[Marxism] Chris Hedges in despair

David Thorstad 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
into it.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/power_and_the_tiny_acts_of_rebellion_20101122/
=====
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 
them.
     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.
David






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