Extending the Concept of Exploitation

Exploitation it comes in many forms - compressed

Published: September 2014
Author & Intro by: Pat Byrne

When The Socialist Network was founded two years ago it set itself the key task of producing a new Socialist Manifesto for discussion in the international labour movement. Since then we have produced drafts of some of the ideas that will undoubtedly form the backbone of the Manifesto. The following article is a further contribution to the discussion on the Manifesto.

The socialist movement?s historical critique of capitalism is undoubtedly a powerful one. But I would suggest that in some important regards it has tended to be too narrow and thus much less effective that it could have been. This narrowness has also reduced the credibility of our alternative to capitalism, as well as the breadth of the movement that we need to build in order to achieve it. In this, the first of a series of articles, I will start by explaining what I mean by looking at the concept of Exploitation.

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How do we deal with the World Economic Crisis?

Money going down the plugholeA speech by Soteris Vlachos from Socialist Expression in Cyprus, at the ‘Challenging the Rule of Troika, Transforming Europe’ Conference in Dublin on the 10th of March 2014.

Today is probably the time to revisit the concepts of World Revolution and formulate an International exit strategy from the crisis. Today, much more than in 1917, it is impossible to talk about a national socialist transformation, isolated from the rest of the world. Any radical break with capitalist policies will send revolutionary ripples across Europe and across the World with unprecedented speed. The rapid spread of the Arab Spring is the sort of model that we will be facing in the coming years.

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Roberts: Greed is good, inequality is necessary and might is right — Ayn Rand & Pope Francis

Ayn Rand is very popular persona with the right-wing elite particularly in the US. Public followers of her philosophy of greed and self-interest include ex-Chair of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Paul Ryan, leading Republican Congressman and Tea Party ?libertarian? Ron Paul.

Rand?s philosophy is really the epitome of thinking by the modern rich elite of the world. She did not believe in God, did not want a monarchy or an aristocracy and certainly not democracy. Society should be ruled by the wealthy and powerful who knew what to do. In this bourgeois Platonic world, the elite would operate purely on self-interest and greed would be their watchword. The rest of us were no more than human garbage to be used to make society function for the rich. The rich elites were the heroes and the masses were a dangerous mob that must be suppressed if they sought any democratic say in the running of this ?pure capitalist? society.

Read moreRoberts: Greed is good, inequality is necessary and might is right — Ayn Rand & Pope Francis

The nature of the epoch, the rate of profit and the world economy

During the Socialist Network’s annual conference, which has been held in Cyprus this year, Jonathan Clyne, one of the international coordinators of the organization, spoke on the global economic crisis.

In his speech he outlined a few important analytic problems often neglected when it comes to discussing the 2008-11 recession. He takes up the question of the classical Marxist analysis wich involves the rate of profit and its tendency to fall and go up as a basic factor and links it up with the nature of the epoch as well as explains the role of the regional peculiarities which — like in the case of the Eurozone — determine partially the outcome of the crisis.

Press the play button to listen to the speach.

BRANDON: ?Most robust protagonists for capitalism do not understand the economic system they so vehemently advocate?

Mick Brooks is a lifelong socialist and activist in the labour movement and this commitment shows through in this book. He is no mere ranter, however, for this is a tightly-argued and coolly measured examination of the dynamics of capitalism and how a variety of conflicting forces create internal contradictions that lead to crises that ultimately it cannot avoid.

Brooks points out that even the most robust protagonists for capitalism do not understand the economic system they so vehemently advocate. These pundits were caught totally unawares by the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 for they had previously been arguing passionately that such events could never occur again. Other economists with disarming candour actually admit that they don?t know the first thing about economics and cannot explain what causes recessions under capitalism or the speculative bubble which was the obvious manifestation of deep-seated problems.

Read moreBRANDON: ?Most robust protagonists for capitalism do not understand the economic system they so vehemently advocate?

Peer-to-peer revolution — Challenging traditional capitalist business models

ID-10018651One could have long arguments over the exact definition of socialism if it?s posed as an abstract future-construction. However such a discussion will acquire different quality if we are to base it upon real processes which we can observe in the present reality which are already undermining and (or even outplacing in certain conditions) the established models.

Why not start with Wikipedia and other examples of so-called peer production that are challenging traditional hierarchical capitalist business models? Wikipedia is a profoundly anti-capitalist and even communist way of producing and distributing knowledge. It is based on the principle to each according to need, from each according to ability. The contributors or editors are not paid and the users are not charged, which again flies in the face of all capitalist logic. Furthermore, Wikipedia is egalitarian produced on the basis of horizontal reciprocities rather than hierarchical control.

Read morePeer-to-peer revolution — Challenging traditional capitalist business models