Archive for April 25th, 2013

The Workers are Revolting

John Gray reviews Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, and discovers an unfamiliar ‘early Marx’ (who anticipates Augusto Pinochet):

Writing in the Rhineland News in 1842 in his very first piece after taking over as editor, Marx launched a sharp polemic against Germany’s leading newspaper, the Augsburg General News, for publishing articles advocating communism. He did not base his assault on any arguments about communism’s impracticality: it was the very idea that he attacked. Lamenting that “our once blossoming commercial cities are no longer flourishing,” he declared that the spread of Communist ideas would “defeat our intelligence, conquer our sentiments,” an insidious process with no obvious remedy. In contrast, any attempt to realize communism could easily be cut short by force of arms: “practical attempts [to introduce communism], even attempts en masse, can be answered with cannons.”

Perhaps even more disconcertingly, six months after writing the Communist Manifesto: “In a speech to the Cologne Democratic Society in August 1848, Marx rejected revolutionary dictatorship by a single class as ‘nonsense’ …”

And in a final spasm of sanity: “over twenty years later, at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Marx also dismissed any notion of a Paris Commune as ‘nonsense.’”

Just as soon as they find his journal entry dismissing the Labor Theory of Value as nonsense I’ll be returning to right-wing Marxism with a vengeance.

April 25, 2013admin 5 Comments »
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On Power

Power is an Idea. It is exactly what it is thought to be.

Even among pre-civilized social animals, where the temptation to confuse power with force is strongest, the need to demonstrate force is only sporadic, and wherever force is not continuously demonstrated, power has arisen.

That is how dominance distinguishes itself from predation. On occasions, no doubt, a predator dominates its prey, convincing a struggling herbivore that resistance is futile, and its passage into nourishment is already, virtually, over. Even in these cases, however, a predator does not seek to install an enduring dominion. It matters not at all that its command of irresistible force be recognized beyond the moment of destruction. There is no social relationship to establish.

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April 25, 2013admin 21 Comments »
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