my.ucla forums: Then and Now

One of my posts from 2 years ago when I was first posting:

——Original Message——

On 7/26/2003 9:25:00 PM, lus|V said:
As for “our current system”

Ok. Maybe I’m the only one reading up on how the service industry is will account for 70% percent of the average occupations. Maybe I’m the only one reading about how a college degree are not adequate enough to find a job to live above the margin of poverty nowadays. The problem with your argument is your definition of fair. For example, if you ask someone from an elite class, they will say that our current is system is more than fair. If you ask someone on the bottom echelon, where most individuals including college grads are headed, will inform you, that is not fair.

Historically, you’re correct, but you only stated that in you were using an historical precedent in your previous post. For you to say that any form of communism that will exist in the future will be unfair in contrast to our current system is simply missing the point that Marx was trying to make. A valid argument is that Marxism has not yet occurred. So whatever your idea of the real world is, since by nature our perceptions are biased to our surroundings, is IMPOSSIBLE to contrast to Communism as Marx had intended it.


i’ve thought about it and i agree with myself

——End of Original Message——

Hmmm… I am not too familiar with the statistics you cite – could you give your sources for these figures (It’s not that I don’t believe you; I’m just curious to find more information on this)? In any case, I’m reasonably certain that Marx would have found a service industry job far less dehumanizing than an industrial/production job, since you bring this up. But as for myself, not being born of “rich blood” and a future college grad that will have a degree in something that’s not exactly incredibly practical, I would say that the system is more fair than not. I may be in the minority here, but that’s my position.

But if we cannot use historical precedent to settle this discussion (though I would imagine that history itself should have some say in this issue: keep in mind, Marx himself makes use of historical examples quite frequently), perhaps we should delve into Marx himself. I’ll go through what I’ve found to be some of the main points of Marx, and say if I see him to be right on or off the mark. Feel free to dispute my claims.

First, I think we should note that Marx was incredibly influenced by Hegel in his writing, and Hegel’s works seem to mostly concern themselves with the unending problem of conflict. Marx’s communism, at least to me, seemed a way to break the cycle of struggle (ie the unrealized potential to transcend the master/slave dialectic would be realized in Marx’s communism). This requires a belief in Hegel’s notion of unending struggle, which I am not quite willing to grant. I’m not sure that Hegel was all right (perhaps this is because I’ve found Hegel to be nearly incomprehensible, and need to go back and reread a great deal of what he has said, though I imagine that I would still have some reservations). My point here being that if your foundation is faulty, one must question what one builds on top of that foundation all the more critically.

But on to Marx himself. Marx is obviously greatly concerned with alienation. Much of his conception of alienation comes from the idea that humans have the ability to create their own “needs of life” – that is, man can create his own food, shelter, etc. He then says that when a person’s ‘creation’ is taken away from him or her, his or her work loses value, and, as a result, man becomes dehumanized and alienated from his labor. This alienation relies upon the conditions that what a man makes is taken from him and its profit is taken from him; by these actions he becomes alienated from the production process.

To this, I ask, why is it the case that a person’s labor loses value when he doesn’t keep the end result? I myself believe that when you work (be it in a factory, an office, a restaurant, whatever), you trade your labor for money, which you then trade for the products of another person’s labor. Your labor doesn’t lose any value. In fact, it may gain value, as the money you are paid for work that would otherwise lead to an end product does not spoil, as the end product likely would (the apple picker is paid money which he can use to buy apples for a year, though if he were to pick a year’s worth of apples, many of them would go bad before he could eat them all). When I work, I’m don’t feel dehumanized or alienated – I feel quite the contrary, especially when I pick up a paycheck at the end of the month. Besides, even if this weren’t the case, Marx says that man can create that which he needs; man has no need to enter into the capitalist system if doesn’t want to. He can ‘pull a Thoreau’ and go live off in the woods and subside on his own labor if he chooses (I can’t say I know how well this will turn out – does anyone know what happened to all the hippie communes of the 60s?)

But let us not forget how very awed and impressed Marx actually is by the capitalism of his day. He recognized its incredible efficiency of production and the huge quantities of [insert any commodity here] capitalism could produce. In fact, capitalism was NECESSARY for Marx’s proletariat revolution to occur, as it ‘makes clear’ the distinction between the upper and lower classes and allows the lower classes to unite (I believe he said “The Bourgeoisie create their own grave-diggers.”). But, we run into problems when we consider Marx’s ideas in today’s world. When he was writing there [i]were[/i] two very distinct classes that were often very antagonistic towards each other. Today we have a sizable middle class that essentially stabilizes the situation and can show the lower classes that members of them could move up into the middle class and have a decent life. Further, Marx was writing during an industrial age (in which conditions certainly were very deplorable); we (at least in our nation) are in a post-industrial age. Your reference to service jobs is actually quite apt here: how are we alienated from our labor if our labor isn’t out to create any physical thing? In fact, if a service oriented job is to provide service, you see the very result of your labor, it’s not taken from you as it would be from a factory worker.

Besides, we could perhaps even say that we have, in some ways, met Marx half way: in the Communist Manifesto he argued for, among other things, a graduated income tax (which we now have), free education (which we now have), an end to child labor (again, we’ve met him here), among other things. But of one of his fundamental points, that private property and money, are the source of all our problems (after all, these create class), I am uncertain. I rather think that people will always find something to disagree on, be it property or not (in this sense I am accepting the Hegelian notion of struggle, and suggesting that the elimination of property will not end the cyclical nature). Besides, I don’t think that you can eliminate the conception of private property. Perhaps this is because I am too grounded in the here and now, but I don’t see it happening, ever.

So maybe it would be nice if we could all work for a few hours in the morning, go fish in the afternoon, and go to the opera in the evening. But the thing is that while class still exists, it exists far less than it did in Marx’s day. And even if everything else he said was correct, which I do not grant him, without the very definite division of classes, you’re not going to have a huge group of proletariats to unite and take over. Besides, the dictatorship of the proletariat, were it to ever happen, sounds frightfully perilous – what does the proletariat know about running a government and then gradually letting it fade away? Now I generally like the “common man,” as I believe the term back then was, but I’m not sure if I want him running everything. I’m enough of a fan of specialization to like the idea of someone who knows what he or she is doing to be running things. Perhaps I am wrong here, but even this seems like a moot point.

But as I don’t much agree with Marx’s conception of the alienation of labor, especially not in today’s world (which you perhaps rightly suggest we cannot get ourselves out of), it follows that I don’t think his property-less and Marxist society would be as fair as ours, as our society does allow one to climb up the economic ladder (the ladder that would not exist under a Marxist state), and while I love equality of opportunity, I’m not that much of a fan of equality of everything else. At least the opportunity for an exceptional person to rise to the top exists under capitalism. In Marxism, while there is no dreaded bottom, there is also no wonderful top, and regardless of where I am under capitalism, I’m always going to want that top to strive towards.

PS – you said, “i’ll respond to your posts later tonight or tomorrow since I gotta handle some shit.” I hope that all is well and that there’s no serious trouble confronting you. Best of luck regardless.

PPS – I apologize for the length of this post. Sometimes I can’t help myself 😀

———

A post from approximately a year ago:

Methinks that Heather here just wants to play devil’s advocate 😛 Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. But, on to Prop 54!

I have my little ‘voter’s pamphlet’ right here, and Prop 54 “prohibits state and local governments from classifying any person by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Various exemptions apply. Fiscal Impact: The measure would not result in a significant fiscal impact on state and local governments.” Nothing sounds too bad in that description, nor does anything sound all that bad in the actual proposition itself.

The line between supporting or fighting prop 54, though, is likely to be determined by how far one thinks that California has progressed passed racism and how far it has progressed towards at least some ‘equality of opportunity.’ If racism still exists to some extent (as another post earlier said [I’m paraphrasing here] “It’s different when your sitting across the table from the person in an interview.”), then obviously the passing of prop 54 would lead to the elimination of protections for various racial groups.

If, however, California as a whole has become more ‘cosmopolitan,’ accepting (or just apathetic) towards race as a whole, to the point where ‘sitting across the table from a person in an interview’ really [i]isn’t[i] different than anything else, then this proposition makes perfect sense. If we are living without racism already, why do we need the (possibly harmful) reminders that we were once a racist state and have moved past that? If we truly [i]have[/i] moved passed racism here in California, then keeping racial identities as part of information gathering, applications, etc very likely [i]would[/i] be more harmful than helpful.

Part of living in a so-called ‘color-blind’ society means giving up those devices which rely on color that brought progress. The crux of the matter here is when to eliminate those devices, or rather if we have reached a point that we safely can. As for myself, I support prop 54 – I truly think that, at least in California, racism is so much a non-issue compared to everything else that it’s time to ‘take the next step,’ so to speak. Though I can also understand the views of those who think that we’ve not yet reached the point where we could safely pass this proposition. I just don’t agree with them 😛

Your thoughts?

Cheers.

———

A post from today:

——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 3:21:00 PM, *CHERBERT* said:
——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 9:07:00 AM, the dude! said:
——Original Message——

On 8/26/2005 7:59:00 AM, Madonna said:
can you say lawsuit? If she were to ever find out you took a picture of her ass at work and posted it on a message board for all to see, she could nail you for sexual harrassment? Not such a good idea, maybe you should just admire the butt and not say anything out loud.

——End of Original Message——

first, i work at an aerospace company in the valley. we make parts for military weapons systems and aircraft. woop woop.

second, she is not going to find shit. she is the cleaning lady. i dont think she has a ucla id number and can log on this forum.

third, i didnt post her face. my friend of a friend owns a site called mobileasses.com. its all camera pics of chicks asses. they are completely legal as long as they were snapped in public and dont have the girls face in them.

third, i am unfireable at work and she doesnt know what sexual harassment is anyways.


i like water based lubricants

——End of Original Message——

and plus the cleaning lady is proabably not even legal. i doubt she’s going to step into the i’ve been hurt spotlight only to be sent into the immigration spotlight.
i like being blunt from time to time.


I heart D&B Procrastination is like masturbation. It’s fun in the beginning, but in the end you’re only fucking yourself. You can’t rightfully comment or judge until you’ve *been* there -otherwise it’s merely speculation.

——End of Original Message——

How sad it is that we now live in a world where people are more concerned with what they can get away with without consequences than what’s actually the right thing to do in the first place.

——————————————————–

The Forums have gone downhill a great deal. 🙁

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Date: Friday, 26. August 2005 16:29
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6 comments

  1. Sunny Side of the Street
    Friday, 26. August 2005 22:55
    1

    Yea, tell me about it. 🙁
    What thread is that last excerpt from?

    And I wonder how Heather is doing. (I forget her screen name)

  2. 2

    DayDream [=heather?]

    And yes…i just want to post in the dude’s threads and the ones who support him for the shit that he says –“you’re fucking stupid” and that’s it. but i think he knows it but those ass kissers of his [acidshit] think he’s really THE dude. FUcking idiots.

  3. 3

    er, I mean they think they are THE SHIT by being his little bitches.

  4. 4

    DayDream did = heather. She disappeared about when LV started posting, actually. 😮

    Her AIM name was Bitkah99, though I don’t know if she uses it anymore.

  5. 5

    hi 😀

  6. 6

    Hello!!!!

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