[OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Thu Jan 29 2009 - 03:29:57 EST

I never assumed that "if there is parasitism then it will be clearly visible to all" and very carefully phrased my argument in that regard. "Unproductive labor is parasitic on productive labor ???" I suppose Paula and Jerry can make words mean anything they please, but I might point out (1) this has nothing to do with Marx, (2) it makes no semantic sense (3) it makes no scientific sense.

As regards (1) the issue is whether the labour directly contributes to increasing the mass of surplus value which can be privately appropriated; particular categories of labour are indispensable for production but do not themselves augment capital value or are a necessary cost, and are in that sense unproductive.

As regards (2) the meaning of parasitism is that the parasitic agent feeds off the host organism to the detriment of the host, and that the parasite is in no sense "necessary" for the functioning of the host organism - but there is no analogy here with unproductive labour in the Marxian sense. The exploitation of the worker's labour is confused with the mutual exploitation and swindling of owners of capital.

As regards (3) if productive labour depends on unproductive labour, to be able to perform its function at all, the relationship is not ipso facto "parasitic"; quite simply, each activity depends in each other.

I am sorry but this discussion is at such a low grade of understanding that I am not going to pursue it further now, I don't want to repeat what I and others (among others Simon Mohun, Paul Cockshott, Dave Zachariah etc.) have already copiously written about it on OPE-L and elsewhere.


PS - Western Marxist theories of the USSR never did any real justice to the constructive motivations many Soviet citizens and their foreign supporters had, and usually just aped bourgeois theories of totalitarian dictatorships. The term "Trotskyite" was used particularly in the USA to refer to a radical Marxist sect. Especially because of the petty-bourgeois, christianist heritage of US settler-colonialism, sects are an American tradition. But Stalinist and Maoist literature also referred to this term, with deliberately pejorative intent. Stalinist, Maoist and Trotskyist variants of Marxism-Leninism are all bureaucratically deformed socialisms, i.e. little or nothing remains of Marx's liberating humanism, the problem of organisation is unresolved, and there is only an unctious quasi-religion.

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Received on Thu Jan 29 03:31:46 2009

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