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Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club, Part 5

Journal by smitty_one_each
We've passed the halfway point in the first chapter. Golf clap. Let's continue the journey. I'm going to use a lone capital B (Das Kapital) for "bourgeoisie":

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

So Marx is against urbanization, without explitely saying why, other than crediting his B strawman with the development, while decrying the "idiocy" of rural life.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.

Well, that blows away a lot of thought which credited technology with liberating agrarian labor, in addition to providing new work in cities, for the urbanization. Is technology, itself, a B conspiracy in the B movie of Industrialization?

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

Marx's genius is elevating the B to near-Cthulhu levels of diabolical power. Here we are decrying all of the improvements that have made modern life possible, AND set the stage for the reactionary counter-charge that labor is being exploited and Gaia molested.

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

So Feudalism--it's not clear whether it was as bad as the B, or merely a precursor--was superceded by this hellish B force. As far as I can tell, Marx is noting a technological progression, and attributing societal side-effects to his B group. Has he confused horse and cart here? Perhaps. Is this a deliberate rhetorical choice? Let's keep the disbelief suspended.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

Heinlein replies:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

It's as though Marx views technological improvement as though it were nuclear fission. Was he a proto-Luddite?

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

Here is a critical point: Marx has said that the B are bad, and will now be hoisted upon their own petard. But who is managing that? If the B were so clever as to fell Feudalism, how is the B to be eliminated by less than an Ueber-B?

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the proletarians.

Oh, the Proletariat is going to be bigger and tougher enough to slay the B dragon, while somehow not actually becoming even worse than the B, even though the slope of history sketched by Marx seems rather negative.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed â" a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Wait--are the Proletariat the victims, or the conquerors of the B.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.

OK, here is what I don't get. If "individual character" and "charm for the workman" are a key component of work in the market, why aren't the workers in the proletariat leveraging that? I'm talking craft beer, artisinal cheese, and hand-made furniture.
That is, Marx seems to appeal to fear of obsolescence in the proletariat, rather than appealing to individual greatness and pursuit of excellence.

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

One of the interesting aspects is how readily Marx both (a) rejects individual responsibilty for life outcomes, and (b) places individuals like sheep in the B factory pens in support of his argument.
In this, Marx seems ready to agree with the B, while purporting to attack them.
The contemporary version is rioters destroying small businesses in Ferguson, in the name of "Fighting the Power". Because #Justice.

Previously:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Pastable version:
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1342943">Part 1</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1343899">Part 2</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~smitty_one_each/journal/1344465">Part 3</a>
<a href="http://slashdot.org/~damn_registrars/journal/1553731">Part 4</a>

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: Ah hah! The solution to everything! 9

Journal by damn_registrars
I see on the slashdot front page there is now a link to deals.slashdot.org. Certainly, this was worth the new problems we've had in the past 2 weeks with the messaging system, and solves every problem we've ever had! After all, all the other "deals" sites out there have these problems, which I'm sure deals.slashdot.org will solve for us:
  • It was too much effort to type in their addresses after spending all my time at slashdot!
  • There were just not enough of them!
  • They just weren't disorganized enough!
  • Some of them were too relevant to my actual life (or death)!

I'm glad slashdot is looking out for me. I look forward to making them my main site for shopping for the rest of eternity! Thankfully since I'm dead, I don't need food, water, or other things that poor mortals might consider to be "critical", I can just spend all my money (amazing how much life insurance I was able to get paid back to myself!) on the awesome that is sold at deals.slashdot.org!

User Journal

Journal: [TCM] Manifesto reading part 4 12

Journal by damn_registrars

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbariansâ(TM) intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Natureâ(TM)s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground â" what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

The paragraph I placed in bold in this section is a key component of communism that many people do not understand. This part may be confusing for people who were raised in the cold war mindset of "USSR==Communism==EVIL", as it shows plainly just how far from communism the USSR wandered once Lenin passed away (and some would argue even once Lenin took power).

It is critical to understand that while Communism is interested in the control of the means of production, it does not seek to lump all production into the hands of a single mega-state. Indeed here we see that Marx, Engels, and others saw that as being closer to a goal of the bourgeoisie. In fact, the very notion of the "red scare" or the "domino theory" that drove the cold war was itself immensely anti-communist.

A couple paragraphs prior the Communists actually paint the Bourgeoisie in the same light that the latter usually tried to shine towards the former:

It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

User Journal

Journal: Verbiage/Rant: Customized email addresses problems (4)

Journal by Chacham

I like to customize my email addresses. (parts 2 and 3 are not as relevant here.) The problem is, not all websites accept this format. Somehow the extra period throws them for a loop and either i get no response from them or they reject it from the outset.

So, like Froman's comment i started using + which is supported in GMail.

That all worked great for a while. Recently, however, many websites are rejecting the plus sign! Worse, some sites that used to accept it, no longer do. For example, Barnes and Noble used to accept it as my login email contains a plus sign. No more. I had to create a new account to login. Part of their stupidity is putting sign-in and create account on the same form, so the validation routines validates email addresses that are already registered. But, wait, don't buy yet. We'll throw in a free stupidity. Free nookbooks now require you to have a credit card listed. Really?!

It's as if some moron wrote code with checking the RFC and somehow that code became standard. The beauty of this is that whereas emails to sub-domains are now supported, plus signs are not. Flippity flop. Luckily, i can do both.

Republicans

Journal: Kevlar Kandidate Kicks Himself 29

Journal by damn_registrars
Scott "Kevlar" Walker has been trying to pretend that he isn't trying to position himself to run for the white house:

you have to be crazy to want to be president. And anyone who has seen pictures of this president or any of the former presidents can see the before and after. No matter how fit, no matter how young they are, they age pretty rapidly when you look at their hair any everything else involved with it.

He then went on to attack the politician who republicans assume to be the front-runner (and make second careers out of attacking):

Whether it's two years, six years or 20 years from now - because I think of Hillary Clinton. I could run 20 years from now and still be about the same age as the former Secretary of State is right now

So now Walker is trying to flip the age matter. When McCain ran against Obama, the GOP was telling us that seniority was an important and valuable thing and that one should vote for the older candidate. Now Walker is telling us that age is a bad thing. Thank you for the flip-flop, there.

On a bit of a tangent, if slashdot doesn't fix the message system here soon I will likely be reading this site a lot less often. I don't have time to search out replies to my comments on a regular basis, the front page did a great job of alerting me to them. Now that system is broken for the second time in as many weeks.

Bug

Journal: Is the message system re-borked? 12

Journal by damn_registrars
I see that I am again not getting messages to tell me when my comments have been replied to or moderated. It was borked not long ago, and then fixed, and apparently now borked again.

I also have not received any kind of email back from slashdot acknowledging the email I sent them last week when it was borked.
User Journal

Journal: Cardow cartoon cannot be unseen 14

Journal by smitty_one_each
Click at own risk:
http://www.cagle.com/2014/11/could-obamacare-architect-be-prosecuted-for-his-deceit/

While the 2013 "Lie of the Year" was Obamaâ(TM)s pledge that you can keep your doctor and your health insurance, the 2014 "Weasel of the Year" must surely be Herr Gruber, architect of fraud and deceit.

I guess, since damn_registrars doesn't really fib (does he?) and Gruber is an Economist from MIT, that MIT is some kind of an insurance company, right?
I recall going to my soon-to-be-ex Congresscritter's town hall on the Affordable Care Act, and being verbally accosted by an Obama drone of working for an insurance company because I opposed ObamaCare. #GoodNotGoodTimes

User Journal

Journal: Are other people not getting messages for replies? 13

Journal by damn_registrars
I don't know if it's just slow today or what, but I've had at least 6 replies to my comments that have not triggered messages on the slashdot front page box for me. It looks like the last time a comment was written in reply to a comment of mine that successfully went into that box was yesterday (Friday) very early morning.
User Journal

Journal: Slimy 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

Having to carefully unselect crap I don't want installed on every Java update? Slimy
Rechecking the "stay logged in" button on facebook for me? Slimy
There's so much slimy stuff. Found a new one today. That Win 7 VM I mentioned, it wanted me to upgrade IE. Which I want to do - no problem. As I'm about to hit the Download button I see a small line further down "Download non-enhanced version." My gut tells me I don't want enhanced - do a quick google and I'm right. Non-enhanced means just the browser. Enhanced means that I'm selecting bing and some MSN junk. It used to be a check box and you had to unclick it. Apparently too many people did.

User Journal

Journal: Storage is Cheap but Come On Windows 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

EDIT: I cleaned up restore points and that got the space used down to 27.4 GB - still crazy.
 
I have a Fedora 20 vm that I run in VirtualBox on my Mac. It gives me access to some tools I like, and it lets me run a web server that's closer to what a production environment would look like.
 
Yesterday I got around to setting up another VM. This one is Windows 7. I started the same as I did the Fedora image, with a 25 GB hard drive. That was fine for the windows install but I thought I'd check out the new community edition of Visual Studio. When I went to install it, it told me I didn't have enough free disk space. So I made the "hard drive" bigger - I bumped it up to 30 GB. The install worked then, but I have under 600 MB of free space on the drive. I have only installed Chrome and VS. That's it. WIndows 7, Chrome and VS are 30 GB. I've installed a bunch of stuff on my Fedora VM - Apache, MySQL, KDevelop, QT and the QT tools and so on. Lots of stuff and it is sitting at 18 GB right now.
 
Fortunately it's easy to give the Windows VM more space - it just surprised me I'd need so much.

Can't open /usr/fortunes. Lid stuck on cookie jar.

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