Tuesday 8 December 2015

The Anti-Imperialism of Fools

Ever since IS became the next big bogey to fill the USSR-sized gap in the perceived threats-to-our-existence market, I knew it would be a matter of time before an empty-headed comparison was made between Islamists scuttling into Syria and the volunteers who flocked to Spain to fight fascism in the 1930s. It was no surprise such a facile observation would come from the Stop the War Coalition, nor that the media would be interested in their sayings and doings thanks to Jeremy's long-standing links with them.

One of the things I find irritating about a section of the socialist left is its indifference to the politics of soft soaping whoever the White House or Downing Street take exception to internationally, which allows their opponents to lazily - but easily - paint them as well-meaning fools, traitors, and what have you, thereby damaging anti-war causes. This, alas, is also a bind Jez has found himself tied up in. There's also a certain intellectual dishonesty about their positions. Stop the War write op-eds that, let's be generous, white wash the enemies of the US and UK, but do not link it with a clear intellectual framework for making sense of these position-takings. For the uninitiated, it suggests opposition to Britain's wars is a gateway into apologising for some of the most disgusting regimes and terror groups on the planet. Therefore to understand the politics of Stop the War, one must delve a little into political history.

Lenin published his little pamphlet, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism back in 1916 when the world had been carved up by the big powers and they were then warring between themselves over a redivision of its spoils. For Lenin, the job of revolutionaries everywhere was to turn inter-imperialist war into revolutionary civil war, to prevent soldiers from turning their bayonets outwards against other workers of other nationalities to the real enemy within - the owners of capital on whose behest the Great War was fought. Revolutionary defeatism was its name, overthrowing capitalism its game. And then, with mass parties of workers who'd traditionally been locked out of the political system, and were familiar with socialist and, in some cases, Marxist rhetoric, it actually made sense. Whether one disagrees with revolutionary socialist politics or not, revolution was a real possibility in several European countries as a wave of uprisings and revolts swept the continent as decayed and weakened empires collapsed.

The revolutionary wave ebbed as the 1920s wore on, and looked set to be reversed entirely with the rise of the fascist powers. They were ultimately crushed, mainly thanks to the USSR, and ensuing revolutions were either derailed, put down, or co-opted in the West, and contrived or assimilated to the dull tyranny of Stalinism in the East. As the battle lines for the cold war were drawn, so the relationship between the Western metropolis and their colonies were recast. Under US leadership, Britain, France, and the lesser colonial powers withdrew and granted independence to newly emergent countries across the global south. This independence, however, was hollow. Economies were locked into dependent and distorted relationships with their industrialised overseers. Where they tried to break free from this grip, semi-colonial states were quickly stamped on - as was usually the case in Latin America - or became battlefronts where the cold war turned hot, as per Africa and south east Asia. When the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union passed into history, the USA was the power that economically and militarily underpinned this system. It was its champion/guarantor and, logically from a revolutionary perspective, the primary opponent of socialist politics everywhere.

Secondly, an article of faith passed down from the time of Lenin was the notion imperialism accrued super profits, which enabled capital in the metropolitan countries to effectively buy off a "labour aristocracy" who had a vested interest in maintaining capitalist exploitation by virtue of their privileged position within it. It was this layer that stymied the revolutionary aspirations in the main colonial powers, for instance. It could be argued this layer was maintained after the colonies were abolished via international channels of superexploitation, a position that's none-too-convincing. Yet if that is your position, it follows that anything shutting down the funnelling of wealth from the south to the north would weaken capital's capacity to absorb the demands of metropolitan workers and make open class warfare more likely.

That "anything" could be anything. From the Viet Cong to the Provos, from Saddam Hussein's conscript army to Serbian death squads, all have been cast by one revolutionary outfit or another as proxies for working class struggle. Interestingly, as the strength of labour movements and socialist ideas have ebbed internationally so forces that could very generously be described as part of it, such as the aforementioned Vietnamese and Irish struggles, have been substantively replaced by any old reactionary ragtag and bobtail outfit. A case of my enemy's enemy, even if that enemy is raping and burning, and particularly delights in the torture and murder of fellow socialists and communists. Therefore, to be consistent, the role of the revolutionary in the imperialist West is to work for the defeat of one's own state, and that can be done by promoting the cause of its enemy. And, indeed, many groups in Britain did just that. Admittedly, it used to be politically consistent propagandising for Cuba and the Viet Cong in the US, and the IRA in Britain as all were (nominally) socialist forces of some description. It started getting a bit trickier when the proxies were the Argentine junta, Iraqi Ba'athism, and Slobodan Milošević. 

The key players in Stop the War, up until about 2010 anyway, were the Socialist Workers Party. It was their front, founded in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks to oppose the imminent war on terror, and organised the protests against the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan. Its remit was purposely broad as it sought to make alliances with all kinds of organisations and community groupings. Its single concern was protesting and stopping the hawkish moves of the Blair and subsequent governments, and by extension the actions of the only truly global superpower. All of this is consistent with the anti-imperialist politics outlined above. Yet, the SWP also left its indelible mark of political dishonesty.

Unlike the other main British Trotskyist groups, the SWP and its forerunners, the Socialist Review Group and the International Socialists tried positioning themselves in the so-called "third camp". 'Neither Washington Nor Moscow but international socialism' was their slogan. They were heretics vis a vis the rest of the Trotskyist "movement" when they refused to support either side in the Korean War. Not that they, or the Fourth International for that matter, had battalions to throw into the furnace. This position was premised on a (correct) understanding that socialism and democracy are inseparable and its absence in the countries crushed under the Stalinist boot meant these regimes were no more worth defending than the capitalist nations - a controversial opinion denounced by Trotters himself. For the SWP, it was an article of faith that these were 'state capitalist' societies - more of which another time. What this allowed them to do, however, was pick and choose which anti-colonial/anti-imperialist struggles to support. Hence a plus was (eventually) placed against the Viet Cong, and a minus against the Provos. Hailing the killing of British soldiers and the bombing of pubs was never going to sell many papers, after all.

With the collapse of the USSR and the move of the US into pole position, so it became opportune to act as the "best builders" against the wars launched at its behest. And, rare for an organisation noted for the flexibility of its principles, the SWP have been consistent in opposing the State Department's machinations and the support given it by successive British governments. Yet the picky-choosiness from its cold war days remains, which it imparted to Stop the War. As we've seen, it was founded to stop war - nothing else - and to build alliances to that effect. In the lead up to the Iraq War, the SWP organised the giant anti-war demo in conjunction with CND and the Muslim Association of Britain, an organisation known for its links with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. As Muslims had been targeted by the far right and were then, as now, on the receiving end of media monstering, the SWP felt that reaching out to what it believed to be one of its principal organisations would integrate them into the anti-war movement and, of course, provide the party with recruits. Yet, as per the pick 'n' mix, the SWP ensured Stop the War had nothing to say about the Iraqi regime, the theocracy in Iran, the repugnant character of the Taliban and so on. The patronising logic was the coalition needed to be kept broad around stopping war. Anything else would threaten unity.

Since those halcyon days, the SWP have suffered split after split. The 2009/10 parting with former central committee members Lindsey German, Chris Nineham, and John Rees that led to the formation of Counterfire saw the SWP's grip on Stop the War loosen, but more or less the same personnel carry on as before - albeit under new party branding. The politics  remain as well. Yet as the years have worn on, the economic crisis has bitten, the power of the US is clearly in relative decline and rising China, coupled with a more combative and confident Russian oligarchy, gives us at least the appearance of a multi-polar global polity again. The US is no longer the world's unchallenged hegemon. Yet Stop the War has more or less carried on as if none of this has happened, as if the USA is the only active agent in the world and - implicitly - the designs and manoeuvres of rival states and enemies are benign or, at least, less harmful. This is why Putin never gets as much stick as Obama, why leading members of its steering committee have occasionally associated with sundry undesirables, why the Kurds get no support while IS are clumsily and favourably compared with the International Brigades. It's why it appears that authoritarians and totalitarians get a free pass while democratic countries are criticised and mobilised against.

We need a new Stop the War coalition or, rather, we need one with new politics, one that recognises the inequitable and unjust character of international relations and global political economy, that sometimes war and peace is a messy business, and acknowledges that it's not our place to soft soap regimes and terror outfits. Not that difficult you'd think, yet here we are.


Ken said...

I knew it would be a matter of time before an empty-headed comparison was made between Islamists scuttling into Syria and the volunteers who flocked to Spain to fight fascism in the 1930s.

It seems to be a rule that the farther left a person starts out, the more revolting they become if they follow the well-trodden path to the Decent Left. One such specimen has torn one sentence dripping and bleeding out of context, and brandished it to halloo the usual howling pack of independent minds on to the STWC and (of course) Jeremy Corbyn. So by now it's a 'well-established fact' that STWC regards Daesh as the moral equivalent of the Spanish Republic, and its volunteers as the new International Brigades.

The truth is very different, as you can easily see for yourself, here. (Anyone looking in on this later can find context here.)

I would expect a socialist who has not made the journey to Decency (and indeed anyone with pretensions to intellectual honesty and journalistic integrity) to make that point very clear in any discussion of STWC's alleged shortcomings.

Boffy said...

I don't need any convincing of your arguments in relation to "idiot anti-imperialism". I still have all of the theoretical documents on imperialism that I wrote in the early 1980's as part of the debate with the Thornett Faction inside the WSL, at the time of the Falklands War. I was one of the originators of the concept back at that time.

You are right that not only have many misrepresented what Lenin said at that time, but the fact is also that as Bill Warren has pointed out, Lenin's pamphlet was a quickly produced document at time of war, intended more as a piece of polemic than detailed study and analysis. It was in fact more a study of the Colonialism that was already dying out than the imperialism that was replacing it. In terms of a predictor of actual events over the longer term, Kautsky's analysis came much closer, as I said back in the early 1980's.

But, the fact is also that whatever Lenin wrote in Imperialism, in the positions developed on the the National Question and the Colonial Question, neither Lenin, nor the Comintern supported the kind of positions that people such as the leaders of STWC and others advocate. Quite the opposite. Lenin argued that the only forces that communists should be backing in these struggles were those that were truly revolutionary, those that could form the basis of the future proletarian revolutionary parties in those countries. He specifically argued against support for Pan-Islamism and other such forces based upon clericalism, and landlordism, or those forces which were nothing more than the agents of foreign powers.

Having said that, and indeed the reason for saying all that, is that I have to disagree with the opposition that has been raised about comparing the British and other European jihadists going to Syria, Libya and elsewhere, with the International Brigades. It seems to me that in terms of form, and principle there is indeed a direct comparison here.

We have in respect of these jihadists direct mobilisation by social forces separate from the existing capitalist state. They are financed, armed and trained by an external state/s, in the shape of Saudi etc. but that is similar to the role the USSR played in relation to the IB.

The point is that it shows that individuals organised as part of a social grouping - here it is a social grouping that is organised around a religious/ideological basis - can act in a co-ordinated way across borders to pursue its ends, in support of others across the globe who share those ideas.

In terms of its form, I think that is actually something that should be seen as progressive. Its one reason why I don't support the capitalist state intervening to stop such movement, any more than marxists support any other such state bans, because it would be used against us more forcefully in future - think Miners Strike on larger basis.

What is reactionary is not the form, but the content, just as with the Ulster Workers Strike in the 1970's was reactionary. Just because the content is reactionary, we shouldn't oppose the form of strikes! We shouldn't oppose the idea of organisation separate from the capitalist state, across borders, because that is precisely what workers will need to do.

The point here, which is what Lenin and the Comintern realised is that just as Marx and Engels talked about "anti-capitalist" forces, in their day, which were reactionary, and could not be supported - such as Disraeli's Young England Movement - so there are "anti-imperialist" forces that are also reactionary and cannot be supported.


Boffy said...


The forces of clerical-fascism want to take society back to the Middle Ages - though they want to retain for the regime and the leaders of the regime, all of the benefits for control and warmongering of the modern technology that flows from modernism and capitalism. The whole point for marx and for Lenin was that our task is not to oppose capitalism or imperialism simply for the sake of opposing, but to oppose from the perspective of replacing with something superior, a higher level of human development.

We should retain the idea that the self-organisation of social forces across borders, separate from the existing state is a form that we wish to defend, and we should condemn ourselves and our global labour movement for failing to adopt it to pursue it, when others such as pacifists, humanitarians, and at the other end, jihadists have done so. What we should oppose is the reactionary content of that form, in respect of the jihadists.

Jonathan said...

It seems to be a rule that the farther left a person starts out, the more revolting they become if they follow the well-trodden path to the Decent Left.

The far left is full of revolting people as STW will testify. Phil didn't mention how STW wouldn't let Syrians speak at their meetings or the time they claimed that the FBI going after FIFA was done at the behest of Israel.

BCFG said...

Decents claim to be anti imperialists also, though they are clearly pro imperialist, when they are not denying the existence of imperialism that is.

The true idiot anti imperialists are those who still support US imperialism, or back dropping bombs on Syrians as a response to the regions problems. No matter how damaging the policies that the decents continually support prove to be they still continue to argue the same decent line. And then have the nerve to call others idiots.

It is telling that no articles exist delving into the idiocy of those who continually support one bombing campaign after another (I conclude this site belongs in the camp of idiot decency). I don’t only think the STWC are a heroic group, I also think they are partly responsible for the rise of progressive socialism within the Labour party, despite Phil BC’s efforts to vote against it! No one was inspired by the argument of Matgamna that Israel had the right to Nuke Iran; let us put it that way. Thinking about it the hero of the decent left could be called the Donald Trump of far leftism!

ISIS is a product of decency, i.e. the occupation and criminal war in Iraq. Now the decents want to deal with ISIS by calling on the same imperialists (and by the same methods) who created the problem in the first place! If that isn't idiocy I don't know what is.

The other problem with the idiot decents is that anyone who opposes carpet bombing is designated a supporter of whomever the imperialists claim is the target. So if a year or so ago you opposed the imperialist assault on Syria you were a supporter of Assad, if you now oppose the attack on Syria you are a supporter of ISIS, if you opposed the Iraq war you were a supporter of Saddam, if you opposed Israels assault on the Lebanon were were a supporter of Hezbollah, if you opposed Israels assault on Gaza you were a supporter of Hamas etc etc

Decency = Idiocy.

As Lenin said the truth is concrete, and concretely the civilising mission is doing the opposite in the Middle East and has been for decades. So concretely we should oppose all imperialist meddling in the Middle East and support the idea that the best people to resolve the issues of the Middle East are the people of the Middle East. And given the immense trauma that we have subjected these people to, we should allow them to make mistakes. After all, given the barbarity we have unleashed against them, they are coming from a position of imposed barbarity, so let us not be surprised if some residual level of barbarity remains over from the assertion of rotten imperialist interest.

We see decent idiocy in Boffy's comments. He thinks that ISIS want to take us back to the Middle ages but they don't. They are as much a manifestation of modernity as a Technokit Hovercraft. It is just when you step outside the comforting realm of the imperialist core all the chauvinistic preconceptions of decency start to melt away. Though for the decent idiots Fallujah is much the same as Stoke central.

septicisle said...

"We need a new Stop the War coalition or, rather, we need one with new politics, one that recognises the inequitable and unjust character of international relations and global political economy, that sometimes war and peace is a messy business, and acknowledges that it's not our place to soft soap regimes and terror outfits. Not that difficult you'd think, yet here we are."

Yeah, or we could have a group that ordinary people could rely upon to be against foolhardy interventions by either ourselves or governments which ours has the greatest influence over. Yes, the current conflicts in the ME are complex and difficult to understand, and yes the StWC is run by idiots who make stupid statements like the ones about IS and the International Brigades, but let's not pretend those who have been in favour of the past 14 years of war would start treating their opponents with greater dignity if there was a main anti-war group of our dreams. They would still be coming up with nonsense like the not letting Syrians talk crap, when the "Syrians" were Brits from a group that specifically wants a head on confrontation between ourselves and the Russians, as that's what their favoured "limited" intervention to establish safe zones would entail.

It's worth remembering the StWC has succeeded in stopping nothing, and still it gets the kind of abuse you'd expect if it had managed to prevent our politicos from strutting their stuff on the world stage. When the main response to the march the Saturday before last from the decents was again to demand why there weren't protests outside the Russian embassy, it ought to be obvious they're never going to be satisfied however hand-wringing the anti-war movement becomes.

Jonathan said...

It is a reasonable question to ask why they aren't protesting outside the Russian Embassy when Russia is doing the very thing they were protesting about. Given the politics of STWC and leading members appearing on RT it isn't unreasonable to assume that they tacitly approve of what Putin's something that Neil Clark confirmed to me on Twitter not to mention their silence over what Assad is currently doing in which case they not only turn a blind eye but think ultimately it's ok this is what occidentalism does to you.

Anonymous said...

BCFG refers to "the decents", in an identical manner to the way previously DFTM referred to "the sensibles" as an incoherent opposite to the idea of "idiot" anti-imperialism.

It makes you wonder when two trolls use the same kind of silly language, whether they are not, in fact, the same troll. But, then we have the assurance from BCFG that any such notion is pure paranoia. On the other hand, I seem to recall that BCFG himself has admitted previously on Dave Ostler's blog that he has used other names such as "BrianB" to post under, as well as a range of other names.
So I guess that's another argument from BCFG we can discount.


Boffy said...

The situation with Corbyn and "Stop The War" reflects what I said some time ago. When Trotsky and the Comintern discussed the United Front tactic in the early 1920's, it was under conditions when the labour movement was more or less equally divided between support for the reformist parties and the Communist parties, and in conditions when the working -class was moving in the direction of the communists.

Trotsky argued that it was a tactic that was only relevant under such conditions, and when the Communists already had a round 40% of the working-class behind them. No such conditions exist today, and the UF is meaningless as tactic. It is just a gaggle of people in microsects playing at being revolutionaries, and giving themselves importance they do not have or deserve. In essence its student politicians who have never grown up, and are able to persuade sufficient numbers of new students each year to facilitate their romantic fantasies.

Corbyn and the Labour Party has no reason to give these people any credibility. The political vehicle for all of this activity, whether it is ant-war activity, anti-racist activity or whatever should be the Labour Party itself, and should be directed through the democratic mechanisms of the Labour Movement.

Corbyn should be ditching STWC and other such sect fronts, and establishing Labour Party campaigns on all these areas of activity, including anti-austerity etc. If the members of the sects want to tag along as spare parts to such activity, when the Workers Party has organised them, and decided upon them democratically, they are free to do so.

Anonymous said...

"As Lenin said the truth is concrete, and concretely the civilising mission is doing the opposite in the Middle East and has been for decades."

Do you even understand what Marx meant by "The Civilising Mission of Capital", because from your comment here, it appears that once again you have no clue about the concepts upon which you pontificate with such supposed authority!


BCFG said...

"BCFG refers to "the decents", in an identical manner to the way previously DFTM referred to "the sensibles""

Decents is a fairly common usage to describe those on the left who generally support regime change etc and attribute humanitarianism as the reason to support aerial bombardment etc. If you read Jonathan's first comment you will see he uses the phrase decent left, I was responding to this usage. I have never heard the word sensibles before, sounds like something off compare the meerkat to me.

As for using other names, I seem to remember someone who wasn't called Ari taking offence to my previous comments so I suspect that Ari isn't Ari but some other character!

Matthew, you have an habit of making statements without backing them up with argument. For example you make statements like Marx and Engels said shares were not capital without bothering to explain why. You just throw around statements like they are gospel. Just to go off topic for a minute, as Hilferding stated shares are used to pay wages,, buy machines, i.e. they are used for capital financing but from an accounting view they are not capital. But for the purposes of our argument we needed to state the capital financing aspect. But you don't expand the argument like this, you just throw back more gospel. So it is difficult to engage with you.

But to answer your question, I know what some who claim to be leftists mean by the civilising mission and it is this I am attacking. The idea of the civilising mission stands behind some of what is generally called left decency. But please do tell what you understand by the term civilising, go on try speaking for yourself.

Chris said...

Stop the War may not be perfect, but anyone who's against war in Syria is OK by me, I don't care about purity or political correctness.

BCFG said...

When Boffy says that labour must ditch stop the war he seems oblivious to the fact that stop the war are now Labour! Lest we forget that Stop the War campaigner Seamus Milne is now head of labour strategy! And what a great job he has done since taking on the role.

And that the enemies of Stop the war, i.e. the decents (Boffy included) and Blairites are now the sects within the Labour party. Though the decents have always been a very small element on the actual left.

As the spectator rightly observed, left decency is dying, though we can see from the above comments of the last remnants of left decency that the dying is not very dignified! Still argument is replaced by insult, still they try to divert attention from the substantive issues (looking at you ari).

Anonymous said...


It was you that claimed that shares were capital, but didn't back up that claim. It shouldn't be necessary to back up the statement that shares are not capital, because anyone who has read Capital should know that. However, as you clearly have not read it, this is what Marx and Engels say.

"The stocks of railways, mines, navigation companies, and the like, represent actual capital, namely, the capital invested and functioning in such enterprises, or the amount of money advanced by the stockholders for the purpose of being used as capital in such enterprises... But this capital does not exist twice, once as the capital-value of titles of ownership (stocks) on the one hand and on the other hand as the actual capital invested, or to be invested, in those enterprises. It exists only in the latter form, and a share of stock is merely a title of ownership to a corresponding portion of the surplus-value to be realised by it...

To the extent that the depreciation or increase in value of this paper is independent of the movement of value of the actual capital that it represents, the wealth of the nation is just as great before as after its depreciation or increase in value.

Unless this depreciation reflected an actual stoppage of production and of traffic on canals and railways, or a suspension of already initiated enterprises, or squandering capital in positively worthless ventures, the nation did not grow one cent poorer by the bursting of this soap bubble of nominal money-capital.

All this paper actually represents nothing more than accumulated claims, or legal titles, to future production whose money or capital value represents either no capital at all, as in the case of state debts, or is regulated independently of the value of real capital which it represents."

Which, along with your assertion of what Hilferding says shows that you not only fail to understand the basic concepts set out by Marx and Engels, but that you do not understand what Hilferding was saying either, but also your silly statement about if everyone cashed in their shares, causing capitalism to collapse, is here refuted by Marx, and shows that you don't even seem to understand even the basis of share ownership!


Anonymous said...

"I know what some who claim to be leftists mean by the civilising mission and it is this I am attacking."

You were the one who brought the concept of the Civilising Mission into the discussion. As that concept as put forward by Marx has nothing to do with the context in which you were referring, it is legitimate to ask, exactly what it is that you understand by that concept.

I suspect that your weasel words here are just again as seen previously that you don't actually understand any of these concepts, and simply seek to spark flame wars with others on the basis of your limited knowledge.


Anonymous said...

"When Boffy says that labour must ditch stop the war he seems oblivious to the fact that stop the war are now Labour!"

Last time I checked facts, which is something BCFG never seems to do, John Rees and Lindsey German were not LP members, and have no intention of becoming LP members.


BCFG said...

Ari, or whatever your real name is,

The fact that John Rees and Lindsey German are not LP members neither proves or disproves anything. I would love to know which collection of facts you have checked, maybe you could share them with the group.

The new members who have joined Labour and were invigorated by Corbyn's leadership campaign were not the Blairites or decents who have supported one imperialist bombing campaign after another, but they were those from what the likes of you would call the 'idiot anti imperialist' left, i.e. those who have opposed the disastrous policies you have been championing over the years. The spectator had an article about this, so the idea that left decency has died within the Labour party is something the press have picked up on. So I think my facts are correct and whatever facts you are checking are wrong. As a great mathematician once said, shit facts bring forth shit information (looking at you Ari).


"To the extent that the depreciation or increase in value of this paper is independent of the movement of value of the actual capital that it represents, the wealth of the nation is just as great before as after its depreciation or increase in value."

But this is looking at it from an accounting point of view. But in an actual functioning capitalist economy shares are a fundamental way in which businesses raise finance and capital! This capital is used to pay wages and buy machines. Remember we are arguing over whether reducing corporation taxes and increasing taxes on dividends will fundamentally alter capitalism, lead to more accumulation and improve the lot of the working class. There is surely enough in Marxism to tell us this argument is wrong. That is my point, you think reducing corporation tax is the solution to the capitalist crisis and capitalism's problems, I am saying no it is not the solution. How anyone claiming to be a Marxist can think small shifts in tax policy can be a solution to capitalism's ills is a mystery to me. In fact most leftists argue that taxes on businesses and the wealthy should increase and the burden falling on the working class should reduce. If you look at actual history, or the facts, you will see that over the neo-liberal period the tax burden has been shifted away from the capitalist and toward the worker. Yet, you believe the problem is that the capitalists tax burden as been too heavy, hence they have not been accumulating! On every stat, be it wages as a share of GDP or productivity in relation to real wage growth, the capitalist has come out the winner. Yet you see the problem as one of overburdened capitalist!

I think you are doing Marx a great disservice if you are concluding that getting rid of shares would have no affect on the capitalist economy. I will go out on a limb and say without it you wouldn't have capitalism. You could extend your argument to banks. If every worker took their money out of the banks I guess that wouldn't be a problem either would it, according to your wisdom? In Greece for example they closed the banks for 20 days and imposed rules on selling shares, this policy is called capital controls. The clue is in the name.

BCFG said...


On the civilising mission of capitalism and what I understand by the concept. I read the Irish Marxism stuff on this and had to chuckle on how it reduced Marxism to commonsense, or vulgar materialism, e.g. we are all products of our background.

When I talk about the civilising mission I am not talking about what Marx said but how the idea is used to justify imperialist war, is used as a cover for mass murder etc. In fact Marx said so little on the subject there has been a lot of filling in the blanks, with some Marxist using one set of quotes and others using another set. For example, how Engels said British imperialism held back India by centuries, whereas other leftists use India as the prime example of how capitalism develops backward societies.

You speak like the Marx had a once and for all absolute fully worked out concept that we can hang our hat on, rather than it being something he said in passing and with all Marxist terms is something not fixed anyway. I guess if we look at the sporadic things Marx had to say on the topic and bring them into some sort of coherent theory, we can say that capitalism everywhere by its nature attempts to bring the entire world into it's sphere of influence. even the most isolated communities, and also by its imperatives and organisation raises labour productivity to heights unknown in all history. It is also a system of mass expropriation that forces people off the land, out of rural idiocy and into the civilised community of the town. The developments of capitalism allow workers to think and stretch their minds beyond the petty barbarism of the peasantry and the narrow outlook of the isolated communities.

Of course it was the barbaric peasantry that gave us the French revolution and it was capitalism that gave us Black Friday and the holocaust. So whatever Marx or Marxists have to say about capitalism civilising mission needs to be put to the critical test.

Anonymous said...


I think we can take it that that is not your real name, or if it is, you must have had very odd parents!

I would say the fact that neither Rees nor German are LP members proves a lot in relation to the argument you were making that the sects that such people are members of, are now the dominant force in the LP!

I absolutely agree that the majority of new LP supporters are not Blairites, but are supporters of Corbyn like me. But, what does this have to do with "decents", which is a meaningless term, only defined in the context you use it as a ridiculous opposite to "idiot" anti-imperialism, just as previously DFTM used the term "sensibles", in exactly the same manner.

If the term "decents" is to mean those who "have supported one imperialist bombing campaign after another" then that applies to very few people, I would suggest apart from the Blairites. Even the AWL opposed the war in Iraq, for example.

You say,that the idiot anti-imperialists are

"those who have opposed the disastrous policies you have been championing over the years."

Exactly, which disastrous policies are those you are referring to. Could you please back up your wild accusation with a fact or two please?

Actual quotations from me of such policies would be nice to confirm your argument. I think you will find it impossible to find any. In fact, I opposed the invasion of Iraq on both occasions, and marched against it in 2003, opposed the invasion of Afghanistan, opposed the bombing of Libya, opposed the bombing of Syria, and so on. So, what disastrous policies am I supposed to have been proposing that the anti-imperialists stood against. Facts please BCFG!

What I do oppose, and what others like Peter Tatchell, a long-time supporter of STWC, oppose, as he did today on TV, is the failure by the idiot anti-imperialists to actually oppose also the reactionary forces in those countries, such as ISIS, Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi and so on, who are also the enemies of the working-class!

But, then we have seen just how much you are prepared to defend the Saudi Royal family, and their murderous regime. If ever there wa a disastrous policy that needs opposing it is your sycophantic attitude to those butchers. But, then, in reality, it appears that whether you call yourself BCFG, BrianB, Dave, Chris, DFTM, or Uncle Tom Cobbly your real purpose is only to incite flame wars, not to illicit rational debate.


BCFG said...


“I would say the fact that neither Rees nor German are LP members proves a lot”

So it has gone from a fact to your feeling! Well the fact that Rees and German have not joined Labour may indeed tell us something but so does the fact that Corbyn attended the STWC fundraiser despite pressure from decents (a word commonly used to describe the pro war left). And when you say I don’t bother with facts we now see what you mean is that I don’t bother with your feelings! Classic!

What is your real name incidentally? I have never come across a Ari anywhere, this appears to be your latest incarnation. Are you Dave, Roger, Social Republican, Dave2, Dave1, Modernity, Winston Smith, Dean, Julia, Will, Pinkie?

I am pretty sure all your characters supported the Iraq war, defended imperialism right to supremacy etc etc. i can't remember any of your characters ever criticising imperialist policy, in fact they always acted as cheerleaders. You say your latest incarnation, Ari, rejects the policies of your former characters but you go out of your way to attack anti imperialists. So I am not fooled. Once a servile sycophant of imperialism, always a servile sycophant of imperialism.

If you are a supporter of Corbyn (like hell you are), then you will join me in congratulating and saluting Corbyn for his steadfast refusal to cower to left decency by attending the STWC fundraiser. Corbyn's refusal to cower to left decency will almost certainly be welcomed by most Corbyn supporters, the vast majority of whom have been inspired by the heroic work of STWC.

Let us face it Ari, or whoever you are, let us be honest here, if it was up to decents like you we would have Liz Kendall in charge now telling us how important welfare cuts are and how important it is to support our allies in the Middle East. So stop pulling the wool and get busy for decency, it needs some TLC.

Anonymous said...


Whenever you comment, you simply expose your lack of understanding of basic Marxist concepts.

You claimed that shares are capital, which Marx clearly states they are not. You asked for proof that that is why Marx says, but when its provided, you put forward a most odd argument that either shows you do not understand what Marx is saying, or else simply reflects a desire on your part to not accept that you were wrong, and instead to try to muddy the waters. In either case it reflects badly upon you.

You say,

“But in an actual functioning capitalist economy shares are a fundamental way in which businesses raise finance and capital!”

True, but the whole point here is that what the firm raises is capital, what the firm uses to pay wages is capital and so on, but shares themselves are NOT capital. As Marx says, “this capital does not exist twice” once as actual capital, and once as shares. The firm does not pay wages, buy machines and so on with shares, but with money-capital.

And that is the point precisely in relation to the issue of tax. Corporation tax is levied on the firm's profits. If less or no tax is levied on those profits, the firm has more profit available to invest to expand. If more tax is levied it has less capital available for such expansion, and thereby has more need to go to the capital market to raise such funds, making it more dependent upon private money-capitalists, who thereby obtain interest on the money they lend to the company. In other words, it encourages additional private appropriation of revenue, by money-capitalists. By contrast, taxing dividends rather than profits encourages profits to be retained for accumulation by the socialised capital, and to the extent that dividends are paid to private money-capitalists, those dividends are used to cover the revenue of the state rather than private capitalists.

The argument is NOT as you are now trying to claim over whether such a tax strategy can bring about any fundamental change in capitalism or deal with any crisis. I have never claimed any such thing. Nor have I ever claimed that the problem is about capitalists being over taxed! The argument is about your claim that to suggest such a strategy was in effect an attempt to benefit private capitalists, and ill-will on the part of anyone suggesting it! No Marxist believes that tinkering with taxes, makes any such difference, but that does not mean we are indifferent to the tax strategy that social democracy adopts. In fact, it has been you that has suggested that taxes could be used for the purposes of redistribution, on the basis of the reformist notion of taking control of the state. It is you that has been arguing in favour of higher dividends for private money-capitalists, on the basis of a really strange argument that such coupon clipping actually enhances accumulation!

Nor have I suggested getting rid of shares, or that it would have no effect. I have simply shown that shares are not capital, as you claimed they were, and demonstrated, as did Marx that a fall in share prices does not entail any fall in real wealth, for that very reason.

Your comment, “this policy is called capital controls. The clue is in the name.” simply confirms that you have not read Capital, because the central theme in these Chapters on fictitious capital, written by Marx, is that the bourgeois economists and bankers did not understand what capital was, as opposed to money, commodities, or fictitious capital. You have simply accepted the false ideas of those bankers and economists.


Anonymous said...


Your comments in relation to the Civilising Mission confirm it further, which is why I asked you to state what you understood the term to mean. You have babbled on about imperialism and colonialism, but the concept of the Civilising Mission, as defined by Marx and understood by Marxists, has nothing to do with either, which simply exposes your lack of knowledge once more.

The fact that you clearly have such little knowledge of basic Marxist concepts is nothing to be ashamed of, however, the fact that you have such little knowledge, and yet attack others who do have such knowledge in such vituperous tones is. It is an indication, as others have said that you are a troll, whose only real intention is to provoke argument for the sake of it. So, I will join them in ignoring you.


Anonymous said...


“So it has gone from a fact to your feeling!”

Who is talking about feeling? It is a fact that Rees and German are not members of the LP, whereas you claimed that it was the members of such sects who were now the majority of the LP. They are not, fact. The majority of those who have joined the LP, and of the existing members who support Corbyn are NOT members of those sects, and your attempt to portray it in that way simply gives succour to the Tory media who have attempted to paint such a picture. The numbers in these sects amounts to no more than a few thousand, as opposed to the 300,000 people who have joined the party. The sects such as the SWP, Counterfire, SP and so on, are still outside the LP, and hostile to joining. That is why Corbyn should simply by-pass them, and establish Labour Party campaigns against war, against austerity and so on.

“What is your real name incidentally? I have never come across a Ari anywhere.”

You will not have come across anyone in real life will you, because its clear that you are just an Internet troll, who only engages in that activity not any actual involvement in the labour movement. Yet you constantly make attacks on real people, who do engage in such activity. I have never been to a LP or Trade Union meeting, to a CND meeting, or any other actual meeting where anyone was called BCFG. Perhaps you could tell us your real name, and what CLP you belong to, and so on. But, then not so long ago, you were telling us that the LP was dead, weren't you?

“I am pretty sure all your characters supported the Iraq war”.

Really and what is the basis of your certainty? Or is this just a feeling on your part, and your well known logic??? As I have no previous characters, your certainty is flawed. But, if your assertion was correct, why would I now cast aside all of that previous commitment to bombing, to war and so on to profess opposition to all of that? What you are really doing is throwing up a smoke screen to avoid dealing with the actual arguments put forward here, by as usual choosing some other set of arguments to oppose.

“If you are a supporter of Corbyn (like hell you are)”.

An assertion based on what??? Absolutely nothing, just another of your inflammatory comments designed to provoke heat rather than light.

“then you will join me in congratulating and saluting Corbyn for his steadfast refusal to cower to left decency by attending the STWC fundraiser.”

I absolutely congratulate Corbyn on refusing to cave in to right-wing pressure in that regard. My point is why allow yourself to be captive of the sects that dominate the leadership of organisations such as STWC, when as labour leader, you have the opportunity to establish a LP antiwar campaign instead, that can operate on the basis of an organisation that has real support amongst the working-class, and can operate on the basis of labour movement democracy, rather than the machinations of small cliques in the sects?

The fact that you cannot conceive that anyone on the left can be anti-imperialist, whilst not being a supporter of the kind of reactionary forces you support in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, that being anti-imperialist is actually subordinated to being pro-socialist, proves the point of Phil's post. It shows that your politics is that of “idiot anti-imperialism”, but your posts in general simply demonstrate more generally that you are also just an idiot full stop.


BCFG said...


So you now agree with me that shares are fundamental to a capitalist economy and if shares were cashed in tomorrow the whole system would come crashing down! I did read that correctly didn’t I? So based on this new fond wisdom do you think you now agree or disagree with Marx?

“If less or no tax is levied on those profits, the firm has more profit available to invest to expand.”

I have already linked to a paper showing companies that pay higher dividends see higher growth and that investors are more interested in profits than dividends! You are imagining that corporate taxes are the only variable at play, and that if this single variable changed then profit would rise and accumulation would increase. This is simply not the case both theoretically and empirically speaking. It also a gross misuse of abstraction. If you want to understand how to abstract properly I would recommend you read Capital Volume one. You may learn something. You also seem oblivious to any distinction between tax rates and effective rates.

“The argument is NOT as you are now trying to claim over whether such a tax strategy can bring about any fundamental change in capitalism”

Then why are we having this argument in the first place? It is because you supported Boffy’s idea that lower corporate tax rates would have an effect, and get us out of the problem of lack of investment!

“Nor have I suggested getting rid of shares, or that it would have no effect.”

Well I think you more than implied this when on the 11th December you said this:

“if everyone cashed in their shares, causing capitalism to collapse, is here refuted by Marx, and shows that you don't even seem to understand even the basis of share ownership”

What this actually shows is that you do not understand the difference between an accounting argument and the actual circulation processes of the capitalist system. I will say it again, if everyone stopped investing in shares or took their money out of the banks the system would collapse. I will go further; they will not allow it to ever happen this side of a revolution. Do you dispute this or not?

“You have babbled on about imperialism and colonialism”

I only mentioned imperialism in relation to how other people have debated the issue. If you read my comment again where but maybe this time with more care, you will see I didn’t mention imperialism once! Though how you think we can ignore imperialism when discussing the civilising mission of capitalism will be a mystery until the day time ends. Seriously, you actually think imperialism has nothing to do with it! Did I just read that!

“but the concept of the Civilising Mission, as defined by Marx and understood by Marxists”

Just for clarity, Marx did not write a book about the civilising mission. It is merely mentioned in a phrase here and a phrase there. There is nothing for you to judge my understanding against, no standard to measure against. You are merely judging that you have the correct idea and that I do not. You are playing games. The way Marx left the concept, if we can even call it that, meant many of the blanks had to be filled in. It is often used by decents as the thing that came out in the wash.

“The fact that you clearly have such little knowledge of basic Marxist concepts”

This is a bit rich coming from someone who thinks imperialism has nothing to do with capitalisms civilising mission. I would love to see you explain that one! To call it a basic Marxist concept is stretching it somewhat btw.

“the fact that you have such little knowledge, and yet attack others who do have such knowledge in such vituperous tones is. It is an indication, as others have said that you are a troll”

The fact that you judge others while claiming the claptrap above is again rather rich.

“whose only real intention is to provoke argument for the sake of it”

You have no idea what my intention is.


“I absolutely congratulate Corbyn on refusing to cave in to right-wing pressure in that regard.”

Excellent. Let us agree on that and disagree on everything else.

Anonymous said...


What do you mean by,

"...and if shares were cashed in tomorrow the whole system would come crashing down!..."

It appears that you do not understand how share ownership works, or how selling shares works! Exactly, how do you think existing shareholders would go about "cashing in" their shares?

Anonymous said...


You latest comments simply reinforce the fact that you are a troll who understands nothing about Marx, but who bluffs and blusters and abuses in inverse proportion to your lack of knowledge. Your comments in relation to the civilising mission of capital as understood by Marx and marxists demonstrates this. So, just so that it is clear, I will make just two more posts demonstrating this.

“On the other side, the production of relative surplus value, i.e. production of surplus value based on the increase and development of the productive forces, requires the production of new consumption; requires that the consuming circle within circulation expands as did the productive circle previously. Firstly quantitative expansion of existing consumption; secondly: creation of new needs by propagating existing ones in a wide circle; thirdly: production of new needs and discovery and creation of new use values. In other words, so that the surplus labour gained does not remain a merely quantitative surplus, but rather constantly increases the circle of qualitative differences within labour (hence of surplus labour), makes it more diverse, more internally differentiated. For example, if, through a doubling of productive force, a capital of 50 can now do what a capital of 100 did before, so that a capital of 50 and the necessary labour corresponding to it become free, then, for the capital and labour which have been set free, a new, qualitatively different branch of production must be created, which satisfies and brings forth a new need. The value of the old industry is preserved by the creation of the fund for a new one in which the relation of capital and labour posits itself in a new form. Hence exploration of all of nature in order to discover new, useful qualities in things; universal exchange of the products of all alien climates and lands; new (artificial) preparation of natural objects, by which they are given new use values. The exploration of the earth in all directions, to discover new things of use as well as new useful qualities of the old; such as new qualities of them as raw materials etc.; the development, hence, of the natural sciences to their highest point; likewise the discovery, creation and satisfaction of new needs arising from society itself; the cultivation of all the qualities of the social human being, production of the same in a form as rich as possible in needs, because rich in qualities and relations -- production of this being as the most total and universal possible social product, for, in order to take gratification in a many-sided way, he must be capable of many pleasures [genussfähig], hence cultured to a high degree -- is likewise a condition of production founded on capital. This creation of new branches of production, i.e. of qualitatively new surplus time, is not merely the division of labour, but is rather the creation, separate from a given production, of labour with a new use value; the development of a constantly expanding and more comprehensive system of different kinds of labour, different kinds of production, to which a constantly expanding and constantly enriched system of needs corresponds.”

That is what Marx and Marxists understand by the Civilising Mission of Capital! It is reinforced by Kautsky, as I will show in the next and last post, I will bother to responding to you with.

Anonymous said...

Kautsky, The Erfurt Programme.

"It was Marx and Engels who first set forth these facts and explained the scientific laws that govern them…

“The corporation renders the person of the capitalist wholly superfluous for the conduct of capitalist undertakings. The exclusion of his personality from industrial life ceases to be a question of possibility or of intention. It is purely a question of POWER.

This preparation for Socialism through the concentration of capital is meanwhile only one side of the process of gradual growth into the future state. Along with it there is proceeding an evolution within the working class that is no less of an indication of growth in the direction of Socialism."

And, just to avoid your anticipated trolling response, of attacking Kautsky, this aspect was read and supported by Engels.


Michael said...

"So you now agree with me that shares are fundamental to a capitalist economy".

Shares might be important for a capitalist economy, but in many ways they are not fundamental. Although joint stock companies existed for a long time, few capitalist firms actually were joint stock companies. Share holding only became a common form from around the 1860's, following the passing of the Limited Liabilities Act in 1851.

The majority of capitalist companies were privately owned, with no shares issued. In fact, in terms of the quantity of modern firms even, the vast majority do not have shares, but remain privately owned. Even with many large companies, they start off as privately owned, and only raise financing through an Initial Public Offering, when the company has been running for several years, and become big enough and successful enough.

These IPO's are then more a matter of enriching the private owners than raising capital for the company itself.

I would also be very interested to hear how exactly you think that a company paying dividends brings about a higher rate of growth, because this is directly at odds with both logic, and with what Marx says in Capital Volume III, examing the division of surplus value.

BCFG said...


It is absolutely absurd to cherry pick a passage and claim this amounts to Marx's concept of the civilising mission of capital. It gets more absurd when you then claim I know nothing of the concept! You can't even point to a book where the theory is worked out! You also claim that imperialism has nothing to do with it, which is about the most absurd thing I have ever heard.

The so called Marxist concept of the civilising mission of capital is basically something used by groups or individuals to push one or agenda or another. Quotes are used, while others are ignored, and sometimes the concept is narrowed, then at other times expanded to suit whatever point is trying to be made at that moment in time. I am glad to see you are following this noble tradition!

re share ownership:

The idea that socialists should support a reduction in corporate taxes and increase in taxes on dividends etc is wrong and history proves this to be the case.

Check out the link below from a well respected Marxist academic. In video one listen from 42 to 45 minutes to see the actual history of taxation and how any link between corporate taxes and economic growth shows the opposite of what you claim. Basically as taxes were shifted from businesses to workers, unemployment went up and growth went down! From 1 hour into the video listen to a nice summation of what socialised capital is (1% of people owning 75% of shares. The 1% gets to decide how, what and for whom production takes place. This is the reality your ‘socialised’ capital).

In video 2 listen to 3 to 5 minutes in. You would note that money lent by the bank to a co-op is referred to as capital!


One way someone can cash in their shares is to cash in their ISA. Though because most workers have little control of their pensions it is true they can't control how it gets invested, which is the point!

On the importance of shares and other forms of 'ficticious wealth' and Michael's novel idea that the world economy isn't dominated by a few huge multinationals but by 'privately owned' firms read this article:


or this


or many many others.

Michael said...

I was surprised that you accused Matthew of cherry picking a quote to define the Civilising Mission of Capital. I thought all Marxists recognised that section of the Grundrisse that he quoted, as the essential definition of the term. A look at Mandel's "Marxist Economic Theory" shows the same definition of the Civilising Mission. As Irish Marxism discusses, this concept is also outlined in the Communist Manifesto itself. Why you think that it refers to colonialism or imperialism is unfathomable. You seem to be thinking about bourgeois concepts such as "the white man's burden", rather than anything to do with Marxism.

You accuse me of saying that the world economy is not dominated by a few huge multinationals, but I said no such thing. What I quite clearly said was,

"In fact, in terms of the quantity of modern firms even, the vast majority do not have shares, but remain privately owned."

And that is true. "in terms of quantity" the vast majority are privately owned, but they account for only a minority of output. The economy itself is, of course, dominated by the large corporations. If you can't understand, or will not honestly address what others have said, there is little point in discussion.

I found your comment about people selling ISA's similarly puzzling. Firstly, most ISA's are not ones that act as a package for individual share owning, but are themselves derivative products, whereby what the saver buys are units rather than shares. But, in either case, it does not answer the question of how you think it is possible for "everyone" to cash in shares. In order for A to sell their shares, it requires B to buy them, which simply leaves you with the problem, of B having to cash in those shares.

It would be useful if you could explain how you think this could happen.

You then conflate a heavier taxation of dividends rather than profits with a heavier taxation of workers incomes! How you get to that position God only knows.

On socialised capital you again confuse different categories. As marx sets out, shares and other forms of fictitious capital such as bonds, loan certificates, mortgages are not capital. You confuse the money-capital that is loaned, and then used as capital, for the certificates issued in return for those loans. As Marx pointed out, the first is capital, the second is not. The capital does not exist twice!

From a brief look at some of the comments you have made here, it appears to me that you need to spend a lot more time actually reading and understanding some of what Marx actually wrote, and given your obvious lack of understanding of how share ownership and share markets work, perhaps even just some basis study of economics, before you start attacking others who clearly understand far more than do you. Simply googling for things to post that may tangentially support the argument you have put, when you do not understand the actual concepts and issues being discussed - which is what you seem to have done here - is always likely to simply expose your lack of knowledge and understanding further.

On that note, and advice, may I wish you and everyone else a Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...


Very interesting points. Just to support what you said about the Civilising Mission, and Mandel, this is what he says in An Introduction to Marxist Economic Theory.

"The apologists for capitalism have always pointed to the reduction in prices and widened market for a whole set of products as the benefits brought about by this system. This argument is true. It is one of the aspects of what Marx called “the civilizing mission of Capital.” To be sure we are concerned here with a dialectical but real phenomenon where the value of labor-power has a tendency to fall by virtue of the fact that capitalist industry produces the commodity equivalent of wages with ever increasing rapidity while it simultaneously has a tendency to rise by virtue of the fact that this value of labor-power progressively takes in the value of a whole series of commodities which have become mass consumer goods, whereas formerly they were reserved for a very small part of the population.

Basically, the entire history of trade between the sixteenth and twentieth century is the history of a progressive transformation from trade in luxury goods into trade in mass consumer goods; into trade in goods destined for an ever increasing portion of the population."


BCFG said...


Your argument, re decreasing corporate taxes, has no empirical justification whatsoever; it is simply an article of faith on your behalf. A strange article of faith not shared by most Marxists (more of them later!)

The actual historical record would appear to have the opposite effect of what you claim.

You say want to reduce the tax burden on capitalist enterprises, you say you want to do this by moving support from small ‘inefficient’ capitalists’ to large ‘efficient’ ones. But you want to do this by attacking joint stock companies, thereby subsidising smaller ‘inefficient’ companies (who are the majority as Michael points out)! So even on your own terms this policy will do the exact opposite of what you say it will!

What will actually happen and has happened actually, is that your policy will result in less money for the public services that workers rely on and more money for the capitalist. This will simply reinforce the current trend, i.e. a recovery for those at the top at the expense of those at the bottom. It should be noted that the Tory government are already lowering corporation taxes at the expense of public services. You policy in the final analysis is that in a ‘crisis’ of capitalism we resolve the problem by restoring profit at the expense of labour. The age old solution that we would have hoped was disproved by the Factory Act of 1864! Marx described your solutions as the bagmen of free trade!

You seem utterly oblivious to the myriad of ways companies avoid paying the full rate of corporation tax and that any decrease in the official rate will make little difference other than providing cover for more austerity measures.

No wonder your policy finds few supporters among most Marxists (who we are coming to shortly)


“A look at Mandel's "Marxist Economic Theory" shows the same definition of the Civilising Mission.”

Funny you should mention Mandel, I think in the very small part where he mentions Marx’s “civilising mission of capitalism” he talks about labour productivity, which I mentioned and he talks about the formation of the world market etc. But for you guys imperialism has nothing to do with the civilising mission. Which as bold statements go is right up there. As Marx says, “Low prices knock down Chinese walls”.

“I thought all Marxists recognised that section of the Grundrisse that he quoted”

You mean the section that isn’t called, the civilising mission of capitalism, is that the section you mean? And you think this, for most Marxists, represents the definition, the whole concept, the final chapter and verse on Marx’s so called concept of the civilising mission. Just to confirm, so we are under no illusions, you and Matthew understand that Marxists have fully arrived at a concept of Marx’s civilising mission, which most agree on and which there is little dispute over and that most Marxists believe imperialism has nothing to do with it! I think Marx mentions something about capital driving beyond national boundaries! You have even managed to crop the Grundrisse notes to fit in with your narrow definition!

Apart from the very little Mandel had to say can you point to other references where most Marxists have to come to agree what this term is and can you provide the quotes where most Marxists claim imperialism has nothing to do with the matter.

And can you even point to a single book on the topic?

Michael said...

Yes I could do all those things, but what is the point simply in order to continue a meaningless discussion with a troll, who clearly has absolutely no idea what they are talking about, but just keeps talking nonsense anyway for the sake of it?

George Carty said...

"It could be argued this layer was maintained after the colonies were abolished via international channels of superexploitation, a position that's none-too-convincing."

The post you linked to there suggested that the European working class put nation before class in 1914 because their living standards had been improving up to that point, and they thus felt that they had a stake in the capitalist system.

Doesn't that suggest that far from Lenin's notion of a labour aristocracy (bought off with the ill-gotten gains of imperialism) being false, that it didn't go far enough? Isn't the linked article saying that the Third-Worldists are right and that most or all of the working class in imperialist countries are part of the problem, not part of the solution?