6 April 2008


Economists, whose continual job it is to attempt to rationalise the irrational, conflicted, capitalist system, are invariably at a loss to produce a satisfactory definition of their most basic piece of conceptual vocabulary: Money. Karl Marx, on the other hand, who was not an economist but a critic of political economy, described money with ease as a universal measure of value, and continued:

“It is not money that renders commodities commensurable. Just the contrary. It is because all commodities, as values, are realised human labour, and therefore commensurable, that their values can be measured by one and the same special commodity, and the latter be converted into the common measure of their values, i.e., into money.”

Today’s continuation of our revision of Capital, Volume 1 is its third chapter, called: “Money, or the Circulation of Commodities”. It is long. The Communist University’s advice is: read it from the back to the front. Read the section on Universal Money, then the one on Means of Payment, then Hoarding, and so on, until the remainder is small enough to tackle. See the first linked item.

All CU subscribers should by now also be subscribed to Umsebenzi Online, the SACP’s [usually] fortnightly e-mail publication. We link the current one again today because it provides guidance on escalation of mass mobilisation and activism. It sets the agenda, and indicates the form that the mobilisation should take from this (Chris Hani) month onwards. See the second linked item.

ANC President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the funeral of SACP Deputy Chairperson Ncumisa Kondlo, quoted the late former ANC President Oliver Tambo as follows: "The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development. For, as we can see, similar relationships have not emerged in other parts of Africa.” Cde Zuma went on to invoke the old liberation-movement slogan: “Don’t mourn, mobilise”. See the third linked item.

In his address at the same funeral on Saturday, SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande said: “In honour of Cde Ncumisa, let us throw our weight behind the SACP’s Chris Hani Month programme, in which we intend to embark on mass action to defend the standard of living of our people.” The call is clearly made. It is an Alliance call. It will be picked up by COSATU in detail as the Federation prepares for an unprecedented number of nationwide May Day rallies this year. From this month on, to borrow from opera (and football): None shall sleep!

Because the CU is a learned institution, and hence broad in its reading and never sectarian, the fifth item linked below can serve to remind us that long before Karl Marx walked the earth, there was already what we now call polemic, and there were pamphlets, and beautiful writing style, and wit, and considerable understanding of political economy, even in 1728. See the link to some writing of Jonathan Swift (pictured), published in Ireland 280 years ago, and contrast and compare it if you will, to the land question (if not as here with grazing, then with game farms and golf estates) and the urban poverty of today in South Africa.

Click on these links:

Reprise 03, Capital Volume 1, Chapter 3, Money, 1867 (17257 words)

Umsebenzi Online, Defend living standards of workers and poor (2361 words)

Address by ANC President Jacob Zuma at funeral of Ncumisa Kondlo (1667 words)

Revolutionary Loyalty, Blade Nzimande at funeral of Ncumisa Kondlo (1744 words)

An answer to a paper on the Poor Inhabitants, Jonathan Swift, 1728 (2999 words)

Events Diary


  1. Zuma is a populist.
    show us the real solutions
    tell us the how he intends to deal with the growing gap between rich and poor, crime, unemployment
    I see very little substance in his speaches, i see words but no specifics.

  2. I am continually amazed at how high a regard this man is held.
    Prepare to be disapointed.


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