Principia Dialectica Commits Collective Suicide

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May 25 2011 22:13

Actually, as it seems we are going to start walking down the theory/praxis worn out road, maybe you could also start a thread informing us of the recent struggles Principia Dialectica have been engaged in also?

B_Reasonable
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May 26 2011 00:55
Arbeiten wrote:
i don't think many people here have a religious like view of the proletarian as teleological....

Really? What about...

SolFed (Brighton) wrote:
(...) So what is this content to which anarcho-syndicalism seeks to give form?

Simply, it is class struggle. Conflict between classes is immanent to capitalism, since capital is defined by our exploitation. We understand class struggle as a process of self-organisation to collectively advance our concrete, human needs as workers. Since these needs are in conflict with the needs of capital accumulation, the rejection of inhuman conditions carries with it the seed of a future human community; ... (..)

p13, Strategy & Struggle - anarcho-syndicalism in the 21st century (2008)

As you say...

Arbeiten wrote:
...it seems we are going to start walking down the theory/praxis worn out road...

For SolFed, it seems that praxis is the theory -- within the confines of the proletariat as subject. As discussed here:

http://www.principiadialectica.co.uk/blog/?p=256

Rum Lad wrote:
(...) ...as someone who is a keen student of Marx and interested in the associated literature. I'm undecided as to whether I agree with Postone that Capital is the subject as I don't feel like I'm familiar enough with all the various materials to make that decision... (...)

There are two independent issues here, whether: (i) the proletariat is subject -- and the resulting untenable praxis of SolFed etc., (ii) value is the automaton subject, or such like. You can reject (i) without having to adopt (ii).

RedHughs
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May 26 2011 01:01
sean68 wrote:
But you aren't answering my question, Rum Lad. Who, or what, has attempted to develop a critique of political economy that can seriously punch some weight?

Are you really here just to prove you are smart and important (a "heavy lifter")? Seriously? If that's all you want, you'd do better by being silent. Honestly, the "heavy lifters" succeed at seeming smart and important by being silent and letting other people do publicity for them.

A few people, hopefully, are curious about ways to collectively overthrow capitalism. It might not make me a heavy lifter but I aim take whatever old or new tools are useful and available for this purpose.

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May 26 2011 01:50

Sorry B_Reasonable could you explicate the religiosity of that text? (and distinguish it from the religiosity of pawing over texts with a fine tooth comb perhaps?). The seeds of the future is pretty standard 19th century humanism, but its not religious, this is just mud slinging.

As for the PD text, yeah it makes some interesting points, but I don't think it anywhere near annihilates class based anarchism. It's based on a few loose quotes and a caricature straw man which is torn down with a conflated theory of 'post-fordism' and calls to 'everyday lives' (which, with only one example, the call centre, certainly doesnt chime with my working life) in the name of 'radical critique' (and of course, NO radical practice! that would be to below us to suggest anything like that!). Of course work has changed since the 1940s, I don't really think many people are saying it hasn't (much as your loath to read that of course wink). The last point 'we jus dun wanna work' followed by a cheeky little quote from Marx (a pre 1940s writer I believe? catch phrases from a by gone era indeed!) really lets the whole thing down doesn't it? Completely abstract [sic] from anything like 'everyday lives' that you seemed to have had so much to say about before. Abstracted from anything like a re-imagining new social forms that might arise through different modes of organization. I guess post revolution decrepit grand-mas will be wiping their own arses will they? we will all becomes plumbers, electricians, doctors, nurses etc, etc. That my friend, is cheap sloganeering if ever i read any (funnily enough, i read it all the time).

So yeah, theory/praxis once again. Although I actually think its boring and unproductive [lulz] to sit here comparing SolFed with PD. As I said earlier, if you want to mud sling Solfed, open a new thread for it and give them the chance to respond wink.

Sean68
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May 26 2011 16:41

Regarding 'the annihalation of class based anarchism' -- how can something be anihalated if it doesn't exist? In all honesty, there has never been a well rooted 'class based anarchism' in Western Europe except for the unique circumstances that gave rise to the Spanish revolution of 1936. Instead, what we are talking about is a sub cultural fad that appeals to a certain type of young person, and has been doing so since the late 1970s, and good on 'em, to a degree.

However, a 'working class anarchism' would necessitate cultural roots, the kind established as surely and filmly as the French communists were within working class districts both prior to and after World War II. You are a fantasist if you believe this has ever existed or ever will in the UK. Some honourable 'organic intellectuals' such as Vernon Richards and Colin Ward were cut from a far superior cloth that rejected the fetishism of contemporary 'class war anarchists'' - their vision was of a society beyond 'dictatorship of a proletariat.' You only have to read a fraction of their output to see a) they were products of a different epoch and b) their ideas were rooted in a reality a million miles away from hairbrained utopias involving some imaginary proletarian army, which has never existed in the form some people around here yearn for, in advanced Western capitalist society.

Perhaps the high point for an idiosyncratic 'British' anarchism was when the journal Black Flag was in rude health -- its stance on freedom for all prisoners was an honourable philosophical and political stance, grudgingly admired even by orthodox trotskysists in the post 1968 era, but of course that ended up imploding because, as usual, a few key characters had to shoulder the burden of responsibility.

I ask the question again, despite no one so far being prepared to take me up on it: where are the current anarchist 'organic intellectuals?' Who out there is able to work creatively with marxian and other relevant philosophical categories and produce a journal or media platform that commands respect and is able to punch above its weight in terms of influence? Now I do know some decent, gifted marxian intellectuals who could give substance to such a project, but they don't exist within the libcom milieu, because libcom is an embarrassment in terms of both form and content and they wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

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May 26 2011 17:24

Because no one gives a shit about pointless idealistic wanking except you?

What is needed is a coherent organising practice, from which the new ideas will emerge, not getting the theory right in academic journals.

Samotnaf
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May 26 2011 17:29

Sean68:

Quote:
gifted marxian intellectuals

whose main gift is to develop useless "theory" (read: abstract ideology)

Quote:
that commands [hierarchical] respect

from other petrified intellectuals who never risk anything and remain, as always stuck in an intellect whose only practical consequences is a thesis or fifty and a lucrative career in AcademyLand.

Sean68
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May 26 2011 17:48

What puerile rubbish. The truth is that some people are very good at comprehending and explaining complicated events, and can do so in clear, easy to understand language that people enjoy reading. The problem is people like you misunderstand or conflate your version of 'anarchism' with orthodox trotskyism. As far as you're concerned the current crisis boils down to one of leadership - if only the proletariat had a decent field staff, they wouldn't be constantly 'sold out' and their back bone for a fight against the class enemy would be strengthened. It is an analysis that is unable to comprehend the critique of value Marx bequeathed us, and instead you have distilled the worst aspects of 2nd international marxism, whatever claims you make to the contrary.

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May 26 2011 18:01

...if only the proletariat had a decent magazine to read...

Angelus Novus
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May 26 2011 20:15

PD's focus does seem to be quite outside the ambit of anything concerning the Libcom milieu,which seems primarily comprised (in the main) of British guys doing some sort of anarchist trade union organizing.

But that makes me wonder why then does PD see a Libcom "constituency" as a more "natural" target audience then, say, SWP members? Presumably you guys see some sort of commonality with Libcom, otherwise, why aren't you over on Lenin's Tomb trying to convince people of the importance of Robert Kurz or Moishe Postone?

I think I can guess the answer: intellectual currents feeding into Libcom, like operaismo, "Open Marxism", Aufheben, Endnotes and the "communisation" school, all seem to combine an attempt to put the critique of political economy at the service of a revolutionary theory that aims to problematize the nature of "work" in modern society, etc.

But the Catch-22 of this, of course, is that the pre-existence of other individuals and groups with similar preoccupations also does not make PD's purportedly "innovative" ideas look very new or interesting. So you've got to play things up for maximum "distinction" in order to try to carve out a niche for your project.

My advice would be to drop the unwarranted snark (you guys just aren't as smart as you think you are) and get down to the brass tacks of independent theoretical work, rather than regurgitating half-understood soundbytes from German texts that other people translate for you.

RedHughs
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May 26 2011 20:16
Sean wrote:
The truth is that some people are very good at comprehending and explaining complicated events, and can do so in clear, easy to understand language that people enjoy reading...

...As far as you're concerned the current crisis boils down to one of leadership

While you're here to show us it instead boils down to a question of publicity...

Why you really are trying to move the left into the 21st century...

RedHughs
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May 26 2011 20:30

Ignore my comments above - AN's points are spot-on - of course, he is closer to whatever the PD aspires to be anyway.

Samotnaf
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May 26 2011 23:32

Sean68

Quote:
The problem is people like you misunderstand or conflate your version of 'anarchism' with orthodox trotskyism. As far as you're concerned the current crisis boils down to one of leadership - if only the proletariat had a decent field staff, they wouldn't be constantly 'sold out'

I haven't even slightly seen things like this for over 30 years, and even then I never called myself an anarchist; you just roll out convenient pre-prepared ideas as a blanket denunciation to compensate for your inability to deal with what is actually said. Your only will is the will to superiority, as a consolation for your evasion of the current urgent need to contribute to clarifying the enormity of the tasks of the confused class explosions happening in different forms more or less everywhere.

B_Reasonable
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May 26 2011 23:37
Arbeiten wrote:
Sorry B_Reasonable could you explicate the religiosity of that text? (and distinguish it from the religiosity of pawing over texts with a fine tooth comb perhaps?). The seeds of the future is pretty standard 19th century humanism, but its not religious, this is just mud slinging.

Anything teleological is "religion like", in my book. If your response is that much of the marxian theorising going around is either teleological, or at least couched in that language, then I would agree. Addressing that might be nice project for an ex-proletariat fetishist!

Arbeiten wrote:
It's based on a few loose quotes and a caricature straw man which is torn down with a conflated theory of 'post-fordism' and calls to 'everyday lives' (which, with only one example, the call centre, certainly doesnt chime with my working life) in the name of 'radical critique' (and of course, NO radical practice! that would be to below us to suggest anything like that!).

There is no strawman argument because all the points come directly from the SolFed document. The call centre example is followed because that is one, of the two, examples in the SolFed document. The SolFed argument is countered with independent research.

Arbeiten wrote:
I guess post revolution decrepit grand-mas will be wiping their own arses will they? we will all becomes plumbers, electricians, doctors, nurses etc, etc.

A retired (ex-boss) neighbour of mine has decided to become a pilot. Of course, after the revolution we'll all be proletarians, and there won't be any bosses to show us any different - decadent bastards! You won't want to let those those granny bum-wipers get pilot's licences, or you'll be on a bum-wiping rota. In the war, women quickly became plumbers, electricians, pilots etc. Why are there doctors AND nurses? The implicit assumptions due to abstract labour are insidious, but must be challenged.

Arbeiten wrote:
So yeah, theory/praxis once again. Although I actually think its boring and unproductive [lulz] to sit here comparing SolFed with PD.

You're now latching on to another capitalist trait - exchange value. How can one possibly compare SolFed and PD? Do you suggest a measure of agitational productivity?

Arbeiten wrote:
As I said earlier, if you want to mud sling Solfed, open a new thread for it and give them the chance to respond wink.

That's been done, it went in the original Strategy & Struggle thread. Here at Feb 23 2009.

Angelus Novus wrote:
But that makes me wonder why then does PD see a Libcom "constituency" as a more "natural" target audience then, say, SWP members? Presumably you guys see some sort of commonality with Libcom, otherwise, why aren't you over on Lenin's Tomb trying to convince people of the importance of Robert Kurz or Moishe Postone?

Oh, it's the 'PD is a kind of struggling wacky theory brand' tack, again. It's been a while, can't be bothered to see how long. However, I do remember that the overwhelming majority of PD related threads on Libcom have been started by you. So it's actually you who's doing the 'targeting'. Of course, you might also be stalking PD on a load of trot sites as well. Never had a look, but I kind of wouldn't be surprised if there was a "PD hasn't done their German homework" thread lurking out there somewhere...

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May 27 2011 00:42
Angelus Novus wrote:
I'm agnostic regarding the question of how important it is to Marx's theory. I'm completely unambiguous on the question of whether capitalism has existed for the past 40 years.

Well, I was asking if you take a position on money as a commodity, from which, to quote Bellofiore (wordfile),

Quote:
Major consequences follow from this view of value and money.

In Bellofiore's argument (completely absent in your 'homeboy' Stützle's essay btw) against it there's nothing about Bretton-Woods or gold-standard, and I think Heinrich's casual reference to it (Bretton et al.) is only that (Wolf notes this is also); we're rather facing a theoretical question. Gegenstandpunkt have analyses of the contemporary currency-exchange markets and bank money created ex nihilo, apparently without seeing a problem in still speaking of money as Geldware ( at least that's the word they use, so I surmise they, with Marx, insist on money as commodity).

How important is it to the theory of exploitation? I'm willing to root with Bellofiore (Heinrich and you?) that 'it doesn't matter', but unfortunately the majority probably thinks it does:

Bellofiore wrote:
since other parallel monetary readings of Marx's oeuvre - while shifting the focus of attention from production prices to market prices[...] - end up claiming that the rejection of the commodity theory of money empties Marx's notion of exploitation of any meaning.

Angelus Novus
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May 27 2011 13:07

accidental double post.

Angelus Novus
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May 27 2011 13:06
Noa Rodman wrote:
Well, I was asking if you take a position on money as a commodity, from which, to quote Bellofiore (wordfile), Major consequences follow from this view of value and money.

OK, so I'm talking about what Heinrich says, and you're talking about what Bellofiore says. If that's the case, then we're talking past each other.

Quote:
In Bellofiore's argument (completely absent in your 'homeboy' Stützle's essay btw) against it there's nothing about Bretton-Woods or gold-standard, and I think Heinrich's casual reference to it (Bretton et al.) is only that

Have you read Heinrich's introductory book (the first one)? The end of Bretton-Woods and abolition of the gold standard is his main point. What Bellofiore says isn't of interest to me at this point, since I haven't read him.

But I see what you're trying to do here: create an amalgamation (Stalin sends his greetings) of a sort of "Value-Form Party" with a unified line on all questions so you can lump independent academic researchers together and handle their work as a unified whole.

Quote:
Gegenstandpunkt have analyses of the contemporary currency-exchange markets and bank money created ex nihilo, apparently without seeing a problem in still speaking of money as Geldware ( at least that's the word they use, so I surmise they, with Marx, insist on money as commodity).

If that's the case, then it's merely a question of semantics, or rather of philology: whether GSP are using the term "Geldware" in the sense Marx did. But if they agree that money does not need to be tied to a physical commodity, then I have no disagreement with that.

Quote:
How important is it to the theory of exploitation?

Not only do I disagree with the notion that it affects the theory of exploitation, I even have trouble understanding the argument(s) as to why it would.

Angelus Novus
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May 27 2011 13:12
B_Reasonable wrote:
Oh, it's the 'PD is a kind of struggling wacky theory brand' tack, again.

As opposed to what? A strugglin' li'l poorly maligned blog project that gets unfairly picked on by all the class warriors?

Quote:
However, I do remember that the overwhelming majority of PD related threads on Libcom have been started by you.

You just have to know how to use Libcom's search engine to see this isn't the case. In fact, most of them were started by you. I started four, one of which was to merely ask where I might get ahold of the magazine.

Quote:
Never had a look, but I kind of wouldn't be surprised if there was a "PD hasn't done their German homework" thread lurking out there somewhere...

So the blog that even went so far as to lament that British schoolchildren aren't learning German as a foreign language is going to get all pissy about the fact that I merely pointed out that you aren't even familiar with the political tendency whose British franchise you claim to be?

Angelus Novus
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May 27 2011 13:16
RedHughs wrote:
of course, he is closer to whatever the PD aspires to be anyway.

errr, I guess so, but only to the extent that you think that all individuals and groups that try to get people to read Capital constitute some kind of coherent political tendency...in that sense, even Harry Cleaver is "closer to whatever the PD asires to be."

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May 27 2011 16:39

Lest we forget; PD derived from their fetish of abstract theory the following practice; eg, advocating voting for Ken Livingstone in the last London Mayoral election and advocating support for certain Middle Eastern secular bourgeois politicians. Whatever else is wrong with libcom (even when reduced by PD to a fictitious homogenous identity) it would never stoop that low into such liberal/leftist crap - while simultaneously boasting how far advanced it supposedly is in leaving the 'dinosaur class strugglers' behind. Duh...

Theory and theoretical deities become a fetish in PD's hands; their totem which, by possessing, magically invests in them supposedly superior knowledge. The resulting stance - as shown repeatedly by Sean68 here- consists in repeating mantras and denunciation;

Joseph Kay wrote:
How to denounce in the style of Sean68

The general formula for principia dialectican denunciation is as follows:
1. Scan read threads for the words 'class' or 'class struggle.'
2. Accuse someone of fetishising something.
3. Denounce everyone as 'dinosaurs', 'stuck in 1917' or 'the 19th century'
4. Open a copy of the 19th century work Capital by Karl Marx (later volumes for extra cred - Grundrisse for super cred), and pick two concepts at random from the page that falls open.
5. Declare everyone else to have no grasp of these concepts, for they are stuck in the 19th century while you alone have mastered the mysteries of the 21st.
6. Utterly fail to engage with arguments, flounce and repeat. no publicity is bad publicity!
http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/how-denounce-style-sean68-02022009

grin

Their strawman description of 'libcom views' only shows they fail to even grasp the content of what they criticise. (Eg, most libcom users aren't even SolFed members.) A quick site search would show that many people here have an understanding of the critique of political economy etc - but they don't merely fetishise that as a thing in itself to be religiously defended against what they see as rival churches and evangelised. Rather, they tend to try to use it as an aid to understanding and advancing common struggles. Which doesn't mean supporting bourgeois politicians whilst deluding yourselves of your 'superiority'.

Sean68
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May 27 2011 18:44

Well Mr Marriot, as the great Oscar Wilde said, better to be talked about than not talked about at all.

I still maintain you're a bunch of crypto trotskyites with barely a fag paper's breadth between yourselves and the SWP.

Angelus Novus
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May 27 2011 19:32
Sean68 wrote:
I still maintain you're a bunch of crypto trotskyites with barely a fag paper's breadth between yourselves and the SWP.

Yeah, that's exactly it. All you ever do is "maintain". You never bother to actually argue anything.

Your whole blog is a stream of declarative statements, with nary an actual argument to bolster any of the statements made.

I hate to break it to you, but even Postone and Kurz actually bother to make arguments.

Sean68
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May 27 2011 20:57

admin: this is a non-flaming forum. keep it civil

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May 28 2011 12:34
S68 wrote:
Well Mr Marriot, as the great Oscar Wilde said, better to be talked about than not talked about at all.

Well Mr 68, you servile worshipper of marxoid intellectuals, sometimes it take a quote to catch a quoter. Wilde also said; "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." You would do well to begin to heed his advice; "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

S68 wrote:
I still maintain you're a bunch of crypto trotskyites with barely a fag paper's breadth between yourselves and the SWP.

Then "advocating voting for Ken Livingstone in the last London Mayoral election and advocating support for certain Middle Eastern secular bourgeois politicians" surely makes you crypto-liberals - and far closer to the SWP than anything tolerated on libcom.

As you were informed some time ago;

Angelus Novus wrote:
If you were able to read Robert Kurz's regular columns for the geriatric Stalinist daily Neues Deutschland, you'd see him cheerleading union strikes just like anybody else. Sorry to destroy whatever fantasy image in your head. http://libcom.org/forums/theory/28-theses-class-society-18012009

Yet your guru Mr Kurz has strangely escaped the denunciations of being a 'dinosaur who fetishises class struggle, the proletariat' etc ad nauseum. Try applying your 'critique' firstly closer to home.

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Sep 24 2012 12:07

PD liquidates itself, and though the message is carried on also by others like Jehu @pogo-chronicle, just at a moment like this there is most need for an 'anti-German' perspective, on the question of money in particular.

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Sep 24 2012 13:48

Anyone know why PD decided to call it quits? Not that I really care. PD was even shiter than it used to. At least a few years back they would occasionally put up something interesting, but lately (last year or so) it's just been utter crap.

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Dec 26 2013 06:26
Noa Rodman wrote:
One of their posts recently was about Baudrillard of all people on commodity fetishism.

Only now I begin to appreciate Baudrillard, when I read The end of production which seems close to Robert Kurz's thinking, specifically on the end of the gold standard Baudrillard is one of the few to ponder on this (he writes as much that post-modernism coincides with the end of the gold referent).

Quote:
It could now be asked, what is the relationship in which capital’s monetary expression stands to capital itself. Once money exists in the form of money, the constituent elements for which it is exchanged in its transformation into productive capital confront it as commodities. Here, therefore, the laws developed in the metamorphosis of the commodity or in the simple turnover of money are valid. If tokens of value circulate, whether they serve as means of circulation or means of payment, they merely represent the value of the commodities estimated in money or they directly represent money, which is equal in quantity to the amounts of money expressed in the prices of the commodities. As such they have no value. They are therefore not yet capital in the sense that the latter Is objectified labour. They represent instead in full the price of the capital, as they previously represented that of the commodity. If real money circulates, this is itself objectified labour — capital — (because commodity).

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1861/economic/ch18.htm