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March 27, 2018

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Daniel

I don't 100% agree that you can take away individual morality from poeple who who exist in a specefic position in society. When I was a warehouse operative I worked none stop physically intensive 8 hour shifts (or more) with two 15 min breaks. The owner/management was not compelled to this state of affairs. He could have given us more breaks, his buisness was going well enough there was talk of upsizing so he could have employed more staff. He was not compelled to run his buinsess like a sweatshop. He chose to.

Yes we are all born into certain positions in a class based society. But we are still able to make decisions that due t small amount of autonomy we have. This burden is even heavier on capitalists who have lots of capital. There choices have much more of an impact than someone who is on min wage in a warehouse.

Dennis Smith

I’m not sure how far it helps to call exploitation an emergent process. We’re not talking here about a chronological process (AKA progress) where something higher emerges out of something lower but about an integral feature of social life. You could call it the problem of micro/macro. We are at the same time individuals and social beings, and many of our actions can be explained in terms of both individual intentions and structural causes.

The real issue is how some people, some of the time, can transcend structural influences and (it appears) act autonomously or ‘morally’. Some people born in deprived circumstances are ground down into lives of poverty and crime; others in identical circumstances manage to keep their heads above water, and a few somehow thrive.

Is emergence a helpful tool for bridging this conceptual gap? Or is it just a way of saying that we have two different modes of explanation here, they are incommensurable and the whole thing’s a mystery?

e

Very glad you say Labour party. It is the Labour party that is being accused. Not, as some would wish to have it, elements within. I sincerely hope our good faith professionals get their head around this, because reverting back to shutting out the unschooled, and those determined (beyond party political reason) to get an issue on the table, aren't going to fall out of the picture given the internet. Why would they when what has already emerged is again evidently damaging to so many.

PanoramicWombat

"It is trite to say that there’s a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and rationally there is."

It may be trite, but it is important to keep saying it, because plenty of people insist on saying (or implying) the opposite.

Blissex

«Labour party have gotten into such a mess that it can be credibly accused of anti-Semitism?»

It cannot be credibly accused, it is completely ridiculous: there have been no calls to discriminate or segregate semites in any way, nor any policy even remotely oriented in the same way. It is as ridiculous as allegations of brick attacks by Momentum terrorists against "centrists", and the innumerable reports of infiltration of trot extremists into the cadres of Momentum.

Instead both Labour and J Corbyn have been firm and loud zionists, Labour for 100 years, and J Corbyn since the start of his political career, 30 years ago.


All that has happened is that a 5 year old episode that was unremarkable 5 years ago (the censorship of an "immoral" work of art) has been made into a big deal, by the usual suspects who accused Ed Miliband of antisemitism, and coincidentally with fantastic allegation of russian chemical attacks. My impression is that it is a purely political operation with a lot of fake outrage.

I read that a new "centrist" party or coalition is about to come into being, which can only have the purpose of splitting the Labour vote at the next election and hand over a big election win to the Conservatives, just like the SDP did the same in 1983 to "punish" Labour for not following their political line.

Coincidence?

Blissex

«"It is trite to say that there’s a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and rationally there is."

It may be trite, but it is important to keep saying it, because plenty of people insist on saying (or implying) the opposite.»

it is trite but it is also an example of the antisemitic framing of the issue done by the israeli Likud party, because there are three, not just two very different categories:

* being anti-semitic, as in being against all jews as such.

* being anti-zionist, as in being against the existence of a religion based state in Palestine.

* being anti-Likud, as in being against an extremist and vicious far-right party in the israeli political scene that is hated by many jews across the world and many israelis.


The antisemitic framing perpetrated by Likud themselves is to identify Likud as the sole voice of zionist aims and jewish identity, where any criticism of Likud is claimed to be anti-semitic and anti-zionist.

It is an antisemitic framing because it ends up doing the reverse too: Likud aims to paint all jews and israelis as vicious far-right extremists, as if they were all a racially-based clique.
Instead both jews and israelis and zionists have a wide range of opinions on jewish identity, religion, zionism, israeli politics. They are normal people, not as Likud depicts them.

Anyhow the crucial detail is that both Labour and J Corbyn are committed and longstanding antiracists and zionists, but most of Labour and certainly J Corbyn are also against Likud extreme far-right politics, while a minority of Labour instead are amazingly aligned with Likud.

If there is a party where antisemitism is common that's the Conservatives: ask members and many of them have the strongest prejudices against semites, whether jewish or arab (or against muslims). But what matters is that politically even if quite racist in general the Conservatives are politically aligned with Likud, and then their casual long standing racism becomes irrelevant.

Blissex

«He was not compelled to run his buinsess like a sweatshop. He chose to.»

Sadly there is a good argument that this point is quite optimistic in the long term, even if it is right in the short term.

Suppose that there are two warehouse businesses, both profitable, but one twice as profitable than the other because it treats the employees in the meanest way possible.
In the long term the pressures of "the markets" are such that the meaner business will displace or take over the less mean business, by various mechanisms.
That is a fundamental difference that certain bearded political economists have illustrated between industrial organizations and people working for themselves.
As to the latter imagine that two people have equivalent lots of land, and one works it harder than the other.
The first will have more output, but the second is under no competitive pressure to work harder as long as their output is sufficient to them: the land is theirs, the time they spend is theirs.
But if there is a separation between owners and labourers, and even more so if there are also separate (and even overlapping) categories of produces and consumers, and of managers and owners, and of owners and financiers, the competitive pressures in the relationships among them can result in outcomes that none of them actually wants.

A similar argument but with a slightly different flavour is the subject of the excellent book "No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart":

http://www.web.ca/~tslee/
“Every week, millions of North Americans take advantage of their freedom of choice by shopping at Wal-Mart. Ironically, the cumulative effect of these actions may be to remove real choice by driving alternatives to Wal-Mart out of business. As a result, many who spend their money at a Wal-Mart store may nevertheless end up wishing that it had never been built.”

Arthurian

"insufficiently sensitive"

derrida derider

"... an interest in Israel-Palestinian affairs does not often enhance one’s rationality"

LOL - a lovely piece of English understatement. What is it about that part of the world that turns sensible people crazy?

Robert Mitchell

Blissex said:

"But if there is a separation between owners and labourers, and even more so if there are also separate (and even overlapping) categories of produces and consumers, and of managers and owners, and of owners and financiers, the competitive pressures in the relationships among them can result in outcomes that none of them actually wants."

Why do owners remain blissfully ignorant of the repercussions of their profit-maximization operations? It takes a special kind of sociopath to willfully ignore the conditions of his workers. "Hi, I live in a gated community, I never have to see poors, the cities are banning homelessness now so out of sight, out of mind!"

Blissex

«It takes a special kind of sociopath to willfully ignore the conditions of his workers.»

That special kind of sociopath is called "a normal person". Most normal persons in developed countries have a clear idea that 50% of the world population live in abject conditions and vaguely wish them well, ignoring doing anything that might help them.
Normal people also wish that romanian and bangladeshi and unemployed workers in great poverty were stopped from competing with them on wages and taking their jobs, while many others also rejoice that they seem happy live in time-shared bunk beds so that house prices and rents can be bigger and the cost of gardening, homecare, etc. be lower.

There is a big difference in most people's reckoning between "ignore the conditions" of someone and "deliberately and gratuitously make worse the conditions" of that someone.
A stronger version of that is also common: for many people if "the markets" (like the southern property markets for example, or the job markets) make people poor and insecure that's just like the weather.

«"Hi, I live in a gated community, I never have to see poors, the cities are banning homelessness now so out of sight, out of mind!"»

That's not 1% of psychopaths, it is a (presumably large) majority of the voters, where the "gated community" is called the UK or the EU, with respect to the rest of the world.

Most voters understand reciprocal charity, they just don't get unilateral charity.
Even that jewish trot, Yeshua bin Yussuf, said that every act of apparently unilateral charity towards the poor was really an act of reciprocal charity towards his father, who would recognize it.

G

@blissex get a blog. Or better still on the telly. @dillow you should also get on the telly.

More realistically you should both get a podcast. Or podcasts.

cjcjc

I must have missed Corbyn's "longstanding Zionism".
Any examples - there must surely be loads?!
Though strangely he has indulged Hamas but never met with any Israeli politicians, including the Israeli Labour Party.

Blissex

«I must have missed Corbyn's "longstanding Zionism".
Any examples - there must surely be loads?!»

Well, if his politics were less than spanky nice his numerous likudnik enemies would have thrown them in his face, and so far nobody has accused him of insufficient zionism, just used smears by remote association.

As to what he has actually said, this is a recent unimpeachable report (The Jewish Chronicle) from an unimpeachable source (the Board of Deputies):


www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/153303/jeremy-corbyn-must-do-more-address-concerns-says-board-deputies-after-meeting

«Mr Corbyn and two advisers held talks with Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush and chief executive Gillian Merron this afternoon. Following the meeting Mr Arkush said: "We had a positive and constructive meeting and were pleased that Mr Corbyn gave a very solid commitment to the right of Israel to live within secure and recognised boundaries as part of a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. "Mr Corbyn affirmed his support for shechitah, brit milah and Jewish faith schools. He also resolved in strong terms to fight antisemitism from wherever it comes.»


That's exactly as he has been advocating for the past several decades, and he is even a realistic two-state zionist, which is the official position of Israel and the USA themselves, instead of one of idealistic one-state zionists.

Note that I use "zionist" here is the proper sense of the advocates of the existence of a Israel as a state associated with the hebrew religion, not those of a likudnik persuasion or advocating brutality in territories occupied by Israel's army.
Unfortunately a lot of people on every side conflate "zionist" with "likudnik", or the far right extremist wing of zionism, and I can understand that for ordinary discourse.

Blissex

«"zionist" here is the proper sense»

To explain the difference, let's go back to the original Balfour declaration:

«view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine»

Proper zionists like J Corbyn agree with that, including
“nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, likudniks "forget" about about that “being clearly understood”, and by stretching semantics considerably call that anti-semitism, as if there weren't many in Israel and many jews around the world who do support “the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

Blissex

«Unfortunately a lot of people on every side conflate "zionist" with "likudnik"»

I have found a particularly absurd example, from Gilad Atzmon, a jewish-israeli (emigrated) artist, where he condemns J Corbyn for being a likudnik as he supports 2-state zionism:

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2016/2/15/4kwrnp76v5oyq4f5f81sz5zkh35i2o
“Here is what the patron of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign told the JC about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, “I have a long interest in campaigning for peace and justice in the Middle East, and reiterated my commitment to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to a state, and to live in peace and security.” This sounds to me like a segment from a Likud pamphlet. Actually, I would expect our long-awaited radical leader to question whether Israel has the right to exist at the expense of another people. I would expect an heroic man like Corbyn to question whether the two state solution is still a valid option. I would expect Corbyn to sound more ethical and courageous than David Cameron and more pro Palestinian than Bibi Netanyahu.”

cjcjc

The lady doth protest too much!

George Carty

Likud is certainly "right wing" (as opposed to merely "centre right") but is it really reasonable to call it "far-right"?

Surely the true "far-right" in Israel are the factions who want the whole of Mandate Palestine cleansed of Arabs: the Kahanists et al?

Blissex

«Likud is certainly "right wing"»

They are extreme far-right: they are a bit further to the right of the UK Conservatives, who are pretty much far-right. Both the UK conservatives and Likud like death squads, but the Likud ones are far more active.

Consider these gradations:

* centre-right: german christian democrats, "one nation" tories, Macron, LibDems.
* right-wing: Mandelson/Blair, Thatcher, USA Republicans before Reagan, Putin.
* far-right: Reagan, the Clintons, Obama, post-Thatcher Conservative politicians.
* extreme far-right: G Williamson and most Conservative club members, Likud, Bush, Duterte.
* fascists: argentinian junta, Pinochet.
* monsters: hutu government, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot.

«Surely the true "far-right" in Israel are the factions who want the whole of Mandate Palestine cleansed of Arabs.»

There is far-right, extreme far-right, and fascists, and there are wannabe monsters like those who believe that "the only good palestinian [or indian, communist, jew, kulak, tutsi, intellectual, ... ] is a dead one".

Consider for example the fascists regimes of the USA Confederation and of apartheid South Africa: they denied citizenship and/or enslaved to a majority of the population, but did not want to exterminate them, so they were not quite monster regimes.

Blissex

«Likud is certainly "right wing"»

From the palestinian perspective they are arguably fascists: they have removed their civil and political rights, they confiscate their properties, and they systematically intimidate and brutalize them.

Perhaps Likud from the point of view of israeli voters is merely far-right (economically and socially), rather than extreme far-right.

Cjcjc

I am SO loving those “gradations”...good to know that Obama is “far right”

Blissex

«good to know that Obama is “far right”»

The Overton window, thanks to Clinton and Fox and the NYT and the WaPo has moved rightwards a lot...

Consider his positioning with respect to Reagan: Obama has kept Guantanamo running, has avoided prosecuting Wall Streeters and has given them trillions, and has boasted like Bush of running a large network of junta-style kidnap, death and torture squads.

All Reagan did was to fund latin american "contra" death squads and invade Grenada, and run a big fiscal stimulus that reduced unemployment and boosted wages.

Here is a cartoon about Clinton, and Obama has moved quite a bit to the right of Clinton:

http://doonesbury.washingtonpost.com/strip/archive/1996/11/23

Blissex

«good to know that Obama is “far right”»

here is how a bunch of academics have evaluated recent USA presidential election campaigns (not presidential terms):


https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2004
https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2008
https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012
https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2016

In 2012 Obama campaigned pretty much as rightwards as Santorum and Gingrich, on a Bush-like record.

Roger

So, are we defining "exploitation" now as the emergent process of improving living standards by 20-30X, a reduction in the workweek of 50%, a reduction in housework by even more, safer jobs, better working conditions and the funding of the greatest safety nets in history? Seems like an odd definition.

Any economic historian is familiar with the above emergent trends and that capitalism is in great part (necessary if not sufficient) the driving force for the gains.

In developing countries we have seen faster improvement in median income in the past 30 years than at any time in the history of the human race. Again, the consensus is that globalization and market expansions to previously socialist hellholes is the explanation.

I think we would be better off if we called the enrichment of billions of people something other than "exploitation".

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