Friday, July 09, 2010

The Communist Manifesto

I was going to do a demolition job on parts of the Communist Manifesto before, re-reading it again, I realized that in the main part it's right. If you don't take some of the attitudes that Marx puts out there about religion and morality in a fundamentalist way, i.e. you recognize that true freedom includes the freedom to be religious and to care about morality, it's pretty much right on. The Statist aspects of the practical proposals that Marx puts out there are troubling, but you could easily draw different conclusions about what should be done from the basic outline that's given in the rest of the Manifesto. But, be that as it may, the Communist Manifesto is not a complete outline for how life is. I believe in truth, and that truth as well as justice isn't totally historically determined, although of course different historical epochs have had slightly different ideas about what justice is, and what one group considers truth is in fact influenced by the society they live in. It's influenced by history but in my opinion not totally relative, and it's erroneous to dismiss morals simply because there likely, more than likely, is not just one valid moral truth or system.

There is much to lament about Marx's desire, because it's almost a desire, that workers become not just workers but completely proletarianized workers as a prelude to the Revolution, with anything aiming to stop this from happening considered to be reactionary, as is action in general that seeks to restrain what's today referred to as corporate power.

In fact, lots of what Marx describes as a virtue in the proletariat, i.e. the destruction of family life, the elimination of any sort of communal values beyond the raw fact of working for an industrial company, is in my mind a serious problem, a state of being that no one wants to be in and that at its root will not be saved by simply organizing for economic and political power.

The deeper values of society, as well as some of the sources of alienation in the big, with the large scale industry not criticized, are not addressed, and should be considering both normal life especially the environmental catastrophe that we're engaging on. Capital does not only need to be taken over by the workers it needs to be limited in its power and in its scope to stop being this machine of domination against the natural world that only expands and never contracts.

Also, a reaffirmation of the values of liberty and democracy, and not a reading of them where liberty is dismissed as being a bourgeois value and democracy isn't even mentioned, would be nice too.

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