4 May 2008

The Whole Problem

The top picture is of Fernando Lugo, the President-elect of Paraguay. He is a liberation theologist, and so has a link with us via the great Paulo Freire. The picture lower down is of some other friendly South American Presidents. There are many!

The Communist University meets this afternoon (Monday 5 May 2008) at 17h00 to discuss the seventh chapter of Karl Marx’s Capital Volume 1. We meet in the SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

This chapter begins with a short summary of the book thus far, as follows:

“The capitalist buys labour-power in order to use it; and labour-power in use is labour itself. The purchaser of labour-power consumes it by setting the seller of it to work. By working, the latter becomes actually, what before he only was potentially, labour-power in action, a labourer.”

The production of surplus value in the dynamic relationship between the capitalist and the working proletarian provides the answer to the question that the book is intended to answer, before any other: Where does the wealth generated by capital come from? Or: How precisely, and exactly where, is the surplus taken? For, early on in his deliberations, Marx had determined that the observed general increase could not be coming from overcharging, because in pure trading, one person’s loss is another’s gain, and all cancel out. The answer is that the surplus arises in the workplace, and not in the market place, and the only source of surplus is this: that a worker can give more labour than it costs to develop his labour-power. Marx explains this patiently and with good humour in this chapter. See the first link.

Yet there is no concealing the bitter harvest of capitalism in all of its moods. It is with heavy heart that we carry the NUM’s Media release from last week, and have to add that nine further deaths followed on May Day itself, again at South Deep mine. Words fail. We await the counsel of the leadership of the NUM and the general movement. See the second linked item.

The SACP’s Political Bureau met last week. Their statement, particularly covering Zimbabwe, Electricity, and Food, is the third document linked below.

The load-shedding is no more. See the report from Johannesburg’s Saturday Star, the fourth item below. The load-shedding episode has every appearance of being a boss’s strike, a fraudulent Enron-style holding-to-ransom, or in other words, domestic terrorism. It was purely punitive. It was extortion. It was undone by the fact that too many people, and especially Eskom’s own employees, could see it for the scam it was. The fact that the equipment could not take the treatment was part of the crooks’ bad luck. Now there is no load-shedding, the sky has not fallen in, and we can all see that it was phoney from the start, and that the top management of Eskom are all liars. They should be fired. We cannot trust them

It is our good fortune that at this moment, the author James Heartfield has very kindly let us have some extracts from his new book, Green Capitalism, sufficient to get a good understanding of what it is about. The book was written in England, but the picture of artificial scarcity brought in under cover of a “green” alibi fits the Eskom putsch precisely. Some of those who gave credence to the Eskom legend no doubt did so in good faith. Those ones should learn now, and not make the same mistakes again. Heartfield conveniently provides the means whereby people can discriminate between the “green” scams and the open rational science that capitalism avoids these days like the plague. The fact that Eskom refused to open its books should have alerted everybody. See the fifth linked item.

Click on these links:

Capital Volume 1, Chapter 7, Producing Surplus Value, Karl Marx, 1867 (10277 words)

Life callously thrown away by bosses' greed, Lesiba Seshoka (209 words)

SACP Political Bureau Press Statement, 27 April 2008 (1201 words)

Load shedding blew it for Eskom, Thabiso Thakali, Saturday Star (925 words)

Green Capitalism, James Heartfield, 2008 (4822 words)

Coming Events


  1. Is'nt it amazing that you can publish the blog for free and use Google Groups for free, and have a wiki for free.

    All thanks to the gift economy that's been created by the vanguard workers, the programmers of the digital economy.

    Cyber communism is great!

  2. Capitalism is bound to create the conditions for its own demise. This has always been well understood by the communists, or at least since the time of Karl Marx. Unfortunately the capitalists themselves can also see this and they work very hard to postpone the day. Hence it was possible for Bill Gates to monopolise what was a previous gift economy - the volunteer software development of the 1970s.

    So watch out! If they can expropriate it, they will.


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