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Name: Josh Cryer
Gender: Male
Hometown: Colorado
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,549

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Capitalism is inherently hierarchical.

But I don't know how what I said can be considered "a recent articulation of the age old hierarchical mode of production," perhaps from a totally reductive position where all non-possessive property relationships are see as capitalist, but I would rather reduce that to authoritarianism. Capitalism, sure, is but one manifestation of authoritarianism. I don't suggest that all forms of non-possessive property relationships are capitalist.

I don't suggest that technology is an emancipating force, because I explicitly state that organization is necessary to use a technology that way. This is in contrast to Marx who thinks that "new productive faculties" (this is called technology) will "change the economic relations." Objectively false, as proven by history. Technology can be emancipating, that's all.

My criticism of Marx is that he didn't write out a fundamental reason why capitalist production relations within the workplace are damaging to revolutionary action. Indeed, had he did that (after plagiarizing huge chunks of Proudhon including surplus value, which Proudhon was first to recognize), it would've rendered his entire critique one of authoritarianism and not capitalism, directly. All anti-authoritarians are anti-capitalist (capitalism is inherently hierarchical and authoritarian), but not all anti-capitalists are anti-authoritarian (some anti-capitalists are just after the productive faculties and not in fact for changing the way they operate to any substantial degree). Note: Marx did later back off his "steam mill = industrial capitalism" rhetoric, but it was never explicitly defined from what I've read of him.

The closest you get is Marx's critique of workplace alienation, which btw, he also copied from Proudhon. What he does is argue that the bourgeois class runs the work place and workers are alienated, but if the workers ran the work place, they wouldn't be alienated (this is a very generalized overview, you'll forgive me if it's not up to your standards). However, he doesn't say how those workers should manage the workplace. In fact, the implication, is that the workplace should be managed, due to the central production rhetoric in the Communist Manifesto, centrally, directly through capitalist-style management processes. Or, as a term I'm coining right now, the authoritarian mode of production. Where within the workplace there is a class system in and of itself because managers form cliques, cronyism is rampant, and those who want to better themselves are unable to do so without themselves being alienated. And guess what? Almost all implemented forms of Marxist Communism followed this model to one extent or another. The work place effectively became a state owned corporation which was ran by crony elites.

Proudhon spends a huge chunk of his writings explaining how the non-possessive workshop works, and Marx only mocked him, nevermind that workplace alienation was the entire reason Proudhon felt that workers should, as he mocked Proudhon, "make not only the twelfth part of a pin, but successively all twelve parts of it." To rid ones self of workplace alienation you must be involved in the totality of the process. Workers committees only go so far in that, if they don't allow individuals to be involved in the totality of the process, they are inviting the possibility for workplace alienation and inner-workplace cliques and quasi-class systems.

I don't reject that notion.

I think agriculture was certainly a step up, objectively. However, as a technology it allows one to use it as a tool to subjugate the masses, but it can also be used as a tool to bring about a more relaxing lifestyle.

I think Zerzan is correct as opposed to Jensen because we do see primitive tribes that have yet to adopt agriculture, but have language, so agriculture probably comes after language. Language and intent and interpretation and expression is a tool that the shaman in a tribe uses to create a hierarchical mode of production. Jensen and other primitivists don't think it's a big deal because it's one or a few people who wind up being the shaman, and so who cares, right?

However, the shaman has no useful skill outside of that of finding healing techniques, such as herbal remedies and such. This is a dangerous game because they may wind up eating poison and dying, so they try to legitimize their position by inventing reasons for why they live or die or get sick. Gods, demons, whatever. They use this as a psychological hold over the group. So once you get into agriculture you get things like Egyptian Pharaohs who think they're gods, etc.

I am not a historical materialist simply because I do not believe it to be an accurate representation of history. Maybe, once you get into the whole singularity thing, but I think that's a cop-out because in all reality every single revolution in technology should've resulted in revolution in society.

We're talking about agriculture, how about industrial agriculture. Ideally historical materialism would've said, "Once humans are able to feed themselves with minimal of effort using machines, everyone should be able to eat for free, and food should be abundant, and people can then go on to do things that they want as opposed to what they have to do." A perfect, wonderful, idea of Marxism. Except that never happened. What happened to the farmers? They went on to be industrialists, build skyscrapers, etc. They went on to be factory workers, building cars, building out infrastructure, etc.

The next age will be when the information age meets industry. Infoindustry or something like that. Where people will be able to print out computers, electronics, TVs, etc. Where they will be able to print out whole factories to make those things. Using common, and abundant, materials that are around the world (I'm not necessarily talking nanotechnology though that's not ruled out in the argument). Now it can go two ways, we can emancipate ourselves from capitalism, or capitalism will use its force to make us pay for parts that by all intents should be absolutely free.

You might say that capitalism couldn't stop people from sharing each other stuff with damn replicators! But I'd counter that they simply do that by putting patent and IP rights on things and requiring that all things be networked! If you're caught with a non-networked piece of gadgetry then you're in deep shit! And that's the trend we're already seeing with things like SOPA, and we're still a decade or two away from having the ability to replicate things.

The whole reason industrial agriculture didn't help emancipate the farmer from the drudgery of capitalist work is because technology always manages to find a void in itself, and capitalism has an impressive mechanism in order to force that void to be filled. Property. I am a farmer and I'm paying a lease and paying taxes on that property, and I'm no longer needed to tend to the fields, then I have to get a job somewhere else to pay taxes and my lease on said property. So when the big venture industrialist who buys up my neighbors property and runs the big machines next door knocks on mine, I'm eager to take his offer, because my skill has been rendered irrelevant. This shouldn't have happened. And it probably wouldn't have had the capitalists not cracked down on the industrial workers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, killing or arresting them en masse, then passing laws to prevent them from having any agency whatsoever. They should've sat down, said, "Hey, we're a farmers union, let's all band together, let's all use this new machinery to help us farm, and let's split the proceeds evenly." That's what Proudhon talks about when he talks about organization being the primary factor here, not technology.
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