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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:55 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:42 pm 
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What would Marx say about a thread about internet fora etiquette and moderators? Hmmm... Probably something about how people who have no real power or voice in their real work-a-day lives are reduced to squabbling over scraps of power with other powerless people in their spare time.

ETA: That's not intended as a dig against anyone in this thread. Just being cheeky.


Last edited by cumom on Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:45 pm 
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cumom wrote:
What would Marx say about a thread about internet fora moderators? Hmmm... Probably something about how people who have no real power or voice in their real work-a-day lives are reduced to squabbling over scraps of power with other powerless people in their spare time.

ETA: That's not intended as a dig against anyone in this thread. Just being cheeky.

Ouch.

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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:19 pm 
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notpotable wrote:
cumom wrote:
What would Marx say about a thread about internet fora moderators? Hmmm... Probably something about how people who have no real power or voice in their real work-a-day lives are reduced to squabbling over scraps of power with other powerless people in their spare time.

ETA: That's not intended as a dig against anyone in this thread. Just being cheeky.

Ouch.

It really wasn't meant as an "ouch." I just thought it was interesting (ironic?) that this thread turned into an argument about manners, etiquette and power of the moderators. In the Marxist critique, it's about everyone (not moderators) struggling with each other for power in a context where the power has no larger meaning or purpose (i.e., it is local and specific to the community) and where all the players are disempowered (i.e., alienated) in their day to day lives.


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:31 pm 
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And just exactly what kind of sociological credentials do you have to make such a broad, generalized summation of irony?

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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:22 pm 
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cumom wrote:
notpotable wrote:
cumom wrote:
What would Marx say about a thread about internet fora moderators? Hmmm... Probably something about how people who have no real power or voice in their real work-a-day lives are reduced to squabbling over scraps of power with other powerless people in their spare time.

ETA: That's not intended as a dig against anyone in this thread. Just being cheeky.

Ouch.

It really wasn't meant as an "ouch." I just thought it was interesting (ironic?) that this thread turned into an argument about manners, etiquette and power of the moderators. In the Marxist critique, it's about everyone (not moderators) struggling with each other for power in a context where the power has no larger meaning or purpose (i.e., it is local and specific to the community) and where all the players are disempowered (i.e., alienated) in their day to day lives.

Ah, Thanks - clearly I need to bone up on Marxism.

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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:17 am 
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Marx was probably only right for a day, maybe a week.


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:18 am 
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that said, I don't think anyone else has been right for much longer than seven days. I will probably be wrong about this tomorrow. I can live with that. I get things wrong a lot of the time!


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:17 am 
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I only have a sketchy, incomplete impression of what Marx actually said, so far, and this discussion has motivated me to learn more about that. I appreciate the informative comments by those of you who have actually studied the subject. Based on what little I know so far, it appears that probably nothing has done more damage to the understanding, credibility and acceptance of Marxism than the way Communist leaders like Lenin, Stalin and Mao chose to interpret and implement (and probably distort) Marx's ideas. Does anyone more knowledgable than I agree with that?

It also appears to me that justifiable contempt for and condemnation of Tyrannical "Communist regimes" have been used as an excuse to unjustifiably characterize any communal or governmental actions to minimize social injustice and unfair inequalities and reduce poverty as "communistic", "un-American", "anti-liberty", and therefore evil. I find this to be both unfortunate and deplorable!


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Gunnar wrote:
I only have a sketchy, incomplete impression of what Marx actually said, so far, and this discussion has motivated me to learn more about that. I appreciate the informative comments by those of you who have actually studied the subject. Based on what little I know so far, it appears that probably nothing has done more damage to the understanding, credibility and acceptance of Marxism than the way Communist leaders like Lenin, Stalin and Mao chose to interpret and implement (and probably distort) Marx's ideas. Does anyone more knowledgable than I agree with that?

To be fair, Marx did believe in communism during the first 2/3 of his career. But his theory was based on a Hegelian dialectic of historical materialism which proved problematic, and by the early 1850s, he'd more or less abandoned the notion of communism when it became clear that the proletariate were not moving toward mass rebellion (and indeed capitulated to power as often as not) in favor of union organizing and democratic reform movements (which eventually become European social democracy). My impression is that he would've called himself a socialist at the end of his life, but would've characterized communism as his hope for what could be (i.e., a utopian vision).

What is most striking about Marx from a sociological perspective is his empirical work about the social structures of capitalism, which he called the social relations of production. A lot has changed in the past 150 years or so since his death, so capitalism looks a lot different now (e.g., there's a degree of global interdependence that far exceeds what Marx experienced and predicted), but even the behavior of the financial markets leading up to 2008 follows pretty logically from Marx's descriptions of how capitalist financial markets function and why.

When I teach Marx to undergraduates, I tell them to both read it contextually (i.e., what was capitalism like in 1850s when he was writing Kapital), and comparatively (i.e., what is the same now vs. what is different). In broad general terms, capitalism functions on pretty much the same model, with its own internal logic (profit) driving all social relations and shaping entire societies. I think what would've been fascinating to Marx is that globalization had completely geographically disarticulated the producer class (e.g., China) from the managerial-consumer class (e.g., most of "the west") from the owner class (e.g., the global capitalist class) such that none of them is aware of the other, which functions ideologically on a global scale to keep the social relationships among the classes hidden.


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:23 pm 
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Is anyone still interested in a Marx reading group? I found a copy of Bookchin's Post-Scarcity Anarchism at a used bookstore, but I feel I need to be better acquainted with Marx before diving into that book. I've read the Communist Manifesto years ago and that's it. I am familiar with some Marxist ideas, but definitely need a refresher.

One question: To better understand the context of Marx's time, industrial revolution and industrial capitalism would it be beneficial to go back further and read Adam Smith and other classical economists first?


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:00 pm 
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trinity3infinity wrote:
Is anyone still interested in a Marx reading group? I found a copy of Bookchin's Post-Scarcity Anarchism at a used bookstore, but I feel I need to be better acquainted with Marx before diving into that book. I've read the Communist Manifesto years ago and that's it. I am familiar with some Marxist ideas, but definitely need a refresher.

One question: To better understand the context of Marx's time, industrial revolution and industrial capitalism would it be beneficial to go back further and read Adam Smith and other classical economists first?


A basic understanding of enlightenment thought and mercantilist economics helps.

Indeed I'm sure that the right is so dominant within mormonism because essentially all post enlightenment thought is taboo because it questions both the existance of God and the nature of reality.


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:56 pm 
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trinity3infinity wrote:
Is anyone still interested in a Marx reading group?


Definitely! Let me rummage through my bookshelf and see what I come up with. Reviewing the "Communist Manifesto" might not be a bad start.
trinity3infinity wrote:
One question: To better understand the context of Marx's time, industrial revolution and industrial capitalism would it be beneficial to go back further and read Adam Smith and other classical economists first?


I wouldn't start with Adam Smith. In Marx's time "Classical" economic theory was David Ricardo. When you view the Ricardian rent theory it's easy to see how Marx's labor theory of value was intended to fit in. Thomas Malthus is another key element, as a lot of Marxian theory depended on the development of the "reserve army of the unemployed" to drive down wages. I may gag on this, but the biographies of the Philosophical Radicals (Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and so forth) and the Ricardians are serviceable and might save us a lot of time.

As for the Hegelian stuff, I generally ignore it because it doesn't lead much of anywhere and Feuerbach is clearer.

Jamie

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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:36 pm 
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oldfart wrote:
trinity3infinity wrote:
Is anyone still interested in a Marx reading group?


Definitely! Let me rummage through my bookshelf and see what I come up with. Reviewing the "Communist Manifesto" might not be a bad start.
trinity3infinity wrote:
One question: To better understand the context of Marx's time, industrial revolution and industrial capitalism would it be beneficial to go back further and read Adam Smith and other classical economists first?


I wouldn't start with Adam Smith. In Marx's time "Classical" economic theory was David Ricardo. When you view the Ricardian rent theory it's easy to see how Marx's labor theory of value was intended to fit in. Thomas Malthus is another key element, as a lot of Marxian theory depended on the development of the "reserve army of the unemployed" to drive down wages. I may gag on this, but the biographies of the Philosophical Radicals (Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and so forth) and the Ricardians are serviceable and might save us a lot of time.

As for the Hegelian stuff, I generally ignore it because it doesn't lead much of anywhere and Feuerbach is clearer.

Jamie


Thanks for the suggestions, oldfart and averagejoe. I hope I can find some of these works online now under public domain or at least at the library.


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 Post subject: Re: Was Marx Right?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:25 am 
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"Capitalism never solves it's crisis problems, it moves them around geographically."
"The whole history of capitalism has been about financial innovation, and financial innovation has the effect of empowering the financiers. And excessive power of the financiers is they do get greedy, no question about it. If you look at financial profits in the United States they were soaring after 1990. Finance profits were going up and manufacturing profits were going down and you could see the imbalance. ... you've actually screwed industry to keep finance happy. Any sensible person would join an anti-capitalist organization and you have too."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0&feature=relmfu


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