[Marxism] Re David Roediger on Slavery

robert montgomery ilyenkova at gmail.com
Sat Nov 26 11:40:44 MST 2005

> I don't understand your critique.  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?.<

To repeat-- My final take of what Roediger is really saying: 'in the
final analysis class
is unavoidable but in the meanwhile we ought to do our damndest to
junk the concept.'  To his credit, Roediger doesn't want to say this.
Yet, in everything he writes now, that's basically what he says.

As Mark L  puts it:
>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.<

And at the risk of being too glib, from the German Ideology:
 >That is to say, we do not set out from what men say, imagine,
conceive, nor from men as narrated, thought of, imagined, conceived,
in order to arrive at men in the flesh. We set out from real, active
men, and on the basis of their real life-process we demonstrate the
development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this
life-process. The phantoms formed in the human brain are also,
necessarily, sublimates of their material life-process, which is
empirically verifiable and bound to material premises. Morality,
religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their
corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the
semblance of independence. They have no history, no development...
Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life. In
the first method of approach the starting-point is consciousness taken
as the living individual; in the second method, which conforms to real
life, it is the real living individuals themselves, and consciousness
is considered solely as their consciousness.<
So what is it about my life that makes me assume an Elvis impersonator
persona as my self-chosen identity? (A valid analytical inquiry from a
marxist, I think.)  But If we assign equal significance (and even
materiality) to every possible identity which an individual chooses we
ultimately risk nullifying the centrality of both class and class

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