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Socialist Party of Great Britain - Capitalism In Crisis - Waiting for Capitalism to collapse.

In an economic boom capitalism is replete with excess as bloated capitalist’s gorge themselves on surplus value in the form of the unearned income of rent interest and profit pumped out from the working class.

However, the duty of the capitalist as “personification of capital” is that he “does not produce in order to satisfy his needs with the product; he produces with absolutely no direct regard for consumption. He produces in order to produce surplus value” (THEORIES OF SURPLUS VALUE, Part I, p. 88).

In other word he has to keep re-investing his capital or perish. Marx wryly notes that the capitalist’s “…own private consumption counts as a robbery against his own capital accumulation” (CAPITAL VOLUME I, Part VI Ch. 24 p. 739).

When not re-investing their spoils capitalists spend their unearned wealth on the best they can lay their hands on. When they “rob” their own capital accumulation they put the Great Train Robbers to shame. The capitalist’s consumption has to be exclusive, expensive and out of the reach of the working class; luxury houses, cars, yachts skiing resorts all paid for from the exploitation of the working class.

THE SAVVY CLUB, an on-line magazine reporting the spending of the rich, gave the menu prepared by the Farrington Street wine bar Vivat Bacchus for two city bankers out celebrating the bonus season (March 07 2008).

To start: a glass of Billecart Salmon Rosé, one of the finest pink champagnes. Then course one, a bowl of Royal Sevruga caviar served with buckwheat blinis. The accompaniment was a 2003 vintage Kauffman vodka.

Next, a Bahama rock lobster linguini - flavoured with 40-year-old Armagnac. The wine was a South African 1996 Forrester Meinert Chenin followed by a plate of paper-thin slices of Spanish Joselito Gran Reserve ham from pigs living on a diet of acorns. Then a slab of grilled Wagyu fillet steak from cows so pampered they get massages, topped with foie gras and a small portion of green beans.

The wine reached its pinnacle of extravagance, a glass from a £700 bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. A board of 15 cheeses ranged from a truffle-infused Brillat Savarin to Fourme au Maury. The wine? Port Taylors.

Then the pudding, a chocolate soufflé with another of the bankers’ favourites, a Chateau D’Yquem, a wine so rarefied that each bunch of grapes in it is tasted individually. Coffee followed accompanied by a large glass of Martell Cordon Bleu cognac.

The bill for two? £2,250 including a 12.5 per cent service charge.

The bonus culture of the city not only fuelled the expensive restaurants around the City; many now have disappeared, but also the trendy and exclusive clubs that pandered for the City rich.

Trendy and exclusive members only clubs have sprang up all over London, owned by the likes of Jonathan Downey. Many a media hack has used up their expense account at his tables and wine bar. As a reward they then report on the celebrities, the politicians and the mega-rich who inhabit these latter day speakeasies for the benefit of a celebrity obsessed readership.

Usually socialists are not interested in these establishments anymore than the Gentleman clubs of the 19th century where the only workers to be seen are those at the attending the door, taking the coats, serving drinks and waiting at tables.

The free-market capitalism supporting journalist Sebastian Shakespeare was recently invited by Jonathan Downey to eat with him at his new club The East Room in Shoreditch. By all accounts, it was an unsettling meal.

Here is Mr Shakespeare in his own words:

Half way through the meal I suddenly gulped –and it wasn’t the 1965 Armagnac that gave me pause. Mr Downey announced that he was going to host a Death of Capitalism party at his club on 1 May” (EVENING STANDARD 11.03.03).

May Day occurs on May 1st and Mr Downey’s remark was presumed to have been a provocative statement to get some self-publicity for his latest club for the City rich in what was once a densely populated working class area of London.

The first of May came and went. There was no death of capitalism. Exploitation continued. Mr Downey retained his wealth and privilege much like the members of his club. The trade crisis and depression for some appears to have become a fashion statement. Economic pornography or Econoporn as it is called.

Not so for the working class majority. Two million are unemployed. Many others have had their wages cut, put on a short term working week and told to take an unpaid holiday.

In his article, Sebastian Shakespeare claimed that in the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO Marx predicted the end of capitalism. As a snide remark he pointed out that Marx was now dead and buried in Highgate Cemetery while capitalism, despite its hic-cups continues to exploit the working class from one generation to the next.

Marx did not “predict” the end of Capitalism in the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO. What he identified, instead, was a working class who had evolved to the point where they could take conscious and political action to replace capitalism with Socialism.

For Marx, history was made by real men and women and social systems changed by human agency through class struggle. He stated that the human history is a history of class struggle. History by itself does nothing. Capitalism remains in existence with all its exploitation and social misery so long as the working class remains tied to capital.

Part of the problem preventing workers understanding capitalism are the untenable theories advocated by those hostile to Socialism like Mr Sebastian and, worse still, ideas by those claiming to be students of Marx or Socialists.

Even when these theories are understood and rejected it still requires workers to understand why the problems caused by commodity production and exchange for profit will not go away until the working class become, what Marx called “a class for itself”.

And this requires workers the world over to the necessary political steps –for all class struggles are political struggles over the ownership of the means of production – to establish the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society. That would make Mr Sebastian and Downey choke over their smart brandy and grilled but sensitively massaged Wagyu fillet steak.

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