Marx, Culture, and Communism

My Western Feminist Thought class is currently reading and, in many cases, rereading the Communist Manifesto. Marx’s examination of Capitalism and the effects of class division are over-arching threads that run through each and every one of our lives though few understand or are even aware of the presence of the social construction of greed and hate.

To many people Communism is a dirty word because we, as Americans, associate it with the now dissolved Soviet block and dictatorship. The fact remains that the Soviet Union was a form of absolute totalitarian State capitalism, not communism or socialism. Communism is more of an economic and sociopolitical movement than a form of governance. Its aim is to create a classless and stateless society based upon common ownership of production, consumption, and property.

Since the time of Plato’s Republic, the proposal of a utopian society in which the ideal society, free of class hatred, social and political inequality, and war has been the fantasy of many pacifist looking for an idyllic approach to existence.

As hate, bigotry, and classism flourish it is hard not to look back at the writings of Marx (and Engels) and wonder if some of the warnings about the revolution against the Bourgeois are not imminent. The disappearance of the middle class in the United Sates, or petit bourgeois, lends itself to a scary scenario where a handful of wealthy, white men control the assets of the entire country leaving the rest of us to indentured servitude dependent upon the few in power for our means of survival. How close are we?

Well, let’s look at Charles and David Koch. Each Koch brother is worth a reported $21.5 billion as a result of their stakes in Koch Industries, the family owned oil, chemical, and consumer products business. The really scary part is that they have donated millions of dollars to small-government conservative causes, like the tea party and other candidates for decades. The same could be said for several other billionaires in this country. So, when a few white men possess most of the country’s wealth, dictate politics, and employ huge numbers of laborers, an extremely unequal playing field is created. Now, let’s turn to Scott Walker and Wisconsin. What happens when one of these elected politicians  “owe” the Koch brothers for campaign contributions? You get a governor who is willing to sacrifice the well-being of an entire state to pull collective bargaining off the table in negotiations with city employees and “bust” unions. The laborers then rise up and revolt against the acts of the governor and the opposing party walks out in protest…the moral of the story? Marx was right.

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