Monday, August 8, 2016


This is interesting:

Quotes I keyed on:

In a draft of a letter written in 1881, Marx looked to the Russian peasant commune as the germ of a post-capitalist economy: ‘if the revolution comes at the opportune moment, if it concentrates all its forces to allow the rural commune its full scope, the latter will soon develop as an element of regeneration in Russian society and an element of superiority over the countries enslaved by the capitalist system.’ Marx’s social-democratic Russian disciples believed socialism would only be possible after a longish period of capitalist development, but the master scornfully repudiated these ‘Russian “Marxists”’ as holding views ‘diametrically opposed’ to his own. As he saw it, a socialist revolution was needed before capitalism destroyed the village commune.
Point: Marx would have repudiated the Bolshevik coup in Russia, which completely destroyed traditional agrarian life.

How as he so misunderstood?

Marx’s views on this and many other matters have little in common with what later came to be understood as ‘Marxism’, but this is not because Marx’s work was traduced. Through his collaboration with Engels, Marx was implicated in the spread of a version of his ideas that differed significantly from his own understanding of them. Financially dependent on his collaborator, it was difficult for him to be open about the areas in which the two disagreed. 
More, Marx. . .

was the first to chart the staggering transformation produced in less than a century by the emergence of a world market and the unleashing of the unparalleled productive powers of modern industry. He also delineated the endlessly inchoate, incessantly restless and unfinished character of modern capitalism as a phenomenon. He emphasized its inherent tendency to invent new needs and the means to satisfy them, its subversion of all inherited cultural practices and beliefs, its disregard of all boundaries, whether sacred or secular, its destabilization of every hallowed hierarchy, whether of ruler and ruled, man and woman or parent and child, its turning of everything into an object for sale.
Disregard of boundaries and destabilization of hierarchy.  I can agree with this analysis. My own future utopias focus on small agrarian communities buttressed by modern technology, but choosing to live simply.

As human animals, we can only handle so many people, so much complexity, before we lose touch with our sense of self--rooted as it is in our own biology--the possibility of meaningful community, and larger non-political moral orders.

The larger the order as a single unit, the less it can meet the cultural needs of its members.  A global economic network is clearly good at producing stuff, but all too many of us are dying on the inside, lost in a constant whirr, seduced by greed--and encouraged in it--and looking only to the next deal.

It is a source of constant astonishment to me how many things we are think are so, aren't.

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