Marx and Marxism

#1
Long story short - Due to the arrival in the family of a new brother-in-law I have recently been faced with having to come up with a working knowledge of either football or Marxism. in the end I plumped for the lesser of two evils and chose the ravings of the beardy boxhead.

I made a genuine effort to suspend my cold war based prejudice and 'fix bayonets' approach to Commies and read two books, The Revolutionary Ideals of Karl Marx, by Alex Callinicos, who is a proper lefty and no mistake, and Karl Marx by someone else.

I have to say it has been a thoroughly worthwhile and fascinating exercise and it has led to the abandoning of some of my misconceptions of Marx himself and what he was all about.

It has also happily ended up with my arriving at a perfectly good argument as to why he was wrong that has withstood a couple of extended discussions with new B-I-L in the pub, which was the whole point of the exercise.

As I say, I can hold my end of it up in the pub, but there are a couple of things I have not been able to get a grip of and I'm wondering if any much better informed arrsers out there, or even some real Marxists, can help me out.

I can't seem to picture what life in a truly Marxist society would actually be like and how things would be structured - which leads on to my next question, has a proper Marxist state ever existed and if so, how did it get on?

If the Proletariat in a Capitalist society did rise up, banishing private property and seizing the means of production I don't see how you could prevent the whole thing either turning to ratshit or drifting back to how things were in the first place without ruthless social control and BINGO - you've got feudalism, not Marxism.

One of the things I have come to realise is that Stalin and the whole USSR 'thing' was as close to Marx's vision as it was to Maggie Thatcher's - a sort of mad state bureaucratic capitalism, and that all the other alleged Marxist societies were/are just tribalism, dictatorship, corruption or racism in disguise.

Any clarification or ridicule welcomed because my newbie grip on all this is a bit tenuous at the moment.

Micawber
 
#2
Marx stole the whole concept from Thomas Moore anyway

Utopia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I remember saying to him ,Dont loose your head with these silly ideas of yours mate, did he listen, did he F'ck
 
#3
Dimly lit memories of A-level politics - Marx effectively assumes a transformation of human nature - that in effect people just stop being selfish cnuts.

This might have been why I thought it was a load of bollix.
 
#4
I prefer Marks & spencerism, MMMMMMMMMMM chocolate
 
#5
I preferred Groucho and Harpo.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#7
Marx effectively assumes a transformation of human nature - that in effect people just stop being selfish cnuts.
[ARRSE LEFTY ENTERS STAGE LEFT/]

Indeed, that is Marx most significant failing, he is unable to postulate a scenario in which human desire/will is fed by means of something other than material or substantive gain. The capitalist systems is addictive in so far that it can feed those desires, or to be more accurate the illusion of attaining those desire, and the status that they proclaim to evoke.

{/ARRSE LEFTY EXITS STAGE RIGHT PURSUED BY BEAR = RARRRRGH]
 
#8
Ha ha! I reckon he nicked a good deal of it from one of my heroes 'Freeborn John' Lilburne of Levellers fame as well.
Yer , me and Eddy Sexby were good mates with him, but they both came to sticky ends, Christ they were a pair, in and out of nick and back and forth across the channel like a pair of Afghan Illegal immigrants
 
#9
Ha ha! I reckon he nicked a good deal of it from one of my heroes 'Freeborn John' Lilburne of Levellers fame as well.
I've never been faced with the difficult choice of looking into football or Marxism so my knowledge of each is somewhat limited. But I do remember that whenever Marx (Karl) cropped up in conversation my dad (Oxford History Degree) used to pooh-pooh his memory with the comment "he never came up with an original idea, it was all Engels' stuff".

Did that crop up in any of your books Micawber, or was it the ramblings of my ageing dad?
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#10
Groucho Marx? fukcing genius. O, that other cnut? Get a copy of Das Kapital , duly massaged to wrinkled perfection , complete with tea stains, and leave it around with a bit of dust sprinkled on it. DO NOT attempt to read the fecker) . Mark a few pages inside with hmmmm interesting, or.. fancy that, or... fcuk me that's deep. Don't forget the library-supplied bookmark either, vital. Marx-Walt and Philosphy special (cheapish) weapons are here and here



“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” Ironics = on (Marx, born into a comfortable middle-class home in Trier on the river Moselle in Germany on May 5, 1 8 1 8) / ironics =off.
 
#11
Ha ha! I reckon he nicked a good deal of it from one of my heroes 'Freeborn John' Lilburne of Levellers fame as well.
I doubt it; but perhaps the other way round - John Lilburne (1614 – 29 August 1657) vs Sir Thomas More (February 7, 1478 – July 6, 1535).
 
#12
I doubt it; but perhaps the other way round - John Lilburne (1614 – 29 August 1657) vs Sir Thomas More (February 7, 1478 – July 6, 1535).
1535 now that was a year,my gay Italian sailor mate Andrea went and f@cked up Tunisia
 
#13
Oyibo - Well Engels didn't think so. It seems you can't talk about Marx for long without Engels cropping up all the time as their lives were inextricably linked, but from what I've read Engels thought Marx was a proper genius and regarded himself as lucky to be his hod carrier.

Again just from what I've read, Marx was in full time political philosophy which meant living in various levels of squallor with his long suffering wife and kids while Engels had a career as a successful writer and journalist who kept the Marx clan afloat financially.

Without Engels Marx would not have achieved anything like what he did, but it doesn't seem Engels was in the same class when it came to the thinking game, though he did knock most of Marx's text into shape for publication.

Engels outlived Marx by some distance and if there had been any real rivalry there he had plenty of opportunities to put the record straight, and equally Engels didn't come up with anything startling on his own after his mate passed on.

But having said that, what the **** do I know compared with an Oxford history graduate?

Cheers
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
I doubt it; but perhaps the other way round - John Lilburne (1614 – 29 August 1657) vs Sir Thomas More (February 7, 1478 – July 6, 1535).
I don't because Marx lived May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883. You missed the thrust of the discusion there dear boy.
 
T

Tremaine

Guest
#16
Quote Micawber: /"One of the things I have come to realise is that Stalin and the whole USSR 'thing' was as close to Marx's vision as it was to Maggie Thatcher's - a sort of mad state bureaucratic capitalism, and that all the other alleged Marxist societies were/are just tribalism, dictatorship, corruption or racism in disguise"\. Despite my flippant earlier post, you've cracked it in a few short phrases, methinks. One of the most memorable comments I can recall was "in socialism, everyone (should) have what (he) needs, while some have more than others. Coercion, exercised by states, (is) the ultimate resort for maintaining the material interests of the strongest section of the exploiters.

You asked a question as the OP, something akin to "did the perfect communist state exist?" Having wandered round East Berlin in its heyday, and having chatted to Russins in Germany, it's an interesting debate. Based on perfect equality of members, communist states have banned production and import of luxury items (for the public or the prols, anyway) and items of ordinary comfort – including printing. Eastie Beasties have to drive shoite cars, eat and drink crap, poor copies of western goods. Also, No Coca Cola !!! FFS : ) . All these experiments (maybe) failed, because human nature is such that from the moment a man becomes aware of certain needs, and knows what's being denied to him, these cannot be artificially repressed. So, Marxism remains just that, an unworkable theory.
My twopenneth.
 
#17
Oyibo - Well Engels didn't think so. It seems you can't talk about Marx for long without Engels cropping up all the time as their lives were inextricably linked, but from what I've read Engels thought Marx was a proper genius and regarded himself as lucky to be his hod carrier.

Again just from what I've read, Marx was in full time political philosophy which meant living in various levels of squallor with his long suffering wife and kids while Engels had a career as a successful writer and journalist who kept the Marx clan afloat financially.

Without Engels Marx would not have achieved anything like what he did, but it doesn't seem Engels was in the same class when it came to the thinking game, though he did knock most of Marx's text into shape for publication.

Engels outlived Marx by some distance and if there had been any real rivalry there he had plenty of opportunities to put the record straight, and equally Engels didn't come up with anything startling on his own after his mate passed on.

But having said that, what the **** do I know compared with an Oxford history graduate?

Cheers
Thanks Micawber. Given your informative answer, maybe my dad was being intentionally disingenuous. But without the help of a good medium or functional Ouija board I'll never know.

Looks like you made the right choice between researching Marxism or Association Football - far more scope for interesting conversation.
 
#19
For what it's worth, and in a nutshell, the conclusion I came to was that it is the Bourgeois and the historic English 'middle sort' who are the true revolutionaries.

Just about everyone who has led the struggle for social, political and religious freedom in England from Watt Tyler, through Jack Cade, the Levellers and Diggers right up to Emily Pankhurst were all 'middle sort'.

It is the Henry Fords, Bill Gates and messrs Massey and Ferguson of this world who are the real agents of change, leading the massive improvement in the quality, and length, of daily life that has occurred over the last two centuries since capitalism came of age (unless you live in Africa of course!).

I decided that capitalism is the product of man's nature and should therefore be understood as a force of nature.

Capitalism does what it does, which is to seek out other capital, so it will cut down the last tree in the rain forest if it can turn a profit, and it will start a war just so it can sell arms to both sides - if you let it.

You can't ignore it so the only sensible thing to do is manage it, like fire. How you manage it, and to what degree, is where the sensible argument lies and that is where Socialism comes in which seems to have a lot more going for it than Marxism.

I'm bluffing my way quite a bit, obviously, but it seems to be doing the trick in the pub at least!

Cheers
 
#20
Marx's 'dialectic' theory (developed from Hegel's 'zeitgeist') posited that the transition from capitalism to communism would be inevitable and caused by changing economic circumstances. Rather than people deciding to be communists and setting about it ("righto, everybody torch your cash over there, let's start making manganese nodules and tractors"), capitalism would become so ferociously competitive that it would expand into every area of life, and that profits would get ever smaller until eventually it was impossible to make a profit. Capitalism would then, by definition, cease to exist, and Marx claimed what would replace it was communism. He was a bit vague about what form it would take, saying it depended on the circs.

He believed it would happen one nation at a time, starting with Britain and Germany (because they were the premier capitalist powers), and certainly failed to foresee 'globalisation'. He also insisted that in economically backwards countries, (Russia for example), there was no chance for the foreseeable future. Any attempt to speed the process up was doomed to failure - it was that issue which caused Lenin to break away from the 'second international' and form the 'third international' or 'communist international' (comintern), and begin the scribblings that became known as 'Marx-Leninism'.

So there has never been a 'Marxist' state.
 

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