Those that have read my earlier posts, those that began my work toward developing a pragmatic approach, will likely know the root of my motivation and philosophy (that being my genuine end goal) is Marxist in nature. I do not call upon his popular works as a source of inspiration. Rather it is those earlier works in which he does the heavy lifting that is the foundation for works, such as “The Communist Manifesto”, that drawn my attention.
Over the years, before and during my work here, I have attempted to find other social media outlets that share in my views, and needless to say that search has largely come up empty handed. Upon looking, what is largely found are individuals attempting to attack Marxism from complete ignorance, or attempting to use it to support a socio-economic argument from an equally ignorant place. Marxism, at least in the non-academic world, has lost its meaning and has become a conservative boggy man, or catch all for liberal arguments. Although this should not be surprising, as both groups rarely seem to have more then a rudimentary understanding of governments, economies, and social structure, it is still saddening and frustrating how far the average American has fallen in their understanding of these important matters.
All that said, it did lead me to think: What is my understanding of Marx; how do I define his work in relation to my goals? This I think is an important question, for if I cannot define this myself, at least in brief, how can I expect others to do the same. So here, in brief, I will attempt to answer that question.*
To begin I will state that my understanding of Marx is rooted in his work on dialectical materialism. Most importantly is the notion that those that make up a social body (family, friends, companies, governments, whole societies), that being most importantly the body politic, are inseparably linked to one another. Even as divisions in labor increase, and specialities are created. Even as the divide between rural and urban increases. Even as the capitalist and the laborer grown further apart. There is one thing that cannot be dispensed with; that we are all connected to one another.
This reality is one that the capitalist fights against. It is a reality that too often conservatives would like to see buried. Because by doing so then it becomes easier to control a population. If one can convince a people that they are in it alone, that it is their own well being that matters and that others have little import, then you can focus control over a weakened body politic. It is this very thing we see happening today at a new and dangerous pace.
So this then my understanding of Marx that is the foundation of my approach. Starting from a point where we are all connected. Such that, the actions of one individual even thousands of miles away may have a very real impact on another, or groups of others. Also with the understanding that to communicate this, and make the important changes that are needed, we must meet others in the middle. I address this in my post “Why Pragmatism?”.
*Although I fear the answer will be shorter, or maybe unsatisfying to some, then the set up for the question itself.