Friday 30 April 2021

Engels on Capitalism and Morality

Does what it says on the tin.

Check out the Acid Horizon comrades on YouTube and, if you're moved to support them, here's on Patreon. They donate a portion of their funds to mutual aid projects.

1 comment:

BCFG said...

I think we should be clear about what “workers having agency over the things they create” means. It is a deceiving term. A more communistic way to tag it would be, humanity should have collective control over the things they produce. Workers having agency is I believe simply reflecting bourgeois problems into bourgeois solutions.

Obviously behind this tag line comes a whole heap of structure, organisation, culture etc etc etc.

Workers agency should not be an argument for workers cooperatives or democracy in the workplace, whatever those things mean.

What it represents is an argument for a planning system, where no sectional interests override the collective interests. In actual fact workers cooperatives are incompatible with workers having agency over the things they actually produce, as in that system they would only have control over the things they directly produce but not all the things that reproduce their material life. And because they would have no control over all the things in the final analysis they would actually have no control whatsoever!

Cooperatives are simply, as Marx called them, useful experiments to highlight the fact that there is no need for a capitalist class.

I wouldn’t even call workers cooperatives a transitional form, firstly they can never organically be that significant and secondly if they did become organically that significant they would have to be reckoned with just as with a large corporation or private business.

Also, democracy in the workplace is a conception that again describes a problem in bourgeois society and democracy in the workplace becomes the solution to a particular bourgeois problem. But in a communist system, the notion of democracy in the workplace disappears and the workplace becomes what it should be, a place where certain things are produced in the most efficient way possible. In other words communism resolves the political antagonisms inherent within the capitalist workplace, and resolves the antagonisms between those different workplaces. In other words competition resolved through market mechanisms becomes the associated producers producing to the agreed plan.

By doing away with the anarchy of capitalism, communism can look rationally at what worked well under capitalism and keep those aspects, if of course they are compatible with a collective, sustainable and responsible communist system.

Will communism resolve all the antagonisms of reproducing material life, no! In many ways it is a system which removes all the peripheral nonsense and brings into focus the real antagonisms, or more properly humanity does not reflect its problems onto the ‘big other’ but humanity becomes the master of these antagonisms.