We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Relevance of Marxism

by Gary Sudborough Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 4:41 PM

Some predictions Marx made during his analysis of capitalism that have proved to be accurate and one that has yet to come to pass.

When I bought a condensed version of Das Kapital by Karl Marx over the Internet, I fully expected the introduction to denigrate Marx's work and label it outdated and irrelevant. My anticipations were fully justified, as it did just that. However, if one actually reads Das Kapital, one can readily understand what a brilliant and logical critique Marx makes of capitalism and how very relevant it still is to today's world. The true test of a good scientific theory is if future results predicted by that theory actually come to fruition in reality. I can cite several of Marx's predictions that are accurate and validate his theory.

Marx predicted that economic depressions would continue to appear periodically in capitalist societies because workers were not paid enough to buy back all the goods and services they produce and overproduction results, precipitating layoffs of workers. This further depresses purchasing power, creating a downward spiral. The value of a product is determined by the amount of human labor necessary to create the product. Since the capitalist takes a considerable amount of that value as profit, the workers do not have the purchasing power to consume all they create.

Marx thought that mergers between large capitalist enterprises would become more frequent. He called the process centralization. Mergers lessen competition, enlarge market share, create greater efficiency and reduce labor costs. Anyone who lived in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s is cognizant of the merger mania that occurred and the large number of people who were laid off as a result. Marx is proved right once again.

During a lecture by political analyst Michael Parenti, I remember that he made the statement that Marx had noted that the one part of the national wealth of a country which would always belong to the working class was the national debt. It is true. The rich create a large portion of the national debt with their wars and government subsidies, and then, the poor through regressive taxation pay interest to the rich bondholders of that national debt. The rich make money both ways-in the creation of the debt and the interest paid on it.

Before the capitalist system came into existence, producers and consumers of products came into direct contact with one another and an exchange of more or less equal value occurred. With the arrival of capitalism and the accompanying division of labor and mass production machinery, an intermediary was then present between the producer and consumer, the capitalist. The worker no longer possessed his own labor power, but was obliged to sell that labor power as a commodity on the open market. Labor power is different from all other commodities in the fact that it has the capacity to create value and value above that of its market value to the capitalist. Karl Marx considered the value of that labor power as a commodity to be the wage necessary to sustain the worker for the next day's labor. That is, a subsistence or survival wage, which varied from country to country depending on various factors. Naturally, if say three hours labor were necessary for the worker to earn his daily subsistence, then all hours worked above that time were pure profit for the capitalist. As a consequence, hours of work became exceedingly long, but obviously, some hours of sleep were needed for the worker to recuperate. Any time that machinery lay idle was a loss of potential profit for capitalists and so different shifts were organized to take advantage of all 24 hours in the day. If the intensity of labor were increased, then the result was more profit and consequently speedups of production lines and coercive, brutal foremen were commonplace. Obviously, little attention was given to safety conditions or pollution in the factories. Child labor became prevalent because children were more adept and agile at certain tasks and their subsistence wage or that of a whole family was less. The only exceptions I would make to the survival wage were in countries like China, where labor was so superabundant that capitalists were willing to work people to death and simply replace them. Another example is King Leopold of Belgium who worked thousands of natives to death in the Belgian Congo to enrich himself.

The objective I have in relating all the information above is that these conditions of subsistence wages, child labor, long hours, brutal foremen, unsafe working conditions, etc. are precisely those presently existing for millions of people in the sweatshops run by multinational corporations in the Third World. Karl Marx is accurately describing the reasons that millions of children and adults in Asia, Africa and Latin America live in abject poverty and misery. Thus, he again illustrates his relevance to the world today.

The reason that worker's lives improved in Europe and the United States is that labor unions were organized and forced the capitalists to pay more than just a subsistence wage, required them to eliminate child labor and unsafe working conditions and reduce pollution. Capitalists did not do these things voluntarily or because capitalism created such great wealth that they decided to let a little trickle down to the workers. Anything magnanimous they do puts them at a competitive disadvantage with other capitalists. That is why capitalists now move factories from country to country constantly seeking the cheapest labor.

Marx made one prediction that I disagree with somewhat. He maintained that since millions of people were initially usurped of their wealth and lives as independent workers by the capitalists during a period of prolonged violence and other odious methods, it should be much easier now that the means of production are socialized for millions of workers to take back that wealth from the few who stole it or their descendants. I don't think he realized the power and sophistication of the modern media that would come into existence and its ability to convince workers that their interests and those of the capitalists are identical, or that they too by hard work and perseverance can become capitalists themselves and exploit the labor of others-the Horatio Alger myth.

The English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley must have been thinking along the same lines as Karl Marx when he wrote these lines to inspire resistance by the working class:

"Rise like lions after slumber in unconquerable numbers

Shake your chains to earth like dew, which in sleep had fallen on you

Ye are many, they are few."

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 13 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Predictions made by Marx a capitalist Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 5:16 PM
100 Million dead and they still haven't learned... dumbass communists Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 5:23 PM
Compared to what? B.J. Hunnicutt Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 7:30 PM
capitalism sounds good but it just doesnt work x Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 8:07 PM
x wants to justify Marxism by pointing out that capitalism isn't perfect? fiddler on the roof Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 8:42 PM
Why is Everything so Polarised With You Guys!!!! mymicz Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 8:58 PM
And I have to add mymicz Thursday, Jan. 29, 2004 at 9:04 PM
Reply to Critics Gary Sudborough Saturday, Jan. 31, 2004 at 5:12 PM
fresca fresca Saturday, Jan. 31, 2004 at 5:26 PM
flaws in both systems more rational Saturday, Jan. 31, 2004 at 10:50 PM
fresca fresca Sunday, Feb. 01, 2004 at 12:00 AM
they were not stifled in russia more rational Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2004 at 7:23 AM
fresca fresca Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2004 at 2:29 PM

Local News

Woolsey Fire: Worst News of 2018? J01 12:18AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 4:03AM

Oppose Environmentally-Harmful Development D10 3:58AM

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Presents Night for Hope O30 5:38PM

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance J18 6:04PM



Paraphysique de proxémie guerrière J18 7:59AM


FARCELONA 8.17.2017 J17 3:23PM



PR Debt Cancel, Judge Reviews Cofina Debt J16 9:04PM

Réseautage, fragmentation du capital J16 4:20PM

Paraphysique de manipulation mentale et sociale J15 9:51AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

The Global Justice Project and Human Survival: We're Badly Off Track J15 5:08AM

Markets as a Fetish, Globalization, and Dissent Management J14 1:03PM

State Debts - The Primal German Fear J13 5:09PM

Sans liberté, sans égalité, sans fraternité J13 8:09AM

From Progressive Neoliberalism to Trump - and Beyond J12 9:22PM

Copper Cures Cancer J11 1:42PM

Steven Taylor, Investor who Evicts J11 9:24AM

Du sectarisme, des sectes, des clans J11 8:10AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J10 6:34PM

Patrick Kilpatrick discusses and signs Dying for Living J09 11:51PM

SexActs vs Sexuality USA 2018 Invitations to Power Marriages without Affection J09 8:36PM

Changer de mentalité, changer de société J09 9:17AM

Teacher Strike? Time for Labor Studies J09 6:26AM

December 2018 Honduras Coup Update J08 10:12PM

Paraphysique de la désespérance J07 9:38AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy