Posted by Brad @ 12:24 pm on April 23rd 2008

Who’s a Marxist?

Mickey Kaus, for once, has an interesting read on the whole Marxist thing.

There’s a lot of talk lately about Obama being a Marxist.

This rests on the assumption that Marxism is basically just a wishy-washy idea that people are vaguely defined and dictated by their economic class.

Real Marxists, of course, or what could be called much closer to “true” Marxism”, believes more than just that. the belief that socioeconomic status might influence the way people vote, even LARGELY influence the way people vote, even the way people vote on non-socioeconomic issues, is not, I don’t think, Marxist—or rather, I think all Marxists believe that, but not all who believe that are Marxists (not by a longshot).

Real Marxism believes that, but it also believes that people are so trapped by their class and cultural superstructures that they simply cannot (or cannot be relied upon) to choose to be awakened themselves. The superstructures have to be systematically dismantled and only THEN can the poor proletarian drones be buzzed with freedom.

The closest ancestor to Marxism we have in today’s political world (in America) is not mushy liberal elitism (“poor people are stupid”), but rather, militant neoconservative interventionism (“we must go in and overthrow the superstructures of economic and cultural non-determinism and then, and only then, people will be reborn as free”). In very real and non-trivial ways, the closest analogue to Marx on the broadest scale isn’t Barack Obama, but may well be William Kristol.


  1. Brad, I think you go and read some Marx mate. The starting point is not actually class but the dialectic mode of production through material history. In fact, it’s based on historical determinism. The true marxist does not believe that he needs to dismantle the superstructure that create what Marx called ‘false consciousness’. The true Marxist, i.e. Marx, believed that the superstructure would destroy themselves by virtue of the entirely natural synthesis that occurred through history. Try reading >this as a starting point.

    Comment by dizzy — 4/23/2008 @ 1:13 pm

  2. Actually this is better

    Comment by dizzy — 4/23/2008 @ 1:14 pm

  3. Still, I think you are on to something brad in that neocons, much like communists, are the permanent revolutionaries.

    As well all know, the neocons are ex-leftists of the Trotsky type, with Trotsky even getting a favorable mention in NR once in a while.

    Comment by daveg — 4/23/2008 @ 2:05 pm

  4. I’m afraid I have to agree with dizzy on the technical side of the question, Brad.

    My criticism of Obama, though, post title aside. is less that the mindset is Marxist than that it’s stupid.

    And how come Kristol got all this credit for coming up with the idea when my post was published several hours earlier than his Op-Ed piece? I should sue.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/23/2008 @ 3:14 pm

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