Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Biden to run again ...


Joe Biden has always been a stupid, stupid man.  A man too stupid to know he's stupid.  His ignorance and delusion subsequently allowed him to see himself as a man of substance who spoke wisdom.  But in the corrupt, degenerate politics of Washington D.C. that allowed him to fit right in.  Except now he's [at least] tired.  Old age.  From his outbursts and his incoherent ramblings he is possibly senile.  Remember that last election the pandemic allowed him to hide from the media and the electorate.  This time he most likely won't have that advantage.  Plus; he's four years older.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

An Excellent Summary of the Emerging Multi-Polar World


Roger Harris's "Whither Mltipolarity in a Changing World Order" at CounterPunch is one of the best summaries of the current world political-power situation as I've read in a while.  It is restrained in its assertions.  It is comprehensive.  And it never loses sight of the importance of the socialist project for the future of the world. (And this includes accepting the current weakness, well-nigh irrelevance of the socialist project.)

Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Personal Reminder About Peasant Revolts


Jacobin has an article about the 1549 Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk.  I'm writing something that has a chapter on peasant revolts in Europe and I want to remember to read more about this.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Cybersocialist Planning

Just a quick post with a link from Jacobin about cybersocialist planning for readers who expressed an interest in the topic not too long ago.

At this point, we can guess what the connection between econophysics and cybersocialist planning is. The former allows us to explain that, compared to the market economy, the latter optimizes or adjusts the use of social information, considerably increasing our ability to adapt. Planning is cybernetically superior quantitatively and qualitatively. By getting rid of redundant information, it does what the market does (optimize costs and distribute work across industries based on demand) faster and more accurately. The possibility, opened up by information and communications technologies, of collecting, storing, and processing huge amounts of information in a viable way allows us to do without the market.

Planning is also clearly different and superior in qualitative terms. As Otto Neurath explained, thanks to calculation in kind and direct democracy, a new type of apprehensive rationality emerges from multidimensional factors, focused on the satisfaction of social needs. We would speak of a control system with the ability to consciously decide what to do and how. Plans are the conscious expression of the popular will at a given time through self-imposed goals and constraints. This can take the form of both expansions and retractions of different productive sectors, depending on what is considered. Why? Because by sweeping the capitalist class off the map and centralizing the means of production, social reproduction no longer depends on a certain employer seeing profit expectations in a sector or on poor monetary games; rather, the different areas of human life (health, consumption, ecology, etc.) would be managed, case by case, based on particular scientific studies and ethical-political considerations expressed in public deliberation.

For this new way of organizing the social metabolism, democracy — something quite different from the representative despotism of bourgeois parliamentarism, prostrated before the power of capital and whose essential task is to guarantee capital’s general conditions of reproduction — is not a rhetorical flourish. Only massive and recurrent popular participation can guarantee a social reproduction that is not turbulent, so long as it is consensual. Likewise, the target record — that is, expressible in a mathematical way — of social needs and, therefore, planning itself, is impossible without a fluid transmission of information from bottom to top.

There you have it.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

From Protest to Self-Government


Purple Library Guy states here that left-wing movements tend to not be capable of moving beyond protesting to governing.  That they could (conceivably) swarm a city, temporarily scare-off the authorities, but afterwards they can't organize themselves to produce a budget, enforce the collection of the taxes necessary for the provision of public services necessary for a functioning society.

Friday, April 7, 2023

A PLG Comment Becomes a PLG Guest-Post


Myself and Purple Library Guy have a bit of back-and-forth in the comments section of my last post.  I was too busy to provide a timely reply PLG's last comment but it's also about something that I've been thinking lately.  If I ever do seriously spend time blogging again it won't be to criticize/analyze.  It would be mainly about recommending courses of action.

I've got a few things to do this weekend so I might not get around to making my reply post.  But without further ado, here is PLG's comment:

I think fundamentally what nearly all left uprisings are missing is some way of making decisions that will have enough of a sense of legitimacy that the movement will follow them, something that can translate into at least a rough and ready approximation of governing in areas they control. Otherwise you can have a massive mob of people with legit grievances, and they can swamp the cities, scare the cops away, make the place ungovernable . . . and then what? They got nuthin'. They hang around and wave signs until they run out of steam and leave. They are not capable of taking over city hall, working up a participatory budget and starting to collect the taxes and run the stuff.

(This isn't universal. The Zapatistas totally knew what they wanted to do, had solid mechanisms in place for continuing to figure it out, and that's why they're still there doing it.)

This is partly because modern radical left wing movements are mostly at least tacitly anarchist. And I mean, I'm sympathetic to anarchism, but it's not capable of defeating modern states because radical decentralization can't muster resources and force the way big centralized things can. But it's a cleft stick--we've seen over and over how centralized leftism ends up with leadership that's effectively a different class with different interests from the rand and file, and that leads to either the leadership getting co-opted Third Way style, or to Soviet style oligarchies that pay lip service to the workers while hosing them. Modern radical activism comes out of a tradition that became disillusioned by all that, and for good reason. But they haven't grappled with the need to somehow muster unified force pointing in one direction.

I do think it's possible to avoid both pitfalls. Especially with modern computer/communication technologies. Existing social networks are of course built by capitalists for whom the last thing they ever want to see is the proles using them to organize and make decisions--but it's fairly clear that if you designed them a bit different, they could work for that. In this connection I'm quite interested in, which does a platform designed expressly for decentralized leaderless decision-making.

So I'll reply when I get the time. 

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Trillions and Trillions


Jack Rasmus is one of the writers who makes it worthwhile to check out CounterPunch.  He had a good article recently about the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse. Here it is: Banking Crisis 2023: Deep Origins and Future Directions -

It’s more than a week since the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank, the 16th largest bank in the US at the time of its collapse and reportedly a source of funding for half of all the tech start ups in the US.