04 October 2011

A question for the Workers World Party member that made this sign

This is the second guy I've seen pictures of with this Workers World Party sign:

(This one by way of The Atlantic, the previous one from Reason)

Those look an awful lot like capitalist shoes from New Balance, a corporation with over $1.6 billion in revenue last year [pdf]. Those are capitalist khakis. Ditto the polo shirt, bag, hat, crocs, rubbish bin, as well as the printing press which made that sign and the paper mill which made the card it was inked on.  Even the very asphalt this man slumbers on was created by capitalism.

I'm willing to bet almost everything else this guy finds useful is similarly the product of capitalism. So this raises the question, if capitalism doesn't work, what does? Because I don't see anyone carrying this sign clothing themselves in the output of marxism, or anarcho-syndicalism, or stalinism, or workerism, or fascism, or chavismo, or mercantilism, or maoism. How am I supposed to take seriously this man's desire to end capitalism if he won't even give it up himself?

~ ~ ~

PS That Atlantic piece describes the Tea Party thus:
The Tea Partiers' anger is directed squarely at the U.S. government. It began due to dismay at the bailouts and the massive Obama stimulus package. The Tea Party wanted less government interference in the economy.
The two big, ground-up politics movements du jour, one on the Right and one on the Left (though we should see if this Occupation last more than a fortnight before considering it to be in the big leagues) both claim to have an opposition to bail-outs at their core.  Interesting symmetry there.

Of course I think that's only superficial symmetry.  (Which is still interesting, just in different ways.) I don't really believe that the Occupation opposes bail-outs. Not in general anyway. You don't see them demanding GM and Chrysler return their money. I haven't seen any of them so much as mention Solyndra. Most of them are calling for new hand-outs to businesses, as long as they're in the "green energy" or "infrastructure" fields. That doesn't seem very principled to me.

(Edited to add – this Occupier actually says paying any attention to Solyndra is "total nonsense.")


  1. Salvatore Noth26 April, 2012 23:56

    Hello, my name is Salvatore Noth, and while I didn't make this sign, allow me to address some things you brought up, as you see to misunderstand Marxism and their position on capitalism.

    You point out that the mans X are "Capitalist". I will assume you mean they were made in Capitalist countries. (That may or may not be true depending on the country it was made in, aye?)

    Allow me to address the accusation that Marxism must rest on "Lifestylism" first. You say that we're "Unwilling to give up capitalism oursleves" (Paraphrase) but we never say we want to remove ourselves from capitalism--that is a liberal notion that many anarchists go down, and it is not the spirit of Marxism. If we were all to go live in trees, or what have you, we'd be crazy, not marxists. Marxism seeks to overthrow the capitalism mode of production and replace it with the socialist mode of production. There is nothing in Marx, Lenin, etc that says we can not exist as a part of Capitalism. Quite the opposite, we believe the working class (Which me, you, and these people in the picture are all apart of) are the ones who must do this as a whole. They can not do this if they're naked, jobless, and living in trees. We don't divorce ourselves from society, because we're trying to change it, not escape it.

    Secondly, you bring up that capitalism "works", because it has created things. Well, yes, capitalism functions. Its just -who- it functions for is what does not work. It does not function in the interest of the working class. It does not work for the working class. That is what the sign refers to. Capitalism works in the interest of capitalists.

    You wanted the sign's meaning cleared up, and I hope I have done that for you, thank you for reading.

    -Salvatore Noth

  2. Let me take your second point first. I flatly disagree. It's worked great for me, and you say I'm a member of the working class. (Or is that just "false consciousness"?) I could go on and on about aligning incentives of producers and consumers through profit maximization, or how capital accumulation increases worker productivity, or what the migrations into and out of marxist countries tell us about other people's revealed opinions on this matter. But I'm not going to do that, because I don't think any amount of words will convince you that capitalism works for me and you in addition to the holders of capital. Since words won't work, maybe pictures will.

    As to your first point, no, I do not just mean that these items were made in capitalist countries. I mean that capitalism is a necessary condition of their existence. They were brought into being only because capital was accumulated, directed and put to work by direction of price signals in a market system. Without private property, price systems, residual claimants on profits, creative destruction, and entrepreneurship those shoes, pants, paper mills, phones, etc. would not exist.

  3. You're an idiot. Communism isn't a lifestyle.

  4. I usually don't publish ad hominem comments, but I'm not even sure whether you're directing this at me or Savaltore.

    So... stay classy, guy. Have a good weekend.