ive made it about halfway through capital vol 1 multiple times i always seem to drop off at the same place. im sure harvey has cool things to say about it taht make it worth it but its also not necessary. ive read more capital than that tho i think cause i reference sections when doing research and read it that wya too
an audiobook version of capital v 1 is freely available on libravox. i recommend playing it constantly including when you're asleep
Just read and post
I like Orwell's random articles that are not really political at all, such as what it's like to write book reviews for a living and things like that. In that one he's just sitting around for three days straight after this pile of terrible books arrives in the mail from his editor, and there's some bad novel, something about Greek mythology, an imperialist book arguing why the British Army should seize some more islands in the Mediterranean according to the author's Whacko-Flappo-Pincer strategy to contain the Albanians, and a book on gardening that got put in there by mistake. Mr. Eric Arthur "Orwell" Blair is like the butt of the joke, and just sits in his room smoking and staring at these books having a full-blown panic attack until a few hours before deadline.

I also like the article Deutscher wrote based in part on having known Orwell for a minute, as they apparently worked out of the same press office as the war was ending. Deutscher described him as a monomaniac who recognized real things and phenomena that were happening but didn't understand why those things were happening, because those things were happening outside the context of his own Richard Scarry's Busytown version of socialism. So, Deutscher is sitting in this press office with him talking about negotiations between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill to stabilize the post-war situation and come to a settlement. But for Orwell this was like, oh no, they are working together because, uh, well they must just be under the spell of dark forces with access to unbelievably sophisticated mind-control radio machines that will plunge the world into an eternity of slavery and lies. And Deutscher's like, okay, sure, but from Stalin's perspective the red flag is flying over Berlin.
re: capital, i can't get thru a hard book unless i'm like a gold miner, and searching it for answers to specific questions... i have to have a sense of what to remember & mull over, and what i can forget, and there's so much in capital, and everybody forgets 3/4 of it... so i tried to make sure it was the right 3/4 (but isn't it nice to have comrades, who'll remember different things?). marx made socialism scientific, but communism is still utopian, so i was looking for those insights, how an eventual scientific communism would be shaped, insights on class basics like what makes a class (M-C-M'), colonialism (which he saved for the end), was happy to forget the minutes from parliament and testimony from doctors but maybe that's someone's thing...
teh biggest benefit you can get from reading capital straight through is not the economic analysis imo but internalizing dialectical thinking and seeing it played out through reading the thing in its entirety. capital really is a lot of fun to read
also dont worry about remembering facts or whatever. thats why you build up a system of references however you do it so you can look up details later. i know that as a marxist theres this constant pressure to carry everyhting in your head because normies/reactionaries grill you with obscure questions whenever they hear about your politics and you feel stupid if you cant answer everything from every possible angle. its a unfair burden. but handling arguments irl and actually knowing/understanding are different skills. if you want to win in person arguments its best to try and undermine the thought process than throw facts at people anyways i think
that said knowing basics by heart is important but memorization can be avoided entirely though understanding them and integrating it in a deeper way, just becomes natural

toyot posted:

but communism is still utopian


graphicalUSSRinterface posted:

ive made it about halfway through capital vol 1 multiple times i always seem to drop off at the same place. im sure harvey has cool things to say about it taht make it worth it but its also not necessary. ive read more capital than that tho i think cause i reference sections when doing research and read it that wya too

the second half is a breeze to read and basically nonstop great shit that propels you to the end

Read tyhat shit start to finish, on your own imo, anything you find difficult or needing clarification make note of and then go back afterward and see what Harv's saying. Then keep reading it forever. it's all about the 'big picture'

His best or most indispensible work is the companion to volume 2, that also preps you a bunch for volume 3. vol 2 is very hard but important. Vol. 1 might be most important but incomplete readings of Marx are dangerous and have lead to more dumb misconceptions and mistakes thhan I can keep track of, and is the hallmark of sophistic 'refutations' or challenges or wahtever you might not be able to address if you never make it past vol. 1

Edited by chickeon ()

I prepared for the worst and brought a literal suitcase of books to my quarantine location, i'm currently finishing up some novels (balzac, dickens) and Jameson's Marxism and Form before rereading capital alongside harvey's limits to capital.

i panic hoarded like half my unread books into the suitcase before fleeing the city i was in, so i'm also stocked up on random shit like more dickens and zola, dante, bataille, lefebvre, freud, and wallerstein, and the landmark copy of herodotus. i'm prepared for pandemic, nuclear conflict, and alcohol shortages. My county is rumored to go into a shelter in place, I forgot to throw away the milk in my apartment 3 hours away and I'm regretting not taking more books even though this should suffice.
i forgot how much of the Decameron isn't sex and is instead like, Kings Of France Do Be Saying Cock At A Chicken Dinner

chickeon posted:

His best or most indispensible work is the companion to volume 2, that also preps you a bunch for volume 3. vol 2 is very hard but important. Vol. 1 might be most important but incomplete readings of Marx are dangerous and have lead to more dumb misconceptions and mistakes thhan I can keep track of, and is the hallmark of sophistic 'refutations' or challenges or wahtever you might not be able to address if you never make it past vol. 1

fair yeah- iirc when i was doing all teh research on maoist ideas about anti-imperialism/whether china was socialist i was readin a bunch of tsyff on the organic composition of capital from volume 2 or whatever. i dont remember how that came up though lol. its probably necessary to read all of it straight through in a dedicated way though as well though youre right

lol i am googling to retrace my steps cause my own memory is bad, i think most of the organic composition of capital stuff is in volume 1? i dont really know the layout of capital that well. but i was reading volume 2 stuff for some reason at one point, i think it would make sense that stuff on circuits of capital would come up doing that though so maybe thats right

i think another time volume2 stuff came up was when i was reading that banaji 'tjeory as history' book. im not sure i got as much from that as i should have but he was saying a bunch of trot things about dialectics i couldnt figure out how to argue against iirc https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/389-theory-as-history

filler posted:

vimingok posted:

Yes, Orwell was a vicious little worm who used socialism as a way to feel self-righteous in comparison to his fellow Etonians.

The Lion and the Unicorn is where he gets explicit about his attitude toward the colonies, and it turns out it's a redux of Bernstein—colonies are good because they allow us good white socialists to uplift the backward natives (while having the nice side benefit of keeping white living standards high):

the Labour Party was a Socialist party, using Socialist phraseology, thinking in terms of an old-fashioned anti-imperialism and more or less pledged to make restitution to the coloured races. It had to stand for the ‘independence’ of India, just as it had to stand for disarmament and ‘progress’ generally. Nevertheless everyone was aware that this was nonsense. In the age of the tank and the bombing plane, backward agricultural countries like India and the African colonies can no more be independent than can a cat or a dog.

To a Labour government in power, three imperial policies would have been open. One was to continue administering the Empire exactly as before, which meant dropping all pretensions to Socialism. Another was to set the subject peoples ‘free’, which meant in practice handing them over to Japan, Italy and other predatory powers, and incidentally causing a catastrophic drop in the British standard of living. The third was to develop a positive imperial policy, and aim at transforming the Empire into a federation of Socialist states, like a looser and freer version of the Union of Soviet Republics.


Don't trots and anarchists make essentially the same argument today about we need to keep reforming our imperialism instead of letting PRC/Putin take over. It makes sense if you ignore the extent to which capitalist development relied and relies on imperialism. Subtracting it from the overall picture means a radically different geopolitical/economic reality not a power vacuum for bad imperialists to inherit. If the English gave their Asian and African colonies independence (which they in fact promised to the INC) following WW1 most of them would have aligned with the Soviets regardless of political structure. Which would effectively reverse the paradox of liberal imperialist capitalism leading to better outcomes for "people" (no famine deaths, freedom and democracy) that anticommunism is founded on, at least outside the US. Probably no WW2 either. I'm going to drink more beer now.


vimingok posted:

Don't trots and anarchists make essentially the same argument today about we need to keep reforming our imperialism instead of letting PRC/Putin take over

perhaps Orwell's position is a less confused/more honest version of the same thing, but i wouldn't call that the same argument trots make because their confusion and dishonesty are kind of central lol. in my experience trot and anarchist groups don't think about their "oppose all tyrants equally" stuff in that way and would refuse such an argument, even if that's the actual inevitable result of their politics in practice.

wrong thread but re:decameron i watched pasolini's version and im pleased to report that it features a collection of some of the most exquisitely fucked up mouths of teeth on film
i still haven't seen The Little Hours because i don't want to see Fred Armisen ruin a lot of talented people's hard work

cars posted:

i forgot how much of the Decameron isn't sex and is instead like, Kings Of France Do Be Saying Cock At A Chicken Dinner

i'm always forgetting this

i found harvey to be an accessible way to get started but he also messes up some stuff. it's been a long time, but this touches on some of what i recall: https://critisticuffs.org/texts/david-harvey

the process of learning has no end but it's gotta start somewhere, and better that it should start with something digestible and problematic -- which you can critique and rectify later -- than something you can never seem to motivate yourself to get around to

shriekingviolet posted:

in my experience trot and anarchist groups don't think about their "oppose all tyrants equally" stuff in that way and would refuse such an argument, even if that's the actual inevitable result of their politics in practice.

opposing my country's bourgeois state the same as every other bourgeois state, 1/190th that of the bourgeois class in general, so thusly immune to all chauvinist accusation


John Smith posted:

“Global yields lowest in 500 years of recorded history. $10 trillion of negative rate bonds. This is a supernova that will explode one day,” tweeted Bill Gross, the ‘bond king’, in 2016.

This day has come closer. Capitalism now faces the deepest crisis in its several centuries of existence. A global slump has begun that is already devastating the lives of hundreds of millions of working people on all continents. The consequences for workers and poor people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America will be even more extreme than for those living in Europe and North America, both with respect to lives lost to coronavirus and to the existential threats to the billions of people already living in extreme poverty. Capitalism, an economic system based on selfishness, greed and dog-eat-dog competition, will more clearly than ever reveal itself to be incompatible with civilisation.

Why is supernova–the explosion and death of a star–an apt metaphor for what could now be about to unfold? Why could the coronavirus, an organism 1000th the diameter of a human hair, be the catalyst for such a cataclysm? And what can workers, youth and the dispossessed of the world do to defend ourselves and to ‘bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old’, in the words of the U.S. labour hymn, Solidarity Forever?

To find answers to these questions, we need to understand why the ‘global financial crisis’ that began in 2007 was much more than a financial crisis, and why the extreme measures taken by G7 governments and central banks to restore a modicum of stability–in particular the ‘zero interest rate policy’, described by a Goldman Sachs banker as “crack cocaine for the financial markets”–have created the conditions for today’s crisis.
Global capitalism’s ‘underlying health issues’

The first stage of a supernova is implosion, analogous to the long-term decline in interest rates that began well before the onset of systemic crisis in 2007, which has accelerated since then, and which fell off a cliff just as coronavirus began its rampage in early January 2020. Falling interest rates are fundamentally the result of two factors: falling rates of profit, and the hypertrophy of capital, i.e. its tendency grow faster than the capacity of workers and farmers to supply it with the fresh blood it needs to live. As Marx said, in Capital vol. 1,

capital’s sole driving force the drive to valorise itself, to create surplus-value… capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.

These two factors combine to form a doom loop of awesome destructive power. Let us examine its most important linkages.

Many things both mask and counteract the falling rate of profit, turning this into a tendency that only reveals itself in times of crisis, of which the most important has been the shift of production from Europe, North America and Japan to take advantage of the much higher rates of exploitation available in low-wage countries. The falling rate of profit manifests itself in a growing reluctance of capitalists to invest in production; more and more of what they do invest in is branding, intellectual property and other parasitic and non-productive activities. This long-running capitalist investment strike is amplified by the global shift of production–boosting profits by slashing wages rather than by building new factories and deploying new technologies. This enables huge mark-ups, turbo-charging the accumulation of vast wealth for which capitalists have no productive use–hence the hypertrophy of capital.

This, in turn, results in declining interest rates–as capitalists compete with each other to purchase financial assets, they bid up their price, and the revenue streams they generate fall in proportion–hence falling interest rates. Falling interest rates and rising asset values have created what is, for capitalist investors, the ultimate virtuous circle–they can borrow vast sums to invest in financial assets of all kinds, further inflating their ‘value’.

Falling interest rates therefore have two fundamental consequences: the inflation of asset bubbles and the piling up of debt mountains. In fact, these are two sides of the same coin: for every debtor there is a creditor; every debt is someone else’s asset. Asset bubbles could deflate (if productivity increases), or else they will burst; economic growth could, over time, erode debt mountains, or else they will come crashing down.

Since 2008, productivity has stagnated across the world and GDP growth has been lower than in any decade since World War II, resulting in what Nouriel Roubini has called “the mother of all asset bubbles,” while aggregate debt (the total debt of governments, corporations and households), already mountainous before the 2008 financial crash, has since then more than doubled in size. The growth of debt has been particularly pronounced in the countries of the global South. Total debt for the 30 largest of them reached $72.5tn in 2019–a 168% rise over the past 10 years, according to Bank of International Settlements data. China accounts for $43tn of this, up from $10tn a decade ago. In sum, well before coronavirus, global capitalism already had ‘underlying health issues’, it was already in intensive care.

Global capitalism–which is more imperialist than ever, since it is both more parasitic and more reliant than ever before on the proceeds of super-exploitation in low-wage countries–is therefore inexorably heading to supernova, towards the bursting of assets bubbles and the crashing of debt mountains. Everything that imperialist central banks have done since 2008 has been designed to postpone the inevitable day of reckoning. But now that day has come.

10-year U.S. Treasury bonds are considered the safest of havens and the ultimate benchmark against which all other debt is priced. In times of great uncertainty, investors invariably stampede out of stock markets and into the safest bond markets, so as share prices fall, bond prices–otherwise known as ‘fixed income securities’–rise. As they do, the fixed income they yield translates into a falling rate of interest. But not on March 9, when, in the midst of plummeting stock markets, 10-year U.S. Treasury bond interest rates spiked upwards. According to one bond trader, “statistically speaking, should only happen every few millennia.” Even in the darkest moment of the global financial crisis, when Lehman Brothers (a big merchant bank) went bankrupt in September 2008, this did not happen.

The immediate cause of this minor heart attack was the scale of asset-destruction in other share and bond markets, causing investors to scramble to turn their speculative investments into cash. To satisfy their demands, fund managers were obliged to sell their most easily-exchangeable assets, thereby negating their safe-haven status, and this jolted governments and central banks to take extreme action and fire their ‘big bazookas’, namely the multi-trillion dollar rescue packages–including a pledge to print money without limit to ensure the supply of cash to the markets. But this event also provided a premonition for what is down the road. In the end, dollar bills, like bond and share certificates, are just pieces of paper. As trillions more of them flood into the system, events in March 2020 bring closer the day when investors will lose faith in cash itself–and in the power of the economy and state standing behind it. Then the supernova moment will have arrived.
The left’s imperialism-denial, and its belief in the ‘magic money tree’

The gamut of the left in imperialist countries–the Jeremy Corbyn-led wing of the Labour Party in the UK; the motley crew of left-Keynesians such as Ann Pettifor, Paul Mason, Yanis Varoufakis; supporters of Bernie Sanders in USA–are united on two things: they all acknowledge, to one degree or another, that imperialist plunder of colonies and neocolonies happened in the past but do not acknowledge that imperialism continues in any meaningful way to define relations between rich and poor countries.

And they believe in one or other version of the ‘magic money tree’, in other words, they see the decline of interest rates into negative territory not as a flashing red light showing the extremity of the crisis, i.e. not as the implosion phase of a supernova, but as a green light to borrow money to finance increased state investment, social spending, a Green New Deal, and even a bit more foreign aid. In fact, there is no magic money tree. Capitalism cannot escape from this crisis, no matter how many trillions of dollars governments borrow or central banks print. The neoliberals rejected magical thinking, now they embrace it–this shows the extent of their panic, but it does not make magical thinking any less fantastical. The trillions they spent after 2007-8 bought another decade of zombie-like life for their vile system. This time they will be lucky to get 10 months, or even 10 weeks, before the explosion phase of the supernova begins.
Coronavirus–catalyst for cataclysm

The coronavirus pandemic occurred at the worst possible time: growth in the eurozone had shrunk to zero; much of Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa were already in recession; the sugar-high from Trump’s huge tax-giveaways to U.S. corporations was fading; the US-China trade war was causing serious disruption to supply chains and was threatening to entangle the EU; and tens of millions of people joined mass protests in dozens of countries across the world.

Interest rates are now deep in negative territory–but not if you are Italy, facing an enormous increase in its debt/GDP ratio, not if you are an indebted corporation trying to refinance your debts, not if you are an ‘emerging market’. Since March 9, corporate interest rates have gone through the roof; in fact few corporations can borrow money at any price. Investors are refusing to lend to them. Corporations are now facing a credit crunch–in the midst of global negative interest rates! That’s why the ECB decided to borrow €750 billion from these same investors, and use it to buy the corporate bonds which these same investors now refuse to purchase, and why the USA’s Federal Reserve is doing the same on an even bigger scale. Italy’s (and the EU’s) fate now depends on the willingness of the Bundesbank to replace its private creditors. Their refusal to do this would be the final stage of the EU’s death agony.

During the middle two weeks of March, imperialist governments announced plans to spend $4.5 trillion bailing out their own bankrupt economies. An emergency online summit of the G20 (the G7 imperialist nations plus a dozen or so ‘emerging’ nations, including Russia, India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia) on 26 March, declared “we are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy.” These are weasel words; by ‘global’ they actually mean ‘domestic’! The response of the ‘left’ in the imperialist countries is to clap its hands and say, we were right all along! There is a magic money tree after all!–apparently not realising that this is exactly what happened post-2008: the socialisation of private debt. Or that, unlike post-2008, this time it will not work.

Yet, as imperialist governments belatedly mobilise–and monopolise–medical resources to confront the coronavirus crisis in their own countries, they’ve abandoned poor countries to their fate. The left in the imperialist countries (or we could just say ‘imperialist left’, for short) has also ignored the fact that there is nothing in these emergency cash injections for the poor of the global South. If you are an ‘emerging market’, well, fuck off and join the queue for an IMF bail-out! As of March 24, 80 countries were standing in this queue, waiting for some of its $1tr lending capacity. $1 trillion sounds like a lot of money, and indeed it is, but, as Martin Wolf, chief economic correspondent for the Financial Times, points out,

the aggregate external financing gaps of emerging and developing countries are likely to be far beyond the IMF’s lending capacity.

Furthermore, as Wolf suggests, the purpose of IMF loans is to help with “external financing gaps”–in other words, to bail out imperialist creditors, not the peoples of debtor nations; and they invariably come with harsh and humiliating conditions that add to the crushing burden already pressing down on the peoples of those countries. In this sense, they are just like the vast government bailouts of private capital in the rich countries–but without anything added on to finance welfare payments or partially replace wages. The aim of the latter is to purchase the docility of the working class in the imperialist nations, but they have no intention of doing this in Africa, Asia and Latin America!

On March 24, the United Nations issued an appeal for $2bn to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This money, which the U.N. hopes to raise over the next nine months, is 1/80 of the annual budget of the U.K.’s NHS, and less than 1/2000 of the $4.5tr they plan to spend keeping their own capitalist economies alive. It is also less than 1/40 of the money which imperialist investors have taken out of ‘emerging markets’ during the first three weeks of March, “the largest capital outflow ever recorded,” according to IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva.

The maximum extent of relief for the collateral effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the peoples of poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America was indicated by World Bank president, David Malpass, who said after the G20 summit ended that his board is putting together a rescue package valued at “up to $160 billion” spread out over the next 15 months–a minuscule fraction of the economic losses that the coming global slump will impose on the peoples of the absurdly-named ‘emerging markets’.
“We have a revolutionary duty to fulfill”–Leonardo Fernandez, Cuban doctor in Italy

So, what is to be done? Instead of applauding the bailout of big corporations, we should expropriate them. Instead of endorsing a temporary moratorium on evictions and the accumulation of rent arrears, we should confiscate real estate so as to protect workers and small businesses. These, and many other struggles to assert our right to life over the rights of capitalists to their property, are for the near future.

Right now the priority is to do whatever is necessary to save life and defeat the coronavirus. This means extending solidarity to those who are most vulnerable to the pandemic–homeless people, prisoners, asylum seekers enduring ‘hostile environments’–and to the dispossessed and victims of imperialism in the slums, shantytowns and refugee camps of the global South. Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the Bank of India, points out that “pending a cure or a reliable vaccine, the world needs to fight the virus into submission everywhere in order to relax measures anywhere.” The Economist concurs:

If covid-19 is left to ravage the emerging world, it will soon spread back to the rich one.

The coronavirus pandemic is just the latest proof that we need not so much an NHS, but a GHS–a Global Health Service. The only country that is acting on this imperative is revolutionary Cuba. They already have more than 28,000 doctors providing free health care in 61 poor countries–more than the G7 nations combined–and 52 in Italy, 120 more to Jamaica, and are helping scores of other countries to prepare for the pandemic. Even the far-right Bolsonaro government in Brazil, which last year expelled 10000 Cuban doctors, branding them terrorists, is now begging them to return.

To defeat coronavirus we must emulate Cuba’s medical internationalism. If we are to defeat this pandemic we must join with its revolutionary doctors and revolutionary people, and we must prepare do what Cuba did to make this internationalism possible–in other words, we must replace the dictatorship of capital with the power of working people. The coronavirus supernova makes socialist revolution–in imperialist countries and across the world–into a necessity, an urgent practical task, a life and death question if human civilisation is to survive and if the capitalist destruction of nature, of which the coronavirus epidemic is merely the latest symptom, is to be ended.


I'm reading Capital for the nth time. I started an online reading group. Would anyone be interested if I made a thread to post notes from the discussion in this forum? We only just had the chapter 1 discussion.
post without fear

88888 posted:

post without fear


graphicalUSSRinterface posted:

88888 posted:

post without fear

to clarify some people should absolutely post with fear


88888 posted:

to clarify some people should absolutely post with fear

omg. psycho. i cant believe youve done this

fucking lmao
im being bullied :(
i dont know if you dont realize im supposed to sound completely stupid when psoting that or if you do and its still bad lol

edit: the doublepost was a complete mistake lol. oops. pls no ifap
gahaha, I was only pretending to be stupid!

lo posted:

gahaha, I was only pretending to be stupid!

imagine being so unfamiliar with the 'being stupid on purpose' style of ironyposting that you legitimately think i was using that defense, or that anyone online actually ever does. if its interpreted that way in bad faith, its one of the weakest ways you can possbily attempt to fuck with someone because its so transparent

edit: maybe im going too fucking hard for no reason or being unfunny in response and thats the crime, or being too serious. anwyas

Edited by graphicalUSSRinterface ()

Uh oh..

It's Paris birthday today, and it's 1000 years old..

That means only one thing..

Every Character from Duchamp, Magritte, Breton and Dali all come in with everything for one HUGE party.

China Mievelle's novel 'The Last Days of Paris' is a bougie Trotskyite's version of the game master anthony fantasy. Surrealist artworks come to life and rampage around occupied Paris. Mievelle telegraphs that the ending is going to be a showdown between good european art and bad nazi art, where the aesthetic poverty of the Nazis causes their pokemon to disobey them and lose the war. The twist is that the showdown ends up being between the good european art and the paintings of Hitler himself! The other twist is that the Nazis make occult deals with Hell but the demons are like "Actually Hitler isn't even metal! \m/" so they help out the Paris-art pokemon instead. The Hitler pokemon is defeated by the art pokemon because Hitler's paintings did not have a good power level.

In 150 pages, Mievelle cheers Trotsky twice, jeers Stalin once, and does not mention Lenin. 0 bags of popcorn out of 5.

The Soviets beat the Nazis the first time, so why are there still so many people who think 'art' is going to beat them the next time?

Paris is for Trots?
jesus christ what a fucking nerd
for those unaware China Mievelle is an abusive creep who was "exonerated" by legally intimidating his victim into silence, my fave flavour of asshole

(the runner up best flavour of asshole is maple walnut)
who the fuck names their kid "china"

shriekingviolet posted:

for those unaware China Mievelle is an abusive creep who was "exonerated" by legally intimidating his victim into silence, my fave flavour of asshole

(the runner up best flavour of asshole is maple walnut)

he is a trotskyite yes


sovnarkoman posted:


i'm reading an article on the web site of the the us naval institute arguing that the us should issue letters of marque against chinese shipping