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Thu Jul 5, 2012, 01:49 AM

Why Marxism is on the rise again

Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable." (The best-selling book of all time, incidentally, is the Bible – it only feels like it's 50 Shades of Grey.)

Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China's) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.

The irony is scarcely wasted on leading Marxist thinkers. "The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist party that gives de-localised capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organisation," says Jacques Rancière, the French marxist thinker and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. "Happily, it is possible to hope for a world less absurd and more just than today's."

That hope, perhaps, explains another improbable truth of our economically catastrophic times – the revival in interest in Marx and Marxist thought. Sales of Das Kapital, Marx's masterpiece of political economy, have soared ever since 2008, as have those of The Communist Manifesto and the Grundrisse (or, to give it its English title, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy). Their sales rose as British workers bailed out the banks to keep the degraded system going and the snouts of the rich firmly in their troughs while the rest of us struggle in debt, job insecurity or worse. There's even a Chinese theatre director called He Nian who capitalised on Das Kapital's renaissance to create an all-singing, all-dancing musical.

full: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/04/the-return-of-marxism

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 03:17 AM

1. It worked out so well the first time.

Maybe we ought to try it again?

I have sympathy for these arguments. But I have problems about how it has been implemented. That is always the devil in the details.

Marxism vs capitalism. They are ever portrayed as a dichotomy. But that's artificial. Either, when implemented, are flawed. Neither are a solution although there may be elements of a solution within any such political philosophy. The problem is when a government uses such philosophy to stamp out all others.

It's what separates Dems from Reps today. People here at DU complain about the lack of liberal purity here. But that is precisely makes the Dems work when the Reps don't work. Yes, there is a lot of discord, but governance is never neat. This is the difference between the parties here these days. The Dems are looking for solutions; the Reps think they have the only true solution, no matter the outcome.

Socialism, Marxism, Conservatism, or any other political philosophy are only as good as the test of, when they are implemented, how well they actually work in practice.

I think us Dems have good ideas here and it warms my black heart that Marx is brought up here. (Karl, although I also approve of Groucho.)

Let's keep on keeping on.

Good post.

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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 04:31 AM

5. Please, stop buying the BS...

The Soviet Union was not communist. It was not marxist, it was not Socialist, it was not any of that. Those terms were used as lip service and propaganda to allay the masses in the first waves of revolution, and then simply became rote nonsense after the Bolsheviks secured power. In every other way, shape, form, and function, Soviet Russia was a fascist dictatorship. Yes, Fascist. One party engaging in for-profit rule. and yes, it was right wing - breakouts of actual leftism or socialism were treated as threats, and met with force. Rule was autocratic and militaristic. Ethnic minorities were hailed as "members of the party" in the rhetoric, and then forced to "become Russian" in the reality. Sexuality and religion were tightly policed (it wasn't that religion was outlawed; it was that religion was state-controlled.)

Aside from empty rhetoric, there was absolutely nothing "leftist" in the character of Soviet Russia, or China / Korea for that matter. Castro and Ho Chi Minh were probably honestly interested in real communism, but, well, maybe that's why the US busted its hump to crush the everliving fuck out of both Cuba and Vietnam? it's certainly why we swung our might around to topple "pink" governments in Latin America and prevent their rise in post-colonial Africa.

Trying to tie communism (or more egregiously, socialism) to the USSR is just false propaganda at its deepest. The hilarious thing is that even if it were true, the USSR kept pace with the United States on every front until 1991; they weren't called a superpower because it's a funny name we hand out to just anyone, after all.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 08:02 AM

7. The prior poster did not link it solely to the USSR

And there are many more governments that have claimed to be communist at one point. Not one has done well

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 09:14 AM

8. Scootaloo, I agree with you about the Soviet Union, but could you point me to a book/source

that could explain this in more depth? I've been researching this for some time but can't get exactly that question answered.

I follow the writings of Rick Wolff, the Marxist economist http://rdwolff.com but his more scholarly books are only available through interlibrary loan.

Thanks.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 09:45 AM

10. Who mentioned the Soviet Union?

You did. Not me.

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Response to longship (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 03:10 PM

13. "It worked so well before"

Usually a catch-phrase that's meant to hearken the reader / listener back to the soviet union.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:05 PM

15. Meh! Read my entire post, not just the headline.

Longship refuses to align with his headline writers' substitute as a summary of his thinking.

Sorry, I forgot the obligatory legal caveat.

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Response to longship (Reply #15)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 01:34 AM

16. Heh, fair enough

Still, I see it often enough, and that propaganda ship needs to be scuttled. Even on false alarms

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 03:24 AM

2. This is what I always tell the Cons-They THEMSELVES are going to cause communist revolution

When wealth inequality becomes too great and people perceive injustice they turn to violent revolution if it cant be done any other way.

10 explosive bubbles that will kill capitalism
Commentary: Slow-motion train wreck in store for U.S.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-explosive-bubbles-that-will-kill-capitalism-2012-07-03?link=MW_story_popular

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 04:02 AM

3. Except for throwing the world economy into chaos . . .

Which, selfishly, I'd rather avoid, it is true that China is ripe for a revolution. Whether that would have to be a Marxist revolution I'm not so sure, but at least the population has a passing familiarity with the concepts and (presumably) can percieve the difference between what Marxism promises and what it delivers.

Frankly the intense cynicism of the Chinese leadership — pretending to adhere to Marxist/Leninist principles while actually behaving like a class of robber barons — is unequalled in history.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 04:27 AM

4. I love my Marxist fire department

If your property is worth more, your property taxes are higher "From each according to his abilities"
They don't send a truck out unless you have a fire or other emergency "To each according to his needs."

In a loose sense, all public goods are socialist. But should everything be a public good? Probably not. How about this division of labor? The government doesn't make shoes, and private businesses don't get to decide who does and who does not deserve health care.

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Response to eridani (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 11:05 AM

11. private businesses do get to decide who deserves health care, for now anyway

There I fixed it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 06:22 AM

6. Marxism happens when capitalism fails to create opportunities/advancement for the lower classes

That's why Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, that's why people implement it, and that's why people will look to it as a solution in the future.

If people don't like Marxism, then they should improve the capitalist system they have.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 09:26 AM

9. I'm not a fan of Communism

however, I'm also not a fan of Fascism and Capitalism. It's a shame that the Cold War enabled Americans to be easy to propagazied. Marxism looks good on paper. It doesn't work, but it's still trying to better society. Fascism is evil right from the start. America is pro-Fascism, and toe the Fascist line of thinking. Hell, they're pro-Communism when you look at places like Wal-Mart. They don't understand what Fascism is. Look at the book "Liberal Fascism". Americans actually believe that these are one of the same. They also don't understand the difference between Socialism and Communism. They don't understand that their Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid is Socialism. They would never give these things up.

To run a society, you need a bit from column A and column B. Pure Capitalism is evil, and we're seeing its affects today. It's horrible how Liberals won't bring this up, and bite the bullet. Conservatives will speak of the ills of Communism, even link crap together that isn't Communism, at the drop of a hat.

I would love Republicans to be called out on national television and asked what the definition of Communism is, Socialism, Fascism, and Capitalism. It would be a barrel of laughs!

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 11:08 AM

12. marxism is for lovers. nt

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Thu Jul 5, 2012, 03:28 PM

14. I believe in Marxism.

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Response to Archae (Reply #14)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 01:35 AM

17. Our ideology is...

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