Daily Archive: 09/29/2013

Sep 29 2013

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Yet another windy response to “What is Capitalism” by Annieli

I’ve been writing diaries here as a matter of praxis, that is, bringing theory and practice together as dialectically critical action, this is yet another attempt to make the somewhat odious task of understanding the core of marxist thought and applying it to coherent contemporary circumstance. This example shows the fundamental problem in taking an oppositional stance to capitalism as anti-capitalist thinking, how to discuss the alternatives as types of post-capitalism, and what comes afterward in terms of development. One first must understand the materialist approach to history and see capitalism’s place. Human development as cultural/social development laid upon nature’s development is always sets of uneven development even in terms of the prehistoric, knowing that many different versions of humanoids did at some moments live in parallel, some evolving to survive and others not, in a godless ecological struggle. Similarly uneven development exists for each of the historical stages of human social/economic development often described as Modes of production and the Five stages of history. Where it can get complicated is specifying the forces of production.

History can be described as divided into these stages

2.1 Primitive Communism

2.2 Slave Society

2.3 Feudalism

2.4 Capitalism

2.5 Socialism

2.6 Communism

We can still see echoes of more primitive relations even today in the informal economies of barter as forms of primitive communism and the indentured labor of some immigrant labor whether in this country or others. Enslavement exists in many forms in these uneven developments whether as actual human ownership in sex traffic or wage slavery as in globalized mass-market, corporately-owned consumer industries. Socialism or collective ownership of the means and forces of production has been achieved at various historical moments with varied success and failure and always exists as a non-totality in that other historical stages have and continue to exist in an uneven relationship and in various evolutionary forms.

This diary’s example will be of necessity a schematic version applied to the current situation of wind energy production in the United States signifying those uneven stages of historical development

The economy in which these modal stages are situated have three moments: production circulation consumption, which as a circuit reproduces itself. that is. each consuming moment induces a new, subsequent producing moment, much like the dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis producing a new thesis.

Writers who identify with historical materialism usually postulate that society has moved through a number of types or modes of production. That is, the character of the production relations is determined by the character of the productive forces; these could be the simple tools and instruments of early human existence, or the more developed machinery and technology of present age. The main modes of production Marx identified generally include primitive communism or tribal society (a prehistoric stage), ancient society, feudalism, and capitalism. In each of these social stages, people interact with nature and produce their living in different ways. Any surplus from that production is allotted in different ways. Ancient society was based on a ruling class of slave owners and a class of slaves; feudalism was based on landowners and serfs; and capitalism based on the capitalist class and the working class. The capitalist class privately owns the means of production, distribution and exchange (e.g., factories, mines, shops and banks) while the working class live by exchanging their socialized labour with the capitalist class for wages.

In order to apply this to wind power, the task is to project those stages as simply as possible. Wind is basic yet necessarily tied to other natural factors of production in terms of marine or terrestrial environment. It appears greater in various locations yet even those quantities are not consistent even seasonally and as a natural resource are difficult to capitalize upon. More problematic is its availability as seemingly costless, yet also impossible to accumulate in any surplus in its natural form, hence its designation as a common-pool resource. If you put up a windmill you are being a primitive communist until the height or appearance interferes with your neighbors. As you derive power whether as grinding mill, water pump, or electrical generator, you accumulate various types of materially transformed surplus. Its subsequent transformation into “wind capital” comes in the means by which power is produced and its relation to the entire productive circuit. In the mercantile or feudal case of grinding grain or pumping water it comes from being one part of producing other goods, whereas as under capitalism it can be not only an industrialized farm but as in the case of mineral exploitation, speculative contracts auctioned off among capitalists over a very long cycle of manufacturing, siting, and operating. These are of necessity coexisting uneven developments whether you have a single subsistence farm windmill in the Southern Hemisphere or a massive industrial wind farm fueling a national energy grid in the Northern Hemisphere. As has been mentioned here and elsewhere in DK, alternative capital accumulating organizations with a public/social purpose, whether organized cooperatively or collectively continue to emerge with varying success to resist the hegemony of capitalist energy corporations. Just as the development of the Cape Wind turbine farm off the shore of Massachusetts is less about the capital and labor needed for construction or the deconstruction of class narratives about environmental hazard or aesthetic blight, than the fictive capital embodied in auctioned speculative leases and their relation to the corporate energy oligopoly of the New England electricity grid. Unevenness occurs in the scale of such endeavors since the NIMBY-ness of small scale backyard wind turbines ranges from the quaint reproduction of historical windmills to the pathological fear of eyesores, noise, and dead birds.

Sep 29 2013

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher’s New Rules

California is leading by example

New Rule: Conservatives Who Love to Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here to California

Bill Maher, Huffington Post

New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid — very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can’t the rest of the country stop us — we’re going to drag you along with us.

It wasn’t that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown.[..]

Since then, everything Republicans say can’t or won’t work — gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail — California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society — universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana — has only made California stronger. And all we had to do to accomplish that was vote out every single Republican. Without a Republican governor and without a legislature being cock-blocked by Republicans, a $27 billion deficit was turned into a surplus, continuing the proud American tradition of Republicans blowing a huge hole in the budget and then Democrats coming in and cleaning it up.

Sep 29 2013

On This Day In History September 29

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 93 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1547, Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is born this day near Madrid.

Cervantes led an adventurous life and achieved much popular success, but he nevertheless struggled financially throughout his life. Little is know about his childhood, except that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez, and that his father was an apothecary.

In 1569, Cervantes was living in Rome and working for a future cardinal. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. At the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, he took three bullets and suffered permanent damage to his left hand. Later, he was stationed at Palermo and Naples. On the way home to Madrid in 1575, he and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and held captive in Algiers. Cervantes was ransomed after five years of captivity and returned to Madrid, where he began writing. Although his records indicate he wrote 20 to 30 plays, only two survive. In 1585, he published a romance. During this time, he married a woman 18 years younger than he was and had an illegitimate daughter, whom he raised in his household. He worked as a tax collector and as a requisitioner of supplies for the navy, but was jailed for irregularities in his accounting. Some historians believe he formulated the idea for Don Quixote while in jail.

In 1604, he received the license to publish Don Quixote. Although the book began as a satire of chivalric epics, it was far more complex than a simple satire. The book blended traditional genres to create a sad portrait of a penniless man striving to live by the ideals of the past. The book was a huge success and brought Cervantes literary respect and position, but did not generate much money. He wrote dramas and short stories until a phony sequel, penned by another writer, prompted him to write Don Quixote, Part II in 1615.

Cervantes died in Madrid on April 23, 1616. In honor of the date on which both Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died, UNESCO established April 23 as the International Day of the Book. (Shakespeare and Cervantes, however, did not actually die on the same day, as the April 23 date for Shakespeare is Julian calendar (Old Style) and the April 23 date for Cervantes is Gregorian calendar (New Style) as those were the calendars in effect in England and in Spain, respectively, at that time. The Gregorian calendar was then ten days ahead of the Julian.)  

Sep 29 2013

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Steve had not listed his guests for Sunday.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Guests on this Sunday are former President Bill Clinton and, in an exclusive interview, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Guests on the roundtable are ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol; and New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.

A special interview with retired U.S. Army Ranger Jeff Struecker discussing his return to Somalia for the new documentary “Return to Mogadishu,” 20 years after he was caught in the battle immortalized in “Black Hawk Down.”

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: MR. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Joining him for a panel discussion are Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal; David Ignatius of The Washington Post; CBS Political Director John Dickerson; and CBS News Foreign Correspondent Clarissa Ward.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: On this Sunday’s MTP, David Gregory will have an exclusive interview with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The guests for a special roundtable discussion of the potential government shutdown are Republican Congressman from Idaho Raul Labrador; former Republican Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman; former White House Press Secretary during the Clinton administration Dee Dee Myers; and author of the new book “Tip and The Gipper,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, one of House Speaker John Boehner’s top deputies, will join Ms. Crowley to discuss the potential for a government shutdown.

Joining her to talk about the Affordable Care Act are Republican Senator John Barrasso and Former Vermont Governor and DNC Chief Howard Dean on the politics and practicality of the law.

The guests for her panel are former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta; Former U.S. Congressman Artur Davis; Washington Post Columnist Ruth Marcus; and CNN Commentator Ben Ferguson.

Sep 29 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, returns from Barack Obama talk to jeers – and cheers – in Tehran

 JONATHAN OWEN   SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2013

The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, was greeted by angry scenes on his return to Tehran from New York yesterday, with his convoy pelted with eggs, shoes and stones amid chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

But supporters of his controversial decision to break a 34-year silence between the leaders of Iran and America, by speaking to President Barack Obama on Friday, cheered and hailed him as a “lord of peace”.

The 15-minute telephone call between the two men was the first conversation between the presidents of the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It came after last week’s United Nations meeting in New York, and assurances made by Mr Rouhani about Iran’s controversial nuclear programme. “We say explicitly that we will be transparent; we say explicitly that we will not build a bomb,” he said.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Kenya criticizes U.S. over updated travel warning

Special report: The punishment was death by stoning. The crime? Having a mobile phone

Protesters in Khartoum call for Bashir to quit

Is population growth out of control?

Chimps are making monkeys out of us

Sep 29 2013

Three Things On The Internet

The team of All In with Chris Hayes puts out a daily request on Twitter asking their followers to send them the things they find most interesting on the internet. This is their finds for

Bill Gates says ctrl+alt+delete was a mistake

1. JJ Abrams don’t screw up the new Star Wars. Here’s how.

2. That thing where your computer freezes and it’s horrible and your last hope is contorting your fingers and holding down “ctrl+alt+delete.” Yeah, that thing, according to Bill Gates, was a mistake.

3. Haunted houses are scary. You know?

Sep 29 2013

Saturday Night Movie