Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Karl Marx's Writings, a Growth Industry?

by Norman Markowitz

I came across some interesting references from the BBC and various news services on the internet. First, there is a large spike in Germany and other countries(not yet the U.S) in people purchasing the the classic works of Karl Marx for obvious reasons, that is, trying to understand the global economic crisis.

Even though some capitalist publishers are profiting from this, it should be a source of worry to them, since it means the people are in significant numbers beginning to see the crisis as a crisis of the capitalist system, not of greedy bankers, crooked politicians or misguided economists.

I came across a reference that it is too bad that the left is too weak in many countries to "take advantage " of these developments and I agree with that, although one of the important Marxist axioms about the capitalist mode of production is that its crises and often its changes come quickly, because of its essential instability. So, while there are dangers of open "terroristic" capitalist dictatorships (fascism) and major imperialist wars developing out of this crisis, there are large possibilities on the world scene for major working class victories and the rolling back of the anti-labor, anti-social welfare at the very least that have characterized capitalist global policy in recent decades, an end to "neo-liberalism," NAFTA like agreements, and the establishment of full employment legislation, union shop legislation, and other major advances.

Meanwhile, the ultra-right in the U.S. continues to threaten and use storm troop ideology and methods. ACORN offices have been attacks and ACORN workers have received death threats. The McCain campaign continues to say that it "opposes" all violence but continues to tolerate at its rallies those who call hysterically for violence, reminiscent of the old segregationist politicians in the South who would always say they were against violence after a bombing or a murder but then go back to the rhetoric and the policy that incited the violence.

My sense is that more and more people are turning away from these storm trooper tactics of intimidation and it is backfiring very badly, even among many people who consider themselves conservatives but who are disgusted with the bullies and bigots who are parading around as "defenders" of conservatism.

By the way, speaking of "troopers," state troopers not storm troopers, I came across material from an animal rights group concerning Palin and her unfortunate brother-in-law. It seems that Palin's sister and then husband went out on a Moose hunt, her sister had the permit to kill moose, she couldn't do it and her then husband, the state trooper did, without a permit. Palin, according to the account, has then made this an issue in her and her husband's attempt to get him fired from the state troopers.

The animal rights group was more interested in the Moose and the horrors of the hunt, and frankly so am I. But this ongoing case shows the pettiness and venality of Palin, who would use her position as governor to carry out a personal vendetta against a family member. Her comments that the former brother-in-law was threatening her family, "the first family" of Alaska, which was the cause of her husband's attempts to get him dismissed, are absurd on its face since such threats against anyone, particularly a state official, are a police matter and firing a state trooper with weapons skills doesn't seem to be the best way to keep him from such actions (which he has strenuously denied ever doing).

I doubt Palin will read Karl Marx. I doubt she would know the difference between workers of the world unite, and drill baby drill.