27 December 2008

for me...why Marxism?

Do we "imitate those who contradict just for the fun of it"?
The multiplicity of reasons for choosing Marxism contain for me, in a noticeable way, the desire to rile against a system that is hegemonic.

Parallel to this I feel a strong need to question my reasons for fighting a system that has wronged my far less than it has wronged so many others. A system that I could choose to employ to my benefit instead of fight against without breaking with my youth and upbringing.

Jealousy of a basic kind plays a minor role in my desire to destroy the capitalists, and certainly I have a Utopian dream like many other Marxists. Not to mention my ever growing belief that the masses really do have the ability to self govern if it becomes technically possible, but there is something deeper that feeds my desire to criticize that needs exploring.

The complexity of desire plays a role in choosing to be a Marxist and certainly in deciding if and when to expand that into being revoultionary in ones Marxism.

11 December 2008

conclusion to long shit i wrote on Lenin and Althusser

The inherent danger in viewing Marxism as a theory both of, and not of, the proletarian struggling against bourgeois ideology is that the preclusion accepted by many Marxists of eventual proletarian revolution can be jeopardized. Marxian ideology as something that contains the antithesis of the proletarian class revolution is an ideology than contains the possibility of bourgeois society pacifying the proletariat into acceptance of class exploitation. It is against this contradiction that Marxian theory needs to struggle to stay a theory of the proletarian in constant opposition to bourgeois ideology, regardless of internal struggle.

09 December 2008


In light of my recent post expressing disgust at the lack of social consciousness and basic human decency in a group of petit-bourgeois and proletariat with whom I spent a social evening I feel compelled to write a short piece contradicting myself. The current actions of the workers in the "Republic Windows" plant in Chicago were an earth shattering event for my own stereotypes of the American working class.
I am both shocked and pleased. I believe that I have underestimated the ability of the humans. Their ability both to act, and to surprise me. I wish I could know what set these workers apart from so many others who would have taken their layoff and walked away instead of taking over the plant.
I still believe that the power of theory is important in determining the actions of these workers...but the power and actions of an individual theorist?
I stand humbled that such a strong display of collective action should occur so shortly after I condemned the ability of the American working people and questioned their basic education. This does not change that people (including myself) are capable of horrible thought and action but clearly I have missed a crucial point. Solidarity is not just something that people used to talk about before the Reagan administration.
I repeat I stand humbled by this display, but hopeful that it is just a starting point of many more like it. Regardless of future outcome I salute the employees of Republic Window and only hope that they realize since they are locked in the factory waiting for what is owed to them there is nothing (except the law and 100's of years of American tradition) stopping them from starting production back up and making windows without the capitalist.

05 December 2008

on the masses

It is hard to think that the dictatorship of the prols....or even democracy is the right option when the night is spent with a large group of idiots....I want social justice but how to make this mesh with spending time with a group of people who lack basic social awareness. I am conflicted between feeling that dictatorship is totally wrong, with feeling that the "average" person does not have the capacity to govern them self in a very basic sense....I know this is a pure example of intellectual elitism and I hate myself for it, but I feel that I know better than the masses...does this make me ignorant? a horrible asshole? or just a "realist"?
I want equality and justice on a basic level but that doesn't change that people in this "culture" suck.
It is becoming ever clearer to me that the true revolution needs to come through education. Without class awareness people will not act in a class conscious way. Educating the masses has to become a key priority. There is much at stake in theory but only if the theory is known in the general sense.

04 December 2008

03 December 2008

The Nature of Overdetermined Existance

The nature of existence within overdetermination: some thoughts of, on and for confusion.

Classic materialism A-->B the material causes the ideal.
Classic idealism B-->A the ideal causes the material
Dialectics A <--> B

My question is regarding existence in the framework of overdetermination. A and B are each a condition of existence of the other. In the post modern language they “constitute one another”. So does not A and B become AB? Where B is nothing without A and A is nothing without B? To answer my own question it seems clear to me that AB is the result where the “gap” between knower and object that is present in other epistemologies disappears.

However my reasoning falls back into idealism in that any part of the material world cannot exist without the totality of thoughts. It could go the other way that no idea could be formulated without the totality of the material world but this seems less plausible to me due to the overdeterminates of my own thought.

For example a nebula that is newly discovered in space did not exist (in its current form) before the technology was developed to make human species aware of it. Thus is follows that constant change is the only “true” state of existence. The conditions of existence are constantly changing as are any boundaries on the ideal and/or material world.

A problem…The nebula that I have described did not exist without its conditions of existence, now that it does exist, it exists as part of the overdetermined world in a state of change. How can a constant state of change give birth to something new? That is, the newly discovered nebula?

Am I slipping into pure idealism and violating a basic premise of overdetermination? The issue of the nature of existence remains a mystery

19 November 2008

theory and action

I have often considered those who choose academic lives (myself included) to be in someway cowards. Academia seemed a way to avoid taking action in the “real” world. That is the realm outside of theory. The further I explore dialectics the more I realize how wrong this assumption was on my part. The realm of theory often does not visibly connect to “real” outcomes but it is far from insignificant. Real outcomes and theory cannot exist without each other.
I will not swing to the opposite side and become a theoretical essentialist, claiming that without theories events could not happen, but I will claim that I am now confident in the lack of a reality distinct from theory.
Academics may not often fight with our hands, and the pen may not be mightier than the sword in ending an individual life in a moment of passion, but the pen is a necessary condition of the decision to wield the sword.

18 November 2008

Existance in Contradiction

We as Marxists provide a condition of existence of modern capitalism. It is not as simple as thesis / antithesis, that is, capitalism not being able to exist without its opposite. Marxism is far more of a critique of capitalism than an alternative (in its current form). What strikes me is that the actions of previous and current Marxists have forced the supporters of the capitalist system (that is most of the academic world) to refine their arguments, to become better at defending what we supposedly want to be free of. Can there be a revolution without theory? I am inclined to say no and am in good company in this opinion. Do our theories shape those of our adversaries? Without question (as theirs shape ours)! Does the mere existence of Marxism make capitalism stronger? No? It certainly forces a refining of theories used for capitalist justification. If we can not succeed without a (well developed) theory than certainly they cannot either.