[Marxism] Re David Roediger on Slavery

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat Nov 26 08:15:26 MST 2005

Josh Saxe wrote, " Isn't that absolutely true, that the main thing about
people's identities at least in the U.S. and probably throughout the
world is _not_ their class position?"

Alongside these emails, I'm participating in an exchange among the
Greens over whether there is a difference between the political
parties--an issue that largely turns on what we mean by "a difference."
So, too, here, the question is what "main thing" means.  There are many
real and significant differences among people--race, gender, gender
preference--are they good looking?--do they live in a city or the
country?--Are they are religious?--Do they like anchovies?  

What's distinctive about Marxism is an understanding that the
differences of class, ie. Wealth and power are fundamental...certainly
not in the sense that class overrides or makes unimportant--or even less
significant--these other differences.  However, we just recognize
consciously the dimension of class, which others actually address every
day, albeit not so consciously.  All else considered, are you really
living where you'd want to live?  Can you afford that surgery to make
yourself better conform to your idea of yourself?  You might be a
mother, but whether you can just bring in a sitter on a whim or not is a
formative consideration as to what that means.  Thinking of yourself as
black implies a shared experience, but there are great variations in
what that means depending on wealth and power.

The task we face seems to be fostering class consciousness.  We don't do
that by denying these other self-perceptions, but by making conscious
what's already implicit there.

Mark L.

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