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View Diary: On the 'Vindication' of Marx *updated (208 comments)

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  •  I'm not sure how important it is to (7+ / 0-)

    definitively categorize oneself. What is the purpose?

    I think there is a gradient of sorts, with some individuals closer to the owner class, and some closer to the working class.

    Does the wage slave need to read Marx to know where you are in the pecking order?

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 10:53:11 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Bourgeois life resists clear categories. (8+ / 0-)

      I was trying to show the flawed premise of Timaeus' comment (that Marx wasn't a capitalist). But Marx (especially the early writings) lays out the mechanism by which capitalism (in its rawest form) permanently impoverishes a large swath of workers.  You can oppose that system and still be unavoidably part of it.  Even the most impoverished workers are part of the system and are therefore "capitalists" to some extent -- often enough they claim to love the system.  

      I see many people around me who are in permanent debt, and I wonder what they will do when their bodies grow unfit to work.  If they are clever, they might find a way to die in hock, so that they don't have to die in the back woods.  I know it sounds patronizing, but I consider such a lifestyle to be rather cruel, and it would make me happier if such cruelty did not abound.  

      •  But isn't there a difference (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eikyu Saha, Words In Action, Timaeus

        between what one accepts as valid or just, and what one is coerced to participate in?

        Am I a capitalist when I have no choice but to engage in capitalist behavior?

        If I go to a church to be part of, say, feeding the poor, does that make me a Christian?

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 11:30:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's just a label. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, ZhenRen

          F*** the label.  But Marx did provide a way of understanding why the rich would get richer and the poor would be driven to the edge.  It's not that hard -- it gets laid right out in the 1844 manuscripts -- and many generations of union workers have been able to "get it" easily.  But the academic Marxists usually insist on putting the cart before the horse and starting with Grundrisse or Capital, as if situating Marx in the context of Kant and Hegel (or worse, trying to quantify the unquantifiable "use value") would somehow clarify everything, or maybe get more votes in Congress.  

    •  Mmmmm...I agree about the gradient (3+ / 0-)

      But understanding who we are and where we fit into the system takes some serious thinking about definitions and categories, Marx notwithstanding.  Eikyu Saha's response is a good example of someone who's doing that.

      Cutting Social Security will end my support for the Democratic Party.

      by MrJayTee on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 12:27:38 PM PDT

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      •  Of course (6+ / 0-)

        For my part, I wasn't critiquing "serious thinking about definitions".  Merely pointing out that one need not obtain a PhD in philosophy to see what's in front of their faces.

        Profound thought is fine. But sometimes this academic parsing gets so far from relevance to the working class that it becomes increasingly pointless.

        If one must fathom the arcane subtle nuances of the entire history of philosophical thought to be able to understand present day exploitation, then the approach is bound to fail with the people with whom this really matters.

        Look at the comments. People versed in Marx find themselves bickering over meaning to such a degree that the working class, reading this, would be completely turned off to the academic elitism.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 12:41:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Things have changed significantly (3+ / 0-)

      with the rise of finance capital.  Marx's basic model is still accurate but today we have to take into account investment income.  Your average person with a 401k is still someone who HAS to sell their labor to live and who does not primarily make their money through money.

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