Recently, we received the following letter from a First Worldist critic, ‘Sciencefaction.’ The criticism its pretty basic, and something we’ve encountered plenty of times in the past. Rather than writing some official reply on our blog, we figured we’d post the comment and allow our online readers to respond. The best replies will be edited and included in the next RAIM Global Digest.
Here’s ‘Sciencefaction’s” so-called criticism:
“How is it that first worlders, including whites, are “exploiters” simply by having relatively [and I stress “relatively”] better living conditions?
The logical conclusion is not revolution, but moralism: let’s renounce our computers and cell phones, and live in the most destitute conditions short of homelessness…nah, let’s go whole hog and be homeless, then we can pat ourselves on the back for this gesture of “solidarity.” More than that, let’s not bother to build any struggles in the first world, since, by definition, we are not really exploited or oppressed, so we have no legitimate issues with radical implications.”
3 responses to “Dear RAIM-Denver Open Thread”
Well comrades, this is rather typical stuff the usual emotional outburst not even grounded in reality much followed by some red herrings.
The idea that we live “relatively” better in the 1st world is a very gross and abstract description of the reality of the matter. I have asked 1st worldists many times if they would consider someone who makes $1 million per year in salary, but does work that produces $5 million for his company, is a proletarian?
The person doesn’t directly own the means of production, and they are extracted for a surlus value.
Of course, we know that in the Marxist prospective that is not really exploitation at all, because the pay is way over what the value of labour really is (see the rough estimate of the value of labour on MSH).
Thinking about that, we know there is a big difference from this guy, and say an amerikanadian that makes $20k per year.
Now, let’s compare that guy making $20k per year to the 3rd worlder who is in productive labour, working longer hours and making way less, let’s say that he or she is making $5 a day, which in many cases of 3rd world labour would be on the higher end.
This person might be making about $1,300-1,900 or so in one year. As you can see the 1st worlder is making about 10 times that amount. And that is keeping in mind I am giving a relatively high example for a 3rd world prole and a low example of a 1st world “worker” (who average more closer to $37k per year).
In fact, even if we took into account Sciencefaction’s logic about living as a homeless person, we would have to put aside the fact that most homeless people in the first world could easily pull $20 in a few hours simply begging for money in almost any major city. That is 10 times the amount many proletarians in the 3rd world make (if they are living on $2 per day) except they actually have to work for it, maybe even 12 hour shifts or longer.
There is so much wealth floating around in the first world, wealth that has been built on the backs and from the blood of the 3rd world, that homeless people in the 1st world can easily get access to food, shelter and clean water, not to mention health care facilities. These are simply things that 3rd world WORKERS can’t even dream about.
So maybe Sciencefaction can explain the “relative” nature between those vastly different living conditions – because they seem pretty stark to me – and if they can still do it with a straight face, maybe they should just consider the millionaire CEO who makes 10 or 20 times more than the ameriKKKanadian “worker” just living “relatively” better also.
Sciencefaction ought to consider the fact that 1st worlders are able to hold significant amounts of capital in the form of savings, credit and loans as well as property, vehicles and often own shares, bonds, saving and stocks. Many are also landlords and/or small business owners part time. We also have to keep in mind that 80% of them are service workers.
Marx and Engels described the proletarian as a class with no owner relationship to the means of production, mainly in manufacturing and productive forces, they do not have the ability to store capital in any meaningful way; possibly for the occasional night at the pub after a weeks hard work, If Sciencefaction had actually read Das Kapital and/or The Condition of the Working Class in England he might understand this. They lived in squaller, dozens of proletarians sharing basements or if lucky a room with a bed. They made enough money to live, work, eat and sleep and do it again the next day.
They did not benefit from a vast influx of cheap goods extracted from low paid workers in other countries. Thought M & E both saw this developing as early as 1868 and possibly even before.. If you had done the research before posting on here, you would see that there are many quotes from M, E as well as Lenin that confirm they were not blind to the fact that whole nations could be net exploiters, and thus those workers would be “bought off”.
Sciencefaction has accused us as using morality, but actually we have pointed out that this uneven relationship exists, that MLM has traditionally recognized it as far back as it’s origins, and we have used numbers, statistics and facts to back up what we are saying.
Sciencefaction you are only crying and moaning because you want ameriKKKans to fit a certain idealism but that’s just not the reality of the matter. Marxists are materialists and we have to look at the facts. We don’t just call ameriKKKans proletarian because we feel more comfortably or better about it.
“More than that, let’s not bother to build any struggles in the first world, since, by definition, we are not really exploited or oppressed, so we have no legitimate issues with radical implications.””
Are you implying that we should fabricate exploitation and oppression where it doesn’t exist just for the sake of being “proactive” activists?
I see absolutely no reason to help fat klanadians, pigmerikans and brit$hits get more pie when they are already living high on the hog on the backs of real proles. If you are insinuating that is some way forward to socialism, I would venture that it sounds a lot more like what Hitler had in mind or at BEST social-imperialism. Hitler was not dumb, he knew there was only so much pie to go around, which is why he wanted to dominate so many lands, enslave so many people and kill of the rest. It was the only way that they could provide such a high living standard to German$.
As Marxists, we should see socialism as spreading wealth equitably, and if you are asking for more for people that already have more you need to learn simple math. Take a pizza next time you order one. 5 people 10 slices. No matter how you try to share that pizza, if you want to all get roughly the same amount, in the end you get 2 slices each and the box will be empty. If you want more you have to have more produced. AmeriKKKans generally don’t produce, so your third world pizza that was made for you can only get eaten. If you act like an ameriKKKan asshole then you would likely chip in less for the pizza, eat way more than your share and swipe some of the toppings. Hey, to make it more accurate you should spit on the other slices you don’t eat after you are full just to spite the others, because 1st worlders WAIST vast amounts of food and grow obese on Mcdicks, KFCrap and pizza $lut. while 3rd worlders get swollen bellies. Many 1st worlders get mental illness liek anorexia and belemia and purge food, they drink bottled water. in the 3rd world they don’t have clean water and you can see their ribs and worms poking out of their skin.
Try being the one that doesn’t get the most pizza, then you would see why a true Marxist hate pigmerikans to death and you would have a slight understanding of what getting fucked over like a proletarian feels like. :)
You really should see food waste report:
Meanwhile, these are the types of things pigs are worried about:
Shopping, saving seals and donkeys, more shopping and over eating, and under eating, and more shopping, or decorating their nether regions.
Yes, I can definitely see these people standing up against imperialism! (sarc)
Oh, and there is oppression within the 1st world nation states by the way. Check out the prisons, the Black and Latino Nations; and the First Nations people.MTWist have been among the most vocal on their behalf, while fake “Maoists” do stuff like denounce Iran.
While Comrade Marcel’s comments were mostly on the mark, I don’t see what she had in mind with her hypothetical example of a person paid $1 million a year for producing $5 million for his company. In reality, absolutely no one produces anything like $5 million a year. Some employees may theoretically generate that much in profits, at least by some stupid bourgeois accounting standard, but no one in the world produces that much value. So asking whether this hypothetical person is exploited or not is rather like asking whether a circle with three sides and three angles is a triangle. The best answer is that the question itself doesn’t make sense and cannot be answered meaningfully. Yes, if an employee produces $5 million, then wages of only $1 million are exploitative, and the employee counts as a proletarian. But no one produces more than a few tens of thousands of dollars of value a year, so this hypothetical situation cannot arise, and a “wage” of $1 million cannot be proletarian.
The word “relatively” in “Sciencefaction’s” worthless, brainless “criticism” of our line is a disgusting First Worldist sneer. What exactly would the mAsses of the First World have to have for “Sciencefaction” to conclude that they enjoy ABSOLUTELY better living conditions than the masses of the Third World? JesU$ H. KKKhrist on a fucking pogo stick! This person’s First Worldist yipping is just more of the same tired old self-serving crapola according to which First World “workers” are “poor” because they don’t all have yachts and thirty-bedroom castles and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon on the breakfast table. We’ve heard it all before. It still has the distinctive fecal odor of First World chauvinism. And this person expects us to believe that the car-driving, steak-eating First World mAsses can make common revolutionary cause with the starving peoples of the Third World.
Whether or not First World ‘workers’ are exploiters is an objective question. It has a definite answer regardless of implications. This is different than meaning, or the significance which one ascribes to facts.
Foremost, revolutionaries must uphold the truth, including that First World ‘workers’ are net-exploiters. Again, this is different that ascribing meaning. Revolutionaries must do this also, and RAIM certainly does. The meaning is that RAIM ascribes is that revolutionaries from the First World must betray their own class interests and work in cause of Third World revolution, however they find appropriate. RAIM has never told anyone they should become homeless as a ‘gesture of solidarity.’ This is a plain lie. In fact, RAIM has helped lead the way in anti-imperialist resistance within the occupied North America . RAIMers have done everything from protest Zionist speaking tours, racist crackers, Amerika’s wars and attacks on migrant communities, to hosting study groups of revolutionary history and theory, to helping organizing events in support of cultures of resistance. (just to name a few things) To say that RAIM promotes a politics of ‘dropping out’ is at best laughable.
What RAIM does is provide a level of clarity in the course of doing political work. While the rest of a First World so-called ‘left’ is running around begging the First Worlders to ‘wake up,’ RAIM avoids spreading such illusions. Rather, RAIM explains why First Worlders are the way they are without sacrificing revolutionary aspirations.
For every RAIM cell there are tens or hundreds of formal and informal ‘left’ groups which attempt to organize First Worlders for revolution or reform. The “logical conclusion” of this certainly is not that they are bringing the First World masses into struggles, making them aware of “legitimate issues with radical implications.” Instead, the so-called “revolutionary left” in the US has drastically shrank over the past few years. This can hardly be said to be RAIM’s doing.
First Worlders being exploiters is an objective fact. RAIM cannot be blamed for the failure of First Worldist activists to sustain an audience with nearly any section of these exploiter ‘masses.’ RAIM can however be credited with deepening social understanding in a revolutionary context and bringing a small number of First Worlders into genuine solidarity with the Third World masses.