February 16, 2006

You Say You Want a Revolution...

"All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become anitquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind."
- Marx/Engels


...but what does that have to do with communism? It is my understanding that Marx was compelled to investigate what he perceived to be a broken socio-economic system (yep, capitalism). He determined that this establishment perpetuated a false consciousness, one which he was able to transcend thus endowing him with special insight into the condition of man.

To claim that such an awakening can occur in unadulterated isolation from one's own potentially flawed personal motivations and biases may be unduly founded. There seems to exist a limit or selection of introspection which contributes (or initiates) so many accounts of philosophical pontificating. Marx's ideas, not unlike any other, built on existing modes of philosophical thought and applied them to a case-specific social/economic world, the one in which he lived. It is clear to say now, if not then, that certain dimensions of Marx's ideology could be considered obsolete or ill-functional in the contemporary socioeconomic climate - for instance, violent revolution.
This is not to say that the thoughts, as a whole, of Marx or any other of his peers in the field of thought, are to be categorically discarded. Yet, the independent functionalism of each case should be examined, placed into contextual perspective, and handled accordingly.

That being said, the life of a radical Marxist revolutionary does have a certain appeal...

No comments: