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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:49 am 
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Given that we can assume many, if not most of them, are working-class, how do you reconcile wishing to help them with your disdain for their politics?


1. Unwarranted assumption on your part. "Most of them" are not working class.

2. You mean you don't have disdain for the "politics" of supporting Trump? Or you can justify the "politics" of supporting Trump?

3. Opposing the politics of people who support a golf-cart fascist, who endorses mass deportations, torture, collective punishment, lower minimum wages, is not the same as "disdain" for people.


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:29 am 
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I'm not an American, so I don't have deeply held feelings about your President, who just strikes me as another Business as Usual leader, in spite of his personal idiosyncracies.

So does someone who has no owndership in the production or means of exchange but who has a salary of over 100K per year count as working-class?


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:27 am 
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Personal idiosyncrasy is hardly the issue. It's what Trump represents as a social force, the forces that he mobilizes, and sustain him, the convergence of the different "wings" of reaction around a program that attacks the most vulnerable sections of the working class in order to build up the apparatus to pulverized the class as a whole. We aren't talking about feelings. We're talking about concrete analysis.

If we want to discuss what does and does not constitute the working class, that's a separate thread. What's the basis, in concrete, material terms, for your claim that many, if not most, Trump supporters are workers?

We can continue this here: http://redmarx.freeforums.org/what-just-happened-t1374.html


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:37 am 
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I'm not interested, thanks. If I'm wrong, fine; I'm happy to be corrected. I came here to ask other questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:08 pm 
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OK with me.


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:59 pm 
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So does someone who has no owndership in the production or means of exchange but who has a salary of over 100K per year count as working-class?


Let's look at the wages for those upper segments of the working-class:

Longshoreman: $35/hour

Coal miner: $30/hour

Autoworker: $30/hour

This isn't accounting for jobs like professional air traffic controller, technical engineer, etc. which can make far more than the above, or skilled building trades who often don't work consistently through the year.

Income isn't a determining element of class. That kind of determination is indicative of Max Weber, not Karl Marx.

Relative impoverishment isn't equated with class (i.e. "those unionized longshoremen making $35/hour aren't part of the proletariat because they make more money than a dishwasher") or revolutionary agency.

In the historic experience of the proletariat, metalworkers have often been at the center of revolutions (Paris Commune 1871, Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, German revolutions of 1918-1920's, etc.) and acute class struggles (strike waves of the 1930's-40's in the US, May 1968 in France, Italy 1969-1970's, etc.).

Because of many years and decades of bitter struggle, metalworkers often fall within the upper segments of the working-class in terms of compensation. Today, the industrial workers in North America, Europe and Japan employed in various steel, aluminum, etc. mills are within the same income brackets as those listed as examples at the beginning of this reply.

Income doesn't define class, nor does relative impoverishment. It's all about the relationship to the means of production.


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:29 pm 
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So by that criterion nearly everyone is a member of the working-class, but Marxists are unlikely to be campaigning for the material improvement of the upper end of the wage earners, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:50 pm 
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KJ111 wrote:
Ok, thanks.

So given that you agree most people don't want revolution, and given that you state that your aim is increased living standards what is there to differentiate you from Social Democrats and non-Marxist Leftist organisations?


I think Marx did a good job of outlining this in the Manifesto which I quoted at length in the original article, but I'll quote it again and elaborate a bit.

Marx wrote:
The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.


Social Democrats, for instance, have historically and to this day sacrificed working class unity for national unity. Different Leftist organisations also tend to focus only on one section of the working class i.e. Black Lives Matters explicitly says that they are unconcerned with, for instance, the lives of undocumented immigrants.

Quote:
If increased living standards is the only aim, what is there to separate you from the ethos of Capitalism, which is all about increased wealth, material production etc.? Is it just that you want a fairer share of the spoils?


Ah but you see, we understand the mechanism of Capitalism. Having a "fairer share" or lower gini coefficient as it would be better understood is structurally impossible for capitalism. The capitalists are not wrong when they complain about higher wages dropping their profits, we simply don't care about them however.

Quote:
In regard to the working-class, I read S Artesian's fairly scathing condemnation of all those who voted for Trump. Given that we can assume many, if not most of them, are working-class, how do you reconcile wishing to help them with your disdain for their politics?

Thanks again.


Here I'll have to point out that in Arty's article he made sure not only to say trump supporters as to trump voters, but to highlight the fact that he said trump supporters and not trump voters.

Arty wrote:
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say, Trump supporters, as distinct from Trump voters, are racist, no matter what the results in Macomb County, Michigan were in the 2008 and 2012 general elections.


I would make the argument that most Trump supporters are not working class.

I hope that helps!

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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:37 pm 
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So by that criterion nearly everyone is a member of the working-class, but Marxists are unlikely to be campaigning for the material improvement of the upper end of the wage earners, right?


While the working-class/proletariat is a large portion of the population, the class struggle isn't about the 'poor' vs the 'rich', but wage labor and capital. Huge swathes of the global population are poor but not working-class and work but are not working-class.

The petit-bourgeoisie encompasses a very large portion of the global population, and includes within it, at its lower-end, working farmers, some of the self-employed and small business owners (many of whom are late on their bills and one bad month away from going under and having to go work for someone else but some of whom become successful capitalists).

Then there are strata like the liberal professions (doctors, lawyers), the lumpenproletariat (those who drift in and out of the labor force, petty criminals, etc.), agents of the state (law enforcement, prison guards) and foremen, supervisory and managerial staff-- some of whom may make less money than some workers, and work longer hours in more dangerous jobs than some workers, but still not working-class.

The goal is the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist state and the abolition of exploitation in the movement for communism, for which supporting struggles for new material gains (and struggles in defense of existing working and living conditions against cuts and deterioration) is the means to an end.

Communism is the only means by which human needs can be met for all and human exploitation can be definitively abolished, and the class struggle is the only means to initiate communism.

So that being said, yes, struggles by wage earners who are doing relatively better are supported. Such workers are often at the forefront of acute struggles and revolutionary situations.


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 Post subject: Re: Activism vs. Slacktivism: A False Dichotomy
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:37 am 
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In that case, I respectfully suggest you may need to develop a more sophisticated theory distinguishing between needs and desires. 100K for anyone in the First World is more than enough to cover essential needs, never mind the Third World.

By supporting wage increases at the upper end of the level, you're doing little more to encourage the kind of materialism that drives capitalism in the first place. If there isn't an alternative value or ethical system, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot going on that's distinguishable from Social Democracy.


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