Wednesday, August 5, 2009

PS on Joao Paulo's post from July 31

PS - I was not going to say anything until we met on Joao Paulo’s points 3 – 6 on July 31, which again I think are well thought out and extremely interesting, but I will just throw out the following to suggest that we indeed will want to discuss a number of things he brings up there.
1) I would hold that human emancipation indeed is possible, and that this would entail exactly ‘the “ restoration of man as a human being”, the genuine resolution of the conflicts between “man and man”, “freedom and necessity”, “individual and species”, “man and nature” (p.348).’ Now this position fully depends on how one defines each of the terms involved, and I think J.P. may be using the terms differently than I would – I think there is a good chance I would agree with the points J.P. will argue, but I do not think that is what Marx had in mind. So talking about this will also involve being very careful to try to see what Marx meant by each term and each claim.
2) I would disagree with the claim by J.P. that ‘Even in the best of worlds, most work will still be a burden, something done for social necessity, not for self-realization.’ I would argue that Marx’s position is that non alienated work will indeed be done for social necessity and at the same time will not be a burden (in a sense he carefully explains) and will entail self-realization. So I think we’ll certainly want to discuss Marx’s ideas on work. Part of this is that Marx certainly stresses two different things in different places concerning work – sometimes he argues for the reduction of work, sometimes he argues for changing the nature of work from something alienating to something through which one creates and realizes oneself (and if that is so, why would there be a need to reduce the time?) – so I’d suggest we think and talk about that.
3) I think it would be important to discuss what Marx had in mind by the concept of the withering away of the state, and the related issue of democracy (one thing that is clear from these readings, Marx was a champion of democracy), and the issues of “bourgeois democracy” versus some sort of “socialist democracy” or “communist democracy” (and there is the claim out there by some Marxists that there is no such thing as communist democracy, because one will not need democracy when one has communism (unlike socialism) – an argument I would disagree with, but again, something that is important to think about because of politics really going on in the world today).
4) And there are other things to discuss that J.P. brings up in this post that are very interesting and I hope we can discuss some of them at the summer camp, but that’s surely enough for a “PS.”

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