in all seriousness though I do think that we have a general problem of like, Left ideas being great and people generally agreeing with them, but Left terms being something that has long been demonized and even when it hasn’t, it’s been obscured by a century plus of theorization.
in that way frankly it’s like a lot of other struggles- activists have to overcome the hurdle of people not even knowing what they’re talking about, and there’s a struggle for basic vocabulary to express the ideas.
richard wolff is just about the only anticapitalist activist I can think of who actively works to define his terms, and rephrases classical theory into modern, comprehensible language. in the spirit of that, here’s a few subsitutions I’ve found effective in my own conversations.
- don’t say “worker”, say “employee”. not all workers are employees, but in a US context the lion’s share of them are. Similarly, don’t say “capitalist”, say “employer”. "the workers are exploited by their bosses" is a sentence from 1920. “Employers routinely find ways to screw over their employees” is just a basic fact everyone knows.
- you gotta define what capitalism is. most people hear “capitalism” and they think “Free market”. While they’re related as of late, they’re not the same at all. Capital-ism is a system of resource production defined by capital-ists, who are people who own capital. What’s capital? It’s anything that can be used for production. A factory is capital. land is capital. Money generally isn’t capital, unless you’ve invested it
- you also gotta distinguish between the market and capital. The market, on the other hand, is a method of resource exchange. Markets exist independently of capitalism: slave societies used markets to buy and sell slaves and other goods, despite the fact that slavery isn’t capitalism. Slavery has master and slave, not employer and employee.
- you gotta distinguish between capitalists and the merely wealthy. i’ve met a lot of leftists who miss this one for some reason. a heart surgeon might be wealthy but they’re not necessarily a capitalist- they work for their income, and are highly compensated for that work. A landlord, on the other hand, is a capitalist (though not necessarily an employer), because their income comes from land that they own & the rent that they charge the people who live on it.
- you gotta define what socialism and communism are. "the workers own the means of production" is vague and stale. “the employees of a company have just as much of a say in production and profit distribution as the CEOs and the shareholders” is better. Talking about “democratically-run enterprises” is another good way to phrase it.
- you gotta be able to point out real-world examples of socialism. the mondragon corporation is the ur-example of course, but credit unions and food cooperatives are also good examples. there are many, many examples of socialist firms existing and thriving in competition with capitalist ones- all the while, treating both the employees and the communitiies they live in better. (Yes, you can have socialist and capitalist firms existing side-by-side!)
- you gotta find ways to work with terrible definitions of socialism and communism. everyone and their dog has a terrible definition of socialism and communism, including actual governments which call themselves communist. the USSR, for example, called itself communist- but in its case, they considered the government to be a proxy for the people. so by the government owning all of the capital in the country, it was just as good as every individual citizen. in reality of course it was something closer to state capitalism- a handful of government bureaucrats owning and controlling all of the capital.
holy fucking shit THIS
In all seriousness – this is really useful advice. Get to the words that mean what you’re trying to say but don’t have a whole crapton of bad associations. So you can argue the actual point instead of getting distracted.
Day: June 21, 2017
Some Civil Forfeiture.
Please help me escape my abusive relationship for good
If you’ve been following me for a while, you more than likely know what’s going on, but for those who don’t know: I’ve been in an extremely toxic, abusive relationship for the past 6 ½ years with my son’s father. We have a 3 year old together. While I did leave him last year, I (stupidly) came back in March under the promises of “things would change” etc etc. He has been emotionally, verbally, physically, sexually, and financially abusive. I am cooperating with the state in applying for all kinds of state assistance I am eligible for. I have an apartment and have our most basic needs covered. I need help with covering rent at the end of the month as I can’t do it by myself (my rent is $936), I have no consistent means of transportation (there is no bus/public transit in the city I live in) and I really realllyyy don’t want to have to allow my abuser into my home just to help cover these bills. I can manage on my own, but I need help getting on my feet and establishing my independence in the time being.
Any resources, encouraging words (I have virtually no support system), or other help is so much appreciated.
My PayPal is email@example.com, or PayPal.me/bizaanideewin
Please please don’t send anon hate or criticism, I cannot stress how hard I am struggling with my own guilt and self-blaming right now
The Denny’s rule book: A simple guide
Denny’s is your local, friendly diner open 24 hours a day every day of the year. A place to relax and enjoy a breakfast at any hour, a fulfilling lunch or delicious dinner. All are welcome at Denny’s, and it’s your safest location, provided you follow this very simple guide for the nightly hours.
- Never close your eyes in a Denny’s parking lot.
- Walk calmly to the door; you will hear sounds. Do not look behind you.
- Always make sure the door closes behind you, unless it was already open when you arrived, in which case do not touch the door.
- Never sit at the table farthest from the front door. Your server will sometimes try to seat you there. Politely refuse and ask for another table.
- If you see a table with two salt-shakers, walk past it; that table is taken. Sit at the table directly across from it instead.
- Eat your pancakes. Box any leftovers; it would be a shame to waste food. It might attract something.
- Do not, under any circumstance, look into the eyes of your own reflection in the bathroom.
- If your server’s eyes turn black, do not panic; order a coffee with extra cream. Do not ask for a refill. Do not stare.
- Think you recognize someone who just walked in? Best to ignore it. It’s probably not what it seems. They will proceed to sit at the table farthest from the door.
- If you are walking past a Denny’s and you see yourself sitting in the corner booth through the window, keep walking. Do not eat at Denny’s that night.
- Did you tip? You better double check. It’s only polite to leave a tip.
- Do not ask questions. They will Notice.
Your local Denny’s is the perfect place for a delicious meal at all hours of the day. Hope you enjoy your next visit to any Denny’s Diner!
A birdseed thief
what would you think of a woman who addressed a club meeting of men by telling them how charming, how well gowned, how pretty, they were?
This is why I really like books that are set in oldey times with people who have views like this, and why it annoys me when people say but that’s not historically accurate
tbh, half the time ‘not historically accurate’ is code for ‘i wish things were still like my imaginary version of 19th century England only minus the cholera’
This just makes me absurdly happy, especially because it’s written by a man calling out other men for this shit.
“But they didn’t know better” you sure about that?
dude was so mad about this he was snarking in all caps
someone at bbc news fucked up
Hahahahaha that’s amazing
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