[Marxism] re:Buying off the German people

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Fri Mar 25 15:36:35 MST 2005

From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
>> 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.
As a non-Maoist, I still have a little sympathy with this sort of neo-Maoist 
argument as against certain varieties of classical Marxism. Following on 
from another post, I think the advent of social democracy does force a 
certain rethinking of the ways in which a Marxist view of class and class 
solidarity manifests itself. In the heyday of overt imperialism, only the 
Western ruling classes benefitted from third world exploitation. Now it can 
plausibly be said that other classes in advanced capitalist Western society 
share a few of the benefits as a result of social democratic reform, and 
other state-induced policies. Hence even the Western working classes can 
come to have a vested interest in the current state of neo-imperial 
hegemony. To take this as far as asserting that the third world are the 
'world's proletariat', as some fundamentalist Maoists might, is however to 
deny the importance of class divisions within the third world, which the US 
and other Western powers exploit mercilessly. In terms of the US, it seems 
that the stratification between the white working classes and the underclass 
of recent immigrants is as stark as it could be, to the point where an 
identifications of the interests of these groups as similar seems highly 

So, is it possible to find some synthesis between Trotskyite and Maoist 
positions in this respect?


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