[Marxism] Troubled times

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Mon Nov 20 09:09:56 MST 2006

Ian: "The ideologies that you are suggesting, by which other forms of
supersede class and economics, works primarily in the interests of the 
ruling class/petty-bourgeois elements within such identity groups, who 
inevitably hijack them (Aijaz Ahmad has interesting things to say about this

in his critique of Said)."

I am saying these phenomena have become too entrenched, long-lasting and
quite obviously and blatantly materially grounded to be dismissed as mere
"ideologies" or "forms of identity" or "false consciousness," tricks to
divide the workers, and so on. 

I am saying that imperialist (national/racial) and gendered exploitation are
much more central and fundamental in the workings of the system than Wage
Labor and Capital, or Capital, or the Manifesto of the Communist Party say;
that we need to re-work a materialist understanding of history, society and
economy which does not view them as plug-ins, as things added "on top" of
class, and reducible to class in the last analysis, but as phenomena of
exploitation which are bedrock to the system and irreducible.

That, at any rate, is my thesis, my hypothesis, because otherwise we say it
really works the way the Manifesto and the other classics say except for the
last 60 years (and in reality, I can quite easily make the argument in the
last 100+ years), which are "exceptional." 

Yet even granting for argument's sake the "exceptional" character of the
post-WWII or even the entire imperialist epoch, we would need an
understanding of that exceptionality that is much more powerful than what we
have now in order to be able to orient ourselves to act in these
circumstances. "Classical" class-centered Marxism has proven to be
insufficient, caught by surprise at every turn by nation and gender. (And, I
will add, by the environmental question, though how to fit that in with the
social is something that hasn't really clicked yet the way they other things


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