The Poverty of Identity Politics

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link
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Aug 24 2021 17:51

double post

link
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Aug 24 2021 17:50

Darren P, not sure what Khawaga wants to say but he has not explained very much.

Here are 2 quotes from Karl Marx:

'The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. '

'Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.'

The first makes it clear the production is at the root of how a society works and therefore the political and social systems that appear with that mode of production. He also said that the ruling class ideology dominates in any given society, so the main ideas that feature in capitalism are those that maintain capitalism and keep it working, eg workfor wages, money, greed, nationalism, parliamentarism, reformism are all normal and good!

The 2nd show that people (and indeed the political and social institutions) have an impact on how history turns out, but they come into being in the framework set by what history previously created. In other words, say in the roman empire, slavery was normal as was gladitorial games to the death, democracy was for the ruling class, developing of production based on electrical or computer. In engineering was not possible. In capitalism, growth and profit motives are normal, as is throwing people out of jobs, individualism, wars of destruction, and so forth

adri
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Aug 25 2021 00:59

There’s actually a pretty helpful section on historical materialism in Tucker’s Marx-Engels reader. I don’t think M&E ever argued anything as simplistic as "production being everything" in determining history, to the exclusion of all other factors. For example Engels wrote to Joseph Bloch:

Engels wrote:
According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. More than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.

Engels wrote:
Marx and I are ourselves partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it. We had to emphasise the main principle vis-a-vis our adversaries, who denied it, and we had not always the time, the place or the opportunity to allow the other elements in the interaction to come into their rights.

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darren p
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Aug 24 2021 19:42
link wrote:
Darren P, not sure what Khawaga wants to say but he has not explained very much.

Sorry, it was a rhetorical / Socratic question rather than wanting people to explain things.

"Everything is production" is too much of a one-sided oversimplification, to the point of being wrong.

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Khawaga
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Aug 24 2021 21:00

Darren P understood what I meant. Reducing everything to production is simply a loss of analytical clarity.