[Marxism] Re.: Dying languages

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Mon Mar 1 11:45:34 MST 2004


Chris Brady wrote (eloquently as usual):

In reply to Jim C, the argument could (and should) be made that our
humanity's wealth and its distribution are the essence of Marxism. Those
riches include culture as well as "goods and chattel."  In other words,
real value as opposed to exchange value.  The last line of Part II of
the CM is always a good grounding for such considerations.  "All" means
each and every .

In a more abstract contemplation, culture as such is not static.
Languages have evolved, and do evolve.  If humanity migrated out of the
African savannah, "40 different words for snow" must have developed
later, in a time and place, that is, under certain material
circumstances.  I believe that empathy with humanity is critical to the
valuation of our various cultures, and to socialist revolution.  We must
somehow come to see "others" as us, as how we are in different
situations.  "I am you, and you are me, and we are all together."  I
evoke those lines of song not to diminish my point but to expand it
dimensionally, as it harmonizes on so many levels.  You might say it is
dialectical.


Response (Jim C): Plus, some of these cultures on the verge of
extinction have something to teach the more dominant cultures in terms
of environmental practices, principles of democratic governance,
paradigms and perspectives for seeing and understanding aspects of
reality, childrearing practices, nutrition and diet, etc; but these
lessons can only be gained and grasped with the retention of the
original languages in which they were developed. And yes, structure,
vocabulary and content of language do reflect cultural mindsets and
histories: in Blackfoot language, we have no words for "surrender" or
"reservation/reserve".

Jim C.




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