Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 6, 2019

Michael Bloomberg and me

Filed under: computers,Counterpunch,New York,real estate — louisproyect @ 4:57 pm


In 1975, I took a job as a Cobol programmer at Salomon Brothers in New York, mainly on the buzz generated by a N.Y. Times profile of its star block trader Michael Bloomberg. The November 9th article noted that “The single‐minded dedication of Mr. Bloomberg’s pressure‐cooker life goes hand in glove with the aggressive business style which has made Salomon Brothers one of the largest and most profitable firms on Wall Street.”

While at Salomon, I often stopped by Socialist Workers Party national headquarters after work to take part in systems design meetings with two other party members. We were automating The Militant and Pathfinder Press as part of an ambitious expansion program by the Trotskyist movement. The SWP had purchased an IBM System 32 minicomputer to generate mailing labels for The Militant and to keep track of Pathfinder’s financial records. Modernization also included the purchase of a web press located on the ground floor of a five-story building on West Street that we foolishly thought of as our Smolny Institute. (A web press had nothing to do with the Internet. It was just a high-powered technology for printing on continuous rolls of paper.)

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  1. “Feral hogs in Texas attacked and killed a woman outside a home”

    Can’t really abide by your pigwashing.

    Comment by freetofu — December 6, 2019 @ 5:29 pm

  2. Freetofu is correct of course. never fall asleep in a pigpen, they will start to eat you alive…

    I think that was a fascinating story. I thought after the revolution we could make Bloomberg Commissar of Public Spaces. Just say’n, what he did do, it did it well, or so it seems. He does sort of represent the grotesqueness of billionaires-out-of-touch with reality who-want-to-be-President. What an expose of capitalist politics.

    Comment by davidwalters66 — December 6, 2019 @ 6:50 pm

  3. Hey freetofu, The feral hogs problem in this country is real. https://gimletmedia.com/shows/reply-all/n8hw3d

    Comment by Janet Avery — December 6, 2019 @ 8:07 pm

  4. I did greatly appreciate Louis Proyect’s review of the early years of the digital revolution and the role he played as IT programmer in such development, as well as a brief history of some of the key players involved.

    Here in Canada we have one individual, Don Tapscott, a former Trotskyist activist and current champion of digital capitalism, who played a similar role in the digital transformation of a traditional post office linked capitalist economy .

    How is this relevant . Well , for instance Jacob Morgan’s LinkedIn live webcast, from California, 3 weeks back, called ” LIVE with Don Tapscott Talking About Blockchain and the Future of Work” examined the digital future of global capitalist expansion with invited guest, Don Tapscott , Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Blockchain Research Institute based in Toronto.

    Now the invited speaker Don Tapscott has a particular interest for those of this website, he’s not simply some academic digital enthusiast, but a former Trotskyist leading activist in the Revolutionary Workers League in Canada, part of the USEC 4th International, a mainstay of the revolutionary movement in Canada during the 1970s, the RWL candidate for political office in Edmonton during the late 70s, who like Louis Proyect played a leading role in the early stages of the digital revolution and internet expansion with Bell Northern in Canada, broke with his former socialist ideals and reinvented himself not simply as a digital capitalist entrepreneur, but as a leading spokesperson for the globalist bourgeoisie worldwide, a leading advocate of the digital transformation of the global capitalist economy in banking, commerce, work relations, property ownership, etc.. Tapscott, a former Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario, a much-heralded recipient of the Order of Canada and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Blockchain Research Institute based in Toronto, has been heralded into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame as one of the leading theorists projecting and imagining the future of the global capitalist economy.

    So he’s not some sectarian nobody like Lyndon LaRouche who lurched to the right and embraced the virtues of capitalist entrepreneurship and property ownership, imagining himself as a leading player counselling the international bourgeoisie, this one actually is and is recognized as such .
    For instance his LinkedIn website shows photos of him with the CEO founder of WISeKey International Holdings in New York in early December promoting such ventures on the New York stock exchange. So he is a major player in the global capitalist economy, and more than that, a major ideologue with solid international backing from corporate executives and IT managers worldwide, advocating what he claims is a ” revolutionary” transition from digital fuedalism to digital capitalism ..

    For instance, Tapscott has a major conference on the future of the digital economy scheduled for mass attendance in Toronto April 4th to 7th ..
    Given his past affiliations with the Trotskyist movement, and his current status as a leading exponent of global digital capitalism, I believe that an in-depth expose of the activities, interests and affiliations of this former Trotskyist and current herald and prophet of the Blockchain revolution is called for …

    Comment by Marc Dupont — December 12, 2019 @ 4:23 am

  5. “There’s a certain irony in this metamorphosis from the Smolny Institute into a hedge fund playground.”

    Or maybe not at all considering:

    1. This article is written by an SWP member who was long in service to Wall Street and could have “struck it big” himself if he was just 5 desks down.

    2. The SWP’s biggest and most prominent member after it’s turn away from workers and toward Cuba in the 1960’s was Peter Camejo, a stock swindler himself who grew rich on Wall Street off of blood money extracted from the labor of the working class — which all Marxists know is the sole source of profits under capitalism.

    3. The “Communist Party of China” is lead by billionaires who used their positions in the party bureaucracy to enrich themselves, same as any of our Leninist grouplets would have done if they could recruit more than 100 losers.

    “My idea was not to become successful in the business world but to destroy it.”

    What, from the inside out, and by helping to develop it? LOL!

    Was this your own little version of the proletarian military policy? Thanks for the laugh comrade!

    “Bloomberg’s 2020 Presidential Campaign website makes it sound like he was a worker at the Lordstown G.M. plant:”

    Well, to be fair, so does your account of it all. I know lots of working class guys who like a nice pair of tits and aren’t shy to say so. I don’t know any working class women who play tennis and have college diplomas in the humanities.

    ” Back in the sixties, we used to joke about how the former bourgeoisie would have to raise money for its election campaigns in a socialist America.”

    So you had a reformist bourgeois outlook from the start? Why didn’t you join the DSA?

    In a “socialist America” there wouldn’t be an America, but a world. And there wouldn’t be money either. Go read some Marx mister Marxist.

    Comment by Tray Dee — December 15, 2019 @ 7:38 am

  6. I have just banned “Tray Dee” from posting here. I don’t mind the impotent Vyshinsky denunciation from this troll but I have a policy against sock puppets. He used to be “Big Mike”. Now he is “Tray Dee”. I suppose he uses fake names and fake email addresses since if he used his real name and email address, it would only take 5 minutes to recognize that for all his revolutionary rhetoric, he has never lifted a finger on behalf of the working class. As for “I know lots of working class guys who like a nice pair of tits and aren’t shy to say so”, that certainly must include him. Except who knows if he is working class. For all we know, he might be a dentist or even a cop.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 15, 2019 @ 1:39 pm

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