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Selected Political Correspondence

July - August 2003

   Text coloring decodes as follows:
 Black:  Ken Ellis
 Blue:  Recent correspondent
 Purple:  Unreliable Info
 Green:  Press report, third party, etc.
 Red:  Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc.
 Brown:  True to Marxist intent

07-01-03

   In worldincommon, johnfull2 wrote:

> Always interesting, Ken! I wish that you and Dave of Germany
> would have a discussion of the big-picture issues.

   Dave von Deutschland? Wer ist Dave?

> Cheap goods are partly a product of technology, to be sure,
> but are also a product of the unstable search for
cheap labor
> sources throughout the world. A look at the container ships
> unloading their wares in every American port city tells the
> tale of this other aspect. Until other societies become our
>
equals, the technology end of the equation will be secondary.
> When they do become our
equals, though, the consumption
> of the world's resources will reach unacceptable levels at
> today's understanding of the carrying capacity of the planet.

   I would agree with that, but only if today's energy-hungry and wasteful production methods were to be used while grossly expanding production. One nice part about future nanotech production is that its wheels won't be spun by today's energy grid. Nanotech will gradually become self sufficient and nourished by 'sun and dirt'. Reliance upon big utilities will be phased out as nanotech is phased in. Just the way capitalism represented a different lifestyle compared to feudalism, so will the future nanotech revolution make today's wonders appear primitive in comparison. Oh, to be born in 2020 or beyond, and not have to suffer the yukky indignity of 'working for others'.

> I completely agree that time is the most limited resource
> and that more of
it at one's discretion is the essence of freedom.
> I haven't seen the connection between
free time and technology
> in modern America, though.

   Due to the rise of part-time labor, the average work week is only 33.7 hours long, according to the latest BLS figures. Compare that to the 60 hour work week of 1870. We've come a long way.

> On the contrary, labor-saving devices are employed
> to '
free' people into further profit-making work.

   Well, that's the way the economy works today, but not for long. We work, get exploited, and create huge surpluses, so that future generations won't have to. We truly are great philanthropists with the way we donate our time for free. Future generations may appreciate our contribution toward their total liberation, especially if we earn their respect in the meantime by insisting on humane policies toward everyone.

> The question for socialists is how to wrest control of
> the technologies to allow them to work for us...

   Socialists won't have to 'wrest' anything. 'Wresting' belongs to the 20th century, when socialists liberated colonies or emerged victorious from democratic struggles with full state power, and could (me6.504) 'wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, and centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class'. To enter the gates of the future heaven, all that's needed is to ensure full participation in the economy for as long as economy and scarcity still remain, and people still have to get up in the morning to go to work. According to Engels' 1877 Marx bio, full participation was the purpose of 'wresting' in the first place (me24.193): ... "the productive forces of society, which have outgrown the control of the bourgeoisie, are only waiting for the associated proletariat to take possession of them in order to bring about a state of things in which every member of society will be enabled to participate not only in production but also in the distribution and administration of social wealth, and which so increases the productive forces of society and their yield by planned operation of the whole of production that the satisfaction of all reasonable needs will be assured to everyone in an ever-increasing measure."

   'Wresting' is as obsolete for modern politics as old-fashioned spinning wheels became for the economic sphere.

> you've seen the latest in the class war -
> the elimination of
overtime pay...

   A luta continua.

> ... the employed shall envy the dead, as I like to say...

   Nil illegitimi carborundum.

   In worldincommon, author Glenn Harlan Reynolds was quoted:

>>> Ironically, it may be
>>> the combination of capitalism and technology that brings about a
>>> near-propertyless utopia of the sort that socialists (usually no fans of
>>> capitalism) and romantics (no fans of technology) have long dreamed of....

 

07-02-03

   In worldincommon, johnfull2 wrote:

> Hi Trevor, Ken and Dave-von-Deutschland,
>
> You've all talked about the possibility of better social relations
> through modern application of technology. Ken has said all along
> that
Marx is misinterpreted and that modern technology can bring
> about a bloodless revolution.
Dave has talked about Germany's social
>
democracy as an optimized blend of overall productivity and wealth
> distribution.
So, what is it about today's world that is destroying
> the great experiments that were forged after
WWII? In every
> advanced society on earth, the pressure is to
reduce the level
> of expectation
- both for consumption and for leisure time to
> enjoy the fruits of ones
labors. Incomes are falling, overtime
> work
is demanded, retirement ages are pushed forward.

   As we know, the rich get richer while the poor ... get richer as well, which is easily corroborated by considering how much better off the poor are today compared to a century ago, so society remains content to allow the bulk of the surpluses to accrue to the rich. As long as the lowest classes are not being hied off to perdition so that the rich can live like kings, few will protest. The rich are enjoying a burgeoning bubble of additional new wealth, but who cares as long as the poor are not doing all that terribly badly? This trend is bound to continue, with the poor merely treading water, while the rich continue to soar to new heights of wealth accumulation. In the meantime, it takes less and less human labor to continue to augment the wealth of the rich, so the average length of the work week will continue to fall, with part-time work continuing to displace full time. The overwork of the overworked middle classes and better paid workers is beginning to stand in contrast to the underemployment and undercompensation of the poor, so some corrective factor may someday have to be applied. Whether it comes in the form of a Basic Guaranteed Income or a {legislated} shorter work week, etc., is subject to speculation. Whatever seems more palatable to the electorate, who seem loath to vary from the iconic 40 hour week for the time being.

 

07-03-03

   Dear Editor,

   The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "The number of unemployed persons increased by 360,000 in June to 9.4 million, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.4 percent." What else can be expected with Republicans in control? Compare these latest figures to the 4% unemployment rate of 2000. If Dubya is re-elected next year, will unemployment rise to 10% or more? Little wonder banks are being robbed by incompetents, and why crime is rising - these are desperate times for a lot of people. Still, Dubya can find lots of money to give to the rich.

 

07-08-03

   In WSM_Forum, Hayduke wrote, in part:

> The United States has never been a Democracy, and is, arguably,
>
no longer a republic. It is now, officially, a corporate/military
> oligarchy. The
government is run by corporate interests, using
> the military as protector, sales team and justification.

   Millions of Americans vote for local, state and national representatives, and seem willing to fight to the death to defend what we have, as well as propagate it to the rest of the world, even by force. Americans rightfully scoff at radical opinions to the effect that 'Americans are being dictated to.' That's good for little more than rallying gullibles to overthrow our alleged non-democracy - a fruitless uphill struggle whose success would be no greater than that enjoyed by the SLA.

   Marx's red republicanism, and the struggle of his First International for universal suffrage, should be recalled. Universal suffrage was mostly a dream in Marx's day. The struggle for it reflected the ongoing economic replacement of peasant labor with wage labor. As Engels writes below, the tools provided are good enough to get workers to where they want to go.

   Engels in 1866 (me20.77): "The bourgeoisie cannot win political power for itself nor give this political power constitutional and legal forms without at the same time putting weapons into the hands of the proletariat. As distinct from the old Estates, distinguished by birth, it must proclaim human rights, as distinct from the guilds, it must proclaim freedom of trade and industry, as distinct from the tutelage of the bureaucracy, it must proclaim freedom and self-government. To be consistent, it must therefore demand universal, direct suffrage, freedom of the press, association and assembly and the suspension of all special laws directed against individual classes of the population. And there is nothing else that the proletariat needs to demand from it. It cannot require that the bourgeoisie should cease to be a bourgeoisie, but it certainly can require that it practices its own principles consistently. But the proletariat will thereby also acquire all the weapons it needs for its ultimate victory. With freedom of the press and the right of assembly and association it will win universal suffrage, and with universal, direct suffrage, in conjunction with the above tools of agitation, it will win everything else."

 

07-08-03

   In WSM_Forum, Hayduke quoted me:

>> Marx's red republicanism, and the struggle of his First International
>> for
universal suffrage, should be recalled.
>
> Let me hear say, "Marx!"
>
>> Engels in 1866 (me20.77):
>
> Let me hear you say, "Engels!"
>
> Let me hear you say, "Amen!"
>
> Bang your hands together, Brothers! Testify! Testify!

   With such a hostile attitude towards the founders of socialism, it's a wonder what in tarnation Hayduke might be trying to accomplish in socialist forums. If not interested in trying to abolish class distinctions, then perhaps he would be so kind as to let us know what his objectives are.

 

07-17-03

   In worldincommon, robbo203 wrote:

> Hi Ken
>
> Many thanks for compiling these quotes from Marx on
religion. Very
> interesting indeed. If I can offer some comments below

>> me1.119 ... "morality is based on the autonomy of the human mind,
>> religion on its heteronomy.
"
>>
>>
Merriam Webster Online gives for heteronomy: "subjection to something
>> else; especially: a lack of moral freedom or self-determination
"
>
> This seems to suggest that Marx had a
Kantian take on morality.
> Know of any quotes from Marx that would shed more light on this?

   Here's all that seems relevant for now, but there may be more:

   me5.195 "The characteristic form which French liberalism, based on real class interests, assumed in Germany we find again in Kant. Neither he, nor the German middle class, whose whitewashing spokesman he was, noticed that these theoretical ideas of the bourgeoisie had as their basis material interests and a will that was conditioned and determined by the material relations of production. Kant, therefore, separated this theoretical expression from the interests which it expressed; he made the materially motivated determinations of the will of the French bourgeois into pure self-determinations of "free will", of the will in and for itself, of the human will, and so converted it into purely ideological conceptual determinations and moral postulates. Hence the German petty bourgeois recoiled in horror from the practice of this energetic bourgeois liberalism as soon as this practice showed itself, both in the Reign of Terror and in shameless bourgeois profit-making."

   Here's Engels on Feuerbach (me26.381): "In short, the Feuerbachian theory of morals fares like all its predecessors. It is designed to suit all times, all peoples and all conditions, and precisely for that reason it is never and nowhere applicable. Vis-a-vis the real world it remains as powerless as Kant's categorical imperative. In reality every class, even every profession, has its own morality, and even this it violates whenever it can do so with impunity. And love, which is to unite all, manifests itself in wars, altercations, lawsuits, domestic broils, divorces and every possible exploitation of one by another."

   Here's a publisher's definition: (me14.729): "Categorical imperative - the basic concept of the ethics of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). It denotes the moral obligation of the individual to act according to rules that could serve as principles of universal legislation."

   M+E apparently were quite critical of Kantian morality.

> BTW on the relationship between religion and morality, there
> are several options here, one being that
they are completely
> autonomous in respect of each other
( a view I support);
> another being that the relationship is "
theonomous" -
> that
morality is completely based on religion

   Not in my case: I'm not religious by any means, yet am quite concerned with building a moral society. The possibility remains that my sense of morality was determined by my early exposure to Episcopalianism, but I don't remember much more than bitter resentment at having to go to church, and regarding my forced participation in church-going as just another abuse.

   Here's a little more of Marx on the subject of 'attacking religion':

   me4.114 ""Criticism" {i.e., Bruno Bauer & Co.} should have known that Hebert's party in particular was defeated on the pretext that it attacked the rights of man by attacking freedom of religion, and that similarly the rights of man were invoked later when freedom of worship was restored."

   Here Marx seems to be staunchly defending freedom of religion, which would be consistent with his life-long red republicanism, which is rather antithetical to Stalinism. Here's another early example (me1.117): "Religion must not be attacked, whether in a hostile or a frivolous way, whether in general or in particular, therefore not at all."

   By 1865, however, a change in attitude MAY have been evinced in his letter to J.B. von Schweitzer "On Proudhon" (me20.32): "So far as Proudhon's political and philosophical writings are concerned they all show the same contradictory, dual character as his economic works. Moreover their value is purely local, confined to France. Nevertheless his attacks on religion, the church, etc., were of great merit locally at a time when the French socialists thought it desirable to show by their religiosity how superior they were to the bourgeois Voltairianism of the eighteenth century and the German godlessness of the nineteenth."

   There Marx seemed to be condoning Proudhon's attacks on religion, but that possible anomaly may have had more to do with wanting to help expose the quirks of French socialism.

>> me1.283 "As to the alleged irreligious tendency of the Rheinische
>> Zeitung, it cannot be unknown to the supreme authorities that in
>> regard to the content of a certain positive creed - and it is a
>> question only of this and not of religion, which we have
>> never attacked and never will attack
" ...
>>
>> Doesn't this "
never will attack" seem out of character? I'll try to
>> find evidence of him actually
attacking religion, which his "opium
>> of the people
" certainly seems indicative of:
>
> Not too sure about
that. It could be that he was just making a fairly
> neutral observation that
religion is a source of comfort to people -
> however false it may be - so why deprive people of something that
> gives them comfort.

   Agreed.

> This makes me wonder whether the argument for socialists
>
attacking religion now is perhaps on a par with the "proletarian
>
immiserisation thesis" - sometimes attributed to Marx - namely
> that
things have got to get a lot worse materially speaking, before
> workers will countenance a revolutionary change.

>
> I think
that's nonsense just as I think it is nonsense to
> suppose that
getting rid of one's religious convictions
> necessarily
makes one a socialist.

   Totally agree.

> There are plenty of individuals around who think in true
>
Nietzshian fashion that because there is not a god then all that
> matters is me.
Which gives them a seemingly plausible reason
> for supporting this dog-eat-dog society we call
capitalism. But
> then we're getting back to the question of
morality again....
>
> Best regards
>
> Robin

   Support of capitalism surely is pandemic. Every box of corn flakes purchased buttresses capitalism, but the outrage over that fact doesn't make a very convincing case for starving oneself. Where society does have more of a choice is in the amount of time we choose to feed capitalism with labor. If desired by enough people, the work week could be cut tomorrow. If X million work for agribusiness today, then their ranks would have to be swelled tomorrow to prevent interrupting the food supply. This would also mean shifting people away from wasteful surplus value, which would diminish exploitation, reduce unemployment, and make the world a better place.

 

07-22-03

   Yahoo! reported this morning:

   "There is no group called SLP-Houston."

   I've been checking that forum every day for signs of life, but to little avail, and now its end has arrived. Censorship drained its lifeblood. I tried unsuccessfully to get its participants to discuss some outrageous claims promulgated by long-deceased National Secretary Arnold Petersen. Two of his worst lies were that 'the dictatorship of the proletariat was a dictatorship over the peasantry and middle classes', and 'Engels didn't know the difference between state capitalism and socialism.' Forum participants remained steadfastly immune to expressing curiosity about the effects of such horrid lies on their program. Attempts to induce examination of those issues became so painful for them that I was eventually tossed off.

   Socialism will remain in a state of moral turpitude until its adherents begin to examine the outrageous lies that intermingle with it. Can a better world be built by moral weaklings who are afraid of exploring the lies that 'justify' their own ideology? No, but they still want to attract outsiders to 'power and property' programs that offer little more than opportunities to shed blood. For as long as labor creates property, property will be fought over. No ordinary person needs to be told this, which is why they run miles from socialism, communism, and anarchism. Those 'isms are so closely associated with folly that they stand no chance of being rescued from the edge of the cliff over which they are fated to fall.


07-26-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke wrote:

> Ridiculous!
>
> Why do work that is so onerous that it requires a
vacation
> to "recharge?"

   Why? Because someone is willing to pay a worker to do onerous work in onerous locales, such as Silicon Valley. And, jobs being scarce, workers will accept onerous work, even at lousy wages. Who's to blame for this onerous situation? The worker for accepting the onerous job, or the boss for offering the onerous job, or the low state of technology that prevents such onerous jobs from being fully automated?

> Why live in such an terrible place that one has to
>
take a week off to go somewhere else?

   Lots of low-paid, low-skill workers feel trapped in their situations, and fear moving out of a bad situation into a worse one. Back in 1966, I was enticed by visions of a summer of love and wanted to move to California in the worst way, but didn't until 1974, when my political party offered me an expense-paid excuse to pull up roots and help set up new party headquarters in Palo Alto, so I leapt at that chance. But, ordinary people don't just 'move to paradise' when they get a whim to leave a bad situation. They think about it so long that they often find themselves too old to make a move, and then spend the rest of their lives in less-than-ideal circumstances.

> Why is the concept of "vacation" such a big issue among Socialists?

   What makes Michael think that it is? With merely one exception, the forums I participate in do not discuss vacation time.

> In a Socialist society, where, rumor has it, everything will
> be free and no one will have to work more than 4 or 6 hours a day
,
> depending on the rumor, will "
vacations" be mandatory? If no one has
> to work in order to get the necessities of life
, what does "vacation"
> mean? The problem with
doing nothing is that you can't stop to rest!

   Those premises are contradictory, but it isn't Michael's fault for merely repeating contradictory premises. Michael could do socialists a favor by getting them to think - by challenging their bogus premises. Socialists unfortunately believe in the bogus theory of 'work under socialism', even though it doesn't stand the test of logic. Specifically: If everything were 'free', then people wouldn't have to work for the alleged 4 to 6 hours per day. Simple as that. Labor is performed to overcome scarcity. Scarce commodities and services command prices because they are valuable {in overcoming scarcity}. Only under full automation will useful objects and 'services' cease to be valuable and cease to command prices, because only then will everything desirable materialize with negligible effort. Only then will the concept of a work day or work week be an anachronism, and people enjoy perfect freedom without the looming cloud of 'having to go back to work - ugh'.

> If going to the beach is so wonderful, why not live near the beach? I
> ride my bike to the beach every day on my way to work. If mountains
> are your thing, live in the mountains. Why work at a job you don't enjoy
> in a place that's ugly and crowded, then take a
vacation in order to go
> to a place you really like and do what you want to do?
>
> Am I the only one who sees this as crazy?

   Is the typical behavior of millions of vacation-goers necessarily 'crazy'? Their life style may not be optimal, but is 'not optimal' necessarily 'crazy'? What if an annual 'sanity break' is necessary for preventing millions of people from 'going postal'? Just think if those millions never went on vacation. What a dour and dreary world it would be.

> I live among a community of people who do work we love in order to live
> in the place where we love to live. Most of us work
10 to 30 hours a week,
> some
40, the unlucky ones. Many work more than one job, in order to have
> maximum flexibility. We live here because we love it here, near the ocean.
> We're boaters, sailors, fishers, beach bums, surfer dudes and dudettes.
> Some of us raise food in community gardens, share facilities, maintain
> a
free table, whatever it takes to keep our expenses low, keeping
> our need for income work as low as possible.
>
> A side benefit of this lifestyle is that we pay little if any
taxes: our
> incomes are so low we fall off the edge of the
tax charts. We don't need
> insurance premiums, credit cards, ATM cards, ID cards and card card cards.
> The concept of "
vacation" is ludicrous: we have no need to take time off
> from our satisfying lives. If we want to go somewhere else for a change,
> we just pack up and go.

   This sounds too good an opportunity to pass up. What say we all gather everyone willing to go to Michael's place in Sanity Cruz and learn how to live like he does?

> Somehow, this socialism thing has to drop a lot of the preconceived
> notions about
how people ought to live. "Benefits" such as vacation
> time-off
are lolly-pops for wage slaves, tiny concessions that have
> been won in order to guarantee a more compliant
work force.

   Ahh, yes, dear workers. 'Refuse all vacations from now on. That will prove how smart you are.'

> The only way to take control of the economy is to refuse to participate
> in any form of economic endeavor that stultifies the citizen's heart
> and soul.

   It is correct that people should organize. Organize, yes, but ... over what? Michael says we should 'refuse to participate in any form of economic endeavor that stultifies the citizen's heart and soul.' In other words, 'if a pig farmer is willing to pay someone to clean out a pig sty, prospective workers should refuse to clean the sty.' Even if the pig farmer dangles money in the face of prospective workers, I suppose. But, desperate workers will not hesitate to accept the money and clean the sty, no more than they will refuse opportunities to clear-cut the last California old-growth redwoods. Clearly, the issue needing organization is 'worker desperation', the willingness to do anything to make a buck, no matter how stultifying, wasteful, or damaging to the environment or to people's lives, such as building land-mines at that Alliant factory in Minnesota. Clearly, there is room to organize over issues over which a lot of ordinary people will agree, but socialists would rather organize people to take away the property of the rich, which now seems rather impossible, given social trends since 1989.

> There's no "voting" socialism into power, or "voting" capitalism
> out. We must
transform the economy through our actions.
>
> We can't
change the world by doing the same thing.
>
> Michael

   Ahh, yes, 'abstain from voting, and everything will be just great.' In Michael's world, apparently 'only the economy needs changing, not politics.' Even if it's the bad politics that maintain the bad economics.

 

07-27-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke wrote:

>>> Why do work that is so onerous that it requires a vacation to "recharge?"
>>
>> Why? Because someone is willing to pay a worker to do
onerous work
>> in
onerous locales, such as Silicon Valley.
>
> No, this is
not why. The worker has chosen to accept the onerous work
> in a bad location in exchange for lots of money.

   Such Michaelian logic! If 'workers choose to accept', their choices can only be in response to JOB OFFERS, which is the gist of what I wrote above, and yet Michael says "this is not why." Teaching bad logic should not be overlooked as a career choice.

> No one forces the worker, no one drags him or her into work
> with a chain. The worker accepts the bargain willingly.

   That's true enough. The days of slavery are pretty much over and done with in the USA, and if the wages offered are insufficient to attract enough workers, then HIGHER wages must be offered until enough workers can be found to meet the demand for the goods or services. Such are the workings of the free market.

>> And, jobs being scarce, workers will accept onerous work,
>> even at
lousy wages.
>
>
Work is not scarce.

   What an ENORMOUS state of denial. If jobs were not scarce, then no one would have a use for the term 'unemployment'. Perhaps Hayduke hasn't heard that the unemployment rate went from 4% in 2000 to over 6% now. During every previous administration since FDR, jobs were ADDED every month. Under Bush Lite, on the other hand, jobs have been LOST at an average rate of 69,000 per month, according to the IAM machinists web site. How could any concerned citizen in this forum DARE to claim that "Work is not scarce"? We are being dissed.

> There's not enough time to accomplish all the good works
> that needs doing.

   Hayduke is now sounding a lot like Libertarians McDonough and D.R. Steele. They love to remind us of 'the infinitude of work to be done', but don't say that 'the infinitude of work will remain UNdone unless moneybags express an interest in PAYing to get it done.'

> What is scarce is high paying jobs that provide the income
> necessary to ride the wheel of material consumption.

   True enough, but what's the Hayduke solution to that scarcity?

>> ordinary people don't just 'move to paradise' when they get a whim
>> to leave a bad situation. They think about it so long that they often
>> find themselves too old to make a move, and then spend the rest of
>> their lives in less-than-ideal circumstances.
>
> I don't know who these
ordinary people are. I did it. Am I not ordinary?

   Hayduke's credentials and lifestyle are NOT ordinary.

> I gave up a high paying management position to move to coastal California.
> I'm 54 years old. How
ordinary do I have to be to qualify?

   There's more proof of Hayduke's extraordinariness. How ordinary can a highly paid manager be?

>> What makes Michael think that it is? With merely one exception, the
>>
forums I participate in do not discuss vacation time.
>
> The subject comes up all the time, often compared, as in this article,
> to other countries. Part of the beat against
capitalism, that other
> capitalists have more vacation time than capitalists in the US. I
> fail to seethe significance.

   Poor Hayduke, if he fails to SEETHE significance, possibly demonstrating a rather pedestrian ordinariness like the rest of us. But, he probably meant to write that he 'fails to SEE THE significance'. One missing space can make a big difference. As far as 'significance' goes, that potential issue would have to be taken up with the author of the article, Joe Robinson.

>> Only under full automation will useful objects and 'services' cease to be
>> valuable and cease to command prices, because only then will everything
>> desirable materialize with negligible effort. Only then will the concept
>> of a
work day or work week be an anachronism, and people enjoy perfect
>> freedom
without the looming cloud of 'having to go back to work - ugh'.
>
> Is this
sarcasm? I can' tell. It sounds like an unrealistic fantasy.
> Who will build the automated factories/ Who will distribute the goods?
> Who will provide services? Even in a
fully automated society, someone
>
must work to keep it running!

   Maybe Hayduke is more ordinary than originally suspected, because he certainly doesn't demonstrate familiarity with high-tech. Because high-tech is becoming increasingly exciting, I look forward every day to news of the latest developments. Admittedly, such a pursuit isn't a very ordinary past time, but it has helped shed light on the backwardness of socialist thought that seems chained to the old paradigm of 'work under socialism', which went the way of proletarian dictatorship.

   Nutshell: As nanotech is phased in, the old paradigm of smokestack industries gets phased out, totally. The new stuff is expected to run on nothing more exotic than "sunlight and dirt". Not a SINGLE factory in the future landscape. New stuff will be infinitely more intelligent than the old, and will eventually be infinitely smarter than the human intelligence that set the nanowheels in motion. Arthur C. Clarke believes that the concept of 'work' will be totally obsolete in another 40 years, though others might bet on a mere 26 years. The computer industry never provided a net savings of labor until 1995, so computers have only been a net positive asset for 8 years. 'We ain't seen nothing yet.' As a fellow Mac lover, Hayduke probably doesn't need to be reminded how much better the G4 iMacs are compared to the G3s running system 9. What a difference! No more crashes! How can we *LIVE* without rebooting a few times a day?

>> Is the typical behavior of millions of vacation-goers necessarily 'crazy'?
>
>
Yes.

   Well, there's more evidence of the extraordinariness of Hayduke.

>> What if an annual 'sanity break' is necessary for preventing millions
>> of people from '
going postal'? Just think if those millions never went
>> on
vacation. What a dour and dreary world it would be.
>
> Just think if those millions of workers were living happy satisfying
> lives where they wanted to live and doing satisfying, creative work
> within walking distance of their homes.

   Now, there's a truly worthwhile goal over which to be active.

>> In other words, 'if a pig farmer is willing to pay someone to clean
>> out a pig sty, prospective workers should refuse to clean the sty.
'
>
> Why is cleaning the pig sty considered
stultifying work. I'm talking
> about sitting in a cubicle all day staring at a computer screen!

   Some computer work can be stultifying, no doubt, but some geeks make pretty big bucks. On the other hand, I can't imagine a sty swabby making big bucks, or having much of a future in that field of endeavor.

>> Ahh, yes, 'abstain from voting, and everything will be just great.'
>> In Michael's world, apparently '
only the economy needs changing, not
>> politics.
' Even if it's the bad politics that maintain the bad economics.
>
> I've said nothing about
abstaining from voting. Capitalism is
> not something that is subject to a
vote.

   There's a lot more to politics than simply voting. What would be useful politically would be a movement for a minimum 3 week paid vacation, more paid holidays, replacing 'time and a half' with double time, a shorter work week, making the Fair Labor Standards Act more inclusive, and maybe other measures that would help drive unemployment down, IF it can be admitted that 'unemployment exists, and is a problem, especially for the unemployed.'

   You are right about 'capitalism not being subject to a vote'. Some socialists might be disappointed in that rebuff of their program, but the world does not shape itself according to the illogical theories of small sects.

> The changes necessary are deep and broad, originating
> the hearts and minds of individual citizens.
>
> Michael

   Earth to Michael: no need to be vague. Following a logical program of political action will suffice to create a better world. Enacting a minimum 3 week paid vacation would do wonders for morale. The more time off, the more freedom from wage-slavery.

 

07-27-03

   Someone wrote: "Marx never spoke of "physical labour" in relation to value."

   That notion might withstand a little correction. The word 'value' occurs in the same paragraphs as 'physical labour' or 'manual labour' a dozen times or more. Here are three of the most pertinent examples.

   In an early 1860's economic manuscript, Marx wrote (me31.55): "More manual labour is employed where the labour is less productive. More constant capital is applied where the labour is more productive. Thus in this context the same circumstances which bring about an increase or a decline in the surplus value, must as a consequence bring about a decline in the rate of profit, and so on, in the opposite direction."

   In Capital, Marx wrote (me35.335): "We saw in a former chapter, that a certain minimum amount of capital was necessary, in order that the number of labourers simultaneously employed, and, consequently, the amount of surplus value produced, might suffice to liberate the employer himself from manual labour, to convert him from a small master into a capitalist, and thus formally to establish capitalist production."

   Engels wrote in "Lawyer's Socialism" (1889)(me26.610):

   "Here Thompson's capitalist is simply expressing the manufacturers' everyday illusion that the working hour of the worker producing with the aid of machinery, etc., produces a greater value than the working hour of the simple artisan before the invention of machinery. This notion is fostered by the extraordinary "surplus value" pocketed by the capitalist who breaks into a field hitherto held by manual labour, with a newly invented machine on which he and perhaps a few other capitalists have a monopoly. In this case, the price of the hand-made product determines the market price of the entire output of this sector of industry; the machine-made product might cost a mere quarter of the labour, thus leaving the manufacturer with a "surplus value" of 300 per cent of his cost price."

   As a bonus, the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 touch on the alleged love of the laborer for his labor (me3.274):

   "What, then, constitutes the alienation of labour?

   "First, the fact that labour is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labour is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labour. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need; it is merely a means to satisfy needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, labour is shunned like the plague. External labour, labour in which man alienates himself, is a labour of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Lastly, the external character of labour for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else's, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, of the human brain and the human heart, operates on the individual independently of him - that is, operates as an alien, divine or diabolical activity - so is the worker's activity not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self."

 

07-29-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke wrote:

> There is no end of work that must be done in any society.
> Concentration on jobs demands that
wages be offered in
> exchange for work, thus only that work permitting
high
>
wages receives economic support. I do a lot of good work
> in my community that is not a job.

   Of that there can be little doubt.

> > Hayduke is now sounding a lot like Libertarians McDonough and D.R.
> > Steele. They love to remind us of '
the infinitude of work to be done',
> > but don't say that '
the infinitude of work will remain UNdone unless
> > moneybags express an interest in PAYing to get it done.
'
>
> This is
not true. Here in my neighborhood, our home abuts on a busy
> street, with a bus stop just outside the entrance to our park. My wife
> and I clean up and maintain the landscaping on the outside of our park,
> including the area around the bus stop. I regularly sweep the bus stop,
> pick up trash and paint the bench after the taggers have spray painted
> it. No one pays us for this work. We do it to keep our neighborhood
> looking nice and to prevent further degradation.

   Well, that's all to the good of the community, and is to be commended. Unfortunately, such good work is always excluded from official economic statistics, in spite of the aesthetic and practical value of the work.

> >> What is scarce is high paying jobs that provide the income
> >> necessary to ride the wheel of material consumption.
> >
> > True enough, but what's the Hayduke solution to that
scarcity?
>
> Stop riding the wheel of material consumption so as to eliminate
> the need for high paying jobs.

   That's about as uphill a battle as the socialist struggle to abolish private property. As expectations rise, asking people to live simply, or without luxuries and trinkets, bucks the trend.

> > How ordinary can a highly paid manager be?
>
>
Highly paid, in my case, was $40,000 per year, plus benefits.
> Your mileage may vary.

   Maybe Hayduke is ordinary after all. $40k/yr isn't 'high pay' compared to a lot of other pro salaries. Plus, his attitude toward technology harkens back to the days of yore when many claimed that 'heavier-than-air vehicles will never fly.' Wonder how they felt after the Wright brothers did their thing. Anyone who's bothered to keep pace with technology knows that the old 1950's paradigm of a bulky army of 'Robby the Robots' displacing human labor is totally obsolete.

> > Nutshell: As nanotech is phased in,
>
>
Nanotech? Please! Science fiction fantasies are less than helpful in
> a discussion about
real human beings and real social problems.

   If nanotech were a fantasy, governments wouldn't be investing billions into its further development, and investment wouldn't be accelerating upwards. Does Hayduke recognize MICROtechnology and MICROelectronics? How long has MICROtech been around? The last 50 years? Does that longevity mean that 'humanity will be stuck with micro for the rest of eternity', and that 'micro will never give way to nano'? The difference between the two is only a factor of a thousand, 10^-6 for micro compared to 10^-9 for nano, and it's not like the transition has to be made in one day. 20 years ago, computers had kilobytes of memory, 10 years ago had megabytes, now have gigabytes, and 10 years from now will have terabytes. Picotechnology better not be mentioned at all, if nano is too much of a leap for limited imaginations. In Biblical times, tech change was rare, but now is so commonplace that almost everyone has noticed, except for socialists who think that tomorrow will be exactly like today, so they always fail to factor tech change into their static 'power and property' programs.

> is there really a cadre of Socialists
> banking their future on nanotechology
> to answers all human needs?

   That's an easy one. The answer is 'no'. Socialists notoriously bank their future on gaining control over power and property. That program element is what makes them socialists.

> > The new stuff is expected to run on nothing more exotic
> > than "
sunlight and dirt". Not a SINGLE factory in the future
> > landscape. New stuff will be infinitely more intelligent than
> > the old, and will eventually be infinitely smarter than the
> >
human intelligence that set the nanowheels in motion.
>
> Yes, and
nuclear energy will be too cheap to meter! A modicum of
> reality might be of use here:
there is no free lunch, everything
> comes from something else, no one gets out alive.
Nanotechnology
> is an
indoor prediction, dreamed up by people who spend way too
> much time cooped up in buildings looking at computer screens.

   Try looking at it this way: What is the US government investing in? Are they spending a near $billion this year to research methods of abolishing private property? Or to help people to learn to live in place? No, the gov't will spend nearly a billion to help develop nanotech. Nano admittedly is in embryo now, but will be a robust infant in a decade, and a strapping lad in a generation, strong enough to replace nearly all human physical labor, and lots of mental as well.

> > Arthur C. Clarke believes that the concept of 'work'
> > will be totally obsolete in another 40 years
, though
> > others might bet on a mere
26 years.
>
> Work will
never be obsolete, even if jobs are totally eliminated.
> There is more satisfaction in a hand crafted chair than in all
> the high-tech thingambobs in the Universe.

   This is true. If the purpose of new technology is to serve human needs, then nano tech will help people express themselves even better. Leisure time is a political football, however, and humans will have to put up a fight to win leisure time, lest Republicans forever debauch leisure into uncompensated unemployment.

> > The computer industry never provided a net savings of labor
> > until 1995, so computers have only been a net positive
> > asset for 8 years. '
We ain't seen nothing yet.'
>
> Here's an interesting question: where do our
Macs come from?

   My latest Mac came from the mall. :-)

> Do they suddenly materialize on the shelf?
> Where does the cute translucent plastic come from?
> Where do all the rare metals inside come from? How
> do they get from the grounds into our computers?

   Are you hinting that my iMac might have been a ... 'product of labor'? Not MY iMac. It was the product of pure love, as between Mary and Joseph, and it suddenly materialized one day, as did baby Jesus in his crib. No crude commercial intercourse ever intervened in the manufacture of MY babies, though I do remember having to cough up some dough in order to carry them home, but THAT DOESN'T COUNT!

> Here's another question: where do our computers go
> when we're done with them?

   To the attic. Where else?

> Where does the plastic go when it is no longer a computer?

   NO LONGER A COMPUTER? Do you think I'd dispose of my computer? Never! Have you heard about what crooks do with data? I'm not about to spend scarce $ on a program to erase the data, nor scarce time to look for a free program to do that.

> Where do the rare earth metals and toxic substances
> go when our computers breathe their last?
>
> No fair delving into the pages of fantasy books;
> tell me what happens now.

   Admittedly, many people do dispose of their computers, and I've seen piles of carcasses on TV. It is an ecological and toxic waste problem now, which will later require zillions of nanobots to separate it into basic components for proper recycling. All of the dumps in the world will eventually be properly taken care of so that we won't have to inhale and ingest toxics, but don't expect human labor to be much of a part of that operation. There's not enough money in the world to pay the enormous number of humans that would be required, so society will have to wait until hordes of nanobots can be unleashed. 'The assemblers are coming.'

> How will socialism deal with these issues of supply and dispersal?

   First and foremost, socialism deals with expropriating expropriators. That is the basic program, and is what socialists live and die for. Maybe an eco-socialist has ideas about what to do with computers.

> > Some computer work can be stultifying, no doubt, but some geeks make
> > pretty big bucks. On the other hand, I can't imagine a sty swabby making
> > big bucks, or having much of a future in that field of endeavor.
>
> So big bucks is
the ultimate measure of the worthiness of work?

   The 'worthiness of work' has heretofore not been a topic of our discussion. Why introduce it now? It's common knowledge that a talented computer geek will make lots more $ than a talented sty swabby, which says little to nothing about job satisfaction or social worthiness.

> How then will the pig sty be cleaned in a moneyless society?

   Perhaps a would-be expropriator in the audience could answer that one. 'Moneyless' is part of the socialist paradigm, but I claim that socialism and labor are incompatible, and that capitalism will survive until the abolition of human labor. Capitalism is the only system containing the incentive to abolish human labor, so capitalism will be viable until then.

> What does "having much of a future" mean?
> Is this an appeal to career and economic increase?

   Popularly speaking, that appears to be the case.

> If you have what you need, your future is secure.

   That's quite true, in which case, you nailed me on that one. Good observation, dear Hayduke. Chalk up a point.

> >> The changes necessary are deep and broad, originating
> >> the hearts and minds of individual citizens.
> >
> > Enacting a
minimum 3 week paid vacation would
> > do wonders for morale. The more
time off, the
> > more
freedom from wage-slavery.
>
>
Time off is part of the wage-slavery to which you object.

   Wage-slavery is more of a 'fact of life' than 'something over which to object'. Objections could be piled on top of objections without altering the fact that 'we live in an era of labor, so SOMEBODY has to do the work.' Wage-slavery would be less distasteful if it didn't dominate without relent. Vacations are an excellent way to humanely alleviate capitalist domination. American failure to take vacations helps provide capitalists with enormous economic and political power. Refusing to endorse vacations is an easy way to endorse the alternative - unrelenting vicious exploitation. One way or the other, there's no straddling the fence on this issue. Sectarians want the future to be the way they want it to be, and refuse to endorse humanitarian gestures in the hopes of driving an oppressed proletariat to revolt, but their plan won't succeed, except in demonstrating their inhumanity.

> It is payment for labour just as much as money.

   That could be either true or false, depending on the perspective. Refusal to take the benefits of increased productivity in the form of vacations and leisure time exacerbates competition for scarce jobs, which leads to lower wages. Better to go for the time off. As Engels wrote (me26.620): "Our aim is to bring about a Socialist System which will give healthy and useful labour to all, ample wealth and leisure to all, and the truest and fullest freedom to all." Too bad actually-existing communism became antithetical to freedom.

> I don't want a three week paid vacation. I want to continue working
> during those three weeks at work I love and find satisfying in a place
> I enjoy living. I have no need to go anywhere else. I love where I live
> now! I exchange my work for enough economic power to acquire
> what I need for a full and satisfying life. What more do I need?
>
> The first step to
living in place: 1) Stop moving around!
>
> Michael

   Everybody's gotta do their own thing ...

 

07-30-03

   In worldincommon, "johnfull2" quoted me:

>> "...Refusing to endorse vacations is an easy way to endorse the
>> alternative - unrelenting vicious exploitation. One way or the
>> other, there's no straddling the fence on this issue. Sectarians
>> want the future to be the way they want it to be, and refuse to
>>
endorse humanitarian gestures in the hopes of driving an
>> oppressed proletariat to revolt
, but their plan won't
>> succeed, except in demonstrating their inhumanity..."
>
> Another good point, though I've heard it most often shrouded in the
> general '
reformism' bugaboo.

   That's true. Revolutionaries making the unfortunate choice of allowing themselves to be 'eddicated' by sectarian business people, and unfortunately trading in brains and independence for membership cards, refuse to accept the fact that 'struggles for higher wages and shorter work hours' were the only methods M+E ever specified for abolishing the wages system. Antiquated notions of big bang violent revolutions only applied to replacing monarchies with democracies, and to liberating colonies, but became the only paradigm for revolutionaries to subscribe to. Loyalty attaches to fellow members and to those who teach simplistic thinking. Camaraderie becomes more important than serious thought and contemplation. Hell, I should know, because I was guilty of the same foibles for an embarrassingly long enough period of time. But, if being effective ever becomes more important than toeing a party line, then the old fetters on thought are broken, and a new era of personal growth and development can be embarked upon. Expressions of independence of thought are highly unlikely to please revolutionary taskmasters, however.

> Are you saying that simple unionization could
> make for use of technology to
serve human needs?
>
> Long ago, I brought up the French comparison with America;
> our own use of
labor-saving devices to allow us to work for
> our bosses longer and their use of the same technologies to
> have
6 weeks of vacation and every second Friday off for St.
> What'sItsName Day
. The size of the convenience food isles
> in the grocery stores in the two countries speaks volumes.
> American's eat quick-to-prepare crap and the French have
> absolutely breathtaking varieties of foods to lovingly
> prepare at home.
>
> I see the difference between American and French society
> centered mostly around
unions and their direct influence
> on
government. With heated competition against America and
> China, they are now losing ground, though they did gain the
>
35-Hour workweek just before the latest round of cutbacks...
>
> I do know that
socialists say that 'mere' union activity is not
> enough to make a good society
, and often lump it in with 'reformism'
> and even insisting that
it's not political. Tell that to the French!

   France's 35 hour reform is the direction the rest of the developed world will soon have to follow, lest unemployment get too far out of control. The work week will be driven down until capitalism as we've suffered from it will eventually be superseded. The world will proceed out of capitalism and into classless and stateless socialism, somewhat like the way our ancestors proceeded from feudalism to capitalism. The change will be seamless, not big-bang, and will be driven entirely by new technology superannuating old social devices and institutions. The precondition for socialism will be the abolition of labor and all notions of a 'work week', which abolition will bestow freedom and equality. Property and the state will then fade away at their own speed. Why can't more people think this way? Is it wrong? It certainly does contradict old teachings, but is the new paradigm wrong?

 

07-03-03

   Hayduke quoted me:

> > Well, that's all to the good of the community, and is to be commended.
> > Unfortunately, such good work is always excluded from
official economic
> > statistics
, in spite of the aesthetic and practical value of the work.
>
> I don't understand. Why does it matter that
non-salaried work in my
> community is not included in
"official" economic stats?

   It isn't a matter of extreme importance to me, but it does matter a lot to respected activists such as Jeremy Rifkin, and many, many more. See:

   http://faculty.washington.edu/~krumme/readings/rifkin.html

> > That's about as uphill a battle as the socialist struggle to abolish
> > private property
. As expectations rise, asking people to live simply,
> > or without luxuries and trinkets, bucks the trend.
>
> Yet there is a growing interest in voluntary simplicity.

   I hope voluntary simplicity does grow, because it would help starve the economy of demand for new stuff. Reducing demand would all the sooner force the issue of the need to share the vanishing work.

> > If nanotech were a fantasy, governments wouldn't be investing billions
> > into its further development, and investment wouldn't be accelerating
> > upwards.
>
> Ah-hah. How do you suppose
governments intend to use this newtechnology?
> Surely for the good of all humanity!

   A page from a manual of fomenting revolution could be borrowed, and averred that 'new technologies will be used solely to oppress the downtrodden.' Of course, that lie would be just another bad reason for smashing the state. iPods are new technology, but who do they oppress?

> > Nano admittedly is in embryo now, but will be a robust infant
> > in a decade, and a strapping lad in a generation, strong enough
> > to replace nearly all
human physical labor, and lots of
> >
mental as well.
>
> Why must every new technology be hailed as "
strong enough to replace
> nearly all human physical labor, and lots of mental as well.
" Similar
> claims were made for nuclear energy.

   Did *I* invent the notion of 'labor-saving technology'? Perhaps Hayduke doesn't think such a thing could possibly exist, or that it could evolve. Maybe he's holding out for the day when there are absolutely no more jobs for people to go to, and then he might have to admit that something did indeed change in his lifetime, or maybe he'd be too old or set in his ways to admit that any change occurred on his watch. Something about socialism attracts people who are set in their ways, and find it absolutely impossible to evolve out of 19th century paradigms. 'As things were, so they will be' might have good enough for Biblical times, but not now.

> Why do some still think we can get something for nothing?
> There is no way to produce work without the expenditure of
> energy. If nanotechnology is to do work, someone must supply
> it and
clean up after it. Where does the energy come from to
> drive it?

   A recent article predicts that nothing more exotic than 'sunlight and dirt' will be required to feed the new technology. Surely Hayduke can't have much of a gripe against sunlight as a source of energy. What could he imagine might be necessary for humans to have to clean up after? Stray photons?

> How is that energy accumulated? How does it get distributed?
> How are the products accumulated and distributed?

   Energy could be accumulated in hot water, if necessary, but 'ACCUMULATING energy' might just be part of the old paradigm that will be superannuated by new ones. Talk about 'living in place': the old paradigm of making widgets that have to be transported across country will also become obsolete as everything desirable will be manufactured in situ. The new technology will have infinite networked intelligence. Old economic barriers to the free flow of information will come tumbling down. No more secrets.

> Anytime someone tells you that a technology will answer all problems,
> turn around a stride quickly away.

   Once human labor is rendered totally superfluous, how many problems could possibly be left, except for those that rain down from the heavens? And surely ways to handle those potential problems will evolve.

> > If the purpose of new technology is to serve human needs, then
> > nano tech will help people express themselves even better.
>
>
No technology helps humans express themselves better.
> It
only gets in the way.

   In that case, your radio program just went belly-up, because you would now have to claim that 'it impedes communications', in order to be consistent. Why is this discussion being polluted with complete nonsense?

> > Leisure time is a political football, however,
> > and
humans will have to put up a fight to win
> > leisure time
, lest Republicans forever debauch
> >
leisure into uncompensated unemployment.
>
> I thought
nanotech will eliminate all work! What is
> the meaning of
leisure time if no one works?

   Eliminate work tomorrow? Don't forget to factor in a little evolution. As human labor is phased out, leisure will be phased in.

   Scholar and leisure share the same word root. 100% leisure time will provide all of the time in the world for scholarly pursuits. I know of a few mysteries needing research and resolution.

> > Are you hinting that my iMac might have been a ... 'product of labor'?
>
> No, your
iMac was mined from the earth, and will return to the earth,
> in one form or another.

   My tongue-in-cheek query wasn't intended to be taken seriously, but it was.

> > Admittedly, many people do dispose of their computers, and I've seen
> > piles of carcasses on TV. It is an ecological and toxic waste problem
> > now, which will later require zillions of nanobots to separate it into
> > basic components for proper recycling.
>
> What becomes of it then? Where do the zillions of nanobots go?

   After ensuring harmless disposal or storage, zillions of nanobots will be smart enough to commit suicide or make themselves available for other tasks.

> Where does the energy come from for them to do work?

   Sunlight, and/or local chemistry from their own environment.

> You can never do just one thing.

   They will be rather adaptable creatures, I'm sure.

> > Wage-slavery is more of a 'fact of life' than 'something
> > over which to object
'.
>
>
Wage slavery is a perception, not a fact of life.

   Maybe for you, but tell that to millions of low-paid workers, or to the many agricultural workers who harvest the crops along Highway 1 near Santa Cruz.

> I don't live in wage slavery, so no one
> has to live in
wage slavery. One exception
> disproves the rule.

   Ha, ha. Now YOU are speaking tongue-in-cheek.

> > Vacations are an excellent way to humanely alleviate capitalist domination.
>
>
Alleviate, but not eliminate. Why not just remove oneself from
>
capitalist domination altogether? make life an endless vacation.
> Do what you love!

   That would be great if we all had the money and resources to do so, but millions on the treadmill get only enough to make it from one day to the next, and feel compelled to repeat the steps on the treadmill over and over again, with little to no hope of liberation, except by reaching the ages of 62-5 in one piece, and thus being able to eke out a retirement.

> > American failure to take vacations helps provide capitalists with enormous
> > economic and political power.
>
> I always wonder what did that! Thanks for the enlightenment! (Smile icon)

   Always happy to oblige. :-)

   Why do people say "(Smile icon)" when they could just as easily say :-) ? Is it part of some new-fangled Internet etiquette?

>> Refusing to endorse vacations is an easy way to
>> endorse the alternative - unrelenting vicious exploitation.
>
> I refuse to endorse or participate in either.
>
> Michael

   I can't understand how someone would want to carry such a noncommittal attitude toward social progress into a socialist forum. It is quite unfortunate, and I continue to wonder what Hayduke's purpose might be in participating here. He expresses absolutely no concern for actually existing facts and instances of capitalist exploitation, and expresses nothing but scorn toward feasible program elements for alleviating exploitation. He is fortunate enough to have elevated himself beyond wage slavery, and seems to think that everyone else could do the exact same thing tomorrow, if only we would choose to. A lot of people would like to, but unfortunately don't seem to be able to do so, and seem trapped in this Republican-exacerbated living hell of rising prison populations, increasing domestic poverty and homelessness, financial swindling, wars of death and destruction with no seeming plan for elevating populations out of misery, and of course many more problems could be listed. Hayduke lives in a self-centered world, and wants everyone to become just like him, but we have eyes, can see, and want to create a better world for EVERYONE, not just for the few who can afford to do their own thing, and choose their own lifestyles at will. Hayduke seems to have internalized the pathos of the existing dog-eat-dog milieu, and perverted it into a philosophy unfit for ordinary human consumption. A homeopath should be consulted to rejuvenate the compassion that seems to have been lost along life's journey.

 

07-31-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke quoted me:

> > I can't understand how someone would want to carry such a noncommittal
> > attitude toward
social progress into a socialist forum.
>
> Technological change does
not equate with social progress.

   Hayduke well knows that the conversation began with a report on the vanishing vacation in the USA, and that far more than technological change has been discussed. For some bizarre reason, he simply REFUSES to advocate a legislated 3 week minimum vacation for all workers.

> As the Luddites demonstrated, technological change produces
>
far more negative social impact than positive.

   I actually edited out one of my own lines about Ned Ludd in my previous message. I've been suspecting Luddism, and now it's undeniably here. Is any cause more lost than Luddism? (Even expropriation might have more of a chance.) Who but the bourgeoisie loves this 'best of all possible worlds', and is more interested in postponing the inevitable complete replacement of human labor by technology, and with that, the loss of class privileges, domination over workers, the state and property? Workers are now but a few decades away from complete liberation, and won't allow spurious ideologies to get in their way.

> This concentration of technological redemption is ahistorical and
>
absurd. No technological change has ever lived up to the glowing
> promises of its adherents.

   At least SOME technologies FAR EXCEED the promises of their pioneers. I'll bet the airline travel industry far exceeded the expectations of the Wright brothers for their little hobby and experiment. I'll bet Henry Ford would be amazed at the capabilities of the vehicles that roll off his grandson's assembly line. Computers! In automobiles! Doing useful things!

> Industrialization led to human misery and social upheaval.

   Certainly social upheaval occurs, but is that due to technology, or to bad politics? People enjoy sanitation, refrigeration, home theater, washers and driers, microwaves, stoves, etc. Do all of these conveniences add up to 'social misery' for Luddites?

> The automobile destroy our community structure. Nuclear
> energy produced millions of tons of radioactive waste that
> will be killing living things long after humans are extinct.

   Hayduke may be unaware of the little-known report advising that 'nuclear waste could be neutralized by further reprocessing in a reactor' of some sort. Until a worse accident than 3 Mile Island occurs, maybe the industry will be content with the status quo 'solution' of doing nothing. If they are really lucky, maybe they can wait until nanobots solve the problem economically.

> The claim that nanotechnology will eliminate human work is unrealistic
> at best,
wildly misleading and ignorant in actuality.

   To a Luddite, certainly nanotech must be 'unrealistic, wildly misleading and ignorant', but no proof was offered.

> The mind boggles at the dystopian future derived from such a proposition.

   To bourgeois Luddites, complete worker lib is certainly dystopian.

> I'm amazed that anyone outside the cloistered boundries
> of a
science fiction publishing house takes these
> prognostications at all seriously.

   All it takes is an open mind to detect actual trends. Hayduke still can't admit that MICROtechnology exists, snipping, as he does, the thorniest parts of previous messages, hoping everyone will forget how much he's evaded, so rejection of nano (out of context) can then appear all the more reasonable.

> No technology offering such sweeping changes, even if true,
> would be allowed general dispersal among the populace.

   Here it comes, the big conspiracy theory: 'THE GOVERNMENT IS PLOTTING AGAINST YOU!'

> No technology has ever escaped the confines of the
> control system and nanotechnology is no exception.

   'THE GOVERNMENT IS CONTROLLING YOU!' {Later: What about sewing machines? Are they programmed to sew only what the government wants?}

> Look who's developing it now and for what purposes.

   What does Hayduke know about the purported purposes of nanotech?

> Do you really think you'll ever have your own personal
> nanobots to take out the garbage and produce your food?

   Today, half of the garbage is packaging, but production in situ on demand will eliminate packaging and storage, so there's one big wasteful industry that can be eliminated right there.

> Control of such a technology will not eliminate capitalism,

   Control? How will nanotech be controlled, and who will control it? One of the big fears in some anti-nano circles is that nano will be uncontrollable. After the abolitions of labor, capital, and the work week, the state and private property will soon after find no rationale for continued existence. Safeguards built into nano during the era of labor would ensure that the really far-out future nano can never be used by one portion of the population against another. {Later: Considering all of the safety gadgets that have worked their way new automobiles, nano has some excellent precedents upon which to build.}

> it will cause it to be further entrenched and hegemonic.

   Who says nano will necessarily be any more evil than toasters and bread boxes? Luddite fear-mongers? Oh, they'll certainly have the clout to put the brakes on nano, just as they've prevented every other technology for the past 200 years. Come one, come all - join the Flat Earth Society while signing up with the Luddites!

> > He is fortunate enough to have elevated himself beyond
> >
wage slavery, and seems to think that everyone else could
> > do the exact same thing tomorrow, if only we would
> > choose to.

>
> hardly
fortunate, I've worked hard to get where I'm today.
> It takes a lot of work (can't be done by nanobots!) to haul
> all those boxes to the free table!

   'Hayduke the worker', who seems not to understand labor history, and manages to advocate anti-worker ideas, such as Luddism.

> > A lot of people would like to, but unfortunately don't seem
> > to be able to do so,
>
> Most have
never tried. have you ever tried to simplify your life?
> Where do you work for your income? (Rhetorical question) How could
> you change your life to be
free from capitalist exploitation to the
> greatest degree?

   Becoming self-employed is one tried and true method.

> > Hayduke lives in a self-centered world, and
> > wants everyone to become just like him,
>
> Now, now, you know not of what you speak. Must display one's
> ignorance. I'm the only one here who can say what world I live in
> and what I want. You haven't the
slightest idea on the subjects.

   Chastened and rebuked, I'll try to restrain myself.

> Hayduke wants everyone to be like everyone, in full diversity.
> That's what
voluntary simplicity is all about: being oneself,
> not a
K-Mart, Wal-mart, Costco simulacrum.

   No arguing against that.

> > but we have eyes, can see, and want
> > to create a better world for EVERYONE,
>
>
Better by whose definition. Better is a value judgment.

   Sorry for omitting some particulars: 'Better by the standards of the most poverty stricken workers.' An end to hunger and poverty, decent housing and medical care, good schools, etc.

> Who's the judge?

   As Marx wrote in 1856, "History is the judge - its executioner, the proletarian."

> > not just for the few who can afford to do their
> > own thing, and choose their own lifestyles at will.
>
>
Everyone is free to choose their own lifestyle. It doesn't come
> instantly, make take a year or a lifetime.
Everyone has freedom of
> choice
, even my friend Carlos who picks artichokes in Castroville.

   'May take a lifetime' ... At the end of which, the subject is dead, proving my point.

> > Hayduke seems to have internalized the pathos of
> > the existing dog-eat-dog milieu, and perverted it
> > into a philosophy unfit for ordinary human consumption.
>
> Please don't thrust your pop psychological analyses on others.
> I know from experience with many others that
living in place
> is a path to personal satisfaction and social stability. I've lived
> it; you merely criticize from afar with
no experience.
>
> Michael

   I have never criticized 'living in place'. I'll repeat that 'I think it has consumerism beat by a mile, and I hope that more people will practice it. It is quite compatible with liberation capitalism.' My critique has never been aimed at anything but your lack of compassion for working people and their issues.

   Real programs (with strong historical roots) to alleviate working class woes should be respected. 'Living in place' is respectable, but failure to respect a legislated minimum 3 week vacation is quite puzzling, coming from someone who claims to have worked for a living. Please tell us honestly, why shouldn't a legislated minimum 3 week vacation for all American workers be advocated?

 

08-03-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke quoted me:

> > For some bizarre reason, he simply REFUSES to advocate a
> >
legislated 3 week minimum vacation for all workers.
>
> I hardly think that disagreement can be characterized as
bizarre!

   In a socialist forum, to be unable to advocate measures that are clearly in the interests of workers, is more of a CRIME than merely bizarre. Hayduke's anti-labor stance clashes with socialism, at least with early versions.

> I have no reason to advocate for a legislated 3 week minimum
> vacation
for workers.

   Especially if wage-earner consciousness is absent, and/or if exploitation is a pleasant thought.

> I think the whole idea is silly and not within the purview of
>
federal legislation.

   Then call all of Europe 'silly', because "The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without paid vacation laws on the books," said Robinson. "Vacation time is completely up to the employer" ...

   "In addition to U.S. workers not having a legal right to any vacation at all, "we also have the shortest vacations in the world -- and they're getting even shorter," Robinson said.

   "According to the International Labor Organization, Americans are working eight to 12 more weeks a year in total hours than workers in European countries. Workers in Europe and Australia have legally mandated vacations of at least four weeks."

   If vacations are legally mandated in other countries, then no overriding legal principle prevents similar enactments in the USA.

   And what does all of the extra work amount to? - SURPLUS VALUE! Competition for scarce jobs ALSO worsens, which drives wages down. Hayduke simply wants the rich to get richer, and the poor poorer by comparison.

> Many people in the United States do not require vacations in their
> work arrangement and would therefore not be included in such a
> one-size-fits-all
law, therefore the law would benefit the few.

   Few workplaces, if any, physically FORCE people to take vacations; economic incentives to TAKE vacations are provided, such as the loss of vacation pay if vacations are not taken within specified periods of time. General laws would ALLOW people to take reasonable vacations IF vacations were preferred. Vacation laws wouldn't CRAM vacations down anyone's throat. Hayduke's appeal to 'freedom from laws' amounts to siding with exploiters of labor. His anti-labor attitude is too thinly disguised to escape detection. No matter how well his arguments are refuted, labor will always be sacrificed on the altar of capital. He is as intransigent as a leopard's spots are indelible.

> Furthermore, I view vacation time as no different from salary,
> a
fop to keep salaried workers compliant and quiescent.

   Look at this! Not only does Hayduke think wage-earners should work without vacations, but now opines that 'they should also work without salary.' Maybe that is why Hayduke is here - to spread boss ideology among workers, and to get us all to work without stop, and for free.

> > Is any cause more lost than Luddism?
>
> Socialism?

   Especially 'revolutionary expropriatory socialism', so as not to confuse that obsolete program with innocuous social democracy.

> > ... the inevitable complete replacement of human labor by technology,
> > and with that, the loss of class privileges, domination over workers,
> > the
state and property? Workers are now but a few decades away
> > from
complete liberation, and won't allow spurious ideologies
> > to get in their way.
>
> This remains to be demonstrated.

   Naturally, it remains to be demonstrated. No one can say with any certainty that a big meteor isn't going to be detected tomorrow, radically changing everyone's plans for everything. Barring such an event, however, has Hayduke ever heard of the word 'extrapolation'? It is often used in mathematics, and connotes 'predicting a trend based on past performance'. Thus, even though no one can say for certain what's going to happen a decade from now, reasonable things can still be guessed. One example is: Home computers used kilobytes of memory 20 years ago, used megabytes 10 years ago, use gigabytes today, and might very well use terabytes a decade from now. Given past performance, would that extrapolation be totally off the wall?

   Also, assuming this century can be survived without major mishap, Ray Kurzweil says: at year 2000 rates, the 20th century experienced approx. 20 years of tech progress, while the 21st century could experience 20,000 years worth of progress (all at the year 2000 rate of improvement), because technology progresses at a detectable double exponential rate. Even Marx detected an ACCELERATION of tech change in his day. Does Hayduke have a better guess as to how much progress the 21st century will witness? Would zero technological progress be preferred? How about regress?

> I refuse to rest my case for socialism on the unproven
> potential of a new technology, especially one that is now
> solely controlled by capitalist industry and the military!

   I wonder if Hayduke indeed has a 'case for socialism'. Perhaps he can oblige us by describing that case for socialism, if 'Luddism' doesn't say it all.

   Hordes of nanobots have yet to be released to the general public, and Hayduke is correct about who controls nano for the time being. But, many a technology that was developed in inaccessible laboratories eventually did find their ways to mass markets. Think of all of the stuff Edison invented, and think about where much of Edison's $$ came from - rich investors. Hopefully, nano will someday proliferate widely enough to kill capitalism. Socialists don't reveal any capability of doing exactly that, while a Luddite program would perpetuate capitalism, class divisions, political oppression, economy, and scarcities forever.

> > At least SOME technologies FAR EXCEED the promises of their pioneers.
>
> In what ways?

   I already mentioned how the airline industry evolved from the experiments at Kitty Hawk, and how recent developments in autos far exceed what Henry Ford could have imagined in his day. Aren't those examples enough? Or, must the evolution of the inventions of Edison, Tesla, Marti, Armstrong, and many others be recounted? Hayduke figures that if he doesn't make a good faith effort to communicate, then no one will ever be able to accuse him of having lost an argument. With Hayduke, it isn't a question of working out our differences to further the greater good, what counts is maintaining plausible deniability of observable trends so as to maximize the potential for his program of perpetual worker enslavement to emerge victorious.

> Transportation technologies have drastically changed human
> society. No one can claim that
all the changes have improved
> the human condition.

   Certainly not ALL of the changes were benevolent, considering what the airplanes carrying atomic bombs did for Japan. Who was to blame for that disaster? The Enola Gay, the airplane industry, or the politics of the day?

> I'll be happy to go back to the horse and buggy any day.
> I may not even wait for the end of the Age of Oil!

   Bravo! Bring back the hayburners, and hope that Santa Cruz doesn't have an ordinance against horse pucky on its streets.

> > Certainly social upheaval occurs, but is that due to technology,
> > or to bad politics? People enjoy sanitation, refrigeration, home
> > theater, washers and driers, microwaves, stoves, etc. Do all of
> > these conveniences add up to 'social misery' for
Luddites?
>
> Look around you.
Socialists are the ones complaining about
> social misery.

   Complaints are complaints. Programs of action are another thing entirely. Besides, the 'social' misery which socialists love to complain about isn't really all that 'social'. Most people do anywhere from 'OK' to 'great'.

> Don't you suspect that the technology that surrounds
> us might have had something to do with it?

   Technology has certainly had a lot to do with making the rich richer than their wildest dreams, but compare the AVERAGE standard of living to a century ago, and it can't be argued that 'standards of living in developed countries have gone down.' People today have much more wealth and stuff.

> > Hayduke may be unaware of the little-known report advising that
> > '
nuclear waste could be neutralized by further reprocessing in a
> > reactor
' of some sort. Until a worse accident than 3 Mile Island
> > occurs, maybe the industry will be content with the
status quo
> > 'solution' of doing nothing. If they are really lucky, maybe
> > they can wait until nanobots solve the problem economically.
>
> If there ever is such a thing as a nanobot.
> I gave up science fiction decades ago.

   Nanobots may not be crawling around our environment yet, but they will. Listen to Hayduke, and one can get the impression that full size never gave way to miniaturization, miniaturization never gave way to micro, micro won't give way to nano, and nano won't give way to pico.

> Until we have some real technology to deal with radioactive
> waste proliferation, we must stop producing it.

   Start carrying a sign now, and maybe that industry can be brought to a screeching, grinding halt.

> Nuclear waste could be shot to the sun, but we're not
> willing to risk a high altitude explosion that would spread
> plutonium all over the world. Nanotechnology carries risks that
> we as a society must decide whether or not we want to accept.

   Sounds reasonable to me, but nano can't be stopped simply because of a few risks. The nature of the risks will become more specific with the passage of time, and those specific risks will be addressed. Generally, that's what happens in the real world.

> > To a Luddite, certainly nanotech must be 'unrealistic, wildly
> > misleading and ignorant
', but no proof was offered.
>
> Likewise, there is
no evidence presented to support the wild claims
> for nanatechnological omniscience.

   Which claim should be considered 'wild'?

> > All it takes is an open mind to detect actual trends. Hayduke still can't
> > admit that MICROtechnology exists, snipping, as he does, the thorniest
> > parts of previous messages, hoping everyone will forget how much he's
> > evaded, so rejection of nano (out of context) can then appear all the
> > more reasonable.
>
> What is MICROtechnology?

   It's the technology of microprocessors, found in every Mac and PC, for instance. Plus, they help run automobiles, appliances, phones, the Internet, etc. Their use escalates exponentially with the passage of time.

> What difference does it make? What does it have to do with
>
wildly unsupported claims for the new savior of mankind?

   Accomplishing as much work as they do, microprocessors are increasingly relevant to every imaginable aspect of life. The continued miniaturization of technology ensures continuously accelerating technological evolution, enabling more and more human labor to be replaced. The end of tech progress is nowhere in sight. Full size gave way to miniaturization (10 raised to the minus 3, or 10^-3), miniaturization gave way to microtech (10^-6), micro will give way to nano (10^-9), and nano will give way to pico (10^-12). Later, pico may give way to femto, and still later, femto to atto, and so on. Until future generations determine the real limit to miniaturization, technology will continue to shrink, and will simultaneously become far more versatile and intelligent.

> > Control? How will nanotech be controlled, and who will control it?
>
>
Exactly as it is controlled right now.

   When nano becomes ubiquitous, it won't need to be controlled, because its benevolence will be pre-programmed. Service to humans will be its primary raison d'etre. Humans developed it, so it will be our baby.

> Who's doing the research? Who's paying for it?

   If Hayduke doesn't pay taxes, then he can truthfully say that he isn't paying for it, but nearly a billion tax dollars this year are subsidizing whatever nano research that isn't privately funded.

> Who will reap the profits from its use?
> Not you or me, I'll guarantee!

   After the abolition of labor, capital, and the work week, profits will also belong to history.

> > After the abolitions of labor, capital, and the work week, the state
> > and
private property will soon after find no rationale for continued
> > existence. Safeguards built into nano during the era of
labor would
> > ensure that the really far-out future nano can never be used by
> > one portion of the population against another.
>
> Uh-huh. Just as
nuclear energy was promised to be totally safe,
> the
boon of mankind, too cheap to meter.

   Who but a wild-eyed fanatic of the 1940's or 50's would have claimed nuclear power to be 'totally safe'? Nano by itself doesn't emit alpha, beta or gamma rays. Practically all that's needed is to prevent nano from turning into 'gray goo'.

> As long as humans are involved, new technologies will
> continue to
cause more problems than they solve.

   Homeopathy was a new healing technology in the 1800's. How many problems has homeopathy caused? Also, should the 'near deaf' give up their hearing aids? Your generalizations fail to convince.

> > Who says nano will necessarily be any more evil than
> > toasters and bread boxes?
>
> No one says nantechnology is evil.

   11,800 web pages associate nano with evil. Here's a quote from the very first page found in an "evil nanotechnology" search: "According to Goldsmith, he was told by a Sun Microsystems senior scientist that nanotechnology will open Pandora's most terrifying box, and that the technology is "evil"."

   Nano has bitter enemies in pretty high places, but they won't succeed in stopping it. Any country foolish enough to ban it would soon be eating dust, economically speaking. Capitalists have NO CHOICE but to be first and foremost in the race to miniaturize technology.

> Any technology must be deployed by humans, who have
> their own ideas about who benefits from its use.

   With the abolitions of labor, the work week, capital, class divisions, the state and private property, politics over nano will also end. Non-selfish human interests will be served without conflict. Learning to share the vanishing work will help humans overcome selfishness.

> Any technology has negative effects and nanotechnology is no exception.
> The actual and potential negative effects of any technology must be
> studied carefully and communicated accurately to the people, so
> we can decide
democratically whether or not we want to adopt it.

   Aside from the potential of 'gray goo', what are the 'negative effects of nano'? Here's one possibility: Inhaling nano particles causes lung disease, but nano particles and nanobots are two different things. The alleged need for 'democratic control over nano' is overblown, as it assumes that 'only evil fiends plotting permanent harm or mass enslavement are controlling it', and 'they intend to use nano solely for political purposes.' No more intent to use nano to oppress people can be detected than what Edison demonstrated in his plans for the light bulb. Politics is what determines if technology is used for evil, so abolish politics. To do that, abolish class privilege. To do that, abolish class distinctions. To do that, abolish the distinction between worker and boss. To do that, abolish labor. Future technology alone can abolish labor. Our task is clear. Nurture technology, reap the consequences in terms of a tendency to lay off workers, and simultaneously promote work sharing to prevent unemployment from going out of control. That's a labor-friendly program. Simple enough for Hayduke to understand? Is Hayduke too bourgeois to support it?

> The most obvious parallel is genetically modified foods, a technology
> developed by capitalist industry to increase profits, despite well
> recognized negative effects on all living things. The people are
> in the process of rejecting
GE foods, despite fascist attempts
> by the United States
government to ram it down our throats.

   'Parallel'? The nano experience won't be the same. Some similarities may exist, but only a fanatical GE enthusiast would claim that 'GE foods can solve more problems than nano.' That absurdity should be obvious to all.

> The same process must be followed for nanotechnology.
>
> Michael

   Oversight of nano is on its way, without doubt. Caution is a virtue.

 

08-06-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke continued to oppose leisure time for workers:

> > In a socialist forum, to be unable to advocate measures that are clearly
> > in the interests of workers, is more of a CRIME than merely bizarre.
>
> I disagree that
a government mandated vacation is in the interests
> of the workers.
A CRIME?

   Perhaps Hayduke has never heard of the labor market, and that supply and demand for labor influences the price of labor, aka wages. Unemployment has risen over the past 3 years from 4% to over 6%, increasing competition for scarce jobs, tending to drive wages down, enabling profits to rise. A law establishing a minimum 3 week paid vacation would help diminish unemployment and competition, and would help reduce downward pressures on wages, proving that vacations are definitely in the interests of workers. Refusal to favor such a law is hardly to be expected in a socialist forum, unless socialism has been stolen by bourgeois interests, and perverted from its traditional aim of emancipating labor.

> And who is the authoritarian on this list
> who serves as cop and judge?

   Often frustrated by bourgeois intransigence, I've often wished that the obsolete Marxist scenario of violent proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship were viable so that traitors to workers' interests could be put on trial. But, that will never happen, revenge will remain but a dream, and bye-gones will be bye-gones.

> > Hayduke's anti-labor stance clashes with socialism,
> > at least with early versions.
>
> I have no anti-
labor stance; I have an anti-job stance.

   Refusal to advocate more leisure time for wage slaves amounts to being anti-labor, practically by definition.

> >> I have no reason to advocate for a legislated 3 week minimum
> >> vacation
for workers.
> >
> > Especially if
wage-earner consciousness is absent, and/or if
> > exploitation is a pleasant thought.
>
> I am neither wage-earner nor am I exploited. I love my work!

   This discussion should be more than just an endless parade of the inner joys of a happy 'worker' past an audience of the downtrodden.

> > Then call all of Europe 'silly', because "The U.S. is the only
> > industrialized country in the world without paid vacation laws on the
> > books
," said Robinson. "Vacation time is completely up to the employer" ...
>
> Rather, I would see the United States as realistic in acknowledging
> that
vacation time is not a matter for government control.

   It will be a matter for gov't control eventually, perhaps after Greenspan's machinations fail miserably at putting enough people to work, and no one else comes up with any better ideas. When the gov't throws its up hands in frustrated despair, then it may be more willing to listen to workers.

> > If vacations are legally mandated in other countries, then no
> > overriding
legal principle prevents similar enactments in the USA.
>
> The United States
government is not led by overriding legal principles
> from outside the United States. Other countries are
free to regulate
> their workers how they see fit, with no obligation on the part of
> the United States
government to follow suit.

   Thanks for the reminder of those sad truths, but I was responding to your earlier suggestion:

>>> I think the whole idea is silly and not within the purview
>>> of
federal legislation.

   There the LEGALITY of vacation legislation was doubted, but the legality of such legislation in Europe reveals that its legality in the USA need never become an issue, though capitalists may go to court to try blocking its implementation.

> > And what does all of the extra work amount to? - SURPLUS VALUE!
> > Competition for scarce jobs ALSO worsens, which drives
wages down. Hayduke
> > simply wants the
rich to get richer, and the poor poorer by comparison.
>
> Tut, tut! You do
not know what Hayduke wants! Hayduke does not give you
> permission to speak for Hayduke.

   Excuse me for reading between the lines, and detecting your alignment with capitalists who are too afraid to admit that they prefer labor to go without salary or vacation.

> >> Many people in the United States do not require vacations in their
> >> work arrangement and would therefore
not be included in such a
> >>
one-size-fits-all law, therefore the law would benefit the few.
> >
> > Few workplaces, if any, physically FORCE people to take
vacations;
>
> Please notice that I said nothing about "
workplaces" forcing workers to
> take
vacations. Why bring this up? Those of us who are self-employed and
> control our own work life, do not need
vacations from our good work.

   Workplaces stand between the law and workers. Labor laws actually apply to workplaces, not to workers. When labor laws are broken, are workers hauled before the courts? My use of 'workplaces' hence was perfectly relevant, as any socialist or experienced worker will recognize. Your "one-size-fits-all law" comment implied 'forcing nasty laws down the throats of bosses', laws you and the bosses would doubtlessly find objectionable. {Later: I think I misread Hayduke's statement the first time around. A closer reading finds Hayduke exempting, perhaps by personal fiat, 'many people' from the proposed labor law, though far fewer loopholes out of the one-size-fits-all law would avail than what Hayduke indicated.}

> > Hayduke's appeal to 'freedom from laws'
> > amounts to siding with exploiters of
labor.
>
> No, I side with independent craftsmen controlling their own work life.

   The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on August 1: "The civilian labor force decreased by 556,000 in July to 146.5 million." Hayduke can afford to ignore the needs of 146.5 million Americans, and cater only to the blissfully self-employed. Who does he think populates socialist forums, the blissfully self-employed?

> > His anti-labor attitude is too thinly disguised to escape detection.
> > No matter how well his arguments are refuted,
labor will always be
> > sacrificed on the altar of
capital. He is as intransigent as a
> > leopard's spots are indelible.
>
> Hey, I like my spots!
Labor is never sacrificed on the alter of capital
> when workers control their own work lives.

   That's some teacher who doesn't know the difference between 'altEr' and 'altAr'.

> > Look at this! Not only does Hayduke think wage-earners should work without
> >
vacations, but now opines that 'they should also work without salary.'
>
> This is being
unnecessarily melodramatic: I said nothing of the sort.

   Objective observers might be better judges of what you meant by:

>>> Furthermore, I view vacation time as no different from salary,
>>> a
fop to keep salaried workers compliant and quiescent.

   Isn't Hayduke on record denying the importance of vacation time to workers? And, if 'vacation time is NO DIFFERENT from salary', then isn't Hayduke denying the importance of salary as well?

> Again: You do not know what Hayduke wants! Hayduke does not give you
> permission to speak for Hayduke.

   Hayduke reveals what Hayduke is. We merely summarize.

> > Maybe that is why Hayduke is here - to spread boss ideology
> > among workers, and to get us all to work without stop,
> > and for
free.
>
> I thought that was what
WSM was all about: getting everyone to work for free!

   Wrong forum, Hayduke. The WSM might want workers to work for free, but I hope Wiccans are smart and independent enough to differ. Perhaps the WIC perspective on 'working for free' could be accurately revealed by someone who knows for sure.

> > Thus, even though no one can say for certain
> > what's going to happen a decade from now,
> >
reasonable things can still be guessed.
>
> And it remains a
guess, devoid of empirical evidence to support it.

   The on-line dictionary gives for 'empirical' - "1: originating in or based on observation or experience" ...

   Is it not our Western world experience that personal computers of 20 years ago used kilobytes of memory, used megabytes 10 years ago, and use gigabytes today? Won't it seem reasonable another decade from now if computers use terabytes of memory?

> > Also, assuming this century can be survived without major mishap, Ray
> > Kurzweil says:
at year 2000 rates, the 20th century experienced approx.
> > 20 years of tech progress, while the 21st century could experience 20,000
> > years worth of progress (all at the year 2000 rate of improvement)
,
> > because
technology progresses at a detectable double exponential rate.
>
> This is
meaningless. What does tech progress mean: new nuclear
> bombs, advances in oil-spill clean-up techniques, bigger, faster
> cars, more out-dated computers in land fills?

   Tech progress in the 21st century will hopefully result in the abolitions of labor, capital, and other institutions unfit for the socialist label.

> Technology only changes; progress is culturally defined. My
> culture defines present rapid technology changes in terms
> other than mythical "
progress" toward some undefined
> goal. What is the goal of technology progress?

   The goal is to automate the satiation of human needs. That is the task of the capitalist system. More efficient production yields higher profit, and only capitalists prepared to go down with their sinking ships would be content to sit on their laurels while leaving innovation to others. Some do precisely that, which is why SOME businesses fail.

> > Does Hayduke have a better guess as to how much
> > progress the 21st century will witness?
>
> If present trends continue, the 21st Century will witness
> social and technological regression to pre-19th Century
> levels, if we're very, very lucky.

   In other words, 'disaster of some sort looms on the horizon, throwing us back to the stone age, at least partially'? What kind of disaster? War, famine, pestilence, ecological collapse? All of the above and more?

> > I wonder if Hayduke indeed has a 'case for socialism'. Perhaps he can
> > oblige us by describing that
case for socialism, if 'Luddism' doesn't
> > say it all.
>
> I've been explicating my case for
Socialism on the WSM list
> for some time now. If you don't have access to those
posts,
> let me know and I'll explain it to you personally.

   Further down in this message, Hayduke reveals important details of his vision. My own vision concurs with M+E's vision of a future classless and stateless society, but disagrees with M+E's 'power and property' path to that goal. Instead, hours of labor will be driven down to counteract layoffs caused by productivity boosts, thereby gradually abolishing the difference in leisure time between labor and the idle rich.

> > Think of all of the stuff Edison invented, and think about
> > where much of Edison's $$ came from - rich investors.
>
> and
this is a good thing?

   Absolutely. Unless light bulbs, victrolas, hearing aids, etc., should be regarded as 'evil'. Not many people would agree.

> > Hopefully, nano will someday proliferate widely enough to kill capitalism.
>
> Technology will never "
kill" social systems. Only humans
> can apply technology to a desired end.

   Since many in this forum seek the abolition of capitalism, does your 'humans applying technology' scenario apply to the abolition of capitalism as well? If so, then please flesh out a few more details of how the technology should be applied.

   This forum ought to agree down to the last socialist that "advances in the means of production cause social systems to succeed one another, such as ancient slavery succeeding primitive classless and stateless communism, feudalism succeeding slavery, and capitalism succeeding feudalism." How will socialism succeed capitalism? By revolutionaries smashing the capitalist state? Thought about more carefully, socialists would have to agree that "Future advances in productivity will eventually result in the abolition of labor, class divisions, capitalism, the state, private property, and money." Some might be under the misimpression that 'socialist parties are going to have an AWFUL lot to do with the abolition of capitalism', but they won't. Not even advocates of a shorter work week will have an influence. The only people who count in the abolition of capitalism are scientists and engineers, and the capitalists who are willing to invest in research and innovations. Governments also help by providing research funds. Shocking?

> > Socialists don't reveal any capability of doing exactly that,
> > while a
Luddite program would perpetuate capitalism, class
> > divisions, political oppression, economy, and scarcities forever.
>
> Luddism is the recognition that
technology change produces
>
negative social changes.

   Are people so masochistic by their inner nature as to exacerbate pure negativity? 'Far-fetched' would be an understatement.

> As such, Luddism cannot perpetuate any social structure.

   But, if Luddites would never allow innovation, then how would they manage the supersession of capitalism? Would the supersession then be totally political, and would the worst excesses of Jacobinism, Bolshevism, Maoism, Pol Potism, etc., have to be called into play to purify the population?

> In fact, I would suggest that a Luddist perspective
> would be
quite healthy against guarding against
> technological change that could steer
> society into
entrenched capitalism.

   By 'technological change', it appears as though 'greater productivity' is being hinted at. Does greater productivity entrench society into capitalism? If so, then, is the opposite true? Does lower productivity lead to socialism?

> > I already mentioned how the airline industry evolved from the
> > experiments at Kitty Hawk, and how recent developments in autos
> > far exceed what Henry Ford could have imagined in his day.
>
> And
this is a good thing? Haven't the airline industry and the
> automobile industry
destroyed community relations in the
> United States and most of the rest of the world?

   I thought travel helped build international solidarity, because of first hand experiences with previously unknown peoples. Our high school enjoyed hosting an exchange student from France, and everyone regarded the experience as a way to build bridges between people. The easier the ways to travel, the better people understand one another. Same goes for modern satellite communications. What would progressives do without Al-Jazeera?

> > Hayduke figures... blah, blah, blah.
>
> You do
not know what Hayduke figures! Hayduke does not give you
> permission to speak for Hayduke.

   Here's what I wrote that may have bothered Hayduke: "Hayduke figures that if he doesn't make a good faith effort to communicate, then no one will ever be able to accuse him of having lost an argument. With Hayduke, it isn't a question of working out our differences to further the greater good, what counts is maintaining plausible deniability of observable trends so as to maximize the potential for his program of perpetual worker enslavement to emerge victorious." Which parts of that conjecture are valid?

> > Certainly not ALL of the changes were benevolent, considering what the
> > airplanes carrying atomic bombs did for Japan. Who was to blame for that
> > disaster? The Enola Gay, the airplane industry, or the politics of the day?
>
> Without unquestioned technological "progress," nuclear weaponry and our
> vast armada weapons of mass destruction would never have been developed.

   That's true, but people generally approve of developing powerful and dangerous weapons out of fear of what the 'enemy' might do. If peace were extremely high in priority, pro-armament administrations would be voted out of power, and peaceniks would rule.

> > Bravo! Bring back the hayburners, and hope that Santa Cruz doesn't
> > have an
ordinance against horse pucky on its streets.
>
> As it turns out, we don't nor is there any need for such a
law.
> If you knew anything about horses, you'd understand why.

   What I know about horses from TV pales before hands-on experience, I readily admit. Santa Cruz deserves congratulations on its enlightened attitude toward a traditional mode of transport.

> > Technology has certainly had a lot to do with making the rich richer
> > than their wildest dreams, but compare the AVERAGE
standard of living
> > to a century ago, and it can't be argued that '
standards of living in
> > developed countries have
gone down.' People today have much
> > more wealth and stuff.
>
> And
this is a good thing?

   If Hayduke thinks that 'rising standards of living are bad', then I guess we will have to resign ourselves to polar opposition on that issue. How high will the post-capitalist standard of living be? - Infinite. Any innocuous thing imaginable will be created without sweat or struggle.

> > Nanobots may not be crawling around our environment yet, but they will.
>
>
Not if I have anything to say about it! And I'm not alone!

   Nano is as inevitable as was the march from full size to miniature, and from miniature to micro, no matter how many people can be rallied in opposition.

> > Listen to Hayduke, and one can get the impression that full size never
> > gave way to miniaturization, miniaturization
never gave way to micro,
> > micro
won't give way to nano, and nano won't give way to pico.
>
> Yes,
technology changes through history. And the point is?

   I'm surprised. I expected another denial of the obvious. Recognition of the fact of miniaturization is a foundation upon which to build agreement.

> > nano can't be stopped simply because of a few risks.
>
> Any technology that presents unacceptable risks to any living
> things must be modified, controlled or stopped altogether.

   It's too bad that the anti-nuke people half a century ago could not have been more effective. Evil consequences of nuclear abound, though the suffering and damages certainly could have been worse.

> > The nature of the risks will become more specific with the passage
> > of time, and those specific risks will be addressed. Generally,
> > that's what happens in the real world.
>
> Generally, that's now what happens in the real world.

   That's what I said, unless you meant to write 'not' in place of "now".

> generally, new technologies are developed with public money
> for private profit, and
legislation that would limit the damage
> caused by the technology is stalled by for-profit interests.

   That's par for the course with many new technologies, and is what keeps activists on their toes.

> It is entirely naive to think that any new technology will
> ever
escape this pattern and create out of thin air a social
> revolution
that would permit its development to create
> the social revolution.

   This sentence seems internally confused or redundant. Nevertheless, it aims at {Later: 'aims at' should read: 'denies'} the possibility that 'ideas, politics or people might cause a newer system of production to replace an older.' That raises the question: which person or party was to blame, or was responsible for, the transition from feudalism to capitalism? Also, who or what will cause capitalism to be replaced by socialism?

> > Which claim should be considered 'wild'?
>
> The claim that
nanotechnology will bring about a social revolution.
>
The revolution must come first before the technology can be developed
> outside the capitalist for-profit, military industrial system that
> now controls it for private gain.

   That perspective is similar to the idea that 'socialist revolutions will create a new mode of production based on socially cooperative labor.' 20th century events negated that perspective when Europe refused to revolt (in sufficient numbers) in support of the Bolsheviks. Russia was forced to go it alone, and every communist revolution turned out far different from the democracy promised by Marx. The idea that 'a political act can liberate humanity from capitalist oppression' is now laughable, which is the best that can be said about it, considering that its purveyors, especially leaders, are guilty of the same shenanigans they love to pin on capitalists and the state.

> > Accomplishing as much work as they do, microprocessors are increasingly
> > relevant to every imaginable aspect of life. The continued
miniaturization
> > of technology ensures continuously accelerating technological evolution,
> > enabling more and more human labor to be replaced.
>
> And
this is a good thing?

   Yes. Tech evolution applies pressure to lay off workers, leaving them with little choice other than to TAKE their liberation from drudgery.

> > The end of tech progress is nowhere in sight. Full size
> > gave way to miniaturization (10 raised to the minus 3, or 10^-3),
> > miniaturization gave way to microtech (10^-6), micro will give way
> > to nano (10^-9), and nano will give way to pico (10^-12). Later,
> > pico may give way to femto, and still later, femto to atto, and
> > so on. Until future generations determine the real limit to
> > miniaturization, technology will continue to shrink, and will
> > simultaneously become far more versatile and intelligent.
>
> And
this is a good thing?

   Yes, because it is all part of the liberation of humans from detested toil.

> > When nano becomes ubiquitous, it won't need to be controlled, because
> > its benevolence will be pre-programmed.
>
> Ah-hah! Nanotechnology has to be
programmed? Who does the programming?

   Software engineers for now, until the technology responds to voice commands.

> Who decides what nantechnology is to do,

   Application engineers for now, until the technology responds to voice commands.

> who decides who nantechnology is to profit?

   While society still is still divided into workers and bosses, nano will certainly profit bosses as usual. Later on, when nano replaces human labor, no one has to work for anyone else, the division between capital and labor disappears, commodities are no longer commodities and are simply 'useful things', then profits will be no more.

> Why the naive faith in the controllers of nanotechnology
> to work for the common good. It's
never happened before!
> Why should it happen now?

   'Technology working for the common good never happened before'? What about hearing aids and light bulbs? Don't light bulbs benefit those who like to see where they're going?

> > Service to humans will be its primary raison d'etre.
> >
Humans developed it, so it will be our baby.
>
>
Humans also developed hydrogen bombs and used them to kill millions of
> other
humans. Why would humans use nanotechnology any differently?

   In the beginning, military applications for nano will certainly be sought. Later, as people learn to cooperate better to share the vanishing work, and workless paradise begins to attract like a magnet, the absurdity of war and aggression will become more firmly implanted in popular consciousness, and nano redirected towards peaceful and benevolent purposes. The pendulum will probably swing toward programming nano never to be used by one group of humans vs. another.

> > If Hayduke doesn't pay taxes, then he can truthfully say that he
> >
isn't paying for it, but nearly a billion tax dollars this year are
> > subsidizing whatever nano research that isn't privately funded.
>
> Uh-huh. Through whom and for whose benefit. As I said, technology
> is developed on
public money for private profit. Twas ever thus!

   'Twas ever thus', few doubt, but nothing lasts forever, certainly not capitalism. If feudalism didn't last forever, then why should anyone worry about capitalism?

> > snip a little repetition
> >
> > Who but a wild-eyed fanatic of the 1940's or 50's would have claimed
> >
nuclear power to be 'totally safe'? Nano by itself doesn't emit alpha,
> > beta or gamma rays.
>
> When the for-profit ventures were lobbying the United States
>
government on behalf of nuclear energy, it was touted as
>
completely safe a boon to mankind, too cheap to meter.

   There is 'safe', implying 'safe within limits', or 'safe while using necessary precautions'; whereas 'completely safe' points more toward 'no need for caution'. If 1950's nuke advocates ever claimed it was 'completely safe', then shielding would never have been advised and employed. Many of the pioneers of various aspects of nuclear industries learned its 'complete safety' by bitter experience. As one web site states: "The discoverer of the X-ray, W. K. Roentgen, died of bone cancer in 1923, and the two pioneers in its medical use, Madame Marie Curie and her daughter, Irene, both died of aplastic anaemia at ages 67 and 59 respectively." See http://www.ratical.org/radiation/NRBE/NRBE10.html

> Since you don't know this, you must be too young
> to remember
. Read it in the history books.

   1950's nuclear propaganda barely made an impression on this 60 year old. In grade school, I do remember occasional special presentations, one of them excoriating the Rosenbergs, communists, and Marx. Plus, we were taught to 'duck and cover' in response to a big flash of light. The joke was on us.

> > Practically all that's needed is to prevent nano
> > from turning into '
gray goo'.
>
> The
grey goo headline has long gone out of relevancy.

   What made it irrelevant? BTW, my futile search led to this site entitled 'Nanosocialism': http://www.cla.sc.edu/ENGL/faculty/berube/nanosoc.htm

> The simple fact is that no one knows what will be the effects
> of
human produced materials at the nano scale.

   'Human produced materials' conjures up an image of an army of machinists cranking out nanothings, but the literature doesn't promote it. Foresight Institute President Christine Petersen recently stated: "First, environmental benefits from clean manufacturing. If you look at how nature builds physical objects, it uses systems of molecular machinery -- actual machines that operate down at the molecular level. It's an extremely clean way to build products. The goal for nanotechnology is to be able to do that as well -- to use artificial, molecular machine systems to build all of our products. Right now, whenever we build something, there are all these leftover atoms and molecules that end up often in the water and in the air. There's no excuse for this; nature doesn't do it that dirtily."

   Is 'clean manufacturing' something Hayduke can support?

> Until we know, from controlled experiemntation,
> it is fruitless to make such
wide-eyed predictions.

   Which predictions can be described as 'wide-eyed'?

> > Nano has bitter enemies in pretty high places, but they won't succeed
> > in stopping it. Any country foolish enough to ban it would soon be
> > eating dust, economically speaking. Capitalists have NO CHOICE but
> > to be first and foremost in the race to miniaturize technology.
>
> I thought this was a list about
Socialists!
> Why this
defense of Capitalists?

   In my paragraph, what could be construed as a 'defense of capitalists'?

> > With the abolitions of labor, the work week, capital, class divisions,
> > the state and private property
, politics over nano will also end.
> > Non-selfish
human interests will be served without conflict.
> > Learning to
share the vanishing work will help humans
> > overcome selfishness.
>
> Oh please! these
unending glowing predictions about
> the
end of labor are so juvenile and tiring.

   The abolition of labor is exciting, and is something to look forward to, especially if I can last long enough to see it.

> Socialism doesn't exist!

   Not now, but it will, especially if it's defined as classless and stateless society, and not 'proletarian dictatorship'.

> How can you say anything so categorical about an untested
> social system that has been soundly defeated and suppressed
> throughout all of human history? One might as well tout
> miracles!

   Socialism, as classless and stateless society, has yet to arrive. What the Leninists regard as socialism, or the dictatorship of the proletariat, was attempted in Russia in 1917, but the failure of Europe to support the Bolsheviks with socialist revolutions of their own fatally damaged the new system, which ended up no better than a mere caricature of Marx's vision. Sure, expropriators were expropriated, but then capitalism had to be restored to get the economy going again. Plus, where was the democracy promised by Marx? Freedoms of speech and association? Without simultaneous socialist revolutions in the most developed countries, whatever anyone might want to experiment with in lone revolutionary countries would certainly not amount to much.

> > snip a bit of repetition
> >
> > Politics is what determines if technology is used for evil,
> > so abolish politics. To do that,
abolish class privilege. To
> > do that,
abolish class distinctions. To do that, abolish the
> > distinction between worker and boss.
To do that, abolish labor.
> > Future technology alone can
abolish labor. Our task is clear.
> > Nurture technology, reap the consequences in terms of a
> > tendency to
lay off workers, and simultaneously promote
> >
work sharing to prevent unemployment from going out of
> > control. That's a
labor-friendly program.
>
> This is a
concentric bird argument, one that flies around in
> ever-decreasing circles until it disappears up its own ass-hole.

   Can't your opposition to worker lib be phrased less crudely?

> > The nano experience won't be the same.
>
> How can one be so sure when nano is still a
pipe dream
> in the minds of
unquestioning technology enthusiasts?
>
> Michael

   If I had been a simple-minded unquestioning enthusiast, I would never have questioned the quality of my first revolutionary party's teachings, and I would still be selling anarcho-syndicalism cleverly disguised as 'socialism'. Thinking my way through their scam boosted confidence in my ability to detect other scams, so I need not fear being scammed again in quite the same way.

 

08-06-03

   In worldincommon, "johnfull2" wrote, in part:

> Again, I ask the question; what form will religion take under
>
socialism? Will it be the art of socialist realism, the poetry of
>
victorious solidarity, the music of giant gears spinning? In other
> words, with so much emphasis on
materialism, will there be room
> for those things beyond 'bread alone' to which Jesus referred?...
>
> John

   I think religion as we know it will eventually go the way of labor, capital, class distinctions, the state, private property, etc. Socialist society may not have much need for religion, though many people may want to continue the old traditions, at least for awhile. 'Going to church' is innocuous enough in itself, and if someone wants to don a robe and pontificate, then it may not hurt the orator to orate, however much the ears of the congregation may be assaulted with nonsense. Churches may remain, though authoritative church bureaucracies will probably become superfluous and disappear.

 

08-06-03

   In worldincommon, "johnfull2" wrote:

> I was thinking more about art, poetry, music, and dance.
> These have meaning on the same level as
religious experience...

   Oh. I'm sure that they and all other forms of self expression will flourish, once people acquire more time to follow their interests.

 

08-06-03

   "Kurt Cagle" wrote:

> I am a programmer,
> and have wrestled for some time with the disquieting reality that the
> code that I am writing can be used to replace a couple hundred person
> accounts-payable/accounts-receivable department with a dozen "managers"
> and an accounts infrastructure package. The savings to the company: $3.5
> million a year. The number of people forced to find other work, 160.

   Rather than feel guilty about developing labor saving technologies, I think such work should be approached with alacrity and passion, knowing that it plays a progressive role in liberating humans from toil. What if humans stall or hesitate in their obligation to liberate themselves by taking the benefits of increased productivity in the form of greater leisure? That's nothing for enlightened workers to feel guilty about, as long as they play a role in helping educate people to the necessity of demanding a minimum 3 week paid vacation, more paid holidays, higher overtime premiums, shorter work weeks, earlier retirement ages with full benefits, etc.

> I think this class movement, when it comes, will be explosive
> and
enormously destabilizing.

   I rather think that politicians who want to be re-elected will lead the way in seeing to it that the remaining work gets shared more equitably. Even my Republican ex-Governor openly expressed interest in work-sharing, perhaps the most progressive thing she ever said in her life.

> The chronically poor, in general, have little clout and
> little interest in
revolution, since all such revolutions
> hurt the poor disproportionately.

   True. Plus, after developed countries adopted democracy as their form of state, the question of 'revolution' was forever set aside as irrelevant.

> The middle class, on the other hand, does not take becoming
> poorer well, and when a sufficiently large percentage of that
> middle class is disenfranchised as well, things get
bloody.

   Compare the standard of living today to that of a century ago, and it can be seen that things do get better with time. No politician will play a part in grinding the masses down, because the consequence to that foolishness would be the loss of elections and power. Most politicians want participation in the economy to be maximized to keep things from going awry, but are also pulled the other way to try to keep the USA more profitable than other countries. So, U-3 unemployment is maintained at around 5%, if possible.

 

08-07-03

   In worldincommon, "johnfull2" wrote, in part:

> Ken,
>
> The following excerpt seems to highlight the
need for collective
> action
to 'wrest' control of nanotechnology somehow...

   The notion of 'wresting' is hard to get away from in socialism, so they will probably try again and again to 'wrest'. But, the number of ways to wrest is infinite, many of which are incompatible with others, so socialists will probably argue loud and long over 'how to wrest'. The nice part about the shorter work time agenda is that all of the devices - higher overtime premiums, longer paid vacations, more paid holidays, a shorter work week, earlier retirement with full benefits, etc. - complement one another, and all emancipate workers - from what? Workers in the West certainly don't need emancipation from absolute monarchies, but they do need emancipation from competition for scarce jobs, as well as from long hours of labor.

   Workers not having control over the means of production didn't prevent standards of living in the West from rising dramatically over the past century, so I don't know what's so important about 'wresting control over nanotech'. If, like light bulbs and victrolas, nanotech turns out to be useful to the masses, then nanotech will certainly become available on a mass basis.

 

08-08-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke wrote, in part:

> ... about tool use affecting human evolution. I hope we can agree
> that
tool use is not a factor in human evolution and that Homo sapiens
> has largely stepped outside the processes of
biological evolution by
> removing us from
selective pressures. As you intimated at one point,
> we keep
humans alive with phenotypic expressions that otherwise
> would be fatal or prevent reproduction. This means that
evolutions
> has stopped for
Homo sapiens, until such time as natural biological
> and geophysical processes are once again transcendent over
>
human behavior.
>
> Michael

   Jeez, and I thought EVERYONE accepted the idea that the human opposable thumb evolved out of tool use, but believers in Luddite science apparently don't think so. Here's one site agreeing with the link between tool use and human evolution: http://www.news.uiuc.edu/scitips/01/03evolution.html

   "Complex tool-making, which required fine motor skills, problem-solving and task planning, he {Stanley Ambrose} argues, may have influenced the evolution of the frontal lobe, and co-evolved with the gift of grammatical language 300,000 years ago.

   "Bimanual tool use was the first major breakthrough. The ability to steady an object with one hand while working the object with a tool held in the other, led to preferential handedness. Habitual tool-making and use "may have led to lateralization of brain function and set the stage for the evolution of language," Ambrose said. The chimpanzee has poor bimanual coordination, no overall preference for right-handedness, weak precision grip and limited wrist mobility and thumb strength -- anatomical features critical for making and using complex tools."

 

08-08-03

   In worldincommon, "johnfull2" wrote:

> Just to reiterate; the Western Europeans and Canadians
> and other
social democracies have 'wrested' more of the
> benefits of technology through
union action on the streets
> and inside
governments, while Americans have been deceived
> into believing that
the 'hidden hand' of the market will bestow
> benefits automatically -- and have thereby actually lost
> ground on
hours of work, conditions of work, etc.

   'Wrest' is closely associated with Marx's revolutionary proletarian dictatorship (me6.504): "The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible." Only 'simultaneous social-democratic revolutions in the most developed countries' would have bestowed the requisite power in the hands of would-be expropriators, but revolutions didn't happen that way, and instead communist revolutions occurred in single countries, one at a time, proving that 'wresting' is no longer relevant to Western possibilities, so that word could stand to be abandoned. In recent times, standards of living climb in the West, made possible by struggle against the blind market forces of supply and demand, and competition. Nothing automatic about getting benefits, except for benefits perhaps APPEARING automatic by taking a very long and distant view of the progress of the past century. Get close enough, though, and lower class suffering and struggle become very evident.

> I know your ideas well enough to know that you
>
don't believe in a hidden hand of the market.

   I guess it all depends upon what is meant by 'hidden hand of the market'. The market has no doubt been amazing. Socialists have been predicting the imminent collapse of capitalism for nearly 2 centuries, but it keeps ticking along. 'Collapse' was a highlight of a socialist study class back in 1972, and I went home thinking that the revolution was nigh. Was I disappointed. One thing that has not been carefully enough analyzed by socialists is the amount of surplus value that has been pumped back into the system in the form of re-investment in new tools, expansion of business, etc. If all of their wealth instead went into a few luxuries and into the bank, then of course hours of labor would have been reduced by now, but the amount of re-investment has been truly phenomenal. Capitalism ends up being a very adaptable system, and will continue to be, until the abolition of labor. The economy won't stop being frenetic and hectic until then, given the rather complete lack of interest in slowing things down by legislating the shorter work time agenda. Instead of wanting to get control of the labor market, activists seem much more desirous of wresting control over power and property, a 19th century agenda if there ever was one, and applicable only to what some socialists conceived as a strong possibility for the bye-gone era of hoped-for simultaneous social-democratic revolutions in Europe.

> You believe that Americans need to reorganize
> vigorously and re-establish
democracy.

   When did I ever say that? I've been repeating that 'the era of democratic revolution is over in the West', so there's no need of 're-establishing democracy'. The situation is no worse than 'some activists needing to learn to use the democratic tools already in place'. Many times Engels' 1866 article about the Prussian Military Question has been quoted to the effect that 'democracy bestows all of the tools needed by workers.' Communists of 1866 wanted simultaneous democratic revolutions, and for that reason were social-democrats in the first place, and would have been expropriators in the second place IF AND ONLY IF revolutions were indeed simultaneous. After Russia set the reverse precedent of 'lone revolutions in single countries', communism simply could not go back to being what it was in Marx's day. Many of today's activists have insufficient knowledge of the history of democratic revolution, plus the meager circumstances around which expropriation would thereafter be feasible. Communist expropriation has become such an out-of-context religion with some, shared by enough others in their cults, that they refuse to re-examine the subject. It's painful to lose one's faith. I know from personal experience. It doesn't even help to be consoled by the fact that 'it could be a growth experience.' Who wants to grow, if growth involves pain? In the meantime, solace can always be found within the group, so 'to heck with naysayers'.

> You also know that this same organizing activity must
> happen in India, China, Vietnam, and all other societies
> where production has moved, in order to remove the
> competitive pressure that is driving down the
> standard of living in America.

   I think we are at least close to being on the same wave-length there, though I still believe that the West should set an example by first making all of its labor laws more consistent from one country to another. In that regard, the USA lags behind most others, so the bulk of the tasks fall squarely on American activists who are unfortunately still mired in 19th century ideologies, and have thereby rendered themselves 'less than optimally useful'.

> Again; I know that you know these things.
> I just think that you
should attach a coda for
> the idea each time that you talk of the potential
> benefits of technology...ok?

   I don't know. I'd hate to repeat myself over and over again, for I already developed a reputation in that regard.

 

08-09-03

   "johnfull2" wrote:

> You're still too passive when you talk about 'western countries
> coordinating their
policies'. The US is the laggard because it has
> the weakest link between the
government and labor unions. I agree
> with so much of what you say, if you could just demonstrate a
> mechanism whereby competitive pressures will be balanced
> by the needs and desires of workers.

   Several times I've listed the shorter work time (swt) agenda of higher overtime premiums, longer paid vacations, more paid holidays, shorter work week, making the FLSA law more inclusive of workers, earlier retirement, etc. Don't you think that these measures would reduce competition?

> You've done the comparisons of the US with
> Europe, so I jumped to the conclusion that
> you knew why there is a divergence.

   The divergence zwischen USA and Europe has been apparent to social observers for well over a century. Many observations of divergence can be found in the correspondence and articles of Engels, for instance. His correspondence focuses on those differences to a considerable degree, and some can be found at: http://www.libcap.net/partg.html

> My mistake if you don't agree that it is
> the more robust nature of
labor unions there, especially on the
> continent. The UK is falling behind the rest for the same reasons
> that America has; the
unions are being decimated by internecine
>
warfare and attrition. It's exacerbated, then, when the gov't
> doesn't have to answer to a
labor bloc and can expropriate jobs.

   That seems accurate. The UK seems to stand between the USA and the continent of Europe in terms of customs, traditions and values.

> I'm not posting to WiC or to WSM anymore, due to some issues I've
> had with their characterizations of my person. If you want to talk
> privately, it's fine with me. If you want to post anything we say,
> it's also fine with me. I'm not going to post on a hostile
forum,
> though...
>
> Cheers and keep up the interesting work -- if you can!
>
> John F.

   Sorry you're pulling out. BTW, one place where you seemed to 'blow it' in your dialogue with Hayduke was your mention of Caesarian sections. I wondered how your thesis could possibly be justified.

 

08-09-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke quoted my unfortunate jump to a false conclusion:

> > Jeez, and I thought EVERYONE accepted the idea that the human opposable
> > thumb evolved out of tool use
, but believers in Luddite science apparently
> > don't think so. Here's one site agreeing with the link between tool use and
> >
human evolution: http://www.news.uiuc.edu/scitips/01/03evolution.html
>
> There are no
believers in science. Science is a methodology of
> discovery, not a
religion.

   Thanks for the correction. You are right about that. Sorry about the dig.

> The human opposable thumb evolved long before tool use, in fact,
> allowing complex tool use to take place. In your preferential,
>
out-of context quotes, you missed one important statement:
>
>> "
there is no consensus among experts about how this dazzling leap
>> in technology influenced human evolution.
"
>
> You've referenced a non-technical article that summarizes the work of an
> anthropologist. In fact, the conclusion you reached: "
the human opposable
> thumb
evolved out of tool use," is contradicted by the article.

   Quite so, but here's another opinion: http://allsands.com/Science/hominidsevoluti_tjp_gn.htm

   "This evolution took place over many millions of years. Our early hominid ancestors walked upright on their hind legs like we do, but their brains were smaller than our brains are today. Their teeth were more like our teeth than monkey teeth. Their arms were slightly shorter than a chimp's arms and were used to climb trees when they were threatened by other animals. They still had opposing toes like apes have; the opposing thumb developed much later when hominids began using tools."

   "when hominids began using tools" supports my thesis, but here's a time table that contradicts it, oh darn: http://www.soton.ac.uk/~cpd/history.html

   "36,000,000 years ago - first monkeys (early Oligocene period), colour vision, opposable thumb, social

   "25,000,000 years ago - first apes (early Miocene period), enlarged brain

   "4,500,000 years ago - first hominids ( Australopithecus spp) in Africa, bipedal, larger brain

   "2,500,000 years ago - start of Quaternary ice-age, first stone tools (Ethiopia)"

   Here's another interesting one: http://www.mhhe.com/socscience/anthropology/supersite/bio/bio_break_news.htm

   "The opposable thumb evolved before forward-facing eyes in primates, according to U.S. researchers."

   Some humor: "The art of eating at the Laughing Planet is based", as it says on the menu, on the "conclusive scientific proof that the primate opposable thumb evolved to allow for grasping burritos in the vertical position." . .

   Another opinion at:    http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:KkjJhK_kSwwJ:leks.iasi.rm.cnr.it/emrps%2799/papers/Rugg_Hooper.pdf+%22opposable+thumb+evolved%22&hl=en&lr=lang_da%7Clang_nl%7Clang_en%7Clang_fr%7Clang_de%7Clang_is%7Clang_it%7Clang_no%7Clang_pl%7Clang_pt&ie=UTF-8

   "A preadaptation is a feature which was originally developed in response to one environment, but which can be used in a new and different way in a new environment. An example of this is the human opposable thumb, evolved for climbing, but providing an excellent preadaptation for tool use."

   Another at: http://brain.oupjournals.org/cgi/content/full/123/7/1293

   "As we know, the ability to manipulate the environment reached a pinnacle when the fully opposable thumb evolved in humans."

   And another at:    http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:L5_kBP5B75cJ:cogprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/archive/00001024/00/Mark_Twain_Meets_DSM-III-R_Conduct_Disorder,_Development_and_the_Concept_of_Harmful_Dysfunction.pdf+%22opposable+thumb+evolved%22&hl=en&lr=lang_da%7Clang_nl%7Clang_en%7Clang_fr%7Clang_de%7Clang_is%7Clang_it%7Clang_no%7Clang_pl%7Clang_pt&ie=UTF-8

   "Just as the opposable thumb evolved as a consequence of the survival advantages that accrued to individuals who were better able to grasp and manipulate objects," ... and so on ...

   Overall, opinions seem to lean more toward Hayduke's 'opposable thumbs developed before tool use'. So, I stand corrected. Live and learn. Bad science gradually yields to better science if egos don't prevent admitting that some 'science' can be awful.

> > "Complex tool-making, which required fine motor skills, problem-solving
> > and task planning, he
{Stanley Ambrose} argues, may have influenced
> > the evolution of the frontal lobe, and co-evolved with the gift of
> > grammatical language 300,000 years ago.
>
> In fact, the
co-evolution of the frontal lobe, with complex motor
> skills is how
evolution occurs. Tool use is a cultural development
> based on these
evolutionary changes.
>
> Michael

   Here's how we got into this in the first place. Hayduke stated:

>>> tool use is not a factor in human evolution

   But this web site disagrees: http://skaggs-island.org/commdev/awculture.html

   ... "a cultural environment increasingly supplemented the natural environment in the selection process so as to further accelerate the rate of hominid evolution to an unprecedented speed."

   The better the tools, the better a group's chance of survival, so those with better tools had better chances of survival. Seems reasonable.

 

08-09-03

   "J S" wrote:

> On the issue of caesarean secton; remember that I'm talking of ongoing
>
evolution. Evolution occurs through chance mutation. Some mutations will be
> expressed in the form of a larger brain case. This
mutation will no longer
> be disfavored by the restrictions of the birth canal and will thereby find
> continuance when these
mutants reproduce and pass the trait onto their
> own progeny. It's simple
selective pressure. Remember that I'm
> talking of
evolution ongoing...where do you think that I blew it?

   Because it leaves the mother out of the equation, or presumes that every woman carrying a big-brained baby is also going to have access to the best of hospital care, and will come out of the operation with flying colors. A good mutation would not endanger the life of the mother by making childbirth an ordeal.

> On the shorter workweek; I agree with your prescription and so would a
> majority of workers in any society! I'm asking you how we can re-invigorate
>
democratic pressures on government to re-write the laws with the new
> realities in view. My suggestion is for the US to look to Europe -- and the
> UK to look to the continent -- for guidance, since they are well along
> in implementing
policies based on the new reality.

   That's true. I guess if the masses aren't interested, then they just aren't interested. All we can do is spread the word as opportunities become available. Interested parties could get active with 'Take Back Your Time Day', coming up this Oct. 24. Local community events could be organized. More info at http://www.timeday.org/news

> Again; what mechanism, if not unionism, do you propose to allow expression
> of majority opinion in the US
government? You've stated the need, but you
> haven't said how that collective need will find voice.

   People can write letters to their editors. A dozen of mine, i.e. the great majority, have been printed in the past 5 years.

> The current ruling class couldn't care less about the plight of the
> working classes. They'll
only care when a crisis of affordability
> begins to destroy their profits - yet again - with brutal suffering
> for all those who are NOT infranchised in the ruling class.

   That belongs to the category of demonization, and isn't true to reality. Think Aaron Feuerstein of Malden Mills, who kept his workers on full salary while the mill was being rebuilt after a devastating fire.

> I draw a distinction between capitalism and oligarchy, by the way. The fact
> that our
democracy is moribund is a different issue from the economic system.

   That's another incorrect and unproductive ultra-radical thought. Democracy is not moribund, and is very much alive. Half a dozen people are running for councilor in my ward, whereas it was normally unusual for the incumbent to be opposed at all. The only reason Bush became President was that the Greens didn't have enough sense not to run a candidate. I hope they are blissful in their stupidity, which they plan to repeat in 2004. They couldn't do the Republicans a bigger favor.

> I think that we can have capitalist-style organization in equilibrium with
> a
democracy that takes economic class into consideration. This will only
> occur, though, if the strength of numbers of the economically disadvantaged
> majority can be expressed. At this time, that is a receding possibility,
> due to the corruption of money on the body politic...

   A luta continua. Nobody has any magic bullets. Things will evolve, though too slowly for our liking. Gotta be patient and aim for accuracy. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than inaccuracy, plus a willingness to defend inaccuracies.

 

08-09-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Matt seems rather extreme in his hatred of capitalists and his insistence
> on the '
impossibilist' program of the SPGB. This combination will lead to
> violent confrontation or to a lifetime spent in bitter impotency; neither
> choice appeals to me in the least.
>
> Have you thought of setting up a
forum on yahoo for discussion of labor
> standards
, technology, effective democratic control over decisions for its
> use. etc.? I'd really like to see some ferment of thought on the state of
>
globalized labor, interdependant governments, and the infeeblement of
>
democratic traditions through loss of collective labor power.

   If people showed more interest in my stuff, then another web site would be prudent, but not now. Sectarians think that I'm just another sectarian trying to steal their thunder.

> I sent you the webpage of the Socialist Party USA, which a guy in
> Switzerland set up on my insistence, having failed to get support with
> an
alta-vista forum. The manner of getting into that original forum was
> formidable at best, but I see that this new one is going nowhere fast, too.
> Moderates have a very hard time getting 'hits' on
webpages. I think that
> most people surf just for cheap thrills...

   I've been getting their 'digest' for a couple of years, and find the lack of mass involvement in that 'forum' as indicative of a general lack of interest in socialism. So dead it should be buried.

> I notice that your geocities website doesn't have a 'guestbook' for comments
> or
other means for getting feedback to you. Are you going to expand your own
>
site at some point? Maybe you already have a forum under their format?...

   People who've really want to get in touch have done so in the past, probably a half dozen or so. All anyone needs to do is re-assemble the e-mail address on the home page. My web site is updated every so often, as time permits.

 

08-10-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Accuracy, yes; sometimes looking like redundancy until the point is
> well-received. The
evolution of large brains via a mutation would stop if
> the baby did not live to reproduce and pass on the
mutation. Only the baby
> matters in terms of
evolution, and that's where we were in the discussion.

   I'm not so sure about 'only the baby mattering' if childbirth becomes so complicated that the mother (in a primitive locale, which is where we all came from, not so very long ago) doesn't survive. Even if the baby survives, there goes a trail of evolution down the hatch if no other milking mother is available.

> Not every baby
> with the
mutation will be saved by a technology, certainly, but it's all a
> game of chance anyway. When we are discussing something like
evolution, it
> helps to keep the parameters simple. Graham kidded me about
eugenics in the
> conversation! So; technology allows a cranium which would not fit through a
> birth canal to pass its
mutation to its progeny - some of whom might carry
> the
mutation, etc. Get it? I really want to know if I'm fallacious here...

   This part seems more plausible.

> You are right about writing letters to the editor as a means of social
> progress. As long as
publishers are interested in your opinion, then it is
> possible. The
publisher of the Seattle Times is from an old newspaper family
> and has been keen of
workers' rights all his life. His company is unionized
> in a competitive environment where it's a disadvantage. He always supported
>
Democrats editorially until Bush ran on a platform of eliminating the
>
inheritance tax. He backed Bush in his editorials, telling his reading
> public that
his own fortune was more important to him than the ideological
> baggage which he was also thereby supporting.
Thus, the unionized company
> can survive
only if the law allows the owner of the paper to pass his entire
> fortune to his heirs without
taxation...a quandry.

   Aah, yes, personal interests sometimes overrule all others.

> I'm not demonizing owners, but corporate ownership is quite different from
> private proprietorship, as you must know. Our
laws of incorporation grant
>
rights to entities which humans do not have - among those rights is
>
immortality. Coprorations in America are shipping jobs overseas at an
> alarming rate because they are writing the
laws by which they operate.
> Clinton was allowing this, too, so the
Democrats are no longer a bulwark
> against Wall Street. The problem is in how campaigns are funded, and
> both parties are vetted from the same sources nowadays...

   Still, what counts is not who or what owns this, that, or t'other, but whether the remaining work is being equitably shared, which it isn't, so we know what to do, whereas nothing can be done about the institution of ownership during the era of labor, because 'labor creates property', and nothing that is in the constant process of creation can be terminated with prejudice without creating more problems, as Lenin found out in 1917, a mistake which will not be repeated in the 21st century. The whole topic of property is irrelevant, no matter how many socialists try to force that non-issue.

> I don't know how you are able to argue that the economic system in America
> is not headed towards a Brazilian-style ultra-rich vs poor masses system.

> Extrapolate the current trends, minus some glimmer of hope of resistance,
> and you've got that. Compare income distribution in America to Canada or
> Europe and compare the level of
union activity in party-building. You
> don't have to correlate the two, but I do...

   If an equitable distribution of work were to become an agenda item, the inequitable distribution of income and property would sort itself out. It's the difference between concentrating efforts on being compassionate vs. concentrating efforts on revenge. Americans understand compassion, for it is seen in every emergency, when heroes come out of the woodwork. But, Americans do not understand revenge against property, because property of one's own is part of the great American dream.

> You consider talk of class warfare as ultra-radical, but it is normal in
> discourse in most
democracies. The facts are clear on economic interests.

   I'm not against class warfare. I wish American radicals would educate themselves as to the forms of class warfare that are and aren't acceptable or fruitful. It boils down to being practical, and it's only a matter of circumstance that the practical path in the 21st century coincides with the compassionate path, and the impractical with the vengeful, whereas, the special circumstances in Marx and Lenin's day allowed the practical to coincide with the vengeful. But, those days are gone forever. No longer does a mass of rotten-ripe European feudal monarchies await overthrow and replacement with social democracies.

> I'm not a marxist of the old school, but I've been exposed to Canadian and
> French public debate enough to know how restricted and narrow is our own.
> Please don't demonize me!...
>
> As for the
social democracy website - it's not about marxism, you know. I
> posted a piece there about a
labor organization that was founded at the time
> of the
Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations. It posits a world body
> with the charge of stabilizing
labor conditions between countries. I had
> never heard of it until Graham sent it to me - tongue in cheek - along with
> a site for the
WTO. It's obvious that all these things have been hashed out
> by our grandfathers. It's also obvious that a threshold of importance for
> their
enforcement hasn't been achieved, despite supposed democratic
> input into the
affairs of state...

   The ILO doesn't make very much noise in my neighborhood. Perhaps it could be more of a leader in advocating a more equitable distribution of work.

 

08-10-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Again; how does something 'become an agenda item'?

   When enough people show an interest in it, I guess.

> You use a passive form of the verb, don't you?

   I guess so. My grammar may not be the best, but hopefully good enough to put the shorter work time agenda across to average people.

> Repeating; if Americans don't act a little bit rude in demanding
> their
rights as citizens, then they will be pushed towards
> something
far worse when conditions demand it.

   This scenario looks pretty radical compared to how Americans respond to pressure. When people in democracies feel pressured, they push for reforms. Your persistent references to 'pushing', 'demanding', 'worsening', etc., make me suspect that you want more than just reform.

> We are a polite people, and we defer
> to authority more than we should. When I see a rude French
> waiter, I see an equal who demands my respect. When I see a street
> demonstration by French workers, I see a vital aspect of
democracy.
> American media paints France in the worst possible light to
> prejudice against this form of
egalitarianism, no?

   I really haven't studied it.

> I want American to do as little as possible in the way of redistribution
> of wealth, since there are untoward consequences of doing too much.
> That said, we must do SOMETHING more than we are presently doing.
> If you don't agree with that proposition, then we have no basis
> for further discussion. Agreed?

   If 'something more must be done than what's already being done', then what exactly should be done? Sorry to be drawing a blank, but I don't know what more I can do. Trying to talk radicals out of their radicalism is something I regard as potentially very valuable. If only I could succeed just once.

> On the evolution and technology question again: I am not making
>
moral judgements about healthcare or the rights of individuals!

   That's good. Out of curiosity, was anyone accusing you of precisely that?

> I am in favor of universal healthcare and the health of
> the mother! All I am talking about here is the possibility
> of a
mutation reproducing itself as technology makes its
> host viable. That is the WHOLE point - tiny though it is!
>
> Thanks for pursuing it to the point of absurdity, though...(smile)

   Human evolution continues along at a snail's pace, of course, so is a mere academic pursuit, while machine evolution advances at a double exponential rate, and millions of people are involved in advancing that form of evolution. Humans go ga-ga over the latest computer, PDA, or cell phone, but could hardly be bothered if a human gene goes awry. A bit of genetic change in a millennium or so certainly isn't going to put the human race out of work before the computers of the next couple of decades.

   I love technology, always have, and always will. Luddites are a complete pain. I wonder why Hayduke hasn't responded to my reply of yesterday. Did you read my reply, or have you stopped visiting that forum altogether?

 

08-11-03

   "J S" wrote:

>> "Your persistent references to 'pushing', 'demanding', 'worsening',
>> etc., make me suspect that you want more than just
reform."
>
> Such as?...

   Well, I don't know. Tell me what you want, if more than reform seems desirable.

> Do you deny that conditions in America are
> worsening and that the
democratic system
> has been corrupted by private wealth?

   Everybody knows that conditions have gotten worse under Bush. So what if 'things are getting worse'? Put up barricades?

> If you deny the basis of my concern, then fine.

   Absurd.

> If you attack my motive of saving society from yet another war and revolution,

   Who's going to save society from war and revolution?

> then I'd ask why it is that I come across that way.

   You seem unwilling to simply settle upon a reasonable plan to lift the multitudes out of their grief, indicating that you might want something else. What it might be, I don't know, and guessing games are not my cup of tea.

> I do not want a revolution, but I see history marching
> towards a
crisis of pretty alarming proportions. Again,
> if you disagree with the prognosis, fine.

   If Republicans keep getting elected, the crises in many lives can only get worse. Does anyone know what to do except grouse about it?

>> "If 'something more must be done than what's already being done', then what
>> exactly
should be done? Sorry to be drawing a blank, but I don't know what
>> more I can do. Trying to talk radicals out of their
radicalism is something
>> I regard as potentially very valuable. If only I could succeed just once."
>
> My non-revolutionary suggestion was a re-invigorating of the
labor movement
> to give non-economic entities a chance to
participate in democracy again.
> Do you consider this
radical or a throwback to an earlier era?

   Nothing wrong with that, it's fine.

> What about the societies in the third world where production
> now occurs? Should they have
worker participation?

   Certainly.

> We've agreed on a lot of points, but they seem to come apart
> like grains of sand when I try and grasp them all at once...

   Maybe you spread yourself too thin. You have lots of good ideas, but maybe too many of them?

>> "That's good. Out of curiosity, was anyone accusing you of precisely that?"
>
> Just insinuation. Bringing up the conditions of the mother and of those
> living without modern medical care is
beside the point unless, except to
> insinuate some callousness on my part. The
genetic transmission of a
>
mutation was the sole objective of the argument - which was about
>
evolution allowed by tools.
>
> Did you read my reply, or have you stopped visiting that
forum altogether?
> I still read the
forum and I'll continue to have conversations with you
> so long as you want.

   I've been at WSM since mid-2001, and WIC for almost a year, I guess. Those activities will continue until I get tossed off. I prefer public conversations, but have engaged in private ones from time to time.

> Yours is a mind without the limitations of a dogma, so I feel
> that I can discover something with you. If the feeling is mutual,
> all the better!

   I don't know what to say.

> As for Michael/Hayduke; he's a bit episodic and he may or may not
> take a hiatus from the
forum after the teapot tempest. He and Julian were
> exchanging emails yesterday on the subject of overposting. They send cc's to
> me, since I was part of the original comment by Julian on the
WSM_Forum.
> Michael is a curious individual - in two senses of that word. He's a product
> of the broken dreams of leftists in America and of acadaemia, while also
> still searching for ways to bring constructive change to society. I invited
> him to the
WiC when I moved my interests there and I don't regret his
> influences -- too much...

   Michael's intellectual honesty could use sprucing up. He simply can't admit that he ever made a mistake.

> So; social democracy on the European model is what I'd like to see for the
> entire world. This would take away competitive pressures to move production
> to third world societies for
labor and environmental reasons. It would
> further the push of technology, since ALL workers would be getting respect.
> Is
social democracy something that you and I could agree to? I'm really not
> a radical at all, but a concerned citizen of the USA who sees
democracy
>
receding and economic class hardening to the point of revolution.
> Maybe I'm just a worrier...
>
> John

   Social democracy is fine. I stopped worrying about the world when I uncovered incredible leftist idiocies, which totally prevent effectiveness, and nearly prevent relevance. The world can do fine without radical idiocies like 'revolution in democracies' - a sacred cow with negligible historical precedent. Many radicals have had their balloons burst, but refuse to come down to earth. Hot air sustains their flights of fantasy. They are bourgeois enough to be able to afford to remain irrelevant and insulated in their religions.

 

08-11-03

   "J S" wrote:

> I'd repeat myself again, saying that America simply needs
> a counterbalance to concentrated economic power.

   'Counterbalance' is vague. Why not be specific with your counterbalance proposal? People can't hit the streets and 'counterbalance'.

> You've pointed out that we have the structure to implement it,
> with
democratic traditions in place. The problem is the media,
>
without a mandate to support democracy.

   Absurd. Who printed the Pentagon Papers? Denouncing the media as an exclusive tool of dictatorship is as good as shooting oneself in the foot.

> I don't know how the US could get a system like CBC or BBC or
>
FranceTV, etc. I don't know. What I do know is that politicians have
> to buy time for exposure and that the money comes from those with the
> money to invest. It's a positive feedback loop, where economic interests
> are unchecked by political interests.
Government serves the purpose of
> keeping a negative feedback element in the process - like any governor in
> any engineered system. How do we restore negative feedback? I don't know...
> I do know that the
Democrat Party is now beholden to Wall Street - since at
> least the time of Clinton's first
election - and that something else is now
> required.

   I don't see those as compelling problems to attack on an individual basis. I worked 15 years for listener-sponsored Pacifica Radio KPFA in Berkeley, CA, and a lot of community voices couldn't get airtime there either. Freedom of the press is for those who own them. People are not going to be ground to a pulp simply because 'the press isn't going to cover important issues.' If it's a big enough problem, and if it affects enough people, the press will cover it.

> Labor unions used to fund a workers' party in America,
> as they still do elsewhere. My premise is try and
> build 'grassroots' in the traditional fashion
> practiced in
social democracies the world over.

   Sounds fine.

> You seem to underestimate the resistance
> to this idea among America's ruling elite -

   America's ruling elite are of little concern. Mere mention of them in that context indicates desire to bring them down, an obsolete program.

> since they are now on a trajectory towards mass impoverishment
> with extreme privilege for themselves...

   What else is new?

> I'm not the one who is radical in wanting to halt
> this development...

   There it is ... You DO want to bring them down directly. That program certainly doesn't correspond to mine. Bringing down the bosses is a waste of time. Better to bring the lower classes up to their level.

> I don't quite see the necessity of your charge against me.

   What charge? How do I know if I charged you with anything unless it's defined?

> I'm the one who tried to serve as a bridge on the WSM and the WiC
> between
anarchist/revolutionaries and reformists.

   Is 'bridging revolution with reform' a worthwhile goal? Seems like a total ideological muddle would result. Instead, revolutionaries should educate themselves to the IDIOCY of revolution in democracies, and ABANDON revolutionary programs.

> The worst problems will come with a breakdown in our ability
> to agree on basic principles. You seem resigned to the situation...?...

   Should I change my mind? My mind used to be a lot more malleable when I was young, but now the quality of the arguments against my positions need to be increasingly strong to get me to change. I've been arguing on the Internet for 3 years, and I do admit of some minor changes along the way, so don't give up hope. But, one thing for sure is that I won't change my mind about not attacking the media, property, or any other upper class bastion. If such are your interests, then that's fine, but I won't join. I prefer activity around the fundamental element linking all leftist issues - surplus value.

 

08-12-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Here's your charge and its basis:
>
> I believe that you've had a
knee-jerk conservative reaction to the
> mere proposal to halt a worsening trend. How is this 'bringing them
> down', my friend?...

   Two activist roads avail. First, the destructive road of bringing down the rich, a variety of upper class institutions, property, media, etc. Second, the constructive road of improving the lot of the downtrodden, chief of which, at least for me, is making the economy more inclusive. The destructive road may be an option for you, whereas I have not strayed from the constructive road since 1994, when I discovered that expropriating property was possible only after communists liberated colonies or overthrew absolute monarchies, but never after winning mere elections in social democracies. That discovery changed my life, but others could give a damn.

>>> "...> I'm not the one who is radical in wanting to halt this development...
>>
>> There it is ... You DO want to
bring them down directly. That program
>> certainly doesn't correspond to mine.
Bringing down the bosses is a waste
>> of time. Better to bring the lower classes up to their level..."
>
> I watched part of the
Democratic Party town hall meeting from Philadelphia
> yesterday on
CSPAN. There is lots of rhetoric from the left wing about
> shaking up the status quo - speaking before sheet metal stampers - and
> lots of righteous indignation about the way that
democracy and public
> debate
has been hijacked in the US.

   Richard Nixon tried to clamp down on the press, but that didn't help him. The prevailing ideology is dead set against censorship. Our basic freedoms are what people fight for. Take them away, and we end up demoralized, like Russia in the Brezhnev era. But, millions of people are gung-ho America, right or wrong, and are far from demoralized.

   It doesn't do any good to aver that democracy and debate have been hijacked. Those who accuse the right of such hijinks turn around and censor me, so, in a sense, they are right. Freedom of speech HAS been hijacked in America, and the worst censors and hijackers are leftists. So, please, not another word on the hijacking of freedoms and democracy by the right. Since 1976, I've been exposing leftist lies and propaganda.

> Perhaps you're right in believing that a crisis is all
> we need wait for
in order to mobilize the public towards
>
reform. Afterall, these people were getting their message out
> to
cable TV subscribers who care to watch political content.

   For those on the constructive road, there's no need to wait for things to get worse. Plenty of work avails whenever constructive opportunities are detected.

 

08-12-03

   "J S" quoted me:

>> Should I change my mind? My mind used to be a lot more malleable when
>> I was young, but now the quality of the arguments against my positions
>> need to be increasingly strong to get me to change. I've been arguing on
>> the Internet for 3 years, and I do admit of some minor changes along
>> the way, so don't give up hope. But, one thing for sure is that I won't
>> change my mind about not attacking the media, property, or any other
>> upper class bastion. If such are your interests, then that's fine, but
>> I won't join. I prefer activity around the fundamental element
>> linking all leftist issues -
surplus value.
>
> And to whom does the
surplus value belong, if not to the upper classes?

   Why repeat common knowledge?

> Advocacy of resistance to its payment is tantamount to theft.

   Workers create surplus value and hand it over at the point of production; no one 'pays' surplus value.

> Have you not been witness to the 'work ethic' propoganda machine
> since the days of Reagan?

   Promoting the work ethic goes back much further, but Reagan may have emphasized it while in office.

> Welfare to workfare, etc., while holding minimum wages
> stagnant for 10 years in face of significant inflation?
> The
law keeps both rich and poor from stealing bread.
> Talk about an ideological muddle!

   Par for the course.

 

08-12-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Workers create surplus value with the aid of capital equipment.
> Without that equipment, they could not do so.

   That's true.

> Ergo, the production is not 'handed over' by them,

   But they DO hand over the product of their labors to the bosses. As stuff rolls along on the assembly line, workers pass increments of value to the commodity, which is then packaged and sent off to be sold, and the proceeds of the sale return to the bosses, who give part of the proceeds (called wages) to workers. This is common knowledge.

> but payed by them for the opportunity to avail themselves
> of the capital equipment for their livelihoods.

   If it were paid by workers, then they would be paying the bosses for the displeasure of being exploited.

> Is this correct logic? I'm really not a Marxist.

   It is such a ridiculous scenario, that one need not be a Marxist to see through it. So ridiculous that it seems like you are no longer making a good-faith effort to converse.

> If it is correct logic, then refusal to hand over the surplus after
> fulfilling their own needs is a breach of the agreement in the use
> of another's capital equipment...?...
>
> My point, if
all this holds up, is that the agreements are made under
> duress
, due to worldwide movement of jobs. Better agreements could
> be devised if all workers could
negotiate together. Everything used as
> an excuse to prevent this is
class warfare. Most of the Democrat candidates
> would revoke both
NAFTA and the WTO -- or so they say, prior to being
> put in the pressure cooker of the
4th Estate and made to recant...

   Looks like the basis of a new campaign.

 

08-12-03

   "J S" wrote:

> Livelihood is not a ridiculous idea, is it?

   Did anyone say that 'livelihood is a ridiculous idea'?

> Do you think that capital investment
> should not be rewarded?

   Capital investment is not a moral issue as much as it is a fact of life, and is what enables innovation, so of course it will continue to be rewarded.

> Workers would have to find a means to live
> even without exploitation.

   Under what circumstances could exploitation end?

> The exploitation comes from the ability of capital to
> cross international boundaries in order to find workers
> willing to
pay for their livelihoods through surplus value.

   Bosses don't have to cross national boundaries to exploit the home population. It's STILL absurd to say that 'workers pay for their livelihoods through surplus value.' Have you never aspired to discuss topics on the same level as your peers? Refusing to take corrections to heart is a bad sign, and bodes poorly. Interest in learning is not often demonstrated.

> This is a good-faith effort, but you grow impatient.

   Repetition murders me, so try not to repeat.

> Capital investment is rewarded excessively, in the opinion of leftists.
> The evidence of income and wealth changes over 30 years is fuel of this
> view. If workers in all parts of the world could work our
agreements
> amongst themselves as to competitive advantage -- as capitalists now
> do for their profits -- then the system could right itself
> without the exploitation.

   As long as humans labor for others, exploitation will exist in one form or another. Exploitation also occurred during ancient slavery and feudalism.

> You'd be a fool to think that capital will not resist this tooth and nail,

   Of course it will resist, but capital has no economic choice but to abolish labor, and thereby abolish itself.

> yet it is the only feasible program

   What did you regard as a 'feasible program'? Not much action on the part of labor is detectable in that paragraph above.

> for reform short of expropriation of capital.

   Expropriation is not an option, for reasons already repeated ad infinitum, so I'm very tired of that topic. If you insist upon bringing up the possibility of expropriation, your messages will be filtered out and left unanswered. Enough is enough.

> Will the capitalists realize that the game is up before it's
> too late. We'll see.

   'Too late'? Too late for what?

> If not, the system could melt down and
> we would all be much worse off...

   'Melting down' is not an option. It's the most kitsch of leftist kitsch.

 

08-12-03

   "J S" wrote:

> You have a peace of mind about the stability of society that I don't
> share. Maybe it's time for me to stop rocking your boat. Thanks,
> though, for all except the
insinuations and insults.

   I don't remember insulting you. However, I've come darn close more than once to asking you to refrain from mentioning me and 'fool' in the same sentence, such as today's earlier:

>>> You'd be a fool to think that capital will not resist this tooth and nail,

 

08-12-03

   "J S" wrote:

> America! At the leading edge of a glorious future!...

   I'd appreciate being removed from your news mailing list. If that can be managed before the end of the day, you will be remembered with the ...

   Highest of regards,
   Ken Ellis

 

08-15-03

   In worldincommon, John Henry quoted me and then Marx:

> > Apparently, a few tidbits on the subject of religion can be found
> > in Marx's
Capital, as well as in some early versions thereof.
> >
> > > me29.364 "
Incidentally, in so far as the hoarder of money combines
> > > asceticism with assiduous diligence he is intrinsically a Protestant
> > > by religion and still more a Puritan.
"
>
> What does the
me29.364 mean? It does not seem to have any meaning
> in my edition of
Capital. (Penguin, paperback)

   In the CD of Collected Works, me refers to Marx-Engels, 29 refers to volume 29, and 364 is the page number.

> Is "ironic" the right word to describe the chapter/verse numbering
> above when quoting Marx on
religion?
>
> Reminds me of
Matthew 6:12

   Ironic? Perhaps. Marxism has been interpreted very religiously in the past, so quoting M+E 'chapter and verse' is not unusual, and may even help keep the flock on the same page.

 

08-15-03

   In worldincommon, John Henry quoted me:

> > In the CD of Collected Works, me refers to Marx-Engels, 29 refers
> > to volume 29, and 364 is the page number.
>
> Can you tell me more about the
CD? I would assume that it is
> searchable, right? Where can I get a copy?
>
> Best,
>
> John R Henry CPP

   The CD at present is missing volumes 48, 49, and 50, and a complete copy won't be available until after volume 50 is published in print by Int'l Pubs later this year. The incomplete version (available now) can later be swapped for the complete version at no extra charge.

   The CD has a handy search tool which I've only half mastered, but allows searching for all variations of a word such as 'religion', by typing 'religi*' in its search engine, which will then return the singular and plural, as well as 'religious', 'religiosity', etc. Entering 'dictator*' as well as 'proletari*' returns all variations of 'proletarian dictatorship' that appear within the same paragraph.

   PC and Mac versions are available. For more info, visit:

   http://www.nlx.com/titles/titlmxen.htm

 

08-16-03

   In WSM_Forum, Hayduke answered becca:

> I am not sending you private emails. I have responded to messages
> from JS that he seems to be distributing to his own little list,
> of which you apparently are a recipient. In the future, I will
> endeavor to make sure that nothing from my computer
> contaminates your computer.

   The same thing has been happening to me. I got a couple of messages that appeared to have been from Hayduke, but which I now suspect originated from JS somehow. I finally had to activate my spamblocker against JS.

 

08-16-03

   In WSM_Forum, Hayduke quoted my tale of personal woe and torment:

> > The same thing has been happening to me. I got a couple of messages that
> > appeared to have been from Hayduke, but which I now suspect originated
> > from JS somehow. I finally had to activate my
spamblocker against JS.
>
> I find this predilection on the part of
Socialists to block out and deny
> posts and posters who disagree and express dissent with
status quo opinion
> to be sad and unfortunate. Are
Socialists so thin-skinned that they cannot
> bear even the thought of someone who disagrees? Why deny oneself and
> opportunity for learning, or for at least becoming aware of a wider horizon.

   If my experience with JS had been as simple as that, then of course his messages would be welcome, but he was sending me unsolicited copies of NEWS REPORTS, a load my hard disc barely needs. Secondly, our dialogue was becoming less satisfactory. His reasoning became less based on logic and increasingly on repetition. If the messages had discontinued after I thought we mutually agreed they would, then implementing the spam blocker would not have been necessary.

> I read all posts on this list, except verbatim recitations of the M&E
> Scriptures
. I disagree with 75% of what I read and I don't care about 22%.
> 3% are interesting and enlightening, on a good day. I've never felt it
> necessary to "
spamblock" anyone here, even those who were most
> vociferous in their personal attacks and juvenile name-calling.

   One person's meat is another's poison, as an old saying goes.

> Blocking a person's posts is equivalent to personal
> prior censorship and seems a likely way to foster
> insular, narrow thinking.

   The spamblocker allows messages to be read on the Internet without having them delivered to my hard disc. Most, if not all, of JS's incoming messages were previewed on the Internet before barring them.

   Censorship can only apply to institutions and organizations, not to an individual's reading preferences. JS does not have the 'freedom' to deposit undesirable material onto my hard disc, no more than I can walk into Hayduke's trailer and camp out on his sofa.

> The question is, obviously, how will these same Socialists deal with
>
unwelcome speech in a fully functioning Socialist society? Duct tape? Ear
> plugs? Banishment to Siberia? The whip, the chains, the re-education camps?
>
> I need to know if I'm for you or against you!
>
> Michael

   Hayduke is such a comic sometimes. Keep up the good 'work', Hayduke. :-)

 

08-20-03

   In an August 06 dialogue with Hayduke, I inquired: "Perhaps the WIC perspective on 'working for free' could be accurately revealed by someone who knows for sure."

   No one from WIC ventured a reply to my question, which referred to the rather well-known WSM perspective on work to be 'voluntary and unpaid in moneyless, propertyless, stateless socialism'.

   Does WIC have an official position on 'working for free under socialism'?

 

08-20-03

   In portside/message/4642, a portside reader expressed outrage over the lack of American interest in vacations:

> * RE: Vacation Starvation
> [see
portside message/4639
>
> Yes. And what's even more disgusting is that Americans are
> so brainwashed, so ignorant and (dare I say it) so ideologically
> stupid, that they think this is some
State of Nature; that Hard
> Work
is a "Must-Do" for anyone worth their moral salt --
> my impression is that everyone has bought into an obscene and
> unbridled
exploitation by big capital believing it some version of
> "
Work Ethic." With absolutely no historical perspective to give
> them an educated view of what the rest of the industrialized
> world enjoys as a result of
Communist and Socialist parties'
> hard battles with
capital after WWII, they remain sunk
> in a uniquely American mental quicksand.
>
> But perhaps that's just the dyspeptic view of an ageing
> 1960s radical.
>
> Ellen C.

   American apathy on the issue of vacations, or anything else to do with the 'hours of labor' issue, certainly reveals the total entrenchment of the 40 hour mentality, as well as the Puritan work ethic. Perhaps unemployment will have to reach the 25% level of the Great Depression before politicians feel pressured to get serious about the 'hours of labor' issue. Pressure is what counts to a politician, and if the pressure is absent, then they have little reason to do anything other than what they are already doing, such as kicking around ideas for 160-hour work-months, watering down overtime provisions in the FLSA, or otherwise cranking up the heat on labor.

   Popular apathy on our issue rules supreme right now, even though we know it won't always be like that. Though I am listed as an area contact person for the 'Take Back Your Time Day' campaign, not one person in my fairly densely populated region has dropped me a line to kick around ideas for possible local Time-Day activities. Patience is a virtue; it won't always be like this.

   Did everyone catch the story about the partially disabled Andover (Ohio) worker who went postal after being cheated out of his vacation by a mere technicality? He killed a coworker, and then committed suicide. Management must feel enormously pressured to keep workers' noses to their grindstones, and their shoulders to the wheel. Though surpluses abound, Americans behave as though 'desperate to overcome looming scarcities'.

 

08-20-03

   McD1st wrote:

> I could not believe the fuss they were making over you when I
> first got on their
list. Yet you were only discussing Marx with
> them! Why they objected to that I will never know. I was expecting
> a
Nazi of some sort [which, to their credit, they do argue with,
> well, they do what they now do when they attempt to argue].

   Being revisionists, they took offense at my quoting Marx to try to set the record straight. And that was well before I bought the CD of Marx-Engels Collected Works. If Marx were to come back from the dead and try to join them, he would be denied membership on the basis of conflict with their revisionist sectarian version of 'Marxism'.

 

08-21-03

   In worldincommon, Hayduke quoted me:

>> In an August 06 dialogue with another correspondent,
>
> Damn! I've slipped from Me, that being Hayduke, to "
another correspondent!"
>
> What gives here, Ken, Old Fruitcake, Ol Chum? Why the echo, sans name?

   When I sent the message the first time, it failed to be posted to the forum for half a day, so I thought it had gotten lost or censored. At the end of the day, I hit 'resend' from the menu, which was the very first time this feature on my computer has been used so far. My original message surprisingly popped up in a new window for me to edit, so I decided to make a couple of minor changes, hoping that the original was lost and would never appear side-by-side with the modified version to embarrass me. Was I ever wrong!

   The first change was to hopefully detach the topic from the realm of Haydukedom and place it firmly in the realm of WICdom, where I thought it belongs 100%. But, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so here's Hayduke putting on his best WIC persona to try to answer my question:

> In answer to the question of working for free:
>
> From the
World in Common (quasi-official) web site:
>
> WE HOLD THAT THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES . . . represent the common criteria
> for eligibility to participate in the World in Common project:

>
> *
Opposition to all forms of Capitalism (past, present, local, global,
> state or 'free market')
* Its replacement by a classless, moneyless world
> community without borders or states and based upon:
* common ownership and
> direct democratic control of the means of production;
* a free access 'use'
> economy with production geared towards the satisfaction of human needs;
*
>
voluntary association, cooperation and the maximization of human creativity,
> dignity and freedom.

>
> So I would say that
World in Common is indeed WSM wearing a
> funny-nose-and-glasses disguise, expecting
all the work to get
> done with no incentive for anyone to actually do the work
, other
> than a general feeling of well-being to all
human beings.
>
> Michael

   It's hard to say whether 'disguise' is accurate, because the parts quoted don't get specific about 'working for free', nor do they admit that any kind of HUMAN labor would need to be performed. "Production geared towards the satisfaction of human needs" doesn't say whether the production will be performed by robots or humans.

   The part about 'economy' implies scarcity, which is why human labor occurs in the first place, but still nothing can be pinned down with great certainty (from the material provided) as to whether work would be done for free. But, thank you for taking an initial stab at trying to solve this mystery. Maybe someone else will chime in and erase all doubts and uncertainties.

 

08-25-03

   This thread has generated some interesting comments. Robbo referred me to: http://www.worldincommon.org/index.html, but Hayduke seemed to have already ferreted out the material relevant to 'working for free under socialism', discussed by 4 of us in messages 2021, 4, 5, and 6.

   In capitalism, scarcity is overcome by means of both labor and innovation. Investment in innovation, at any one moment, is determined by the level of productive forces. Accelerating accumulation of surplus capital enables innovation investment to accelerate at a double exponential rate. As productivity accelerates, workers cede an accelerating proportion of their product back to the capitalists, even while workers' standards of living generally improve, paradoxically enough. As long as standards of living ascend, no SUDDEN change from capitalism to socialism appears likely, but slow evolution towards socialism is not excluded by any means.

   At least one result of innovation will be the abolition of the division between worker and boss. But, innovation may not stop after that milestone. It may continue far beyond the advent of classless society, but entirely on a volunteer basis, and for the good of the community. An administration of things would guide innovation into eco-friendly, life-affirming channels.

   Returning to the more immediate future: Can capitalism survive until the end of the division between worker and boss? Capitalist motivation to innovate old forms of human labor out of existence is demonstrated every day, but billions of people tolerate capitalism precisely because of social progress. If society were to suddenly decide to switch to socialism, which exact socialist mechanism would guarantee innovation out of detested labor?

 

08-27-03

   Capitalism was recently argued to contain a profound economic incentive to abolish human labor. The 20th century witnessed a vast proliferation of productive capacity and replacement of productive workers with computers and new technologies, but even that tremendous progress pales before the plans on the drawing boards for even more thoroughgoing labor-saving technologies. Productive capacity shows no sign of decelerating.

   Incentive to innovate under socialism comes from ... where? With common ownership of means of production, no medium of exchange, working for free, etc., those changes seem rather extreme for a population that can barely think more progressively than re-electing President Bush, or electing Schwarzenegger governor of California. What realistic hope can socialism have?

 

08-28-03

   In worldincommon, becca wrote:

> Hi'ya again Ken!;
>
>> Incentive to innovate under socialism comes from ... where?
>
> Creativity, is part and parcel of our biological structure.
> We have the innate impulse to be creative no matter what socio-
> system/cultural conditions we may be living under. Nowhere in
> history have we not been artistic, creative, ingenious in some,
> or another, aspect. We have a range in which our creativity
> operates within; but we come equipped with the capacity for
> '
the infinite use of the finite'.

   Now there's a creative reply; after terminating the rat race to free up lots of leisure time, creative souls would then have plenty of extra time with which to innovate. Sounds like fun. Sign me up.

>> With common ownership of means of production, no medium of
>> exchange
, working for free, etc., those changes seem rather extreme
>> for a population that can barely think more progressively than
re-
>> electing
President Bush, or electing Schwarzenegger governor of
>> California. What realistic hope can
socialism have?
>
> Why do you believe that when we eliminate the
economical
> conditions of denial towards the satisfaction of
humanity's
> needs that people's attitudes will still consist of, or will
> still be consistent with, the attitudes we find presently
> in this
capitalistic socio-system?

   A society so bamboozled and unthinking as to elect a Schwarzenegger or a Bush will remain miles away from considering an alternative like socialism. To put the horse before the cart: Present attitudes have to change a whole lot BEFORE socialism can become a reality. Attitudinal changes first, socialism second. It can't be done the other way around, can it?

> Do you think that the material, physical and
> psychological influences, and pressures, etc are
> always going to produce the same results in our mental
> attitudes and in our physical reactions and behavior no
> matter what
environment we are exposed to? If so, why?

   The answer is difficult to come up with, because ...

> the material, physical and
> psychological influences, and pressures, etc
...

   ... are the environment, are they not? If they are the environment, then that environment is what needs to be changed. How to change that present bad environment is the important thing, because a bad environment always produces bad ...

> mental attitudes ...
> physical reactions and behavior
...

   Correct propaganda and appropriate ideology are the most important things for creating a better world. Crush bad ideas, and good programs will follow. In order to create a higher synthesis, negativity must be negated, not merely suppressed. Weak points must be thoroughly analyzed before they can be properly rejected, i.e., with self-assurance and conviction. The greater the rate of exploitation, (i.e., s/v), the more energy can be poured into negativity.

> Good to be in conversation with you again!
>
> Cheers, Rebecca

   My pleasure!

 

08-30-03

   Back during the American Civil War of the 1860's, white Southern rebels fought and died to preserve and extend (by force of arms) the institution of slavery. If people back then were THAT attached to as immoral a form of ownership as slavery, then how much more willingly would people of today fight and die to preserve private ownership of NON-human means of production?

 

08-31-03

   In worldincommon, John Henry quoted me:

> > Back during the American Civil War of the 1860's, white Southern
> > rebels fought and died to preserve and extend (by force of arms)
> > the
institution of slavery.
>
> Perhaps
you need to go back and reread your US history. Yes, slavery
> was an issue but it was
not the primary issue over which the war
> between the states
(often mis-called the "civil" war).
>
>
It was actually fought over the issue of private property,
> specifically
tariffs and taxes as well as the basic constitutional
> principles
on which the United *STATES* was founded.
>
> Best,
>
> John R Henry CPP

   That argument might fly in a non-socialist forum, but socialist forums have occasionally been known to pay attention to what Marx wrote. The publishers of the Collected Works wrote (me18.609): "The main cause of the war was the struggle between two social systems - the capitalist system of wage labour in the North and the slave system in the South."

   In a vain attempt to downplay the importance of private property, so as to hopefully make it all the easier to abolish while no one is looking, many socialists refuse to blame the Civil War on slavery. By shifting the blame for the War elsewhere, the willingness of people to fight to the death over private property is thereby covered up, and socialist confidence in the alleged vulnerability of private property is augmented. But, if private property is allegedly of such little importance to society, then it's a wonder why socialists made its abolition into their primary objective. If so important to socialists, then private property just might be important to others as well.

   Marx wrote (me19.44): "The war of the Southern Confederacy is, therefore, not a war of defence, but a war of conquest, a war of conquest for the spread and perpetuation of slavery."

   Marx showed that the South had for a long time been losing seats in the Senate, and they were afraid that a Republican Party victory would result in the legality of slavery being overturned. Their initiation of the War at Fort Sumter demonstrated their resolve to perpetuate slavery by extending it to the rest of the States by force.

 

08-31-03

   In worldincommon, stuart_commie quoted me:

>> Back during the American Civil War of the 1860's, white Southern
>> rebels fought and died to preserve and extend (by force of arms)
>> the
institution of slavery. If people back then were THAT attached
>> to as
immoral a form of ownership as slavery, then how much more
>> willingly would people of today fight and die to preserve
private
>> ownership
of NON-human means of production?
>
> Of course
they will and have been prepared to fight and die in
> the protection of
it. On the other side, there have been those
> prepared to do their share of fighting and dying. I guess
> that's why they call it
class war. Stuart

   This insinuates anti-property attitudes onto workers, but most workers seem to want property as much as anyone else, just the way 'everyone' wants democracy, universal suffrage, freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc.

   The 'class war' in 2003 seems to be more of a struggle over time, rather than property. Just yesterday my postal carrier complained about unwanted overtime being 'crammed down his throat'. Infinite overtime might be OK for young energetic go-getters, but, at a certain level of maturity, overtime starts to be an imposition. A lot of workers would just like to make a reasonable contribution to society and then go home at a reasonable hour and think about something else for a change. A minimum workforce putting in long hours results in high profits.



End of July - August 2003 Correspondence

 

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