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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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My piece on North Korea on Monthly Review Zine

I wrote a piece on North Korea and the Sony Hack over at Monthly Review Zine.  Here's an excerpt:

The news media, for their part, abandon all journalistic integrity when reporting on the DPRK.  On a regular basis, respected and widely read publications publish baseless, sensationalist, and racist stories about the country.  Many of these stories are easily sourced to satirical sites -- others to right-wing Fox News-esque South Korean newspapers.  Stories that hundreds of thousands of people read include Kim Jong-Un feeding his uncle to 120 starving dogs, forcing all North Korean men to get his haircut, and sending the DPRK soccer team to work in the coal mines after failing in the World Cup -- stories which were all fake.  The things we are ready to believe about North Korea prove more about the brainwashing of us than of the North Koreans themselves.  These stories are often corrected by the media sources themselves after they have already been published, but they are rarely as much of a fun read as the original stories.  In the "free market of ideas," baseless and racist propaganda yields a higher rate of profit than principled journalistic inquiry.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

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The American Dream Isn't A Lie

Many a misanthropic edgy white person who’s read a synopsis of Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” once have said “the American dream is lie, maaaan”.
But the sad fact is that the American dream isn’t a lie - it’s a grim, horrifying and inhumane reality. The “American Dream is a Lie” sentiment assumes that the American dream is good, were it a reality. 
The American dreams says that any poor, marginalized individual in society faces obstacles, and that he can become great by overcoming these obstacles. The underdog wins against the odds. 
This idea presumes the obstacles, but doesn't tell us were these obstacles come from. While some people would say capitalism, racism, sexism, ableism and LGBTQ-oppression is somehow or other natural, we know this is false. These structures and prejudices have taken centuries of violent repression, conscious political action and mass manipulation of social attitudes to develop. They are obstacles that the American system actively put there.
The American system quite literally puts society in a giant prison cell, and then praises those who manage to escape it’s strict confinement as national heroes. It says every nobody can become a somebody, which becomes a useful distraction from the fact that it has artificially made almost everybody into a nobody. It’s the most vile normalization and legitimization of economic and social oppression that any society has ever produced. 
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The "Gay CEO" and the liberal distortion of the politics of representation

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Even his most disapproving critic “probably has an iPhone in his pocket,” says one observer. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press / AP

When Apple CEO Tim Cook openly came out as gay a couple weeks ago, the announcement was hailed by liberals as brave and heroic. In a piece titled "Why it still matters that Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay", Thomas Lee describes what why he sees it as a great feat for the gay rights movement:
"Just a few years ago, states were writing into constitutions that marriage was strictly between a man and a woman. Now the CEO of the world’s most valuable company can proclaim that he considers 'being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.'"
And indeed, for a great section of the gay-rights movement in the USA, this announcement may give some serious leverage against the homophobic currents in America. But there is something deeply wrong with this approach to representation.

Thomas Lee presents the fact that Cook is the "CEO of the world's most valuable company" as the reason why him coming out as gay is important. There is a two underlying assumptions here - and it ties into the entire ideological universe surrounding liberal approaches to social issues.

First, there is the success narrative. To prove that deep rooted prejudices against a group are wrong and must be changed, the liberal desperately searches for members of that group that can be said to be "successful" according to the modern capitalist definition of success. To prove the bigots wrong, it is assumed, one must first find examples of who are "just like us", i.e just like the privileged society that is prejudiced towards the group.  And to completely destroy bigotry, we must find some individual in the group who is better than us - a CEO, a politician, or a famous celebrity. This conditions the legitimacy of whether or not a social group should be oppressed, slandered, marginalized and excluded on whether or not they meet social standards of success.

But the truth is that it doesn't matter if individual members of a marginalized group are "successful" - homophobia is wrong and needs to be fought even if no gay CEO existed. And what is "success" in this context? There are hundreds of gay people who fight everyday against violent, bigoted communities, threats of homelessness and disproportionate unemployment. Tim Cook is one of the most privileged people in the entire world, with a salary of $74 million dollars. Why is the working class gay community not hailed as heroic, brave  and successful in their everyday struggle, while the second-highest paid CEO in the US tech industry receives praise?

There doesn't need to be any "successful" LGBTQ person in order for us to fight for the liberation of the LGBTQ community. Those who society deems as bitter failures are in fact more worthy of protection and praise than any CEO, banker or politician. This contempt for what liberals deem as "weakness" is more often than not the source of most of the bigotry the liberal claims they are fighting.

Secondly, it legitimizes oppressive power-structures and institutions. It presumes oppressed communities can justifiably receive rights and freedom not just because individuals of oppressed communities are successful, but because they are successful in oppressing, exploiting and dominating others. Tim Cook is not just CEO of the 'most valuable company in the world', he is the CEO of one of the most oppressive, corrupt, exploitative and destructive companies in the world. Here it is not just the question of success as being an equal member of society, and therefore worthy or rights and respect that is at work. You must not just prove that you are equally fit to the exist in society, you must also prove that you're equally fit to dominate and oppress other people. Tim Cook must prove that he is equally capable of exploiting child labor in the third world as any other straight CEO, Obama must prove that he is equally capable of illegally invading sovereign nations as any other white president of the US, and Ann Coulter must prove that she is equally capable of being homophobic and sexist as any other male conservative political commentator.

This twisted form of the politics of representation is profoundly toxic. We need oppressed people to be represented in society, but this cannot mean representation in oppression. The difference between liberal and radical approaches to representation is that the liberal merely seeks to make marginalized groups represented in already existing institutions of oppression, while the radical seeks to build a society where marginalized groups are represented in institutions of liberation.  We don't want our butcher to represent the marginalized groups we belong to, we want to get rid of the butcher! We must not ask if Tim Cook represents, we must ask what he represents. Apple, represents imperialism, capitalism, consumerism and the exploitation of the third world. We don't want to represented by them, or any corporation - we want to be represented by us

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Western Media hypocrisy regarding the Russian annexation of Crimea

NATO and the USA in particular is progressively getting more aggressive toward Russia. Before this weeks G20 summit, NATO sources told us they had alleged proof that Russia has invaded. That this "proof" is on very shaky grounds, and that NATO has refused to give any concrete evidence for it (besides photos that might be in Ukrainian territory depicting what might be Russian tanks) is no surprise. Media reports this as truth, just as it widely reported that Iraq probably has weapons of mass destruction. It is seeking to militarily target Russia by building up military bases in Eastern Europe. A bill passed in May this year entitled the " Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014" gives the following guidelines:
[The bill provides provides] major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova (during the period in which each of such countries meets specified criteria) for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services. 
Directs the President to increase: (1) U.S. Armed Forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia; and (2) U.S and NATO security assistance to such states.
The reason for this is the "Russian Federation's illegal annexation of Crimea". And as probably everyone knows, Russia did not exactly follow the standards proscribed by international law when it came to this territorial breach over Ukraine's legal borders. Even if they could possibly claim the land as historically theirs, they did not seek international approval of this.

But there is a striking hypocrisy regarding this issue, in the context of global issues surrounding international law in general. The Telegraph, which has almost unanimously reported negatively about the Russian annexation, recently wrote an article on the US bombings in Syria and Iraq. Very convincingly, it proves that the US bombings, just like the NATO bombings in Serbia in 1999, are illegal. But, shockingly, it arrives at the conclusion that it is justified:

Not for the first time, the United States has acted illegally in using force in response to overriding humanitarian necessity. It did so in March 1999, when along with its Nato allies it launched an extended bombing campaign to stop atrocities by Serbian forces against civilians in Kosovo. In this case also, the United States could not claim it was acting in self-defence. Nor was military action authorised by the UN Security Council. Whilst there was just cause, humanitarian necessity is not recognised in international law as constituting a legal ground for use of force. Thus, among the Nato allies, only Belgian claimed a legal right to use force for humanitarian reasons. 
State opinion was divided following Nato's war in 1999. Many states, especially western, recognised the legitimacy of Nato's actions even if few recognised the legality. Russia and China attempted to pass a UN Security Council condemning the Nato bombing as illegal. A year later, in April 2000, the G77 group of 133 non-industrialised states issued a statement rejecting the “so-called right of humanitarian intervention.” Not much has changed since 1999. Indeed, if anything, attempts by the Bush administration to claim a right of preventive self-defence and fallout over the dubious legality of the 2003 Iraq War, have hardened most states’ views against accepting the legality of humanitarian wars. 
There is an added strategic imperative, in that Isil military advances threaten the viability of the Iraqi state, in which the United States has much invested, and threaten the stability of the wider region. This is underlined by the involvement of five Arab states – Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in the strikes against Isil in Syria' .
The upshot is that US strikes against ISIL in Syria are probably illegal but widely recognised as legitimate. We are likely to see a rerun of what happened in 1999. Some states may seek to reaffirm the illegality of using force for humanitarian ends or to otherwise interfere in the internal affairs of states. However, most states will welcome this necessary action and simply stay silent on the question of legality.
The effects of "illegal but justified" humanitarianism in Kosovo.
Thus, the Western media is completely comfortable in backing the US bombings, because of their alleged humanitarian purpose. The international community is expected to simply accept the US own definition of what kind of intervention is humanitarian or not, without any legal backing and definition of due process. The US is supposed to be respected as a sort of Batman of Global Politics, taking the law into their own hands when international legal institutions fail to effectively fight evil crimes. It is of course based on the United States own definition of what is right and wrong - again, sort of like Batmans approach to "cleaning the streets of Gotham from the scum". Now, while Western media accepts all this, it is very suspicious that they do not accept Russia doing the same. The annexation of Crimea was, according to the Russians, a response to the threat of fascism in Ukraine. Was Putin taking on the role of the Protection of the Russian Gotham somehow just a product of Putins subjective definitions of fascism and ethnic persecution?
Crimean Independence Referrendum

The fact it that Russia has a higher claim to meddle in the politics of Crimea than the US ever had to go anywhere near the Middle East. Crimea always belonged to Russia - it was arbitrarily given away to the Ukraine SSR in 1954. Although the official language of Crimea up until the annexation was Ukrainian, only one tenth of Crimean are actually Ukrainian-speaking. Crimea never historically or socially identified with Ukraine. When Crimea voted on independence from Ukraine in 1991, 94.30% voted Yes. In the Ukrainian independence referendum of the same year, Crimea was the region to most strongly oppose Ukrainians independence, with also the lowest voter turnout of all the regions. All these things indicate that regardless of the validity of the Crimean election to join Russia according to international standards, the results probably do accurately represent the self-determination of the Crimean people. And the absence of any major reporting on popular resistance in Crimea is telling.

Syrian citizens checking a damaged house that they say was targeted by the coalition airstrikes
Effects of US airstrikes, Syria
For the Syrians, their experiences of the US humanitarian intervention aren't as positive. Civilian death tolls have risen in with the US bombings, and the effects are devastating. An article published on Common Dreams gives us the description of one Syrian 20 year old students story:

“There are no words to describe the bombing. It was a scene I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy to face. I was on the balcony with my little sister and we could hear the sound of planes and I was joking with her and said: ‘Comb your hair and smile, you are being filmed.’
 “Later the bombing started and we all ran to the living room, everyone screaming and running in different directions. We didn’t know what to do. Our neighbour went to the hospital and asked if they needed blood and they said no because they haven’t got any injuries. Most people who left their homes live near Isis headquarters. We won’t leave our home. There is no point. We believe in destiny.”
Later on they quote Abu Ibrahim, a Raqqa resident opposed to Isis:
"Islamic State want these air strikes," he says, "because they know if it's just air strikes without forces on the ground, they will not fall down, and a lot of fighters will join them to fight the Americans."
While the Russian annexation might be illegal, we also know that the US invasion of Syria is illegal, but these violations of international law are not judged objectively and fairly. In both cases there are clear economic ulterior motives behind the incursions - Russian control over natural gas-supply and US control over Middle-Eastern oil and internal economy of Syria. But the fact remains that the severity of the Russian annexation is vastly overstated, while the human effects, sheer amount of violence and possible negative effects of the US bombings are vastly under-reported. The Western media can talk all it wants about "Putinist propaganda" - the fact is that throughout the Western reports on both Russia and Syria, the claims to objectivity are on the shakiest grounds yet. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Jehu

"Without Revolutionary Theory, There Can be No Revolutionary Movement!
In my last critique of Jehu Eaves I made this statement:
Now, will Jehu have learnt anything from this? Almost certainly not. Like a preacher on the streets, speaking of the end times, he will angrily rant about The Fascist State, The Illiterate Marxists and the Bourgeois Simpletons, to a small and insignificant crowd of Chosen Ones. He claims that it does not matter if either he or I are correct, and he is right - even proving that all his revalations about what Marx really meant was wrong would not get him to change his mind!
It seems I am right. As Jehu responded to my last critique, he not so much responds to my questions and quotations, as he continues with his tradition of strange and misleading use of other people's texts, or describes my position in a very misleading manner.I non-the-less feel compelled to reply. To avoid any confusion: I am the @sushi_goat he refers to.

To begin with, he quotes this from me:

“If the proletariat was not a class, it would be nonsensical to claim that they act as a class, and that they overthrow the state as a class.” 
To which he responds:
"I completely agree with @sushi_goat on this point. Since Marx and Engels did not believe the proletariat was really a class, they could not very well then argue that the proletariat acts as a class without fatally compromising their argument. "
"As @sushi_goat argues, it is indeed nonsensical to claim the proletarians act as a class if they are not a class. However, this is the nonsensical claim of conventional Marxism, not mine. Since @sushi_goat, Marx and Engels, and I all agree that, in historical materialism, it is nonsensical to assert a non-class acts as a class, this would seem to suggest the proletarians are not a class — as Marx and Engels in fact state explicitly in a passage cited by @sushi_goat."
This is a nonsensical use of my quotation since I actually argued the complete opposite. I argued that since Marx and Engels explicitly states that the proletariat acts as a class in relation to the bourgeoisie in The German Ideology, it is nonsensical to claim what Jehu claims: that the proletariat doesn't act as a class under capitalism.

For Marx and Engels, in German Ideology this is what the bourgeois and proletarian classes were:
"the separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class";
there is an "antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat";
Through the condition of life forced upon the proletariat, it "becomes evident to him" that "he is sacrificed [...] within his own class" and "has no chance of arriving at the conditions which would place him in the other class." ;
the Communist revolution is "carried through by [a] class";
the necessity of Communist revolution is that "the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way";
and there is a "class overthrowing it".

All of these quotations can be found in the original post, or are easily found in the last chapter of The German Ideology.

None of these things can happen unless there is a class, that acts as a class: the proletariat. Jehu claimed, in his original post, that the proletariat doesn't act as a class, but Marx and Engels clearly mention them acting as a class. What I put Jehu to task for was not addressing these things, not further explaining how right he is. Either Marx and Engels know nothing about language, or Jehu is the one talking nonsense! Of course, The German Ideology is not the only text in which Marx and Engels mention that they act as a class and have class interest - under capitalism. The proletariat abolishes it's own status as proletariat only after the revolution - since there is no need for any class distinctions.  Jehu claims that it doesn't matter what Lenin said of Imperialism - it matters even less how many quotes from the German Ideology Jehu can twist and turn to remove the proletariat as a class from. The German Ideology was not released until 1932 - it never had any significant influence on the pre-Leninist working class movement. By no means does it either represent the best explanation of how bourgeois society undermines itself.  1948, two years after the German Ideology was written, came the now most famous one - which Herr Eaves has certainly read - "The Communist Manifesto". I am going to allow myself the privilege of actually quoting this at a very extended length, since almost everything in it goes against Jehu's propositions.
"In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed — a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital."
"With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual labourers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operative of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. "
"The increasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes.
"This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus, the ten-hours’ bill in England was carried." 
Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole. 
Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product. 
Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.
 [We must here take a short break and ask ourselves - if the bourgeoisie abolishes itself through the bourgeois state making them superfluous, as Herr Jehu says, and the working class has no interest against the bourgeoisie, then what the hell are these "matters" it needs to settle with the non-existing bourgeoisie?]
In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat. 
In this section Jehu can blame neither Kautsky or Lenin for "imposing commercial conflicts on the bourgeoisie".  That is completely debunked according to this text, written after the German Ideology.

In this section, it is also debunked that the proletariat possessed full communistic interests on their own: "A portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole. " It is blatantly clear here that Kautsky and Lenin were right - the emergence of bourgeois ideologists in the movement of the proleteriat helps the proletariat realize it's ideological mission. It doesn't matter how Jehu interprets The German Ideology here - Here's how Jehu twists this fundamental notion, pointed out by Kautsky, and then Lenin:
According to Kautsky and Lenin, the only consciousness the proletariat is capable of acquiring is one or another variant of bourgeois consciousness.
Now, Kautsky does not claim that it is another variant of bourgeois consciousness. He claims:
The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia: it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done. 
The proletariat does not acquire bourgeois consciousness - it acquires proletarian consciousness through the discovery of bourgeois science. The consciousness remains strictly proletarian, but it is made possible by the bourgeoisie, and particularly "the portion of the bourgeoisie that goes over to the proletariat".  This why Lenin says directly, that "this does not mean [...] that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology". 

Let us also look at the "eerie similarity" that Jehu finds between these two claims by Kautsky, and Marx/Engels:

“Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic development and the class struggle create, not only the conditions for socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness of its necessity.” - Karl Kautsky
“In the development of productive forces there comes a stage when productive forces and means of intercourse are brought into being … and connected with this a class is called forth, … from which emanates the consciousness of the necessity of a fundamental revolution, the communist consciousness…” - The German Ideology
What does Jehu think of this?
I may be wrong, but it seems to me Kautsky is quoting the German Ideology almost verbatim to then deny Marx and Engels believed communist consciousness arises from the working class itself. 
This is obvious nonsense, since The German Ideology was released in 1936 in Soviet Russia, after Lenin was dead! Kautsky wrote this in 1901-1902, and I have yet to find any translated documentation of it outside "What is To Be Done?". We don't know, as far as I can see, the rest of the statement Kautsky made. We have literally no proof that Kausky ever read The German Ideology, nor do we have proof that Lenin did! The German Ideology was only discovered and aquired, with all the previously unreleased "Philosophical-Economic Manuscripts"  by David Riazanov, decades after this polemic occurred. What Jehu tries to claim here is historically revisionist - or just plain dumb - nonsense. But there's more!
But this is not the only problem I have with the conventional Marxist narrative on this subject: If Kautsky and Lenin are to be believed, not only is the working class unable to develop its own consciousness, it cannot develop any consciousness at all. This would make the proletarians rather unique among classes in society, but — okay — my argument is that they are unique among classes . 
As I pointed out in my earlier essay, they do develop class consciousness. They are not unable. This is argued directly by Kautsky and Lenin.
"The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc" - Lenin, What is to Be Done?
But this is absolutely untrue. Of course, socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, like the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses. - Karl Kautsky
Here, the important distinction is drawn between socialist consciousness and class struggle. Marx and Engels already believed, in The Communist Manifesto, that the workers, in order to fight for their class interests, develop a consciousness of the shared interests against the capitalist class in an economistic form. But a higher level of theoretical understanding, socialist consciousness, can only come from the "bourgeois ideologists." As the Engels said in "The Peasant War in Germany" (which I cited in the earlier blogpost):
"The German workers have two important advantages over those of the rest of Europe. First, they belong to the most theoretical people of Europe; and they have retained that sense of theory which the so-called ’educated’ classes of Germany have almost completely lost. Without German philosophy, which preceded it, particularly that of Hegel, German scientific socialism – the only scientific socialism that has ever existed – would never have come into being. Without a sense of theory among the workers, this scientific socialism would never have entered their flesh and blood as much as is the case. What an immeasurable advantage this is may be seen, on the one hand, from the indifference towards all theory, which is one of the main reasons why the English working-class movement crawls along so slowly in spite of the splendid organisation of the individual unions; on the other hand, from the mischief and confusion wrought by Proudhonism, in its original form, among the French and Belgians, and, in the form further caricatured by Bakunin, among the Spaniards and Italians." 
 The English working class did not succeed in establishing a socialist movement, because they only organized in trade-unions, while the German worker had the advantage of bourgeois science to it's disposal! It's written right there, yet Jehu, who presumably read my post, addresses it nowhere. Jehu continues with this absolute nonsense:
There is a question to be raised here: how can the consciousness of the proletariat reflect the material conditions of the other class? Since in historical materialism, consciousness is determined by material conditions, how does this happen?
The consciousness of the proletariat can never reflect the material conditions of the other class. Nobody ever said it did. Kautsky claims that scientific socialism developed through bourgeois science, which is true of Marx and Engels, not that it developed as a form of bourgeois consciousness! As it makes bourgeois science and philosophy into it's own, it creates socialist consciousness, a consciousness which is directly opposed to the bourgeois class, as Marx, Engels, Kautsky and Lenin all explicitly state. Neither, do I think there is necessarily a contradiction between the quotes in German Ideology and the Kautsky quote from "What is to be Done", like Jehu thinks:
How these two approaches to the question of consciousness can be reconciled remains a task for Marxists, but, for the most part, they refuse even to recognize there is a problem.
In the Communist Manifesto, this view receives a synthesis - it's through a section of the bourgeoisie's gradual proletarization that the ideological and scientific knowledge of socialism enters the proletarian consciousness. We do not need to "recognize this problem" - Marx and Engels already made it a non-problem! And in the very same text that Jehu uses to claim that Marx and Engels never changed their mind from "The German Ideology", "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific", we find this statement:
Hegel has freed history from metaphysics — he made it dialectic; but his conception of history was essentially idealistic. But now idealism was driven from its last refuge, the philosophy of history; now a materialistic treatment of history was propounded, and a method found of explaining man's "knowing" by his "being", instead of, as heretofore, his "being" by his "knowing". From that time forward, Socialism was no longer an accidental discovery of this or that ingenious brain, but the necessary outcome of the struggle between two historically developed classes — the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Ch. 2
Hegel, that great proletarian! What has he to with Proletarian consciousness? In contrast, Jehu's conception of socialism sounds more like the earlier Utopians: socialism for him, is an accidental discovery from the indigenous brains of the Proletariat!

Jehu then goes on to argue about "class interests":
"If I am not concerned about the interests of the working class, it is for a very good reason: I don’t know what the working class interest are and can’t know this. The interests of the working class do not diffuse among its members like some class substance adhering to each member of the class. Likewise the interests of the bourgeois class are not in any way apparent to the members of that class. We could start this discussion off with one premise: no member of any class in bourgeois society has any idea of her class interests nor any way of apprehending the interest of the class to which he or she belongs."
He is quite right that the interest of a class may not be apparent to the individual members of the class. Warren Buffett seems to have no clue, or no care, that his proposal to tax the rich is antagonistic to his class as whole. As is stated in "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, the "separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class". The realization of the individual members that they are a member of a socioeconomic class in society only occurs through the antagonisms between the classes. This forming of a class, and this process of becoming conscious of ones class interests, occurs gradually. Starting in the individual workplaces, against the individual capitalist, the workers start their struggle. These struggles intensify: unions form. The struggle of the unions, as well as the increased socialization of the workplace due to bourgeois centralization, leads to a greater discovery among the proletariat that they are a member of a class. Eventually they form a political party to fight for their rights - this is not only what Marx and Engels describe, it is what happened in history!

Does the fact that an individual proletarian might not know what the interests of each other individual proletariat has, as individuals, does not lead to the conclusion that no member of the proletariat knows the interests of the class they belong to. It simply does not logically follow. The individual members of a hockey team might not know what the other individual members do in their spare time, but once they are playing a game, they share the common goal of scoring more points than the other team. What the individual interests of each and every individual are here, are completely irrelevant. I do not know what my coworker wants to do with their life - write ballets, get married, build a replica of the Eiffel-tower with popsicle sticks - and as a socialist I do not care. It is our shared interest - the reproduction of ourselves as living human beings - an interests directly antagonistic to the interests of the bourgeois class, that I care about. Jehu's definition of interest here is a bourgeois individualist perception of interests, not a Marxists one. It belongs squarely in the school of methodological individualism, reminiscent of Ludwig von Mises Neo-Kantian monstrosity, which states that the subjective wants and wishes of individuals create the society under which they live, and are not subjected to class antagonisms, or material conditions.

He describes the bourgeois state:
The interests of the bourgeois class find their ideal expression in the form of a state that also stands over against the members of the class. This is why the bourgeois state is the “ideal” representative of the bourgeois class and it is also why the bourgeois class cannot rule directly on its own behalf, but only through a state. No member of the bourgeois class knows the interests of that class; they only know their own interests. 
Of course, this is nonsense. That the individual bourgeoisie cannot rule directly is a given, seeing as the individual capitalist also competes with other capitalists  - that is why there is a class organization under capitalism - the State - were the bourgeoisie in general, collectively, can make arrangement that defends their status as a class. This is analogous to the function of a trade union for the proletariat - the proletariat is also internally competitive, competing for jobs, higher wages, better positions and social status. But since the workers collectively share an interests in higher wages and more favorable work hours, they band together in a trade union. Of course this union does not express the wish of every single member of the workers in the trade, which is showcased by the fact that not all workers join a union. This does not matter - a generalized social formation never fully encompasses the subjective wishes of every single individual.

Now, as I proved in my last post, the proletariat does have a class interest. Jehu at least acknowledges that they do, but then make this statement:
What constitutes the interests of a class are only the average material conditions of the class and these conditions are entirely independent of the members of the class themselves. Thus Marx and Engels argued, “the class in its turn achieves an independent existence over against the individuals…”
Now, what are the average material conditions of the proletariat? Wage Labor. Without the sale of their labor power, no worker could last for even a month. But it precisely the average conditions of the class — labor — that drive the class into poverty and creates capital as a power over it. Ideally, its interest is in the sale of its labor power, but this interest itself has been turned against the proletarians by capital.
So if I can be faulted for anything, it may be in saying the proletarians have no interest — but this is only because the interest they do share drives them to destitution. Their interest as an average member of their class is itself the very thing that grinds them under the capitalist machine. 
No other class in society is positively destroyed by pursuit of its own material conditions of existence, its own interests and this, of course, presents us with a logical paradox: How can any class in society have an interest that operates only to undermine its conditions of existence? Clearly if a class has an interest that positively undermines its own material conditions of existence, the class itself should collapse.
 Now, Engels states that the antagonism is this:
The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie. - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
This sounds different to Jehu's take on the class interest of the proletariat. Jehu says the interest is in the sale of labour power. It is of course not wrong to mention wage labor, as this is a fundamental part of capitalistic appropriation, but it must not be confused with the actual class interest. Even though the workers fight for higher wages, and more secure wages, it is only a partial expression of their true interest. As they state in The Communist Manifesto:

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour.
The workers, through their labor, do not create property for themselves - only capital, that property which is used to further exploit the laborer through wage labor. The antagonism here is not wage labor as such; receiving a wage for doing labor does not necessarily imply exploitation. The wage as a form does not even imply capitalism: the question is whether or not labor is a commodity - wage labor is simply the value form. Some capitalists receive a wage - but this wage actually exceeds the amount of labor they do by quite a bit. In the case of a workers cooperative. there is no wage exploitation at all - the surplus generated by the cooperative (i.e the income generated that exceeds what the workers need to reproduce themselves as individuals) is put into the cooperative itself, and doesn't fall in private hands. In a socialist state owned enterprise, the state takes the surplus and not only reinvests it in the industry, but also invests it in infrastructure, healthcare, education and all the other necessities the working class needs.

"On our collective there is no room for priests or kulaks"
This is not exploitation, because at no place does the surplus generated by wage labor fall in private hands or a class that it exclusively benefits from it to control for their ends. Hence, the workers being antagonistic toward capitalist appropriation - it's not an appropriation which benefits them as a class, and is therefore antagonistic to their class interests. That Jehu invokes wage-labor as the class interest here, and not the wage-labor+capitalist surplus antagonism, paints a picture where its wage-labor in itself that is the material condition of the working class. But class interests are something expressed in relation and opposition to the other class/classes. The material conditions of the working class is not wage labor in itself, but wage labor in relation to capitalist appropriation.

Now Jehu goes on to sum up what he sees as his achievements in the past argument. Lets see how he did.

1. As I stated in the 3 previous sections, there are severe defects in the arguments of Marxists regarding class. Most Marxists assume the working class is indeed a class, when Marx and Engels made clear they thought it was not. As I showed in my previous blogpost, and this blogpost, they do. They do so clearly and without fuzz or mystification. It doesn't matter what that one quote in The German Ideology says - they do, and you need to stop saying they don't.

2. Marxists routinely refer to something they call a working class consciousness, when there is no evidence for this in historical materialism. As I've shown, Marx and Engels did believe in working class consciousness. They do so clearly without fuzz or mystification. With none of the quotes I've provided regarding this issue in this blog post and in the previous one, is there any question as to what they truly mean. They believe that there exists working class consciousness, period.

3. Many Marxists continue to insist, contrary to Marx and Engels own explicit statements, that the working class is incapable of producing its own communist consciousness and does not need the ‘assistance’ of vanguardists. Marx and Engels claimed that the workers are capable of producing class consciousness, but they also clearly stated that theoretical advancement and complete ideological awareness is only possible once theoretically advanced sections of the bourgeoisie go over  to the proletariat. They said this - and you need to stop saying they don't.

Finally, Marxists routinely refer to the “interests of the working class” when such an interest does not and cannot exist. It does. Marx and Engels clearly describe it. It can and does exist - because the proletariat is a class, antagonistic to the ruling class, and such an antagonism implies an interest. In fact, Marx even wrote an entire chapter of Wage-Labor and Capital entitled "The Interests of Capital and Wage-Labour are diametrically opposed".

Ah well. Jehu has not learned, and most likely, will not learn.

He goes on, this time about the state, his absolute weakest points in a serious of extremely weak ones:
Marxists make a big show of believing it is an urgent task of the working class to put down a rebellious group of formers capitalists. In fact, unlike as in Marx’s day, the number of real capitalists is actually very tiny and requires almost no effort at all to police. 
This is nonsense - pure unadulterated nonsense! The power of the capitalist class never laid in it's number of members, it laid in it's power and resources, it's ideological hegemony over parts of the proletariat, and it's ability to bribe certain portions of society to act in it's interests. Our modern capitalists have private armies in their disposal, private police, and private weapons industries. It has more resources now, than ever, to be used to destroy workers power! In Marx's day, in fact, it would've been easier! If they had overthrown the European governments, the new, proletarian state would essentially have no external enemies to worry about, and the internal enemies, the capitalists, while larger in number, were weaker in their collective class power.  In the modern imperialist world, you not only have to worry about the internal bourgeois overthrowing your state, you also have to worry about the external, imperialistic bourgeois of the entire world overthrowing you, a bourgeois class which still has it's government intact, and will come up with all sorts of reasons to attack you.

This is why I claimed that the "Return to Marx" is an absolutely worthless guide to revolution in the modern world - you need to understand Imperialism as Lenin described it! With a "pure Marx", Jehu seems to think that a revolution is a generalized thing that happens globally, all at once, as if the state of the working class in relation to it's national, imperialistic bourgeoisie in America is comparable to the working class in India's relation to the imperialistic bourgeoisie!

He goes on:
Marxists always want to turn our attention to the role the commune plays in suppressing its exploiters, but this is not the problem most “really existing socialisms” faced. Instead, we see the opposite problem, where the public authority separates itself from the commune and becomes a power standing over against it.
Now, to be honest, anarchists like Bakunin pointed out this danger to Marx and Engels in their own time. We cannot just look away and pretend that did not happen or that the problem is not significant. It is not simply a question of replacing the present state by a commune as @sushi_goat implies. It is not simply a problem of acknowledging the need for authority, or that the capitalists must be suppressed, it is also a question of the extent to which authority and suppression is even necessary. 
Here, Jehu makes a claim about "really existing socialism". Now, he says nothing to back it up - he does not explain where, in the USSR, public power turned against the workers. He merely assumes it did - through the given narrative that the bourgeois dogmatists have provided the working class with to scare them away from communism. That's a huge statement to make. Now, it also has nothing to do with historical materialism - it is also a completely misleading view of the USSR. As Al Szymanski shows in Is The Red Flag Still Flying?, the USSR remained a proletarian dictatorship, and socialist, until at least the early 80's. Even when the USSR was at it's most unequal, bureaucratic and authoritarian, it had an unprecedented level of social mobility, worker influence and participation in government, in relation to any capitalist country in existence. Labor as a commodity - the foundation of the capitalist mode of production - was abolished. Even as a bureaucratic strata developed, this group could only marginally better their condition, and they could not pass this privilege onto their children, which is one of the fundamental sociological basis for a class to emerge. Nobody could enrich themselves by exploiting the labor of others. If the USSR represented a "new class society" were the bureaucratic state apparatus is somehow a class onto itself, it is the first and only class society in which class is defined as having slightly bigger apartments. While not a perfect utopia, it was never meant to be one either. The USSR, throughout it's existence, faced bloody invasion, attempts at foreign subversion and wrecking, trade embargos and other economic pressure, and was finally forced into collapse by the West, who had forced them to militarize to point of complete economic meltdown.

He says Bakunin "pointed out the danger"of the State under socialism- but Bakunin did nothing but preach idealistic fatalism that Western anarchists would interpret as some sort prophetic sacred wisdom. It has nothing to do with materialist class analysis. Bakunin's warnings about the inevitable Red Tyranny is rooted in a completely bourgeois and idealistic "power" perspective, where power is a thing onto itself and does not have a class character. To even grant it legitimacy as a critique is to give up any pretension that you actually believe in Marx and Engels methods of analysis. But, lets continue.
While Marx argued that there is a fairly lengthy period between capitalism and communism, he made this argument in his day, not ours. By what yardstick is the extraordinary period of revolutionary transformation to be measured? Is this period fixed? Does it change over time? Is it longer today than it was in Marx’s time? Marxists are fond of telling us that some period is necessary, but they don’t have clue as to how to measure this period’s duration. And this is critical, because the greater the duration, the more likely the public authority is to escape the control of the commune.
Marxist are constantly asked how long they envision the State existing. We rarely answer this, because there is no way we can. It is not a question that even makes sense. It assumes that there can be a prediction for this, when, by it's very nature, it can't. It is exists as long as it needs to. It cannot logically end before the fundamental contradictions it needs to resolve are resolved. We have no prediction for this - we do not know in what state the world will be when the workers grab power in any specific country. The particularities need for the transformation period is determined by the national conditions of the proletarian dictatorship. If, for example, the US carried out a revolution, the main imperialistic bourgeoisie of the world could be targeted, and the process would be made simpler and shorter. But, seeing as revolutions tend to occur in the weakest links of the imperialist chain, we are more likely to see a revolution in a peripheral country, which is going to have to fight longer and harder to gain dominance locally, against for example , the US bourgeoisie, as well as developing the productive forces. But as I stated earlier, this is all just speculation and does not mean that we know how long the proletarian dictatorship needs to whither away.

Nor does the purpose of his asking of this question make sense. He has offered no proof of public authority ever escaping the "commune", or why this becomes more likely to happen over time, and what any of that has to do with class analysis! He just assumes, with given knowledge, that this is what happened in the USSR, China, or Albania. Almost certainly, those countries used violence against individual workers or groups of workers, socially and politically punished dissidents and deviated from the traditionally formulated goal of socialism on some instances - this has, of course, nothing to do with class analysis. "Repressing the Hungarian Revolution" is not a social formation or an economic system - it tells us nothing about whether or not the state was sociologically proletarian in it's class base, or if it's form of industry or commerce are socialist. These authoritarian abuses against members of the working class are about as indicative of class power having escaped the hands of the workers as the US government putting Bernie Madoff in jail or forcing the cigarette companies to put "Smoking Kills" on the packets is indicative of the anti-capitalist nature of the US state! In reality, we cannot explain the sometimes abusive and authoritarian nature of the proletarian state without looking at the system that surrounded it, namely imperialist capitalism. The growth of a largely militarized and bureaucratic state, like the USSR was in the 80's, can only be explained through realizing the actuality of the Western aggression perpetrated toward it, not in some internal nature of the State itself.

He continues about his use of the term"the fascist state":
What does it mean to be a fascist state? It mean the state is now the direct exploiter of proletariat. The assumption of management of the national capital, as @sushi_goat explains, does not do away with the capitalistic relationship; it simply renders the capitalist class itself superfluous to that relationship: as Engels argued, the state itself becomes the national capitalist.
Again, I did not make this up, @sushi_goat saw it for himself in the passage he quoted — he just preferred to ignore it.
While I didn't ignore it, I did perhaps make an incorrect statement in that I claimed the state being the national capitalist was simply the emergence of finance capital. Although that is relevant, it doesn't say quite what Engels says. However, Engels didn't say the state becomes the national capitalist in the section I quoted. Let us return to it:
"But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital." - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
It says the State is the ideal personification of the total national capital: it never once said that it has become a national capitalist, that exists independently of the bourgeoisie. Instead, that section is to be found quoted in Jehu's original post:
“All the social functions of the capitalist has no further social function than that of pocketing dividends, tearing off coupons, and gambling on the Stock Exchange, where the different capitalists despoil one another of their capital. At first, the capitalistic mode of production forces out the workers. Now, it forces out the capitalists, and reduces them, just as it reduced the workers, to the ranks of the surplus-population, although not immediately into those of the industrial reserve army.”
Does this mean that when the workers overthrow the state, there is no bourgeoisie at all? No. Even as Engels claims there is an increase in state ownership or direction of industry, it does not mean that the bourgeois class is abolished - it merely cannot secure the reproduction of it's class interest through the anarchy of the market. The capitalist relation cannot exist without someone receiving a capitalist surplus. The State cannot merely be act as a capitalism without capitalists. It directs the production - Engels is clear on this - but nowhere does he say that the profits generated from State industry or State investments goes to the public power system. The bourgeois remains the profiteers of this project. The bourgeois class is not superfluous in the sense that they do not exist as a class anymore. They are, Engels says, "shown to be superfluous"for the working class. The working class no longer believes that the bourgeoisie are capable of running the system they have created - but nowhere in the following quotation is it suggested that the bourgeoisie has disappeared as the general profiteer of industry:
"If the crises demonstrate the incapacity of the bourgeoisie for managing any longer modern productive forces, the transformation of the great establishments for production and distribution into joint-stock companies, trusts, and State property, show how unnecessary the bourgeoisie are for that purpose." - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
The capitalist centralization of Capital proves to the people that there is nothing essential to the capitalist, as an individual economic actor, that makes him somehow more skilled or fit to run and profit from the socialized forces of production than the workers themselves.

Capitalism's self-legitimation always rested on the idea of it being decentralized, a system in which individual self-interest expresses itself outside of some general plan or directive. Capitalism is productive according to classical capitalist theory, because it responds to decentralized knowledge and preference of local communities. Unlike the "irrationality of central state planning", it claims that decentralized individual entrepreneurs competing with each-other to produce the best product or service satisfies the needs of all. People looking to "act according to their own self-interest" create new factories, with new technologies and can employ more and more. As Adam Smith famously said:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages” - Wealth of Nations
But as the competition is done away with by the process of competition itself, it becomes more and more of a system of central planning itself. Every "decentralized" aspect of capitalism becomes gradually destroyed or distorted. Class mobility becomes a structural impossibility, and the "choices" presented to the consumer when going to market no longer represents choices between several different, competing capitalists. While there is an increasing multitude of different commodities, the providers of the commodities have shrunk in number - the choice between this or that product no longer becomes meaningful, since the profits go to the same 3-5 massive corporations that produce the given commodity. Even if one wants to "buy local", the centralization effectively assures that this is no competition for the mega-corporations. It is no longer the radical, individual entrepreneur, the basement inventor or those who think "outside the box" who maintain and drive forward the socioeconomic order. Radical competition is replaced with radical monopoly, which act as a central planner, more and more attached to the State in order to ensure stability. Centralized capital already acts as the straw-man capitalist ideologues built against State central planning: economic activity is decided by a few businessmen in suit, far removed from the reality of the average consumer and worker. As the capitalists radically lose their ability to act as competitive capitalists, they become superfluous in driving production forward, Essentially, they have lost all of what makes them a progressive force in society, but retain their status as an exploiter of wage labor. The State, rather than the market forces, becomes central in reproducing the bourgeoisie's profit. They become superfluous - they no longer move production, technology and industry forward, while it remains unable to provide the worker with it's most basic needs, or any advancement in wages. The workers more and more realize that they do not need the bourgeoisie to manage industry and society, that all the functions of the State and industry could be performed by proletarians themselves!

Jehu makes this claim when he (quite correctly) argues against my use of "state as national bourgeois" as mere finance capital:
Indeed, in the last financial crisis, Washington actually bailed out the finance capitalists themselves.  
Yes, because the state is the "personification of national capital!" It exists to guarantee profits for the smaller and smaller, but increasingly more wealthy and powerful bourgeoisie! The entire bourgeoisie is not thrown out - the bourgeoisie just becomes more and more dependent on the state functioning as a subsidizer and planner for it's survival. Jehu has not explained to me, yet, what the "state as national capitalist", in his view consists off. Is it merely the state doing any form of investment? In this case, the State has always been a capitalist, since the State has always been involved with creating infrastructure and providing services. Does the profit fall in private hands or does it fall in the hands of the State to enrich the senators and judges? In either case, let us continue:
And Engels did not simply predict finance capital; he predicted the state would become the national capitalist. I have constantly pointed out that this is the context within which I use the term ‘fascism'; but Marxists who object to my writings choose to ignore it. And they choose to ignore it because they know the implications of the state being the national capitalist: politics is dead.
This, once again, is complete nonsense. Nothing about the state being a national capitalist implies that politics is dead. Engels does not suggest it does. It suggests that capitalism has reached it's final stage - however, as I have shown earlier, Marx and Engels believe in taking political power. They do so without any fuzz. or mystification. Indeed, Engels states directly in "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific" that: "the proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into State property". So clearly, politics is not dead - if it was, there would be no need for the proletariat to grab political power. Jehu cannot claim that the statement: "politics is dead", originates in the thought or logic of Engels, because Engels blatantly states the opposite.

Now, Jehu claims I object to the term "Fascist State" to describe the state as national capitalist. I have never intellectually "objected" to the term - I have merely laughed at it. Jehu, perhaps, does not know how silly his rantings on the "Fascist State" sounds. He claims that talking to the workers have no idea what I am talking about socialism and class interests, but is supposed to be free from ridicule with his own use of language. But let us see how he - "intellectually" - defends the use of the word "Fascist State":
That is the only reason why I use the term fascist state — because no one has any illusions that a fascist state need not be overthrown.
This, of course, does not make any sense what-so-ever. It makes about as much sense as Tony Cliff claiming his analysis of the USSR as state capitalist originates with his distaste for the state (which I believe he did, but I cannot find the source) - it has nothing to do with the scientific definition of things . It aims to create a idealistic distaste for something, and is thus, little more than Rude Words. It doesn't matter if Jehu calls the level of capitalism in which the State assumes the dominant role "Fascist". He might alternatively just do what Engels does, and call it the "national capitalist", and it would be necessary to overthrow it all the same. He could call it "The Great Scary Boo-Boo Ghost" and it would still need to be overthrown. He could even call it something nice, like "Job Creating Teddy Bear", and it would still need to be overthrown. The change of words to describe a thing does not become the thing. Instead, he introduces the confusing and exaggerated term "Fascist State". Now, let us remind ourself that the actual Fascist states did not work the way Engels claims the National Capitalist does. In fact, Nazi Germany went against state-ownership and control! While the entire Western capitalist world was building social democratic institutions and increasing State ownership, Nazi Germany privatized several vital industries and banking:
The Great Depression spurred State ownership in Western capitalist countries. Germany was no exception; the last governments of the Weimar Republic took over firms in diverse sectors. Later, the Nazi regime transferred public ownership and public services to the private sector. In doing so, they went against the mainstream trends in the Western capitalist countries, none of which systematically reprivatized firms during the 1930s. Privatization in Nazi Germany was also unique in transferring to private hands the delivery of public services previously provided by government. The firms and the services transferred to private ownership belonged to diverse sectors. Privatization was part of an intentional policy with multiple objectives and was not ideologically driven. As in many recent privatizations, particularly within the European Union, strong financial restrictions were a central motivation. In addition, privatization was used as a political tool to enhance support for the government and for the Nazi Party. - Germa Bell - Against the Mainstream: Nazi Privatization in 1930's Germany .
This suggests that Jehu's description of state as national capitalist is harmful, because the original term was used to describe a system that acted differently to how Engels describes the national capitalist. While the rest of the capitalist world was building state industry - Jehu cites Washington building 1500 in WWII industries as proof that the American state is"fascist" - Nazi Germany destroyed the conversion of industry to public hands. Now, another problem with how Jehu approaches the issue of "Washington building 1500 industries in WWII" is that he merely claims the state building industry means that the state is a national capitalist. The State, in every stage of Capitalism, has always been a part of building infrastructure and other things, and so we have to prove not just that the State built something, but that this represents the capitalistic relation, or that it is the dominant form of production. Jehu does not prove it. Anyway, he finishes the blog post:
"So, why does @sushi_goat and other Marxists object to the term? What possible reason could they have for denying the state is fascistic. What part of the existing state do they want to save?"
Nobody ever denied that the state was "fascistic" - Jehu merely changed Engels terms and claimed that questioning the merits of this change in terms is equal to denying what the term describes! If Jehu started calling his dick "Enver Hoxha", and we all thought that was pretty dumb, Jehu would presumably claim we deny that his dick exists!

This blog post has now gone on for all too long. I congratulate everyone who made it this far. I expect a reply, but unless it does not address more directly what I bring up than his previous post, I might not write another one.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Anti-Jehu: Herr Jehu Eaves Revolution in Self-Congratulating Bullshit

Jehu contends that no other Marxists agree with him, and he is correct. 

Even though Jehu's article about me has next to nothing to do with what I discussed with his minions on twitter today, I see it fit to reply.

When I leaned more toward anarchism, I found Jehu to be fascinating - as much of his stuff I understood, that is. But as I read a lot more of not only Marx and Engels, but of Lenin and Kautsky, I found that Jehu seemed to suffer from a case of Extreme Confirmation Bias - the way he quotes the Marxists text seem odd, and sometimes, the sections he quotes do not state what he claims it states, and look completely different in context. Coupled with some.... "odd" use of language, such as referring to The State (any state) as "Fascist", his writing of theory is at once dense and hard to understand, and at the same time all to simplistic and generalizing. Do not be fooled, there is an inherent logic, but this is the logic of Jehu, and not Marx and Engels.

Jehu Eaves presents himself as a preacher, nay, a prophet, a lone man holding the truth. "Almost no Marxist accepts my view of Engels remarks", he laments, and one must wonder why. Like a Messiah lecturing a Pharisee on the true meaning of the Sabbath, he goes on:

"My interpretation [...] challenges the entire notion of classes, class struggle and the struggle for communism as Marxists view it."

So what is Eaves actually saying?

Jehu begins by quoting The German Ideology:

"This subsuming of individuals under definite classes cannot be abolished until a class has taken shape, which has no longer any particular class interest to assert against the ruling class."
"Thus, while the refugee serfs only wished to be free to develop and assert those conditions of existence which were already there, and hence, in the end, only arrived at free labour, the proletarians, if they are to assert themselves as individuals, will have to abolish the very condition of their existence hitherto (which has, moreover, been that of all society up to the present), namely, labour. Thus they find themselves directly opposed to the form in which, hitherto, the individuals, of which society consists, have given themselves collective expression, that is, the State. In order, therefore, to assert themselves as individuals, they must overthrow the State."
About this he says:

"I have never spoken to a single Marxist who realizes that in historical materialism, as first defined by Marx and Engels, the proletariat has no interest to assert against the bourgeoisie. The very idea seems preposterously counterintuitive: why would the proletariat overthrow capitalism if it has no interest to assert? How could the proletariat overthrow capitalism if it never has a beef with capitalists. Tell Marxists that the proletariat has no beef with the bourgeoisie and never tries to overthrow the ruling class and they will laugh at you."

What is he trying to prove with these quotes and this commentary? While it is common knowledge that the state must be overthrown by the proletariat in Marxist theory, it also quite common knowledge that it must be replaced by a proletarian one - a "dictatorship of the proletariat". Of all of what I've read of Jehu's writings, this is completely ignored - Marx and Engels are both incredibly clear on the fact that there needs to be a State replacing the old State, one that holds power, violently repressing the Bourgeois. Any reading of the "Communist Manifesto", "Critique of The Gotha Programme", "Socialism: Scientific and Utopian", "On Authority" &c. cannot ignore that Marx and Engels are very clear on this:

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. - The Communist Manifesto
 Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough? - On Authority
Whilst the capitalist mode of production more and more completely transforms the great majority of the population into proletarians, it creates the power which, under penalty of its own destruction, is forced to accomplish this revolution. Whilst it forces on more and more of the transformation of the vast means of production, already socialized, into State property, it shows itself the way to accomplishing this revolution. The proletariat seizes political power and turns the means of production into State property[...] The State is not "abolished". It dies out.  - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. - Critique of the Gotha Programme

So, we are certainly sure that Marx and Engels not only suggest that the proletariat "overthrows the state", as Jehu claims, it also seizes political power, forming it's own State. It is not merely an "overthrow" of an organ of class society. That Jehu fails to mention or acknowledge this obvious element of Marx and Engels thought, leads to a seriously misleading conception of both capitalism and communism.

But Jehu mentions something far more strange, as he himself acknowledges. In his view, the proletariat has no interest to assert against the bourgeoisie. Now, this is not only strange because such rhetoric about class interest is very common in any aspect of Marxist theory, but because Marx and Engels repeatedly talk about the antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and capital:

But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few. - The Communist Manifesto
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. - The Communist Manifesto
We have thus seen that even the most favorable situation for the working class, namely, the most rapid growth of capital, however much it may improve the material life of the worker, does not abolish the antagonism between his interests and the interests of the capitalist. - Wage Labour and Capital 
The first capitalists found, as we have said, alongside of other forms of labor, wage-labor ready-made for them on the market. But it was exceptional, complementary, accessory, transitory wage-labor. The agricultural laborer, though, upon occasion, he hired himself out by the day, had a few acres of his own land on which he could at all events live at a pinch. The guilds were so organized that the journeyman to today became the master of tomorrow. But all this changed, as soon as the means of production became socialized and concentrated in the hands of capitalists. The means of production, as well as the product, of the individual producer became more and more worthless; there was nothing left for him but to turn wage-worker under the capitalist. Wage-labor, aforetime the exception and accessory, now became the rule and basis of all production; aforetime complementary, it now became the sole remaining function of the worker. The wage-worker for a time became a wage-worker for life. The number of these permanent was further enormously increased by the breaking-up of the feudal system that occurred at the same time, by the disbanding of the retainers of the feudal lords, the eviction of the peasants from their homesteads, etc. The separation was made complete between the means of production concentrated in the hands of the capitalists, on the one side, and the producers, possessing nothing but their labor-power, on the other. The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie. - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
At the same pace at which the progress of modern industry developed, widened, intensified the class antagonism between capital and labor, the state power assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over labor, of a public force organized for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism. - The Civil War in France 
I probably do not need to quote more. These quotes indeed do show that there are antagonisms between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Jehu is directly denying that Marx and Engels say all these things, and one must wonder why. Jehu claims that Marx and Engels never use the term "class interest", but in "Wage-Labour and Capital", he clearly states that there is an antagonism between the interest of the proletarian class and the bourgeoisie! If that is not "class interest", then what is it? Either Jehu has never read this iconic text, or his is willfully ignoring it. So what to make of the quote from German Ideology, that "subsuming of individuals under definite classes cannot be abolished until a class has taken shape, which has no longer any particular class interest to assert against the ruling class?"

Jehu's misreading of The German Ideology

In the context that Jehu provides these quotations, it does sound suspicious, what with all this talk of the "antagonism between capitalist and wage workers", that is, exploitation. This antagonism is even mentioned in The German Ideology, just a few paragraphs under the quoted section:
Thus, in imagination, individuals seem freer under the dominance of the bourgeoisie than before, because their conditions of life seem accidental; in reality, of course, they are less free, because they are more subjected to the violence of things. The difference from the estate comes out particularly in the antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.  
So if there is an antagonism, that is, a conflict of interest, then why does it say that there is a class which has no particular class interest to assert against the ruling class? Lets see what they say in the last section of the same chapter, titled The Necessity of Communism Revolution:
(3) In all revolutions up till now the mode of activity always remained unscathed and it was only a question of a different distribution of this activity, a new distribution of labour to other persons, whilst the communist revolution is directed against the preceding mode of activity, does away with labour, and abolishes the rule of all classes with the classes themselves, because it is carried through by the class which no longer counts as a class in society, is not recognised as a class, and is in itself the expression of the dissolution of all classes, nationalities, etc. within present society; and
 (4) Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.
While Jehu tries to claim that the proletariat is already without class interest - i.e, that the proletariat under capitalism has no class interest against the bourgeoisie, it is pretty clear from the (admittedly difficult) formulation of this text that this is not what Marx and Engels meant. Only through the revolution - through the taking of state power - does it create a class that has no particular class interest against the ruling class. The class that has no interest to assert against the ruling classes is not the proletariat - it is the individuals produced by the society in which the proletariat has taken power and successfully smashed bourgeois rule. Since the proletariat has no classes below it, that can, and needs to challenge it's rule, it makes itself superfluous as a ruling class in general - they "no longer count as a class in society", and the need for a State to secure it's supremacy will be unnecessary, since it has nobody to rain supreme over. This view not only fits much better with Marx and Engels' constant emphasis on class antagonism, which Jehu directly denies, but it also actually makes sense!

If the proletariat was not a class, it would be nonsensical to claim that they act as a class, and that they overthrow the state as a class. Fortunately, Marx states very clearly that the proletariat is a class, but only remains a class under capitalism. As the only class in history, it will abolish class society itself, since capitalism has produced a class that can create no other classes to dominate. Earlier on in "The German Ideology", Marx describes this phenomenon:
The bourgeoisie itself with its conditions, develops only gradually, splits according to the division of labour into various fractions and finally absorbs all propertied classes it finds in existence (while it develops the majority of the earlier propertyless and a part of the hitherto propertied classes into a new class, the proletariat) in the measure to which all property found in existence is transformed into industrial or commercial capital. The separate individuals form a class only insofar as they have to carry on a common battle against another class; otherwise they are on hostile terms with each other as competitors. On the other hand, the class in its turn achieves an independent existence over against the individuals, so that the latter find their conditions of existence predestined, and hence have their position in life and their personal development assigned to them by their class, become subsumed under it. 
The conception of class exists only insofar as it has to carry out a battle against another class - if such a "battle" were actually to be logically comprehensible, one must assume that both parties have an interest in fighting each-other, be it offensive or defensive. Either Herr Eaves has completely misread The German Ideology, or he has willfully misrepresented it.

Class consciousness as Kautskyite-Leninist mythology?

He goes on:
But this is not my bastardization of Marx’s and Engels’ argument: Instead, the the actual bastardization was the idea the working class has a class interest that motivates it to overthrow the capitalist class. The working class has no such interest and Marx and Engels never said they did — in fact, Marx and Engels never used the term ever. As Kautsky and Lenin imply, (See, for instance, Lenin’s What is to be done) the working class has a commercial conflict with the capitalist class over the terms and conditions of a sale. This commercial conflict does not and cannot lead to the overthrow of capitalism precisely because it is the means by which the capitalist relationship itself is constituted: the selling and buying of labor power.
Jehu has discussed the works of Kautsky and Lenin before, in a most odd manner. He seems to believe Kautsky and Lenin both revised labor theory. He claims that Kautsky and Lenin both deny what Marx said, that the proletariat has a class consciousness of it's own. He once again does what he does best, and cites these theorists in an extremely misleading fashion. The quotes are the following:
“Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is — either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology, to its development along the lines of the Credo programme; for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism, is Nur-Gewerkschaftlerei, and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie.” - "What is to be done?" by Lenin.
“Of course, socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, like the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses. But socialism and the class struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge. Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so; both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia [K. K.’s italics]: it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done. Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian class struggle from without [von Aussen Hineingetragenes] and not something that arose within it spontaneously [urwüchsig]. - Karl Kautsky, quoted in "What is to be done?"
Of course, to the first quote, contains an important footnote, which Jehu leaves out:
This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of “literature for workers” but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature. It would be even truer to say “are not confined”, instead of “do not confine themselves”, because the workers themselves wish to read and do read all that is written for the intelligentsia, and only a few (bad) intellectuals believe that it is enough “for workers” to be told a few things about factory conditions and to have repeated to them over and over again what has long been known 
In which context are these quotes presented? Does Kautsky and Lenin really deny that working class consciousness is a product of capitalist society? They do not. They recognize that the workers develop consciousness, however, this consciousness is not political, but economistic.
The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc. - Lenin 
Fundamental to the Marxist idea was that the proletariat needs to grab public power, as I clearly showed earlier. As capitalism developed, though, it seemed that while the workers did develop a consciousness, it did not take the aim of public power - dominated by the bourgeois ideology, it only managed to assert itself in a-political unions. Hence: "without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement". While Jehu Eaves again cites The German Ideology to prove that this is "revisionism", the exact same sentiment is to be found in Engels:
"The German workers have two important advantages over those of the rest of Europe. First, they belong to the most theoretical people of Europe; and they have retained that sense of theory which the so-called ’educated’ classes of Germany have almost completely lost. Without German philosophy, which preceded it, particularly that of Hegel, German scientific socialism – the only scientific socialism that has ever existed – would never have come into being. Without a sense of theory among the workers, this scientific socialism would never have entered their flesh and blood as much as is the case. What an immeasurable advantage this is may be seen, on the one hand, from the indifference towards all theory, which is one of the main reasons why the English working-class movement crawls along so slowly in spite of the splendid organisation of the individual unions; on the other hand, from the mischief and confusion wrought by Proudhonism, in its original form, among the French and Belgians, and, in the form further caricatured by Bakunin, among the Spaniards and Italians." - The Peasant War in Germany. 
This section is quite literally quoted in the chapter of "What is to be Done" that Jehu Eaves critiques. It clearly states exactly the same thing - that the revolutonary movement could not have come into being without revolutionary philosophy, a philosophy that came directly from the bourgeois intelligensia, of Hegel and his followers, as Kautsky himself states. We are once again left wondering - is he misreading, or misrepresenting?

Engels continues:
It must be said to the credit of the German workers that they have utilised the advantages of their situation with rare understanding. For the first time in the history of the labour movement the struggle is being so conducted that its three sides, the theoretical, the political and the practical economical (opposition to the capitalists), form one harmonious and well-planned entity. In this concentric attack, as it were, lies the strength and invincibility of the German movement.
The need for theoretical and political struggle is here directly emphasized - which is exactly what Herr Jehu denies. It is quite clear that the theories of scientific socialism were not the proletariats own expression of some inherent "secret knowledge" that a proletarian develops simply by merit of their status as a proleteriat - they simply made theory their own. As we have seen, this was not merely something Kautsky and Lenin had made up.

We must add, too, that the conception of revisionism that Jehu seems to go by is fallacious. He seems to confuse revisionism for the process of developing and advancing already existing ideas. Most certainly, this would make Marx and Engels themselves revisionist! Even if one could argue, as Jehu does, that Marx and Engels believed that communist consciousness is developed organically through the proletarians status as proletarians, it does not change the reality that trade-union consciousness developed as the main form of consciousness in the imperialist centers, and that this trade-union consciousness was unable to carry out a communist revolution!

Since we have already debunked the notion that Marx and Engels did not believe that there was antagonism between the workers and capitalists, we do not need to further comment this notion that class antagonism was something merely imposed on Marxists theory by Kautsky and Lenin.

How Jehu interprets "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific"

Continuing in his "More Marx than the Marxists" fashion, he makes this statement:
Almost all Marxists think the capitalist class is somehow done away with by the proletariat, but this is not true. Every advance of the mode of production consists, on the one hand, of a great increase in the numbers of workers; and, on the other hand, of the violent reduction of the numbers of capitalists at the hands of other capitalists. The working class plays no direct part in this ongoing economic bloodshed between members of the capitalist class.
To support this thesis he quotes Engels "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific", which was co-written with Marx:
“The fact that the socialized organization of production within the factory has developed so far that it has become incompatible with the anarchy of production in society, which exists side by side with and dominates it, is brought home to the capitalist themselves by the violent concentration of capital that occurs during crises, through the ruin of many large, and a still greater number of small, capitalists.”
Of course, that the bourgeoisie is antagonistic to itself is recognized by all Marxists - nobody denies this. This is precisely how almost all Marxist conceive of capitalist competition - it leads to centralization. The bourgeois state, it is famously said, exists to protect Capital from it's own Capitalists. But nowhere in this section is it denied that there is an antagonism between the workers and capital - in fact, as I quoted earlier, in the very same chapter this antagonism is fully recognized:
The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie.
Once again, one must wonder - has he misread or misrepresented? Marx and Engels both, throughout their career recognized that capitalism creates centralization, and "Socialism" is the foremost text that proves this. Almost prophetically they predict the collusion of State and Capital, or what we would call "finance capital": 

"But, the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital."
 However, as they state multiple times, the central antagonism remains that between that exploitation of wage-labor and capital. In the very next sentence:
The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over.
This cannot be interpreted in any other way than this: the capitalist relation, the antagonism between the classes, no matter how many individual capitalists remain, is what topples the system. The antagonism which is clearly recognized, and which is the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie - that of socialized, collective production, and capitalistic, private, appropriation. Jehu is quite correct in noting that the traditional, individual capitalist has become superfluous - capital is no longer simply a private owner of a factory, or a piece of land, but the class structure developed into finance capital - the very thing which Lenin analysed in his theory of imperialism. But exploitation still exists, in fact, it exists in an even more intensified form. Jehu chooses to edit out these mentions of class antagonism from "Socialism", in order to make his point:
"It is critical to understand that, in Engels’ “Socialism”, nowhere in this chapter does he state the working class overthrows the capitalist class. The capitalists are killed off by each other and, finally, the state itself expropriates the lot of them."
Marx and Engels both surely say that the capitalist creates his own death-bed, but they do not say that it merely commits suicide:
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians. - The Communist Manifesto 
In Jehu's view, the capitalists are merely lemmings, rushing toward a cliff, because they know no better. But Marx and Engels are clear. Like Laius, the bourgeoisie gives birth to the proletarian Oedipus that is destined to slay it. I have already quoted many sections that clearly show this, but I could quote many more.

We have so far shown that Jehu Eaves consistently misrepresents Marx and Engels, and confuses his readers by omitting all direct mention of class antagonism and class struggle. I find myself consistently in awe of his ability to misrepresent, misjudge and misuse Marxist literature. When accused of bastardizing "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific", he merely states that he does not! In the last chapter of the book, that is consistently built up to prove that the contradiction is between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation, he retrieves two quotes from the chapter and claims they prove something that they do not prove, and instead says there is no contradiction! He says "[t]here is no way I can twist Engels’ argument to mean something other than what his words already say" - and yet he does, and vulgarly so.

He ends his post even more vulgarly:
So the next time you go to your union meeting and talk about how “the woikahs have to overthrow the bahsses”, just remember they haven’t a fucking clue what the fuck you are talking about. Nothing of how they empirically perceive capitalistic social relations prepares them to understand your gibberish about “the class struggle”.
If it did you wouldn’t need fucking theory to understand it yourself! Theory is only necessary, because social relations don’t appear in real life the way the theory says it does. By definition, any theory only says, “Reality does not appear to work this way.” Now, unless you think you can give 7 billion people a crash course on historical materialist theory overnight, capitalism cannot end the way you think it does.
Of course, revolutionary theory doesn't say "the workers have to overthrow the bosses." This is precisely the nonsensical, economistic syndicalism that both Lenin and Kautsky criticized. It says, "the workers have to overthrow the bourgeois state and replace it with their own". That is the way not only Marx and Engels, but Lenin and most other Marxist revolutionaries have conceptualized the revolution. That discussing the class struggle does nothing to prepare workers for a socialist take-over is refuted by every single working class revolution that ever occurred - but of course, one must assume those were all "anti-Marxian", in Jehu's view. Of course, all these revolutions become theoretically impossible to comprehend if one follows Herr Eaves definitions - if the working class don't overthrow the bourgeoisie, then why, in 1917, did they?  The following statement, that theory "is only necessary, because social relations don’t appear in real life the way the theory says it does," is simply incomprehensible. Is theory necessary because of the failure of theory?

And his final statement on the global crash course on historical materialism does prove how little Jehu understands of both the Marxist and the Leninist conceptions of revolutionary theory - that class consciousness needs to be theoretically understood by every single member of the proletariat is nonsense, and has nothing to do with the function of theory in relation to a political organization. I doubt that the workers of the Petrograd Soviet could quote Anti-Dühring verbatim, or explain the difference between use-value and price, but yet, they made a revolution according to the Marxist-Leninist theory! Imagine that!

Of course, we all know the famous words from "Theses on Feuerbach": "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." How Jehu overlooks this basic truth of Marx own view of the purpose of theory is beyond me - it seems to be something he explicitly rejects.

He ends with this atrocity of a paragraph:
How consistent do Marx and Engels have to be shown to have been throughout their careers before Marxists will accept my interpretation? Well, it doesn’t matter because theory is complete bullshit and doesn’t matter in the least. The question is purely of historical interest. No society makes a revolution in theory before it makes it in practice — no society does this.
And the prophet solemnly bowed his head.

That no society makes a revolution in theory before it makes it in practice is demonstrably false - almost every revolution has had a theory, philosophy or theology. Is Jehu going to ignore Thomas Payne, or Jean-Jacques Rousseau? And, most clearly in Russia, the society did make a revolution in theory before it made it in practice - it was the only way for the Russian working class to successfully gain power. Of course, Herr Jehu can make this or that claim of Lenin being "fascist", but that, of course, does little to change the reality of the revolution.

The fallacy of "The Return to Marx".

Jehu is not the only thinker who has made claims of finding some ancient, sacred, primordial truth in Marx' philosophy. Since the really existing socialisms did not live up to Utopian Socialist values of the Western Left, and violated the sacred Proudhonian calls for Eternal Truth and Justice, people have been "Returning to Marx" . An endless list of Western academics have been trying to save Marx from the horror of Actually-Applied-Marxism, like Christians returning to the Sermon of the Mount once faced with the intolerance of the Westboro Baptist Church. The left needed a way to explain the supposed "failure of communism", we were told. But this "failure of communism" was never the failure of communism on it's own merits, merely the failure of Actually Existing Socialism to meet unrealistic Western standards of a "Workers Paradise". Of course, anyone who knows anything about either Russia or China knows that they could never outperform a first-world imperialistic "consumer society", nor that they could ever reach a "liberal, open society" under the pressures of global imperialism and internal turmoil. It did not have a third-world to ruthlessly exploit, nor did it have a private, self-sustaining military industry which could engage in endless war and foreign provocation without severely damaging the economy and civil society too much.

Neither the Russian communist state, nor the Chinese state, would never and will never be able to achieve communism in one country - to posit this it to be more Stalinist than Stalin himself, and abandon the idea that the workers of the world must overthrow the bourgeoisie globally. No communist revolution is ever a guaranteed success. But, in it's own context, socialism achieved great things - it almost abolished unemployment, introduced wide-ranging social reforms including healthcare and education, raised living standards on a higher rate than any capitalist has been able to achieve in similar conditions, and aided in the liberation of millions of colonial and imperial subjects. That a majority of people in these countries actually preferred communism is widely ignored. Within the limitations of a national economy, they preformed extraordinarily. In it's own context, socialism didn't fail at all - it was a huge victory for the workers of the world. The Western left plays every trick in the book to dismiss actually existing socialism, in order to avoid plunging into the horror of actually doing a material analysis of the socialist social formation. It cried about Cults of Personality, about revisionism, about death tolls, and prison camps, and dismissed communism moralistically because of these things.  Petty moralist revulsion, of course, has nothing to do with class analysis, or Marxism.

In order to avoid the actuality of historical development, one returned to a "Marx without Lenin" (or Stalin, or Mao, or Khrushchev but sometimes with a Trotsky).This is a Marx that was idealized as a Nostradamus, rather than a theoretician. But the works of Marx and Engels were never meant to be viewed as ancient scrolls, containing mystical secrets that can only be interpreted by a Marxist Clergy. Instead, Marx and Engels produced a series of theoretical texts that provided a guideline for the European working class movement in the era they lived in, and provided the basic scientific foundations of class analysis - and as capitalism and class changed, so must the conclusions of Marxist class analysis change. Marx really did not have a conception of how modern imperialism developed - only Lenin managed to correctly advance the idea of imperialism and it's relation to finance capital. Neither could Marx and Lenin have a concept of Neo-Colonialism: Kwame Nkrumah had to apply Marxist-Leninist thinking to the situation in Africa, in order to get a Marxist explanation of this. Thousands of different working movements and governments have produced many texts and speeches that update the Marxist conclusions as society changes. One cannot abandon any single one experience of the working class in it's struggle - they must all be studied, praised, and critiqued. Marxism is a living science, a science that can be used as a weapon - not a collection of ancient witches spells that can conjure up Full Communism if you only say the words right.

Jehu has precisely this kind of theorist - he presents himself as possessing a Higher Truth about what Marx Really Meant, and shock-and-horror: it isn't what those simpleton Marxists think it is! By twisting and turning Marx' theory he tries to make him fit the pleasant, idealistic, petit-bourgeois maxim "communism is free time and nothing else". Of course, Marx' vague, at best, description of post-revolutionary society can lead to the projection of whatever ideal socialism fits you best, and the process of making communism a comfortable, cozy and humanistic ideal can start anew. In Jehu's version of Marx' revolutionary communism, not only is all the history and lessons of the post-Marxist era ignored or illegitimate, he also edits out the blood-stains of the Paris Commune, and all the other violent, direct struggles for power that Marx himself described. The proletariat has merely to wait until the *aherm* "Fascist State" untangles all it's internal contradictions and simply falls of the scene, leaving a proletariat that can achieve that eternal communistic dream of "some-time-off-already-god-dammit!"

What Jehu represents is the most vulgar of revisionists, that revisions Marxism not only because his political organizations opportunism demands it, but for his own personal subjective satisfaction. Jehu revisions not only the conclusions of the central concepts of Marx, but revisions the central concepts of Marx in order for them to reach Jehu's conclusions! Everything solid in Marx' work - the class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the need for theory - melts into air, and various obscure or context-free Marx quotes are turned into a puppet theater, through which Marx can be the agent of Jehu's self-congratulating bullshit. That the Marxists didn't merely invent these concepts, and that Marx isn't the Id to the Marxists Super-Ego, should be evident from our reading. Now, will Jehu have learnt anything from this? Almost certainly not. Like a preacher on the streets, speaking of the end times, he will angrily rant about The Fascist State, The Illiterate Marxists and the Bourgeois Simpletons, to a small and insignificant crowd of Chosen Ones. He claims that it does not matter if either he or I are correct, and he is right - even proving that all his revalations about what Marx really meant was wrong would not get him to change his mind!