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« learning from our leaders | Main | Comandante Agi's Top Ten Defeatists of 2005 »

23 December 2005



I think it is helpful to distinguish between the analytical and the prescriptive sides of Marx. I think there is a lot to learn from the former, while the latter clearly does not stand the test of time. In fact, his prescriptions were so vague that I still think holding him responsible from the tremenous crimes of Stalin or Mao is a bit unfair.

To follow all of the ideas of any philosopher be it Marx, Nietzsche, Locke, Derrida, or whoever is not philosphical but religious. They are better viewed as a source of ideas and perspectives you can use in developing your own philosphical repetoire and vision.

I personally like Hobbes a lot in part because he makes me laugh: his definition of humor as the pleasure we get at comparing ourselves to others and finding them wanting -- what superb misanthropy. He is like a philosphical Eeyore.

I like Nietzche for his perspectivism and his hyperbole: "Why am I so clever"; "Why do I write such great books." How can you not laugh; but nonetheless there is an element of truth to it.

comandante agi

Just to clarify, I agree with the analytic aspects of Marx's philosophy (dialectical materialism, economic determinism, etc.), I just don't agree with his proposed solution. You are right to clarify that difference.

However, if one were to enact his solution, the only way to achieve this would be through brute oppression.

reverend quitter

may i suggest the vinyl solution?


Agi--you are as usual right on target about the statist aspects of Marx--the vinyl solution may be all that is left for marx-ism.

comandante agi

How about the Italian solution?


The Communist Manifesto was a pretty much a pamphlet commissioned by the "Communist League" in 1847. I read it as nothing but a polemic to rally troops. Marx's real philosophic and revolutionary skills come out in his other works. His insight into the nature of capital still stand.

It is also necessary to understand that Marx understood that historical changes require changes in how we approach capital and our political world.

I think that Harry Cleaver's book "Reading Capital Politically" is wonderful way of approaching Marx's work. Cleaver, in the spirit of a true commie, has it available for free:

It seems like a cliché to dismiss Marx's work because one associates it with the horrors of Stalinism, Maoism, and other pathological political movements. There is something to be said about looking at the root causes of these movements but that doesn't diminish Marx's critique of capital and his overall goal, to give individuals more control over their own lives and labor.

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