reminder: 9th february reading group meeting

The next meeting in our reading group on ‘communism from below’ takes place on Monday 9th, and the reading material is available online.

While reading the texts, we ask people to think about these questions:

– Is Parliament a neutral arbiter between classes? Does the state bureaucracy have autonomous interests of its own?
– Is state intervention in the economy in Britain today at odds with the interests of private capitalists, and is it of benefit to workers?
– To what extent is it worthwhile for the labour movement to have a parliamentary wing?

The first text is The new forms of appearance of state-capitalism by Andrew Kliman. It argues that the crisis shows that state intervention is not in contradiction to free-market ideology: pro-privatisation dogma means the state squeezes social services and yet uses huge amounts of public cash and regulation to more safely structure capitalist exploitation.

Section 18.4 of Istvan Meszaros’ Beyond Capital argues that because capital’s dominance over the working class extends throughout society, we cannot consider that capital and labour have a “level playing field” in Parliament. Rather, the parliamentary-state apparatus serves to balance the interests of competing capitalists in the interests of capitalism as a whole, and so it follows that we need to look beyond such structures in order to effect real social transformation.

The meeting is taking place from 6:30pm on Monday 9th February. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to request a printed copy of the texts, register your interest and find out more details of the central London venue. Click here to download leaflet.

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reading for 9th february reading group

The reading for the next meeting in our reading group on ‘communism from below’ is now online.

While reading the texts, we ask people to think about these questions:

– Is Parliament a neutral arbiter between classes? Does the state bureaucracy have autonomous interests of its own?
– Is state intervention in the economy in Britain today at odds with the interests of private capitalists, and is it of benefit to workers?
– To what extent is it worthwhile for the labour movement to have a parliamentary wing?

The first text is The new forms of appearance of state-capitalism by Andrew Kliman. It argues that the crisis shows that state intervention is not in contradiction to free-market ideology: pro-privatisation dogma means the state squeezes social services and yet uses huge amounts of public cash and regulation to more safely structure capitalist exploitation.

Section 18.4 of Istvan Meszaros’ Beyond Capital argues that because capital’s dominance over the working class extends throughout society, we cannot consider that capital and labour have a “level playing field” in Parliament. Rather, the parliamentary-state apparatus serves to balance the interests of competing capitalists in the interests of capitalism as a whole, and so it follows that we need to look beyond such structures in order to effect real social transformation.

The meeting is taking place from 6:30pm on Monday 9th February. Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com to request a printed copy of the texts, register your interest and find out more details of the central London venue. Click here to download leaflet.

the communal system of government – by mészáros

The following essay, “The Communal System and the Principle of Self-Critique,” by the esteemed Marxist scholar István Mészáros was published in the Hungarian journal Eszmélet (‘Consciousness, No. 79, Autumn 2008) with whom The Commune has fraternal relations.   Eds.

The Communal System and the Principle of Self-Critique
by István Mészáros

The Necessity of Self-Critique

The conscious adoption and successful maintenance of the orienting principle of self-critique is an absolutely fundamental requirement of the historically sustainable hegemonic alternative to capital’s social metabolic order as an organic system.

Since it cannot be allowed to conflict in any way with the necessarily open-ended historical determinations of labor’s alternative reproductive order—on the contrary, it must be a vital guarantee against all temptations to relapse into a self-complacent closure, and thereby into the reproduction of vitiating vested interests, corresponding to the traditional pattern of the past—the envisaged and knowingly pursued faithfulness to the theoretical as well as practical operative methodological principle of self-critique needs to be embraced as a permanent feature of the new, positively enduring, social formation. For precisely through the genuine and continuing exercise of that orienting principle it becomes possible to correct in good time the tendencies that might otherwise not only appear but, worse than that, also consolidate themselves in favor of the ossification of a given stage of the present, undermining thereby the prospects of a sustainable future. Continue reading “the communal system of government – by mészáros”

mészáros, harman and brenner debate credit crunch

This evening the Socialist Workers’ Party’s Chris Harman, Richard Brenner from Workers’ Power and the Hungarian Marxist István Mészáros debated the topic ‘Marx and the credit crunch’ at Conway Hall in central London. Around 190 people attended the meeting.

Continue reading “mészáros, harman and brenner debate credit crunch”