What Marx was wrong about
As my previous post indicates, I think Marx’s economic analysis – based on the idea that ownership or control of the mode of production is all-important – was right on. So, was the social (class) analysis stemming from that concept: that in a capitalist society, workers will, by definition, be at odds with the bourgeoisie (owners of capital, capital being “durable goods” used to produce goods for purchase, via the labor of workers).
Marx’s political analysis – that violent revolution would be necessary to wrest ownership of the mode of production from the bourgeoisie in order for the workers (“the people”) to control it – has a fatal flaw in it, however: the means are the ends, and once you use violence for anything but self-defense, it just goes on forever, tit for tat. A quick look at the history of groups taking “power” from each other violently will show you that. Not only does the first group try to get its power back violently, the “revolutionary” group kills its own members if they “betray” the cause, and both groups kill ordinary citizens they perceive as helping the other side.
The only way to make change that will last, it seems to me, is to act from the spiritual realization that we’re all one/there is no “other,” and include everyone – then share the means of production equitably. We have some experience of this, having done it for 90% of human history as hunter-gatherers. (Hunter-gatherers can’t amass many possessions, because they have to be able to move around on foot or on horseback to find food. They also need to cooperate, especially in the hunt.) Equitable sharing – of power/control and stuff – will be harder now that we have more, but there has to be a way to do it.
In Escape from the Matrix, Richard Moore says that once people realize how easily common problems can be resolved in respectful, “talking-stick” sessions, they’ll put their differences aside for the common good…forever. I’m all for respectful “talking-stick” sessions (more on the how-to of that later) – in fact, I agree with Moore that a hierarchy of them should be our political system. I just don’t think getting from Point A to Point Z, or even Point B, will be that easy. The how-to of that is what I’m trying to explore in this blog. Your ideas are always welcome!
About (They Got the Guns, but) We Got the NumbersI'm an artist and student of history, living in Eugene, OR. On the upside of 70 and retired from a jack-of-all-trades "career," I walk, do yoga, and hang out with my teenage grandkids. I believe we can make this world better for them and the young and innocent everywhere, if we connect with each other and create peaceful, cooperative communities as independent of big corporations and corporate-dominated governments as possible.
Posted on September 29, 2011, in Economics, Escaping the Matrix, Marxism, Non-violence, Politics, Revolution, Socialism, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged bourgeoisie, capitalism, hunter-gatherers, Marx, non-violent change, talking-stick circles, violent revolution, workers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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