Why would I be a communist?

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secondcreed
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Jun 11 2012 02:47

I empathize Railyon. I live almost entirely surrounded by Neo-Cons. It is absolutely normal to hear someone say something like "9-11 was God's judgment on America for all the queers". I was a public school teacher, and other teachers said stuff like that at the lunch table. I ended up eating in my room. If I were to say I was a socialist at school, I would be brought before the board, they would find a reason to replace me. In many parts of America, socialist means something akin to Nazi. I don't even begin to understand how I would even begin to talk about workers exploitation or the like.

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jura
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Jun 11 2012 05:48
TitusMoans wrote:
I also could have used Marx's own words from _The Communist Manifesto_, in which he writes, "The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class."

This is actually from German Ideology.

andy g
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Jun 11 2012 08:38

Titus - sorry if seemed petty in offering "correction". I just think Gramsci is often misread as sanctioning a view of monolithic ruling class ideological domination when he really doesn't. The Marx quote you cited is a useful starting point but isn't unproblematic. I used to be quite taken with the "dominant ideology thesis" that the extent of active ideological "penetration" of subordinate classes by ruling class ideology is/was comparatively modest, the ruling ideology instead serving to cohere the ruling class itself...

anyhow, any account of hegemony has to include counter-hegemony or we end up looking to intellectuals miraculously exempt from the power of ruling ideas to bring enlightenment

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soc
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Jun 11 2012 09:58
jura wrote:
TitusMoans wrote:
I also could have used Marx's own words from _The Communist Manifesto_, in which he writes, "The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class."

This is actually from German Ideology.

Nope. I thought the same but it turned out to be the
Communist Manifesto, chapter 2:

Quote:
What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
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jura
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Jun 11 2012 14:41
soc wrote:
Nope.

You are right! Sorry for being a smartass. (It is in the German Ideology as well.)

TitusMoans
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Jun 11 2012 17:08

Jura, that may be so, but it is also a direct quotation from the Manifesto. Sorry about the reply; I noticed after I posted that you had already realized my statement was true.

TitusMoans
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Jun 11 2012 17:06

Angy g, I certainly agree with you. The quotation from Marx should also be used with the understanding that Marx believed proletarian revolution was inevitable, so obviously, at some point oppression becomes unbearable enough that most workers realize they've been taken for a summer sleigh ride.

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Railyon
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Jun 11 2012 18:59
secondcreed wrote:
I empathize Railyon. I live almost entirely surrounded by Neo-Cons. It is absolutely normal to hear someone say something like "9-11 was God's judgment on America for all the queers". I was a public school teacher, and other teachers said stuff like that at the lunch table. I ended up eating in my room. If I were to say I was a socialist at school, I would be brought before the board, they would find a reason to replace me. In many parts of America, socialist means something akin to Nazi. I don't even begin to understand how I would even begin to talk about workers exploitation or the like.

You're from the US though, right? Apparently it's worse over there, here you only get weird looks but it's not this outright lunacy you see in the US.

In Germany you only come across like one of those GDR guys who want the wall back (there are actually some that do...)

TitusMoans
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Jun 11 2012 19:12

Railyon wrote: "You're from the US though, right? Apparently it's worse over there, here you only get weird looks but it's not this outright lunacy you see in the US."

In Nevada,USA, where I live, business managers and owners have the legal right to fire a member of the Communist Party or even a professed communist.

Socialism is slightly more acceptable, but still, unless you were ready to perhaps even physically defend yourself, you would not publicly announce that you were a socialist, let alone a communist.

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devoration1
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Jun 11 2012 20:17

It makes sense given the totality of Cold War propaganda and the position of the US as the 'leader of the Free World' mixed with a long history of 'dog whistle' politics and extremism on the right. But I don't think those attitudes are as ingrained as it might seem, it's just they are often the loudest and ugliest points of view. It's possible to influence reactionary views at work held by co-workers (particularly since many of these types of people can't shut up about how much they don't like immigrants, or benefits recipients, etc) especially when they think they have the right answer based on reality- I don't know about people with extremely right-wing faith based ideas (like God punished the US with 9/11 or Katrina for the gays) since it doesn't seem worth the energy to talk to them other than 'I don't agree' and let it go.

andy g
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Jun 12 2012 07:45

brings back memories of IWW organisers being threatened with lynching, doesn't it?

As a Brit I can't comment directly on secondcreed's experience. I doubt there are many places where the "hi! I'm a revolutionary socialist!" would get you anything other than startled looks / the sack / sectioned under the Mental Health Act. I don't mean to trivialise - I think we've all been there and I bet none of us has always handled it well. I guess the thing is to start small, identify existing grievances, propose concrete solutions and then move on from there. with the blatant homophobia etc I think you have to pick your battles and challenge when you can, trying to get workmates on your side.

it can be really tough. I've never been faced with the bullet or black-listing so I don't want to sound the smart arse