Re: [ox-en] Labor contradictions
- From: Raoul <raoulv club-internet.fr>
- Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 11:52:15 +0100
Hi Stefan (Mz),
On 4 dic 07, Stefan Meretz wrote:
It is always hazardous to rewrite history. In Russia it ended quickly in
state-capitalism, indeed. But the fact that radical fights ended till
now always in failures does not show nor proves that they did not accept
at any moment to go beyond "commercial processes" or "unionism".
On 2007-12-03 12:40, Raoul wrote:
But do you really think that workers movements, in the past and in
the future, can only be movements for bargaining the price of the
labor-force? That they can never "accept any step away from
More or less: yes, I think so.
Would you say that the workers movements in Germany, for example,
which stopped the first world war in 1918 and were bloody repressed
in January 1919 did not went "a step away from commercial processes"?
They were sucessful in stopping the war, yes, that's true (although
they make or follow the war before). However, even when the revolution
would have succeeded, the outcome would have been more or less
the "soviet model", which I would caracterize as state-socialism being
Ok. But both realities do not exclude each other. To strike is the most
"primitive" step of workers fights. To go beyond "intense strikes" needs
to have perspectives ... and "peer production" or "peer X" open many.
Don't you think that it is at this level - the possibility of
developing a non-capitalist logic - that a connection between "peer
production" and the workers fights can develop? Even if, for the
moment, things are only at a germ level?
As stated before: I see not much options, not at the current level of
workers fights. (...) Maybe, but this is
only a guess, a thinking beyond the capitalist logic can develop during
very intense strikes, when there is some time to think beyond the daily
work and self-valualisation logic. However, I find it more likely, that
single individual persons -- workers in a broad sense -- support free
developments in their free time, as we already see it.
Don't you think that this link is a key element to achieve the
"triple-free peer production", defined by Tere Vaden (23.11.2007) as
including "the ownership [not the best term] of the means of
production down to the level of electricity, the physical infra,
(...)A lesson what we can learn from several historical trials is, that we
cannot start from the question of ownership: first conquer the
ownership, then build a new society -- no, this does not work. We can
learn, that ownership is a result of the development of the way to
produces our lives and of the productive forces, it was always in
history in this sequence.
I don't think this is totally correct. It is true that, at least in the
French case, it is during the period of political revolution (1790s),
long after the bourgeoisie had begun to establish its mode of
production, that the question of ownership was broadly posed:
possessions of the Church and the emigrated nobles were confiscated by
the State and sold to the "people"... (in fact to the new bourgeoisie,
the rich merchants, bankers and manufacturers who had previously
developed and were the only ones who could buy them). But if the
bourgeoisie had had the capacity to develop the new production relations
before that moment, it was because it had since the beginning the
ownership of crucial means of production, merchant ships and
commodities, banks and manufactures, for example.
If you consider the transition between slavery and the first forms of
feudalism, at the end of the Roman Empire (III-V century), the basic
change consisted since the beginning in a question of ownership, that of
the slaves (who were also the main "mean of production"). The "coloni",
the first form of "serves" were emancipated slaves. They ceased to be
the property of their old owners. They remained attached to the land
(which was sold with its coloni) but a part of their production became
their own property.
That is for the past. But it is the same if you consider the present
transition. Free Software was also confronted a question of ownership
(copyright/copyleft) since the beginning. "Peer production", and more
generally "peer X" has developed using means of production (software
like Linux or Apache, for example) which were "non-proprietary"
software, the results of fights to prevent any private appropriation of
Production needs to have the "possession" (not in the sense of "private
ownership" but in the sense of having the control of something, as for
example a primitive man needed to "posses" a "non-proprietary" stone to
drive a stake into the land). How could new relations of *production*
develop without dealing since the beginning with the question of
possession of the means of *production*, even if it is only in an
That being said, it is true that the question can be posed in a more
global and definitive form when the new relations of production have
developed. This is so because it is only *social practice* which can
"convince" the majority of society to accept and develop the new forms
of ownership/possession. For example, the bourgeoisie could obtain the
support of small peasants, artisans and new wage-earners workers when
expropriating the Church and the nobles, because the new production
relations appeared to bring in practice more liberty and wealth.
Thus, we have to develop a new way of
production using most developed productive forces, and then ownership
will follow. "Will follow" does not mean automatically, there will be
Yes, there will be fights. There are already, even if they have been
relatively soft till now because they are about "intellectual property"
and because capitalists have some interest in using the new efficiency
of the new relations of production at the the knowledge level. But
things will become inevitably harsher with material ownership of the
means of production. It would be marvelous if it could be otherwise. But
who could believe that a system based on private ownership [one should
say *excluding* ownership] defended by coercion will accept to disappear
- or to fade - without resistance.
And, to come back to the origin of the discussion, I don't see how this
fights could be won without the adhesion and participation of the
"workers of the world"...
I hope that we can begin and advance as far as possible dealing with the
possession of material means of production without having to confront
violently the "temple guardians". I hope that Christian's book -that I
have not yet read :-(- helps with that question.
Contact: projekt oekonux.de