The “1% vs 99%” analysis is not a class analysis

Many first world communist parties have attached themselves to the "1% vs 99%" analysis of capitalist society. However, they have done so uncritically. A 99% v 1% analysis is fundamentally too vague to be useful as an analytical tool when looking at how policy is formulated and carried out in any political system.

This is reflected by occupy's focus on campaign financing and relatively inconsequential legal fictions like corporate personhood. One example of this is a Democracy Now interview with an occupier:

The focus on corporate personhood and campaign financing is a result of using a pluralist analysis of society. Pluralism says that policy is formulated by a bunch of different groups in society (corporations, unions, women's advocacy groups, universities, civil rights organizations etc) competing and eventually compromising based on their power and influence within political institutions. The view of pluralists is that the political system can be fixed by increasing the power of the "99%" institutions relative to the "1%" institutions. They see one of the primary problems with the American political system is that the "1%" institutions have more money to spend on influencing lawmakers and buying their elections, and propose that a way of fixing this would be public campaign financing and spending limits on campaigns. The problem is that pluralism is a load of shit.

The pluralist analysis only looks at the overt methods of capitalist domination of society, while a class analysis understands that even with affordable elections and public financing, it doesn't affect capitalist hegemony. In fact, it adds a legitimizing factor to capitalist domination of society, like in Western Europe. A class analysis recognizes that capitalist control of society is direct and indirect. The main direct methods of capitalist control are the selection of officials and lobbying. The indirect methods of control are far more powerful, because socialists and communists elected to office are still controlled by them. The four main methods of indirect capitalist control are explained in Al Szymanski's The Capitalist State and the Politics of Class :

1. Capitalist values permeate the society and are propagated through the schools, military, media, and churches. Officials typically accept capitalist ideology as their own and authentically act as if capitalist rationality were the only rationality. Attempts by state officials to enact measures that would violate capitalist ideology would generate considerable opposition, even from the oppressed, as long as they accept capitalist ideas.

2. If the state attempts to follow policies that business doesn't like, businesses can move to other countries or they may curtail production, lay off workers, or follow other restrictive policies, thereby promoting an economic crisis for which the state would be blamed. Businesses can refuse to invest unless the state follows probusiness policies. Banks have the special advantage of refusing to make loans to the state unless the state follows policies directed by them. Such actions by business might not be malicious, but might be merely economically rational and dictated by the necessity of maximizing profits.

3. States that attempt anticapitalist policies are subjected to the threat of military intervention, either by foreign states that want to prevent the abolition of capitalism, or by their own military, which may well be closely tied to the capitalist class.

4. Officials who follow anticapitalist policies may be cut off from campaign financing, slandered in the capitalist-class-controlled media, and forced to face well-financed and promoted opponents in their campaigns for reelection as well as being confronted with embarrassing demonstrations, disruptions, and possible social and political crises.

By looking at policy merely as a result of different groups compromising, it gives a distorted view of the role of the state. It sees the state as a place to mediate the interests of different interest groups in society, and doesn't have the depth, richness, and explanatory power that a class analysis has. Again, from The Capitalist State and the Politics of Class :

The capitalist state has five basic functions for capitalism: 1) the state operates to preserve the existing class relations in society through guaranteeing private property and law and order; 2) the state makes continual capital accumulation and profitability possible through regulating the labor force, ensuring sufficient buying power in the economy, regulating the economy, and otherwise helping business; 3) the state secures the legitimacy of capitalist society through its control over the schools, its management of the cult of patriotism, and the ideological function of voting to persuade people that the state is being run by and for them, when the reality is quite different; 4) the state operates to "aggregate" the diverse interests and wills of the different segments of the capitalist class - that is, form the capitalist class will - so that the state can implement unified compromise policies tempered by the demands of other classes (this is the function of the Congress and the various regulatory and administrative agencies); 5) the state raises money to fund the bureaucracy and otherwise acts to maintain the apparatus to perform the first four functions.

One of the clearest examples of capitalist class domination was the pressure put on New York city in 1975 when a cabal of bankers, led by Citigroup, refused to roll over the debt of NYC. Capitalist restructuring and deindustrialization eroded the economic base of the city and suburbanization left it impoverished. What happened was essentially a financial coup, the bail out package mandated that bondholders be paid off first, and essential services would come second. The city's economy was reconstructed around creating financial and cultural centers geared towards the elites. This management was a pioneering battle in the neoliberal project, and this neoliberal approach to crisis has been repeated numerous times by the IMF and by the European Central Bank's handling of Greece today.

Lobbying and corporate donations have to be seen as one tool in the vast toolbox of capitalist control of society. While many people use the "99% vs 1%" analysis as a sort of watered down class analysis, the pluralist usage of it is inadequate to deal with the realities of capitalist control of society.

You can read more of my posts on my blog:

Discussion of The “1% vs 99%” analysis is not a class analysis on tHE r H i z z o n E:

citigroup was first national city bank in 1975 fyi
Here's some class anaylis for ya: you = Fail
some uneducated people might think it's analysis but i think most know it's propaganda. not even good propaganda though, it has absolutely zero historical significance as far as i know. at least conjure up some groups from history that sacrificed everything. it's like people have to come up with something new because every cretin (and there are a lot of them here in the US) is disconnected from the past and thinks their situation is "new"
we're all cretins here. nobody criticizes the assumptions of this society
this is actually a good op.
i nominate taking back In God We Trust
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it also ignores the fact that class systems ought to be a categorisation of nobility, not wealth. once you accept class purely in terms of economics, you have already lost sight of what's important and become low class yourself
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oh no obama is stepping on madison's newspaper
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discipline posted:
famed paraplegic dictator FDR standing unassisted and applauding

tbh it would suck to be crippled as a ghost though

*fdr enters the pearly gates bounding and leaping gayly, jesus fucking christ comes over and just shakes his head and boom, frankie's fucked once again people* for the win

discipline posted:

won't somebody please think of the white kid's college debt? you monster

everything wrong w/ occupi

agreed; bad aesthetics
classy analysis
it is a class analysis, it's just vulgar and largely inaccurate within the context it's applied
99% = toms body fat percentage, right tpaine? epic 5s.
good op but i dont think anyone here actually that the '99%' meme is actually analysis

futurewidow posted:
everything wrong w/ occupi

"represent yourself" is pretty hilarious to me but its possible ive been reading too many philosophical texts lately

too many philosophical texts is "everything schopenhauer wrote, +1"
can you please refer to him as "the shope" tia (that's a long "o")

Lessons posted:
it is a class analysis, it's just vulgar and largely inaccurate within the context it's applied

much like your posting

1vs99% is a power curve, innit? so i guess occupiers need to be more meta in their analysis, and acknowledge that they are themselves frequently mini-me's of the dr evils they are protesting against

EmanuelaOrlandi posted:
99% = toms body fat percentage, right tpaine? epic 5s.

i upvoted this fyi. btw

It's good propaganda because it has created a new language which everyone is now forced to use to think about income inequality, something the left has spectacularly failed at for a long time. Whether it's the bougie idiots saying they're the "53%", or politicians saying they're part of the 99%, or even all the parasitical trot groups suddenly claiming they've been fighting for the 99% this whole time, everyone now thinks in these terms. If there's one thing I knew from the very beginning of OWS, it's that adbusters would have very good marketing.

The problem is that OWS has no party discipline and so has been lost in their own propaganda and inconsistent ideology. When Lenin asked for "peace, land, and bread" he knew perfectly well the Tsar and the social democrats couldn't meet any of the demands. OWS seems to be stuck between petit-bourgeois liberals who genuinely believe 99% of society vs. 1% is a scientific economic model and a few petit-bourgeois radicals who have faith in democracy,consensus, and anti-leninist nonsense and so effectively believe in the 99% as well. All the problems of an anarchist, non-party structure have remained since day 1, and now that OWS is the sacred cow of the left no one is willing to confront it.

Edited by babyhueypnewton ()


gyrofry posted:

Lessons posted:
it is a class analysis, it's just vulgar and largely inaccurate within the context it's applied

much like your posting



babyfinland posted:


I actually went to a GA at ODC before it got dismantled and it was pretty embarrassing. Also that the WDDP thread has basically been taken over by anarchist clowns pretending to be street warriors and video game characters shows me that the nature of the 1st world left has not changed at all and OWS is just as lame as we all thought it was going to be when it was first announced (with 20,000 people showing up lol)

Edited by Crow ()


babyfinland posted:

ah i see you found a vacuous libertarian's facebook. Some more gems:

(*)"Baby steps make a man walk."

(*)"Is a man that lives a lie a man- or a lie?"

(*)"Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees. If it did, it would be a lot less common."

(*)"All it takes for evil to succeed is for people to do nothing"
I much prefer the negative of this statement.
All it takes for good to succeed is for people to do nothing.




babyhueypnewton posted:
I actually went to a GA at ODC before it got dismantled and it was pretty embarrassing. Also that the WDDP thread has basically been taken over by anarchist clowns pretending to be street warriors and video game characters shows me that the nature of the 1st world left has not changed at all and OWS is just as lame as we all thought it was going to be when it was first announced (with 20,000 people showing up lol)

its funny to watch one commie dude attack another for posturing.


babyfinland posted:

i agree entirely with this. i dislike society, which is why i seek to change it, but first in order for it to be changed it must be destroyed, in it's entirety until it is nothing more but atoms - mere energy - allowing it to be reshaped, and reforged in the glorious image of National Bolshevism.

communism will be glorious. communism is where we only work 4 hours a day and for the rest of the time we smoke weed, play video games and watch hollywood films right?
almost, they will be obtuse situationist films produced by the party not hollywood but otherwise yes
and the video games will probably be engineering and scientific research.
Im a simple conservative; All I need are my Guns (Biceps/weight training), Religion (Nationalism), and my Bible (Mein Kampf).

The rest, can be discarded along with the degeneracy of modern society.
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