There are limits set by the needs of capital.
“Both deportations and workplace firings face a basic obstacle—the immigrant workforce is a source of immense profit to employers. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that, of the presumed 11 million people in the country without documents, about 8 million are employed (comprising over 5% of all workers). Most earn close to the minimum wage (some far less), and are clustered in low-wage industries. In the Indigenous Farm Worker Survey, for instance, made in 2009, demographer Rick Mines found that a third of California’s 165,000 indigenous agricultural laborers (workers from communities in Mexico speaking languages that pre-date European colonization) made less than minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage is still stuck at $7.50/hour, and even California’s minimum of $10/hour only gives full-time workers an annual income of $20,000. Meanwhile, Social Security says the national average wage index for 2015 is just over $48,000. In other words, if employers were paying the undocumented workforce the average U.S. wage it would cost them well over $200 billion annually. That wage differential subsidizes whole industries like agriculture and food processing. If that workforce were withdrawn, as Trump threatens, through deportations or mass firings, employers wouldn’t be able to replace it without raising wages drastically.
As president, Donald Trump will have to ensure that the labor needs of employers are met, at a price they want to pay. The corporate appointees in his administration reveal that any populist rhetoric about going against big business was just that—rhetoric. But Hillary Clinton would have faced the same necessity. And in fact, the immigration reform proposals in Congress from both Republicans and Democrats over the past decade shared this understanding—that U.S. immigration policy must satisfy corporate labor demands.”
“….Fidel is certainly taking advantage of the discontent with the USA, presenting this country as the great empire, due to the contradictions he had with this nation, but at the same time he denounced American imperialism, he praised soviet social-imperialism; now he supports the Bolivarian imperialism of sergeant Chavez. Please, tell me then if there is a bad imperialism and a good one; would it be something like a terrorist being dedicated to the suppression of terrorism?”
“…In Cuba there exists wage-labor and the exploitation of man by man. Instead of there being a classical capitalist class there is a bureaucracy that administers the state against the majority. What has happened was just a juridical change in property, changing it from particular to bureaucratic; the title of the property has passed from the particulars to the State, but it still is private property since the great majority is deprived of every medium of existence, and to survive has to accept working everyday in the conditions imparted by the Boss. The only difference is that, while in other countries the boss is Mr. Someone from Company Something, in Cuba the boss is Mr. State.
Fidel Castro – and now Chavez, Morales etc. – reproduce the great Stalinist lie: making people believe that nationalizations were a step to socialism – trying to persuade that socialism in one country is a step towards socialism or a variant of socialism, while in reality, it is nothing more than a facet of capitalism: state-capitalism.”
“Formally, democracy proclaims freedom of speech, of the press, of association, as well as universal equality before the law. In reality, all these freedoms are of a very relative nature: they are tolerated as long as they do not contradict the interests of the ruling class, i.e. the bourgeoisie.
Democracy preserves intact the principle of capitalist private property. In so doing, it reserves the right of the bourgeoisie to control the entire economy of the country, as well as the press, education, science and art, which in practice makes the bourgeoisie the absolute master of the country. As it enjoys a monopoly in the realm of the country’s economic affairs, the bourgeoisie is free to establish its complete and unlimited authority in the political realm too.
Indeed, parliament and representative government are, in democracies, merely executive organs of the bourgeoisie. As a result, democracy is merely one variety of bourgeois dictatorship, its fictitious political freedoms and democratic guarantees are a smokescreen designed to conceal its true identity.”
-Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists General Part by Dielo Truda (Worker’s Cause)
This is an excellent talk to listen to in conjunction with the book. While Marx didn’t completely praise capitalism, there was indeed an element of the impossibility for the foundation for socialism to be built without the productive powers of capitalism. Federici turns this around by illuminating the experiences of women, outcasts, peasants, and their revolts against capitalism’s development to show that there were, in fact, alternative paths and that capitalism was not in any way a “progressive” force for the majority of people living in feudal times (and even in these times, owing to the fact that so-called primitive accumulation is not a thing of the past). Highly recommended.:
Intro to ‘Caliban and the Witch’
“This show presents an audiobook-ish experience, based on a talk by Silvia Federici about her book ‘Caliban and the Witch’. This book talks about how the development of capitalism is deeply entwined with processes of accumulation which needs to mold and domesticate the bodies of women in specific ways. The politics of reproduction at stake in this historical study is still very much at work today, and this book provides an invaluable background to developing struggles around reproduction and care today.
A must for anyone interested in the connections between capitalism, gender and colonialism.
We recorded this in May 2013 in Vienna at the launch of the german translation of this book, published by Mandelbaum Verlag.”
“The 1930s sit down strikes represented the apogee of working class power in the U.S. That trade unions did not oppose Fansteel revealed their own fear that sit-downs would erode their external bureaucratic influence as representatives who delivered labor peace and cordial industrial relations to management (mass sit-down actions in factories led to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in NLRB v. Fansteel Metallurgical Corporation in 1939, which circumscribed workers’ rights gained legislatively by effectively banning the sit down occupation of factories).
Subsequently, unions went further to eviscerate member power through the World War II no-strike pledge and the purging of left-led unions that ensued after the passage of the 1949 Taft-Hartley Act. Devoid of militancy and ideology, labor unions grew increasingly irrelevant in the private sector due to worker cynicism and distrust of labor leaders, and by the early twenty-first century had been rendered almost inconsequential.
From 1940 onward, the vast majority of workers had few alternatives but to conform to repressive laws and embrace the propaganda of capitalist logic.”
“Indeed, in a system where life is subordinated to the production of profit,the accumulation of labor-power can only be achieved with the maximum of violence so that, in Maria Mies’ words, violence itself becomes the most productive force.”
-Sylvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch p. 61