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July 26, 2010


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Yeah, I like the idea being presented here that a bunch of hip-hop kids and gangsta wannabes are gonna eschew street-smart, coke-snorting, gun-toting, chick-banging Tony Montana and instead embrace old-ass white-bread Howard Hughes with his fedora and Model T car and lightning-fast pal, all nancing around on golf courses with that hideous hag Hepburn.

Right on, guys. Didn't you guys come up listening to hip-hop and dancing in crews and strapping on your 1990 Cross Colours and blaccent trying to be "hard"?


Well, that's my point, Lex. Capitalism isn't the point of Tony Montana being embraced -- crime and drugs are the point.


"Didn't you guys come up listening to hip-hop and dancing in crews and strapping on your 1990 Cross Colours and blaccent trying to be 'hard'?"

No, I didn't.

Evelyn Roak

Lex, all caps CAPITALISM doesn't seem to be working out too well for you personally, what with your lack of money, fame and pussy. Maybe a little less capitalism would grant you some face time with your privileged stars and get you a little action. For all your praising of capitalism it seems to have fucked you over well and good, leaving you at an impossible distance from those desires its instilled in you so deeply, endlessly comlaining about how this system that you love so is keeping you down.


Evelyn Roak: You're a chick?

If you're under 30, email me a picture of your feet please.

Michael Worrall


My answer is that I am wondering what the fundamental distinction is between a Howard Hugues and a Tony Montana. You seem to think there is one, but you offer no criterion by which to distinguish them. They seem undistinguished to me - both ruthless thugs, climbing their way up to the top and squashing everyone in their way. I take it that is what the nature of capitalism is. You seem to have no argument against my characterization.


If you don't think CAPITALISM RULES, you're an ASSHOLE.

BEING RICH = BEING GOD = buying women.


Michael Worrall

Bill wrote: "Capitalism isn't the point of Tony Montana being embraced -- crime and drugs are the point."

What is the difference between business and crime?

Evelyn Roak

Sorry Lex, you, as I gather from your profuse protestations, lack the requisite money, fame and power.


Do you live in LA?

Seriously, it would be kinda cool to talk to a woman who wasn't a stripper, for the first time since 2002.

Oliver C

LexG confuses the green glow of his slowly fading telecine with dollar bills.


Michael, I'm not avoiding your point -- it's just that this is the first time you've actually expressed it. And do you honestly require a list of successful capitalists who achieved whatever they've achieved without destroying others? Do you honestly need for someone to refute your bumper-sticker point that there's no difference between business and crime? That a man owning and running a successful hardware store is no different from Tony Montana? I mean, for fuck's sake, I thought you guys prided yourselves on seeing shades of gray. You're an absolutist nightmare, pal.

You want an argument against your characterization? You're a moron. How's that.


@ LexG, I think Mr. Show got to that equation before you did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF8wLg5Asgo

Of course, Bob and David are funny and talented instead of just publicly playing up their depression until it curdles into revolting and hateful self-loathing. But the skit is still the same basic idea as your shtick, anyway.

Tom Russell

I adore Scarface, but it has nothing to do with some celebration, or critique, of capitalism and everything to do with its very Bigness-- it's an excessive and ridiculous cartoon of machismo. "It's", in this case, refers to both Pacino's performance and the film itself; DePalma's style is the perfect match for the material. I don't think the film glorifies its frothing rabid hilariously gigantic monster of a protagonist, nor do I think it precisely condemns it: it just presents him, completely and gleefully free of morals, in much the same way a certain W. Shakespeare presented us with Richard III and Aaron the Moor.

I think that the film's embrace by hip-hop culture has less to do with the film's intent-- if such a thing can ever really be sussed out-- and more to do with the fact that gangster rap in particular thrives on the same variety of cartoon machismo and self-mythologizing.

That's my two cents, anyway.

Michael Worrall


The claim is not any individual capitalist must resort to murder and pillage at any moment in time but, rather, that the dynamics of the capitalist marketplace compel capitalist firms to break laws to pressure governments to engage in assassinations and wars, etc, merely in order to remain profitable under conditions of profit rate declines or over-accumulation, inevitable features of the capitalist mode of production.

The only thing moronic is to assume that one can have a capitalism without murder, torture, exploitation, imperialism, immiseration, or crime.

If think you can refute the labor theory of value which has demonstrated the inevitability of these laws of motion of capital, I invite you to do so. We will soon see who turns out to be the moron. My guess is that I when I start having to produce the empirical data that proves my case, you are going to suddenly become very quiet. I, at least, will not have to rely on ad hominems as a substitute for an absence of arguments

As George Bush, Jr said: Bring it on!


Let's just skip ahead to the empirical evidence, why don't we, that proves that it's impossible to have capitalism without torture, murder, and etc. Oh, and crime. All of which are, you imply, somehow unique to capitalism.

While you're gathering that evidence that proves that it is impossible to have capitalism without all those things, see if you can dig up the system of government or economics that didn't also feature all of those things.


Worrall, take that shit down to the freshman student union and leave it there. Jesus Christ, homes, get off the campus once in a while. What a load of bullshit. Everyone likes making money. Live with it.

Glenn Kenny


Jeez, I have a consultation with a home pest professional, try to do a nice farewell lunch for Filmbrain with the Self-Styled Siren, then do my afternoon constitutional, and all holy hell breaks loose on this thread AND that other thread. I'm all for lively discussion, but please, go easy on the moron stuff. Come on. Show a some courtesy, and some sympathy, and some taste. Use all your well-known politesse. You know the rest.

Michael Worrall


The empirical evidence I offered was meant to show that the predictions of the labor theory of value have indeed been confirmed, thus showing that the theory is a scientific one. If you would like to challenge the validity of the theory, you may offer an argument challenging on it either on logical or empirical grounds. So far you have offered neither. (You have offered, however, many ad hominems.)

The phenomena that I claimed are intrinsic to capitalism are so because of the laws of motion of capital themselves. Those laws of motion are unique to the capitalist mode of production. Economic crises due to overproduction are unique to the capitalist mode of production; no other mode of production has crises of overproduction.


^ fun guy


So...there will be no empirical evidence that will make me go very quiet? Okay. Have a swell day.

Michael Worrall


What would you like to see evidence in support of?

Centralization of capital?
Concentration of capital?
The tendency for the value rate of profit to decline during long wave periods of expansion?
The relative immiseration of the proletariat?
An increase in the physical ratio of machinery and raw matrials to current labor?
The tendency for technological change to substitute machines for labor?
Periodically recurrent recessions and unemployment?
A secular decline in the percentage of self-employed producers and an increase in the percentage of the labor force that are employees?

Which specifically of these trends do you contest are not operative in capitalist economies? Or do you contest all of them? Are you ready to produce rival data contradicting mine when I produce the data you request?


@ Michael Worrall, I'm curious: Trotskyite? Maoist? RCP? Solidarity? Freedom Road? ISO? I love sectarians.


Michael, why don't you simply prove your original point, that got this whole ball rolling? Prove that crime is unique to capitalist societies. Of course, in order to do that you'll have to prove that crime doesn't exist in any other kind of society, but I'm sure you have a pamphlet about that tucked away somewhere.

Michael Worrall


Where did I say that crime was :unique" to capitalism?


I am not a sectarian.

Michael Worrall



Where did I say that crime was "unique" to capitalism?

Stephen Whitty

An attempt at context: Is this the same Michael Worrall who not long ago informed the San Francisco Bay Guardian that OF COURSE Gus Hall -- albeit the long-term head of the American Communist Party --was not actually a Communist because, you know, he was a Stalinist?

Apologies in advance if not, But if so, I think we're going down a strange twisty political sinkhole here that even Alice in Wonderland could not navigate.

In any case, just looking for some clarification of who's arguing what here. And thanking you both for finally scaring away LexG. Bless you. Even if, you know, Rosa Klebb. HAVE YOU SEEN HER FEET? Pwned. BOW to her.


Okay, so maybe it wasn't your original point, but here's where you said it (hint: it was earlier today):

"The phenomena that I claimed are intrinsic to capitalism are so because of the laws of motion of capital themselves. Those laws of motion are unique to the capitalist mode of production. Economic crises due to overproduction are unique to the capitalist mode of production; no other mode of production has crises of overproduction."

Again, maybe not your original point, but that's still the one I'd most like you to prove.

And if you're backing off that point, or wish to extract a different point from it, then, like Stephen, I'd like to know what, in fact, you are arguing, exactly (if you plan on saying, for instance, that you said crime, et al, is INTRINSIC to capitalism, not unique, then I would ask why pair that point, such as it is, with the other idea that overproduction -- which presumably leads to all those horrors -- is unique to capitalism?). That the crime and etc. that can be found in capitalist societies are the result of capitalism, and when they're found elsewhere they're the result of something else entirely? If crime and business are the same thing, as you've said, then what's crime synonymous with in other societies?


You know what, I've given this some thought, and this is getting silly -- or has been silly for some time -- so whatever response you leave, Michael, will be the end of it, as far as I'm concerned. Go with God, or whoever.

Michael Worrall

Stephen Whitty,

Here is my original post on the San Francisco Bay Guardian which was a reply to a one "Glen Matlock":


Gus Hall was a member of the American Communist Party, which was a Stalinist party, that supported Roosevelt and the Hitler/Stalin pack. Hall may have identified himself as a Communist, but his support of the above has very little to do with Marx or Lenin's ideas.

Lenin condemned ultra leftists, so that leaves Ayers out as well

People can call themselves what ever they want, what really matters what they do and show an understanding of what Communism is. Which leads me to my point: that you consistently demonstrate a misunderstanding of Communism. "

It appears to me, Stephen, that you may have that same misunderstanding as well.


@ Michael Worrall: ah, a Leninist! How could I have left that off my list of options? I guess I should have just asked you to locate yourself on this map: http://freedomroad.org/staticfiles/familytree/megatree.html

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