Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Refuse to Cooperate Platform - Part 1


The Problem and the Solution

We, the members of Refuse to Cooperate, are determined to direct our resistance towards the central underlying problem of the capitalist mode of production. We point out the following problems:

1. Capitalism is inherently environmentally destructive. The chaotic and unrelenting competition for profits and the need for a continuous supply of new markets that is a defining characteristic of capitalism is ruining the life support system that is our planet. Capitalist governments and charities have shown themselves utterly incapable of stopping this process. The best that they can do is slow things down or fix them on a very small scale. We do not have time to wait for failing institutions to rescue the world from the very system of production those institutions depend upon.

2. Capitalism favors the few at the expense of the many. A system based on competition inevitably produces, like any game, winners and losers. The winners become the rulers and the losers become their subjects. As the game continues, the divide worsens and deepens. Such is the nature of competitive markets. In this way, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and even starvation are inevitable byproducts of the system and are integral to its day to day functioning. Such a system that allows the wealth of the whole of society to pool in the hands of an ever dwindling elite class at the top, wile the many increasingly suffer, is inherently unjust.

3. Capitalism turns its subjects into slaves. Inherent to this system that we as a society have designed, is an exploitative relationship whereby the value produced by workers is taken from them for the benefit of a private owner with only a fraction of that value returned to workers as a wage. The degree the worker is dependent upon that wage is the degree to which that worker is enslaved. They are enslaved not by any one owner, as workers may occasionally choose a new one, but rest assured the owners make quite sure they are not usurped. At the same time, there remains, even today, large numbers of people forced into prison labor for maximum exploitation.

4. Capitalism is inefficient. A system dictated by profits rather than by projected needs leads to chaos in production. Huge surpluses of commodities are produced in some areas, whereas, massive shortages of those same goods are produced in other areas, with little regard to actual need or even the ultimate usefulness of the product. A system operating this way cannot never hope to meet the needs of its people.

5. Capitalism is bigoted. A system built upon inequality from the ground up will produce ideologies which are then institutionalized to rationalize conquest and exploitation. The ruling class will use these ideologies based on a variety of human differences, from national origin, to skin color, to sexuality, to physical and mental capability, as a means of maintaining control and keeping the masses divided. It is thus that capitalism either reshapes existing bigotries from previous systems (i.e. sexism) or creates bigotries to fit its needs (i.e. racism). These forms of oppression often interact and interlock, reinforcing each other.

Our solution to the question of human liberation is the Marxist mode of production, a society without classes, money, private property, and exploitation, where resources are produced and distributed based on need. The practical means of attaining communism is via socialist revolution and the building of a socialist society.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Frederick Engels', On Authority - Part 2


If man, by dint of his knowledge and inventive genius, has subdued the forces of nature, the latter avenge themselves upon him by subjecting him, in so far as he employs them, to a veritable despotism independent of all social organisation. Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself, to destroy the power loom in order to return to the spinning wheel.

Destroying authority in industry is close to completely destroying industry itself. Man has conquered nature, only to subject himself to the rules of industry. Destroy the authority in industry and you risk displacing man into a lesser period of human technological development. Destroy the power loom to return to the spinning wheel.

Let us take another example, the railway. Here too the co-operation of an infinite number of individuals is absolutely necessary, and this co-operation must be practiced during precisely fixed hours so that no accidents may happen. Here, too, the first condition of the job is a dominant will that settles all subordinate questions, whether this will is represented by a single delegate or a committee charged with the execution of the resolutions of the majority of persona interested. In either case there is a very pronounced authority. Moreover, what would happen to the first train dispatched if the authority of the railway employees over the Hon. passengers were abolished?

In industry, the cooperation of a great deal of individuals is required during a precisely fixed period of time so that no accidents occur, whether it be in a factory or on a railway. Whether there is a single delegate or a committee serving as the will controlling this cooperation, authority is present. This authority is very strongly present and must be to ensure the safety of the workers and the proper operation of the machinery. Imagine what would happen to a train if the worker's authority over the railway's operation was not present. What would become of the train's passengers?

But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will nowhere be found more evident than on board a ship on the high seas. There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous and absolute obedience of all to the will of one.

On the sea, in a sailing vessel, the authority relationship is at its strongest. In times of danger their can be nothing but instant obedience to orders if the ship and its crew are too survive.

When I submitted arguments like these to the most rabid anti-authoritarians, the only answer they were able to give me was the following: Yes, that's true, but there it is not the case of authority which we confer on our delegates, but of a commission entrusted! These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world.

Anti-authoritarians think that granting power to a commission of workers eliminates authority, when really all they have done is change the name of authority. The commission controls other worker's actions and the movements of the machinery. Call it whatever you want, this is still authority.

We have thus seen that, on the one hand, a certain authority, no matter how delegated, and, on the other hand, a certain subordination, are things which, independently of all social organisation, are imposed upon us together with the material conditions under which we produce and make products circulate.

Authority and subordination are things that work together to manipulate the material conditions under which we produce and make products circulate.

We have seen, besides, that the material conditions of production and circulation inevitably develop with large-scale industry and large-scale agriculture, and increasingly tend to enlarge the scope of this authority. Hence it is absurd to speak of the principle of authority as being absolutely evil, and of the principle of autonomy as being absolutely good. Authority and autonomy are relative things whose spheres vary with the various phases of the development of society. If the autonomists confined themselves to saying that the social organisation of the future would restrict authority solely to the limits within which the conditions of production render it inevitable, we could understand each other; but they are blind to all facts that make the thing necessary and they passionately fight the world.

The material conditions of production and circulation inevitably develop with large-scale industry and agriculture and grow in scope as industry and agriculture grow. It is absurd to consider the principle of authority an absolutely evil concept and the principle of autonomy as solely good. These principles are relative things whose spheres vary with the the development of the material conditions in a given society. Anti-authoritarians, by changing words, blind themselves to the reality of the material conditions that create authority and subordination.

Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough?

All socialists agree that, in time, the state's authoritative position will slowly dissipate from a political function to a purely administrative function, but anti-authoritarians believe that this transfer should happen immediately, even if the social conditions for such a drastic change are not yet ripe. Their first demand is to eliminate all authority, even though a revolution is one of the most authoritarian things that can exist, as one portion of the people imposes their will over another by means of rifles, cannons, and bayonets. Further, the revolutionary force must maintain their position with authoritarian measures, which rob some people of their rights. How long would the Paris Commune have lasted if it lacked an authoritarian power? Further, why were they not more authoritarian?

Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians don't know what they're talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction.

So, two conditions exist. Either anti-authoritarians don't know what they are talking about and are, thus, confusing everyone, or they do know what they are talking about, and are, thus, betraying the movement of the proletariat.

For further reading on this topic visit.....https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/10/authority.htm.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Frederick Engels', On Authority - Part 1


A number of Socialists have latterly launched a regular crusade against what they call the 'principle of authority.' It suffices to tell them that this or that act is authoritarian for it to be condemned. This summary mode of procedure is being abused to such an extent that it has become necessary to look into the matter somewhat more closely.

Mr. Engels noticed in his reading of socialist academic works, during his time, that people were sometimes much to quick to call something authoritarian; thus, he felt it necessary to clarify the meaning of the term authority.

Authority, in the sense in which the word is used here, means: the imposition of the will of another upon ours; on the other hand, authority presupposes subordination. Now, since these two words sound bad, and the relationship which they represent is disagreeable to the subordinated party, the question is to ascertain whether there is any way of dispensing with it, whether — given the conditions of present-day society — we could not create another social system, in which this authority would be given no scope any longer, and would consequently have to disappear.

Authority is the imposition of one's will over another person, and this presupposes subordination, in that one person is subject to the will of another. The question that Engels presents is here, is can this negative nature of authority be somehow changed or replaced with something better?

On examining the economic, industrial and agricultural conditions which form the basis of present-day bourgeois society, we find that they tend more and more to replace isolated action by combined action of individuals. Modern industry, with its big factories and mills, where hundreds of workers supervise complicated machines driven by steam, has superseded the small workshops of the separate producers; the carriages and wagons of the highways have become substituted by railway trains, just as the small schooners and sailing feluccas have been by steam-boats. Even agriculture falls increasingly under the dominion of the machine and of steam, which slowly but relentlessly put in the place of the small proprietors big capitalists, who with the aid of hired workers cultivate vast stretches of land.

Everywhere, combined action, the complication of processes dependent upon each other, displaces independent action by individuals. Now, whoever mentions combined action speaks of organization; now, is it possible to have organization without authority?

Supposing a social revolution dethroned the capitalists, who now exercise their authority over the production and circulation of wealth. Supposing, to adopt entirely the point of view of the anti-authoritarians, that the land and the instruments of labour had become the collective property of the workers who use them. Will authority have disappeared, or will it only have changed its form? Let us see.

Given then that a social revolution overthrows capitalism, who is to exercise authority over the production and circulation of wealth? Will collective ownership have eliminated the need for authority, or will it have just changed form?

Let us take by way if example a cotton spinning mill. The cotton must pass through at least six successive operations before it is reduced to the state of thread, and these operations take place for the most part in different rooms. Furthermore, keeping the machines going requires an engineer to look after the steam engine, mechanics to make the current repairs, and many other labourers whose business it is to transfer the products from one room to another, and so forth. All these workers, men, women and children, are obliged to begin and finish their work at the hours fixed by the authority of the steam, which cares nothing for individual autonomy. The workers must, therefore, first come to an understanding on the hours of work; and these hours, once they are fixed, must be observed by all, without any exception. Thereafter particular questions arise in each room and at every moment concerning the mode of production, distribution of material, etc., which must be settled by decision of a delegate placed at the head of each branch of labour or, if possible, by a majority vote, the will of the single individual will always have to subordinate itself, which means that questions are settled in an authoritarian way. The automatic machinery of the big factory is much more despotic than the small capitalists who employ workers ever have been. At least with regard to the hours of work one may write upon the portals of these factories: Lasciate ogni autonomia, voi che entrate! [Leave, ye that enter in, all autonomy behind!]

If no authority is to be exercised by the workers in a factory, then the workers must submit to the will of the machinery that produces the products in that factory. The machinery must move at a specific pace, produce a specific amount of product, and prepare that product for a specific distribution time. Either way, there is some form of authority being exercised.

For further reading on this topic visit.....https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1872/10/authority.htm.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mao's, Combat Liberalism - Part 5


When conversing with just about anyone on any number of subjects, they always assume that the position that I am taking on the given topic of discussion is the liberal stance. Those from the right will call me a bleeding heart liberal in need of a good dose of fortitude, or something to that effect, and those on the left will mistake me for a liberal democrat or something similar, sometimes too liberal for their tastes. Whichever it may be, I always tell them that in order for me to be liberal, I would have to be a capitalist, which, I am not. I am a Marxist and cannot, thus, be a liberal, lest I betray the ideology that I have chosen to defend with much rigor. One of the best definitions of liberalism from a Marxist perspective is given by Mao in his brief work Combat Liberalism (September 7, 1937).

Mao then outlines several ways in which Liberalism can manifest itself. This is what liberalism is and Marxism is not.

Liberalism is a manifestation of opportunism and conflicts fundamentally with Marxism. It is negative and objectively has the effect of helping the enemy; that is why the enemy welcomes its preservation in our midst. Such being its nature, there should be no place for it in the ranks of the revolution.

Liberalism is opportunism and directly conflicts with Marxism. It is negative and works only to help the enemy; that is why the enemy hopes that liberalism will live on in society. Such being the nature of liberalism, Marxists cannot allow it to survive.

We must use Marxism, which is positive in spirit, to overcome liberalism, which is negative. A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any private person, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.

Marxism, positive in its nature, must be used to destroy the negative nature of liberalism. A Marxist should keep a large mind and remain active in the struggle against liberalism. The interests of the revolution are worth more than their life. They must wage a tireless struggle against liberalism, to the expense of their own interests. The purpose is to consolidate the collective life of the party and strengthen the ties between the party and the masses. The party and the masses are more important to them than their own life. When this is so, they will then be considered a Marxist.

All loyal, honest, active and upright Communists must unite to oppose the liberal tendencies shown by certain people among us, and set them on the right path. This is one of the tasks on our ideological front.

It is the duty of all good Marxists to oppose liberalism in all its forms. They must work to set all who practice liberalism correct.

If you want to read the rest of the piece that is the source for this commentary, visit https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_03.htm.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mao's, Combat Liberalism - Part 4


When conversing with just about anyone on any number of subjects, they always assume that the position that I am taking on the given topic of discussion is the liberal stance. Those from the right will call me a bleeding heart liberal in need of a good dose of fortitude, or something to that effect, and those on the left will mistake me for a liberal democrat or something similar, sometimes too liberal for their tastes. Whichever it may be, I always tell them that in order for me to be liberal, I would have to be a capitalist, which, I am not. I am a Marxist and cannot, thus, be a liberal, lest I betray the ideology that I have chosen to defend with much rigor. One of the best definitions of liberalism from a Marxist perspective is given by Mao in his brief work Combat Liberalism (September 7, 1937).

Mao then outlines several ways in which Liberalism can manifest itself. This is what liberalism is and Marxism is not.

Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.

This basically means that liberalism is destructive to the collective in a revolution. It eats away at and destroys unity, creates neglect, and causes the people to give up on caring. It damages discipline, loosens order in the ranks, weakens the chain of command, and alienates leadership form the masses, which is very bad for overall cohesion.

Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.

Liberalism stems from the selfishness of the petty bourgeois. It places the people's personal interests above those of the revolution, which gives rise to ideological, political, and organizational liberalism.

People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well--they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.

Liberals look upon the the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of the concept but are are not prepared to practice it in full. They are not prepared to replace their liberalism with full Marxism. The have both concepts, taking Marxism while practicing liberalism. They apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both concepts together and use them when the situation sits, but they never commit to Marxism in full.

To be Continued…..If you want keep reading the piece that is the source for this commentary, visit https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_03.htm.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Arrg, Our Ability to Choose has Been Hijacked for an Hourly Wage!




"You and your dad are two different people." - Anonymous

There is a process I have observed as we are growing up. We are our kids best parent, our genes that get transferred determine this, which mean our kids are exactly like us, when it comes to what motivates them. We as Parents are responsible for motivating our kids anyway. We should understand what motivates us, so we can motivate them to give us less crap and still try to raise them to think for themselves. This may seem futile as we have been conditioned that it is Moral to Obey, not to question. So when do we get to grow up and make our own choices?

When we get to a certain age, puberty, we struggle with 'who' we are, as parents we want to guide our children through this 'transition' phase, to make it easier for them, but the very act of helping pushes them farther away from us, making us feel like failures, as though we are unable to help our own children succeed.

In this context, our kids do not distance themselves from us because they do not love us, they distance themselves so they can separate who they are, from who we are, to be able to distinguish between what their parents think of as right/wrong and what they think of as right/wrong. This is an attempt to 'Own' their own Morality.....

This process gets confounded, confused, hijacked, imposed, bullied, etc, etc, by the people who try to get you to act like them, so they can feel good about who they are. We struggle with the difference between what we were taught was 'right' and what we 'feel' is right.

Also, this process gets hijacked because this is around the same age as when we have to start working, so the 'obey' narrative from our childhood, gets reinforced by the Workplace. 'Do as you're told' is justifiable in the workplace because we don't know what we are doing starting out, so we accept 'do as you're told' and transfer this onto our sense of moral right and wrong because we can't pay the rent if we don't 'obey.'

We still are not allowed to determine what is right and what is wrong for ourselves. We have been conditioned by the Workplace to let others do it for us. We have sold our ability to choose for ourselves for an hourly wage.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Refuse to Cooperate - Foriegn Wars



In this brief video, I posit some questions in relation to Foreign Wars. Should they? Can They? Will They? and How will they?

Follow the Refuse to Cooperate blog at www.refusetocooperate3@blogspot.com