New Issue of Mediations

The editorial collective of Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group, is pleased to announce issue 24.2, a special issue that revisits the relationship between Marxism and literature. Mediations is published twice yearly. The Fall issues are dossiers of non-U.S. material of interest; the Spring issues are open submission and peer reviewed. Mediations has circulated in various forms and formats since the early 1970s, and is now available free on the web. Both a web edition and a print edition, downloadable in pdf form, can be accessed at mediationsjournal.org. Featured authors in the current issue include Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Imre Szeman, Neil Larsen, Mathias Nilges, Nicholas Brown, Aisha Karim, Leerom Medovoi, and Sarah Brouillette.
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Volume 24, No. 2 || Marxism and Literature Revisited

Mathias Nilges and Emilio Sauri, guest editors

CONTENTS


Editors’ Note

The Left and Marxism in Eastern Europe: An Interview with Gáspár Miklós Tamás
Imre Szeman interviews the political philosopher, journalist, and writer, Gáspár Miklós Tamás. Describing his own political move to the Left in relation to local post-Soviet politics in Hungary and global structures of contemporary capitalism, Tamás discusses the dangers of attaching hopes for greater rights and liberties to both free market structures and nostalgic forms of leftism. What answers can Marxism offer in response to the sociopolitical and philosophical pressures of the current conjuncture in which the free market agenda has become structurally and politically untenable? How must we re-think Marxism itself in a context in which solutions to the political impasses of the present can no longer be found in a return to Party politics of the past? How might Marxist political philosophy deal with pressing contradictions such as rising forms of ultranationalism? Addressing these and other questions, Tamás demonstrates how recent political developments in Hungary, and throughout Eastern Europe more generally, provide lessons for the Left throughout the globe.

Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now
Is there such a thing as a Marxist literary criticism? Imre Szeman argues that, despite the fact that Marxism has long privileged literature as an object of analysis and critique, there is no unitary methodology or set of considerations that distinguish a “Marxist” approach to literature from others. Here, Szeman provides a historicization and structural analysis of what he identifies as the three primary modes of Marxist literary criticism. At the same time, this essay also points to a fourth, as yet unnamed, possibility for Marxist literary critique that seeks to sublate the assumed “impasse” created by the limiting choice between “ideological” and “anti-ideological” culture, an impasse that, according to Szeman, bears witness to a profound historical shift.

Literature, Immanent Critique, and the Problem of Standpoint
What might a method for critical theory that advances beyond the tenets of “ideology-critique” look like? For Neil Larsen, the answer lies in Marxism’s own recourse to immanent critique. Yet, with the notable exceptions of Adorno and Lukács, immanent critique has bothered little with the problem of standpoint in relation to cultural, and, in particular, literary objects. Larsen, then, attempts to specify an immanent critical standpoint of literature that allows for the articulation of a dialectical critique that dispenses with what he identifies as the “fallacy of application.” Demonstrating how any literary theory — Marxist and otherwise — is, of necessity, immanent to the text, this essay turns to the question of method as a means of grasping the relationship between the literary text as “subject/object” and the social totality.

Marxism and Form Now
Contemporary literary criticism is everywhere marked by what appears to a revival of foundational questions: what is literature now? How do we argue now? What is form now? Rather than signal a new direction for literary criticism, this now-ness, Mathias Nilges maintains, points to a discipline in the midst of a crisis of futurity. Extending the French Regulation School’s suggestion that the history of capitalism is the history of the struggle between capital and its social regulation, Nilges argues that the current disciplinary crisis is best evaluated in the context of capitalism’s cultural regulation. Dialectically linking the (crisis-driven) movement of structural, epistemological and cultural forms, Nilges maintains that the study of the formal(istic) history of cultural regulation must replace cultural critique based on the assumed possibility of the subsumption of culture under capital, which, in turn, creates the conditions of possibility for an emergent Marxist literary criticism.

One, Two, Many Ends of Literature
What if we looked at the notion of the end of literature as a truism, only lacking in plurality and logical rigor? Nicholas Brown explains that one of these “ends” can be regarded as internal to the functioning of literature itself, and as such, the point of departure for a more complete formulation of a Marxist literary criticism. For Brown, this formulation reveals that both literary criticism and Marxism are to be regarded as what he calls “formal materialisms,” a mode of analysis that must be completed and revised every time in light of an object it cannot posit beforehand. What this means for a Marxist literary-critical project subsequently becomes all the more apparent in Brown’s reading of another end of literature – postmodernism.

Crisis of Representation in Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy
Perhaps one of the more consistent elements of Wole Soyinka’s work has been a commitment to an individual will that refuses collective mobilization. Aisha Karim argues that Soyinka’s novel Season of Anomy marks a departure from any commitment as such that opens his work to new political possibilities. But while Season of Anomy presents us with an alternative to the politics and poetics that underlie Soyinka’s dramatic output, Karim maintains that it does so only insofar as it imagines itself as a “failed text.” What emerges as a crisis of representation within the text consequently allows the reader to recognize herself as the agent of change on the level of the social.

The Biopolitical Unconscious: Toward an Eco-Marxist Literary Theory
If ecocriticism can and should be dialectically assimilated to the project of a Marxist literary and cultural criticism, how do we have to rethink both ecocritical and Marxist literary critical praxis? What can a Marxist ecocriticism lend to interrogations of the relation between literature and ecocriticism’s most undertheorized category: the environment? Leerom Medovoi illustrates that Marxism not only can, but must play a central role in the formulation of an ecocritical approach to literature capable of transcending the inability to think beyond thematic criticism and ethical critique.

Creative Labor
Sarah Brouillette suggests that literary studies can help de-naturalize contemporary capitalism by accounting for the rise of the pervasive vocabulary that imagines work as a form of self-exploration, self-expression, and self-realization. She discusses two manifestations of this vocabulary. One is the notion of a “creative class” branded by Richard Florida, management professor and guru consultant to government and industry. The other is the theory of “immaterial labor” assembled within autonomist Marxism. Despite their obvious differences, Brouillette demonstrates that both conceptions are more symptoms than diagnoses of a now dominant tendency to fathom creativity both ahistorically — as the essence of experimentation emanating from an internal natural source — and contradictorily — as newly valuable to capitalism but romantically honorable and free.

BOOK REVIEWS

It’s Dialectical!
Nicholas Brown reviews Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic. To say that Jameson’s most recent contribution to dialectical thought is monumental in scope is perhaps an understatement. What, then, might this reengagement with the dialectic mean both in the context of Jameson’s work and for Marxism today?

A New Direction for Marxism
Jen Hedler Hammond reviews Kevin Floyd’s The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism. Floyd’s book succeeds in producing a dialogue between Judith Butler and Fredric Jameson that will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for both queer and Marxist theory. But what insight does this dialogue provide into the undertheorized position of women in Marxism and Queer Studies alike?

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Day 227: Colder Than Eskimo Nipples

No, I’m not talking about the drop in temperature over here. Finally, Chicago has left the 90s and dropped to a more sane temperature level for this season (I actually haven’t been outside, but the internet tells me it’s cold–how’s that for 21st century digital boy subjectivity?).

What I’m really talking about, however, is Warren Ellis’ latest graphic novel called Fell.  It’s fantastic. You can get some basic info about it here. I am mostly interested in it, since I write about, well, for the sake of brevity: the return to nature (and the ideological forces behind this).  The graphic novel is really worth reading (and it’s visually quite appealing as well). Additionally, I am spending my day writing about neo-tribalism and movements such as urban tribalism, or anarcho-primitivism and their critique of technology (which also brings me back in interesting ways to Ted Kaczynski–and, this is the kicker, to Marcuse). You can find info on the movements here:

http://libcom.org/thought/anarcho-primitivism-anti-civilisation-criticism

http://www.eco-action.org/dt/primer.html

Day 153: Will it Blend? (and centipedes!)

Courtesy of Albert Hammond, purveyor-of-all-things-strange extraordinaire, comes this clip. “Will it Blend?” is one of the most successful viral marketing campaigns in recent years, using youtube to promote the new Blendtec blender. In the clips (and there are LOTS of them) Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec, attempts to demonstrate the quality of his blender by, well, blending all kinds of shit. Among the most famous of his blending extravaganzas are: lightbulbs, glowsticks, marbles, cell-phones, a video camera, a now famous blending creation called “cochicken” (a can of soda and a rotisserie chicken), a broomstick, etc. The video you see below is the one Albert sent me and I do like it quite a bit: the i-Phone. This campaign has become so successful that “Will it Blend?” is now a searchable meme and apparently it is possible to buy merchandise, such as shirts that feature the slogan “Tom Dickson is my homeboy.” Furthermore, Blendtec also welcomes suggstions for blending performances. The two suggestions that are the most eagerly awaited but have as of yet not been attempted are the blending of a crowbar and the blending of another Blendtec blender. What a beautiful example of American craftsmanship and participatory democracy within consumer capitalism. The only question left for me to ask is: will it blend Al-Qaeda? Please all rise for the anthem.

And if you cannot get enough of the blending, here are all present blending experiments on youtube: www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec.

***EDIT: I feel as though I have been working within the confines of contemporary capitalist marketing strategies (the viral kind) too much, so I find it high time for a little hard-hitting Marxist cultural critique. For this purpose, I give you Monty Python’s “Communist Quiz.” I could not find it by itself, so here it is surrounded by a few other sketches I find quite amusing as well (to go straight to the quiz begin at about 5:30, or so).

***EDIT 2: today I found a centipede for the third day in a row in my apartment. Not only are they incredibly ugly and doubtlessly very dangerous (well, they are not really dangerous but I did reveal my arachnophobia and general fear of all things with more than four legs a couple of days ago, so this exaggeration should not come as a surprise), but they are incredibly fast and also act unnecessarily silly. I am ridiculously scared of them and don’t really know what to do except from killing them with my Norton Shakespeare (after having screamed into a pillow for about a half hour in order to work up the necessary courage)–at the same time I feel bad for them (they are animals, after all and despite their tendency to act unnecessarily silly they may not really deserve to die–unlike many politicians who, precisely due to the fact that they often act unnecessarily silly, do at least warrant an in-depth argument regarding whether or not they should be clubbed to death with a large anthology). Consequently, I am trying to find out if there is something like a centipede-repellent (a large rodent I could keep, maybe–a possum would be ideal, as the horizontal storage space in my apartment is limited but I am still able to expand vertically and could thus hang a possum from a small rack on the ceiling)? Maybe someone can help me with this. If not, I will just chalk it up the the joys of living in a crappy, tiny studio where the grad student of today can try to write the great literary critical work of tomorrow in the comfort of yesterday.

Day 149: Revolution, Humanism, Universalisms–Good or Bad Totalities

Dear all,

there has been a very interesting discussion going on between Joanna and myself regarding revolution, humanism, the potential value of universalisms etc. You can find the discussion here: Day 140. I am sure there are some of you who might have valuable opinions to offer. Let me suggest several approaches:

a) the question of totality–there are several ways to talk about this (e.g. Zizek’s defense of Hegelianism, the reliance upon ideas such as “deliberative democracy” regarding, say, the 3rd generation Frankfurt School, neo-Habermassians, etc. [see e.g. Seyla Benhabib, or Iris Marion Young]–in this respect we could also look toward people like Jean Luc Nancy [esp. the “being singular plural” idea]–as well as Kantian liberalism as the basis for speculations regarding cosmopolitanism, hos(ti)pitality, human rights, tolerance and peace as represented by e.g. Derrida’s later writings)

b) the question of totality and universals as raised by Agamben’s recent work

c) the question of universals, esp. as represented by Badiou’s work on St. Paul (and obviously in Being and Event)

d) Deleuze and recent versions of Deleuzian rhizomatic models, schizo-analysis and ideas of de-territorialization, which are combined with Italian anarchism/operaismo and liberation theology to form a seperate idea of universals/totalities (de-territorialized and multiple, yet still “total” in their democratic nature)–obvious examples here: Hardt and Negri, or Virno

e) questioning the idea of/necessity for/alternatives to teleologies as such (in terms of devising a political program that avoids replicating previous paternalistic structures of order much like described by Fanon [a tendency within postcolonial situations])

f) completely non-academic and non-jargon-filled ideas that may be more helpful than any of the above suggested models.

Let’s try to continue this discussion–I agree with Joanna that this is a VERY important issue to discuss, especially regarding the frequent confusion of people who would like to partake in progressive political movements until the point at which they realize that the channels that are being offered to them have no answers, or that these channels have dangerously reactionary answers to our problems (in which case we need to be happy that at least some people are smart enough to realize the dangerous nature of such pseudo-answers [as you can tell, I am trying to avoid naming political organizations at this point–we can get into that later, but I fear that this might easily make this discussion digress into a People’s Front of Judaea vs. Judaean People’s Front pissing contest]).

Oh, I have also been tagged by anaj and need to come up with 8 random things about myself, as well as tag 8 other people (not sure which one’s more difficult)–I think I need a little more time for this.

Oh–and here is what I mean by PFJ vs. JPF:

P.S.: the “New Seven Wonders of the Worlds” were announced (number one, I believe, is the fact that Al Gore was able to organize a worldwide music-event but was unable to launch a decent presidential campaign). Get the list here: http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/07/06/seven.wonders/index.html , or look up the campaign’s website here: http://www.new7wonders.com/. Not sure what the point of this was (except for making egomaniac Bernard Weber more famous and potentially boosting tourism). Maybe someone can explain it to me. Should there be an election for the “New New Seven Wonder of the World” I would already at this point like to nominate as one of the candidates the fact that people vote for shit like this but not for, say, the next president of the US, because, let me tell you, this is an occasion of great wonder to me.

Day 90: The 2007 MLG Institute on Culture and Society (June 20-24, 2007)

Dear all, instead of useless personal ramblings today the following announcement:

we just finalized the program for this year’s Marxist Literary Group Institute on Culture and Society. After being held at Georgetown University for the last two years the Institute returns to the University of Illinois at Chicago this year. Apart from presentations it will feature an intensive reading group on Capital I, which will be led by Nicholas Brown, Richard Daniels, Neil Larsen, and Ronald Strickland.

All events are open to the public–so if you are in the area, feel free to stop by (my apologies for the formatting–can’t be bothered to fix it right now).

***EDIT: ok, after several failed attempts I’ll try this one more time–crap! remains all messed up–sorry, I’m out of time–this will have to do for the moment:
* * *WEDNESDAY, 20 JUNE* * *
9:00 –10:15 Panel

Kevin Floyd
On neoliberalism, Queer Studies, and the question of totality

Stephen Healy
On the economy of non-all and the politics of health care reform

Heidi J. Nast
On neoliberalism and pet-love
—————————-
10:30 – 12:00 Panel

Peter Gardner
What Class War? “This hyar is the War o’ Races!”

Anna Kornbluh
On the isomorphism of capitalism and Victorian realism

Kat McLellan
On seventeenth-century contract theory

Harvey Partica
On Frank Norris’ dialectical monsters
—————————–
12:00 – 1:15 LUNCH
—————————–
1:15 – 3:00 Reading Group: Capital I, Chapters 1, 6, and 7
—————————–
3:30 – 4:30 Panel

Grover Furr
On falsifying Soviet history of the ‘Stalin’ period

Pat Keaton
On Argentinean documentary films
—————————–
5:00 – 6:15 Panel

Akin Adesokan
On CLR James and Marxism in Africa

Richard Iton
On coloniality and diaspora

Joseph Keith
On labor and the Limits of citizenship in C.L.R. James

* * *THURSDAY, 21 JUNE* * *
9:00 – 10:15 Panel

Robbie Lieberman
On African American radicals and the Cold War

Brian Thill
On Frederick Douglass, Black Power and the Frankfurt School

Aaron Winslow
On Amiri Baraka’s political poetry
—————————–
10:45 – 12:00 Panel

Natascha Müller-Hirth
On the issue of partnerships and neoliberal governance in Africa

Michael Ralph
On Marxism in Africa and Senegalese (im)mobility, post 9/11

Mark Estante
On labor discipline and the maintenance of apartheid in Coetzee’s Life &
Times of Michael K
—————————–
12:00 – 1:15 LUNCH
—————————–
1:15 – 3:00 Reading Group: Capital I, Chapters 2-5
—————————–
3:15 – 4:30 Panel

Christian Dogbe
On Ahmadou Kourouma and Marxism

Aisha Karim
On the movement of political desire in African literature

Allison McGuffie
On Eisenstein and African film
—————————–
5:00 – 6:15

Ato Quayson
On dialectic and failed synthesis in the drama of Wole Soyinka
Presented by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s African-American
Studies Department

* * *FRIDAY, 22 JUNE* * *
9:00 – 10:15 Panel

Laura Hudson
On Marxian species-being and the anthropological machine

Erin Paszko
On historicizing political violence through Leila Khaled’s My People Shall
Live

Michelle Yates
On an ecological contradiction within capitalism
—————————–
10:45 – 12:00 Panel

Paul Smith
On Boltanski’s _The New Spirit of Capitalism_

Ariane Fischer
On critical theory and the concept of ideology

Ed Wiltse
On scientific certainty and criminal justice in Sherlock Holmes stories and
/CSI/
—————————–
12:00 – 1:15 LUNCH
—————————–
1:15 – 3:00 Reading Group: Capital I, Parts Seven and Eight
—————————–
3:15 – 4:30 Panel

Neil Larsen
On the unique difficulty of reading Capital volume I, chapter 1

Eleanor Kaufman
On poetic surplus in Badiou

Reiichi Miura
On singularity and postmodern pluralism
—————————–
5:00 – 7:00

Peter Hitchcock
On the failed state and the state of failure

* * *SATURDAY, 23 JUNE* * *
9:00 – 10:15 Panel

Jeff Carr
On capitalism, socialism, and labor in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

William Q. Malcuit
On the resuscitation of history in McKay

Todd Thompson
On irony and heritage in the Harlem Renaissance
—————————–
10:45 – 12:00 Panel

Lee Medovoi
On Marx, Foucault, and the current conjuncture

Mathias Nilges
On the work of art in the age of cognitive capitalism

Myka Tucker-Abramson
On the labour history of deindustrialized literature
—————————–
12:00 – 1:15 LUNCH
—————————–
1:15 – 3:00 Reading Group: Capital I, Appendix
—————————–
3:30 – 5:00

Walter Benn Michaels
On praising famous (white) men
—————————–
5:15 – 7:15

Fredric Jameson
On the Dialectic
—————————–
7:30  MLG-ICS BBQ

* * *SUNDAY, 24 JUNE* * *
9:00 – 10:30 Panel

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo
On (un)writing diaspora and the route(lessness) of capitalism

Bimbisar Irom
On reification, totality and the agony of the radical novel

Ann Mattis
On domestic service and kinship in Gertrude Stein’s “The Good Anna” and “The
Gentle Lena”

Wesley Sims
On incarceration in Gayl Jones’ Eva’s Man
—————————–
10:45 – 12:15 Panel

Jolan Bogdan
On denial and ideology: the Romanian example

Steve Macek
On Marxism and the media reform movement

Joe Ramsey
On Babouk and revolutionary spectacle

Laura Sullivan
On television and the spectacle of giving
—————————–
12:15 – 1:30 MLG Business Meeting / LUNCH
—————————–
1:45 – 3:15 Roundtable: Labor and Memory

Courtney Maloney, Jamie Daniel, Carol Stabile, and Joel Woller
—————————–
3:30 Susan Willis / Don Hedrick responding
         On playing the penny slots

Day 78: More Childhood Nostalgia

 rote-zora.jpg

Thinking about Bud Spencer and Terence Hill yesterday made me think about other films and TV series that defined the childhood of my generation. I am sure everyone in my age group can remember the time when TV series did not primarily come from the US or Japan, but from Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia (back then the CSSR), the USSR, etc. Who does not remember the Eastern Block version of the Aschenbroedel story (in the US Diseneyfied into Cinderella): Drei Nuesse fuer Aschenbroedel (literal translation “three nuts for,”well, “Cinderella”–which does not contain the word “ashes,” hence the lower class signification, but we’ll look beyond that for now). Remember the 70s and early 80s when class distinction was still a huge issue represented in popular culture, the awareness of which centrally factored into almost all childrens series (see Silas, or one of my personal favorites of all time: Janoschik der Raeuberhauptmann— a Yogoslavian series about a, well, Robin Hood figure in the Yugoslavian mountains, in this scenario, however, a member of a group of shepards turned militant, I believe)?

There are many, many more things I could list here, all of which I remember fondly because they actually had great storylines and values, invested some thought in the series, short films etc. and were not as mindless as, say, Power Rangers and all the crap that is on TV these days. I wish I could find this old stuff somehwere and raise my children on that, if pop-culture turns out to be completely impossible to avoid in the education process. What I really would like to point out was, next to Janoschik, my other favorite show I am sure many must remember. It was called Die Rote Zora (trans.: Red Zora), was a German-Swiss-Yugoslavian co-production and revolved around a gang of orphans in Yugoslavia led by a red-haired girl. The TV series is based upon the classic German children’s novel of the same title.

 rote_zora.jpg

 The story revolves around the mentioned group of children who are sometimes forced to break the law in order to survive, illustrating the anti-social nature of many laws that regulate access to basic goods and the protection of private property. While this may seem chaotic, there is one central law the group structures itself around, the one law all children always follow: solidarity. You can easily see the political and ideological structures this series is based upon, which not only made it so great to me and many, many other people of my generation, generating early on a sensitivity for issues of social justice and the critical analysis of social laws we should not consider to be natural, but potentially subject to critical scrutiny. The influence of this show also inspired a left-radical, militant feminist group to adop this name: they are called “Rote Zora.”

I am sorry I do not have more time to talk about all of this, but I promise I will in the future. There are so many great series, short films etc. that shaped the childhood of my generation that have been lost, or that have been replaced by the mindless crap that today just keeps children occupied. The series I fondly remember made us think critically about society, hence making me consider them invaluable to my political and social education. There is much potential in popular culture, which is doubtlessly why these shows were removed from German TV after the end of the USSR and the GDR. Very, very sad. Makes my very nostalgic and also makes me wonder if it is not possible to find these shows on tape, or DVD. Maybe someone has a suggestion for me.

Day 13: Papa Smurf Part II

marx.jpg

So I woke up this morning and felt even worse than yesterday. Isn’t this cold-thing supposed to go away? Maybe it is a result of me having not yet tried any onion-related treatments (I did buy onions, though). I also tried to remember what I ate yesterday. Chinese takeout and pizza. Seems like they are not putting enough vitamins in junk-food these days. Shocking.  On the upside, however, I am able to remain heavily Nyquiled every night, which, at least for me, always results in incredibly vivid dreams (not always of the good kind). Last night I dreamt about sandcastles and I also seemed to be incredibly worried about what would happen to the sand-producing industry, now that all of Europe is banning smoking and public ashtrays do not need sand any more (yes, weird, I know–I already posted something to that effect somewhere else this morning–apparently at least my unconscious is funny). My apparent unconscious concern for the working sandman (if we want to interpret my dream as that–I would also be willing to go in the direction of sandman equalling desire to finally get a good night’s sleep, some displaced/overdetermined experience from yesterday, or, and thus might be the most disturbing interpretation, Sandman as in Freud’s “The Uncanny” in which case I shall be wearing squash goggles for the rest of the day–“ring of fire, spin about”–thanks E.T.A. Hoffmann!)–wow, long parenthetical interjection–so my concern for the working sandman will form the basis of of today’s post: February 21 as the publishing date of the Communist Manifesto.

The sad thing about the Communist Manifesto is that its over the top rhetoric that was supposed to rally the masses back when it was published is now the thing that drives the masses away from it. I would thus like to simply post some passages from the manifesto to remind people of how even over 150 years after its initial publication its criticism still not only rings true, but should inspire intellectual and scientific dialogue, rather than outright, idologically motivated, unquestioning and ignorant rejection. Here some passages:

“[The bourgeoisie] has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom–Free Trade.”

“It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e. to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.”

“[The bourgeoisie] has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons–the modern working class–the proletarians. In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e. capital, is developed, is developed, in the same proportion, the proletariat, the modern working class–a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.”

 “The lower middle-class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle-class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history.”

“Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, however, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly that population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him.”

Two things that should seriously be discussed here regarding the persistent logic of capitalism and the populace’s reaction to it (and to its critique): 1) “revolution” being such as scary word in the US today (ironically, after this country was founded on a revolution), it should be noted that the bourgeoisie is really the revolutionary class; 2) that this bourgeoisie even within the logical paradigm of running an unjust and exploitative system cannot even get that right, meaning we need a continued openness regarding what indisputably forms the character of capitalism, namely that it is based upon central systemic and logical inadequacies and contradictions.

yours in global and sandy solidarity