[Marxism] Troubled times

Scott Hamilton shamresearch at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Nov 20 04:38:45 MST 2006


I've met many people who are active on the left, in campaigns like the anti-war movement or in the trade unions, who are not interested in finding out about Marxism because they believe that  Marxism is only about economics, and that it reduces all of human behaviour and culture to economics. Marxists themselves are sometimes viewed as rather humourless folks whose idea of bedtime reading is a volume from Lenin's Collected Works or something similar.  

People like this are usually pleasantly surprised to see a good review of a film or a book or an album in a Marxist paper, or on a Marxist website. When I say a 'good review' I mean, amongst other things, a review that takes a work of art seriously as a work of art, and doesn't just reduce it to a piece of political propaganda or the product of economics. I think that, if it has the resources, a good Marxist paper or website has to include a sports page and arts page as well as coverage of politics and economics. 

(I've just been reading Hugh Purcell's biography of Tom Wintringham, and it describes the way that the sports page of the Daily Worker, the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain, was one of the victims of Third Period Stalinism. Palme Dutt, the humourless bureaucrat and Kremlin parrot who did so much to Stalinise the party, wrote an article condemning sports as a weapon of the ruling class, because they 'doped' the workers. I would have thought the deadly dull paper the Dutt's 'reforms' created would have done that on its own. Later the Daily Worker re-established its sports pages, and even created a racing tips page. On one famous occasion the paper picked a horse called Red Flag, or something close to that, to win the Derby, at odds of 100 to 1!)

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