July 16, 2011
by Lil Joe
One obvious thing of note in this AP editoralising is that it presents the working class' reaction to the economic and political crisis, or 'gridlock', from the standpoint of the illusory cultural standpoint of American exceptionalism - that the United States is a classless society - and nationalist delusions of grandeur.
This is noted from the very thesis statement, the topic's determination in the first sentence "Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future as economic concerns rise and White House talks on raising the U.S. debt limit sputter, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday."
First of all, the economic mode of production and appropriation in the United States is not separate and apart from the globally dominate mode of production of the world - global capitalist commodity production on the basis of wage labor. This is proved by the very fact that the economic crisis is itself global.
The subject of the major premise of the syllogism that the AP article wants to construct is a misnomer, in that the objective data of the economy is of classes with mutually exclusive interests, because profits amd wages are inversely related there is no holistic 'American people'. Thus, regarding this correction of the subject, the predicate of the subject might be true, that the American faction of global capitalists are 'deeply pessimistic about the future as economic concerns rise and White House talks on raising the U.S. [government's] debt sputter'.
Pessimism and optimism are irrelevant terms, as they are subjective and without empirical proof neither the one or the other. For instance, the analogy usually used to 'define' pessimism v optimism is whether one subjectively regards a glass of water "half empty": pessissimism or "half full": optimism.
This 'optimism' versus 'pessimism' ideological mumbo jumbo derives from Ronald Reagan's rheoric, when referring to the wreckage of the economy in the 1980s and the objective falure of voodoo economics 'supply-side'/ aka 'trickle down' economics of the pseudo science of the 'Laffer Curve', Reagan 'the optimist' side, where others see dark, ominous clouds, he sees a silver lining, or where 'pessimists' see the glass half empty, 'optimists' sees it 'half full'.
This analogy is swept aside by empirical analysis of the facts in progress: if one begins with a full glass of water and, is in the process of drinking it, looking to see how much has been drank from it thus far at the half way mark, it is half empty. On the contrary, if one is in the process of pouring water into the glass, at the half way mark, it is half full.
If you are stranded in the desert and your canteen is half empty, whether you regard yourself 'optimistic' and regard it as half full, the fact remains that when you take the next few gulps of life giving water from it, it is now less than half full, it is now three/quarters empty! You may still be 'optimistic', or rather delusional, and now prefer to tell yourself it is not three'quarters empty but one/quarter full. But, after the final few gulps of water has been drunk, it is fully empty! That is an empirical fact.
Economic facts are external to the subjective wishes and delusional views of individuals. What has to be analysed are the empirical data of economic trends, not some nebulous pseudo-scientific lingo regarding 'consumer optimism' v 'consumer pessimism'.
The capitalists, finance and industrial alike, are not just 'sitting on trillions of dollars' because of subjective 'concerns' or 'worries'. They do not invest because commodities produced cannot be sold. The whole vulgar economics mumbo jumbo about subjective 'uncertaintity' of capitalists and their 'withholding investments' in 'job creation' as the 'cause' of the lack of increased capitalist investment in commodity production by wage workers is also exposed as lying propaganda, as though capitalists could end the current Depression 'in America' if they 'want to', and would 'want to' if 'encouraged' by tax cuts.
The Bush-Obama tax cuts and extension is this same Reaganomics and are similarly failing to 'encourage capitalists to invest' as 'job creators', by cutting and extending tax cuts and 'certainty'. This contemporary version of vulgar economics has been debunked even among contemporary US economists, who try to maintain the appearance of objectivity of science.
The global capitalist economy is in crisis in consequence of objective contradictory tendencies resulting from objective laws that govern the economic universe, the inherent contradictions resulting from the exploitative character of capital accumulation. The appropriation of labor power by the capitalist class of the working class in commodity production, once the valorisation process has been completed, because of overproduction and the corresponding surplus populations thrown out of the market, cannot be realised because commodities cannot be sold.
This is called relative overproduction, and results in forced cut backs of commodities produced and thus the cuts from the labor forces - unneeded workers are called a relativee surplus population. The increasing of this global surplus population becomes permanent by reorganising production -e.g., downsizing and outsourcing of the 1980s and 90s structural unemployment.
"Capitalist production seeks continually to overcome these immanent barriers, but overcomes them only by means which again place these barriers in its way and on a more formidable scale. The real barrier of capitalist production is capital itself."
The crisis is not subjective but is objective, systemic and global.
Money, or rather paper and coin currency is not wealth, it is the measure of wealth and as such serves as medium of circulation of commodities, which are embodiments of wealth in that the objective value of the things [products as commodities] embody the labor that is objectified [externalised human labor] through the labor process that constitute wealth. Paper and coin currency, medium of exchange, payment.
from Goethe's Faust:
It’s right the Chancellor should read the page.
The Chancellor (Coming forward slowly.)
I’m happy enough to do so, in my old age. –
See and hear the scroll, heavy with destiny,
That’s changed to happiness, our misery.
‘To whom it concerns, may you all know,
This paper’s worth a thousand crowns, or so.
As a secure pledge, it will underwrite,
All buried treasure, our Emperor’s right.
Now, as soon as the treasure’s excavated,
It’s taken care of, and well compensated.’
I smell a fraud, a monstrous imposture!
Who forged the Emperor’s signature?
Have they gone unpunished for their crime?
Remember! You yourself it was that signed:
Last night. You acted as great Pan,
Here’s how the Chancellor’s speech began:
‘Grant yourself this great festive pleasure,
The People’s Good: a few strokes of the feather.’
You wrote it here, and while night ruled the land,
A thousand artists created another thousand,
So all might benefit from your good deed,
We stamped the whole series with your screed,
Tens, Thirties, Fifties, Hundreds, all are done.
You can’t think how well the folk get on.
See your city once half-dead with decay,
Now all’s alive, enjoying its new day!
Though your name’s long filled the world with glee,
They’ve never gazed at it so happily.
Now the alphabet’s superfluous,
In these marks there’s bliss for all of us.
And my people value it as gold, you say?
The Court and Army treat it as real pay?
Then I must yield, though it’s wonderful to me.
It was impossible to catch the escapee:
It flashed like lightning through the land:
The moneychanger’s shops are jammed,
Men pay, themselves, the papers mount
They’re gold and silver, and at a discount.
Now used by landlords, butchers, bakers:
Half the world think they’re merrymakers,
The others, newly clothed, are on show.
The drapers cut the cloth: the tailors sew.
The toast is ‘Hail, the Emperor!’ in the bars,
With cooking, roasting, tinkling of jars.
The crisis tendencies inherent in capital accumulation resulting from capitalist commodity production by wage labor consequently results in monetary crisis.
Real Wages of labor are not 'American workers share of the gross national product' and capitalist's profits are not the 'wages of American entrepreneuers', or 'compensation' for 'risks taken by investors'.
Rather, wages are the value of labor power that is based on the cost of living, and profits are derived from unpaid surplus labor.
It is the capitalist's push to maximise surplus produce from unpaid social labor as objectified surplus value that is the law of capital accumulation by valorised commodity production that drives into excess overproduction, on the one hand, and down-sizing and outsourcing, together with displacement of human labor by machines on the other that produces a surplus population that, having no money have no means of purchasing those surplus products.
All of this is objective, and has nothing to do with 'pessimism' v 'optimism' of capitalists. It doesn't matter whether capitalists 'see' their accounts as 'half empty' or 'half full', the facts are whether the commodities can be sold and thereupon values realised and surplus value thereby converted into profits, or that the commodites cannot be sold resulting in bankruptcy.
When capitalist's commodities cannot be sold, this inevitable fact is as objective as that of the desert wanderers with an empty canteen dying of thirst. The government intervention, by providing the surplus population of unemployed workers with food stamps, unemployment checks, welfare allotments and Social Security checks, are intended to 'stimulate the economy' by increasing demand for otherwise unsellable commodities.
Let us be clear here! This is why the Democrats in Congress, with Obama as President, representing the interests of domestic industrial capital - viz. e.g. the capitalist owners of auto industries bordering on bankruptcy, forced workers to make wage concessions, supplied those industries with 'bailout' money, and embarked upon the 'cash for clunkers' program for auto lot salespeople.
The Democrats, both in government and their print and media propagandists e.g. Solon.com, The Nation, Huffington Post, MSNBC and other outlets and media mouth pieces, lied upon their assertion that this money to auto industrial capitalists, cash for clunkers hustle, and so on, was done in the interest of 'saving the jobs' of so-called 'American workers'.
The real deal of the Democratic Party, in these transactions, to save industrial capitalists from bankruptcy, as far as regarding workers was concerned, was stated by the Obama Administration's then Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who said: "Fuck the UAW"!
In a situation of chronic depression and borrowed money reaching depletion, the government runs into unsustainable deficits, resulting in cutbacks from pumping money into the economy, as is happening today. This is why the Obama administration is forced to propose a 4 trillion dollar cut from money to the surplus population on one hand, and raising a trillion dollars of new taxes from productive capital on the other.
Finance capital that is holding money of capitalists and lending to the government, wants the assurance they get their money back by the government raising of the debt cealing, and which is why they demanded of the Republicans in Congress that they stop bullshitting over the triffle 1 trillion dollar tax increase and let Obama and the Democrats cut the 4 trillion from money 'wasted on the surplus population'.
Also, it is because the Chinese economy is the most productive in the world today, that it is also able to provide money to the US government by purchase of government bonds. Ditto the oil producing regions.
It therefore is consistent, and not at all suprising, that in the present Democrat-Republican national debt cealing negotiation, the Obama team, ostensibly as a 'concession' to the Republicans, has offered up for the sacrifice on the alter of finance capital this country's surplus population of retired, unemployable seniors, disabled and 'useless' poor to the 'bipartisan' priesthood of Democrats and Republicans to be knifed as a living sacrifice by cutting 4 trillion support dollars from 'entitlement' money. These are the only sacrifices being offered.
The $1 trillion Obama is requesting the Republicans provide is a smokescreen. These are the same 'progressives' that extended and defended the Democrats extension of the Bush tax cuts, ostensibly as a 'compromise' in exchange for extending unemployment compensation for ten weeks!
This 'tough talk' to the Republicans regarding the trillion dollar tax increase enables the Democratic Party's 'progressives', in Congress and in the print and electrononic mediums, to praise Obama's 'big deal', cutting $4 trillion from workers survival programs, to circumvent this cut throat behavior by focusing attention on the 'tax component' of the 'deal', and pretending to castigate Republicans as being 'ideological', and 'small minded' - even 'unpatriotic' - ostensibly for 'putting the nation at risk' by serving the interests of the 'top two percent', rather than 'stepping up to the plate' by making the 'tough decision of shared sacrifice' for the 'good of the country'.
The Obama plan is to 'stimulate spending' by bailouts of industrial capitalists and through Keynesian spendings, to the extent that is possible by 'jobs programs', and 'austerity' measures, paid for from savings derived by cutting adrift from the 'social safety net' the expendible elements of the surplus population: - as old Scrooge said, echoing Thomas Malthus: "Let them die, and decrease the surplus population".
If there are any among the working class and surplus population in the United States who are 'pessimistic', it is only those, such as the flag waving homeless man in the photograph in the article below, who have not yet displaced illusional beliefs that the government of the U.S. is a government 'of the people, by the people and for the people' by empirical observation of the fact that it is a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy.
Democrats take 4 trillion from working class entitlement income: i.e. money they are entitled to get back from the government, which is the money taken from them by the government to finance the State, from some 45 years of wages paid by capitalists for labor power by which capitalists exploited their labor in creating capitalist owned wealth /profits, taxing workers ostensibly to pay for those workers retirement income and health care - Social Security, medicare &c. when they turn 65. Asking the Republicans to 'sacrifice' $1 trillion from the wealth/profits the capitalist's have appropriated from the workers wealth creating labor is no sacrifice.
It is also a false equivalency because workers are the wealth creators and entitled to it, whereas the capitalists are appropriators and not entitled to a damn thing.
The Democrats, as well as the Republicans, call the capitalists 'the job creators', who need to be pampered and encouraged to 'hire' - i.e. exploit proletarians, workers. The workers don't need capitalists to employ them, since it is the workers themselves whose labor manufactures the means of production and distribution owned by capitalists. What the workers need is to expropriate those expropriators - take the productive forces and employ themselves!
The Republicans refuse to raise taxes on capitalists, saying that this tax is a 'job killer', and that the capitalists should, to the contrary, retain even more of the wealth/profits that has been appropriated from the exploitation of workers, as 'tax cuts', by saying the capitalists are 'job creators', without mentioning that these 'jobs' are the means by which those capitalists are appropriating the wealth created by labor.
The Democrats are defenders of capitalism. So, then, what is Obama's "Big Deal offer" to the working class capitalist class? To defend their interests by the State, at home and abroad: to reduce taxes by further restricting the money used by the government to pay for the armed power of the State by cutting 4 trillion dollars 'wasted' on the 'surplus population' - to paraphrase Scrooge: 'let them die before they retire, decrease the surplus population' while forcing them to work two more years creating wealth for capitalists before retirement, while asking those capitalists to contribute another mere 1 trillion dollars to the payment for the armed might of the State!
The class interests represented by Obama is shown by the objective behavior of the Democratic Party, openly collaborating with the Republican Party, both in the Clinton regime w/Newt Gingrich openly siding with capitalists against the surplus population, ostensibly that 'the era of big government is over' as the ideological doctrine of 'New Democrats' viz. the Democratic Leadership Council - throwing single moms with no skills together with their children into the streets, calling it 'welfare reform'. Also, the extremes of wealth and poverty increased.
The Obama regime w/Boehner, trashing the "Employee Free Choice Act"— legislation, single payer health reform, inexpensive perscription drugs ...
... The first years of the Obama administration coupled with clear, if not overwhelming majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate, did not 'betray' the working class and poor of the United States, because the Democratic Party has always been the Party of Capital, and the interests of capital and labor are mutually exclusive. Progressives are Democrats and, objectively, Democrats are enemies of the working class.
It is Richard Trumka and other labor union officials who are Democrats, that are the class traitors, not only because they are labor union Democrats; but, as such, because they oppose the working class formation of a politically independent Labor Party that is financially based on the labor unions and socially grounded in the working class as a whole, nationally and internationally. They do not represent the interests of the working class in the Democratic Party, but those of the Democratic Party, and therefore the capitalist class in the working class.
National government is an illusory community of interests. The policies of the Democratic Party is enabling millions of workers to cast aside those illusions and come to their senses. Having tossed those illusions, workers in the United States are not 'pessimistic'. Rather, they are angry, and the sharp proletarian struggles in Europe and North Africa are practical struggles that are, by fighting back with general strikes and millions taking to the streets in protest marches and rallies, showing workers in the U.S. how to fight back - and win!
Every class struggle is a political struggle of irreconcilable class partisans in open combat. Pessimism and dejective spirit is passive based on internalised illusory premise.
The opposite of love is hatred, but both are obssesive and possessive. Freedom from these obsessions is neither love nor hatred triumphing the one over the other, but is the rejection of the illusion of possession and thereupon it is indifference. So, pessimisim and optimism are but two sides of the same coin of false consciousness.
Workers in the United States are beginning to recognise these capitalist political associations to be just that, and discarding the illusion of American exceptionalism. The actual, emperical question to be put to workers in the United States isn't whether or not, 'as Americans' they are pessimistic or optimistic regarding the 'American economic woes' being adress and solved by Democrats and Republicans, but whether they have become dis-illusioned regarding both these parties.
Therefore, the question is not whether or not "Americans are pessimistic concerning the economy. Capitalists in America are not 'pessisimistic', and passive, but are active, organised and on the offensive. In response, workers in the United States are angry, and active. The answer to this question is not subjective opinion polling 'data', but observation of objective behavior. The data speaks for itself!
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