Thread: Hey comrades

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  1. #21
    Join Date Mar 2018
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    I assume
    "I've just joined due to frustration with other forums being run over by reactionaries."
    "There's no reason for the establishment to fear me. But it has every right to fear the people collectively - I am one with the people." Huey P. Newton
  2. #22
    Join Date Mar 2018
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    Ah. Well yeah, there are reactionaries all over the internet.
    "All reactionaries are paper tigers." Mao Tse-Tung
  3. #23
    Join Date Mar 2008
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    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and disagree. The whole point of communism is abolishing class/exploitation. Despecialization is just a means by which one could eliminate the contradictions between the working people, by rendering them more homogenous. While it could help, I don't think it's particularly necessary. In some sectors sure, but not all.

    Okay, yeah, it's more of my own 'vision' to focus on despecialization as being a potential part of the communist ethos.

    But, logistically, it would make more sense if the people of a collectivist society knew how to do almost *everything*, especially since they wouldn't be bound by the political economy, as capitalism does today, into seeking-out personal *specializations* for some degree of career security, as in academia, especially.

    Maybe I'm taking a radical break from historical communists, but I really don't *want* work to be as easy as pressing a few buttons. With the risk of sounding like a reactionary, I think hard work (when it's socially productive) is a virtue. That is, hard work is a positive social value, and I think making work as easy as pressing a few buttons reduces from the value of living.

    Well, the 'Jetsons' theme was more of a light satire, imo.

    For *our* times I think the goal should really be to have almost everything done by 3D printing and robotic-type conveyers, whatever the task, and doable from a tablet or laptop -- so, then, the *individual* would get the best of both worlds, one's own free time while having free access to the bounty of the world's fully-automated production.

    In such a society one could build one's own custom routines, if one wanted, but that would be the extent of 'work' in a truly fully-automated society. (Maybe something on the level of Structure Synth.)

    Here's the thesis that I subscribe to on this topic:

    Up to the present, man has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that as soon as man had invented a machine to do his work he began to starve. This, however, is, of course, the result of our property system and our system of competition. One man owns a machine which does the work of five hundred men. Five hundred men are, in consequence, thrown out of employment, and, having no work to do, become hungry and take to thieving. The one man secures the produce of the machine and keeps it, and has five hundred times as much as he should have, and probably, which is of much more importance, a great deal more than he really wants. Were that machine the property of all, every one would benefit by it. It would be an immense advantage to the community. All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery. Machinery must work for us in coal mines, and do all sanitary services, and be the stoker of steamers, and clean the streets, and run messages on wet days, and do anything that is tedious or distressing. At present machinery competes against man. Under proper conditions machinery will serve man. There is no doubt at all that this is the future of machinery, and just as trees grow while the country gentleman is asleep, so while Humanity will be amusing itself, or enjoying cultivated leisure – which, and not labour, is the aim of man – or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight, machinery will be doing all the necessary and unpleasant work. The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends. And when scientific men are no longer called upon to go down to a depressing East End and distribute bad cocoa and worse blankets to starving people, they will have delightful leisure in which to devise wonderful and marvellous things for their own joy and the joy of everyone else. There will be great storages of force for every city, and for every house if required, and this force man will convert into heat, light, or motion, according to his needs. Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.

    Now, I have said that the community by means of organisation of machinery will supply the useful things, and that the beautiful things will be made by the individual. This is not merely necessary, but it is the only possible way by which we can get either the one or the other. An individual who has to make things for the use of others, and with reference to their wants and their wishes, does not work with interest, and consequently cannot put into his work what is best in him. Upon the other hand, whenever a community or a powerful section of a community, or a government of any kind, attempts to dictate to the artist what he is to do, Art either entirely vanishes, or becomes stereotyped, or degenerates into a low and ignoble form of craft. A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want. Indeed, the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or a dishonest tradesman. He has no further claim to be considered as an artist. Art is the most intense mode of Individualism that the world has known. I am inclined to say that it is the only real mode of Individualism that the world has known. Crime, which, under certain conditions, may seem to have created Individualism, must take cognisance of other people and interfere with them. It belongs to the sphere of action. But alone, without any reference to his neighbours, without any interference, the artist can fashion a beautiful thing; and if he does not do it solely for his own pleasure, he is not an artist at all.


    I suppose yeah, I was assuming that vertical monopolization would happen along the supply chain such that indeed, costs would be effectively nil. You're right that I ignored the competition for market share and how that would drive down profits.

    I'll add -- consider today's world of accessibility to computers. Only a few decades ago such access was *very* limited, compared to today when much can be done through the Android or iOS interfaces, on a personal portable electronic slab: smartphones. Do we have to be in academia or *lease* our computer time anymore -- ?

    Where are you going with this?

    I meant to illustrate that as material costs (including labor) *decrease*, the potential for monopolization decreases, because there's no choke-point on acquiring access to suitable technology for one's needs. One no longer has to lease time on a large mainframe when smartphones are everywhere and the apps are easier than ever to use and be productive as one likes.

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