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CAPITAL AND THE CAPITALIST CLASS

CAPITAL AND THE CAPITALIST CLASS
Capital exists as “the accomplished objective form of private property” (Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, CW, Vol. 3, Progress Publishers, Moscow, p.293) Capitalist private property takes on two forms – juridical and economic. To be a capitalist one doesn?t necessarily have to be the juridical owner; one could also be a “functionary of capital” (Marx, Capital, Vol. III, ch. 23) such as under state ownership where means of production belong collectively to the capitalist class as a whole. Both are members of a collective capitalist class exploiting the collective working class and appropriating and getting a share of the surplus value. “During the beginning of capitalism this class stood between the feudal aristocracy and the proletariat which is why they were called “the middle or capitalist class” (Engels, Trades Unions, C.W. 24, p.386) “

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Publication

Capitalism in India, Universal Suffrage and Multi-Party Republic

Multi-Party government based on universal suffrage is the most advanced political form of full-fledged capitalism. To demand more from capitalism is erroneous. To go beyond it means entering into the region of socialism. The responsibility of ushering the worldsociety, hand in hand on to socialism, rests with the working class. The working class will have to accomplish this task by building up their own independent political organization and by using the universal suffrage as the instrument of emancipation. 

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RUSSIAN REVOLUTION IN RETROSPECT

RUSSIAN REVOLUTION IN RETROSPECT
This auspicious meeting is to assess hundred years of “the Bolshevik coup d'etat” (as characterized by John Reed, Ten Days That Shook The World, Notes and Explanations, written - January, 1919, Progress, Moscow, p-18, and introduced by Lenin by the end of the year in the following words: “Here is a book which I should like to see published in millions of copies and translated into all languages. It gives a truthful and most vivid exposition of the events so significant to the comprehension of what really is the Proletarian revolution and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”) which heralded the birth of State Capitalism in Russia and postponing socialism by a century. 

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Museum Piece

Let's let Mr Money retire from the management of our mode of survival and find shelter in a museum niche to rest beside flint stone hammers, anvils and bronze axes. Visitors might then like to stop a while in front of the niche, ponder over the antique family accommodated therein and discover Mr Money among them; but this time with a difference. For the old, Mr Money might still rouse great reminiscences, but for the young merely an inquisitiveness about an odd article, now stripped of any individuality.

Our kids would surely be much amused to observe the currency note with printing on the paper and ask "What's that, mummy?", "Papa, what is it?" and we "papas" and "mummies" would be prompt enough with our ready knowledge: "That was money."

"Well, what was money?" our kids would wonder.

"Money was what money did."

"What did it do?"

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CAPITALISM IN INDIA

CAPITALISM IN INDIA
Fifty years of “independence” In August Indians celebrated fifty years of independence from Britain, or at least some of them did. Socialists in India didn’t, as Binay Sarkar of the World Socialist Party (India) explains 

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CAPITALISM IN INDIA BENGALI

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Will independence help India?

Will independence help India?
Anyone who reads the English newspapers and also the journals which put the point of view of the Indian Nationalists, will find himself presented with two pictures of Indian affairs and Indian problems which clash very violently with each other. From the Indian side we are told that the 320 million who live in that huge area are suffering great wrongs at the hands of tyrannical British authorities, and are united in a desire to overthrow foreign rule and establish their right to govern themselves outside or inside the British Empire as they may freely desire. It is admitted on all sides that millions of the peasants and workers in India are desperately poor, permanently undernourished, and subject to devastating diseases in time of famine. In 1918-1919, during an epidemic of influenza, the loss of life reached the enormous total of 12 millions, equal to about a quarter of the population of this country. And poverty is not the only evil which persists in India after generations of paternal British government and innumerable promises of benefits to be showered on the Indians by their foreign masters.

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The black hole of Calcutta

The black hole of Calcutta
What might be termed the sequel to the historical incident we know by the above term has been, and is being written in the blood of thousands of starving, pestilencestricken Indian workers and peasants of Bengal. Daily references in the newspapers to the famine in India have provided grim evidence of the ghastly scenes enacted on the streets of Calcutta by actors unable to choose the part they wish to play. Stories have been related of children being sold for a handful of rice, and of skeletons of men and women feeding on jungle roots and leaves. Figures of the death rate show it to have increased to nearly four times the normal average. The whole tragedy is graphically epitomised by the Calcutta Statesman which said:-

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May Day

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The Rise and Decline of Capitalism

 

Capitalism was progressive during its ascendance i.e. in its formative stage. During this phase all its necessary formations and reformations were progressive, even though it emerged having been drenched in blood and gore. Both the capitalist and working classes were sprouting, growing – evolving. All the productive forces – means of production, instruments of labour and labour power - were developing within the womb of the new born relations of production.

Hence here the working class movements for formation/reformation were progressive simply because elimination of capitalist relations, which were just taking shapes, was out of the question, even though consciousness about its negation i.e. socialism, began to appear as working class ideas and interests alongside the ruling ideas and interests of the capitalist class. Both classes were involved in severing feudal relations of production and installing capitalist ones.

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Critique of Paresh Chattopadhyay's "Twentieth Century Socialism"

Critique of Paresh Chattopadhyay's "Twentieth Century Socialism"

Paresh Chattopadhyay once visited me at my rented residence after we launched our party, the World Socialist Party (India) here in Calcutta (now Kolkata), 1-3 March 1995. He listened to my long speech via audio cassette of Bishnupur public meeting and highly appreciated it. After a detailed discussion he agreed to send articles in the event we published a journal in Bengali which however didn't mature. At that time he was sympathizing with the Trotskyists. I wanted to know why he should support the Trotskyists at all. His answer was that this gave him the opportunity to meet and speak to them at their annual gathering in Paris and that's all. The matter ended there.

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Class

The advent of private property hand in hand with social division of labour in antiquity had eventually given rise to the array of economic categories of value with its surface layer of all various prices. This process alienated and fragmented society into competitive individual owners of self-acquired properties over means and instruments of production and distribution, and finally gave rise to classes and class struggle. 

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HISTORY OF ECONOMICS

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CAPITAL AND THE CAPITALIST CLASS

CAPITAL AND THE CAPITALIST CLASS
Capital exists as “the accomplished objective form of private property” (Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, CW, Vol. 3, Progress Publishers, Moscow, p.293) Capitalist private property takes on two forms – juridical and economic. To be a capitalist one doesn?t necessarily have to be the juridical owner; one could also be a “functionary of capital” (Marx, Capital, Vol. III, ch. 23) such as under state ownership where means of production belong collectively to the capitalist class as a whole. Both are members of a collective capitalist class exploiting the collective working class and appropriating and getting a share of the surplus value. “During the beginning of capitalism this class stood between the feudal aristocracy and the proletariat which is why they were called “the middle or capitalist class” (Engels, Trades Unions, C.W. 24, p.386) “

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CAPITALISM, ITS REAL BARRIER & CRISIS

CAPITALISM, ITS REAL BARRIER & CRISIS
Production of goods and services as simple commodities (exchanged only for satisfaction of needs, C1 – M – C2 where C1 = C2 in terms of value) began well before capitalist era. However, simple commodity production turned onto full-fledged commodity production (produced by wage-labour and sold in terms of money for profit, M – C - M? where M? > M) and commodity production became generalized only in capitalism. “In themselves money and commodities are no more capital than are the means of production and of subsistence. They want transforming into capital. But this transformation itself can only take place under certain circumstances in this, viz., that two very different kinds of commodity-possessors must come face to face into contact; on the one hand the owners of money, means of production and means of subsistence, who are eager to increase the sum of values they possess, by buying other people’s labour power; on the other hand, free labourers, the sellers of their own labour power, and therefore the sellers of labour. Free labourers, in the double sense that neither they themselves form a part and parcel of the means of production, as in the case of slaves, bondsmen, &c., nor do the means of production belong to them, as in the case of peasant-proprietors; they are therefore free from, unencumbered by, any means of production of their own. With this polarization of the market of commodities, the fundamental conditions of capitalist production are given. The capitalist system presupposes the complete separation of labourers from all property in the means by which they can realize their labour. As soon as capitalist production is once on its legs, it not only maintains this separation, but reproduces it on a continually extending scale.” (Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1974, p. 668) 

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Poverty / Relative wage / Industrial reserve army

Poverty / Relative wage / Industrial reserve army
"A house may be large or small; as long as the surrounding houses are equally small it satisfies all social demands for a dwelling. But let a palace arise beside the little house, and it shrinks from a little house to a hut. The little house shows now that its owner has only very slight or no demand to make; and however high it may shoot up in the course of civilization, if the neighbouring palace grows to an equal or even greater extent, the occupant of the relatively small house will feel more and more uncomfortable, dissatisfied and cramped within its four walls. ?A noticeable increase in wages presupposes a rapid growth of productive capital. The rapid growth of productive capital brings about an equally rapid growth of wealth, luxury, social wants, social enjoyments. Thus, although the enjoyments of the workers have risen, the social satisfaction that they give has fallen in comparison with the increased enjoyments of the capitalist, which are inaccessible to the worker, in comparison with the state of development of society in general. Our desires and pleasures spring from society; we measure them, therefore, by society and not by objects which serve for their satisfaction. Because they are of a social nature, they are of a relative nature. ?In general, wages are determined not only by the amount of commodities for which I can exchange them. They embody various relations.? – Marx, Wage Labour and Capital, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1985, pp. 32-33 

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Invention

Invention
“To sum up: the more productive capital grows, the more it extends the division of labour and the application of machinery; the more the division of labour and the application of machinery extend, the more does competition extend among the workers, the more do their wages shrink together. “In addition, the working class is also recruited from the higher strata of society; a mass of small business men and of people living upon the interest of their capitals is precipitated into the ranks of the working class, and they will have nothing else to do than to stretch out their arms alongside of the arms of the workers. Thus the forest of outstretched arms, begging for work, grows ever thicker, while the arms themselves grow ever leaner.” – Marx, Wage Labour and Capital, See: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/wage-labour/ch09.htm

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‘Bandh’ Strikes: Not the Answer

In this era of capitalism's decadence the general strike (or ‘Bandh’) for more reforms or mere protest is futile. It has lost its edge. Its usefulness has become ineffective vis-à-vis world level productive abundance. It is not the answer to the problems produced by the potential and from time to time actual ‘epidemic of overproduction’ (Communist Manifesto) that is prevalent today.

During its rising phase capitalism, i.e. the capital/wage labour relation, was spreading out by swallowing up antiquated pre–capitalist economic relations and transforming the feudal social classes into two great modern antagonist classes – the minority collective capitalist class vis–á–vis the majority collective working class – or as in recent parlance 1 percent vs. 99 percent. Feudal relations of production were giving way to the capitalist relations of production.

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MARXIAN ECONOMICS

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Men, Ideas and Society

Marx became a socialist sometime towards the end of 1843 or beginning of 1844, Engels a little earlier. Previously the both of them had been "Young Hegelians", that is followers of Hegel's philosophy who gave it an atheist and radical-democratic interpretation.

Hegelian philosophy, the dominant school in Germany at the time, was thoroughly Idealist holding that ideas, and even the Idea, made history. During 1845 and 1846 Marx and Engels wrote a criticism of this view which they called The German Ideology. This book, for which they were unable to find a publisher, is important because in it Marx and Engels set out in more detail than in any other of their writings their alternative, materialist conception of history.

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CAPITALISM, ITS LIMITS & CRISIS

Production of goods and services as simple commodities (exchanged only for satisfaction of needs) began well before capitalist era. However, simple commodity production turned onto full-fledged commodity production (produced by wage-labour and sold in terms of money for profit) and commodity production became generalized only in capitalism. “

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WHY COUNT STEPS WHEN YOU HAVE AN ELEVATOR?

In his preface to Volume I of "Capital" Marx wrote:

"One nation can and should learn from others. And even when a society has got upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement - and it is the ultimate aim of this work to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society - it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments, the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development. But it can shorten and lessen the birth pangs."

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Colonialism

In his preface to Volume I of "Capital" Marx wrote:

In the middle of this last millennium the search for markets, sources of raw materials, cheap labour power and most profitable locations for business gave rise to ? "colonialism", having transcontinental ramifications into all pre-capitalist formations. This indicated capitalism’s global dimensions right from the beginning. It was British merchant capital which navigated Job Charnock, who on 24 August 1690 arrived at the village of Sutanuti that later developed into the capitalist city of Calcutta, the first capital of British India.

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Lenin: ideologue of ‘equal wages’

In his preface to Volume I of "Capital" Marx wrote:

In August and September 1917 Lenin wrote The Sate and Revolution to propound a theoretical justification for the uprising he was planning. He declared:

“We, the workers, shall organize large-scale production on the basis of what capitalism has already created, … shall reduce the role of the state officials to that of simply carrying out our instructions as responsible, revocable, modestly paid “foremen and accountants” (of course, with the aid of technicians of all sorts, types and degrees). This is our proletarian task … a state-capitalist monopoly … once we have overthrown the capitalists … a mechanism which can very well be set going by the workers themselves, who will hire technicians, foremen and accountants, and pay them all, as indeed all “state” officials in general, workmen’s wages. Here is a concrete, practical task which can be immediately fulfilled … a task whose fulfillment will get rid the working people of exploitation. …Accounting and control – that is mainly what is needed for the “smooth working”, for proper functioning, of the first phase of communist society. All citizens are transformed into hired employees of the state, which consists of the armed workers. All citizens become employees and workers of a single countrywide state “syndicate”. All that is required is that they should work equally, do their proper share of work, and get equal pay. … The whole society will have become a single office and a single factory, with equality of labour and pay.” Employing “Marx’s terms the “first” or lower phase of communist society” Lenin read, “The means are no longer the private property of individuals. The means of production belong to the whole society …the exploitation of man by man will have become impossible because it will be impossible to seize the means of production - the factories, machines, land, etc. – and make them private property.” (Lenin, Selected Works, 2, pp.303-4, 344, 345, 337-8)

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Marx and Engels foresaw

In his preface to Volume I of "Capital" Marx wrote:

“The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society,” wrote Marx and Engels in 1848 in Manifesto. According to Marx, capital as “self-expanding value” (V = c+v+s, where V = Value, c = constant capital, v = variable capital and s = surplus value) constantly coerces its personified functionaries, the capitalists, to look for maximum profit by raising the rate of surplus value (exploitation) i.e., by raising ‘s/v’ that pushes up the organic composition of capital or ‘c/v’, which reciprocally (tendentiously though) reduces the rate profit ‘s/(c+v)’.

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Imagine

IMAGINE JOHN LENNON

John Lennon Lyrics

 
"Imagine"
(from "Imagine: John Lennon" soundtrack)
 
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

EXCHANGEABILITY �

Objectively determined – whereby labour (used up human energy) becomes value – not something to be found in the physical or chemical properties of a commodity – a social property – a social relation which asserts itself as a social average only in exchange from “behind the backs of the producers”, “in a roundabout way”, “in an indirect fashion”.