foucault at eden.rutgers.edu
Mon Jan 30 02:29:26 MST 1995
I can see that my smallish comment about excessive quoting has made
less than a noticable dent, whatever.
No serious minded person could question the benefit of academic
debate. Furthermore, Marxism is clearly such an important ideology that it
has enveloped academic thought and been transformed by the academy so that
those outside the specific discourse of a given discipline may not even
recognize it, This is in no way wrong. What one calls for, however, is the
philosophers among us to aim their abilities squarely at concrete issues of
Marxist interest IN ADDITION TO their very important academic combat.
I have proposed, and will continue to propose, that conflict is an
irreducible social quantity germane to all Marxists of all stripes. It is
doubly important to focus on conflict since the conservative capitalists are
constantly going to the absurd extent (especially in America, it seems to me)
of insisting that our society is without the conflicts identified by Marx.
Therefore I say that we should all try and identify one essential conflict in
our arguments. I suggest conflicts in the nature of contrasting a popular
belief with a contradicting reality, or contrasting a bourgeois belief with a
socialist one, a proletarian view with a socialist one, a proletarian desire
with a capitalist one, a capitalist economic analysis with a planned economy
analysis, or an anarchist one - so long as a central conflict can be
expressed in the argument.
To that end, I will make a stab at it.
The Green/ Socialist conflict seems to me an excellent example of a
well, even properly, intentioned false consciousness. Greens identify a
terrible symptom of capitalism as a central issue in dialectic relations, and
are quite wrong in doing so. The relationship of man to earth is
essentially moot to marxism (unlike the relationship of man to woman or white
to black) because only human relations are fundamental to Marxism.
Environmental panic seems inevitably to give way to a planned economy ideal,
precluding the necessity for true worker control of production in its logic.
The issue of creating a geener human economy is vastly important, but it is
not a Marxist cause. One must deal with the environment as the American
founding fathers dealt with Christianity - in this way - the argument must be
that the infliction on the masses of industrial excess can only be solved by
the masses gaining democratic control of the industrial apparatus. If the
masses are found not to give a hoot for the environment, than it is their
problem. One can only trust in one's educated fellow citizens. At no time
can the cause for a greener world be held higher than the cause for worker
control of that world. Man asks much of his environment. Under socialism he
may very well ask more. That is his absolute right. The fight against the
rigors of our natural condition is the central force in the dialectic of
economic history. We WILL and we HAVE dominated the earth for our own
benefit. We can only protest to our comrades that the masses will treat
their mother better than their bosses, and must. The ravaging of the earth
is an immensely forceful example of our need to take democratic control of
our economic destiny. It is not a destiny in itself.
Despite the clear rectitude of this analysis - :) , any challenge
or augmentation, philosophical or not, is welcomed by its author, so long
as the central conflict here analysed is given preponderant importance in
the response. The field (although not very green), is marked off.
Let the games begin.
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