07 June 2009

Why Marxism

For me, a (petit) bourgeois, much self examination is necessary as to the choice to study and work with a theory of the proletariat. There are many reasons that I wish to do this, and I imagine that the truth is a mix of these to follow and many others. This post is basically a list of superficial feelings that I grapple with, and I have intentionally avoided deep reasoning in the hope that superficial reflection on the negative aspects of my theory will lead to something positive. These are my weakest reasons for my own career path and I hope to post on my more noble personal justifications for Marxism soon.

1. As a bourgeois I have never been near the top of my class. I have experienced jealousy grounded in striving to be as wealthy as my neighbours. This is not a great reason, or even a good reason, to be a Marxist, but was certainly part of my life growing up. At times the idea comes forward in my mind that by helping overthrow the ruling class I could place myself in their position at the top of society. Essentially the idea is one of using the proletariat, and rhetoric of equality for personal gain. I hope this is not a strong part of my personality, but I certainly grapple with these feelings at times.

2. A counter point to #1. The (thankfully) more common thought that that material goods are a shallow pursuit and even becoming part of the ruling class will leave a person empty of true satisfaction. This idea becomes more dominate in my mind as I go through life. I believe this to be the truth. This of course brings the following question to light: If I believe that materialism is not a proper goal for a human to devote their existence to, do I have the right to force my view on others through revolution? Would this be any different from the followers of other theories (most notably religions) forcing their views on others?

3. Staying on the humanist perspective: I hope that a new organization of production will result in much faster progress of society, both in technology and in social relationships outside of production. I cannot help but wonder how many "Einsteins" have died of starvation, or been killed in imperialistic wars, or wasted their potential just trying to survive in other ways. Having lost God early in my life, my faith for now is placed in science and human development. I believe that a communist organization of production will lead to greater advances (capitalism did a great job advancing society in some parts of the world, but at a very unequal level that is unacceptable at our current level of global development. I feel most of the major contributions of capitalism are over).

4. A feeling of great injustice when viewing the world. Surely we as a species are advanced enough to give to each according to their needs? Even if this was only to help me sleep better at night...seeing the great waste and extravagance that many of us partake in during our own petite bourgeois existence disgusts me at times.

I realize the contradictions of a cynical self serving analysis of selflessness in society, namely communist theory, however it seems important for me to bring some of my poor reasons for studying within the Marxian tradition to light in the hope that underlying them I have better reasons for advocating and expanding a theory of the proletariat.

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