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View Diary: The "Marxism is coming back" trope (264 comments)

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  •  The biggest problem (1+ / 0-)
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    with Marx's style is that he rather stubbornly thought that his writing had to mimic or mirror the dialectical relations of the things that he was describing.  Rather than giving you a bloody thesis to tell you what he's going to demonstrate when discussing the secret of value in capital (how capitalist trade can produce profit as if by magic), he instead goes through all sorts of contortions to derive the concept of surplus-value.  This writing style is a terrible idea and completely unnecessary (I know purist Marxists will disagree with me, but they're wrong).  Had he been more direct and forthright we might be a lot further along in these debates.  Horrible and idiotic stylistic choices aside, it is one of the top five must read books for anyone on the left, I think.  Democratic activists really suffer from their lack of knowledge of Marx and endless get caught up in sideshows (which are really diversionary bait) rather than addressing the real issues.

    •  Then rewrite Marx (0+ / 0-)

      in a form more accessible to the working class who are rather short on energy after a day's work.

      We need to get past Marx the person, to the realm of knowledge which no one owns.  One of my criticisms of Marxists is the heavy reliance on the writings of single personality. If something has merit, certainly this can be expressed in a better, more accessible way, unless we want a society completely run by academics. Marx doesn't own the knowledge.

      I think one of the best sources of knowledge is what is experienced as a worker in a capitalist society. If all workers must read Marx's tomes (which even intellectuals commenting in this thread find challenging) before they are considered worthy or knowledgeable by Marxists, then we're doomed.

      I posted below part of an interview of Chomsky where he speaks of "factory girls" who hadn't read Marx or Bakunin, and yet organized anarchically against the owning class. People who work often wake up, and they do understand quite well the exploitation. Some prefer to debate in academic terms, some use the common language and experience of the working class. It isn't helpful to think exploitation can't be understood and expressed without having read 4,000 pages of impenetrable writing.

      The Spanish peasants and urban workers either understood through their experience or had read Kropotkin, Bakunin, and others, and they understood quite well the economic and political basis for revolt, and for forming the Spanish collectives.

      As Kropotkin wrote:

      Every machine has had the same history--a long record of sleepless nights and of poverty, of disillusions and of joys, of partial improvements discovered by several generations of nameless workers, who have added to the original invention these little nothings, without which the most fertile idea would remain fruitless. More than that: every new invention is a synthesis, the resultant of innumerable inventions which have preceded it in the vast field of mechanics and industry.

      Science and industry, knowledge and application, discovery and practical realization leading to new discoveries, cunning of brain and of hand, toil of mind and muscle--all work together. Each discovery, each advance, each increase in the sum of human riches, owes its being to the physical and mental travail of the past and the present.

      By what right then can any one whatever appropriate the least morsel of this immense whole and say--This is mine, not yours?

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:04:47 PM PDT

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