Evaluating communards?

Posted: 04/09/2016 in Democracy, Finance, Freedom

I was put onto the “Communards Manifesto” or here, and I am having difficulty understanding it. But it is helping me to re-evaluate so that’s good.

Initially it talks of social decomposition and changing economic relations – I don’t get the emphasis on renting, the majority of people in the world have never owned. So what is changing? At the basis of economy is trade – buying and selling; that is still happening. Over the centuries the rich realised they could make more profits by mass production so they developed the factories of mass exploitation that Marxism responded to. At the same time the fatcats began to recognise their financial accumulation, and the finance industry started to develop mechanisms to use that accumulation to increase profits. Banks split into banking customer services and banking exploitation through mechanisms such as derivatives. Credit used to be a regulated method of profit-making, but to increase debt-indenture the regulations were stopped and credit became readily available.

With the beginning of mass production products matched supply with demand, and the demand increased because of mass production. This soon reached a ceiling, and the owners developed consumer-creation mechanisms such as advertising to increase demand. To match this demand finance then offered credit, with the debt-indenture soon following. But this was not enough because of the continual need to increase profits, and this started to drive a new strategy, a strategy that was also driven from the finance side.

Money initially was used to facilitate trade but as people got wealthier they realised that money itself, and not what it could be traded for, meant wealth. To begin with money was based on what it could purchase, and at some stage it reached what was known as the gold standard. Then there was a backlog because the consumer side of finance was pushing for more credit but there was not sufficient money. The gold standard was a restriction so it was decided that companies such as the Federal Reserve or the Bank of England could decide how much cash money was in circulation. This amount of money in circulation continues to increase as consumer demands increase, and the demands of the 1% for profits continue to increase. The economy has reached a stage where countries’ books are not even recognised yet alone balanced, where if money is needed it is printed – fiat money. We live in what could be described as a giant Ponzi scheme where our economies exist through a mutual confidence that is very fragile. Furthermore a person’s wealth is not even measured by cash money, and the sum total of wealth measured in bank accounts is far larger than the money in circulation including the fiat money; such a totally fragile situation.

Typical was the crash in 2008. The system desired further profits by creating credit. In the US, banks lent money on dubious house purchases. But this was not sufficient. Hedge funds wished to profit on these loans, and packaged them for resale. Once resold under the new package they were traded until their value was questioned. The confidence bubble broke, and there was a crash; the bankers who had made the dubious loans in the first place were then bailed out by governments and bankers whose initial loans could be considered criminal were then awarded bonuses. Check this for a humorous description.

There has further developed disaster capitalism or brinkmanship. Crises develop, or are allowed to develop, and previously unacceptable measures are introduced by governments to work through the crises. In the US 9/11 was typical. Soon after 9/11 the Homeland Securities Act was introduced infringing on human liberty because of the 9/11 attack, the speed with which it was introduced added fuel to the many conspiracy theories that exist concerning 9/11. A big consequence of 9/11 has been the “war on terror” where there has been a huge loss of life, a new “red under the bed” has been created in terrorism and Islamophobia, and huge profits have been made for the Military Industrial Complex. But 9/11 was not an isolated crisis through which new legislation and policy has been introduced. Naomi Klein repeatedly discusses crisis capitalism. As a consequence of the 2008 crash increasing power has moved to the finance sector, and the wealth gap has widened – not a coincidence.

The communard manifesto describes an abundance but is there? When demand is driven by credit, is it wise to describe this as abundance? Whilst there is money to buy – the demand, manufacturing will supply but this is far from sustainable. If time was frozen and people attempted to realise assets, there would be a queue behind the 1% backed by security companies demanding their fiat money be realised. Pensioners would not see their pensions in this queue!

Has capitalism broken down or has it simply evolved – morally devolved? The basic of the rich investing in plant to mass produce goods for sale does still exist, and this basic trade is the basis of accumulation that has gone wild with the gambling mechanisms. The means of production has changed becoming far less labour-intensive. The cost of plant has increased and the skillset of the labour force has decreased. A more educated workforce has been replaced by less educated and automation. Owners choose where to put the plant and if labour objects it can be moved. It was hard enough to organise a response in a plant let alone organise international response to such capitalist strategies (of moving the plant). The Marxist response has virtually disappeared. The margins were what was argued about, did the margins go to the owner or the workers? With the changes the owner pays as low wages as possible to maintain a workforce, and they have a ready supply of workers as with automation unemployment has increased.

If capitalism is seen as a system for the people then it has failed. But in my view it was never so designed, it has always been a system to benefit the bourgeoisie or 1%. It continues to do so increasingly placing wealth in the hands of the few. A clear analysis shows increasing world problems but also shows greater accumulation in the hands of the few. For my understanding this is the purpose of capitalism and it is working.

What does the internet do for all of this? Very little. It changes communication but does not change the dominant ethos of capitalism – the greater accumulation in the hands of the few. The internet introduces increased freedom for a few such as digital nomads. It allows for alternative business networking such as P2P, but it does not transition to a peer-to-peer society as it claims. Such P2P networking can allow some people to network and not be immersed in the rat race but they still remain controlled through the use of money. They still buy products, food, houses, computers etc, and these products are controlled within the 1%-system of capital. What P2P networking can do is minimise contact with the system, and that is beneficial for those concerned.

A while back I looked at Mindful Consuming and Mindful Consuming Networks (scroll down), this was my strategy for the future. [Relevant discussion – check tags Occupy Horizontalidad]. As a teacher I am skill-less outside of the education system that the 1% controls, what use is maths except within the system that is controlled? This is a vulnerable position to be in. I could have done with a skill whereby I could have something to trade with if the moneyed system causes a problem. This trade could produce a product I could barter with. Ideally my consumption should change to support those who are trying to create P2P barter networks with the ideal of existing “off the money grid”.

In conclusion my evaluation is that capitalism as neo-liberalism is far from dead but continues with increasing accumulation of wealth to the few. The strategy I looked at of Mindful Consumer Networks outside the money system was my hope for those who could be true to themselves and detached from the 1%-system. If these are similar to the communes of the communard manifesto, then that would be great.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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