Episode 21: Consigned to the Jaco-dustbin of History. Radio-Free Humanity

Owing to the leading role of African-Americans, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign imploded, and now an uprising for Black lives and against police violence has swept the US and the world. The co-hosts lay out the case that these events have delivered body blows to the theory and strategy of Jacobin magazine and others on the anti-neoliberal “left,” consigning them to the Jaco-dustbin of history.

Brendan and Andrew argue that the recent upsurge constitutes mass repudiation of so-called “class-based”—economistic and color-blind––politics. They also argue that Sanders’ campaign imploded, not because of directives issued by Democratic Party bosses, but because voters, led by millions of Black “neoliberal shills,” wanted to end Democratic Party infighting in order to concentrate on removing Trump from office. And they discuss why it is so difficult for the anti-neoliberal “left” to learn from its repeated errors.

The discussion refers to works by Raya Dunayevskaya (American Civilization on Trial), Sydney Ember (New York Times), Dustin Guastella, Tucker Carlson, MHI’s 2018 Perspectives, Zack Beauchamp (Vox), Nathan J. Robinson, Matt Karp, Edward-Isaac Dovere (The Atlantic), Daniel Denvir, and Meagan Day (Vox interview by Sean Illing).

In a related current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss the struggle to remove Confederate monuments and other symbols. Is a struggle over symbols always a merely symbolic struggle?

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective. It is co-hosted by Brendan Cooney and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks. Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the co-hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI.

We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

Please visit MHI’s online print publication, With Sober Senses, for further news, commentary, and analysis.

Click here for more episodes.

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3 Responses to Episode 21: Consigned to the Jaco-dustbin of History. Radio-Free Humanity

  1. william Crain says:

    I try to keep up, find myself reading Kapitalism 101 long after it posted…
    I really appreciate your subject choices.
    I find myself considering Lefties and Black leaning anti-neo-libruls, did a ‘shusssh’ job on the Bernie contingent. To bad there wasn’t someone they could endorse.
    However, the ‘repeated errors’; wreck the silly donkey heads; It’s still the Old Guard vs the Newer, more comprehensive inclusive programs:
    mass repudiation of so-called “class-based”—economistic and color-blind––politics. They also argue that Sanders’ campaign imploded, not because of directives issued by Dem
    Not sure of the personnel who are working thru this exciting programing but needless to say, i will be sure, soon enuff.

  2. Westicle says:

    Hey this doesn’t really have to do with the post but I just had a question. I was in an Austrian economics discord server and I came across an objection to the LTV that I can’t quite seem to figure out why it’s wrong. Also the paragraph is worded super poorly so try to be charitable when reading it, but I still am confused by the point he’s making and if he’s right about the circularity of Marx’s Theory. Anyways here is the objection:

    “In the first volume of Capital Marx describes the value of labour as the labour required to reproduce itself, labour time determines labour time. However, in the third volume of Capital, this changes to the extent one might assume given the differences between the volumes of Capital. In the third volume, the wage rate is not determined directly by the socially necessary labour time needed to reproduce it, but instead, the socially necessary labour time needed to reproduce labour is an equilibrium around which the wage rate fluctuates in disequilibrium. Under Marxism, labour is no different from any other commodity, wages are determined by the cost of reproducing it, the commodities required to sustain the labourer. For example, imagine that the worker only requires bread to survive, the wage would then depend on how much bread the worker requires, “how much” meaning the value of the quantity of bread (as opposed to the physical quantity.) If wages depend on the value of bread, then we obviously need to know that value. But bread, like all other commodities, is subject to the labour theory of value, in Marx’s view. To determine the value of bread, one needs to determine the value of the labour that produces bread. But the wages of bread-producers, like all other wages, depend on the value of labour-power. This is turn depends on the value of bread. The circularity here is apparent, before once can determine the value of labour-power one needs to determine value of labour-power, one needs to know the value of bread, a value that in turn depends on the value of labour-power. Unless one can break out of the circle, the labour theory’s explanation of wages and profits. Marxists (primarily Analytical) would later come to these conclusion themselves independently, unaware that Bohm-Bawerk had already done so the century before.”

    • “In the first volume of Capital Marx describes the value of labour as the labour required to reproduce itself,”
      This is not what Marx says.

      “labour time determines labour time.”
      Not what Marx says. Also, this makes no sense.

      “but instead, the socially necessary labour time needed to reproduce labour is an equilibrium around which the wage rate fluctuates in disequilibrium.” This is not what Marx says.

      “Under Marxism”
      What the hell is “under Marxism”?

      “The circularity here is apparent, before once can determine the value of labour-power one needs to determine value of labour-power, one needs to know the value of bread, a value that in turn depends on the value of labour-power”

      I don’t see the circularity. Why do you need to know the value of labor-power in order to determine the VALUE of bread? The value of bread is the socially necessary labor time required to produce it.

      I suspect that the circularity critique that the poster has attempted to make is this: the price of production of labor-power is determined by the price of production of the means of subsistence. But these prices of production are determined by the sum of variable capital, constant capital and the average rate of profit for wage goods. The variable capital in this equation is determined by the wage goods required for means of subsistence. etc. etc. The apparent circularity only exists if time stops moving normally and therefore the prices of production of wage goods being produced today retroactively effect that prices of production of wage goods already consumed in the maintenance of labor power. Once value and price formation are seen as a temporal sequence, not in static equilibrium, this circularity stuff all just becomes superfluous.

      “unaware that Bohm-Bawerk had already done so the century before.””
      Everyone has read Bohm-Bawerk. Analytical Marxists were stumped by the transformation problem and Sraffa, not Bohm-Bawerk.

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