THIS MONDAY: A MEETING IN SEATTLE

At 4:30 PM, Mon., Jan. 14, Mac Intosh, of Internationalist Perspective, will be speaking on: “The Communist Left, Class Lines, and the New Reading of Marx.” An open discussion will follow.

Please join us at Victrola Cafe, 411 15th Ave. E., Seattle.

About the talk:

The historical Communist Left traces its origins to the revolutionary wave that erupted in 1917-1918, and then proceeded theoretically and politically to the theoretical-political critique of the emerging counter-revolution in Russia, culminating in the emergence of Stalinism and the so-called Bolshevization of the communist parties across the globe. The very class lines separating the fundamental and historical interests of the working class from those of capitalism have been clearly drawn by the communist left over the past century. Those class lines and their political underpinnings, have their own theoretical bases in the works of Marx, his analysis of the value form and its fundamental role in shaping the very modes of subjectivity of the working class, and the obstacles to its overcoming of the reified social forms to which capitalist social relations subject it. The new reading of Marx based on the publication of all the manuscripts and drafts of Capital, and their analysis, has provided a theoretical basis for understanding and politically confronting the power of capital; a basis for clearly drawing the class line.

*****Special thank you to the comrades of Red May who helped coordinate/organize the meeting in Seattle. We greatly appreciates their help that they gave us in getting the word out, finding the venue, and generally making this meeting a success. We look forward to more activities of this sort.

Listen to a recording of the meeting

5 comments on “THIS MONDAY: A MEETING IN SEATTLE”

  1. Great discussion.

    Quick comment on Money. If money in any form–labor chits or donuts– is used to measure labor time it takes on the principle function that enables value to form in the first place, that is capitalism. Without money specifically as a measure, commodities can not be brought into a relationship of commensurability that enables exchange in the first place. Thus, the essence of capitalism would still be intact. Exchange in the form of money is not merely a measure but essentially the representation of abstract labor time in a form that would enable the accumulation of value and the extension of credit. Equalizing labor on the basis of labor-time is the barbaric imposition of an abstract equality on real human beings. Such an “equality” is necessary feature of both the value form and democracy.

    I would like to add that the many references in the discussion to democracy as the self-evident form of proletarian political power was left un-challenged. Democracy is logically linked to the value-form and historically linked to the emergence of capitalism. I think it is not a stretch to say that democratic form is the political expression of capital. Perhaps this can be a topic for a future public discussion.

  2. Democracy and Capitalism

    The link between democracy and capitalism is complex but one that is strangely overlooked by many Marxists. Most simply accept that the first appearance of democracy was just a really good idea on the part of some smart Greeks without really questioning its materialist origin. Investigating these origins reveals the convergence of three important factors: private property rights, the widespread use of silver coins to facilitate complex trade relations and the appearance of wage labor. Other factors might include the appearance of a class Hoplite farmers who provided the core of the Greek army and were hostile to the Greek aristocracy. (Hoplite farmers were wealthy enough to provide their own arms for combat, often owned a few slaves and were fiercely protective of their private property.) Contrary to the accepted definition of “democracy” as “rule of the people,” the actual origin of the word was the rule of the “demes” which did not indicate people in general but was a political designation indicating a region (precinct). By ruling via the demes large aristocratic families were divided among themselves giving the Hoplite a greater share of power in the democratic form. This history could be expanded to include the collapse and reappearance of democracy, the evolution of democracy as a cornerstone of bourgeois ideology and it role in blurring class lines and emasculating the proletariat. But, more important is the logic that links democracy to political economy.

    If we accept that commodities are made commensurable by being placed in a reflective relationship, each commodity can reflect the value of all commodities and that each commodity is in the possession of a custodian, then each of these custodians must reflect the same relationship– each has the right to his/her property and each must protect the right of the the other. This right of property is the basis of the democratic form, a form that reflects the same “shape” as the value-form that Marx outlined. Commodities can not be compared with one another without the mediation of value in it pure appearance, i.e. money. This has the same form in that the sovereign right of one citizen can not be made equal to the sovereign right of each and all citizens without the mediation of the sovereign state. These are not coincidental forms, but interdependent and necessary forms. Democracy is the ideal political expression of capital itself.

    I am aware that this needs rather extensive expansion which will be forthcoming . IP is currently developing these ideas and will soon publish a discussion text. I did not want to leave the question unanswered.

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