Concepts of dictatorship of the proletariat

Bruce Buchan bruceb at
Tue Feb 20 07:18:10 MST 1996

On 19th Feb, Chris wrote:

>By contrast the establishment of socially coherent working class values
>that are organically, sensuously linked with the life of ordinary people,
>may be in conflict with buergerlich society. It can be experienced as a form
>of tyranny: the nanny state, political correctness, do-gooders, vegetarians,
>greens, pedestrian only areas.
>Without getting into these themes, many of which
>are not purely proletarian...

As a vegetarian, I am puzzled by this apparent attack on vegetarianism,
inter alia.  I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years and have never
forced my views on others; indeed, I am yet to meet a vegetarian 'tyrant'.
On the contrary, the most common reaction I have had from carnivores when
confronted with my vegetarianism is a form of spontaneous moral collapse -
repeated apologies for their meat-eating, and praise for my abstinence from
same.  I am similarly worried by your reference to the 'greens', and your
attempt to dismiss vegetarians and greens as being "not purely proletarian".
What the hell does this mean?

If you mean that workers are antipathetic to such concerns, then you clearly
have your head buried in the sand.  If you mean that these issues are
contrary to the objective interests of the working class, then it would
appear that your conception of those interests is dangerously emaciated.
Most vegetarians and 'greens' I have met earnestly desire a world in which
unnecessary harm, exploitation, and pain inflicted by humans upon other
animals (including other humans) and the environment is eradicated.  If you
consider this contrary to the interests of the working class, or of
progressive revolutionaries, then I would urge you to think again.  Perhaps
you could also consider the work of the early Frankfurt School theorists
(especially Max Horkheimer) on the connection between human exploitation of
other humans, and human exploitation of nature.



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