seems already a fair accompli: the chicken decapitation proceeds a few more steps until The End.

Despite its claims to be building democracy in Afghanistan, the US’s War on Terror pushed the country deeper into chaos. The United States should be held fully responsible for this failure by the r…

Source: The US Is to Blame for the Destruction of Afghanistan – 1848+: The End(s) of History

What Do You Call a World That Can’t Learn From Itself?

This is a very good question and one that for myself was key very early on, from the seventies, because of my own experience of never really having been a part of American society, save its dark side aspects.
As an unemployed student of Greek who spent forty years looking for a job/place in the American system, the question in the title was direct and confronted me over and over again: the US is the most overrated mess run by hopeless idiots in a farce that started well with a set of high hopes. I felt the slide from a relative prosperity to a darker system at each point from the mid-seventies into the sudden acceleration under Reagan, and the subsequent list of bad presidents, and etc, etc… I was always puzzled that despite having many talents, the mechanical system of jobs could never place me. Whatever the case the result was a set of variants of the question in the title. In my experience no one could possibly see a bright side to the wreckage of their own legacy such as Americans so-called have created for themselves.
Although the problem is broader than capitalism as such, the latter is the key to the misfortune suffered by Americans. Here the legacy of the left in Europe versus America is the obvious token. What can I say, the early socialists, taken up by the Marx monopoly, sounded the warnings early on, and the record in Europe was better here, up to a point.
The downfall has many aspects, but the era of the CIA tokens the start of the cancer that is now providing fatal. Why is that, and poor old Truman seems to be the fall guy, a true apotheosis of mediocrity and bad judgments, including the suitcase of cash that started the Israel horror,.
Now we have learned some horrifying facts: the coming of Truman, the CIA, and the rest of it was the watershed into American oblivion. There is more there, no doubt, but the rampant activities of the covert agencies brought the system to great evils.
The record of imperialism, the neoliberal etc, the festering race issues, the false illusion of prosperity…the whole game in the last generation has sealed the judgment.
This is not the decline and fall of Rome, but the tragedy of democratic peoples who lose the gifts of time and end up as hopeless fuckups barely even tragic heroes…The Athenian case is instructive.

If only the left, itself a total screwup, could really move to regenerate the American system. It seems too much to hope for and the dark reality is that the current system has so many obstacles to revolution/reform that the frozen nightmare may be beyond repair and end without a socialist phase in premature Putinism. The conspiracy to destroy America is all too real in addition to its inner failings. The current system if rife with drug mafia hidden control and the war in Afghanistan added to the riches of many hidden criminals in the democratic masquerade.

It is a puzzle: the US should have lasted longer than this. But as with Athens the democratic era was brief. Prove me wrong. But we are not condemned to repetition or cyclical history. A new blend of socialism and democracy is possible. A republic if you can keep it: the founding fathers seemed to have sensed that their revolution would ask for another.

Why Don’t Americans Understand How Poor Their Lives Are?

Source: What Do You Call a World That Can’t Learn From Itself? | by umair haque | Aug, 2021 | Eudaimonia and Co