Individualism in Marx

Sam Pawlett rsp at
Mon Aug 30 23:32:03 MDT 1999

Michael Perelman wrote:
> > Would you agree that there is a strain of radical individualism in
> > Marx?
> Isn't Marx's individualism dialectical?  Capitalism snuffs out
> individualism.

 I think you're confusing individualism and individuality here.
Capitalism crushes individuality through the individualism of the
market. As I read Marx, individuals in socialism realize themselves
through social mediation whereas in capitalism individuals realize
themselves in an alienated and isolated manner because of the
reification of social relations which is to say capitalism blocks and
stunts the self-realization of individuals.

 Unions will ultimately fail, forcing the workers to see
> themselves as a class.

 Unions won't fail, they will no longer exist because the working class
will no longer exist as an objective class (or class-in-itself).

> After socialism, workers and  everybody else will be able to explore their
> individuality within the context of socially responsible behavior?
> ----

 I would hope that in a socialist society the opposition of the private
and public sphere begins to break down. In socialism, individuality and
socailty are reintegated into the social individual. Only then is
alienation transcended. Further, the individual cannot reproduce herself
as a social individual unless she takes an active part in determining
all aspects of her life.

Sam Pawlett

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