Porgie Tirebiter: Having at least a cursory understanding of these men is essential to understanding what is happening in the world today.
Lark: I disagree. To understand what is going on in the world you have to have a great capacity for critical reason and be inattached to any sectarian or exclusive thinkers.
Porgie Tirebiter: The ideas of these people are alright on certain points but arent these points made just aswell by sociologists, physcologists, economists and simple mere activists like me or you? They are therefore of no real, real significance, they are interesting and thought provoking but you could read them and decide they where libertarian socialist heros or read them and decide the soviet union never put a foot wrong, so it's better to just build on experience and personal struggle as much as great grand thinkers.
Well, sure. That's sort of what I was saying. But I've learned a lot from their writings.
Your personal experience angle something with which I agree. I mentioned that Stoller wrote an eloquent essay on job rotation, but as I was praising him at the time, I didn't mention what was on the other half of my mind. I've lived around Asia for over seven years, and I can say that job rotation is a fact of life in almost every group activity, and is even a feature of many companies. So, if you've lived in various cultures, you realize one doesn't have to find Lenin's or Engel's or Trotsky's position on the matter, all one has to do is open your eyes.
The problem with that is a lot of people don't have the opportunity to go skipping around the world, and I would never go flaunting my travels in front of others. I despise people who do. I grew up with a lower middle class income as my father, a Boston doctor, died suddenly without insurance when I was just a baby, leaving my mother alone with five kids. So I grew up, not in New England gentility, but in the harsh, crass Arizona desert. For summers and Christmas I went nowhere. And I pretty much didn't go anywhere until I was 28 years old. So, I HATED it when all my friends spent their holidays and vacations here, there, Disneyland, La Jolla, skiing, blah!
So, I'm sensitive to people one-upping me with their travels, and I would never want to seem like I was doing that here.
The point I'm making in this rambling missive is similar the one you made above, with the added point that experience in different cultures --especially the ones that haven't been saturated with Western values--can be very enlightening as well. If were to show Stoller's essay to, say, Japanese people, it would strike them as quite obvious.
Our Western culture and economic system does not value cooperation at all, at least not at the level of what they want the public to believe. (Corporations cooperate ALL THE TIME, but the rest of us are supposed to live in a world of cut-throat competition.) But Asian cultures, do, as did many Native American ones. Much of what Marx has to say is quite consistent with Asian writers. Indeed, Hegel, on whom Marx based his dialectics, was very interested in Asian mysticism
By the way, I'm not a blind Asia-phile.I can say a lot of bad things about Aian groupism, but I won't here. Furthermore, they're being Westernized at astonishing speeds, to both their benefit and detriment.
I'll soften the first sentence: I recommend Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, as I do Chomsky and Herman and and Zinn. There's also a very good net site and magazine called Z Magazine. I highly, highly recommend subscribing to that. For simple examinations of how the rich are robbing the middle class and working poor there--this one goes out to Frenchy--there's Bartlett and Steel's two books "America: What Went Wrong?" and "America: Who Pays the Taxes?"