Dead Men Left

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ontology and picket-lines

K-Punk, squeezing much from talking to scabs and reactionaries:

An ideological position can never be really successful until it is naturalized, and it cannot be naturalized while it is still thought of as a value rather than a fact. In the case of the lecturers I was talking to, it seems that Capitalist Realism has been so successful in installing Business Ontology that there is no longer any question of evaluating it at all. Business assumptions are now transcendental presuppositions, defining the horizons of the thinkable. It is simply obvious that everything in society, including education, should be run as a business. It is simply obvious that no other criteria can come into play. Hence the reason that my flailing attempts to raise issues of 'justice' were not so much rebuffed as greeted with blank incomprehension.

cf. Tony Cliff:

The class struggle always expresses itself, not just in a conflict between workers and capitalists, but inside the working class itself. On the picket line it is not true that workers are there to try and prevent the capitalist from working. The capitalists never worked in their lives so they will not work during a strike. What the picket line is about is one group of workers trying to prevent another group of workers from crossing the picket line in the interests of the employers.

The question of workers’ power, what Marx called the dictatorship of the proletariat. Why would you need a dictatorship of the proletariat if the whole working class is united and there are only a tiny minority of capitalists in opposition? You could say go home, and we’d finish with the bosses. If the whole working class is united we could spit at them and flood them into the Atlantic!

The reality is that there will be workers on one side and backward workers on the other side. Because “the prevailing ideas of every society are the ideas of the ruling class”, the workers are split between different levels of consciousness.

Mark also thinks The Apprentice "should be compulsory viewing for all Marxists", a sentiment I agree with mightily. "Pathetic self-delusion, baboonery dressed up in Harvard Biz School lingo, massive ego over-investment in projects so abjectly inane that they are not even pointless: suddenly it all becomes clear why Capitalism is so mired in banality and incompetence." (It's the language that really frightens me: my god, these people appear to actually think in terms entirely provided by management self-help books. So nice to see them turning on each other, like underfed dogs in a pit.)