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Not that I haven't seen you advocate for it before, but jobs for all should involve some basic income program, because the plethora of work people could be doing is excluded by keeping work attached to wages.
Toggle Commented Oct 29, 2011 on We demand: Jobs for All #occupywallstreet at I cite
I want to affirm your idea of a productive commons and a basic income guarantee (BIG). I would only want to suggest that we dis-abuse ourselves of the "not for work" frame the plagues some discussions of BIG, which takes for granted certain ideas about the usefulness and worth of work not operating on a basis of exchange. Your idea of a productive commons already anticipates it, but BIG supports people doing work, but not necessarily making (exchange) values. The really radical potential of BIG is that it helps us realize work beyond any conditional exchange relations, something which I think haunts even much historical socialism. Despite what Graeber says about Marx being taken in by "the myth of barter", he was also beating back the productivity-fetishists in Critique of the Gotha Programme.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2011 on On the demands: #occupywallstreet at I cite
Yeah. The stark lack of anything concerning economic democracy ("we'll democratize trade!") is the dead give-away. Maybe that could or should emerge as a organizing principle, that is economic democracy. Of course, it's vague but that's some of the advantage. Mostly it keeps the discussion on political economy and the resource economy, to what ends it exists and for whom.
Why do you think Zizek glosses over this aspect of basic income? He says that basic income would engender resentment, but doesn't saying that rely on the assumption that humans are basically vain and lazy? Is there somewhere to go putting Zizek in conversation with the kind of argument for basic income offered above?
I have to say I have a mixed response. I am sympathetic to Jodi in pointing out how shallow the "communism didn't work" meme can be, especially when it comes to obfuscating the tremendous civil and technical projects they managed and the role of privatization in the final years of the USSR. I can't say "it not only failed, it succeeded!" though, because the regimes did fall or else failed to reproduce/reform themselves. The issue here is the meaning of the failure of those regimes and what the fuck the "success" of capitalism is to mean, and there I think Jodi is right to push against the cynicism. I'm a young person too (24) and quite averse to theory over concrete analysis. In fact, I sometimes think I wasted half my time in college taking (graduate-for-undergrad-credit) seminars on it. After that, I spent time working in a Kroger deli, and then for a corporate linguistic analysis company that did quality-control on search-engines, and more recently in a small hunger-relief nonprofit. I also do unpaid work as an engineer/producer for KBOO 90.7FM here in Portland. I do unpaid work for the county library and the tool-library in my part of the city (we have a few). In that time I have become more convinced of the power and JOY of PEOPLE over that we attribute to money and the making/spending/redistributing of it. This is what I take from Jodi, the fundamental role of organized people saying everything is not for sale, we will not live our lives cultivating or at least dependent on cash-crops (whatever their brand).
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
As you know, I've been fasting from Facebook and Twitter since the February 9th and going on until the Equinox on March 20th. From what I can tell by being friends with you on the former, I think I may have been much more intensely involved with it too. I haven't had much difficulty de-coupling, but there have been moments where I simply wanted to forward something I read. I have paid more attention to the news and blogs (noticing almost with pain how slow they seem to move sometimes). I have thrown myself into reading a world history text from an AP course I never finished in high school (I transfered to a community college in the middle of my senior year in 2003), and more recently into The Left Hand of Darkness. I have written on my blog a few times in the last couple weeks, but I have been busy with other stuff to keep it up. I think fiction is the best way to de-couple.
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2011 on From swords unto mindshares at I cite
I hate to be the nagging marxist, but what if the more progressive/radical point is that IF organized labor IS an enemy of wealth (i.e. wealth in its abstract, value-form as contrasted with material wealth) then so much for THAT. Metzger is basically saying that the organized labor should directly manage its own production of capital. He's assuring anyone that "by empowering workers and trade unions, capital is placed into the hands of the many and, through this means," the reproduction of the capitalist system may continue. Unless he's hiding some new form of production that is primarily for use than exchange, isn't this still neoliberal governmentality?
Some of the comments on this great oped by Mark Bittman about repurposing farm-subsidies rather than getting rid of them could be a case in point for this persona-management stuff. "Wow, agricultural subsidies have lead to bad outcomes due to rent seeking on behalf of (mainly) corporate farmers. So, the author proposes different subsidies targeted towards those foods/activities which he deems worthy. How about no subsidies for any farmers or particular foods period. Let the market sort it out and we will all be better off." "I somewhat agree with subsidizing agriculture if it were done with a better objective. For me such an objective would be the promotion of healthful eating, small farms and clean-burning fuel (which would alleviate America's reliance on Middle Eastern fuel, a threat to national security in itself). However, I'm just as well with the simple abolishment of agricultural subsidies all together. I say, this is an area (like banking) in which we, as Americans, really should have a free-market, "shear-competition" attitude, without the thought of welfare."
You know what's also not freedom for us? An economy in which we produce primarily not for need or appreciation, but exchange. I hope this slips into the meme too, that working for (more and more) money is exactly what Koch Bros. want for us - not working for quality of life, for non-monetary things - health and wellness, PLEASURE, curiosity, reverence, and above all love. The threat unions pose to capitalists is not that they will steal the capitalists' precious jouissance or destroy their economic machinery for extracting it from workers, trees and mountains. The contradictions of capital are enough to do that, and unions better insulate their members from that process than all the piles of money the corporate rich (and their middle-class tools) bury themselves in. No, the bigger threat is that unions point to life beyond the monetized world.
Sarah is right. The latest post on Lenin's Tomb about how the Egyptian army is trying to preserve it's power includes a great aside about how the revolution got off the ground because groups like the Muslim Brotherhood were not excluded on ideological grounds. "The army's manoeuvering now is presumably aimed at breaking up the remarkably broad coalition that was first assembled in 2006. This has included of course the Muslim Brothers, the Nasserist 'Karama' party, the Labour Party (which is Islamist), the Tagammu Party (leftist), the Revolutionary Socialists (self-explanatory), Kefaya (an alliance which includes many of the above elements), the Ghad Party (a liberal offshoot of the Wafdists which was the first party to be approached by Mubarak for negotiations), and Mohammed El Baradei's National Alliance for Change. It has to be said that the alliance might have been quite difficult to maintain if the left had taken the sectarian attitude of some of the older layers of marxists who basically maintained that the Muslim Brothers were a tool of the capitalist class, simply an ally of neoliberalism and imperialism, and so on. The Revolutionary Socialists played a key role in overcoming that. Samir Najib, working in the Centre for Socialist Studies, argued that it was vital to understand that the Muslim Brothers as in part a movement of the oppressed, involving many rank and file activists who came from poor and working class backgrounds. Some of them had been on the Left, and been alienated from the Left because of their experiences under Nasser and because of the way the poor bore the brunt of the crisis that marked the latter years of the Nasser regime. He argued that socialists should act independently of the Islamists, but not dismissively of them. They should defend them when they were opposed to the state on issues such as the emergency laws, or the independence of the judiciary, and should be prepared to work with them on democratic demands. Such was an important argument in preparing the socialist Left to be directly involved in, rather than secluded from, the mass movements that have precipitated Mubarak's downfall. The subsequent alliance also meant that the Muslim Brothers were more sensitive to criticism, as when they were forced to recant on their 'Islam is the solution' slogan in 2005, which Christians and socialists argued was sectarian."
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2011 on Walk like an Egyptian at I cite
No way.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2011 on State of the Union at I cite
You could say the wedding of college and proletarian labor (i.e. work as it means a livelihood in capitalism) already anticipates the contest in moving from a fantasy of "get a degree and your get a ticket into the middle class (i.e. the premium working-class)" to "place your bets on this field [finance, business, "psychology" and "medicine"] because it may make you enough money quick enough so you are not under a pile of debt for your WHOLE LIFE."
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2011 on Finding the one at I cite
This is amazing, by the way, and reads much like the inter-press commentary segment we've honed that we call "The Well Read Red." It's a shame I already got Albert Einstein lined up in the schedule, otherwise this would be absolutely stupendous to read on air.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2011 on Finding the one at I cite
"There is not a huge body of academic research into prizes, but what there is supports them." Alfie Kohn some? No Contest.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2011 on Finding the one at I cite
Is it just "rich or poor" though? There is so much nostalgia for the 1950s/60s when it was imagined that everyone was more equal than they are now. Specifically, as Frank Rich's recent NYT piece about killing "the disneyland dream," people seem all too ready to put up this or that "proper appearance," in the sense Zizek gets at in his architecture lectures at Birkbeck
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2010 on More inequality at I cite
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