[Marxism] Chris Hedges in despair
binesi at gvtel.com
Mon Nov 22 09:01:45 MST 2010
Louis Proyect wrote:
If you want to understand how middle-class journalist Ulrike
Meinhof ended up in the Red Army Faction, think of her as the
counterpart of Chris Hedges back in 1971. If there was a terrorist
underground in the USA today, I can easily imagine Hedges drifting
Louis's bit of speculation might be true, but it skirts the more
important question, in my view: how does the orthodox Marxian view of
revolutionary change hold up under these circumstances? That is, what
mechanism will lead the "proletariat" to gain the necessary
consciousness to rise up and overthrow the capitalist system? Some
leftists still hold to a kind of inevitability process whereby this will
happen (which they sometimes self-importantly describe as "scientific")
but that is self-delusional and amounts to little more than hope and
faith and, to put it bluntly, wishful thinking. Capitalism has entered
one of its most historic crises, yet where is the rebellion? Instead, we
see atomization and not even the mass protests in the streets that
Hedges regards as our only option.
Other leftists still think a Bolshevik-style "vanguard party" will
help to bring the requisite consciousness to the oppressed masses. But
that approach has been dead for a long time.
Hedges is right that resistance, in all its forms, however small,
is essential. But even most of the left doesn't resist anymore, and the
left itself has become so marginalized as to be virtually irrelevant.
It's enough to make one ask where the Narodniki are when we really need
Hope? Faith? If that's what remains it means that a Marxist view of
revolutionary change and the acquisition of revolutionary consciousness
by the masses amounts to little more than a quasi-religious belief.
At least Hedges calls things the way he sees them, and I think his
pessimism is justified.
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