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Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:28 AM

Anyone reading "Why Marx Was Right" by Terry Eagleton?

I'm about halfway through and it's blowing me away. Eagleton is really witty, too!

He does a good job at debunking the usual criticisms of Marxism, that it is dehumanizing and deterministic, that it assumes that the material conditions of society are the only thing that matters, that it is a utopian pipe dream, etc. Eagleton goes very in depth about a society needing to be extremely productive, wealthy, and having the potential to be "post-scarcity" for necessities before a social revolution can be successful, otherwise it leads to Stalinism. He also refutes the notion that Marx's ideas are based on a notion of there being no essential human nature, because if there were no essential human nature, Eagleton argues, that people would not get angry over unjust social relations.

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Reply Anyone reading "Why Marx Was Right" by Terry Eagleton? (Original post)
Odin2005 Apr 2012 OP
Cleita Apr 2012 #1
Warpy Apr 2012 #2
Cleita Apr 2012 #3
DonCoquixote Apr 2012 #4
TBF Apr 2012 #8
Warpy Apr 2012 #9
socialist_n_TN Apr 2012 #10
socialist_n_TN Apr 2012 #11
TBF Apr 2012 #12
socialist_n_TN Apr 2012 #7
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #14
socialist_n_TN Apr 2012 #16
Fantastic Anarchist May 2012 #19
Fantastic Anarchist May 2012 #18
ashling Apr 2012 #5
socialist_n_TN Apr 2012 #6
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #15
white_wolf Apr 2012 #13
Taverner May 2012 #17

Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:33 AM

1. Thom Hartmann has said that Marx was right in his

evaluation of our societal problems, but he was wrong in the solutions.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:39 AM

2. Exactly, the solutions need to be messy,

with plenty of checks and balances to keep the thieves from amassing Robber Baron fortunes. Mixed economies are the only ones that have a chance of working and being both humane and competitive.

Lenin was the one who really muddied the waters, insisting that the democratic dictatorship of the workers become instead the dictatorship of the party, leading the way to instituting a new de facto inheritable aristocracy of party insiders.

The problem with any pure system is that it relies upon the purity of the human race in order to work, and that's just not going to happen.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 01:45 AM

3. You are so right.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 02:43 AM

4. True, and

They key word is "checks and balances" The reason our nation is sick is because the companies have figured out how to get past those checks and balances, especially with the supreme court being a de-facto arm of the GOP.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 05:57 PM

8. Warpy, how would you answer the question

that the United States was only able to keep it going 50 years (roughly between the 1930s - 80s)? Was it lack of vigilance in "checks and balances" or was it that capitalism is so very difficult to contain?

I have no problem with a mixed economy model being used as a stopgap model, and we do welcome folks in this group who subscribe to such an ideal, but I think we need a little more than "plenty of checks and balances". That didn't stop the election of Reagan and his supply side nightmare.

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Response to TBF (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:03 PM

9. Liberals went out of power in 1969

and attacks against all the checks and balances provided by the New Deal regulation of financial institutions began in earnest.

Had liberals retained power and had people not been completely snowed by a corporate pitchman in 1980, things might be quite different.

Unfortunately, with every single regulation that was overturned, more thieves set up shop.

We told them so, of course. They're only now beginning to listen.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:23 PM

10. "...and had people not been completely snowed by a.......

corporate pitchman in 1980, things might have been different."

But you see that's the problem. There's ALWAYS a "corporate pitchman" arising to lead people astray, ESPECIALLY when he has the complicity of the MSM and beaucoup bucks behind him. Or her. Thatcher comes to mind on the distaff side. And people have short memories and don't read or understand history, so a lot of them are easily fooled. You can also add us baby boomers who developed a HUGE distrust of government (the government that we rightly thought was trying to kill us with the Vietnam war) during the 60s/70s and Reagan had a fairly easy time with his anti-government meme. Boomers didn't vote for Reagan, BUT I think a lot of boomers sat out the 1980 election because of the distrust of government developed in the previous decade plus. IOW, their enthusiam wasn't there for Carter and the Dems.

The problem is that EVERY time capitalism is regulated, one way or another it slips it's regulatory chains and in a few decades morphs into what it is today. Instead of Jeckyl/Hyde, capitalism is Hyde/Jeckyl. At times the ruthless side can be hidden for a while, but the Mr. Hyde side of capitalism ALWAYS comes out before it's over with. Because that ruthless side is EXACTLY what capitalism IS at it's core.

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Response to TBF (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:24 PM

11. Regulating capitalism is like riding a tiger.........

It's VERY difficult to do and you're always in danger of being eaten.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #11)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 07:53 PM

12. I'd agree with that -

and I think the short length of time we were actually able to temper it is very instructive.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:16 AM

7. Well, that's not a innovative insight into Marx......

I'm sure a LOT of Marxists have had this "dark night of the soul" moment, ESPECIALLY us older folk who lived through the "moderated" capitalism of the New Deal. I toyed with this exact idea myself, but figured that history would prove it out one way or another.

What does history show about capitalism today, now that there's not the moderating factor of even a degenerated worker's state? Even a bureaucracized and falling WAY short of the mark USSR provided a check on the excesses of capitalism that led to the above half Marxian speculation and conclusion. Now that that's gone, even Marx's solutions are viable again. They MUST be viable because otherwise there's no alternative to the CURRENT capitalist system. Without the pressure of revolutionary socialism, there ain't NO WAY that the capitalists will change what they have. The current system is too good to the owners to even consider anything else until there's a realistic threat that they lose it ALL to socialist revolution.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:35 AM

14. "...until there's a realistic threat..."

Even the New Deal programs that many of us like so much, might never have been enacted unless there was a real sense that something big and dangerous was about to happen. After all 1933 was only about 16 years after the Russian Revolution. Seems fair to say that the reformist program benefits from the presence of a revolutionary element. If only to make the reformers appear as the safer option to those in power. But also as a source of ideas and as agitators and organizers.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #14)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 11:22 AM

16. Yes exactly. A realistic threat from the left moves the whole..........

conversation TO the left.

As I've said in posts before, I'd LOVE for Obama and the Dems to be able to use me as a threat. A threat as in, "If you don't go along with this entirely moderate and sensible proposal, you might wind up with something even MORE radical." At least if this happened we might actually be able to get some bigger crumbs for the working class.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #14)

Tue May 22, 2012, 09:09 PM

19. Exactly.

FDR saved capitalism from itself.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #7)

Tue May 22, 2012, 09:07 PM

18. There are other alternatives to a Marxist revolution.

There are other socialist models.

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Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 03:03 AM

5. This is pretty good

I just wish I could have understood a word that was said

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Response to ashling (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 11:03 AM

6. Thanks ash. I'm grateful you found this and brought it to us..........

It was interesting. There's not much I disagreed with in the presentation, which now makes me want to read the book .

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Response to ashling (Reply #5)

Mon Apr 30, 2012, 03:47 AM

15. Watched it, seems to make perect sense.

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Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Sun Apr 29, 2012, 08:18 PM

13. It's a good book.

He does a good job of debunking the usual myths about Marxism. I'd recommend it, especially to someone who is new to socialist thought since it is a great introduction.

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Response to Odin2005 (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2012, 01:56 PM

17. I did. It was good, except when it flirted with anti-semitism

 

Granted the tome was not rife with it, but certain points rode the fine line.

Other than that, great analysis

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