International Luxemburgist Forum - Foro Luxemburguista Internacional - Forum Luxemburgiste Intl

Forum for those in general agreement with the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg.
Foro para aquellos que tienen un acuerdo general con las ideas de Rosa Luxemburgo.
Forum pour ceux qui ont un accord général avec les idées de Rosa Luxembourg.


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    Comments on "Jobs for All, Legalization for All"



    Number of posts : 53
    Registration date : 2008-04-19

    Comments on "Jobs for All, Legalization for All"

    Post  EricL on Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:46 pm

    This was sent to us, my reply is next post--Eric

    Having just read the "Jobs for All [...]" piece, I realize that it does
    make sense in a way. I believe, though, that there are issues which are
    not entirely addressed. In scaling back military endeavors such as
    perpetual armament and rearmament, would we not have a larger sector of
    people without work? I am not pro-war, but defense is a necessity; and,
    moves have been made for some time now to make private contractors like the
    formerly titled Blackwater and others to replace our direct government-run
    military. Blackwater is attractive to soldiers in many cases, because it
    pays better and provides better benefits. I guess what I'm saying is:
    we've got private, standing militaries on our soil who would benefit from a
    reallocation of resources and manpower from the government-run military.
    These private armies would also be in a strong position both in their
    religious zealotry and their ability to take what they want, having the
    firepower to do so. And, myself being in Texas and never 30 minutes away
    from a gun show, there already exists a degree of armed fanaticism that is
    proven to be easily swayed by propaganda, with underlying racist,
    anti-immigrant and anti-Socialist (you must remember that the terms,
    Socialist/Socialism/socialized, still cannot be used due to our ingrained
    fears of Stalinism, Maoism, and ideas of totalitarianism which have been
    taught to us as being synonymous to them) sentiment. These individuals and
    small groups still believe themselves to be empowered through firearms,
    whether against the 'corrupt government' or even 'illegal aliens' and
    terrorists. They would not listen to reason and would rise up against the
    measures outlined in your piece.
    Also, this does not take into account the role of religion in this
    country. We are an overwhelmingly religious country, and with religion
    comes the willingness of masses to be governed into frenzy and
    subservience, and the conflicting beliefs that the wealthy got to their
    positions through hard-work/self-sacrifice and that the poor needn't worry
    as their reward is in 'heaven'. This fits nicely within the Capitalist
    motivation and has done for a very long time. It is often the approach to
    apply to reason in matters of economy and solutions to the inherent and
    blatant faults of Capitalism, but emotion is the true driving force in this
    How does an alternative to Capitalism come to the table, into the light,
    when we have become a fear-controlled and anti-Socialist people?
    I think within our system--and I am very interested in environmental
    issues--that we could raise the standards of pollution control, and both
    lower the taxes on medium to large industrial bodies who make tangible
    efforts toward green operations and raise the taxes on those who do not.
    There would be much gained in subsidizing the ridiculous amount of corn
    farmers, for instance, to reallocate their farmland into green energy
    sites, which in addition to permanent employment would increase contract
    construction work. Military R&D resources (engineering, laborers, money,
    facilities...) could be reallocated to new energy research. Health care is
    an issue. The main problem is that it should not be, in itself, an
    industry. We should not need insurance, nor should the government require
    that we need insurance to receive health care, because health insurance
    companies really should not exist. But, like the banks, they are massive.
    And, as evidenced during the bank bailouts, even when financially strapped,
    those at the top got their bonuses while departments were cut far below.
    What do we do with the health insurance industry? It employs so many
    people (my father included). Could our government absorb the majority of
    these companies? We would also need to absorb the private hospitals as
    well if we did that. I've lived in England, and I see the positives and
    negatives to private and social healthcare each. The medicine that cost me
    $400 here (equal to my rent at the time), was $12 there ($2 to a Pound in
    2008), along with every other prescription.
    I'm rambling. I suppose my question is: how do we move forward with
    social goals without saying Socialism, without being shot at, and without
    shooting, and how would we compensate for industries made redundant under
    socialized structures? How do we appeal to hearts and minds at once? How
    can we touch upon so many industries which are built around the Capitalist
    model, without eliminating jobs? How do we get people to stop blaming
    politicians or the government (in an abstract sense) or 'the man', and
    consider new structures and economic models outside of unbridled
    free-market Capitalism? And how does the message under our strict,
    capital-driven media get to people in an effective way (i.e. if I didn't
    know the term "Luxemburgism," I would not have found this site)?
    Sorry about the length of this, but I really want this to work somehow.
    Very Best,
    Adam Fine


    Number of posts : 53
    Registration date : 2008-04-19

    Re: Comments on "Jobs for All, Legalization for All"

    Post  EricL on Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:48 pm

    You raise a lot of points, but I think the two main ones can be summed up as: First, What happens to the industries and activities that we are demanding to be defunded and second, how do we avoid a violent reaction from the right?

    In some cases, such as the aerospace-defense industry, nothing at all will happen to the workers—what will change is what they are producing. There have been many academic studies of how the defense industry could be converted to peaceful production. This industry has the most technologically advanced equipment and the best trained workforce. What they are producing are machines—that’s what bombers and tanks and ships are. They can equally well produce machine tools, factory equipment, construction equipment, everything needed to expand other industries and produce millions of new manufacturing and construction jobs, both here and abroad.
    In other cases—the soldiers of our bloated military, workers in the insurance industry, most of the financial sector generally—employment will indeed be drastically cut. But first, these changes won’t happen overnight—they will come out a of a prolonged struggle. In our public works program in the US, we have specifically demanded ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, taxing the rich and the corporations, which will still leave a lot of people working in the military, insurance and finance. So other changes would come through, for example, nationlzaitng the finance sector, further cuts in the military budget, etc.
    Second, as part of a public works program, we will fight for extensive re-training programs and generous unemployment compensation for those in transition or in training. While jobs in some industries are contracting, over-all jobs will be growing, in areas like education, high-tech industry, etc. The fact is very few people who work in these socially unnecessary industries are happy with what they do and if opportunity and training were available, they’d prefer doing something useful.
    The private military organizations the US now has are not privately-funded. They are funded by the Department of Defense. If their pay is cut off, these guys will go home and find other work.
    As to the danger of the gun-toting right-wingers—the left in the US consistently overestimates this threat. Yes, it ‘s true that maybe one-third of the US population thinks the sun goes around the earth, and that Obama is a socialist and grumble that they should take their hunting guns and descend on DC. And if there were a real socialist government in the US, no doubt they would still be grumbling that the government was Socialist and that they should take their hunting guns and…But there is a big different between talk and action or even organization. Only a tiny fraction of this big group is willing to kill for their ideas and the number willing to die for these ideas is basically zero. Just to give an example from another time—in the 1960’s the majority of European-Americans in the south were racists, but the KKK was still a small minority. And whenever the Klan faced anyone who might just possibly be armed and fight back, they disappeared. Sure militant right-wing groups will be problem to be dealt with by a real socialist moment in the US, but they are not by any means the main problem now.
    The problem in the US is not the one third who we will never convince. It is the one third that basically agrees with lot of what we say, but are totally unorganized. If we can organize that one third, and they go into action and win some victories, they will mobilize the one-third that currently is just confused. And in that case, the remaining one third will go back to grumbling.
    As to the word ”socialism”, it does not have such negative connotations to everyone, as shown in the polls like this one: and the young are more positive than the old.
    So the first step is getting that one-third to agree on what needs to be done.


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