- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Just don't let working-class resentment give about ityou a big ego

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for a Healthy Revolution, USA ) on November 22, 1999 at 10:25:29:

In Reply to: You say *sigh* that again posted by Stoller on November 21, 1999 at 19:18:39:

: One difference: Marxists (and I'm NOT including 'academic' Marxists) insist on the active PARTICIPATION of the working class in their movements---unlike the explicit snobbery evinced by, say, Kat Kinkade (see Is It Utopia Yet?, Twin Oaks Publishing 1994, pp. 194-95).

SDF: Since the working class is not participating in a Marxist movement in the US these days, what is this insistence worth? My question is about what happens when the shit hits the fan. I'll concede that intentional communities (or the idea of intentional communities) don't amount to much, for the working class today. I'm sorry Twin Oaks, Skinner, etc. didn't work out for you. Hope being a vanguardist leads to something bigger.


: : Let's turn it around: does typing a lot of chat about revolutionary resolve on a BBS with 10 or 12 regular posters "weaken the revolutionary resolve" merely because it doesn't ignite a revolution tomorrow, and what's more isn't it really just another bourgeois debate club, one worthy of the creation of tenured radicals with university positions (we're pretty damn smart, at least I have a PhD), and thus worthy of our condescension?

: Well, Sam, I NEVER said (or implied) that I was EVER an academic. As a matter of (anecdotal) fact, I don't even have a high school diploma---so when I say I know what MONOTONOUS, LOW-PAYING jobs are, I actually know.

SDF: Yeah, been there, done that. Working at the Lipton tea factory was the worst. But here's a more serious question: does understanding the plight of the working class mean understanding what it means to do the right thing?

A friend of mine said once that he knew someone who knew Saloth Sar. The anecdote about Saloth Sar was that, while he was working on his degree, Saloth Sar spent all his spare time as a factory worker, punching the clock, day in and day out. Saloth Sar: was he a good guy?

If this is anecdotal, well, so is the notion of "working class sensibility".

: When you accuse of me of debating pointlessly here,

SDF: Did you imagine that my last post was only about YOU and YOUR ROLE in this debate??? I guess if one imagines oneself as the center of vanguardist revolution, then the world would appear to center around oneself.

All I said was that we could just as well deride THIS WHOLE DEBATE, my posts, your posts, and everyone else's, as JUST ANOTHER PETIT-BOURGEOIS HOBBY. But where would that get us?

: all I can say is: You are a hypocrite

SDF: Is this defensiveness of yours a substitute for an argument that would present a DIRECT CLASH about the MATTER AT HAND, i.e. "no, this argument is NOT merely a petit-bourgeois hobby"?

: to do THE SAME THING without treating your own actions as contemptuously---and what do you know of WHAT ELSE I DO?

SDF: Did I every say I was debating to "strengthen the revolutionary resolve"? Frankly, I'd like to know where such "revolutionary resolve" is, how it gets there, how it can be grown, how it can be channeled into something better than failure, and that's the best I see coming out of Internet discussion with folks who have the dough to buy and the resources to understand computers, modems, and ISP services. That is to say, I'm interested in chat about an OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT of the matter at hand. I'm not demanding that you have the answers to these questions. There is, however, no harm in trying.

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