Saturday, September 23, 2017

Symbolic Inheritance

For anthropology, culture-language-Symbolic Inheritance is the unique species characteristic of
_homo sapiens_.  In a sense, "culture-language-Symbolic Inheritance is another word for "wisdom",
from the notion that humans are the species _homo  wise_.  It is
humans socially learned practices, customs, language, traditions,
beliefs, religion, spirituality that make us "wise" in so many ways,
certainly clever and winners _as a species_ ( not just as a few "fit"
Individuals) in the struggles and snuggles to survive as a species.
Since the advent of civilization, sometimes it's not so clear how wise
our culture makes us. Greed, slavery, war, male supremacy, Egoism originate with Civilization ! It is better termed Savagery and Barbarism. Therein lies the central drama of the history of
the human species.  Nonetheless, clearly in the Stone Age, our having
culture-language-Symbolic Inheritance was a highly adaptive advantage over species that did not have
culture , stone tools , scientific knowledge (!) standing on the shoulders of dead generations , raising our species
fitness.  This is  evidenced by _homo sapiens_ expanding in population
and therefore migrating to an expanded area of living space across the
earth , out of what is now Africa to the other continents. Stone Age
foraging and  kinship organized , peaceful and sharing societies were  the mode of life for
the vast majority of time of human                    species '
existence,  90% or more.

Big capital wipes out small Black entrepreneurial spirits

To make a long story short, Black people who build small businesses, like all small businesses , are in a historical stage of the "Market" in which "one capitalist always kills many other capitalists, cutthroat monopoly competition . Any weakness is used against small capital to take it. Racism is a powerful weapon for cutting the throat of all Blacks with the entrepreneurial spirit and a little capital. In Detroit , Black Bottom Black wealth was wiped out by "urban renewal" in the late 1950's, for example. The City government was the agent of big capital. Urban renewal,  was a special weapon against Negro businesses; wasn't used against white businesses.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pure Detroit and Black Detroit

Snake Snyder has a Pure Michigan.


There are two Detroit's . Pure Detroit part of Pure Michigan , and Black Detroit.

Footballer Colin Kapernick takes a knee down into Black History

If you won't take a knee against something, you'll stand for anything. Colin K went down on a knee like Rosa Parks sat down in the front of the bus.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Financial dictator would rob Detroiters of their vote March 22, 2011

This is from 2011: 

2011: 

Financial dictator would rob Detroiters of their vote
March 22, 2011 4:21 PM CDT  BY CHARLES BROWN 
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Financial dictator would rob Detroiters of their vote
DETROIT – A receivership or appointment of an “emergency” financial manager by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is hanging over this city’s head, based on the phony claim that its deficit poses an “emergency” for the public health, welfare and safety. The financial manager could usurp the powers of the mayor, City Council, pension board, and the City Charter. The essence of this would be profoundly un-American and undemocratic. It would be a violation of Detroit residents’ right to self-determination.

In the larger historical view, the financial power structure that controls Detroit’s economic investment and development is responsible for the long-term economic depression that has afflicted Detroit as it has become a majority Black, and proud, and disproportionately poor urban location. There has been a financial and investment blockade on Detroit by the private sector.

Now the same financial power structure that for the last 35 years made Detroit what it is economically stands in the shadows as certain mouthpieces of money in Michigan state government threaten that the city may have to submit to receivership.

Detroit did not become overwhelmingly Black because Black people planned to take it over. No, it was by default, from the long-term process, confirmed by social science experts, of out-migration of many whites to Detroit’s surrounding communities. (See Thomas Sugrue’s “The Origin of the Urban Crisis” and Coleman A. Young’s “Hardstuff.”) To this day, at least one official in Oakland County, north of the city, holds office based on opposition to integrating greater Detroit 40 years ago.

My point is, it has not been Black people who made the Detroit metropolitan area the most segregated in the country (according to the last Census).

The out-migration of economic wealth and investment by the financial power structure has created this out-migration, or “flight,” of the population of this area. People must have jobs in our society. There is no other way to survive. People follow the jobs. People in Detroit need jobs and income. Detroit’s fiscal stresses are rooted in the job deficit and the business deficit.

The people of Detroit also have the right to the democratic election of their own leaders. This principle was proven in the election vote on ending the state takeover of the Detroit Public Schools board several years ago. America owes the majority Black population of Detroit equality of citizenship, which means the right of self-determination and self-governance, especially with regard to the financial matters of its city government. This is irrefutable, given the history of the struggles of Black people in the civil rights movement in America.

Drawing on this historical context, Detroiters demand that any accounting of their own government, any assessment of the city of Detroit’s fiscal health, be made based on the following issues:

* Down through the years, returns to city residents in public services and funding do not equal the federal and state taxes Detroiters have paid. We say federal and state governments owe Detroit because we have not gotten full value for taxes paid to them.

* We think the tax breaks given to municipal bondholders on Wall Street should be shared with Detroit, which sold them the bonds, providing the tax breaks based on Detroit’s municipal status. This must now be given back to Detroit in a substantial forgiveness of current bond debts.

* Finally, the state of Michigan, under former Governor John Engler, made a deal with Detroit under former Mayor Dennis Archer: Detroit would reduce its income taxes in exchange for revenue sharing from the state to the city. The state has not lived up to its end of this bargain. It has cut revenue sharing to Detroit. This reversal has hurt Detroit’s fiscal situation.

Declaring a public emergency because of a fiscal deficit is a fraud. A fiscal deficit does not endanger the public health, safety and welfare. The powers-that-be are using this lie as a cover for robbing the people of Detroit of their vote and their assets, and robbing city workers of wages, benefits and pensions.

In a protest rally at the state Capitol in Lansing this month, state Sen. Coleman Young quoted founding father Patrick Henry, saying, “Give me liberty or give me death.” United Auto Workers President Bob King said the struggle against the tea-Republican Party attacks on the people of Michigan will be responded to by a struggle all the way to November 2012. We in Michigan will follow the lead of our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.

Photo: The famous sculpture of Joe Louis’ fist, in downtown Detroit. The photographer calls it “a symbol of the strength of Detroit and its people.” ktpupp CC 2.0

Friday, March 10, 2017

For Women's Liberation Marxism


For women's liberation: a comradely critique of the Manifesto

By The Manifesto of the Communist Party, every Marxist knows the A,B,C's of historical materialism or the materialist conception of history. The history of all human society, since the breaking up of the ancient communes, is a history of class struggles between oppressor and oppressed. Classes are groups that associate in a division of labor to produce their material means of existence. In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels asserted an elementary anthropological, or "human nature", rationale for this conception. In a section titled "History: Fundamental Conditions" they say:
"... life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of material life itself. And indeed this is a ... fundamental condition of all history, which today, as thousands of years ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order to sustain human life."
Production and economic classes are the starting point of Marxist analysis of human society, including in the Manifesto, because human life, like all plant and animal life must fulfill biological needs to exist as life at all. Whatever humans do that is "higher" than plants and animals, we cannot do if we do not first fulfill our plant/animal like needs. Therefore, the "higher" human activities are limited by the productive activities. This means that historical materialism starts with human nature, our natural species qualities.
Yet, it is fundamental in biology that the basic life sustaining processes of a species are twofold. There is, in the first place, obtaining the material means of life and subsistence, or survival, of the living generation ("production"). But just as fundamentally there is reproduction or success in creating a next generation of the species that is fertile, and survives until it too reproduces viable offspring. Whoever heard of a one generation species? In fact, one test of two individual animals being of the same species is their ability to mate and produce viable offspring. We can imagine a group of living beings with the ultimate success in eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. But if they do not reproduce, either they are not a species or they are an extinct species (unless they are immortal). Thus, having premised their theory in part on human biology, our "species-being", Marx and Engels were obligated to develop historical materialism, the theory of the Manifesto, based not only on the logic of subsistence production, but also on the logic of next generation reproduction.
In The German Ideology, they do recognize reproduction as a "fundamental condition of history" along with production. However, they give reproduction, or at least, "the family" a subordinate "fundamental" status when they say:
"The third circumstance, which from the very outset, enters into historical development, is that men, who daily remake their own life begin to make other men, to propagate their kind: the relation between man and woman, parents and children, the family. The family, which to begin with is the only social relationship, becomes later, when increased needs create new social relations and the increased population new needs, a subordinate one..."
My thesis in this comradely critique is that the mode of reproduction (in the broad sense, including, but not limited to social institutions called "the family") of human beings remains, throughout human history, equally fundamental with the mode of production in shaping society. This is true even after classes arise, even with the "new social relations" that come with "increased population." For there to be history in the sense of many generations of men and women all of the way up to Marx, Engels and us today, men had to do more than "begin to make other men." Women and men had to complete making next generations by sexually uniting and rearing them for thousands of years. Otherwise history would have ended long ago. We would be an extinct species. An essential characteristic of history is its existence in the "medium" of multiple generations. Thus, with respect to historical materialism, reproduction is as necessary as production. The upshot is women's liberation must be put on the same footing with workers' liberation in the Marxist project.

Not only did Marx and Engels in The German Ideology give reproduction a "subordinate" fundamental status compared with production. They did it by the following sleight of hand: in part population increase or the success of reproduction somehow makes reproduction less important in "entering into historical development" as a "fundamental condition" (or "primary historical relation" in another translation, or "basic aspect of social activity" in another).
This is quite a misogynist dialectic, given that "men" are in the first premise and the third premise, but women only are mentioned explicitly in the latter. It is also an idealist philosophical error, because the theory now tends to abstract from the real social life of individuals in reproduction. Another passage in The German Ideology demonstrates the same sort of magical rather than scientific use of "dialectic" with respect to reproduction, and in this case the impact on the materialist philosophical consistency of their argument is more direct and explicit. They say:

"Only now, after having considered four moments, four aspects of primary historical relations, do we find that man also possesses "consciousness". But even from the outset this is not "pure" consciousness. The "mind" is from the outset afflicted with the curse of being "burdened" with matter, which here makes its appearance in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short, of language. Language is as old as consciousness...language like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men...Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. Consciousness is at first of course, merely consciousness concerning the immediate sensuous environment and consciousness of the limited connection with other persons and things outside the individual who is growing self-conscious... This sheep-like or tribal consciousness receives further development or extension through increased productivity, the increase in needs, and, what is fundamental to both of these, the increase in population. With these there develops the division of labor, which was originally nothing but the division of labor in the sexual act, then the division of labor which develops spontaneously or "naturally" by virtue of natural predisposition (e.g. physical strength, needs, accidents, etc.) Division of labor becomes truly such from the moment when a division of material and mental labor appears. From this moment onwards consciousness can really flatter itself that it is something other than consciousness of existing practice, that it really represents something without representing something real (as the semioticians' signifier is arbitrarily related to what it signifies-C.B); from now on consciousness is in a position to emancipate itself from the world and to proceed to formation of "pure" theory, theology, philosophy, morality, etc."

In this paragraph, we see that Marx and Engels's early formulation and explanation of the origin of what Engels later famously dubbed the fundamental question of philosophy (materialism or idealism?) is rooted in the "second" original division of labor. For some reason, the "first" original division of labor, which gives women equivalent complementary status with men, just disappears and is replaced by a productive division of labor, between "men's" minds and hands. And to make it worse, once again, the "reason" the reproductive division of labor disappears as an ongoing fundamental determinant throughout history is its own success in creating a population explosion. This seems to be an error of substituting a negative and destructive dialectic in thought for what is the most fundamentally positive and fruitful dialectic in human history--reproduction. Here is a key connecting point: then Marx and Engels (whom I love dearly) substitute for the reproductive division of labor a productive division of labor as the fundamentally determining contradiction of historical development. This division of labor, between predominantly mental and predominantly physical labor, becomes the root of development of classes, the importance of which is declared in the first sentence of the Manifesto.
Yet, Marx and Engels commit the same error of abstraction at one level that they criticize at the next level: the error of mental laborers in abstracting from the concrete reality of physical labor. In addition, they keep depending on "population increase", which is another name for reproduction and "the sexual act", to explain the origin of increased "productivity" and "needs". These, in turn, seem to be the "premises" for the division between material and mental labor (and are because of the role of material surpluses in making possible the creation of the class of predominantly mental laborers). Thus, we might say that the original idealist philosophical inconsistency of Marxist materialism is abstraction from reproduction. For a fuller historical materialism, the theories of workers' liberation and women's liberation must be integrated. This may be done on the basis of Marx and Engels's fundamental logic carried out more consistently. Feminism, therefore, is derived from, not added on to, the original premises.

By 1884, with the impact of anthropological studies (and perhaps greater interaction with women in his maturity) in the Preface to the First Edition of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, Engels says:
"According to the materialistic conception, the decisive element of history is pre-eminently the production and reproduction of life and its material requirements. This implies, on the one hand, the production of the means of existence (food, clothing, shelter and the necessary tools); on the other hand, the generation of children, the propagation of the species. The social institutions, under which the people of a certain historical period and of a certain country are living, are dependent on these two forms of production; partly on the development of labor, partly on that of the family."
The change in this formulation from that in The German Ideology supports our fundamental thesis in this essay: that reproduction is an equally fundamental, not a subordinate, process with production in shaping society from its origins to modern (and post-modern) times. But Engels's formulation in The Origin is after Marx's death and late in their heroic joint project in developing Marxism. Thus, the main classic writings of Marxism, and Marx and Engels's political activity, focused on production and political economy, not the family and the other institutions of reproduction. The Origin's is the best scientific formulation of the materialistic conception of history, even when we consider that "the family" is, in later stages of history, surrounded by larger social institutions, as asserted in the passage from The German Ideology, quoted above.
Even under capitalism, many of the social relations and institutions that are quantitatively greater then those in the "nuclear" family (See anthropologist G.P. Murdock on the "nuclear" family) are part of reproduction, such as school and training, as well as medical services and recreation. More importantly, reproduction and production have qualitatively different functions, both fundamental in constituting the existence of our species, our species-being. In other words, not only are reproductive relations not quantitatively less important in determining history, but from the beginning, from the true original division of labor as in the sexual act, reproduction has had a qualitatively, necessarily complementary relation with production in creating history. From the standpoint of our uniquely human character (our culture), it might be said that production makes objects and reproduction creates subjects.
Thus, problems in dealing with subjectivity in the history of Marxism (see my "Activist Materialism and the ' End ' of Philosophy") may in part be remedied by rethinking Marxism based on equating and even privileging reproduction over production in interpreting and acting to change the world.
This becomes especially important when we consider that there is now for Marxism a scientific, materialist, truth-seeking and urgent need for intellectual affirmative action in using empirical study of reproduction to re-explain history to compensate for the sole focus on production. Reproduction has always been scientifically coequal, as demonstrated by Marx and Engels's clipped comments and "admissions" quoted previously. They never refute their own words about the importance of reproduction in historical materialist theory. They simply (and uncharacteristically) fail to develop one of their own stated fundamental materialist premises. Living Marxists must creatively redevelop historical materialism based on this compensation.
Dialectical materialism holds that the relationship between subject and object is dialectical, of course. It is "vulgar" materialism that portrays the subject as one-sidedly determined by the object. Reproduction and production are complementary opposites, and their unity in struggle is the fundamental motive force of history today as in ancient times.
However, when I say "reproduction creates subjects", I mean reproduction in a broader sense than only sexual conception and birth. Reproduction includes all child-rearing, from the home through all school and any other type of training. It is all "caring labor" as defined by Hilary Graham in "Caring: A Labour of Love" (1983). Reproduction is all of those labors that have, as a direct and main purpose, making and caring for a human subject or personality as contrasted with those labors of production which have as a direct purpose making objects useful to humans. Reproduction includes affirmative self-creation.
A wikipedia item gives a fuller definition of what I call "caring labor".
"Care work is a sub-category of work that includes all tasks that
directly involve care processes done in service of others. Often, it
is differentiated from other forms of work because it is intrinsically
motivated, meaning that people are motivated to pursue care work for
internal reasons, not related to money.[1] Another factor that is
often used to differentiate caring labor from other types of work is
the motivating factor. This perspective defines care labor as labor
undertaken out of affection or a sense of responsibility for other
people, with no expectation of immediate pecuniary reward.[2] Despite
the importance of this intrinsic motivation factor, care work includes
care activities done for pay as well as those done without
remuneration.
Specifically, care work refers to those occupations that provide
services that help people develop their capabilities, or their ability
to pursue the aspects of their life that they value. Examples of these
occupations include child care, all levels of teaching (from preschool
through university professors), and health care of all types (nurses,
doctors, physical therapists and psychologists).[3] Care work also
includes the array of domestic unpaid work that is often
disproportionately done by women.[4]
Often, care work focuses on the responsibilities to provide for
dependents--children, the sick, and the elderly.[5] However, care work
also refers to any work done in the immediate service of others,
regardless of the recipient's dependent or nondependent status.
Care work is becoming a popular topic for academic study and
discussion. This study is closely linked with the field of feminist
economics and is associated with scholars including Nancy Folbre,
Paula England, Maria Floro, Diane Elson, Caren Grown and Virginia
Held" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_work
Under capitalism with alienation, production's impact in making subjects is primarily "negative" or indirect. Conversely, reproduction indirectly makes objects, in the sense that the subject, the human laborer, who is the direct and "positive" purpose of reproduction, is the possessor of labor power, the active factor making objects in production (directly).
Production makes objects; reproduction creates subjects. This conception of reproduction is consistent with Marx's basic reasoning in Capital. In his famous development of the concept of the labor theory of value (beyond Adam Smith and Ricardo) and surplus value, he asserts that human labor is the only source of new value in the production process. The human laborer and the means of production (tools and raw materials) all add exchange value to a commodity. But the means of production add no more value to the commodity than the values added to them by a previous human laborer in the production of the means of production. The human labor power is the only element in the process that can add more value to the commodity than the values that went into producing the labor power itself. The labor of a worker in one-half day (or now one-quarter of a day) produces enough value to pay for the necessities creating the worker's labor power for a full day's work. The value produced by the worker in the second half of the day is the surplus value exploited by the capitalist. The creation of the worker's labor power is done in reproduction, in the broad sense we have been using that concept here. Thus, reproduction is the "only source" of the only source of new value. Subjectivity is the "source" of the unique ability (over the means of production) of the human component in the production process to produce more value than went into producing it.
Subjectivity is the source of a sort of Marxist "mind over matter." Reproduction is the source of subjectivity. In relation to the discussion of the primacy of reproduction as the original division of labor (as Marx and Engels said) over the division of predominantly material and predominantly mental labor, we might deduce that it was (and is) within reproduction that the mind and matter are non-antagonistically related as opposites (when "men" were simultaneously theoreticians in their practice as mentioned in "The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844").
Sociology and common experience teach that historically, women have been the primary reproductive laborers - from childrearing to housework, from elementary and high school teaching to nursing. Beyond pregnancy, women's "assignment" to reproductive roles is historically and ideologically caused, not biologically or genetically caused or necessary (see, for example, Not in Our Genes, by Richard Lewontin, et al.). But as a result, women are, historically, an exploited and oppressed reproductive class, whose defining labor is as fundamental to our material life as that of the productive laborers on whom Marx and Engels focused. Thus, the materialist conception of history and the new Red Feather Manifesto, must be modified, and women's liberation put on equal footing with workers'(women's and men's) liberation in the Marxist project. It is especially incumbent on male Marxists to be and to be known as champions of feminism.
----
Charles Brown is a political activist in Detroit, Michigan. He has degrees in anthropology, and is a member of the bar. His favorite slogan is "All Power to the People!"
Image:   from Parent Map Magazine  May 2007 on the WILPF webpage.

Why anthropological psychology ?

Anthropological psychology because psychology is study of the Individual   , the Self, that idol of American culture and symbolic inheritance . So, learning about individuals is automatically more relevant to individual student's interests , which is of course , especially in themSELVES.