Preliminary observations on the US presidential elections

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  imt  •  3 weeks ago  •  79 comments

By:   Patrick Martin

Preliminary observations on the US presidential elections
...that the election is so close, however, is a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and its inability to present any progressive alternative to the fascistic politics of the Trump administration."

I'm calling for a discussion of WHY the Democrat Party failed to gain an overwhelming victory over a despicable figure vomited up from the criminal underworld in the persona of Donald Trump. Widely despised as a reactionary and criminal that he is, Trump ought to have suffered a humiliating defeat. This is especially so after the abominable non-response to a global pandemic that has already claimed a quarter million American lives, after an horrific economic crisis, after naked endorsement of fascistic strategies, and after a drive toward implementing authoritarian forms of rule in Washington.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



As of early Wednesday morning, the US presidential election remains undecided. The fact that the election is so close, however, is a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and its inability to present any progressive alternative to the fascistic politics of the Trump administration.

As of this writing, a narrow victory in the Electoral College is possible for either Democratic candidate Joe Biden or Republican President Donald Trump. Due to delays in counting mail ballots, which became a predominant feature in the election because of the threat of the coronavirus, the results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania may not be known until the end of the week.

Trump has captured Florida, Texas and Ohio, and he held a narrow lead in North Carolina and Georgia, all states he carried in 2016. But he failed in efforts to win New Hampshire and Minnesota, where he had come close in 2016, and appeared likely to fall short in Nevada as well.

If Trump were to pull out a victory in the Electoral College, he would become the second US president to be reelected by a smaller margin than in his initial victory. The first was Barack Obama.

Even if Biden ekes out a victory, it will be nothing like the landslide that would be expected when running against an incumbent responsible for the deaths of 235,000 Americans in the global coronavirus pandemic, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and open efforts to mobilize fascist forces and establish an authoritarian regime in Washington.

Early Wednesday morning, Trump declared victory based on the initial results and made clear his plans to challenge the full counting of the votes. “As far as we are concerned, we already have won," Trump said in a speech at the White House, adding "We will be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop."

In the days leading up to the election, Trump repeatedly insisted that the results of the election had to be decided on Election Day, which has no basis in law or the Constitution. Trump, who is in no position to declare victory, is continuing his political conspiracies.

The Democrats did everything they could to suppress popular opposition to Trump’s conspiracies and his incitement of fascistic violence in the runup to the election. They deliberately downplayed Trump’s threats of violence, even when they were directed against Democratic governors like Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Ralph Northam in Virginia.

The Democratic Party has been unable to win over any substantial section of the rural and small town workers who voted for Trump in 2016. It chose to run a campaign based on identity politics, appealing to the affluent upper-middle class on the basis of race and gender, while never advancing an economic program to deal with the social crisis triggered by the pandemic.

In 1932, the Democrats under Franklin D. Roosevelt were able to win a landslide by promising a “New Deal” for American working people in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in history.

The Democrats, however, long ago rejected any policy of social reform or an appeal to the class interests of workers in favor of cultivating an upper-middle class social base tied to the performance of the financial markets, using appeals for the sharing of privileges based on race and gender.

Their opposition to Trump throughout his first term in office has been focused on foreign policy, in which they have demanded a more aggressive policy towards Russia, while seeking to mobilize support within the military-intelligence apparatus. They have deliberately sought to divert and suppress any broader social opposition to Trump’s right-wing policies.

Now in 2020, as with Clinton in 2016, the Democratic Party has proven incapable of offering any program to deal with the social crisis facing the working class in vast portions of the country, particularly economically devastated areas like Appalachia and Midwest towns and cities hit by deindustrialization.

In Ohio, for example, Trump was able to win both Trumbull and Mahoning counties, including the cities of Youngstown and Warren, laid waste first by the steel industry, which began closing mills in the 1970s, and more recently by General Motors, which shut its huge Lordstown plant last year with the collaboration of the United Auto Workers union.

In Michigan, Trump was even ahead at this writing in Genesee County, where the city of Flint suffered the horrific lead poisoning crisis, as well as in Saginaw County and Bay County. All three counties were once dominated by GM factories, most now closed. And Trump carried Macomb County, the center of auto production in the Detroit suburbs.

The results of voting in congressional elections are just as inconclusive as in the presidential vote. It is unclear whether the Democrats will capture the three to four seats required to gain a majority in the Senate.

The Democrats captured Republican-held Senate seats in Colorado and Arizona, while losing the seat of incumbent Doug Jones in Alabama, but the outcome of Senate contests in Maine, North Carolina and Montana remains uncertain. Republicans held onto seats against well-financed Democratic challengers in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Kansas, Iowa, Texas and Kentucky.

The Democratic Party retained its majority in the House of Representatives while suffering a number of defeats, including two seats in south Florida where first-term congresswomen were defeated by Cuban-American Republicans running strident anticommunist campaigns. The Democrats gained two seats in North Carolina after a court-ordered redistricting.

It is thus entirely possible that the political configuration in Washington, with Trump in the White House, Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, will continue into 2021, despite a year of nonstop social, economic and political convulsions. This only demonstrates that the political structures in the United States are entirely impervious to popular pressure and incapable of responding to the deepest social crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

While the conclusion of the presidential elections remains uncertain, the entire course of the election has demonstrated the correctness of the perspective of the Socialist Equality Party, which in its own campaign rejected all efforts to subordinate the working class to the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign.

However the situation develops in the coming days, the class struggle will and must develop. The working class must be armed with a socialist program in opposition to both parties and the entire capitalist system.


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IMT
1  seeder  IMT    3 weeks ago

Trump's openly gangsterish language is beheld with broad revulsion. Yet the Democrat Party was unable to turn this into a clear victory. The question to be asked and frankly faced is simply, 'WHY not.’ The tremendous contradiction of working class material necessities that Trump’s administration represents requires an explanation with more integrity than 'it must be the Russians.' Here, Martin's half-day article [at the time of posting] may have more lasting import.

My own position is clear. I agree with Martin. And as the graphic I've associated with this piece suggests, I have no horse in this race. So the question here is, what sense do YOU make of Martin's explanation for team Biden’s inability to seize a resounding victory?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  IMT @1    3 weeks ago

Seems to me he used the same playbook that someone used in 2016. And it still didn't work.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
1.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    3 weeks ago

And if no policies are put forth to help the middle class... there's never going to be a landslide win for anyone. Historically, policies put in place to help the lower or lower-middle take away from those in the middle.

 
 
 
Krishna
1.1.2  Krishna  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    3 weeks ago
Seems to me he used the same playbook that someone used in 2016. And it still didn't work.

Well, you might be right. All the results aren't in yet, but it looks like Trump has lost both the popular vote and the Electoral vote!

let's face it-- trump is a loser! 

 
 
 
Krishna
1.1.3  Krishna  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    3 weeks ago

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Who are you calling insane?

 
 
 
Krishna
1.1.4  Krishna  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @1.1.1    3 weeks ago
Historically, policies put in place to help the lower or lower-middle take away from those in the middle.

But what about the uppe rclasses-- the Rich!

And the Uber-Rich-- we're talkin' Billionaires, not the Hoi Polloi (i.e. mere Multi-Millionaires).

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
1.1.5  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Krishna @1.1.4    3 weeks ago

They're never "punished" no matter if it's Dem or Rep in office. Why? Simply because every person running for office is wealthy. Why would they tax the shit out of themselves and their family and friends?

 
 
 
IMT
1.1.6  seeder  IMT  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    3 weeks ago

As I see it, nothing was learned from 2016.

 
 
 
IMT
1.1.7  seeder  IMT  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

Herein lies the problem: when the economy is expanding, the working class can be offered some piecemeal tokens -- wages, benefits, etc. But when the economy is in contraction, even those must be taken away. This is called 'austerity.' Trouble is, as Capitalism hits the wall, all the victories of the past 150 years must be taken away. No FDR type 'New Deal' [essentially a bribe to the working class NOT to repeat the October Revolution in the US] is forthcoming. The ruling class has NOTHING by which to buy the allegiance of the 295,000,000 who are the US working class.

 
 
 
CB
1.2  CB   replied to  IMT @1    3 weeks ago

Biden is a man, not some form of a superhuman or 'god.' The voters who ignore the warning signs of this pervasive virus in the news every day came forward and cast their ballots for the maskless one: Trump. People, like this, are accountable for ignoring rights and wrongs, and using liberty to do so!

 
 
 
Krishna
1.2.1  Krishna  replied to  CB @1.2    3 weeks ago

Good point!

Perhaps its time to seed another Lincoln Project video!

Alas-- I must bid you farewell, as I cherchez le video!

 
 
 
IMT
1.2.2  seeder  IMT  replied to  CB @1.2    3 weeks ago

To my knowledge, no one is asking anyone to walk on water and then turn it into wine. But at the very least, Flint should have safe drinking water. Online learning should prevail until the coronavirus is no longer a threat, non-essential workers should not be coerced into unsafe workplaces, and essential workers should have daily testing followed with tracing. Every factory, workplace, etc. should have a public health worker to see that protocols mandated by trusted scientists and medical authorities are implemented consistently. These measures should be paid for by a 3% tax [at least] on billionaires in workers respective states. Since your party is not putting forward these policies, my party is.

 
 
 
CB
1.2.3  CB   replied to  IMT @1.2.2    3 weeks ago
Since your party is not putting forward these policies, my party is.

Touché. Well-played IMT. Your comment has great appeal and merit!

 
 
 
Krishna
1.3  Krishna  replied to  IMT @1    3 weeks ago
, I have no horse in this race.

Well I do-- but its definitely a horse of a different colour!

320

Although my guess is that as far as you are concerned-- The People's Flag is Deepest Red!

(Not that there's anything wronng with that :-)

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
1.4  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  IMT @1    3 weeks ago
The question to be asked and frankly faced is simply, 'WHY not.’

Because you can fix ignorance with knowledge, but you just can't fix stupid.

If the "working class" is defined as those who ridicule higher education, disbelieve science and belittle facts while praising ignorance, clinging to baseless conspiracy theories and whining about not having more low education requirement jobs, appealing to them or validating them is only going to make the problem worse.

We need to invest in education and job training for the jobs of the future, get their youth excited about S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering & math) programs, and get them looking toward a brighter future instead of looking back at some glorified traditional past of digging coal or low wage manufacturing line workers. The rest of us need to bring the higher paying tech industry jobs to the old manufacturing areas in the rust belt and those "working class" workers will embrace it. Especially now when millions are working from home and living in the big city doesn't matter as much, we just need to invest in training those in the rust belt for the jobs of tomorrow instead of just listening to them pine for the jobs of yesterday.

 
 
 
IMT
1.4.1  seeder  IMT  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.4    3 weeks ago

Dismayed Patriot:

As a socialist, I define 'class' on the basis of relationship to the system of production. There are owners [factories, fields, forests, mines, logistics (ships, rails, trucks, airlines) companies, energy companies, communication companies, etc.] There are investors [banks, finance companies, hedge funds, etc.]. And there are workers [who neither own and mostly lack funds to invest] and must therefore present on the market to exchange labor for a wage on terms as generous as the avarice of those who possess will allow.

The ownership class accounts for 1% of the population and is represented by the Republican Party. The investment class accounts for the Next 9% of the population and is represented by the Democrat Party. The working class is the 90%. Under the capitalist system of political economy, it has no representation. Its party is the Socialist Equality Party . The Socialist Equality Party strongly supports education [and full funding for it], science, technological development, wages that let people live, retirement with dignify, work place safety, and much more.

The path of neo-liberal 'reform' is a proven failure. As our society is hollowed out, it is time to lay the foundations for a new society in which peace, justice, democracy and civil rights are more than partisan slogans extracted from bankrupt political creeds blithely babbled by those who of all people demonstrate the least commitment to them. As the 90%, the working class has the right to be a people. It does not need anyone's permission to do this. Whatever days I have left, I'll spend them building on that foundation. That truly is, 'revolutionary.'

 
 
 
CB
1.4.2  CB   replied to  IMT @1.4.1    3 weeks ago

Interesting. Though, this nation of ours, rightly or wrongly, is not looking to 'cut into the mode' you are standing up. I do find you/it enticing. I will hear your points and arguments out and comment along the way accordingly.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2  Nerm_L    3 weeks ago

My take is that the 2016 election and, now, the 2020 election have been referendums on the business-as-usual status quo.  Half the country is rejecting globalization, free trade, and (generally) the neo-liberal path the United States has been on for almost five decades.

Socialists are still stuck in a myth of the 1950s and fail to the grasp that the United States has already been transformed to a socialist/communist country.  Controlling the means of production depends heavily upon the economy creating wealth by producing something.  Are publicly traded stocks capital?  Is credit capital?  Are bonds and debt capital?  How does insurance work?  How do debt derivatives work?  How do mortgages work?  What do financial middlemen produce?  What does retail produce?

Socialists are trying to redistribute money that the financial sector has created out of thin air.  Socialism might work for an industrial economy where workers actually produce things.  Socialism/communism might work in China.  But the United States is no longer an industrial economy.  The United States is creating money that isn't backed by anything of tangible value.  The United States has already been transformed into a socialist/communist country and the financial sector has become the state.

Half the country is rejecting that socialist/communist United States.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
Half the country is rejecting that socialist/communist United States.

You are correct, with one caveat.  Neither of the candidates is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.  One candidate is pushing for an authoritarian United States however.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1    3 weeks ago
You are correct, with one caveat.  Neither of the candidates is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.  One candidate is pushing for an authoritarian United States however.

Where we are at now, a candidate that advocates for returning to the status quo is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.  As long as the United States continues as a 'service' economy it does not matter if the government is subservient to the financial sector or vice versa

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
Where we are at now, a candidate that advocates for returning to the status quo is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.

I assume (haha) you will provide evidence of this???

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1.2    3 weeks ago
I assume (haha) you will provide evidence of this???

Evidence of what?  Evidence that a candidate has advocated returning to the status quo?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.4  Ozzwald  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

Evidence of what?  Evidence that a candidate has advocated returning to the status quo?

Now you're being juvenile.  You know fully well I am talking about your socialist/communist claim.

 
 
 
Krishna
2.1.5  Krishna  replied to  Ozzwald @2.1    3 weeks ago
You are correct, with one caveat.  Neither of the candidates is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.  One candidate is pushing for an authoritarian United States however.

Correct!

(Although many of his followers aretwo "mentally-challenged" to realize that! :-(

 
 
 
Texan1211
2.1.6  Texan1211  replied to  Krishna @2.1.5    3 weeks ago

This is what irony looks like:

(Although many of his followers aretwo "mentally-challenged" to realize that!  jrSmiley_6_smiley_image.png
 
 
 
Krishna
2.1.7  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
Where we are at now, a candidate that advocates for returning to the status quo is pushing for a socialist/communist United States.  As long as the United States continues as a 'service' economy it does not matter if the government is subservient to the financial sector or vice versa

Could you please repeat that in Plain English-- so us "Common Folk"can understand what you're saying?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.8  Ozzwald  replied to  Krishna @2.1.5    3 weeks ago
Although many of his followers aretwo "mentally-challenged" to realize that!

Don't agree with that.  They know it, they either just don't care, or are paid not to care.

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
The United States has already been transformed into a socialist/communist country and the financial sector has become the state.

Good friggin' grief, yet again with redefining words.   You present a scenario wherein the financial sector holds economic (and maybe political) power over the nation.   It is yet another example of minority control over the majority which is by definition the opposite of socialism/communism.   The proper label for your observation is plutocracy.   Why not just go with established labels instead of redefining other labels that do not apply?

 
 
 
Krishna
2.2.1  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @2.2    3 weeks ago
Good friggin' grief, yet again with redefining words.

Guess where he learned that form of manipulation?

50 Rubles says he learned it from listening to Trump-- or Watching Fox News!

 
 
 
Krishna
2.2.2  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @2.2    3 weeks ago
Why not just go with established labels instead of redefining other labels that do not apply?

Because.

Because being straight-forward and truthful and straight forward makes it nearly impossible to manipulate the people.

If anyone want to do the "Get Smarter Here" thing-- I highly recommend this guy's book-- it de-mystifies all sorts of "Newspeak"-- how to do it, how to manipulate the Masses with it!

320

 
 
 
Krishna
2.2.3  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @2.2    3 weeks ago
  Why not just go with established labels instead of redefining other labels that do not apply?

I wonder is he's high on something?

 
 
 
Krishna
2.2.4  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2.2.2    3 weeks ago

Who is that (obviously British) Gentleman anyway?

The one with that Orwellian countenance?

And what, if any,  important life-lessons could he teach us?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.5  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2    3 weeks ago
Good friggin' grief, yet again with redefining words.   You present a scenario wherein the financial sector holds economic (and maybe political) power over the nation.   It is yet another example of minority control over the majority which is by definition the opposite of socialism/communism.   The proper label for your observation is plutocracy .   Why not just go with established labels instead of redefining other labels that do not apply?

Well, since I am supposed to guess what constitutes an acceptable definition, here's the one I chose from Investopedia:

Socialism is a populist economic and political system based on public ownership (also known as collective or common ownership) of the means of production. Those means include the machinery, tools, and factories used to produce goods that aim to directly satisfy human needs.   Communism   and socialism are umbrella terms referring to two left-wing schools of economic thought; both oppose capitalism, but socialism predates the "Communist Manifesto," an 1848 pamphlet by   Karl Marx   and Friedrich Engels, by a few decades.
In a purely socialist system, all legal production and distribution  decisions are made by the government, and individuals rely on the state for everything from food to healthcare. The government determines the output and pricing levels of these goods and services.
Socialists contend that shared ownership of resources and central planning provide a more equal distribution of goods and services and a more equitable society.

Where does consumption fit into that definition?  The means of production and distribution are on the supply side of the economy.  How does the demand side of an economy fit into socialism?

The United States is a consumer based economy and consumption does regulate supply.  Exerting centralized control over the demand side of the economy is a means of regulating the supply side of the economy through a collective of consumers.  Government support and regulation of consumption uses the collective as the means to control and regulate production and distribution.

Where do middlemen fit into the definition of socialism?  Walmart and Amazon are the two largest employers in the United States.  Are Walmart and Amazon producers?  Are Walmart and Amazon distributors?  Or are Walmart and Amazon consumers?  Walmart and Amazon collectivize consumption to act (and become) super-consumers.  Walmart and Amazon, as super-consumers, control and regulate what is produced and the prices of what is produced by leveraging consumption.  Where does that fit into the definition of socialism?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.6  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.5    3 weeks ago
Well, since I am supposed to guess what constitutes an acceptable definition, here's the one I chose from Investopedia: ... Where does consumption fit into that definition?  

The definition you posed for a 'purely socialist system' is comical.   Investopedia is a crappy source for information on socialism and you even recognize part of the problem;  it describes a benevolent, authoritarian command economy with egalitarian results — a bizarre fiction where people are essentially drones of the state.    This totally misses the point of socialism (economic freedom by virtue of the people democratically controlling the productive resources of the (typically market-based) economy).

But that was not the point anyway, the point is that you are using the socialism / communism labels when what you were describing is plutocracy.   Why misuse overloaded labels that do not apply when perfectly clear, appropriate and well-defined labels already exist for what you are describing?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.7  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.6    3 weeks ago
he definition you posed for a 'purely socialist system' is comical.   Investopedia is a crappy source for information on socialism and you even recognize part of the problem;  it describes a benevolent, authoritarian command economy with egalitarian results — a bizarre fiction where people are essentially drones of the state.    This totally misses the point of socialism (economic freedom by virtue of the people democratically controlling the productive resources of the (typically market-based) economy).

Not unexpected.  Choose whatever definition you wish.

Where does consumption fit into any definition of socialism you choose?  Democratically controlling the productive resources of the economy is exerting ownership and control over the supply side of the economy.  Where does the demand side of the economy fit into socialism?

Socialists blow a lot of hot air about owning the means of production on the supply side of the economy.  Who owns the means of consumption?  Or will socialism simply eliminate consumption from the economy?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.8  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.7    3 weeks ago
Where does the demand side of the economy fit into socialism?

see TiG @2.4.6

Also the point is not how to define socialism but rather that you inappropriately labeled your plutarchy scenario as 'socialism/communism'.   Why do that?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.9  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.8    3 weeks ago
Also the point is not how to define socialism but rather that you inappropriately labeled your plutarchy scenario as 'socialism/communism'.   Why do that?

That does not answer the question.  Where does consumption fit into socialism?

How does health insurance work?  Health insurance collectivizes consumption and leverages that collective to exert control over supply.  Is health insurance socialist?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.10  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.9    3 weeks ago
That does not answer the question.

Then you must be redefining the term consumption too.   Do you not recognize a market-based economy where consumers buy goods and services from competing businesses?

Bottom line (rejecting your deflection) a plutocracy is fundamentally at odds with socialism.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.11  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.10    3 weeks ago
Bottom line (rejecting your deflection) a plutocracy is fundamentally at odds with socialism.

Okay, has that plutocracy emerged from ownership of productive resources?  Will collective ownership of productive resources eliminate the plutocracy that has emerged?  

You underestimate the power of the demand side.

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.12  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.11    3 weeks ago
Okay, has that plutocracy emerged from ownership of productive resources?

Where does this newly introduced concept of plutocracy emerging come from?   And emerging from what?  

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.13  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.12    3 weeks ago
Where does this newly introduced concept of plutocracy emerging come from?   And emerging from what?  

You introduced the concept of plutocracy.  And now you avoid answering that question, too?

Have plutocrats obtained their wealth by owning productive resources?  Do plutocrats influence government because they own productive resources?

What is the source of wealth for plutocrats?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.14  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.13    3 weeks ago
You introduced the concept of plutocracy.  And now you avoid answering that question, too?

What are you talking about now?   You described a plutocracy and labeled it 'socialism'.   Now you introduce a notion of an emerging plutocracy and expect me to know what you mean by this new phrasing.  

And I see you have resorted to simply asking pointless questions.   You apparently want to make some point predicated on the fact that plutocrats necessarily own productive resources of the economy.   Yet you choose to be vague ... non-committal.

I am not impressed by a bullshit smoke screen.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.15  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.14    3 weeks ago
What are you talking about now?   You described a plutocracy and labeled it 'socialism'.   Now you introduce a notion of an emerging plutocracy and expect me to know what you mean by this new phrasing.  

And I see you have resorted to simply asking pointless questions.   You apparently want to make some point predicated on the fact that plutocrats necessarily own productive resources of the economy.   Yet you choose to be vague ... non-committal.

I am not impressed by a bullshit smoke screen.

Then why are you blowing bullshit smoke to avoid answering questions?  I'm not the one dodging the topic of discussion.  And I am not the topic of discussion.

I did not introduce plutocracy into the discussion, you did.  And I have not conflated plutocracy with socialism.  That's your stretch of imagination transformed into a strawman argument.  And I have not attempted to make you the topic of discussion, I'm still discussing socialism and why the United States has already been transformed into a socialist/communist economy.

The financial sector has become the state.  What you introduced as the plutocracy uses wealth to control government; your plutocracy has become the state.  Credit and debt have become the means of consumption that supports the demand side of the economy.  Consumers create money with credit and debt.  The financial sector has collectivized the demand side of the economy to eliminate domestic use of productive resources and control the supply side of the economy.  The financial sector has replaced domestic production with shipping containers; shipping containers are the supply side of the United States' economy.  And the contents of those shipping containers are determined and controlled by collectivized consumer demand.

The financial sector, as a state, owns the means of consumption that controls importation and distribution of resources, goods, and services in the United States.  The United States has already been transformed into a socialist/communist economy.

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.16  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.15    3 weeks ago
I did not introduce plutocracy into the discussion, you did. 

You described plutocracy and labelled it socialism/communism.

And I have not attempted to make you the topic of discussion, 

I have not made you the topic either, I am focused on your comments (and tactics).

I'm still discussing socialism and why the United States has already been transformed into a socialist/communist economy.

A nonsense claim based on redefining the words 'socialist/communist'.    See it is not that your underlying facts are all wrong, it is the ridiculous labeling that you affix to them.   Why do this?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.2.17  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.16    3 weeks ago
You described plutocracy and labelled it socialism/communism.

And I have asked if the plutocracy obtains its wealth by owning productive resources.  That question remains unanswered.

A nonsense claim based on redefining the words 'socialist/communist'.    See it is not that your underlying facts are all wrong, it is the ridiculous labeling that you affix to them.   Why do this?

I have not redefined socialism/communism.  If a consumer in the United States buys a good produced in a factory owned by the Chinese government then why isn't that socialism?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.2.18  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.2.17    3 weeks ago
And I have asked if the plutocracy obtains its wealth by owning productive resources. 

Asking obvious questions is deflection.   Of course wealth is obtained by ownership of productive resources and properties with increasing value.   Another obvious fact is that capitalism is a system based on minority ownership of the productive resources of the economy and that socialism is based on shared ownership and control of the productive resources of the economy by the people (that means NOT the state).

I have not redefined socialism/communism.

Sure you have.   Look at the ridiculous question you just asked: 

If a consumer in the United States buys a good produced in a factory owned by the Chinese government then why isn't that socialism?

A consumer buying a good regardless of source (foreign/domestic and the economic system of said source) is not a distinguishing feature of capitalism or socialism.   It happens in both economic paradigms.

 
 
 
Krishna
2.3  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago

My take is that the 2016 election and, now, the 2020 election have been referendums on the business-as-usual status quo

Aren't they always?

While candidates of both parties may have different ideas, they always tell us they are going to make things better than they currently are.. .in other words, they promise that if elected, they will change things for the better--i.e. change the status quo!

Heck, I can even think of one candidate who, in constantly promising to change the status quo in America, has adopted the slogan "Make America great Again!" Certainly a promise to change the status quo!

Half the country is rejecting globalization, free trade, and (generally) the neo-liberal path the United States has been on for almost five decades.

 A lot of jargon there!!! But I'm wondering what you mean by those terms, since different people use those terms differently. For starters, what do you mean by the term "globalization"?

Sure, I can google it and find out what Wikipedia says the term means--or what it means to various American (as well as foreign) politicians. . But what do you mean by"globablization"?

(Perhaps-- you are using it to mean allowing free enterprise-- allowing American companies to expand their potential markets by finding more customers anywhere they wish-- all around the Globe-- as opposed to the more Socialist concept of the government limiting where they can find customers-- telling private companies what they can and cannot do?

Similarly, what do you mean by "Free trade"? One again I would assume you might mean letting private companiesmake theirown decisions as to their policies as opposed to central government control. Free trade being jusdt one aspect of "Free Enterprise"? Or-- do you mean something else when you use the term?

And what do you mean by"Neo-Liberal"? I've heard different people use it to mean very different things! How is that different than. perhaps, an oler-type Liberal-- or perhaps a more Conventional type Liberal?

TIA ("Thanks in Advance") for clarifying these things :-)

 
 
 
Krishna
2.3.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2.3    3 weeks ago

Half the country is rejecting globalization, free trade, and (generally) the neo-liberal path the United States has been on for almost five decades.

Here's a key point:

A lot of jargon there!!! But I'm wondering what you mean by those terms, since different people use those terms differently. For starters, what do you mean by the term "globalization"?

Sure, I can google it and find out what Wikipedia says the term means--or what it means to various American (as well as foreign) politicians. . But what do you mean by"globablization"?

(Perhaps-- you are using it to mean allowing free enterprise-- allowing American companies to expand their potential markets by finding more customers anywhere they wish-- all around the Globe-- as opposed to the more Socialist concept of the government limiting where they can find customers-- telling private companies what they can and cannot do?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.3.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Krishna @2.3    3 weeks ago
While candidates of both parties may have different ideas, they always tell us they are going to make things better than they currently are.. .in other words, they promise that if elected, they will change things for the better--i.e. change the status quo!
Heck, I can even think of one candidate who, in constantly promising to change the status quo in America, has adopted the slogan "Make America great Again!" Certainly a promise to change the status quo!

Those promises are based upon policy.  The promises explain what should be expected.  The policy is supposed to provide the means for fulfilling expectations.  The political arguments boil down to 'accept this policy and good things will happen'.  But it's not always clear who will actually get the good things.

Sure, I can google it and find out what Wikipedia says the term means--or what it means to various American (as well as foreign) politicians. . But what do you mean by "globablization"?

Political discussion of globalization is typically confined to trade and immigration.  But globalization includes the creation of an autonomous technocratic bureaucracy, that is not accountable to any sovereign nation, whose continued existence depends upon weakening national sovereignty and meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations.  The global technocracy seeks to become a stateless governing authority independent from national accountability and dominant over sovereign nations.  The threat is that the global plutocracy will merge with the global technocracy.  Money and power go hand in hand.

And what do you mean by "Neo-Liberal"? I've heard different people use it to mean very different things! How is that different than. perhaps, an older-type Liberal-- or perhaps a more Conventional type Liberal?

Neo-liberals advocate technocratic freedom to dominate national sovereignty.  Neo-liberalism originally began as an economic concept that promoted the idea that technocratic middlemen should have freedom to exploit the demand side of an economy.  All supply side economic theories are premised upon exploiting consumers.  The neo-liberal economic argument was that technocratic middlemen possessed superior knowledge and skills to control the medium exchange and that technocratic control would result in creation of more money that would provide prosperity.  Those neo-liberal economic ideas have been applied to international trade, foreign affairs, and globalization (see description above).  Neo-liberal quasi-foreign policy attempts to open and develop new markets where consumers can be exploited.

 
 
 
Krishna
2.4  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
Socialists are still stuck in a myth of the 1950s and fail to the grasp that the United States has already been transformed to a socialist/communist country.

Oh Nerm-- you are such a Silly Goose!

The U.S. is a Capitalist country!!

I tend to be a pretty private person, and don't like to mention too many details of my personal life online. However I believe I mentioned what I currently do-- I'm a trader. Stock market.

Stocks and sometimes I do Option trades-- buying and selling Options..offering them fr sale (and offering to pay the price for them)-- that I choose-- not the government!!!

Yes-- the essence of Capitalism! Free market capitalism.

Not Socialism-- not even Socialism/Communism (although I'm not sure what you mean by that).

Basically I buy and sell stocks.Buyiing a stock means buying a piece (albeit it usually a small piece) of a company. Which also means as a part owner you get to vote for the Board of Directors! jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png

(And if its a dividend paying stock, that means as a part owner of the company, you get to receive part of their profits jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.pngjrSmiley_4_smiley_image.pngjrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png )

But here's one reason why its not Communism. If the government forced me to pay a certain price for a share of stock-- that would be Communism. But they don't.

I can offer to pay whatever price I wish-- an the Seller can choose to sel lit for the price I offer-- or offer to sell it for whatever price they choose.

And furthermore-- I am totally free to accept their offer or not. I make those decisions-- not the goverment!!

Because this is a Capitalist System, not a Communist (or other form of totalitarian) system.The buyer and seller are free to decide-- that's Free Enterprise Capitalism-- not something that can happens under Communism!

Capiche?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.4.1  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @2.4    3 weeks ago
If the government forced me to pay a certain price for a share of stock-- that would be Communism.

That would be authoritarian rule and statism.

 
 
 
Krishna
2.4.2  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @2.4.1    3 weeks ago
If the government forced me to pay a certain price for a share of stock-- that would be Communism.

That would be authoritarian rule and statism

Yes, but based on his comments here, its pretty obvious that Nerm doesn't understand what Communism is (or for that matter what Capitalism is-- or how they differ).

Which makes it unnecessarily difficult to try t ohave an intelligent conversation.

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.4.3  TᵢG  replied to  Krishna @2.4.2    3 weeks ago
Yes, but based on his comments here, its pretty obvious that Nerm doesn't understand what Communism is (or for that matter what Capitalism is-- or how they differ).

That certainly is what such a practice would suggest.   That is why I find it strange that people engage in this kind of sophistry.

 
 
 
Krishna
2.4.4  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @2.4.3    3 weeks ago
 That is why I find it strange that people engage in this kind of sophistry.

After many years of participating in discussions online, I've noticed there are several possible reasons why some people post such totally bizarre stuff. Sometimes if you analyze their thought patterns you can figur eit out. Some possibilities:

1. They are high on something. (More common than many people realize).

2. They simply aren't too bright-- after all,some people of extremely low intelligence can often eventually figure out how to get online (sometimes it may require their care-taker to help them...?)

3. They are members of a bizarre cult. Also more common since Dear Leader ascended to the Throne! (The cult of trump-worship is something  our Dear Fuhrer encourages-- its so irrational that after a while it warps peoples' judgement!

4. and then it could also simply be that they've had an extremely difficult childhood and sadly, they are traumatized for life-- even in some cases permanently brain damaged.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.4.5  Nerm_L  replied to  Krishna @2.4    3 weeks ago
I tend to be a pretty private person, and don't like to mention too many details of my personal life online. However I believe I mentioned what I currently do-- I'm a trader. Stock market.

I thought buying stocks was consumption.  Socialism isn't about the demand side of the economy, is it?  I posted a definition in @2.2.  Pick a different definition if you wish.

Where does consumption fit into any definition of socialism?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.4.6  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.5    3 weeks ago
Where does consumption fit into any definition of socialism?

Do you think the concept of socialism excludes market-based economies??   If you are going to use a definition I suggest you discard Investopedia and start with Oxford :  " A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole .".

Here is a very simple video on one theoretical model for socialism based on the book After Capitalism by David Schweickart .   This is a good representative model that faithfully illustrates the intent of socialism:

We will never see such a system in our lifetimes and nobody in the political realm in the USA is even proposing such a system when they cavalierly toss about the label ' socialism '.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.4.7  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.4.6    3 weeks ago
Do you think the concept of socialism excludes market-based economies??   If you are going to use a definition I suggest you discard Investopedia and start with Oxford :  " A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole .". Here is a very simple video on one theoretical model for socialism based on the book After Capitalism by David Schweickart .   This is a good representative model that faithfully illustrates the intent of socialism:

I've seen the video before.  The video doesn't explain off-shoring jobs and increasing dependence upon imports.  The video is based upon a myth from the 1950s when the United States economy was based upon productive industry.

What has actually happened is that consumer demand has been collectivized to exert control over price.  US based manufacturing cannot compete on a price basis.  The United States is not using its productive resources to supply the marketplace, as is shown in the video.  In fact the United States has erected barriers that inhibit using its productive resources to supply the marketplace.  

Can an economy be socialist without production?  Alternatively, can an economy be capitalist without production?  Removing the middle box that represents factories in the video would be a more realistic description of the US economy.

Where does the demand side of the economy fit into socialism?  Where does consumption fit into socialism?

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.4.8  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.7    3 weeks ago
The video doesn't explain off-shoring jobs and increasing dependence upon imports.

It also does not explain global warming;  it is an overview.

Can an economy be socialist without production? 

An economy cannot be an economy without production.

Where does the demand side of the economy fit into socialism?  Where does consumption fit into socialism?

How are you missing this?   This is the last time I answer this question.   Socialism → Market economy → Consumption (where → = 'enables').

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.4.9  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @2.4.8    3 weeks ago
How are you missing this?   This is the last time I answer this question.   Socialism → Market economy → Consumption (where → = 'enables').

I'm not the one who is missing something.  A market economy doesn't enable consumption.  That tastes like neo-liberal kool-aid.

Consumers create a marketplace, not suppliers.  What a market economy enables is demand side control over price and supply.  Collectivizing demand increases control over price and supply.  Collectivized demand has increased the United States' dependence upon imports rather than domestic use of productive resources. 

Is collectivizing demand socialist?  According to the supply side definition of socialism, collectivizing demand would not be socialist.  But that supply side definition is based upon the flawed logic that the supply side of the economy controls consumption.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.4.10  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @2.4.9    3 weeks ago
A market economy doesn't enable consumption. 

Market vs. Command economy.   Command economy disables consumerism; market economy enables.

Consumers create a marketplace, not suppliers.    

Consumers need suppliers;  they work together.

I'm not the one who is missing something. 

Just the most fundamental concepts.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
2.4.11  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  TᵢG @2.4.6    3 weeks ago
nobody in the political realm in the USA is even proposing such a system when they cavalierly toss about the label ' socialism '.

True, but those throwing around the word "socialism" are merely trying to scare their ignorant base with boogieman fairytales about their opponents. It has almost nothing to do with any actual threat, it's all about building the scariest straw man effigy they can to get their gullible base worked into a lather so they can then send them after their political opponents, "Go! Attack that scary socialist! You don't want to vote for them, look at what a scary thing they are as represented by the rhetorical imagery I evoke! Don't listen to those educated coastal elites, they're lying to you! Even about the definition of socialism! Webster's and Oxford are liberal dictionaries, don't trust them!...".

 
 
 
Krishna
2.5  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
Controlling the means of production depends heavily upon the economy creating wealth by producing something.

No one is trying to control the means of production!

(Well, with the possible exception of Donald J. Trump).

 
 
 
Krishna
2.5.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2.5    3 weeks ago
(Well, with the possible exception of Donald J. Trump).

Which means, ironically, that Trump in actuality may be the most Socialist person in office today!

I mean -- think about controlling the means of prodi uction-- he's attempting to do it more than anyone!

 
 
 
Krishna
2.5.2  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2.5.1    3 weeks ago

Which means, ironically, that Trump in actuality may be the most Socialist person in office today!

I mean -- think about controlling the means of production-- he's attempting to do it more than anyone!

(Of course we really won't know for sure until he releases his taxes! Heh..no wonder he refuses to release them!!!)

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
2.5.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Krishna @2.5.1    3 weeks ago
I mean -- think about controlling the means of prodi uction-- he's attempting to do it more than anyone!

Why? Because he's trying to keep major production for US products within the US? While I agree there's tendencies of Communism there [you know... if the US produces anything in China, that product can ONLY be sold to China and if the US wants to sell a product to China, that product is required to be produced in China]... why is it okay for Ford Motor Co. to produce mass quantities of cars and trucks in Mexico, paying pennies on the dollar to the employees and then turn around and sell those vehicles to a maximum cost to the US public? When was the last time you were able to find anything made 100% in the US with 100% US parts or ingredients? And no, I'm not talking about food stuff. I'm referring to clothes, shoes, furniture, coffee makers, vehicles, fans, lamps, etc. Did you know that there's only 2 or 3 textile companies in the US still?

While I don't have an issue with trade, I believe there should be limits. Moreover, if China only allows products to be sold to Chinese citizens if those products are produced within China's borders, why on earth would the US be okay with allowing the Chinese market to take over most products sold in the US? If the label doesn't say, "Made in China", it's quite likely to say, "Made in Indonesia", "Made in Taiwan", "Made in Singapore", etc. With the ASEAN agreement, it gave way to far less US production. What I would like to know is, why Japan doesn't sell more goods here in the US? I mean, other than things with a motor. Oh yeah... they pay livable wages and have unions too... granted, their unionization is quite different from ours, but they still take care of their people because without the people, there is no product. When people are laid off in droves from some sort of production, those people can no longer afford the products that they once produced... it's a vicious cycle. When the US is dependent on other countries for products, that's an issue. 

 
 
 
MUVA
2.5.4  MUVA  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.5.3    3 weeks ago

Don't forget the sheer amount of theft of intellectual properties that China has stolen and it's government approved.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
2.5.5  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.5.3    3 weeks ago

Bueller... Bueller...

256

 
 
 
Krishna
2.5.6  Krishna  replied to  MUVA @2.5.4    3 weeks ago
Don't forget the sheer amount of theft of intellectual properties that China has stolen and it's government approved.

No one here is forgetting Don't forget the sheer amount of theft of intellectual properties that China has stolen and it's government approved.

But you're forgetting a few key things:

 
 
 
Krishna
2.6  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
Socialism might work for an industrial economy where workers actually produce things. 

So now a computer's not an actual thing?

How about some cakes and pies for our gustatory pleasure?

 
 
 
IMT
2.7  seeder  IMT  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago

Nerm_L:

This presents a collage of issues which must be separated and addressed individually.

First, globalization is no recent innovation; the process is as old as the United States itself. Next, even if reformist neo-liberalism [a proven failure] is generally saddled with the ‘big-bad-globalism’ moniker, Capital itself demands it [markets to dump product, access to abundant raw materials, and dirt cheap labor]. US companies construct facilities everywhere from Mexico to China. After cheap labor produces stuff in US owned companies abroad, free trade gets the product here cheaply so it can be sold for greater profit. Here’s the thing: socialists are in the true sense, globalists. But the process of globalization is a demand of the profit system itself!

Third, wealth is not produced by the economy, but by labor. It is labor that transforms raw material into product and creates/adds value in the process. And as it is responsible for 100% of the production, labor is responsible for 100% of created wealth.

Fourth, you ask about money. What is it? That’s an intriguing question. We used to think of it as bits of paper in our back pocket. But it can also be material with intrinsic wealth. It can be an entry on a ledger. What’s really weird – we live now in a world where ‘Capital’ can be a tiny electronic impulse on a microchip on a computer on the other side of the planet. Marx never dreamed of computers; but he had a fair handle on money. For myself, I find his ‘money as social control’ more helpful. Labor produces 100% of the wealth, while Capital accumulation is the amount of labor power one can buy.

Fifth, you say that ‘socialists are trying to redistribute money that the financial sector has created out of thin air.’ Half of this is very correct. Marx knew well that ‘money’ is created ‘out of thin air.’ To this day, Marxists call it ‘fictitious capital.’

Example: congress passes a multi-trillion dollar ‘CARES Act’ giveaway. So it’s on the books – but it must be given real value! From where does that come? It comes from the same people who produce 100% of the wealth – workers. This is why whoever is elevated by this fraud-of-an-election will have no choice but to implement vicious attacks on the working class – slashing wages, pensions and other benefits. Factories must be closed, and merged. Production must be restructured to squeeze more from labor power and so invest this fictitious ‘on the books’ currency with real ‘wealth.’

Do you know what term Marx used for accumulated Capital? He called it ‘worker blood’ – and for good reason.

Sixth, you are also correct that the US is not a productive nation. But again, it is NOT the socialist program which demands closing our foundries. Far from it! No, we no longer produce because the world center of Capital – Wall Street – figured out that far, far more [fictitious] Capital is made from speculative practices – sell offs, buybacks, artificially inflating stock values, quantitative easing [essentially interest free money], and related practices. The question to ask yourself, Nerm_L, is this: Since the working class must pay for ALL of this, ‘why would a genuinely worker party support any of this racket!’

Finally, the supposition that the US is ‘socialist’ or merely ‘half’ socialist actually violates socialist principles. As I explain in reply to Dismayed Patriot, Capitalist political economy organizes society as owners, investors and laborers. That is true wherever Capitalism is practiced – meaning worldwide. This also means that class is universal. That is why Marx’ manifesto closes with the appeal, ‘WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!’ Socialism cannot be UNTIL workers do just that.

Be well!

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.7.1  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @2.7    3 weeks ago
First, globalization is no recent innovation; the process is as old as the United States itself. Next, even if reformist neo-liberalism [a proven failure] is generally saddled with the ‘big-bad-globalism’ moniker, Capital itself demands it [markets to dump product, access to abundant raw materials, and dirt cheap labor]. US companies construct facilities everywhere from Mexico to China. After cheap labor produces stuff in US owned companies abroad, free trade gets the product here cheaply so it can be sold for greater profit. Here’s the thing: socialists are in the true sense, globalists. But the process of globalization is a demand of the profit system itself!

Yes, the neo-liberal ploy is to neatly confine discussion of globalism within the language of trade.  But that deliberately ignores the autonomous global technocratic bureaucracy attempting to weaken national sovereignty and meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations.  The global technocrats have  weaponized economics which has ensured escalation of military means to counteract economic sanctions; future wars are either guaranteed to be global.  Global technocrats, who are unaccountable to any sovereign state, are responsible for establishing proxy conflicts and unsanctioned asymmetric militarism.  The global technocratic bureaucracy is responsible for escalating development of weapons of mass destruction and for the rise of international terrorism.  The threat posed by technocrats is as great or greater than the threat posed by plutocrats.  The eventual merging of the technocracy and plutocracy into an amorphous, autonomous, stateless governing authority is inevitable.  Power and money go hand in hand.  

Third, wealth is not produced by the economy, but by labor. It is labor that transforms raw material into product and creates/adds value in the process. And as it is responsible for 100% of the production, labor is responsible for 100% of created wealth.

That is correct.  Wealth is created by labor acting on resources to produce greater value; wealth is greater than the sum of the parts.  Resources obviously represent capital.  Does labor represent capital?  A robot that replaces human labor would be capital and buying such a robot would be a capital investment.  Wouldn't that suggest that labor is also a capital asset that can be managed like any other capital asset?

Unlike machines, human workers are also human consumers.  Marx's great mistake was to advocate collectivizing workers as a way to allow consumption.  Marx addressed the wrong side of the equation and attempted to push the string.  Any sort of supply side economic theory is illogical and irrational.  Bluntly, Marx took the idiot's path toward rectifying inability to consume.  Wages are the means of consumption, so collectivizing consumers would have proven more effective.  Karl Marx screwed the pooch because he thought like capitalist motivated by profit and, obviously, did not understand economics.

The issue that is supposed to be addressed by socialism is inability to consume.  Socialism has been and will always be an abject failure because socialists are motived by profit, just as are capitalists.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.7.2  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @2.7    3 weeks ago
Fourth, you ask about money. What is it? That’s an intriguing question. We used to think of it as bits of paper in our back pocket. But it can also be material with intrinsic wealth. It can be an entry on a ledger. What’s really weird – we live now in a world where ‘Capital’ can be a tiny electronic impulse on a microchip on a computer on the other side of the planet. Marx never dreamed of computers; but he had a fair handle on money. For myself, I find his ‘money as social control’ more helpful. Labor produces 100% of the wealth, while Capital accumulation is the amount of labor power one can buy.

Anything can be money.  Money is nothing more than a medium of exchange.  The source of the plutocracy's so-called wealth is control of the medium of exchange.  The plutocracy exploits consumers (not workers) with control over the medium of exchange.

The United States imports about $3 trillion of goods each year.  Skimming 1 penny off each dollar would amount to $30 billion; that's 30,000 freshly minted millionaires each year.  Consumers pay that extra penny; consumers are being exploited, not workers.  Middlemen can skim that penny without the need to manage capital assets, too.

Interest, fees, and rents are the skim collected by middlemen and paid by consumers.  And consumers create the medium of exchange with credit and debt.  There isn't a giant vault containing money that is loaned; people are borrowing money created out of thin air.  There is very little capital involved in lending.  The middlemen control the medium of exchange and make money by exploiting consumers.

Middlemen are more harmful to an economy than taxes.  Taxes redistribute money throughout the economy while middlemen concentrate money that will not be distributed throughout the economy.  

Any supply side economic theory will not overcome the harm caused by middlemen.  In fact, supply side theories tend to cause more harm because of the need to create more middlemen to achieve full employment.  A service economy, of necessity, must rely upon debt that feeds the plutocracy.  That's why socialism has always failed in practice.

  

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.7.3  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @2.7    3 weeks ago
Sixth, you are also correct that the US is not a productive nation. But again, it is NOT the socialist program which demands closing our foundries. Far from it! No, we no longer produce because the world center of Capital – Wall Street – figured out that far, far more [fictitious] Capital is made from speculative practices – sell offs, buybacks, artificially inflating stock values, quantitative easing [essentially interest free money], and related practices. The question to ask yourself, Nerm_L, is this: Since the working class must pay for ALL of this, ‘why would a genuinely worker party support any of this racket!’

The socialist program espoused by Karl Marx is based upon the same profit motivations espoused by capitalists.  Socialism increases exploitation of consumers.  Since socialism is worker based there is a need to create jobs.  That need to create jobs will result in more middlemen in the economy that exploits consumers and harms the economy.

All supply side economic theories are premised upon exploitation of consumers.  The exploitation of consumers is what harms workers.  Workers, as consumers, must pay the higher wages of middlemen.  And middlemen will concentrate money skimmed off consumers without distributing that money throughout the economy.

Socialism will not avoid the inherent illogical flaws of any supply side economic theory.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.7.4  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @2.7    3 weeks ago
Sixth, you are also correct that the US is not a productive nation. But again, it is NOT the socialist program which demands closing our foundries. Far from it! No, we no longer produce because the world center of Capital – Wall Street – figured out that far, far more [fictitious] Capital is made from speculative practices – sell offs, buybacks, artificially inflating stock values, quantitative easing [essentially interest free money], and related practices. The question to ask yourself, Nerm_L, is this: Since the working class must pay for ALL of this, ‘why would a genuinely worker party support any of this racket!’

The most efficient type of economy is a subsistence economy where a worker supplies their needs without a requirement for a medium exchange.  But we know with absolute certainty that it is impossible for a worker to supply their every need.  A purely subsistence economy is impractical and unworkable.

For a society to function it is necessary to allow inefficiencies in the economy.  The economic goal should be to control those inefficiencies.  The proper metric for economic performance should be how well needs are being met.  While its true that unmet needs may be the result of inadequate resources, the greater concern is that needs are being unmet because of exploitation of consumers.

Trade (including international trade) is a suitable means of addressing the problem of inadequate resources.  The political descriptions of trade are derived from historical precedents that demonstrate trade provides access to resources unavailable within a society.  So international trade, in and of itself, is desirable.

But political descriptions of trade ignore the inefficiencies and exploitation that has crept in to concentrate money.  The purpose for regulating trade is to control inefficiencies and exploitation.  When trade inhibits utilization of productive resources available within a society then that trade has become inefficient and exploitive.  When trade establishes a need to create more middlemen within the economy then that trade has become inefficient and exploitive.  When inefficiencies and exploitation increase to the point that needs are being unmet then war and conquest becomes a viable alternative.  There are historical precedents that demonstrate that as well.

The United States is not a productive nation because trade has become inefficient and exploitive.  The United States possesses adequate productive resources to meet most of the country's needs but trade has inhibited utilizing these productive resources.  As a result there are two general outcomes that can be predicted if the United States does not control inefficiencies and exploitation that has crept into trade.  The United States collapses because the country's needs are unmet or the United States engages in war and conquest.  

The United States needs to exert more control over inefficiencies and exploitation that have crept into trade to avoid those two outcomes.  Politically that effort would appear to be isolationist and nationalist.  If the United States does not take those steps then war becomes inevitable because the United States is not going to simply allow itself to collapse.  The global technocratic bureaucracy will attempt to direct the United States toward collapse which will only make the inevitable war more devastating.  The United States carries a big stick and global influences will make using that big stick more viable and more attractive.

 
 
 
TᵢG
3  TᵢG    3 weeks ago
Trump ought to have suffered a humiliating defeat. 

Agreed.   That should have happened in 2016 too.   Trump is not the kind of person one would want to see occupy the Oval office.   In both cases, however, the D party put forth unappealing candidates.   So unappealing, in fact, that a slime-bag con-man like Trump was able to secure a win (and in 2020 a near win).

There certainly exist blind sycophants whose confirmation-bias-laden glasses allow them to only see Trump as a hero for 'real Americans'.  But I suspect a large number of Trump supporters voted for Trump knowing full well that they would be putting a narcissistic asshole back in office.   Why would they do that?   Because Biden is not an inspiring candidate.   Also, they generally like what has taken place during the last four years and give credit to Trump.   They are not interested in change — especially when the change potential by Biden is high.

Prior to COVID-19 I figured Trump's reelection was inevitable given the D candidates.   He had incumbency, a great economy and a content electorate.   Those three factors I suspect are strong enough to counteract the character flaws of the man.   But Trump's handling of COVID-19 arguably caused more damage to the economy than necessary (he ironically made things worse) and that neutralized his economic advantage (but I think he gained a fraction of that back).    But the stress imposed on the electorate by the endless ordeal of COVID-19 also took away Trump's advantage of a content electorate.   That flipped.   And typically when the people are not happy, the current leadership changes.

Looks like Biden was just barely good enough to pull past a bloodied Trump.   I suspect a candidate with the charisma, intelligence of Obama or Bill Clinton would have achieved an electoral landslide.  

The key question I continue to have is why neither major party is capable of putting forth a desirable candidate.   Is this really the best we have to offer?   (No.)

 
 
 
CB
4  CB     3 weeks ago
I'm calling for a discussion of WHY the Democrat Party failed to gain an overwhelming victory over a despicable figure vomited up from the criminal underworld in the persona of Donald Trump.

The larger question is since democrats did not do any better in the election stage and the progressives did not get out of the party primaries, where do you place the Socialist Equality Party rank on the 'field' of political play of getting a victory over President D. J. Trump?

 
 
 
IMT
4.1  seeder  IMT  replied to  CB @4    3 weeks ago

CB:

Thank you for this, and for your above remarks. I realize that the timing of my arrival would pose questions of motive. You indicated that you were willing to give me the opportunity to make good my claims, and you are showing yourself as good as your word. Thank you. I won't pretend to have all the answers, but I'll do what I can and continue studying.

Socialists have no illusions that we will ever achieve power by an election. We've had to fight for ballot access in the past. But in the 2020 race, our lawsuits were defeated in state after state, typically for reasons lacking any juridical discretion whatsoever. Say what you will about the SEP -- we have lawyers. That is, a boatload of lawyers. Yet Republican and Democrat judges alike refused us that right repeatedly.

But as Marxian theory has it, the working class is its SOLE representative. Why? A party can be only what its people are. But we are clear that so far as the ruling class is concerned, the United States never will be 'socialist.' It doesn't matter that most people have no idea what 'socialism' means. The courts both can and will block access to the political system in any way that could potentially dislodge the hegemonic grip of the ruling class on power. That raises another part of Marxian thought, one that addresses the thrust of your question: how is Trump [and the fascist movement he seeks to animate and build] be stopped?

The maladies and contradictions of Capital [one of which is Trump et. al.] can be resolved ONLY by the working class directly intervening in political events . The SEP serves as a vanguard party to unite the working class and organize political resistance on a socialist perspective that is informed by the lessons of worker struggles, defeats as much as victories. This requires a number of things. One is preparing a cadre to teach and lead others. I'm not there. But I'm working. A second involves raising the political consciousness of the working class. Studying the website's articles is a very substantial part of this.

A third and critically important component is the establishment of Rank-and-File Committees. These have been established in various cities and states in the US and abroad. Here is a statement from the Los Angeles Educators' Rank-and-File Safety Committee . Pan down the list of demands and see principled stands that have been missing for decades! See the consequences of decades of budgetary cuts to education! Given the deplorable conditions in which children are expected to thrive and learn -- how can one NOT be filled by revulsion and contempt by the refusal to fight? Have we no conscience or soul?

Fourth, you're wondering where this is going. Defying do-nothing politics and union attempts to strangle worker resistance, the SEP has issued two calls. One is for Trump's removal from office. No, he won't leave willingly. That brings us to the second point. The SEP has called to prepare for a General Strike. Yes, Wall Street will order any administration in power to demand the suspension of such a strike. At that point, an industrial strike is transformed into an overtly political strike directly against the central government. That strike must be made permanent. This the state cannot do. So it hands the regime an ultimatum.

Relent or fall.

Much more which must happen before this point. But this is enough to show you the trajectory which must be followed. Moreover, it is a core Marxian principle that the VERY conditions which create social crisis ALSO at the same time create worker opportunity. Again, as crisis deepens, the pace of political events speeds; it becomes extremely rapid -- so much so that it is scarcely possible to keep pace with developments. When you see tens, scores or even hundreds of millions swarming onto the streets here and around the world -- that happens only in the very last stages before regime collapse.

You're an intelligent man, CB. Even if you have done so, I want you to go up higher on the page to Krishna's post 1.3, play the video 'The Red Flag,' and put this together.

Take care, keep safe!

 
 
 
CB
4.1.1  CB   replied to  IMT @4.1    3 weeks ago
In the 2020 race, our lawsuits were defeated in state after state, typically for reasons lacking any juridical discretion whatsoever.

I am not near ready to research your 'supported cause,' but as I prepare it would be of some interest to read through a court case and opinion rationale against the SEP. Which would you suggest?

 
 
 
CB
4.1.2  CB   replied to  IMT @4.1    3 weeks ago
Trump [and the fascist movement he seeks to animate and build] be stopped?

The "boogeyman" and henchmen are being mightily chained and weighed down (probably) as I write this through the processes of elections.

However, 'hearts and minds' in this country generationally regard it as the order of nature to be individualistic and unapologetic about not being beholden to a collective. Caught between a national Free-For-All race mentality and a version of Ann Rand objectivism - there are millions from and in our immigrant population which accept that capitalism is God's gift to the poor!

 
 
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