[Marxism] Troubled times

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Sun Nov 19 19:50:54 MST 2006


On 11/19/06, Joaquin Bustelo <jbustelo at bellsouth.net> wrote:

The lived experience is that gender and
> race/nationality trumps class at least in the United States, in ways that
> it
> ought not to be able to do, not for generations, otherwise what good is
> our
> theory, if our entire lived experience is an "exception" to the overall
> tendency. At some point after a few decades you'vew got to be honest and
> say, these aren't exceptional circumstances, these are the normal
> circumstances, and this can't be just  "an exception to the rule" but
> rather
> something that has got to be incorporated into the rule.



What makes you think that if something holds over a "lifetime" (e.g. 60-70
years), one should conclude that it is "normal" and not "exceptional"? I
mean, what makes 60-70 years a particularly  "privileged" unit of time in
this regard?

Our lifetimes are important to *us*, but not to history. However much our
individual lifetimes matter to us, in the long run these spans may be quite
inconsequential and may not be very meaningful with regard to determining
what is an exception and what is not. As far as history is concerned, "we
are [...] as flies to wanton boys....", etc.

Besides, there have been time after time in history when class has trumped
ethnicity. Recall Sparatacus' rebellion in ancient Rome.  Roman slaves came
in all colors and ethnicities, and the relation common to them was slavery,
a class relation. Yet they rebelled together.

Another problem with your thesis is that "nationality" itself is a very
recent notion, coeval with the idea of the modern nation-state, which is
barely 400 years old -- if that.

Patience is called for.



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