Robert Lucas on 1 Mar 2001 18:26:08 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> In Defence of a Modest Proposal

> >"The Napoleonic grandeur of radical thought from Marx to Debord has an
> >intrinsically anti-democratic cast. Its a question of making the masses
> >into a tool for a mission not of their making."

I'd just like to chip in a few little quotes from Marx's "Political 
Indifferentism" to the general debate about Marx's apparent intellectual 
flights of totalitarianism...:

	"Workers should even less desire that, as happens in the United States of 
America, the state whose budget is swollen by what is taken from the working 
class should be obliged to give primary education to workers' children; for 
primary education is not complete education. It is better that working men 
and working women should not be able to read or write or do sums than that 
they should receive education from a teacher in a school run by the state. 
It is far better that ignorance and a working day of sixteen hours should 
debase the working classes than that eternal principles should be violated."

	"In expectation, therefore, of this famous social liquidation, the working 
class must behave itself in a respectable manner, like a flock of well-fed 
sheep.... and offer itself up uncomplainingly as cannon fodder."

	Did anyone fail to see the irony in the two above quotes? To make it a 
little clearer, Marx goes on to declare such attitudes insults, and spends 
the rest of the article refuting them; they are written as parodies of "the 
apostles of political indifferentism", the "doctrinaire bourgeois and 
displaced gentlemen" who would subordinate the real need for progress for 
the working class to "eternal principles."
	Marxism wasn't the tragic cramming of a society into an abstract ideal that 
would never work; it was an attempt to do completely the opposite- to view 
realistically and scientifically the necessary movement of the working class 
within capitalism; it wasn't a forcing of the workers towards a messy 
future: it was a statement of what would necessarily develop- for Marx the 
workers were to be a moving force in history infinitely more than he ever 
was- he assumed the position of scientific observer... It's pretty obvious 
really from a basic knowledge of Marxism, and should hardly need going over 
again and again and again....

	Find a little totalitarianism in Marx himself if you're anxious to really 
find it- that'll be a lot more interesting if you manage it.

Rob Lucas.
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