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Showing results by Gopal Balakrishnan only

In the age of representative government, every class strove to identify its form of revenue with the general interests of society. [...]

just a good quote

—p.78 The Abolitionist—II (69) by Gopal Balakrishnan 6 years, 1 month ago

Except in a few stray passages from this period, Marx never conceptualized tax as the material basis of the connection between state and civil society, the form of revenue characteristic of this relationship. The upshot of what he did have to say was that taxes on capitalists would be of no benefit to workers:

The level of wages expressed, not in terms of money, but in terms of the means of subsistence necessary to the working man, that is the level of real, not nominal wages, depends on the relationship between demand and supply. An alteration in the mode of taxation may cause a momentary disturbance, but will not change anything in the long run.

Marx’s Ricardian conception of real wages as permanently fixed at near the bare subsistence level ruled out anything but defensive struggles to keep wages from sinking below the subsistence minimum. Even if the powers that be were so inclined, the state could do nothing against this iron law except provide some measure of poor relief. [...]

—p.83 The Abolitionist—II (69) by Gopal Balakrishnan 6 years, 1 month ago

Until April 1849, Marx subscribed to a two-stage theory of revolution: a bourgeois-democratic stage—political emancipation—out of which the conditions for a workers’ revolution—human emancipation—would emerge. But even before the coup d’état of Louis Bonaparte, the progression of this so-called ‘permanent revolution’ had been thwarted and reversed. In the aftermath of defeat he struggled to identify the reasons why this scenario had failed to materialize. [...]

some reasons: the "idiocy and isolation of the French peasantry"

—p.85 The Abolitionist—II (69) by Gopal Balakrishnan 6 years, 1 month ago

Previously Marx had been sceptical of if not hostile to America, seeing it in the mirror of Tocqueville’s literary travelogue as the land of completed democracy, but also of a hypocritical middle-class religiosity. His views on the pre-Civil War US were contradictory: he dismissed it as a backward society with undeveloped class contradictions—like the old Swiss republic, hardly a radical beacon—but also seemed to regard it as the most advanced frontier of bourgeois society. America had another significance for the early Marx: its slave system was the infernal shadow of this bourgeois world of alienated liberty. Only later would Marx come to see a contradiction between free wage-labour and slavery. Now, he assumed that American slavery was an integral part of the world system of bourgeois society that was based on wage slavery: ‘Modern nations have been able only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they have imposed it without disguise upon the New World.’ The two forms of slavery had risen together and would fall in the same way. The Marx of this period was a ruthless abolitionist: he conceived of his own times as the age of the abolition of state, private property, family, religion and nationality. Marx and Engels took this universalism to its ultimate conclusion in a rejoinder to Stirner’s racialization of the Hegelian historical schema into Negroid, Mongoloid and Caucasoid eras: ‘Even naturally evolved differences within the species, such as racial differences . . . can and must be abolished in the course of historical development.’

Marx after 1852; cited from The German Ideology

—p.92 The Abolitionist—II (69) by Gopal Balakrishnan 6 years, 1 month ago

[...] the reproduction of capitalist social relations depends upon waves of cost-cutting, labour-saving investment but also on levels of employment that generate the income and surplus income that sustain this process—a difficult balance that over the long term might lead to permanent unemployment on an ever larger scale. It might be said then that the current historical situation is both a continuation and a structural convolution of this process, resulting from the failure of new phases of accumulation to materialize. The slowdown of the wheel of capitalist accumulation—staved off by publicly subsidized financialization, burgeoning debt levels and the new extremes of inequality—has led to a structural transformation in which its ‘laws of motion’ are faltering. The underlying value-determinations of the price system are being warped out of their earlier shapes with little prospect of a return to ‘normal times’ by the very efforts of the leading powers to keep the system afloat.

on Marx seeing capitalism as digging its own grave through excessive immiseration

—p.99 The Abolitionist—II (69) by Gopal Balakrishnan 6 years, 1 month ago

Showing results by Gopal Balakrishnan only