The revolution is coming!
However, I think the workers are too busy working with the lowest unemployment rate in years.
That and "Dancing with the Stars" is on.
So it will be led by the Intellectuals, Jacobin editors and people who post Jacobin articles on their Facebook pages.
"Can labour really exist without capitalists?"
Better question is: "Can capitalism exist without labour?"
And which of the two possibilities is more likely to happen first in an age of information and automation.
One could reasonably argue that capitalism is proving to be more efficient in divorcing itself from labour than labour is in divorcing itself from capitalism.
On the 31st of December 1983, Isaac Asimov predicted: "In 2019 and beyond new jobs will emerge based on new digital skills, and existing jobs and industries will see the majority of roles being replaced or heavily supplemented by AI and automation. This is where Asimov is again remarkably accurate in his prediction, stating that ‘the jobs that will disappear will be just those routine clerical and assembly line jobs’ that are simple, repetitive and ‘stultifying’, and have, on the whole, continued to exist in huge numbers with the addition of computing technology. Once ‘computers and robots’, or to update Asimov’s terminology slightly, Artificially Intelligent programs and robots, enter the workplace on a large scale, ‘it is these [jobs] that computers and robots for which they are perfectly designed will take over.’"
@4 How many Juiceros are the robots who build them going to buy?
Class war is escalating because the ruling class smells the end game wafting around the corner, and is still Stoopid enough to think that whoever dies with the most toys wins.
Well. Robots Schmobots. Clearly we have to close the borders and end all air travel immediately because of the deadly pathogens the Republicans are allowing to run rampant through our borders.
@5 don’t you see?
In this Rightwing Market Paradise where everyone is heavily armed and almost no one is employed with livable wages, all those non-productives will politely just kill themselves after willing their scant possessions to their corporate betters.
Meanwhile the Enlightened Right, ensconced in their gloating Sky cities and fortified Rand Burroughs will sell each other McMansions and Yachts. The AI will do all the Trolling for you!
It will all work out great.
@6: spunkbutter for the WIN.
Daniel DeLeon was the leader of the Socialist Labor Party during its peak in the late 1800’s. This was the second Marxist political party in the United States, after Karl Marx’s own US party (called The Workingmen’s Party).
DeLeon’s vision for how socialism would come to be was through electoral politics. While less enthusiastic about this approach than Eugene Debs’s Socialist Party would later prove to be, DeLeon nonetheless saw the way out of the capitalist trap as through the ballot box. He envisioned a Constitutional convention where the heads of the various Labor unions in the country would comprise a new legislature, where representation was not defined by geography, but by profession. There would be, in other words, a Senator representing the Teamsters, and another representing the IBEW, rather than Kansas or Iowa.
I wonder what that would be like. Geography does seem like an odd way to define political interests in his country. Not all Seattleites have the same interests. Bezos wants things his employees do not, as evidenced by the executives at his company investing 1.5 million dollars into Egan Orion while their paid staff invested in Kshama Sawant. However, the common interests of those in the same line of work transcends city or even state lines. There is more of a shared common culture between a road worker in Oregon and a road worker in Florida. However, there is no shared culture between a mechanic at Boeing and the CEO of Boeing.
I wonder what a DeLeonist America would be like to live in.
Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
I find it ironic that the local columnist who makes a career of stoking class warfare is asking the question of "why" it is escalating.
@11 Catalina Vel-DuRay and Abraham Lincoln: Amen.
I guess you could see capitalism as mumbo-jumbo through the lenses of Marxist philosophers. You could also look around you and see the wealthiest society humans have ever created. The poorest 20% of Americans consume more than the average European and would be considered rich in most of the world. They'd also be considered rich compared with those in pre-industrialized times. Before the industrial revolution and capitalism, average life spans were between 25 and 35 years, 80% or more of the population was involved in agriculture, education was for a small number of elites, and almost everyone consumed things created in their own communities. This was true for every pre-industrialized society in history. Industrialization, aka the exploitation of labor, has delivered a better standard of living for most people than the world has ever known.
There are of course inherent conflicts built into the system, one is the conflict between employers and employees. In most cases, this works out fine, 85% of Americans are either somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. A Marxist philosopher will say this is because they have been duped by a system of consumerism that makes them happy to receive the crumbs. I'd say it's because we have a society, unlike any in human history, where even a Marxist with a Phd in philosophy can make a earn a living as something other than a subsistence farmer.
This is in no way a defense of capitalism, it sucks for all the reasons usually given and we should replace it the second something better comes along. However, that something better isn't Marxism, the true and deadly mumbo-jumbo here.
What could be more mumbo jumbo than this article?
Bellevue and the Eastside just keep winning. Complain some more, we love seeing growth over here. Oh, and if this crazy mindset can't be explained just take a look at the public school systems. Seattle can't get out of it's own way where the Eastside cannot be more thankful that a very deep lake seperates the two "governments".
Yeah the complaint about capped severance at six months wasn’t the most winningest argument given the job market and the fallback option of unemployment, if all else fails. Good on Macy’s for helping their employees gently off a sinking ship.
The discussion is better framed as “how can we all better share in the prosperity?” Work is not inherently a bad thing. The real struggle is how we divvy up the pie.
@15 & 18,
You both make very valid points. Indeed, as Steve Pinker noted in his excellent book, "Enlightenment Now", Capitalism has been wildly successful, warts and all. Yes, it created over-consumer societies but it did overall raise standards in every capacity. Like @18 I too, have had epiphanies observing our poor & homeless.
Once I recall a homeless person (I actually met and knew him) for several years soliciting for Real Change, the homeless newspaper. One day I saw him using his cell phone and on another I saw him riding his scooter. He has since passed away but I began to slowly notice the homeless in this city using/possessing devices etc. that the poor in other countries would envy. Having lived abroad in Africa (in the Peace Corps) I definitely noticed the difference between our poor and theirs.
15, 18 and 21 are all non-sequitur to the topic, though.
Mudede is asking why do employers nickle-and-dime their employees when their situations don't oblige them to do it. And his answer is because of social expectations. Boss of the Cinerama would never live it down with his manager buddies if he kept the staff on payroll while they replace the carpets. In fact, it would never occur to him to do it.
One might think its a trivial point. One might disagree. And maybe, even, I don't get Mudede's point. But "I saw a beggar with a cell phone" is derp.
It's time to arm all POC.
Stop buying fast fashion.
It's bad for the environment.
And it's bad for US jobs.
Buy from local people who make stuff themselves. And then WEAR IT more than three times. And then REUSE it via fashion reuse stores.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Keep jobs here.
@22, I'm with you about the beggar with a cell phone part, it's not necessary and kind of mean.
That said, Mr. Mudede is talking about the conflict between employees and employers are some failure of capitalism and trying to look at Marxist theory to explain it. To describe his exploitation of workers, what examples does he give? Nurses at Swedish, who voted to strike when offered a contract that would pay them, on average, six figures. Employees who were recently laid off from Macy's who have their severance pay capped at six months. Boeing workers who, when the company is having serious problems, lose their bonuses. I'm not against the nurses, it sucks being laid off, and Boeing workers do count on their bonuses, but these aren't exactly indications that we're facing an escalating class war.
Yeah, what happened to the Cinerama employees sucks and their bosses screwed up, they should have handled this better. That said, nobody should really expect an employer to keep someone on the payroll when there isn't any work to do. Part of capitalism is around allocating resources (capital and labor) in the most efficient way. Yes, it does suck that they didn't get more warning. However, it's tough to make the case that the best way for them to spend their time would be to sit at home while collecting a paycheck. As a society, we do benefit from having as many people as possible doing productive work. We can get better at it and we can be fairer, but we do all benefit from living in a society that works, regardless of what some Marxist theory of value says.
Maybe there is a good argument to be made by Marxists about how we value labor and the conflict between employers and employees. I'll admit, I probably won't be the first one to see it, but I can say this article isn't it.
@24 Will in Seattle: Thank you and bless you.
Beggars with smartphone. But deport the field workers because they took yer jerbs. You know who you won't see begging?
@15. Agreed and seconded. The privileged American left doesn't know the definition of the word "poor", let alone "oppressed". It is hilarious to me that they have never been outside of the wealthiest country on the planet and still bitch and moan about how fucking "oppressed" they are. I would say; go live in Russia or Venezuela for a day, you will be BEGGING to come back to the "fascist", "racist" but so, so sweet US of A, I guarantee it. Fucking spoiled, privileged Americans.
As an immigrant from Soviet Union it makes me chuckle every time I see the American commies calling for socialism, without ever knowing what the fuck it actually turns into, or ever living sound it. And no, Sweden is not fucking "socialist", not matter how much you beat that dead horse. It is a capitalist free market.
Trust me, if homeless here have iPhones, and get free food (food stamps), then they ain't "poor". Now Charles, kindly fuck off.
The statement that the management of the Cinerama should pay their employees for months when they aren't working reminds me of the efforts of Ms. Sawant and others to let renters stay in their apartments all winter for free if they can't afford the rent. I've been an employee or an employer for over 40 years. To me, I was paid in exchange for the work I did. If I didn't like the work or the amount I was being paid, I moved to another job, or started a business. If you want to be rich, I suggest not becoming a teacher. But that's your choice. I don't think a minimum wage job is supposed to provide a living wage for a family. It's a start of a career. If you want job stability, perhaps you should start a business so you are your own master. It's really pretty darn easy to do. Of course, starting a business you'll quickly realize that there is no one to blame if things aren't going well. Charles seems like an extremely bright man, and he has obviously read a lot of material that would put me to sleep. And I admire him for this and his writing craft. I don't always come to the same conclusions, though. I'm not saying he's wrong. But I'm not wrong either.
Socialism is a spectrum of policy decisions that determine how a society spends its tax revenue, usually investing in the common good instead of the top 1%. It is not mutually exclusive with capitalism, commerce or free markets. And it has already worked for us here via Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, very popular programs enacted under FDR and LBJ.
Communism is the upending of the economic system, and social democrats are not out to overturn the free market or capitalism, but to regulate it to ensure that it doesn't become total economic anarchy built upon the illusion of valuable futures in falsely rated bubble economies where the goal is to pay as little as possible and horde the rest away. That is not free market capitalism, it is crony patronage feudalism. And it always ends with a credit card period of prosperity like the Roaring 20s for the top oligarchs, followed by a massive global depression.
I think we can find common ground here. You insist that we regulate the drug trade on the streets.
But, once the gangsters get enough money, you insist we deregulate them as much as possible.
It has to be applied equally across the spectrum, or else you cannot truly believe in liberty and justice for ALL. That is what America stands for, freedom from these ridiculous mobster shadow usurpers of the Constitution and our Military and our Diplomacy and Trade and everything else that makes America the land of the Free and home of the Brave that died like so many Lt. Dan's ancestors to make it possible for us not to be censured like the Chinese who have to scream now to be heard amidst the AI-enforced censorship and social credit scores tanking like so much Black Mirror Blondes. It has to be Republicans that remember their roots and hold Trump accountable. It's not like he's the only person to ever run!
We must put our faith into the next Democratic nominee and not fall for the same divisive tactics the enemy uses to soften us up and split us. You gotta do your protest vote later, man. If we don't get rid of Trump, I'd go all in on nuclear war hitting our shores in the coming decade. I only pray I'm mistaken.
"America is still the best place for opportunities for those with some initiative"
Get the fuck out of here and get out more. That hasn't been true for almost thirty years. It is much easier for most poor people in western and northern Europe to climb the economic ladder (excepting in the rural UK, Spain and Greece that believe the same class bullshit you do) than it is for most poor native born Americans. This is a fact.
The middle class has been shrining for thirty years. Are you telling me suddenly there's some sudden lack of initiative in 70% of Americans? How is that possible?
You think the laborers who do most the work around this nation but can't afford education, healthcare and housing lack initiative? Go fuck yourself.
Property is violence. The only way to do away with class wars is to eliminate all economies, credit systems and currencies. All else is masturbatory and ignorant.
While I don't agree with everything you say/believe, this was actually a decent article, Charles. Good job.
@35 I found your advice fruitful.
@35 And yet, Social Darwinism and Gattica come to mind. Bernie is just saying that anyone who works forty hours a week, regardless of their ability to gamble on their fate to win a better shiny caged spinning wheel, deserves the security of quality and affordable medical treatment and preventive care.
Even some of us here make or have made a lot of money. Most from tech, finance, medicine and similar high stress competitive fields. Should they be incentivized or forced to share their wealth with the authors, artists, chefs and other creatives that make Seattle a rich and diverse city? What about service workers and manufacturing? I know how to destroy the current system, just not how to do more than nudge it towards fairness.
Shoot I should have just echoed @35. The one point though isn't that US kids are lazy or stupid, it's just hard to compete when you have the world's elite coming to our city. If you work on a top team in tech almost everyone will have been in the top 3% of their HS class.
@30. Cute. A privileged, spoiled American leftie wokesplaining Socialism/Communism to an immigrant who ACTUALLY lived around it. Pretty funny.
@42 Just declaring that everything on the "socialist" spectrum matches up with the decaying shitbox that was the USSR (which has had more than its share of trauma for centuries) is a lazy slippery slope assumption.
That's the equivalent of assuming any free market system's logical terminus is Pinochet torturing and summarily murdering people in soccer stadiums and throwing them out of helicopters.
@43. It is like saying "fascism is a spectrum, therefore some nations that were fascist, did fascism right". Just because some socialism is less evil does not mean it isn't evil altogether. Same goes for fascism (national SOCIALISM, remember?). So why don't you stop wokesplaining to an immigrant who has escaped it, and maybe travel around and gain some perspective. Maybe live around it for a bit and see how great it is. Be begging to return in a day. And again... Sweden doesn't count.
@41 I lived and taught at a University in Japan for 4 years. IMO for the average student you are right and for those who strive through the Juku system to enter a good HS then Uni. Then all bets are off as graduation is guaranteed. At the elite level (albeit we're in a world class school district) I'd say we do better. Good call on comparing medical systems, don't forget the huge med school debts that lead to salary inflation. We also need tort reform.
@45. You don't speak for all immigrants or all potentially better rollouts of Socialism. And fascism is a spectrum too; they put the Jews in ghettos before the gas chambers and inhuman torture. The nazis considered others subhuman and yet performed the zenith of inhuman acts. It was not all at once. There is a greater balance. Responding to an open and free society requires robust and healthy Democracy. Since you seemed to have missed that civics lesson, I will take former Soviet immigrant Col. Vindman's word over yours any day of the week, if you can even be believed to be former Soviet, much less a woman. You are all hat and no cattle.
"All potentially BETTER ROLLOUT for socialism". Exactly my point; you are absolutely clueless on the subject you are talking about. Like I said, it always made me chuckle how spoiled, clueless, leftist Americans like yourself have this naive view or what actual socialism is and then try to "educate" people who actually lived it, about it. "Socialism hasn't worked anywhere ever and always lead to society's destruction, deaths, and dictatorship, but my version of it will!" Lol.
As far as "missing a lesson" goes, it seems you missed a history lesson of what tried-and-true socialism is, in practice, as opposed to this utopia your naive American ignorance tells you it is. It is evil to the core and it is never a "robust and healthy Democracy". Never was, never will be. It is a statist, dictatorial nightmare in which freedoms of an individual are crushed in order to raise the state. "Socialism" and "democracy" should not even be in the same sentence, because the two stand in direct opposition to each other. Socialism is to the left wing is what fascism is to the right wing. Both are dictatorships and have lead to mass genocide.
So like I said, before you arrogantly wokesplain to the immigrants who actually lived it, why don't you look at the actual historical evidence (total failure of socialism everywhere it was attmpted), or move to those places since you love it so much (ah, but you won't. Waaaaay too cushy here, in the "racist", "fascist" US of A, isn't it?)
And I know, I don't speak for all immigrants, but the ones you could talk to here, in the US, that have lived in socialist "utopias" moved here to GET AWAY from these "utopias". That I can say with utmost certainty.
But, having you use your brain and consider actual historical evidence is giving you too much credit. You are, most likely, one of those cretins who proudly wears a Che Guevara t-shirt in public (like wearing a Hitler shirt basically, but for Cubans). Well, keep carrying your hammer-and-sickle flag and wearing your Guevara shirt. Spoiled, rich, and privileged American socialists are a laughingstock of the rest of the world, and provide a much needed comic relief. :)
Hoooo boy. "Sweden doesn't count."
Yes it does. As does Norway and its other neighbors with similar policies. Hell, the British NHS is a system beloved by an entire spectrum of people. Moving out of Northern Europe for a bit, Uruguay's undergone a considerable burst of economic improvement (it's still got problems, but they're better off now than they had been in over 60 years) in the decade and a half since Frente Amplio had a majority. All of these countries have a mixed economy with cherry-picked socialist elements in certain areas, and (by your own admission), they have robust private sector investment as well. My "hasn't travelled" self has seen both "capitalist miracle" Chile and Uruguay firsthand and I know which country I would rather live in. It's not Chile.
An economic system where certain social safety net elements are nationalized and expanded is not communism. You went Zero-to-Stalin (with a special Hitler namedrop) in five seconds, buddy, congrats! I know you think you're arguing with someone in this thread with a secret altar to Mao in their basement, but that sure as shit isn't me.
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