[Marxism] Telling the Truth About Class

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Sat Jul 19 18:28:56 MDT 2008


Einde O'Callaghan wrote:
> I've got my Thunderbird switched to Plain Text and I've got these
> strange codes too. 


ok, here's the short story: the funny symbols everyone is seeing is not
the fault of your email application, its a composition issue related to
cut-and-paste of several paragraphs from a web page. When Angelus
copied-and-pasted several paragraphs into his/her composition buffer,
unbeknowst to him/her the content of what was actually sent was
different from what displayed to his/her eyes.

moral of the story: if you cut and paste from a web site, the best way
to see if it formats properly is to send it first to yourself as plain
text, and see what comes thru. you may be surprised at what you really
are sending.

Long story:  i don't have to tell marxists that appearances are
deceiving. If you surf to:

  http://www.grundrisse.net/grundrisse22/tellingTheTruthAboutClass.htm

and search for the paragraph in question, your eyes will not discern
anything untoward. but if you copy-and-paste that paragraph into an
email buffer in Thunderbird and sent it to yourself, Thunderbird will
ask if you want to send it in Plain Text. That's the first clue. i had
to make sure Thunderbird knew I wanted to send as plain text before i
received a copy of it clean of those funny symbols.

now if you use something like Firefox, and you hit View --> Page Source
while viewing the above URL, this is what you will see for the paragraph:

[ the gook you are about to see is  real and is caused by me, not by
anything your email application is doing:


<p class="Pa2" style="text-align: justify; text-indent: 11.0pt">
<font face="Arial"><span class="A4"><span style="color: windowtext">Some
people
mistake the absence of identifiable cultural and status groups on
either side of
the class divide for </span>
<span style="font-family: FJNBDG+Bembo-Italic; color: windowtext">an
absence of
class rule</span><span style="color: windowtext">. But this is false. The
capitalist class rules, but it is anonymous and open, and therefore
impos­sible
to hate, to storm, to chase away. So is the proletariat. Legal,
political and
cultural equality (equality here only means a random distribution of –
very real
– advantages and privileges) has made class conflict into what </span>

<span style="font-family: FJNBDG+Bembo-Italic; color:
windowtext">Capital</span><span style="color: windowtext">
makes it out to be. Class conflict is dependent on the extraction
of surplus, and
it is not a battle between two camps for superior recognition and a better
position in the scheme of (re)distribution. That battle goes on still,
to be
sure, but it is essentially the battle of yesteryear. The bourgeoisie is
by now
inca­pable of autonomous self-representation; the representation of its
interests which is taken over more and more by the state. Since the state
represents, and looks after, capitalism, the old-style
self-representation of
the working class is moribund, too, but the state is </span>

]

if you look inside that gook, you will see things like
"identifiable" ... "conflict" ... these things are rendered
properly in the web browser, and if you cut and paste into your email
application, it may look fine because your HTML-conversant email
application knows how to render this stuff. but once it gets converted
to plain text, all bets are off.

in fact, you'll notice that the gook above does NOT contain this
symbolism: "– very real –" ... these really are plain text
hyphens, yet when we receive the translation of the copy-and-paste,
voila, more gook.

i will tell you, Microsoft tools were used to create this page on
grundrisse.net and my guess is this is part of problem. nevertheless,
the fact is, copy-and-paste sent to a plain text email list requires a
good deal of care in its preparation.

ok, now, drum roll, here is the paragraph copied and pasted into my
email buffer, but only after i specify that it should be plain text and
sent it once to myself to check (it came thru ok the first time):

Some people mistake the absence of identifiable cultural and status
groups on either side of the class divide for an absence of class rule.
But this is false. The capitalist class rules, but it is anonymous and
open, and therefore impos­sible to hate, to storm, to chase away. So is
the proletariat. Legal, political and cultural equality (equality here
only means a random distribution of – very real – advantages and
privileges) has made class conflict into what Capital makes it out to be.
Class conflict is dependent on the extraction of surplus, and it is not a
battle between two camps for superior recognition and a better position
in the scheme of (re)distribution. That battle goes on still, to be
sure, but it is essentially the battle of yesteryear. The bourgeoisie is
by now inca­pable of autonomous self-representation; the representation
of its interests which is taken over more and more by the state. Since
the state represents, and looks after, capitalism, the old-style
self-representation of the working class is moribund, too, but the state
is not supplanted – as was the case, at least symbolically, in the past
– by political institutions of counter-power. Thus revolutionary
proletarian movements, although they now barely exist, are cast into the
outer darkness.



Les









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