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Forum Post: An original opinion or what would Marx do?

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 28, 2012, 3:52 p.m. EST by ogoj11 (263)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Capitalism is over. It ended a long time ago. The present system is probably better described as carrot-and-stickism.

Quiz time: When Marx wrote his Manifesto how many capitalist governments existed in Europe? Answer:None, zilch, zero (well, not counting swiss cantons -whatever those are) Oh sure, capitalism was emerging, operating, but the heads of state were all the old familiar crowned heads, the Kaisers, and the Tsars. Did Marx attack the 1% on the top? No. He ignored them and focused on the emerging capitalist elite.

But what do we do in Occupy? Do we focus on the emerging elites or on the remnants of the old elite? We do the opposite of Marx. We focus on the elitest elitists capitalists who are so remote from us that when I listen to the kids talk about them, I realize the kids might as well be reciting from their sci-fi novels, or fantasizing about gods and demons.

This line of thought continues, but I need some emcouragement, some interest to develop it further.



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[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Can you explain what you mean by elitest elitists capitalists because I'm thinking about what you wrote but I'm not sure I understand you well?

My short answer would be to not focus so much on what certain people (the capitalists) "have" but on what everyone else "doesn't have." In other words, it matters not how wealthy some people (the capitalists) become but it matters a whole lot that everyone else has enough.

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

It seemed punny at the moment to call the 1% elitest elitists. The general drift of what I'm saying is we can't create politics without reimagining the whole hierarchy, especially the parts that are most familiar to people.

You seem like you must be the nicest person on this site and I'm moved to tell you about a little passage in a book I read a few months ago. It was about a young Russian girl in the Tsarist era who tried to assassinate the governor of St. Petersburg. The author begins by trying to explain the climate of ideas and feelings that surrounded young idealistic Russians at the time. He explains that it was widely believed that a New Man (Human), generous and kind, would arise after the revolution. Everything would be altered so drastically - are you with me?- that nature itself would change. It was even believed that rain would no longer be water,... rain would be lemonade!

Why do I tell you this? We have much more power to change the world today, but much less imagination of what it would look like. If you ask people, even leftists, what a post capitalist society would be, the answers sound like the society we live in now with less inequality, less racism, more gadgets, less pollution. Real imagination would be directed at fundamental social relations, not just at the abuses of the elitest eltists.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

I'm with you. I have said many time on here that we need social change before we can have any kind of meaningful political or economic change. We need a change to our very ethos.

What you said makes me think of a rumor I have heard that the astrological Age of Aquarius is going to be dawning soon and that it will bring sweeping change to make the world more humanitarian where a manifestation of love and peace is prominent. Sounds good, right?

[-] 3 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I'm hoping you and others come to Occupy Raleigh's forum and offer us a little encouragement, maybe relate some of your Yankee occupy experience. We're kind of dumb and a little too conservative, but we're nice. When the light turns green, we don't honk at you when you sit there dreaming about the Age of Aquarius. http://forum.occupyraleigh.net/

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Sweet. Thanks for the invite. Would you extend one to them as well? They're welcome here.

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I've been begging people to visit our forum, bring some fresh air, some new voices and perspectives. The history of our little Occupy is too involved to summarize here, but it seems a shame to me that so many posts are tossed into this ocean when our little puddle would welcome them (I hope) much more.

[-] 0 points by Torspamad (0) 11 years ago

Sounds wonderful bw. Does that mean we are going out on a date? Would you settle for an OWS picnic, or an OTS pot-luck? lol

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Nope. I don't settle.

[-] 2 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 11 years ago

You are correct when you state that beautifulworld is a nice person.It's true!

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I'm surprised you're not watching the republican convention. For shame! Who amongst us can appreciate it as you do?

[-] 2 points by trashyharry (3084) from Waterville, NY 11 years ago

LOL-I find it hard to cope with cowardly,slippery two-faced Democrats-but my hatred for Republicans mkes it difficult for me to even think about them,let alone see or hear them.Besides,I promised my father when he was dying to never miss an opportunity to denounce,mock,defame,ridicule and indict the Traitor Republican Party.

[-] -2 points by electron (-492) 11 years ago

That last bit sounds a lot like what I've saying here for months. Nice to know I'm growing on you.

ogoj11 is saying that we must concentrate on the new generation, not on the old school.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Thrasymaque, I never said I disagree with you intellectually. My problems are more with your tactics and bullying. And, btw, I've been saying that since day one on here, so, sorry but you have not grown on me, quite the reverse.

[-] 2 points by frogmanofborneo (602) from New York, NY 11 years ago

[-] -3 points by electron (-97) 2 hours ago Those people come in and pollute everything. It would work much better if one forum is dedicated to being connected to activism in the streets and doing real Occupy work, and another forum, this one, remains for retired folks who want to talk about Obama. The essential idea with creating a new forum is that we can have a different form of moderation. Instead of moderating nothing like on this forum, we can moderate seriously and keep the discussions on topic. It would be much nicer since there wouldn't be political garbage posts to wade through. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle reply permalink [-] 1 points by frogmanofborneo (504) from Bronx, NY 0 minutes ago This from the guy who said he is living in Indonesia and who used to blame the members of OWS for getting brutalized by cops

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Good points.

[-] -1 points by electron (-492) 11 years ago

I guess you don't like Occupy style methods. What do you think of Sea Shepherd?

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Thanks for a number of thoughtful responses. I don't need much by way of encouragement. Sorry that my original post was a half baked teaser with typos, but I was at my desk doing a very boring task that I needed to get done.

Here's my point, crude and simplified. Capitalism emerged from feudalism. What's emerging from capitalism? There's a new elite, an elite that we know very well, unlike the billionaires we rant against. I call them professionals. No adequate analysis of this class exists. Occupy pretends that the 99% is all one relatively undifferentiated group.

Marxists have had 2 broad categories for in-between folks: labor aristocracy (privileged workers like foremen) and petit bourgeois (small capitalists). Neither really describes today's professionalism although both catch aspects of professionalism.

I have my own analysis of professionalism, but before I bore you let me explain why it's so important. Part of the reason we have failed to grab the imagination of so many people is that we're only attacking invisible forces, the 1%, Wall Street and high finance. Regular people live in a world of professionalism. Schools are nothing but professional qualifying centers. More and more jobs are becoming professionalized. If Occupy doesn't talk about professionalism, about the whole hierarchy stretching from the 2% down to the homeless, we're irrelevant to the real world of most people.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

Consider some words from Albert Einstein from over 60 years ago :

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I hope I didn't say anything anti-socialist. I am in full sympathy. In fact, the idea I'm trying to develop here, piecemeal, is an extension of the Marxist schema: feudalism to capitalism to.... I'm saying that a new mode of production, professionalism, is emerging. Just as the bourgeoisie led the French revolutions by passing themselves off as representatives of all, the professionals lead us. This new mode is in some features better than capitalism, in some worse.

But we cannot ignore actual productive relations and focus solely on the 1%, (the equivalent of the crowned heads of Marx's era -who he ignored.)

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

I have a lot of sympathy for your line of thinking. Please have a look at the first video, which I have appended to 'Proteus' below. You didn't say anything "anti-socialist" at all and indeed my own words when we first exchanged comments, could be construed as such ;-)

Consider that 'Trickle Down Capitalism' has now clearly morphed into "Hoover Up Kaputalism" & Marx was right to see "the historical inevitability" of The End of Capitalism but even he could not have envisaged The Extreme Financialistion ; Banksterism & the abject avarice Of Modern Crapitalism.

For me 'Class Consciousness' is paramount. We need answers for a new age but will only get anywhere when we ask the right questions ... just like you are trying to do.

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 2 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

"For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society."

I like that part.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

I like that you "like" & for you, others & this thread in general :

Please consider that 'Democracy' only really works when The People are actually in charge !!!

Otherwise we only have demoCRAZY deMOCKERYcy - just like in The U$A right now !!

Onwards and Upwards - even when it is occasionally sideways and backwards !

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 2 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

Democrappy too, don't forget that one.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

I say Capitalism is a dead end. know what that mean? It mean it must birth a new system from scratch before it dies.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

And that new system can't be related in any way to the principles that lead this one to fail, and that, you can laugh all you want, is the ego god ideology.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago


professional classes?

they, I would guess, be barely above the poor, themselves, with debts, and bills, maybe a professional is married to a laborer, and just getting by, living multigenerational in a home, and possibly sympathetic to ows, for sake of kids, grandkids.

what is special for professional ?????

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Good question. The real answer is long, but I'll be brief.

The difference is not so much measured in assets, but in ideology, and mechanisms of control. Professionals have long structured careers with many steps. They must stay on path slowly climbing. This career embeddedness is kind of what community used to be, a context that gives one a place in the world.

Professionals think of themselves as having 'earned' their privileges, generally because of their intelligence. The professional takes thousands of tests from kindergarten through post-doc and his/her success breeds a unique arrogance. My mother (a psychologist), for instance, hated Bush, not because his policies were horrible, but because he was dumb, and in her professional ideal, the leader should be the most intelligent person. All of this makes for interesting comparisons with the rise of the bourgeoisie, a class which imagined itself fitter, in the social Darwinian sense, than the decaying aristocracy and the inferior specimens in the lower orders.

Enough for now, but please visit Occupy Raleigh. Also, for clarity, I am not simplistically pro-or anti-professional, but I think the class too important to ignore.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago

kind of makes sense.

how about someone who goes through many steps and becomes a librarian,

or goes through a lot of steps an becomes a physical therapist.

there may be many hoops and costs associated with attaining a position in these professional services, but they may work long hours with not so much professional prestige.

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I may have misled you into thinking that I'm placing more emphasis on professional power and privilege than I am. It's important to understand that professionalism developed under capitalism and has been distorted by capitalist needs. Capitalism requires keeping labor costs low and most workers easily replaceable. Skilled, technicians are hard to replace and the system cannot maintain a vast pool of unused experts. The strategy has been to concentrate skill in as few as possible, but another professionalism is possible. Imagine a workplace where everyone was skilled equally, no hierarchy, complex coordination... Remember Lenon... I wonder if you can.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago

i guess.

there just are all different types of skilled professionals: engineers, architects, construction trades, doctors, computer scientist, airplane pilot, mechanic.

we do need a skilled thinking populace, who can attend community college, and get needed skills, and be able to think, create, learn, and be flexible.

the more of these skills one has, the better, but it does take "time and money" to acquire.

but I do think there would be a place for "businesses" to train their workers a bit too, on the job training, or for "apprenticeships" when appropriate.

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Yes, professionalism is spreading, in the form of extending training and establishing careers in areas where these things never existed. What began as a small section of petit bourgeois is becoming the norm. Both from below (workers) and above (doctors and lawyers who used to be businessmen of sorts) everyone converges on professionalism.

You put your finger on it when you point out the need for skilled workers. The drive used to be all in the other direction, to destroy craft work and streamline production. The problem is how to measure and control professionals. The system is really struggling with this. Look at teachers, for instance, and the hullabaloo about testing. Everyone realizes the standardized tests are lousy, but no better control is available.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago

here's an article from author of book on improving education who examined what is working in Europe's schools


I hear you about testing taking the fun out of school. my kids were mostly very burned out by high school. 1 stuck it out got an AA in social service. another didn't finished hs, was smart enough, but got it in head wasn't good. passed all the state exams, anyway. just the course work and seat work seemed too challenging.

there should be testing of kids, so they can get additional skills learned if they are missing out, especially when they are young, so they do not get too far behind.

used to be there was on the job training too. or other countries have a year of service in a profession, with their schooling,

my youngest spends almost too much time studying, during the school year anyway. thats a good thing i hope.

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Barbara Ehrenreich wrote a book which touched on these issues. Her main point seemed to be that professional class people suffer from a unique class anxiety because, unlike other historical classes, they can't reliably pass their class to their children. I disagree, believing that class mobility has not particularly changed since professionalism began.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

"Beyond Capitalism" (Video 3:15) :

by George Monbiot ( http://www.monbiot.com/ )

fiat justitia ...

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

By way of my on going apology for my lack of "Southern" or any other kind of manners, when we first met & for your erudite and appreciated good grace :

Consider that most citizens in The USA, need to work for themselves or by selling their labour, knowledge and expertise & work for others in order to pay their bills, take care of their obligations and finance their lifestyles. Thus from this perspective, stripped of hubris, conceits and affectations - most people are 'Working Class' .... irrespective of what they do or how much they earn !!!

Perhaps there is now - more than ever, The Most Urgent need for a political party to Truly Represent 'Labour" - as opposed to the situation now where both sides of the 'faux dichotomy of Republocrat / Demoblican', only ever really represents "Capital". Past November '2012's 'Presidential Selection', it is now high time for a real "American Labour Party" and / or 'True Independents' !!

What are The American 99% going to do about it ? Well just for a start, they had better get to Educating ; Agitating & Organising 'PDQ' ... IF a better tomorrow for all is to be won !

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 0 points by electron (-492) 11 years ago

Very good post. Best one of the week.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

Hallelujah & http://www.marxists.org/ !!! It had to happen at some point ... We Agree !! Wow !

The only difference of course "Thrasymaque", is that I am being truthful !

fallaces sunt rerum species ...

[-] 0 points by kaiserw (211) 11 years ago

We haven't had capitalism in over 100 years. I don't know what you're talking about.

"From a correct Marxian point of view … all measures designed to restrain, to regulate and to improve capitalism were simply "petty-bourgeois" nonsense … True socialists should not place any obstacles in the way of capitalist evolution. For only the full maturity of capitalism could bring about socialism. It is not only vain, but harmful to the interests of the proletarians to resort to such measures."

"Every advocate of planning is a potential dictator. What he plans is to deprive all other men of all their rights, and to establish his own and his friends' unrestricted omnipotence. He refuses to convince his fellow-citizens. He prefers to "liquidate" them. He scorns the "bourgeois" society that worships law and legal procedure. He himself worships violence and bloodshed."

Ludwig Mises

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Frankly, I've never met a 'free market' ideologue I could respect. Are you the exception? I'll give you a chance. Let's agree that all government is planning and dictatorship. What's the alternative? Politics is either here to stay or we impossibly go back to some imagined atomistic individualism. More words, probably, than are worth wasting on a right wing ideologue.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

Why do you believe "Politics is either here to stay or we impossibly go back to some imagined atomistic individualism"?

Maybe you don't want to see outside of this system so you are not open to alternatives, but I did invent a system where there is no politics, you only need expertise and a decision engine related to vote diversity, the expertise expose arguments and people vote from an algorithm of fairness, no need for politics. I could give you an example of 5 pages, just ask.

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

I'm finding it difficult to discuss such matters here. Let me first say, that we have all been inspired by your struggle. We, in Raleigh, had a little march on a Sunday afternoon, banging pots and pans in support of your struggle. Please come to our forum and tell us about your experiences and your ideas.

I certainly didn't mean that politics as usual was here to stay, just that the world seems too complicated to do without coordination. I love our anarchists but I'm not convinced. The dream of decentralizing seems like a 19th century attempt to hide the problem of power relations.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

Don't worry, I'm not a partisan of anarchy, and the system I talk about is centralized proportionally to people concerned, nothing to do with communities and libertism and things like that.

Thanks for the support, we will win, and if we are to continue, it will be to encourage you in turn.

[-] 1 points by Proteus (141) from Quebec, QC 11 years ago

BTW, the expertise I'm talking about is not what we have today on TV as a matter of expertise, I'm talking about a group of people developing arguments while having access to all kind of expertise based on truth parameters. That can be people as well as computer databases.

[-] 0 points by kaiserw (211) 11 years ago

My feelings are that the only place for government if it exists at all is to enforce private property rights and the rule of law (back to property rights). I'm ok with Anarchy, if you can keep the gangs from taking over violating innocent people minding their own business, but we have that problem now too, so, yea.

[-] 2 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

But it's obvious that if you knock out the alpha dog (government), the next most powerful dog (corporations) takes over. Surely, you've met with this objection before.

Eliminate regulation and the rich are free to make money, but the rest of us are only free to buy a different brand of car after the uninspected one we owned crashed while we were on our way to the hospital to be treated by unqualified doctors because we got cancer from the insecticide laden food ... you get the idea

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 11 years ago

It comes down to simple heuristics, you must have simple rules - Code of Hammurabi and such: If an engineer builds a house, and the house collapses and kills it's owner, the engineer is put to death. Capitalism is most importantly about downside risk, if you take away the downside risk, you have fascism - what we have now. Corporations in a natural world are under constant pressure, are born and die every day. Amazon puts Borders out of business, etc. Competition eliminates monopoly. Creative destruction and all that.

In every case of monopoly, or corporate control, there is always a compliant and obedient group of politicians that support them and destroy competition. In a basic rule of law society that is enforced, it is impossible for mega corporations to prey on individuals like we see today. Big government only serves to protect the monied interests, ALWAYS. It was the same in Nazi Germany, and even in Russia today, it was the same when the railroad companies preyed on workers and mining revolts and unions were mowed down by the Army in the USA! Mega corporations MUST have protection of government, or they die. They're too big to survive in a normal environment - like the dinosaurs, except in business, meteors and comets rain down with each new idea somebody comes up with.

Business and nature (biological) have more in common than most people realize. They both exist in the domain of complex systems, as opposed to the linear domain (Newton's law).

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

You seem like a smart sincere guy, better prepared to discuss these matters than I expected, but I disagree with most of what you said.

You seem like a gamesman who has fallen so deeply in love with one strategy that countervailing forces appear trivial. What interests me about you is why this 'small is beautiful' (I know, not your term) is so appealing to you. I don't really share your concern about productivity as I'm sure you guessed, but even if I did, I don't believe a world of small businesses is the answer. Fewer and fewer people own the organizations they work in whether government or private. What drives productivity is not profits or free enterprise, but a finely tuned, sensitive system of carrots and sticks.

We now know that skilled workers doing complex tasks, highly capitalized (state of the art equipment and technique), are more productive than simplistic assembly line, wage slave workers. But these new kinds of work are harder to evaluate. Think of a teacher, for instance. S/he does so many things in the course of a day. How can anyone measure success in such tasks? But the answer is not in privatizing, but in developing a system of rewards and punishments (promotions, privileges, honors), carrot and stickism I called it.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 11 years ago

What you are talking about is Anarcho-capitalism it sounds like. Basically, that's what neo-liberals and Libertarians are advocating for too. Even if they don't know it.

Rules protect the honest business person. Lack of rules protects the liars and the thieves. Somehow, in Anarcho-capitalism Fairytaleland, liars and thieves wouldn't be able to exist. I think it has to do with some kinda mystical magical free market fairy dust.

[-] 0 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 11 years ago

Marx and Engels were usually specific and often assumed that readers of the time were familiar with other Communist Party literature.

Their writings focused on capitalist nations, in which royalty basically had receeded into the background of the politcal-economy, nations like England and France, while Marx and Engels partially excluded, for instance, Germany and the United States, because they had not developed far enough into the Industrial Age.

Marx analyzed political-economic history and divided it into segments. The one he focused on was the capitalist system which had evolved from the feudal system, though in many parts of the world feudalism still existed. He theorized that the ideal breeding grounds for a proletarian uprising were heavily industrialized nations, parts of the world the capitalists controlled, and where the workers suffered maximum oppression with no real hope of rising above wage slavery.

Eventually the final straw would break the camel's back and the proletarians would rise up in unified revolution to form a new society.

We are in the height of what Marx predicted: a throroughly capitalist political-economy. The wealthy elite control almost all governments and economies. Workers struggle to survive, while the "middle class" is rapidly disappearing. More or less the timetable for a workers' revolution is on schedule.

[-] 1 points by funkytown (-374) 11 years ago

And of what form do you envision, how so a revolution?

Is a tax revolt even possible when virtually all are either self employed or subject to withholding?

Is a capitalist revolution possible when neighbors can't even agree on the state of our capitalism?

I suspect Marx would have simply written another book - that's what wealthy, educated, writers do.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 11 years ago

Actually Marx, after his move to London, was reduced to poverty; he was subsidized by Engels, who was wealthy.

The Marxian proletarian revolution inevitably results from worker subjugation; it can't be planned, or forced. It will most likely be a spontaneous uprising, probably starting with an apparently insignificant trigger, perhaps worker reaction to violent government suppression of a labor dispute. Then, as sympathetic and opportunistic groups see an opening to expand the uprising and gather wholesale public support, it will grow. Such a scenario can only unfold, when other avenues of venting worker frustration have been effectively shut down.

A tax revolt? That would be interesting, but--as you pointed out--difficult, since the government grabs the money up front.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 11 years ago

I'm don't believe that anything other than minor insurrection is even possible remotely anymore. Especially in light of the gender free or gender neutral society. And as you point out a tax revolt will never occur.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 11 years ago

Just a little over a decade ago few people would have believed the US government would in the not-distant future institute warrant-less surveillance, suspend the right to writs of habeas corpus, indefinitely detain people, kill American citizens without due process. Things change, and new possibilities arise.

[-] -1 points by funkytown (-374) 11 years ago

Nah, I've thought about this for years now; revolution is no longer possible.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 11 years ago

You definitely could be right.

[-] -1 points by Lucky1 (-125) from Wray, CO 11 years ago

I refuse to believe that Marx is the answer. History proves me right.