Tag Archives: Marxist

Marx’s theory of Alienation and putting the people First

29 Nov

Today, my Cuban friend, an elderly woman visited me. Even though she is here for economic reasons, her heart is still in Cuba. Today she was collecting toys that people were throwing out, cleaning them and sending them to Cuba. She had so many bags, yet despite carrying them all, she still found time to go to the store to buy me a pack of ciggerretes. She remembers from her collective history what repreesion is and from her own experiance remembers the Batista days and Liberation. She knows the economic struglles of Cuba against the blockade and though she is not there, her heart is. While some people look at me and see someone crazy, she sees someone facing repression, What most people in the first world see as garbage, she sees as vital aid to Cuba. Like someone once said when you engage in strugglle you see things diffrently.

What I always hated about university (other then being alienated because of class etc.) is that it take the teeth out of everything revolutionary and turns it into a commoditity. You learn Marx, but his theory of revolution are taken out, Gramscis theory of hegemony is turned into the reason why any strugglle is hopeless and the heroic Viet Cong are so dehumanized, that they too are truned into a subject of research. In other words, the current academic world takes out the Human factor and turns everything into things to be dissected and studied. Anything revolutionary is so convluted and obscure that by the time your class is done you feel hopless dejected, and broken.

Why do I like Marx? because at his time there were two schools of thoughts, the Idealists and Materialists, the idealist said ideas by themselves change the objective reality, Materialists were saying that the material conditions shaped ideas. Both gave no way forward and were blocking the path to progress. Through the Dialectics, Marx shook both up and stated that Humans were the driving force of history. Yes our material conditions determine who we are, but we are thinking beings and as such can change our material conditions and thereby change our social reality. To top it off he took the intellectuals to task and said something along the line that you guys have studied the human condition for centurys NOW is the time to change it.

Alot of univeristies befuddle the theory of Alienation with mystification and other university mumbo jumbo. Poor people and those engaged in strugglle, know Alienation from our own experiance. In a nutshell it is the dehumanizing process that the system creates that alienates us from each others ourselves, our labour and our humanity, and if the intellectuals have there way even our own revolutionary theory!!

When bosses own assemblly lines, we are alienated from our work, when culture becomes something that is bought and sold we are alienated from our culture eg. who we are and our collective historys and memories, when the state runs things you are a number, wheather that is your sin number, your jail number or you health card number. In other words you are dehumanized and cant take part in determining your own destiny. The human factor is removed.

Those engaged in struggle know this feeling well. the system robbs us of our right to exist as we are and when we resist and try to maintain our humanity we are given two choices bend or break. eg. accept alienation or face social death. Through gossip, police lies, slander and threat of imprisonment even our ability to love and form meaningful relationships is stolen from us by state intervention in our affairs. At this point A intellectuall will start talking about Freud and mumbo jumbo and why its cant be done. I refuse to do that. As a old song says. “revolution is not just an aspiration, BUT A STRUGGLE ThAT WE TakE uP FOR SOLutiON”

I choose to fight back and by doing so seeing the world in a diffrent light, rejecting the alieanation and trying to maintain my humanity in an inhumane system. I choose to follow the example of the Cuban lady and while my body may be in the heartland of imperialism, my heart is liberated fromalienation by engaging in struggle and seeing the world diffrently. By doing this myself and my comrades are saving our political theory from those who are saying it can not be done, with a clenched fist and a responce that IT Must BE DonE and by doing do once again putting the human factor first!!!!