[Marxism] Quiting Marxism, embracing what?

Rohan Gaiswinkler rohanger at yahoo.com.au
Tue Dec 5 16:51:50 MST 2006


Joaquin:
   
  ... And then we begin to look at the material conditions under which this
failure has taken place, and we see that in the U.S., there's not been 
a real working class movement, of the class as such, for many, many 
decades.
And that, for a dialectical and historical materialist, DEMANDS an
explanation, REQUIRES understanding, because Marxism is not a doctrine 
but a MOVEMENT, the conscious and self-conscious expression of one side in a class struggle actually underway. 

And the absence of the working class as such, as a class-for-itself, in 
the United States, as a social actor, as a protagonist in this struggle,
probably has something to do with the state of the political/ideological
movement that claims to be the expression of this class
   
  [snip]
   
  Rohan G:
   
  I think you've turned things arse-abouts (as we would say in Australia).  Inadequate revolutionary organisational forms are much more the result  of weak class struggle / class identity than they are the cause.  When the class struggle heats up in America, so will revolutionary organistions.
   
  I have thought long and hard about you questioning the basics argument and conclude that it is flawed on the basis of excessive reductionism.  Class struggle takes all sorts of forms but class struggle in the worker v boss sense is not as separate from other forms that involve social factors like nationality, race and sex as you say.
   
  When Blacks in the US rose up and rioted over the not guilty verdict vis-a-vis Rodney King, this was an expression of class struggle - that particular section of the working class that is black - at the same time as it was an expression of anti-racist struggle / Black nationalism.  They went out and destroyed PROPERTY, saying, "Fuck you white people, rich people, fuck your racist white government, cops and courts of law."
   
  Perhaps Marx somewhat over-emphasised the proletariat / bourgeoisie ralationship as THE central component of the capitalist mode of production.  I think stylistically he did so:  "Workers ... you have nothing to lose but your chains."  However, Lenin (and others) elevated the national question - I think Lenin did so adequately.  We could argue about whether nationality trumps class or class trumps nationality... but this a reductionist abstraction - an exercise in metaphysics - to me.  My reading of marxism is that nationality and class more than overlap, they are intertwined.  Capitalism was born out of the monopolisation of the means of production AND European plunder of foreign lands and exploitation of foreign markets.  One could argue that primitive and mercantile capital accumulation came first - but so what - the subjugation of women came before both.
   
  White people have been conservatised by their fear of Black liberation in the US - as has been the case in South Africa.  You say that the national question is THE reason for a lack of class-for-itself class struggle in the US but I think it is only one of a number of contending reasons.  Stalinism is pretty high on my list, for example.
   
  Cheers
  Rohan G
   
   
  P.S.  Recently this list has really shown its worth in the improved quality of discussion, I think. 

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