[Marxism] Petty-bourgeois

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Wed Aug 18 08:53:34 MDT 2004


Jurriaan wrote, "Orthodox Marxism in the tradition of Lenin and Kautsky
defined classes doctrinally in terms of relations of production,
essentially ownership relations. But this was clearly not Marx's own
view; Marx defined classes in terms of a whole mode of life, a totality
of life circumstances affecting a large mass of people, and at at least
implied the existence and possibility of more principles of class
structuration and class exploitation in the social hierarchy."   

I'm sure we all want to avoid the errors of Lenin, Kautsky, and what you
call "orthodox Marxism."  What you're appealing to is Marx's description
of "a whole mode of life, a totality of life circumstances affecting a
large mass of people, and at at least implied the existence and
possibility of more principles of class structuration and class
exploitation in the social hierarchy."  

However, we all know that in terms of the petty bourgeoisie (whose
ongoing destruction Marx discussed at the time) Marx's description of
these considerations are as outdated as the horse-and-buggy.  ...so, of
necessity, we're discussing pitching out the whole thing while keeping
the sentimental old name of Marxism...which now becomes a kind of
consistent academic social science.

Indeed, when we protest the tossing out the baby with the bath water, we
are demoted from comrade to bourgeois professor.  The only thing left of
this kind of Marxism is the swear words.  Fine swear words they are,
conveying that cherished old sense of self-righteousness and
intellectual self-comfort.  How else could we confront an argument too
unorthodox or a radical movement you don't control without that
cherished label "petty bourgeois."

...and when we're done playing with it, we are not a jot closer to
understanding the applicability of the term in the contemporary
industrialized world.

Solidarity!
Mark L.







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