I Thought They Said We Lived in a Democracy! for My Dissenting Views and Writing, I Am Being Subjected to a Planned Campaign of Deliberate Intimidation and "Psychological Warfare" with the Sole Aim of Attempting to Silence and Terrorise. It Is Still Happening. and Now I Am Angry and I Have Had Enough of It. I, Dear Readers, Am Being Spied on, Hounded and Harassed
Orakwue, Stella, New African
You're going to get two for the price of one this month, because there is no way that I am going to drop what I was planning to give you for your summer just because of the contemptible actions of the people I'll be writing about in Part Two.
Part 1: Bourgeois and proletarians
Does George Bush look like Karl Marx to you? That's right, we will never get a chance to see them in the same room together. Am I losing the plot? What was the plot, anyway?
I get this tingly feeling when I look at President Bush: "Karl Marx." I whisper. "Karl Marx." So I went hunting. Not for the padded out ones I dutifully bought more than two decades ago at extortionate academic prices (at the command of a snotty, up-himself lecturer), but the one I grabbed with delight, stripped to its essentials, for one hundred excellent pennies at a charity shop. Printed in "Peking 1975". Found it. Under the usual horrendous mess of papers, magazines, books, must-keep leaflets.
Should I become a Marxist? Maybe a Marxist capitalist. Or a capitalist Marxist? Can you be that? Why can't I pick and choose which bits of "ideology" I like from wherever I like? Cherry pick. Pick 'n' mix. Go the whole hog and be as greedy as a child who sees no reason why she should choose between her favourite sweets.
Look into the face of George W. Bush and see the ghost of Karl Marx reproaching us. And laughing at the world's miserable existence.
The Manifesto Of The Communist Party, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848. Find your own old copy, or go and buy a new one this summer. (Bet you won't find a "Peking" English language edition--hah! Unless you're wandering around Beijing, perhaps, looking for one).
As an experiment, try, as you read, to blank out the word that brings down the shutters in today's "liberal", "pluralist" world: "Communist". Here is a bit from the beginning and a bit from the end--two of my favourite Marx moments--from "1. Bourgeois And Proletarians". If they don't leave you gasping to find out what's in the middle, then you're a lost cause. In fact, I've actually left most of the best bits out just to make a couple of general points. So much of the Manifesto [...], this priceless little book, is so good and very, very up to date--how did he know that would come--that I get many multiple moments when I'm reading it.
A Marx Moment: "The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment".
It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefensible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom--Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers.
"The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation."
A Marx Moment: "Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence.
"The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. …