29 June, 2020

The Role of Mankind

Sándor Bortnyik: The New Adam, 1924

The Role of Mankind in Understanding 

and Interacting with their World

The Grundrisse Lectures by David Harvey are already-and-unavoidably taking the study of Marxism well beyond a dialectical analysis of Capitalist Economics, to also begin to delve ever more deeply and revealingly into Mankind's essential-and-unique role as the only Thinking species upon Planet Earth, and maybe also in all the possibly reachable Universe at large!

For, productive Labour has long been Mankind's most self-determining and indeed qualitatively-developing feature in their evolution, and therefore has been playing the Key role in their Socio-Economic advances with respect to their increasing knowledge amd control with in their containing-and-developing Living World context, in which they both dwell, seek-to-survive, and even to prosper.

For, along with their bipedal gait, and a flexible and manipulatable hand, with an opposable thumb, Human Beings, in consequence of all their extensive potentialities, have also developed advanced, new and unique cerebral capabilities, which, after millions of years, led first to primitive tool-making, from sharp flint fragments, as well as the means to make and control fire, develop a Hunter/Gatherer, Family group existence, and simultaneously initiate the beginnings of Language, which, all taken together, enabled their considerable geographical spread across literally all accessible areas of our the globe.

And ultimately, via the transforming effects of the epoch-changing Neolithic Revolution, which also brought-in the beginnings of extensive Human Societies - and via Farming and Animal Husbandry, also led, in a remarkably short period of time, to Intellectual Revolutions, primarily in Ancient Greece, but also (and in a very different and important direction) in Ancient India too.

For, though initially somewhat limited by the development, for the first time, of a kind of Reasoning (the strict and damaging, but easily arrived-at Plurality), still managed to deliver both the very first rational discipline, Mathematics, along with a kind of Logic, based only upon wholly fixed relations and concepts!

Thereafter, Mankind was no longer just a continuing development of Homo Habilis (the priginal Handy Man), but, by then, one already capable of Thinking too: and that vastly transformed his capabilities, in that he also sought Reasons for everything that occurred, and NOT ONLY in what way and how he could use those revealed discoveries.

Man was now a Thinker, as well as a Tool-Maker and User, so instead of only asking "How?", he also began to ask "Why?"

So, there arose a division of Labour between achievements by hand, and those by brain, that were ALL still only carried out by Human Beings. And, aids to the making of new things, though involving an essential content of New Thinking, were still the products of Mankind, as also, of course, were the then invented machines.

And though, in modern times, these techniques will be programmed into Computers, rather than being the mere spades and wheeled-vehicles handled directly by people: they are still designed by, driven by, and even programmed by them too!

Sándor Bortnyik: The New Eve, 1924

Artificial Intelligence is merely the instructions devised by an expert in the given field, and then coded by a programmer, co-opeerating with that expert, then entered into a computer-driven-machine. That was the actual Labour-and-prior-knowledge involved in equipping, such a system!

AND, crucially, if that programmer was NOT implementing the detailed knowledge-and-understanding of an expert in the Real World field involved, the program delivered will be useless! The machine is still totally dependant upon the labour of the programmer, and, in turn, that involved in the knowledge of the discipline expert.

As such a System Designer myself, I can assert that NO machine can ever THINK!

Indeed, the quality of Thinking that goes into a Computer Program, AND a controlled machine, even today, is still totally inadequate to do literally ALL the tasks we can currently give them - and will always continue to give them in the future. And the reason for this resides in the kind of Logic (or Reasoning) that is implicit in all current Programming Languages and throughout the whole of Mathematics too.

Reasoning, as we generally know it, is wholly Pluralistic. Formal Logic assumes all relations and concepts are - forever FIXED - like the components of a machine.

Indeed, I spent most of the 1980s designing tailor-made control-programs across a very wide range of diverse disciplines, always along with discipline experts, in a University in Glasgow. Yet, nevertheless, only finally began to successfully address these major flaws via dedicated Multimedia Aids, applied to Film and Video recordings of dynamic Dance Performance and Choreography, in the first decade of the new Millennium. And, frankly, I have seen neither a similar general use, either in that area, or anywhere else, in the time since then.

So what is generally considered to be Artificial Intelligence, applied to computer-controlled machines, is still wholly pluralistic (comprised of fixed and discrete components - very unlike the evolving natural world) and totally incapable of applying any Human-like Intelligence automatically.

Indeed, the calamities frequently experienced in such situations, are not caused by correctable errors, but by irretrievable Pluralist Logic.

As a qualified professional Physicist, it still took me a lifetime of work in the field and latterly a whole decade of dedicated research to demolish the wholly Pluralistic Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory, currently still dominant in Sub Atomic Physics.

Indeed, both ALL Technology, and all the so-called Sciences too, have not only been crippled by Pluralist Reasoning, but also completely idealised in abandoning physical explanations for mere mathematical formulae, in order to conform to the Plurality of ALL Mathematics.

Sándor Bortnyik: Composition II, Pink and Blue, 1921

And Industry, for centuries, has had to break recognised useful Natural processes (always involving multiple, contending factors), to turn such processes into sequences of very simplified restricted separated-single-factor processes, involving purposely arranged-for pluralistic steps to attempt to replicate the Natural multi-factor situations: and, consequently, only skirting around the Real non pluralistic World.

The seemingly unsolveable problems have always been to attempt to handle simultaneous, mutually-affecting factors, in order to both control sequences of different factors, and separate their individual effects, and thereby lose their various cross influences. Indeed, the nearest that could be achieved was by whole sequences of single law steps, but these were not only always approximations, but also always, by the way they were set up, could not but eliminate all cross influences, so that things that always happened in Natural phenomena, were guaranteed to be absent in the whole set of simplified sequences,

Indeed, it was at first considered to be impossible to handle a dynamic and Holistic World scientifically, but modern researches into multifactor circumstances have begun to reveal how so-called temporary, and long-persisting "Balanced Stabilities" can, and indeed do, replace the supposedly-permanent Stabilities on which Plurality is based. And the natural processes, in the Real World, are actually made up of alternating sequences of different long-lasting Balanced Stabilities, interspersed with short-period Emergent Interludes, where one long-persisting Balanced Stability is, via a series of Crises, finally totally dissociated. And, when, in what appears to be a resultant Chaos, a constructive Phase, via a series of partially successful Crises, finally achieves a wholly New and long lasting Balanced Stability! We can call this an Emergence, or even a Revolution. 

These can never be explained or understood mechanistically. 

The role of Mankind now, must be to try and work out a different way...

The real trajectory of Qualitative Change

12 June, 2020

Before and After a Communist Revolution

Destroyed shops in Minneapolis

Commodities, Services and Jobs


This paper started with the incentive to talk about Work-and-Fulfillment within an alternative Socialist Society, as distinct from the Capitalist Societies we all currently inhabit! But, such a single purpose endeavour as that intended objective, was immediately and dramatically overtaken by the significantly fast-deepening crisis of current World Capitalism, revealed by the latest bi-monthly Lecture by Dr. Richard Wolff in the Judson Memorial Church in New York City.

For it was precipitated by the joint effects of the beginnings of a mighty global virus epidemic, due to a wholly new Coronavirus, but occurring along with a Major Simultaneous Crisis in the Global Oil Industry, due to the threat of competition from the burgeoning Fracking Shale Oil Industry in the USA, which immediately caused a dramatic drop in the price of Oil across the Globe, and then immediately thereafter, a catastrophic drop in the value investments upon the Stock Markets of the World.

To make matters worse, the crisis caused by COVID19 was quickly transforming into a Global Pandemic, which literally nowhere was prepared for after, many still recovering from the economic slump of 2008!

Clearly, that joint Crisis had to be addressed NOW, urgently and even before any discussion upon Jobs, because a New Worldwide Recession could well be already in-motion, and the right political actions by the Revolutionary Left MUST come first, for the Current Crisis could be the initiation of a Revolutionary Situation.


So, in this context, the struggle for Jobs will also be transformed!

The ways people earn their livings have dramatically changed under Capitalism, and though all occupations have not been equally affected, not every one has been affected in the same ways, or to a similar degree. And, it is the jobs of what are termed the Working Class (the Employees) and their families, that have been affected most damagingly, while those of the Owning Class - the Employers, also including a wide range of business owners, from many of the so-called Petty Bourgeois, though vastly smaller that The Working Class, and whose livelihoods depend exclusively upon the Workers - as Customers for their essentially-supplied goods (as in local individual shop-keepers in Working Class areas), whose Life Standards don't usually rise very much above those of their customers. But thereafter, via larger scale suppliers of needed utility services-and-regular-supplies, then upwards to a swiftly improving range of well-remunerated suppliers, and particularly to more expensive Services, then on to the ever more well-financially endowed middle class professionals in Medical and Financial Services. For while all of these people need to work-to-Live, most would never agree to being categorised as being members of the Working Class, though at times of Acute Crisis they are undoubtedly hit too!

Only the real Owning Class - the Bourgeoisie, have Resources well beyond their Daily Needs, as apart from previously accrued Wealth, and the consequent wherewithal for further Investments, their primary sources of regular additional income, in addition to Profits from their Owned Enterprises, are also significantly added-to by Interest from investments, Rents from owned and rented-out Properties, and even lucrative fees from Financial Services and/or Advice expensively supplied to those who can pay.

Clearly, the overall numbers involved are totally dominated by the vast size of the Working Class, but reduce swiftly across those intermediate Groups, until arriving at the Big Bourgeiosie, the numbers then shrink to a relatively tiny proportion: indicated by the fact that the total wealth of the bottom 3.5 billion people on Earth is matched exactly by that of the top 80 individual Capitalists, mostly situated in the USA!

But, not all of these Classes enjoy what they have to do, to continue to exist. Nor are most of their jobs at all fulfilling!

Yet there are Jobs that can be, and often are, fulfilling: those that serve their fellow workers in Health and Education - those doing significant research and development in Key areas of Knowledge, Care and Advice, plus Firemen and Lifeboat men, Arts and Crafts workers, as long as they are not undercut by cheaper factory-produced competing goods, or have been somewhat elevated to exclusively supplying the rich.

Actually whatever it is that workers do, they are all majorly affected by how the vagaries of the current Employer-Employee relation can affect their security and happiness. Literally everyone below the Bourgeoisie are damaged by the usual relations, which regularly throw many out of their jobs, and into sometimes desperate hardships and homelessness!

Now Capitalism, being always driven by the Profit Motif, will always put cheapness over quality, for what it produces for the Mass Market, and hence drives its employees into ever more unfulfilling repetitive tasks, taking away any of the pleasures of creative activities, for the more profitable drudgery of tending the faster repetitive processes of machines.

So, these two dominating, and likely to escalate pressures, effectively remove what pleasures could be got from work: so, even changing ownership of the Workplace, would never be enough! Even the Distributive Co-operative Movements (owned by their customers) could NOT significantly improve the lot of their workers, because of competitive pressure from the abundance of Capitalist alternatives, who would simply buy all their required resources from cheaper, more exploitative sources.

So, any attempt at piecemeal changeovers, will simply never solve the problems of labour: Capitalism itself has to be dismantled!

Now the recent effort of the People's Forum in New York to present the whole of Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto, read in a succession of major languages by native speakers, actually addressed many of these seemingly intractable questions at its very launch, in 1848. And it did not shrink from a Revolutionary capture of State Power by the Communists, which was essential to both defeat the local Forces of Reaction internally, and thereafter go on to defeat Capitalist Armies of Intervention, and continue to defend the Revolutionary State! The subsequent history of Russia after the Revolution proved that this part of their analysis was not only correct, but imperative in ensuring the continuation of their State.

But, for such a Revolution to happen at all, in a mostly Feudal/Peasant Economy, had meant that it had to both carry out the objectives of a Capitalist Revolution, to dispense with the earlier economic stage of Feudalism, and almost simultaneously demolish it as it was created, in order to establish its own absolutely crucial anti-capitalist intentions.

And, in such a country as Russia that involved a very short Alliance with the Peasantry under the banner of Peace, Bread and Land - to keep them on-side, but it actually and unavoidably ground to a halt, and they had to continue to increasingly concede to the more successful Peasants, who naturally saw the Future very differently to the Working Classes of the cities, and were striving for Feudal type Landed Estates; so the necessary Counter-Capitalist security measures expanded to also suppress the Kulaks (rich peasants) and their followers demands. But, in the countryside, the old alliance dissolved in the light of new "Landed" perspectives, and the security organisations found themselves opposed by Peasant-Soviets, increasingly dominated by the Kulaks.

A major Fight then arose between the Bolshevik Leadership of comrades like Lenin and Trotsky, and a fast burgeoning administrative Bureaucracy organised and led by Stalin!

But there are No Peasants in the UK!

The Fight will be against the Big Bourgeoisie!

The small businesses will finally be won to our side.

10 June, 2020

Coronavirus and the Geopolitics of Capitalism

Edward Burtynsky documents the effects of Globalised Capitalism on the landscape

Harvey's Import of Geography into The Development of Capitalism

I feel I must strongly recommend David Harvey's two part contribution upon the geographic dynamics of Capitalism's totally unavoidable expansionist Development in his Anti Capitalist Chronicles on Youtube.

For, as a Geographer himself, he is ideally placed to wed his professional studies and expertise in this area, to his current fruitful and empowering involvement with his critical studies within his modern Marxist stance - via his historically long series of lectures upon Marx's Das Kapital. along with his subsequent-and-crucial treatment of Marx's earlier work upon Grundrisse.

But, though both essential and valuable in revealing that important, and sure to be on-going aspect, it is in an area which has thus far solely been limited to the entirely Pro-Capitalist lobby. So, as such, it delivers to Harvey yet another exclusively Pro-Capitalist body of Research, very similar to that which confronted Marx in his lifelong studies in Economics, as literally all his sources were from Pro-Capitalist apologists for that Emerging System also.

And, of course many of the chosen answers to address Crises in the Capitalist System were often of a Global Nature, with Imperialism extending Capitalism's reach into previously independent countries to secure them as protected sources of necessary resources, and even as more profitable sites for Productive Enterprises, because of the low cost of indigenous Labour.

So, Harvey will certainly have a similar onerous task in extracting as much Truth, and damning as much Falsity, as he can from those committed sources.

For example, without that vital critique, his revelation of the Global Dimension of the Geographical aspect of Capitalism, is certainly NOT where the forces aiming for Socialism can derive the required Understanding and consequent extra energy for the battle to come. Taken alone, without a demolishing exposure of both its own and all other involved contradictions, it would certainly seem to deliver an overpoweringly negative set of possibilities, to any so-derived political perspectives.

Yet, if there is one thing that a drivingly-positive Socialist Campaign both could-and-should contain, it is such a Global perspective, to guide its necessary adjustments to cope with such contradictions driving all attempted solutions via geographic relocations of one kind or another - something which is less and less evident, especially now, with the Coronavirus Pandemic focussing everything solely into the Family Home.

Yet, of course, the current unresolved contradictions of Capitalism are precisely what have turned this Event into a Global calamity.

While, the reactions of a country like Cuba show what could, and indeed should be being done, as they offer to send Medical Teams to wherever in the world they are needed! The most pressing question within this current Crisis, has to be what Socialists can do, when they are not only limited to their own homes, but also exist in a time in which the Labour Organisations (particularly of Trades Unions), are no longer able to act within physical factories,  offices and schools, but also with the difficulty of concerted action on the streets.

And, there are undoubtedly aspects of these restrictions that are political too: for the Global calamity of the Coronavirus that will press the right-wing governments in Britain and the USA, to change things to make the Working Class PAY for the Crisis - as they always do! And, as restrictions are eased, will elicit action on the streets as the Governments do what we expect them to do!

For example the crisis in the USA could be truly colossal, as they have NO National Health Service, and the obvious solutions possible in a Socialist State will never be allowed in a staunchly Capitalism Regime! Look at the Black Lives Matter protests for a taste of where things might be heading...

Any action we undertake later will have to have been prepared for NOW, both theoretically and organisationally!

But how do organisations get built, in such circumstances, and what possible economic actions can thereby be effectively organised, and then implemented upon Social Media? For, it has also effectively been a shutdown, of all of these possibilities too!

Now, all the constraints are NOT totally determined by the extended Corona Crisis, for China (where it all began) has already turned the corner of a complete shutdown, which proves that some of the extensions elsewhere definitely due to the political counter-measures (and their tempos of implementation) both of which were decided-upon-and-implemented, for other so-far unadmitted reasons, apart from the Pandemic itself.

The real revelations of their intentions, will only start to become obvious, by the way Governments plan the emergence from those measures: for example, how China, and then everyone else, perhaps very differently, organise things via the threat of a second wave of the virus, due to the nature of the prior conditions for its Emergence and thereafter, the actions put in place to constrain its further progress.

Indeed, the crucial one will be the USA, for its over 300 million inhabitants, the almost total lack of a National Health Service, the Health Consciousness that such a lack of relevant policies engenders, and the exorbitant cost of their Private Health Companies, and the very high prices of pharmaceuticals, that seem to threaten chaos in that increasingly benighted Country!

And to-cap-it-all, most of the poorer countries on Earth will have literally nothing to protect them when the Crisis hits, and even the newly developing nations like Brazil and India, seem destined for chaos too: for the military have ousted their neo-fascist dictatorship in Brazil, for a purely military alternative, and the Hindu leader of India could easily precipitate a Hindu/Moslem series of pogroms, if not an all-out Civil War.

The Left-worldwide must start now before the more reactionary constraints are implemented from-the-top-down, in using the means they still have - The Internet, and their new capabilities, to prepare for all they will need in the next phase planned by Capitalist Governments.

And the political responses, from a still immobilised population, will have to be what can be organised on Social Media, and with the won-over-support of the National Health workers, and will involve financial arrangements over the Internet!

You can watch David Harvey's series on the Geopolitics of Capitalism, below: