RE: [OPE] "Parasitism"

Date: Tue Jan 27 2009 - 14:16:47 EST

> You argue it makes no sense so say "If it was true that all capitalists were simply parasites,
> then capitalism would have been overthrown long ago." I think it does makes sense, because
> when parasitism is publicly clearly visible it usually does not last very long.
There are at least a couple of major problems with your reasoning:
1. it assumes that if there is parasitism then it will be clearly visible to all.
2. it assumes that if there is mass awareness of parasitism then the
parasites will be overthrown before too long.
Re 1: parasitism can take a form in which the essential character of the parasitic
relation is obscured and mystified. This is what happens under capitalism: the
market obscures and mystifies the existence of exploitation and the source of
surplus value.
Re 2: mass action requires more than mass awareness of exploitation. Certainly,
slaves in most slave societies were aware that the wealth of slave owners was
based on their exploitation but that - of and in itself - did not end slavery.
> I recall how the Trotskyists argued that the Soviet bureaucracy was simply "parasitic" -
> but it wasn't, the management function was in good part a productive function, and that
> helps explain why it persisted, and why there was so much cooperation from workers to
> "build socialism".
The control mechanism which allowed for the reproduction of the Soviet
bureaucracy was more a matter of fear, I believe.
Fear, as well, is a control mechanism in capitalist society. The fear of joining the
IRA - and all that implies - is a force which allows capital to exert greater control
over the labor process and extract increased surplus value. Fear is also used
by capitalist states to control the working class and prevent a mass revolutionary
movement from being successful: workers know well enough that they have something
more to lose than their chains. In addition to their belongings and liberty, they can
lose their lives and the lives of those they care about. This is a reason why - even when
they are aware of their exploitation - it does not necessarily result in the expeditious
overthrow of capitalist relations.
In solidarity, Jerry
PS: when I put the above through a spellchecker, it identified the spelling of
'Trotskyists' as an error. Instead, it suggested 'Trotskyites' as an alternative!

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Received on Tue Jan 27 14:18:41 2009

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