Posts tagged Capitalism

Re: Capitalism is a bad word

Ofer: It’s hardly surprising to learn that the terms were popularized by Karl Marx in Volume 1 of his book Das Kapital (1867).

Julia: Marx didn’t coin the term “capitalism”. It was first used by free-market anti-capitalists to describe the system of monopoly.

Ofer: That’s why I said he popularized it, not coined it….

That’s not right either. Marx uses the word “capitalism” (*) only twice in Capital Vol. I, and less than a dozen times in all three books combined. (And those are some big, fat books to combine.) You can search for yourself if you want using a verbatim Google search over site: (Vol. 1), site: (Vol. 2), and site: (Vol. 3).

Later Marxists wrote about “capitalism” all the time, of course. But they got that terminology mainly from earlier, non-Marxist and anti-Marxist radicals, not from Marx. (**)

(* Actually Kapitalismus, since he did not write Das Kapital in English.)

(** Early users of the term who might actually count as having “popularized” it include Louis Blanc — in his book Organization of Labor the 1840s — and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon — in his book War and Peace in the 1860s. Both were extremely influential at the time they published and helped set the language for a lot of the anticapitalist movement, including for Marx and his followers. But the term was not really very “popular” at all until the early 20th century when all these folks, Marx included, were long dead: ….)

Re: Don’t Count on Anything This Election Cycle

You write: “Rand Paul pushes this neo-anarchist belief that the government should get out of everything,”

We anarchists don’t believe that “government should get out of everything.” We believe that government should cease to exist, and take capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and all other forms of class oppression straight to hell with it. Rand Paul is as much of an anarchist as any other “limited government” conservative Republican, which is to say, not at all: he wants to trim some parts of government here and there, while leaving in place all the violent functions of government that prop up existing forms of oppression (in particular government militaries, government police, government prisons, and government borders; he is especially fond of government border laws and using government to attack Latino immigrants). Anarchism is an entirely different, far more radical proposition.

You write: “… including mine safety because ‘who would work at an unsafe mine?’ Well, the people who have two choices- an unsafe mine or starvation.”

I certainly have no wish to speak for Rand Paul. But speaking on behalf of anarchists, (“neo-” or otherwise), I will say that the traditional anarchist approach to this question is to give people more choices — in particular, not setting up a political apparatus and hope that workers will somehow be able to control it more effectively than corporate lobbyists; but rather organizing grassroots mutual aid networks and fighting, rank-and-file unions that allow mine-workers to effectively stand up to the bosses — so that they do not have to depend on the mercy of the bosses or the solicitude of politically-appointed bureaucrats to gain a safe and humane livelihood for themselves.