The Blanket

Marx Chancer

Jim Cooney


Anthony McIntyre's article 'What Chance Socialism' might quote from Karl Marx but what would Marx think of McIntyre's understanding of Marxism? McIntyre after all only gives a brief clue of what he thinks 'socialism' is anyhow. And its a very humble vision -

"Socialism, if defined as bringing capital under democratic control must have a future"

'Capital' as an economic category only came into being after the development of trade and commodity exchange led to the emergence of a new class - the capitalists. The capitalist state arose to protect the property of the capitalist class. Capitalist law protects everyone 'equally'. It protects the property of the capitalists from those who own nothing but their labour-power while at the same time allowing the capitalists to rob the wealth created by the workers - a robbery which is the source of Capital in the first place. Regardless of how 'democratic' a state might be - it might even be a Republic with voting units at the level of the parish pump (as RSF envisage) if that state allows private propery then that state is an instrument for the suppression of some people by others. Those with Capital are never the equal of those without it and the idea that Capital can be brought under 'democratic control' is a childish fantasy.

But back to Marx and his solution to the problem of Capital and its state:

"Betwen capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other: Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat' (Critique of the Gotha Program)

Now that might not suit everyone in these post-modern and tolerant times but that 'a chairde' is true Marxism.

As for the politics of the 'socialist' sects. Anthony's first mistake is to take these groups on their word, on their description of themselves - socialist this, revolutionary that. He could save himself a lot of stress if he started to analyse these sects not from their names but instead from their 'actual position' in realtion to the struggle between the workers and the capitalists. Just because the French Socialist Party calls itself socialist doesnt mean that it is - this should of course be apparent but it seems to have escaped Joe Klein who 'mused' (as well he might) how "the socialists".. "have no idea how irrelevant they've become"!!

Take Militant or any of the other Trotskyite groups - they believed that workers unity could come about regardless of partition. The Workers Party at one stage presided over the 'Plan for National Recovery' in the Free State. The CPI labelled republican guerillas as 'individual terrorists'. All of these groups sought to import ideas from Britain or the continent without regard to Irelands political reality. Hardly the Marxist way of doing things?

For anyone interested in acquiring a theoretical framework so as to understand contemporary Irish society the best place to start is with the works of Marx and Lenin themselves. Dont waste time reading the time wasters.

( contains many of the texts referred to)



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