www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> you have nothing to lose but your digest [rogers, kleiner x2]
nettime's_digestive_system on Tue, 27 Sep 2011 05:39:01 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> you have nothing to lose but your digest [rogers, kleiner x2]


Re: <nettime> Debtors' of The World Unite! The Initiative to form

     Michael Rogers <m-- {AT} gmx.com>
     Dmytri Kleiner <dk {AT} telekommunisten.net>
     Dmytri Kleiner <dk {AT} telekommunisten.net>

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 17:04:29 +0100
From: Michael Rogers <m-- {AT} gmx.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Debtors' of The World Unite! The Initiative to form

On 26/09/11 15:49, Dmytri Kleiner wrote:

> Debtors' are workers, so a society of unshackled debtors would be a
> society of unshackled workers

Right, but the problem is how to convince someone of that. To convince
someone to join the debtors' movement, you must convince them not only
that they're currently a debtor, but also that they can become an
unshackled worker. So you haven't avoided the problem (which you
correctly identified, in my opinion) of convincing people that they're
workers.

> and "Worker" is also a negative concept: "It
> is not a matter of freeing labour but rather of abolishing it." - Karl Marx

Perhaps I've made an error of Marxist terminology by calling the
unshackled workers "workers", but the point remains that if you
recognise your productive power in the present, you can recognise the
role that power might play in a future society. Whereas if all you
recognise about yourself in the present is your debt, the question of
what role you might play in a future society remains open.

And that's not a superficial problem: if there's no clear link between
the current condition (debt) and the solution, then there's also no
clear reason to prefer one proposed solution to another. Every
legitimization brand (a wonderful concept, by the way!) can claim a
piece of the debtors' movement.

> Debtor is not a class, it's a condition, my argument is that mass
> movements must be built around conditions, not theories or causes.

But a movement must also move towards something. Debt is a clearly
identifiable condition, but it doesn't go anywhere. The workers'
movement has both a condition (work under capital) and a goal (work
without capital). What does the debtors' movement move towards?

> Have you read the original essay, or just the discussion with Matze?

I've read the essay you posted here on the 20th of September - is that
the original?

Cheers,
Michael

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 18:49:35 +0200
From: Dmytri Kleiner <dk {AT} telekommunisten.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Debtors' of The World Unite! The Initiative to form an

On Mon, 26 Sep 2011 17:04:29 +0100, Michael Rogers <m-- {AT} gmx.com> wrote:

> On 26/09/11 15:49, Dmytri Kleiner wrote:
>> Debtors' are workers, so a society of unshackled debtors would be a
>> society of unshackled workers
> 
> Right, but the problem is how to convince someone of that. To convince
> someone to join the debtors' movement, you must convince them not only
> that they're currently a debtor, but also that they can become an
> unshackled worker. So you haven't avoided the problem (which you
> correctly identified, in my opinion) of convincing people that they're
> workers.

We don't need to convince them that are workers, per se, we need them to
act with class consciousness and support the interests of workers, for
whatever reason. 

And consciousness is not something that we are in a position to create, as
the consciousness industries working for those who oppose the unshackling
of workers, PR, Lobbies, parties, etc, have far more resources than those
infavour of unshackling workers.

So, we need to work with the consciousness we find, not the consciousness
we wish was there.

Consciousness comes from conditions, not theories or opinions. The
consciousness that transformed the working conditions in developed nations
and build the welfare state was not created by chartists charters or
syndicalist doctrines or the program of the communist manifesto, but by the
working conditions of the workers themselves.

Yes, now the issue in rich nations is no longer working conditions, jobs
are something you get, there is no concept of the appropriation of value,
as the creation of value and the locale of appropriation is too abstract
and remote for the masses of workers to contemplate, it's an abstraction,
not a fact. What is a fact to them is precarity and financial strife, with
Debt being it's measure. 

Class consciousness is currently based around personal Debt, thus that is
what can be used to reintroduce class conflict into politics. If you don't
believe me, read the manifestos, signs and slogans of any recent movement
or uprising, from the Strange-bedfellows Tent Cities of Tel Aviv, to the
Blackberry Riots of London, to #occupywalltreet(tm). The topic Debt is
everywhere, ever-present, on the tip of every tongue. Especially debt from
those goods that are not perceived as elective; Education, Housing and
Medicine. There is wide spread feeling that Capitalism is unable to
provision these goods, and many people who would cary a placard saying is
much have no clue what surplus value is, much less the alienation of labour
or what it's abolition might look like. They demand representation! And
that is what social power is built on, when classes unit and demand
representation.

I say we go with it, and not go down the road of "Wait a minute here,
before we start talking about Debt, can we all agree that the root of
accumulation is the disposition of the means of production!" As much as I
personally adore political theory, and am happy to discuss it, let's not
turn a potentially revolutionary situation into a reading circle.

It's not up to us to pick and chose the basis of the consciousness that
leads the masses to come to the conclusion that capitalism has jumped the
shark. The masses are crying out that, at least certain types of goods, can
not be provided by way of capitalism. Amazing! They are demanding
representation. This is an opportunity to push politics away from the
moribund margins of identities and causes, to transcend the illusory
politics of a legitimation marketplace, and perhaps to workers can move one
step closer to achieving their historic role, the abolition of classes, by
bringing class back into politics. Not necessarily in the traditional
language, but in their own words.

> superficial problem: if there's no clear link between
> the current condition (debt) and the solution, then there's also no
> clear reason to prefer one proposed solution to another. Every
> legitimization brand (a wonderful concept, by the way!) can claim a
> piece of the debtors' movement.

The first problem is not solution to the issue of debt, nobody with any
power has any interest of solving the issue. The first problem is for
Debtors' to have representation, so that their interests are even present
at the negotiating table when solutions are discussed.

> What does the debtors' movement move towards?
 
As the original text says: "To make politics relevant, to challenge and
contest the interests of Capital and to represent the interests of the
masses we need workers to once again unite in their common interests and
make their social power felt."

That is the goal of the party. Provide representation for the interests of
Debtors.

We do not need, and actually have no right to, impose an final destination
on the masses. We can speculate, not dictate. Throwing off the shackles of
our class conditions is the goal, the world that results is not up to us
alone, and may well be one we can't even imagine. Let's get there and see.
In the meantime, issues like student debt, housing debt and medical debt
deserve attention and can galvanize a mass movement.

Best,

-- 
Dmyri Kleiner
Venture Communist

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 20:52:50 +0200
From: Dmytri Kleiner <dk {AT} telekommunisten.net>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Debtors' of The World Unite! The Initiative to form an

On Mon, 26 Sep 2011 17:04:29 +0100, Michael Rogers <m-- {AT} gmx.com> wrote:

> And that's not a superficial problem: if there's no clear link between
> the current condition (debt) and the solution, then there's also no
> clear reason to prefer one proposed solution to another. Every
> legitimization brand (a wonderful concept, by the way!) can claim a
> piece of the debtors' movement.

I didn't really answer this issue directly, getting carried away with
other points. But yes, certainly, the legitimisation brands will claim a
piece, but as the representatives of the interests of the ruling class, and
therefore capitalism, their solutions are unlikely to shift wealth
downward, thus the conditions and thereby the basis of class consciousness
will remain, and the Debtors' party can move ever forward.

If, on the other hand, the mainstream parties do shift wealth downward,
then this is a victory for the Debtors' Party and movement, since this
would only happen if the social power of the movement where so strong they
had no choice.

In either case, the class interest of Debtors is served, and the
re-introduction of class struggle into politics has been accomplished.

Best,

-- 
Dmyri Kleiner
Venture Communist

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} kein.org