Monday, December 4, 2017

Triumph of Capitalism and the Rise of the Radical Right


As I have discussed elsewhere , homo sapiens is unique among the animal species found on Earth. In order to survive, its members for the most part have to, or desire to, convert the various resources found on the Earth, animal, vegetable and mineral, into other forms, objects, or items. The mechanisms for doing this include hunting/gathering, agriculture, crafts production, and individual and mass manufacturing. The first of these was, as far as we know, a shared activity/function. Once societies became more technologically adept and the various means for conversion/production were developed, ownership of the means of production, whether they be organized agriculture beyond individual farming, or the organized production of crafts, or eventually, as the technology was developed, manufacturing, became privatized. In the industrial age, this system --- defined by the private ownership of the means of production--- was organized under an economic construct which we call "capitalism."

Capitalism has two major goals: to produce profits for the capitalists (owners) from the trading and manufacturing processes as well as enabling them to accumulate additional amounts of capital. "Profit" is defined as an excess value beyond the value of the plant, raw materials, and labor required to produce the particular product. To do this, the capitalists employ workers who by their work add value to the plant, equipment, and raw materials supplied by the capitalists. The profits thus come from the value added (known in Marxist terms as "surplus value") by the workers which are not returned to them in the form of wages and benefits. 

Throughout the history of capitalism, the owners and the workers have been in a constant struggle over the share of the surplus value produced by the workers that actually goes back to them. In Marxist terms, that conflict forms part of what is known as "class struggle." The other part is over the control of the governmental apparatus that controls the operation of the economic system in which the means of production operate and are operated. Lenin defined this governmental apparatus in summary terms as "the State." The controllers of the State are known as the "ruling class." Under capitalism, that is, of course, the capitalists, the owners of the means of production.

Beginning in the 19th century, in the industrialized countries, workers began organizing themselves politically (through political parties) and economically (through trade unions) to attempt to gain a larger share, over time, of the surplus value that their labor produced, as well as some level of control over the organs of state power. It happens, when one looks back at the history of the 20th century (excluding the period of the two World Wars but including the period of the Cold War -- otherwise known as the last 47 years of The 75 Years War Against the Soviet Union), that there were periods of time in the several major capitalist countries of Western Europe and North America in which, through the bourgeois democratic process as defined by the ruling class, at least some workers got at least some reasonable share of the surplus value they produced. These times corresponded with, varying from country to country, their political and economic strength.

But with certain exceptions here and there, capitalists have never been much on sharing. One response of 20th century capitalism to a growth in the strength of the labor movement in a given country was the imposition of fascism. Briefly, fascism is a system of unitary, total, non-democratic control of the state apparatus by a given political party in a capitalist nation, through the institution of dictatorship. The classic, 20th century, form of fascism, imposed by the ruling class to crush the rising strength of the working class, was of course to be found (with differences in the details) in Italy, Germany, and Japan.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: OpEdNews

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