Philosophy, July 7th

“When a brave man flies, he must have discovered some odds or foul play; and it is the business of prudent captains, to reserve themselves for better occasions.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

“This splitting-up of the total social capital into many individual capitals or the repulsion of its fractions one from another, is counteracted by their attraction. This last does not mean that simple concentration of the means of production and of the command over labor, which is identical with accumulation. It is concentration of capitals already formed, destruction of their individual independence, expropriation of capitalist by capitalist, transformation of many small into few large capitals. This process differs from the former in this, that it only presupposes a change in the distribution of capital already to hand, and functioning; its field of action is therefore not limited by the absolute growth of social wealth, by the absolute limits of accumulation. Capital grows in one place to a huge mass in a single hand, because it has in another place been lost by many. This is centralization proper, as distinct from accumulation and concentration.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“He reminds one of those Secularists whose indignation at being compelled to pay taxes for the support of churches in which they do not believe is only equaled by the delight which they take in compelling church-members to pay taxes for the support of schools to which they are opposed. And yet there are good friends of Liberty who insist that I, in condemning these people, show an inability to distinguish between friends and foes. The truth is that, unlike these critical comrades, I am not to be blinded to the distinction between friends and foes by a mere similarity of shibboleth.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“But the value of labor-power includes the value of the commodities necessary for the reproduction of the worker, for continuing the existence of the working class. If then the unnatural extension of the working day, which capital necessarily strives for in its unmeasured drive for self-valorization, shortens the life of the individual worker, and therefore the duration of his labor-power, the forces used up have to be replaced more rapidly, and it will be more expensive to reproduce labor-power, just as in the case of a machine, where the part of its value that has to be reproduced daily grows greater the more rapidly the machine is worn out. It would seem therefore that the interest of capital itself points in the direction of a normal working day.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“The instrument of labor, when it takes the form of a machine, immediately becomes a competitor of the worker himself. The self-valorization of capital by means of the machine is related directly to the number of workers whose conditions of existence have been destroyed by it. The whole system of capitalist production is based on the worker’s sale of his labor-power in a one-sided way, by reducing it to the highly particularized skill of handling a special tool. When it becomes the job of the machine to handle this tool, the use-value of the worker’s labor-power vanishes, and with it its exchange-value. The worker becomes unsaleable, like paper money thrown out of currency by legal enactment. The section of the working class thus rendered superfluous by machinery, i.e. converted into a part of the population no longer directly necessary for the self-valorization of capital, either goes under in the unequal contest between the old handicraft and manufacturing production and the new machine production, or else floods all the more easily accessible branches of industry, swamps the labor-market, and makes the price of labor-power fall below its value. It is supposed to be a great consolation to the pauperized workers that, firstly, their sufferings are only temporary (‘a temporary inconvenience’) and, secondly, machinery only gradually seizes control of the whole of a given field of production, so that the extent and the intensity of its destructive effect is diminished. The first consolation cancels out the second. When machinery seizes on an industry by degrees, it produces chronic misery among the workers who compete with it. Where the transition is rapid, the effect is acute and is felt be great masses of people.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“Their original mode of production was based on communal property, but not communal property in its Slav or Indian form. Part of the land was cultivated independently as free private property by the members of the commune, another part – the ager publicus – was cultivated by them in common. The products of this common labor served partly as a reserve fund against bad harvests and other misfortunes, partly as a kind of state treasury to cover the costs of war, religion, and other communal expenses. In the course of time military and clerical dignitaries usurped the communal land, and along with this the obligations owed to it. The labor of the free peasants on their communal land was transformed into corvee performed for the thieves who had taken that land. This corvee soon developed into a servile relationship existing in fact, though not legally, until Russia, the liberator of the world, raised it to the level of a law on the pretext of abolishing serfdom. The code of the corvee, which the Russian General Kiselev proclaimed in 1831, was of course dictated by the boyars themselves. Thus, at one stroke, Russia both conquered the magnates of the Danuban Principalities and earned the applause of cretinous liberals throughout Europe.” – Karl Marx, Capital

“A greater equality than is compatible with liberty is undesirable. The moment we invade liberty to secure equality we enter upon a road which knows no stopping-place short of the annihilation of all that is best in the human race. If absolute equality is the ideal; if no man must have the slightest advantage over another – then the man who achieves greater results through superiority of muscle or skill or brain must not be allowed to enjoy them. All that he produces in excess of that which the weakest and stupidest produce must be taken from him and distribute among his fellows. The economic rent, not of land only, but of strength and skill and intellect and superiority of every kind, must be confiscated. And a beautiful world it would be when absolute equality had been thus achieved! Who would live in it? Certainly, no freeman.” – Benjamin Tucker, Instead of a Book

“The principle of authority, applied to men who have surpassed or attained their majority, becomes a monstrosity, a flagrant denial of humanity, a source of slavery and intellectual and moral depravity. Unfortunately, paternal governments have left the masses to wallow in an ignorance so profound that it will be necessary to establish schools not only for the people’s children, but for the people themselves. From these schools will be absolutely eliminated the smallest applications or manifestations of the principle of authority. They will be schools no longer; they will be popular academies, in which neither pupils nor masters will be known, where the people will come freely to get, if they need it, free instruction, and in which, rich in their own experience, they will teach in their turn many things to the professors who shall bring them knowledge which they lack. This, then, will be a mutual instruction, an act of intellectual fraternity between the educated youth and the people.” – Michael Bakunin, God and the State

“But the knight-errant, let him explore the most hidden recesses of the universe, plunge into the perplexities of the labyrinths; let him, at all times, not be afraid of even impossibilities; in the barren, wasteful wilderness, let him defy the scorching rays of the solstitial sun, and the piercing chilling of the nipping frost. Lions must not frighten him, phantoms must not terrify him, nor dragons dismay him; for, in searching after such, engaging with, and getting the better of all difficulties, consists his true and proper occupation. It being my fortune then to be of this last order, I cannot, consistent with that, avoid engaging in whatever I deem to be part of the duty of my calling; and for these reasons, though’ I knew, that encountering the lions was in itself an act of the greatest temerity, yet it immediately belonged to my profession: I am very sensible that true fortitude is placed between the two extremes of cowardice and foolhardiness, but then, it is better valor should mount eve to an over daring hardiness, than be debased to pusillanimity; for, as the prodigal is more likely to become truly generous than the miser, so will the over courageous sooner be brought to true valor, than the coward to be courageous at all; and in undertaking adventures, I assure you, Don Diego, it is much better to overdo than underdo, and much better does it sound in the ear of him to whom it is related, that a knight is daring and presumptuous, than that he is pusillanimous and faint-hearted.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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