[Marxism] Celebrating Death

Manuel Barrera mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 11 16:27:37 MDT 2013

"Sorry that this is turning in to a duel. I don't like duels, but only healthy discussion. I am talking about centuries of cultural heritage of a sixth of mankind. It is not something to be sneered at or ignored."

I agree, I did not want to have a duel. However, because I am unwilling to consider cultural heritages viable as a political justification for sometimes even good reasons does not imply I am "sneering" or ignoring them; indeed, I understand them all too well and I bristle at  their hold on the masses even as the whole business makes me cringe for the history of ignorance, idolatry, and terrible pain that such heritages have caused. 

I understand religious and cultural heritages a) are often inextricably tied and b) can be a way to unite an oppressed people even sometimes in a revolutionary direction. It is not the heritage or the history that makes this so, but the self-identity of the oppressed that is expressed in their own unique manners. As we all know such self-identity has a double edge to it and, in the final analysis, it is a conservatizing influence and which is only expanded in struggle and the recognition of broader unities with others with different heritages. Yes, Peggy, I do see that point, but there is a reason it is relatively "easier" to promote such celebrations as much as it is more simple to register ire at a hated, and Dead, figure like Thatcher. And, there is a reason the unity of revolutionaries is immensely more difficult, sometimes precisely because "heritage" and cultural traditions create such inveterate gridlock. 

The challenge is, of course, recognizing the potential revolutionary character of unifying cultural factors among the oppressed and not placing an "equal sign" on the non-revolutionary character of  such factors associated with our oppressors. Every cultural "factor" has its material context. It's a bit important to recognize those contexts.

Like I said, I do not consider a revolutionary less worthy because he or she chooses to delve into this grand debate and challenge, indeed, I would applaud them for having the courage and confidence in their revolutionary will to do so. It does not require me either to engage in it myself nor to give it sanction. But then, I came to revolutionary consciousness precisely in abhorrence to the hypocrisy of religion and the "expectations" I was given to accede in cultural heritage; somehow, to be a "Mexican" I was supposed to be a Catholic, prefer only rice and beans, be submissive, come from a migrant background and, above all, be respectful of my elders, none of which I am nor could ever do. I had to be a "pachuco" or else I would be a "gringo", I had to be Chicano activist, but not a Marxist, ad nauseum. 

So, you will forgive me when I am now confronted with the expectation for the goodness of cultural heritage as a viable justification to wail on a dead Thatcher that I will not accept it. You can call it a duel, or a cultural difference. You can consider me a sectarian communist who prefers to engage in the more difficult left and working class unity. Or, you can consider it me engaging in a healthy discussion.
Just remember that respect goes both ways.


More information about the Marxism mailing list