From:   rob hollander <>
Sent time:   Wednesday, November 09, 2011 7:35:10 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Re: OWS: Yes, we are anti-capitalist!

Snafu -- the answer to corporate control over a "democracy" is ... a social protest movement like OWS!
It's sort of like "90% of success is just showing up."
But the consequences of a movement can go in any direction, favorable or otherwise.

I agree about resources. If some forms of exploitation are taken off the table by enforced law, the need will find its way for other forms of exploitation which may be less dangerous -- or more. That's the long history of legislation. Good legislation should recognize a need and facilitate satisfying it while protect adverse consequences.

But a shift from an expansion economic model requires a global shift. Look at what happened with the Occupy Wall Street trademark. OWS didn't pursue the capitalist model, and some entrepreneur tried to trademark it, recognizing that someone or other would do it eventually.

On Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 9:07 AM, Snafu <> wrote:
Shaista I am not making a Malthusian argument here. On the contrary, I just stated that capitalism relies on a constant expansion of the world population to increase production-consumption and, yes, the workforce reservoir.

Rob, John a system can never be truly democratic if predicated upon massive inequality in the distribution of wealth. Those who own the most will always a louder voice than those who own less. The Supreme Court has candidly ratified this fact by defining corporate donations to political candidates as free speech (i.e. who owns the most speaks the most).

So the struggle for democracy has to go hand-in-hand with the struggle for social and economic justice. And if you want to attack the problem at the root you have to take *some* resources off the market and manage them in common. The main difference with state socialism being that this system would be highly decentralized. Yet in a world that is highly interdependent and globalized some resources cannot be simply managed locally. Take the Amazon, the lungs of the earth. Given the global importance of this resource should its management left to local companies and populations? If not, what kind of alternative resources can be provided to Brazilians so that they may not cut the forest for their livelihood? The same goes for the Delaware River Basin and the property rights of upstate landowners to lease their land to fracking companies. What kind of alternative resources can be provided to impoverished farmers so that they may use the waters wisely?

When you begin thinking at this level of scale, the question of the commons gets complicated because many resources--including energy production--are not locally bound. Yet these issues can be tackled much better when the interested parties are not driven by the profit motive but try and solve their conflicts (which won't end in a post-capitalist society) on the basis of their reproductive needs. A system driven by profit such as capitalism rewards the most primitive instincts in human nature. A communal system of management would be predicated upon the preservation and reproduction of the common good.

On 11/9/11 12:06 AM, shaista husain wrote:
Rob, despite all my disagreements with you--i must say here you are
correct--- Snafu i like your ideas but to underlie your ideas with a
natural law of scarcity --this is the easiest and first polemic marx
destroyed-- of the conservative malthusian economists... the reserve
army of labor is popular control that is peculiar to the capitalist
mode of production.
"The error of Malthus and the classical economists was to focus their
analysis of capital accumulation and its effects upon specific sectors
of production instead of looking at the relationship between total
social capital and the total labor force. This perspective leads them
to confuse the laws that regulate that general ratio with the laws
which regulate the allocation of specific sectors of the labor force
to specific sectors of production (Marx, 1970:638-639).

On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 11:41 PM, rob hollander<>  wrote:
I like Andy's tiger. You remove the tiger's teeth -- and be very careful not
to forget to declaw him too -- but let him keep his legs under your harness
and his hunger.

Which leads to the anti-hunger Malthusianism that the green movement has
managed to legitimize. I don't see that Malthusianism is any more true now
than it was when it first appeared. I would not underestimate the ingenuity
of human invention, if only it were cultivated with quality education
accessible to all, instead of for just the few, and turned to human
problems, rather than to corporate interests. There is the place for big
government where capital falls short, and that's a notion older than
socialism, it's the social contract. It's also called democracy -- making
your gov't work for everyone.

The answer to rapacious capitalism has got to be democracy. That's what OWS
seems to be at bottom all about. We've got a plutocracy of thieves, it
doesn't work for us, we've had enough of it; we want our government back.

I do agree with snafu that capitalism is the ultimate Ponzi scheme. But what
happens when you call out a Ponzi scheme? Everyone is left destitute.

I like the commons notion. There's something Georgist in it -- pool the
social resources including all land. Georgism doesn't cure capitalism, but
it wouldn't hurt.

On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 11:00 PM, Lauren<>  wrote:
What alternative has even been allowed to run unimpeded?

Socialism? Social-capitalism is merely a stopgap to make the european
and latin american working class shut up.

Communism? Communism in Russia died in 1921. Maoism is confucianism
with a coat of red paint.

Anarchism? Yes, I guess being beaten by the combined might of Hitler,
Stalin, Mussolini and Franco, despite there being a war between each
other, could count as an objective measurement of failure, assuming
that your ethical standards are those of a jackbooted thug.

Where is the success of capitalism in Africa? Why do we keep being
reminded about the kulaks, but never about the millions who died
during the rubber boom, never about the millions who died during the
dust bowl, never about the millions who died because of Britain's
laissez-mourir approach to famines in India, Ireland, Africa?

Capitalist wealth is the wealth of empire. It's the illusion brought
about by concentration, by homogenization of societies that used to be
heterogenous even there; wealthy countries with wealthy regions with
wealthy cities with wealthy neighborhoods. Hey, some of the country
doesn't have electricity and running water? It's okay, we have
billionaires in the capital who are really enjoying the success of


Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009

Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009