*UNLOCKED* TMBS - 66 - Full Postgame w/ Richard Wolff


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Never heard of this show before, thanks for the link.

Okay, I think Michael Brooks is actually pretty ML. He had a call-in about Mao a few weeks ago, where he acknowledged that most principles of Mao are correct. Now, with Wollf, he tried to allude that Stalin did nothing wrong (which was brushed away by Wolff who rather wanted to talk about himself).

He doesn't come out as this, for optics, I assume (and because he is working for Sam Seder). But I get more and more suspicious that he is. Because he is exactly acting like I act when I try to talk about ML talking points to friends and family who are all liberals/anti-communist.

The more I listen to Wolff the more I come to the conclusion that he is full of shit. He doesn't seem to know much about Marxist theory besides Wikipedia quotes, he sounds exactly like I sounded in university when I had to BS my way through an oral exam.

To give an example, he thinks that dialectial materialism was an invention of Marx, when in fact, it was an invention of Josef Dietzgen, which was later synthezised by Plekhanov and Lenin, and then stratified by Stalin. He does not have any insight in Marx's theory about the falling rate of profit. He dodges actual interesting questions and insights and gives platitudes instead. None of this stuff inspires me to think of him more as the "muh co-op man" who wants socialized capitalism.

Not sure which part of the interview you got that from but I didn't hear it.

Dude, give him a break. How many people have you reached lately ? I doubt many, if any at all. He has to explain these complicated things in ways people will understand, so that's probably why it seems to you like "Wikipedia quotes." Anything that may appear simplistic is for the purposes of winning people to Marx, yet of course there's always a basement dweller who gets high and mighty and begins projecting his shit online like diarrhea



Reminder that Sam Seder and everyone in his bubble is trying to rehabilitate the Democratic Party in the eyes of left-sliding Americans. Their objective is getting you to vote democrat and anything they say is in an effort to make you see the Dems in a better light, usually by wholesale phony association with their show of openness to relatively radical reformism.

It goes something like this.

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Stop with the "proles are so dumb you need to talk to them like children" meme. It is not hard to understand the basic insights of Marx about the commodity form. Marx wasn't even concerned about exploitation that much yet Wolff builds his entire shtick arround that which makes him a literal revisionist. Also, even if he teaches at the heart of the empire, and dumbs down stuff for people, which is all fine, he was talking to Michael Brooks who (and his audience) is Marxist-leaning to say the least, so he wouldn't need to have to dumb down stuff like that.

I don't care about degrees is bourgeois economics.

Idiotic statement. If it were true we wouldn't have an hundreds of millions of people running around spouting "Marxism is totalitarian police state ideology"

It has nothing to do with how difficult the concept is to understand. The people who do that never tried to understand it in the first place.

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They have never been exposed to the intricacies of Marxism, so they just won't know. It's also possible to summarise the essence of Marxism within a few paragraphs (HisMat, Communist project, PolEcon) without making intellectual somersaults Marxist academics have been doing in the West since a hundred years. There is nothing wrong with applying Marxism into other context, you know, stuff that Lukács did, but I don't think Marx intended his work to justify fucking psychoanalysis or post-structuralism. Also, even when I read introductions to Marx of the likes of Michael Heinrich and the whole "new reading of Marx" thing which claims to go back to the roots, I often find myself tipping on my head over how bloated this thing is. "If Marx had a labour theory of value, did he actually care if it was right?" Like, what the fuck? Who would even write something like that?

This is why I really appreciate Cockshott when he lays down concepts that spawn over several pages in Capital in a short time in a clear manner. Wolff, in this regard, is not really an asset for socialists, with his one-trick-pony of co-ops, which I think is created out of the underlying belief that Marxism are these super-hyper-complicated hieroglyphs inaccessible to the common man, therefore we have to create one single take and hammer it down every interview.

Can anyone summarize Althusser for me? It sounds to me like Wolff was saying he rejected empiricism and the importance of theories in making predictions, which seems like a really back idea to me. Veering toward philosophy is exactly how the economics profession was turned into the dismal science of neoliberalism in the first place.

Most Marxist texts are super dry, long and require you to understand to some degree events of the nineteenth century – not to mention they are also written in a more “high brow” style of English. They’re not easy to just dive in to.

in the discussion he actually brought up specific chapters in capital volume 3…

except for the fact that he always name-drops marx, tells people capitalism is a bad system, and tries to convince people they're always exploited under capitalism, advocates for worker ownership of MOP, etc.

Wolff is a Jew and should not be listened to

If it's your only selling point, yes. Marx didn't care much about exploitation under capitalism, it's not good or bad, it's just something that happens. Marx was very much against the slogan that the capitalist "steals" your surplus value, as Marx noted, "the worker in capitalism has no right to complain about exploitation." It is also based on the false assumption that surplus value extraction is created when you get paid, which is not the case, because it is realised when you sell the product. This is where the whole concept of worker ownership in co-ops fails to be anywhere near a Marxist critique.

Secondly, and I think this is more importantly for us today, exploitation in the First World is largely not as important anymore now because of imperialism. Exploitation has been ramping up - just like Marx predicted - in all jobs, largely shadowing the rate of exploitation in the Third World. To give an example, the value creation of an average worker in an automated car factory per hour is massive compared to the value his grandfather created, because he can push a button to have half a car assembled. Therefore, as his wage was stagnating since decades now, his rate of exploitation is unprecented in the history of his trade. But the predicament of imperialism is the following: While the sweatshop worker in the Global South has a lower rate of exploitation, because of low rate of automation (just as Marx predicted), his suffering, his misery, from a humanitarian perspective is much higher.

I am not saying that exploitation is irrelevant, it should still be a rallying point for people, especially as living standards stagnate in the West too, but it must be used to somewhat synthesized by a vanguard to lead to a holistic anti-capitalist sentiment and not just "muh co-ops" which really doesn't fucking matter. I mean, talk to people who have worked in co-ops.

Whew, lad. Speaking of someone who needs to actually read Marx.


Speaking of things that Marx was not particularly concerned with…

The point of promoting co-ops is not that they are something different than capitalism. The point is to get the means of production under the control of the proletariat. It is all about class, after all.

It's the entire basis of accumulation in capitalism, comr8. Which is why Cockshott has proposed something like a referendum to end exploitation.
Where did he say this?
Er, I would argue surplus value is effectively created during production and must be for Marx's model to make sense. The realization is just that - a realization of value that has already been created. It's true that this value needs to pass through both the sphere of production and sphere of circulation, but the value itself already exists when it's realized in circulation, otherwise the law of value would not even make sense.
This doesn't make any sense… lower levels of automation mean that more labor must be embodied in products, which means more exploitation. But even then, I don't think this is the case in developing countries due to the fact that the products they sell on the global market must use modern techniques of production to compete.

TBH I think these attacks on Wolff are unfair and just stem from the fact that Wolff doesn't embrace a strict ML line.

Sorry for late reply, I have been busy.

You can fuck off.

Micheal said that the notion of Stalin being a madman is wrong, because there were materialist reasons to act the way he did, something along these lines. I am afraid you have to actually watch the video in OP because I can't recall the minute.

No idea what Cockshott suggested, it seems like a good idea, and yeah, it is the basis for accumulation, but it doesn't matter if a single capitalist or a worker co-op actually realises surplus value.