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Jacobin Interview with Vijay Prashad

Published by marco on

This interview with Vijay Prashad is really quite good. He provides interesting information and views on Indian and Chinese politics.

Biden's Corporate Unity, Taylor Guitar Co-Op, & Indian Farmers' Protest w/ Vijay Prashad by Jacobin Weekends (YouTube)

At 44:39, Nando does a good deep-dive/description of of worker-owned companies.

Nando: If you really boil it down to its essence, politics is about who gets what in our society. As Marx said: it is a struggle between capital and labor. Capitalists—or the bourgeoisie—are the people who own things , or land. Labor are those people who do the work, in exchange for the wage that the capitalist gives them. And a good way to look at that struggle in its most basic form is to see what percentage of the overall economic pie goes to capital and what percentage goes to labor.”

There follow a couple of segments showing that what was a traditional split of 2/3 for labor and 1/3 for capital was already intolerable—because capitalists comprise far fewer than 1/3 of the population, leading to wealth (and power) funneling upward—but it’s gotten even worse over the last 4 decades.

Nando: So what we on the left want to do is reverse that trend and increase labor’s share of the pie, at the expense of capital. Eventually, we would like it if labor gets 100% of the pie. So, how we do that? There are essentially two ways to do that: the first is to increase workers’ power. The main way to do this is through labor unions. […] The second is ownership reforms. Basically, who owns the firms? Eventually, we want the workers to own all of the firms. […] thinking about who own the companies that we work at is an important piece of the puzzle.”

Nando goes on to provide many examples and ideas to reach this goal. This is super-interesting and described well.

At 1:19:00, after discussing the worker uprising and strikes in India, protesting a very corrupt system of government, Vijay makes a good point about India and China

Vijay: This pandemic has revealed how rotten this system is. It’s not that the pandemic has made the system rotten. The system was rotten—the bloody system has been rotten for hundreds of years. This pandemic has just shown its rottenness. Meanwhile, look at China. I mean, what are we talking about? This is a system that has, at least mostly, been able to break the chain of infection and during the pandemic, they’ve been able to declare and end to absolute poverty. 850M people raised out of poverty. You know…if you are an agricultural worker in India today, you would wish you were born in China.”