“THE WORLD IS FINALLY READY FOR MARXISM” – On Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, “The Independent” discovers why Marxism has not worked before – it was too early.
Here is one other reason why Marxism is yet another religion (albeit a godless one – kind of like Buddhism): its eschatology, where the end of the world is always coming but never actually comes. The capitalism has been on the brink of collapse for the past 150 years and the coming of the communist society just around the corner. Forget all the previous predictions we’ve made, which didn’t come true, and all the previous attempts to bring about the heaven on Earth, which ended up in hell instead – this time will be different. We swear.
So if late capitalism is economically, socially and ecologically unsustainable, not to mention bankrupt, then whither to from here? One of the obtuse criticisms of Marx has been the lack of a blueprint, despite the fact that a participatory, truly democratic society would need to emerge organically rather than following a roadmap. Marx posited revolution as “the driving force of history”. The overthrow of the existing state and the dissolution of property would lead to liberation extending to the dissolution of the bourgeois conceptions of family, marriage and all nation states. This liberation from national barriers would then bring everyone into connection with the production of the whole world for the pleasure of their consumption.
Under communism, Marx daintily describes how one would be able to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening and criticise after dinner (naturally). Communism would appear to truly represent the end of the history, or at least the end of history, as class struggle : “Communism is the riddle of history solved and it knows itself to be this solution.” Marx formulates that human emancipation can only be achieved by going beyond the bourgeois framework; material emancipation translates into spiritual and sensuous emancipation. Only the resolution of the material modes of production, beyond the paradigm of economic individualism, private property and self-interest, can liberate consciousness and revolutionise social relations – such that there is the capacity, the capability and propensity for free behaviour and genuine ties between individuals based on love, warmth and affection, rather than purely calculating and cold self-interest.
You’ve read it here in “The Independent” first – this time around, finally, there won’t be dictatorship and gulags and mass graves and starvation and denial of any and all human rights; instead there won’t be borders anymore and we’re all be fishing.
Maybe my imagination fails me, but I can’t imagine a worse future, except for the one that Marxism has always so far created. Communism has only ever worked in its primitive version – in hunting and gathering bands or monastic communities. Normal societies, not the least the societies of the present, are too diverse and too complex to be able to be transformed into idyllic utopias based on collective ownership of everything and universal love. This goes against human nature, which is why Marxists don’t believe in it, in a sense of there being a set of immutable characteristics that makes us who we are as a species. The whole progressive project is constructed around the thesis that a new man (sorry, new person) can be made for the new world – better, selfless, altruistic, cooperative, collective. Maybe one day, thanks to genetic engineering, the left will finally produce its perfect communist, but such creature will no longer be quite human, and I hope to be long dead before that happens. One way or another that’s quite likely since Marxists kill people like me first. Just as well, since I hate fishing.