Saturday, July 04, 2020

Manifestação conjunta Black Lives Matter / Boogaloo contra a violência policial

Uma thread no Twiiter sobre isso (uma passagem: «It's almost as though the "boogaloo bois" are actually not just a bunch of white supremacists and nearly every article written about them over the last year has no understanding of what it actually is»).

"Hamilton" e as divisões no "progressismo" norte-americano

Isto é de 2016 (pior ainda - acho que é de 2015 mas alterado em 2016), mas se calhar continua atual - como a popularidade do musical "Hamilton" entre os Democratas norte-americanos (ou pelo menos entre a sua elite) pode ser visto como um sinal de se estarem a concentrar apenas em questões como o anti-racismo, deixando de lado a luta de classes económica.

Recorde-se que Hamilton pode ser visto como um dos fundadores da tradição política que veio a dar origem ao Partido Republicano, enquanto o seu adversário Thomas Jefferson de certa forma ser´´a o fundador do Partido Democrático.

How Lin-Manuel Miranda taught liberals to love Alexander Hamilton, por Matthew Yglesias

Miranda's Hamilton so perfectly matches the sensibilities of mainstream Obama-era Democrats that the Democratic National Committee turned an early November Hamilton performance into a fundraiser.

And it reflects an ongoing, albeit somewhat subtle, split among contemporary Democrats. All factions of the current party are supportive of racial justice causes and immigration reform, and all factions are supportive of making rich people pay higher taxes to finance social spending.

But to someone like Bernie Sanders and his supporters, crushing the political power of the rich is the central political cause of our time — the key from which everything else follows. This worldview is incompatible with both the spirit of high-dollar, star-studded fundraising events (which, indeed, Sanders eschews) and with the idea of celebrating Hamilton and the Hamiltonian tradition in American politics. Not coincidentally, it also has a somewhat strained relationship with some of the racial justice and immigrant rights causes ("the billionaires," for example, are clearly not the primary impediment to the policing reforms sought by Black Lives Matter nor to obtaining a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants) that helped inspire the historiographical revisions that are the basis of Miranda's Hamilton.

But Sanders's perspective is currently a minority one in the Democratic Party, and the dominant faction that includes both Clintons and Barack Obama offers a distinctly Hamiltonian look for the original party of Jefferson.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Alternativa "free speech" ao Twitter começa a banir contas

Há dias, começou-se (pelo menos entre os conservadores dos EUA) a falar muito do Parler, supostamente uma alternativa sem censura ao Twitter.

Entretanto, o Parler já começou a fazer purgas e a banir contas.

Monday, June 29, 2020

O "mercado livre" é uma coleção de ditaduras

The ‘free market’ is a collection of dictatorships. Here’s how we create a genuinely free economy, por Dylan Paauwe, no Open Democracy:

Whether climate change or (have you already forgotten?) austerity, underlying both positions is a great sense of powerlessness in the face of ‘the economy.’ But there is an alternative which is neither pipe dream nor utopian theory. It enables us to go beyond mere value extraction and work according to values like solidarity and sustainability. This alternative is workplace democracy, creating an actually free market and making an economy of values possible.

The current so-called ‘free’ market is a collection of dictatorships. Big or small, benevolent or often otherwise, a handful of people decide how and to what end we spend most of the energy we have. Small entrepreneurs are often considered the hardworking backbone of our economies, and not without cause. And individuals in the upper echelons of the corporate world can (try to) do a lot of good. But overall our economies are run in the narrow and often short-term financial interest oflarge shareholders who regularly own parts of multiple, even ‘competing’ companies. People who are far from the work being done and its impact make all the important decisions. Meanwhile, we have little to no control over our work and what it produces. We feel something needs to change but that nothing will. Or that everything is constantly changing around us, and we can only hope to adapt.

Thankfully, not all is quiet on the economic front. Currently, there are over 11 million people working worldwide in democratic companies. Whether founded as worker cooperatives, handed over by the original owner or the result of years of conflict between an organized workforce and large corporations, they have one thing in common: those that keep the company running decide how and to what end it is done. Through general assemblies and/or elections of company leaders, they are able to introduce other values into our economy than mere value extraction. Whether supporting free healthcare and education through environmentally friendly production, fighting for gender equality one ecologically farmed bag of coffee at a time, or reinvigorating local and sustainable agriculture, the track record is already impressive.
Diga-se que duvido muito que a susbstituição do capitalismo pela "democracia empresarial", por si só faça grande diferença no que diz respeito a questões como o aquecimento global.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Porque Marx não acabou o Capital?

Why Didn’t Marx Finish Capital?, por Ludo Cuyvers, no Marxist Sociology Blog:

Today, almost every problem that has remained unsolved in Capital, has been cited as a reason why the book remained unfinished. However, it is difficult to see how such issues could have led Marx to reconsider his earlier manuscript, or abandon further attempts to elaborate on their solution, if he found Engels able to “make something” of them? (...)

For instance, against Stedman Jones’s argument that, over the years, Marx was forced to reconsider his former deterministic historical materialism, which was evident from hisPreface of Zur Kritik, it can be argued that while drafting the Grundrisse – before Volume 1 of Capital was published – Marx indicated discomfort with such determinism. And about the so-called transformation problem of labor values or the law of the falling rate of profit, it can be said that although Marx continued to wrestle with both issues, the solutions he outlined, though imperfect, do not provide sufficient reason for these imperfections to be seen as at the basis of the unfinished nature of his manuscripts. As Volume 3 of Capital shows his rate of profit formula is based on labor values and he repeatedly attempted, but unsuccessfully, to find out the impact on the rate of profit of increasing labor productivity.

Among the substantive problems of Capital, a more serious candidate is Marx’s failure to reconcile, based on his schemes of reproduction, expanded reproduction with steady economic expansion. Marx’s mathematical manuscripts show a clear intention to apply and deepen the dialectic materialist method and the study of dialectic development processes using mathematics.

But apart from this intention, there is evidence that at least part of Marx’s notes on calculus and differential equations were related to the problem of how “to determine mathematically the principal laws governing crises”, as he wrote in 1873 in a letter to Engels. However, the algebra of non-negative matrices that he needed to solve it, did not exist yet. In fact, the prospects of an acceptable solution for Marx’s theoretical and mathematical problem of an expanding economy became only sufficiently promising with John von Neumann’s seminal work during the 1930s, and with that of Oskar Langein the 1950s.
Eu até acho que, quando se meteu na parte da transformação dos valores em preços, Marx andou por perto de abandonar a teoria do valor-trabalho sem perceber.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

O mito dos "escravos irlandeses"

Ultimamente tem começado a correr em certos sectores a ideia que teria havido também escravos irlandeses (e não apenas negros) nas América.

Uma série de artigos de Liam Hogan desmentindo essa conversa - para abertura, recomendo ‘Irish slaves’: The Convenient Myth (OpenDemocracy):

It was with a heavy heart and no small amount of anger that I decided it was necessary to write a public refutation of the insidious myth that the Irish were once chattel slaves in the British colonies. The subject of this myth is not an issue in academic circles, for there is unanimous agreement, based on overwhelming evidence, that the Irish were never subjected to perpetual, hereditary slavery in the colonies, based on notions of ‘race’. Unfortunately this is not the case in the public domain and the ‘Irish slaves’ myth has been shared so frequently online that it has gone viral.

The tale of the Irish slaves is rooted in a false conflation of indentured servitude and chattel slavery. These are not the same. (...)

“White indentured servitude was so very different from black slavery as to be from another galaxy of human experience,” as Donald Harman Akenson put it in If the Irish Ran the World: Montserrat, 1630-1730. How so? Chattel slavery was perpetual, a slave was only free once they they were no longer alive; it was hereditary, the children of slaves were the property of their owner (...); a chattel slave was treated like livestock, you could kill your slaves while applying “moderate correction” and the homicide law would not apply; the execution of ‘insolent’ slaves was encouraged in these slavocracies to deter insurrections and disobedience, and their owners were paid generous compensation for their ‘loss’; an indentured servant could appeal to a court of law if they were mistreated, a slave had no recourse for justice. And so on...
Aliás, basta olhar para o texto original da Constituição dos EUA, nomeadamente para o famoso artigo 1, secção 2, cláusula 3, para ver que há uma grande diferença entre as duas coisas:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons
Ou seja, as pessoas "bound to Service for a Term of Years" são contadas como "pessoas livres" para efeitos de atribuição de lugares no parlamento aos estados, em vez de serem incluídas entre as tais "all other Persons" (isto é, escravos) que contavam só 3/5, o que mostra que o seu estatuto era visto como estando muito mais próximo do de uma pessoa livre do que do de um escravo.

[Um aparte sobre os "all other Persons" - também é revelador que os "Pais Fundadores" dos EUA tenham andado às voltas para arranjar uma maneira de referir os escravos na constituição sem usar a palavra "escravos"; interessantemente, pôe em causa tanto a narrativa conservadora do "temos que ver as coisas no seu tempo; na altura a escravatura era considerada aceitável" como a narrativa progressista "os fundadores dos EUA eram uma carrada de racistas esclavagistas": na verdade, já na altura a escravatura era um tema extremamente polémico (inclusive muitos proprietários de escravos, como Jefferson e James Madison, eram contra a escravatura, mas depois arranjavam justificações rocambolescas para continuarem a ter escravos) , de tal maneira que tinha que ser referida por eufemismos, tal era a má-consciência]

Outra coisa que a questão dos irlandeses me faz lembrar é a frase de Thomas Sowell que muitos anti-anti-racistas gostam de citar:
Blacks were not enslaved because they were black, but because they were available at the time. Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black slave was brought to the Western Hemisphere
Isso é idiota - na altura da escravatura transatlântica, o que mais havia eram brancos "disponíveis" na Europa: na altura grassavam as guerras de religião entre católicos e protestante, pelo que poderiam perfeitamente ter escravizado os prisioneiros de guerra e os "hereges" ou os "papistas" (atendendo que era frequente massacrar os indivíduos da facção religiosa oposta quando havia oportunidade, nem seria um grande salto escravizá-los em vez de matá-los); e mesmo presos de delito comum poderiam ter sido escravizados. Houve realmente algo parecido com isso - as condenações perpétuas às galés, usadas em França como substituto para a pena de morte, mas mesmo isso não era escravatura (os filhos dos condenados às galés não se tornavam automaticamente condenados às galés; e além disso  não eram comprados e vendidos, estavam adscritos a uma tarefa especifica - remar o barco - em vez estarem genericamente à disposição de um dono, etc.). 

Ou seja, nessa altura, mesmo quando podiam, os europeus não escravizavam (a título vitalício e hereditário) outros europeus, o que indica que já na altura existiria um tabu contra isso (tabu esse que, pelos vistos, se aplicava aos europeus mas não aos negros). Claro que se efetivamente tivesse havido escravatura de irlandeses (que, sendo um povo conquistado de uma religião diferente dos conquistadores, seriam realmente os ideais para serem escravizados em massa), isso confirmaria a teoria que não era uma questão de racismo mas de "disponibilidade", mas, apesar do mito, não houve.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

O fim da Segway

Agora que a Segway vai acabar, isso talvez dê razão a este artigo de Paul Graham de há 11 anos, The Trouble with the Segway ("The reason you look like a dork riding a Segway is that you look smug. You don't seem to be working hard enough").

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Da "Comuna de Seattle" ao "anarquismo Tory"

The case for Tory anarchism, por Aris Roussinos, onde o autor primeiro fala do CHAZ/CHOP e da influência que a região autónoma dos curdos da Síria teve sobre esse movimento e sobre parte da esquerda radical ocidental, e depois faz a apologia de um "anarquismo"/localismo conservador.