profit rate falling!

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Wed Mar 17 06:57:58 PST 1999

>>> <Apsken at> 03/17/99 09:33AM >>>
Charles Brown wrote,

"Did Karl Marx project an objective outer limit for capitalism ? I thought it was a subjective outer limit, the consciousness of the working class."

Marx believed and wrote that capitalism, like all other class societies, had an objective outer limit, which would result either in the reconstitution of society anew (in the event that the masses are able to carry out their historic mission), or in the common ruin of the contending classes (if they fail), as the Communist Manifesto stated.

Capitalism's chief distinguishing historical characteristic is its constantly revolutionizing instability (the Volume One discussion); its theoretical outer limit imposed by the tendency of the rate of profit to decline (the Volume Three discussion). In the past, the road to that outer limit has been disrupted periodically by the wholesale destruction of capital, which has been followed each time by a new period of accumulation and growth. One cannot exclude that possibility for the future, of course, but no Marxist ought to slight the prospect of "the final conflict."


Charles: I agree. I'm livin' for that final conflict. But I think the objective factors, the infrastructure for socialism and socialist revolution have been ready in the U.S. and Europe (not just Russia) since 1917 at least but really before. We have seen enough of capitalism's outer limits - crises and wars ,. permanent mass unemployment, poverty, crime, racism, etc., etc. -to get the hint that it has got to go. There is no qualitatively different capitalist crisis than the ones and types we have seen already that Marx predicts will come and automatically be the one that people can't resist and then make a rev. or blow the whole world up into barbarism and ruin of the two contending classes. The objective factors and crises are overripe. It is refusal to see that the solution is socialism and the teachings of Marxism that stands in the way. (((((((((((((((((((((((((

A revolution occurs when neither the ruling class nor the exploited class(es) can continue to live in the old way, a mainly objective condition.


CB: Yes, Lenin's formula is elementary. But not being able to live in the old way is subjective and objective. There is no mechanical formula as to the level of poverty or deprivation that people will not put up with. See the Declaration of Independence, on the tolerance of tyrants as the exact measure of oppression. Also, the exploited class needs to be conscious and confident in an alternative. The US bourgeoisie have been very successful in preventing the masses from becoming believers in the necessary alternative, socialism and communism.


As that condition approaches, the subjective factors take on far greater importance in determining the subsequent course of history, but they are intertwined with, not independent of, the objective conditions.


CB: I agree with this .The factors are actually both subjective and objective. But at this point in history the objective factors have been ripe for many,many decades. The subjective factors have actually atrophied while the objective factors are more ripe than ever, overripe. What in the objective factors do you see that might arise that is new and more likely to generate revolution ? We have seen it all, haven't we ?

Plus, on the objective factors, we can't impact the objective factors. What are WE going to do to impact the objective factors in a direction that they influence more people to think of revolution ? We can't go out and move around and rearrange the means of production, factories, plants, office buildings with our direct hands. How are we going to change (the world) of economic objective factors ? That is not the area of practice of conscious revolutionaries. Revolutionaries' work is to impact the consciousness of workers and masses, their subjectivities.

Charles Brown

Workers of the West , it's our turn.

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