Purpose for Discussion -- What Marx Had, But Academics Don't

For a general discussion of topics relating broadly to power and political economy (e.g., capital-as-power, Marxism, neo-classical economics, institutionalism).

Moderator: sanha926

Purpose for Discussion -- What Marx Had, But Academics Don't

Postby ChristianPecaut » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:07 am

Greetings Fellow Travellers,

I first encountered The Global Political Economy of Israel, listening to KPFA in Northern California -- and then I found it a the Stanford Bookstore where I was studying at the time as an undergraduate.

I found the analysis of corporations into number of employees / profit per employee useful and simple -- and then the excellent condensations of massive historical economic material into useful graphs illuminating.

I was please to later discover that the entire book is made available for free online in PDF, and pass on the ideas about differential accumulation and the tight correlation between lessening oil company power in the Fortune 500 and middle east wars to whomever I talk politics.

Another aspect of the Nitzan and Bichler analysis I liked was the critique of Marx's labor theory of value -- basically, that in current day large capitalist enterprises, with so many different people and parts going into industrial commodities -- such as electronics -- that sifting out exactly what amount of labor went into a product is no longer possible -- that you cannot break down each commodity into separately analysable and countable units.

From what I recall, this idea then justifies the explanation of capital as a form of power -- since it is no longer reducible to individual pieces, as it was in the analysis of the cotton industry in Britain that Marx provides in Capital.

I keep looking forward to their analysis of the sham $1,000,000,000,000+ bank giveaway in the US -- and this forum is the latest post that I received from their mailing list -- so if you are reading, and have written on the subject, please do illuminate.

After also listening to a couple radio interviews, and Nitzan's last year lecture at Harvard, I've observed a consistent contradiction between the scientific conclusions of their economic analysis and the reception ability for the listening audience.

I've observed that the questions that people ask, either interviewers or simply spectators, always seems to make false assumptions about the framework of the entire analysis -- most often, as I remember, seeing the discussion in terms of nation states rather than differential accumulation.

Because of this inconsistency in approach and terminology, Nitzan had to again and again clarify the most basic concepts of his presentation, and thereby a fruitful dialogue was made tedious and thereby largely unsuccessful.

Part of the responsibility for this failure in communication rests with the audiences, who are ossified into their false categories of separating economy and politics -- but I also suggest that a condensation and simplification of the ideas would benefit the spread of the truth contained in the analysis.

I realize that science, especially conceptual revolutions, require complicated and accurate analysis --- it's that last step towards simple and accurate that never seems to have been made.

An obstacle toward this further advancement of the theory, I locate in the academic timidity of the authors -- which is inseparable from the solidly bourgeois nature of their audience.

For example, although the graph I mentioned earlier, where negative differential accumulation for the oil companies within the Fortune 500 is correlated with middle east wars -- Nitzan always shied away from drawing the obvious political conclusions from his analysis.

Obviously the oil companies and their minions in the US/Israeli secret services arrange provocations in order to create these wars -- the murders in New York in 2001 as the most obvious, both according to the graph data and all the other War of Terror propoganda imbecility that has choked the entire world since.

Watching him dance around pointing the finger at the perpetrators perhaps has the virtue of making the dismissal of the economic analysis on dishonest ideological grounds more difficult -- but I see it more as the classic bourgeois subservience to the big bullies on top: the real Power that all the number crunching points towards.

And here is where the essence of Marx was left behind. Even if his labor theory of value needs updating given 21st century capitalist conditions -- the context for his analysis was unwaveringly a revolutionary replacement of the ruling class.

In my analysis, it is more important to have the big purpose right, and get some medium-level process analysis wrong. Hence my criticism of the stated purpose for this forum:

If all we are doing is "bring[ing] together a diverse range of radically minded people" for the purpose of "re-thinking" the history of economy, I assert that materially the entire enterprise has already failed before it began.

The purpose of study is the change the world, not simply to understand it.

And the lacking element in radical intellect is not analysis -- Nitzan and many others have the structural economic processes nailed down -- it is tactics for revolutionary victory.

As long as radical knowledge remains trapped within the ideological confines of an academic employee's work regimen -- no political change will ever result from the insights that we discover.

For as long as the overall project can exist comfortably within the confines of academe -- sitting in front our laptops, "re-thinking" at the little leisure granted us as wage servants of capital -- then we pose no threat to the dominant powers that we analyze.

Worse, we are at the mercy of the funding tentacles of their foundations -- such as the lifelong haunts of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. and his mother -- and whatever good truth we discover, we will be bought out, and the high anxiety-laden analysis will be stripped of its potency, and then transmogrified into a weapon of the ruling class against revolution.

In my analysis, it is precisely this high-level co-optation -- the deletion of the communist spirit from the radical ruling class -- us -- that is real triumph of dominant capital. For within such cozy cages, our minds and their fruit rot into alienated commodities, as all others and everyone else alongside.

Does Nitzan maintain illusions about the imbecile controllers of Harvard and the rest of the world's paid pen's of imperialism? Who does he think is listening, and what will they do?

Lyndon LaRouche is no different -- projecting his economic analysis and ideas into the void of the
appeals to the principle of the leadership of the Democratic Party. If that's who you are looking to suddenly come to their senses -- a cursory glance at Obama's controllers should sober you up. But who else to turn to? Chinese Communists? The proletariat?

I would propose instead that we focus our discussion on creating a radical political program to guide the cooperation of our minds toward real victory -- unless, of course, you have secretly given up entirely on ever actually succeeding.

If we could combine and crystallize the insights of [url]Trotsky's Transitional Program[/url], with Nitzan and Bichler's economic analysis, overt acknowledgment that all the big terror events are right-wing spy/paramilitary/media conspiracies, and the Paradigm from California -- then we'd be able to begin.

Christian Pecaut

Trotsky's Transitional Program:
http://www.socialistparty.net/pub/manif ... nsprog.htm

Paradigm from California:
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:46 pm

Re: Purpose for Discussion -- What Marx Had, But Academics Don't

Postby Aaron_Aarons » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:50 am

Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:10 am

Measuring Mundane Wage Slavery

Postby ChristianPecaut » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:47 am

While perhaps a few of the terror attacks you listed may have had been designed and implemented by people independent of ruling class direction, I still uphold the 99% accuracy of the always blame the CIA/Mossad rule of thumb.

Even when you're wrong, you're right -- was the joke, as I understand. Too bad it's not funny after all, and true for all essential analysis.

The big block on liberal ruling class cognition, appears to be blackmail by these very forces, especially the virulently aggressive and feared Israeli defamation squads.

Here again, if you are afraid of a literal or character assassination for daring to even mention the possibility for such conspiracies publically, then the high-level of your political analysis is entirely co-opted. Arranging and maintaining just such a reactive, idiotic environment is the psychiatric triumph of the current overlords -- with almost unpunctured success since '01.

Sadly, I've seen the same prostration before War of Terror propoganda keywords in the communist press too -- whether Maoist or Trotskyist -- one big supine mass of mental victims.

Another difficulty in this angle, is that if you've stayed silent about the actual perpetrators of these terror provocations -- or written publicly presuming the propaganda line to be accurate -- your basic political acumen is indeed worthy of the ridicule that the mind managers and their quislings no doubt laugh about amongst themselves.

And given that independent wealth has been largely consumed by finance capital -- most everybody's gotta keep their precious little paycheck and bourgeois respectability -- and that gag is so universal as to be almost invisible -- only because radical intellect and political organization leaders choose to focus on the safe areas permitted for discussion.

In fact, I already feel the heat of the administered world on this discussion, and fear an intervention that we have strayed too far from the stated confines of this forum to the academic "concept of power".

The perfection of the current political economic order comes from the enforcement of its dictates by the general population itself -- and the radical line out of the morass must simultaneously deal with the everyday and the overall. The volatility of the straight truth causes more anxiety from well-meaning commoners than the controllers.


I enthusiastically endorse your praise for hatred and anger -- many lessons on its productive qualities can be gleaned from the Chinese in the middle part of the last century.

The saccharine camaraderie of intellectuals "re-thinking" together, reeks of kindergarten slogans for the pleasures in the bourgeois "life of the mind".

Hence my endorsement of the Paradigm from California, http://www.imaginenine.com -- a unique psychiatric, mathematical work created in San Francisco in the late 1970s and 80s by Neil Robert Miller, an unknown, unpublished, and now deceased high school teacher.

His entire oeuvre focused on the quantification of the mechanisms for hypocrisy and deceit within human hierarchies -- a line of research that cuts too directly into the daily demands of wage slavery -- hence his entire failure for any reception within the current professional homeostasis.

You could say that he extended Marx's quantitative economic analysis into the realm of thoughts and emotions -- inner states, as he calls them -- security, anxiety, and vitality. Once you visualize the creation and transaction of these substances, then you have a mathematical model for immunizing the human mind against deception.

Here, indeed, is a concept of power 100% consistent between the most mundane aspects of life and the highest levels of power. I refer you to "Schema: A Blueprint for a Cooperative Society" for an introduction.


His best tactical idea was offering the work to the US Democratic Party, and specifically the Clintons -- but they are either too blackmailed, or busy, or de-principalized now to notice. It's still the only way to go for radical research if we are actually interested in victory, and not just comfortable and permitted parlor conversation

Christian Pecaut
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:46 pm

Re: Purpose for Discussion -- What Marx Had, But Academics Don't

Postby Orator » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:19 pm

I will try to keep this brief and although I too am in general agreement with has been said, I still don't think that once 'we agree that all terror plots are right wing conspiracies we can then begin political action' is a legitimate stance to be taken in this context. It is quite easy for like-thinkers to agree of the parameters within which certain elite operate, however educating a large enough mass of critical thinkers who likewise think like us (done so in a democratic way) is what this site is all about. If we assume at the outset that we must agree on a premise (right-wing, intelligence conspiracies) then we have began to theorize before we understand the parameters we want to critique.

An old adage, 'know thy enemy' applies here. It is only once we have come to understand our 'enemy' (and I believe I am correct to assume that most of us here see the capitalist mode of power as something to resist/change) that we can begin to politically mobilize. However, and I repeat, this must come after a lengthy education process which is inherently (I agree) antithetical to 'academic summaries' of what is thought to be the study of political economy.

Action must be taken, but unfortunately those who share in the mission statement of this website number only in the hundreds, and although that is great start, we are still some time away from possibly marching in the streets, storming the Bastille, or over-throwing anything for that matter. I welcome your insights and encourage you to continue to be a part of our community here on Critical Mass and not write us off so quickly; all revolutions ultimately start from a small group who can spread their message, and as a Chinese proverb says (I believe it's Chinese, I'll have to brush up on my Chinese philosophy) the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (emphasis added of course).

Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:13 pm
Location: Toronto

Return to Political Economy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests