[Marxism] re:Buying off the German people

Carlos A. Rivera cerejota at optonline.net
Fri Mar 25 07:58:11 MST 2005

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "M. Junaid Alam" <mjunaidalam at msalam.net>

> I think Baran did a much better, more concise job of laying out the 
> problem, at least in terms of how to initially formulate it:
> "...the proletariat in the advanced capitalist countries has not developed 
> in the way anticipated by Marx. Bad as its condition has been, it was able 
> to rise above the "inescapable, unvarnished, imperative misery" which was 
> observed by Marx, and which he expected would be accentuated with the 
> passage of time. Although its social and cultural existence is in essence 
> as inhuman as it was in Marx's time, it has largely failed to "win the 
> theoretical awareness of its loss" and has tended to succumb to bourgeois 
> ideology and to adjust itself to its degradation." (On the Nature of 
> Marxism)

I know you are ignoring me, but thanks for the biblioref. I'll be reading it 
if I can find it. You are right, it sure beats Marcuse.

> I think the key phrase there is "adjust itself to degradation". In my 
> opinion, much of the backwardness in consciousness here flows from 
> precisely this problem. American workers are not bought off. If it was 
> that simple, you would not have a major part of the professional salaried 
> middle-class who are actually quite disturbed by the Guatanomization of 
> America. Their solution may be bankrupt, bu they are concerned. Certainly 
> much more so than your average worker.

Maybe surprisingly, I agree with many of th epoints you raise, but I think 
you ignore an incredibly important factor in the society of the USA:

It is largely composed of immigrants whose last memories of their native 
land are of dying of hunger, war, and other such ugly things. They come to 
the USA, and a once-a-week murder rate and eating one meal of mac and cheese 
a day seems like heaven. Not to mention the old wreck of a car they got 
themselves. Even the rate of home "ownership" (actually owned by banks for 
25 years on average) is the highest in the industrialized world.

And I don't mean this just in an inmidiate way, even within the Irish 
community the Black '47 is still the standard by which all other bad things 
are measured. And the damn thing happened almost 160 years ago.

Hence, while real wages have gone down etc, and the ruling class is not 
actually buying off the working class when spoken in absolute terms, they 
are buying it off in relative terms. The third world plays the role the 
unemployed play in a national economy, they serve both as warning and as 
reserve army.

The fear of immigrants is analogous to the fear of a worker for the 
unemployed. ANd just like even unionized workers would accept a pay cut in 
order to keep a job, the workign class in the USA accepts a collective pay 
cut if that mean still being better off than the third world. The large 
number of "hispanic" Republicans, shows this immigrant reserve army in 
action. And the continued unrest of the afro-american community, the sole 
community who didn't arrive here willingly, shows that immigration and the 
distorted image of "how it was before" is a large part of the buying off of 
the working classes in the USA.

This might not answer the questions you pose, but I think it is an 
incredibly important subjective factor, one that becomes almost objective in 
nature, as a pillar of the continuity of the USA's society.


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