In his reply to me Simon just gives us more of the same.

But he adds:

>And on value, well, we've been over this. You are talking
>about suspending the PRICE mechanism.

No, Dave's right here, there's no  capitalist price without value, as Marx
makes perfectly clear in the Grundrisse, the Contribution to Political
Economy, the first Book of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value. There may
however be distributive price-fixing mechanisms under a
non-commodity-producing mode of production, but they won't have the price
oscillating around the exchange value as determined by the socially
necessary labour time. Reread Labour, Price and Profit.

>The system that treats human labour
>as a value, alienating human labour from human existence, is the

No. Capitalism is not an abstraction, it's a very concrete and evil entity.
Just look at what it's doing in Moscow and Grozhny, in the whole of Africa,
in the cities of the US, in the cities of China where the surplus
agricultural labour force is being dumped after it's driven off the land,
and in Latin America, in Colombia for example.

>Please, not imperialism. Capitalism.

No way. Imperialist capitalism IS imperialism IS capitalism. Or perhaps
Simon can show us some sweet enclave of non-imperialist capitalism in the
world? (Wait for it....)

>We can have the whole Leninist
>argument separately.

No. Impossible.

>The system that treats human labour as a value, alienating human labour
>from human >existence, is the abstraction,
>and judging the "value" is done by an arbitrary method.

According to Marx, the assessment of value is anything but arbitrary. It's
necessary, reproducible and unbelievably powerful and resilient. Trouble is
it's socially inefficient given the present development of the means of
production, and the reason for this is that it's not democratic, not based
on real needs and not cooperatively or consciously done.

>The internal logic of capitalism is, since you are treating a human as an
>object, their value is based on what it takes to reproduce them as an
>object, the same as any other commodity:

Treating labour as a commodity comes first, treating its bearers as an
object comes second, it's a result of commodity fetishism working its way
through the whole of society. The proof of this is the contradiction, which
Simon obviously rejects, pointed out by Marx as early as The Jewish
Question, between the human being as a citizen in civil society (equal
rights and worth, democracy etc) and the human being as a bourgeois(or a
wage-slave) in production (inequality, exploitation, one dollar one vote,
etc). Now really fly Marxists, if they were interested, would be able to
make out a case for the citizen also being an object, but that's not the
point here.

>whether this is determined by the
>market or by the commissar doesn't matter,

But it does matter. A political revolution against a bureaucratic
("commissar") caste is not the same as a social revolution against a
bourgeois class ("market").

>except that the commissar is
>taking an arbitrary relationship and then being arbitrary about its
>judgement, and claiming to abolish the relationship! How alienated can one
>person get?

Is Simon aware of the fact that the companies fix their pre-sale prices in
blind, arbitrary fashion, and that the workings of the Law of Value only
hit them retroactively, after the sale is consummated? So they can never
(and I mean *never* as a matter of fundamental economic principle) *ever*
know in advance if their guess about the price is right in relation to the
value it contains (adjusted for monopoly, high-tech and other distortions).
The bourgeois is a thousand times more alienated than the Stalinist
bureaucrat. The bureaucrat (read Solshenitzyn's Cancer Ward for a wonderful
example) is very firmly linked to political reality, and knows it (the one
in the book scours Pravda each day for any change in the "general line"
that might dump him from his bureaucratic glory). Unlike the members of a
class, the members of a caste are absolutely and consciously dependent on
implacable and permanent repression, since their privilege is arbitrary and
contingent and not the historically necessary product of a whole social and
economic system of production and distribution. Not that the privileges of
exploiting classes don't also depend on permanent repression, it's just
that's it's not always so brutal and open as it is in defending caste
privilege -- just look at all the people fooled by the fact that the
imperialist bourgeoisie occasionally draws in its claws in its heartlands.
>> This leads to a political line that is compounded of theoretical fatalism
>> (it'll happen as a natural process, inevitably) and its hyperactive
>> counterpart, individual heroics ("we, the heroes, must act since no-one
>> else understands anything).
>I am arguing that members of the working class can have the
>revolution themselves, rather than have to be led by the nose by some
>tinpot bolsheviks!

"Having the revolution themselves" with no leadership or organization
focused on providing class leadership is anarchism. Never worked, never
will. And when anarchists get frustrated with nothing happening (according
to their lights) they are very inclined to turn to individual terrorism.

And the Bolsheviks weren't tinpot. And if Simon cared to study what
happened in 1917 he'd find that they didn't lead anybody by the nose. They
couldn't even lead "leading" Bolsheviks like Stalin, Kamenev etc when these
weren't interested. Stalin spent all October skulking in the Pravda
offices. "Lead by the nose"!!!  Next Simon will be telling us the
Bolsheviks drove the peasantry that deserted the Tsar's war back to the
trenches with the knout. The workers and peasants of Russia wanted to make
revolution in 1917, and with the leadership of the Bolsheviks under Lenin
and Trotsky they succeeded. And they wanted to defend their new state
against capitalism (in the shape of the imperialists) with guns in their
hands, even if it meant going back to the trenches. Thanks to the
leadership of the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky they succeeded. It was
when exhaustion of all kinds began to set in (demographic and social above
all) after the civil wars and wars of intervention that the will of the
working masses for revolution waned, EVEN with the Bolsheviks in power
under Lenin and Trotsky. And this made it possible for the bureaucratic
counter-revolution to take over the party and the new state, to dump Lenin
in his mausoleum and to drive Trotsky first to Alma Ata and then out of the
Soviet Union to Turkey. Lead by the nose!!!! Not even Stalin was able to
"lead" the Soviet people "by the nose". He got his way (when he got it, ie
when history obliged him) by terrorizing, beating, shooting and starving
people into supporting his line.

Anyway, good luck to Simon and his shortcut to true socialism. If he
succeeds then he'll save the rest of us a lot of hard work. No more need to
build an influential presence in the working class and its political
representation, no more need to fight with the traditional treacherous
leaderships for the right to set the agenda for the mass actions of the
class, no more need for a conscious policy of building an international
party with viable sections in every country. What a relief. Just preach
socialism to everybody and away you go.

I wonder what Simon thanks of Chavez in Venezuela?



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