Morality, Violence and Marxism

glevy at glevy at
Thu Jun 8 13:22:39 MDT 1995

There is much in Leo's post that I can agree with.  For instance, I would
agree that:

1) there is a romanticized "mythology" concerning the Panthers and they
deserve a more critical evaluation now.  This would be a good time to
initiate this topic as the movie "Panthers" was recently released.

2) the role violence in "American society" is an important topic of
discussion and is related to the current discussion of morality and ethics.

3) "revolutionary violence" is, in the context of today's society a
"fantasy" (although it may not be so forever).

4) there are indeed other useful works on the relation of Marx to morality.

5) the authoritarian tradition in Marx and Marxism should be confronted
and discussed.

On the other hand, I would disagree with Casey on two other topics:

1) the formation of different moral standards for different classes and
groups is entirely reasonable and "moral."  I don't think that is
"immoral", for instance, to say that the slaughter of innocent people by
the state is "murder", whereas fighting for one's survival against the
state is "self-defense."  Consider the case of Larry Davis.  I would say
that he was simply defending his life from the police who were trying to
kill him and he acted in self-defense.

2) Leo writes that "acts of violent rebellion without any reasonable hope
of success only brings down repression on those already already
oppressed, and are not morally justified."  Unfortunately, Leo is often
correct concerning the results of (failed) rebellions.  What is a
"reasonable hope of success" is hard to say sometimes (as is the very
meaning of what "success" is).  However, I would say that failed
rebellions are not to be condemned entirely because they were not
successful.  If we rebel in the future and lose (a very real possibility)
does that mean that our actions were not "morally justified"?


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