Sun, 21 Apr 1996 02:33:06 -0400

"Eide", of course, has delivered a very provocative argument to which
various correspondents (Ted and Grover) will hopefully respond to. It is
a typical 90's Neoconservative one influenced by Fukuyama's "End of History"
and the supposed victory of capitalism.
However, if capitalism is so great how can "Eide" explain the deliberate
creation of homelessness and vicious cutbacks in welfare affecting millions
throughout the world including East L.A. and Oakland?
Also women and minority groups may prefer other alternative paths rather
than submitting to the dominant ideology of capitalism. There will always be
the Clarence Thomases, Dinesh D'Souzas, and Phyllis Schalflys who will
benefit from the system by chanpioning its values. But others will resist
and find better paths.
If capitalism is/was so great in relieving scarcity, how was it that there
were great levels of poverty in the (19th resulting in various oppositional
movements like the Chartists, MARX/Engels, William Morris, Christian
Socialists and many others? Today, we see the return of blatant
aggression unseen since the (19th and beginning of the (20th, and the
dominance of human life by those very economic forces Marx detected in
his classic analysis. Although Grover Furr and others will disagree, if
anything the return of the repressed market forces has given classical
Marxist economic analysis a new lease of life, that 70s post-Marxist
philosophies (Althusser, Hindess and Hirst etc) never foresaw. Of course,
Marxist ideas were perverted. But so, was the original Nazarene Gospel by
the Early Church and its ideological forebears. To accuse Marxism of
directly leading to totalitarianism is as fatuous as claiming the teachings
of early Christianity directly led to burning at the stake.
Furthermore, the analysis of the Gulf War is really naive and lacks
knowledge of the various studies made of the conflict and the manipulative
role of the media. How the Unabomber relates to this defeats me.
Of course, each generation changes and reacts to the older as the 60s
did to the 50s. But, often this process leads to a dialectical cleaning and
re-emergence of often neglected ideals. Young Cuban students may be into the
"New Age" philosophy (depending how much you trust the reporter and what
publication s/he represented. Murdoch owned? Time-Warner?). Despite the
oppressive nature of Stalinist totalitarianism and the blight this cast upon
classical Marxist philosophy, the 60s also saw the rediscovery of writings of
the early Marx whose Economic and Philsophical Manuscripts revealed a humanism
and enlightenment potential that Marxism has still to develop.
I'm sure that the citizens of the Soviet Union seeing their savings eroded
and thrown out of their apartments by the Mafia applaud the positive picture
of capitalism presented by Eide. So, too, must the millions of homeless
people throughout the world cast on to the streets by a vicious system eager
to end the benefits of the Welfare State and New Deal and finish "Welfare
as we know it" (Clinton).
Yes, what went on in 30s Russian and China was bad. But Marxism is an
instrument for realizing human freedom and potential. It still needs
rethinking and development in a dialectical manner incorporating all the
positive 60s breakthroughs concerning feminism and minority movements that
will make it again valid. The dialectical is always eternal. That's why
Stalin banned the concept in the 30s. Despite all the flaws, the potential
offered by Marxism is far preferable to the ugly vicious system of capitalism
making misery of the lives of the vast majority of human people today. Although
there may be some women and people of color who will sell out, capitalism is
still one of the most vicious and ugly systems in operation today, which has
often aided and supported Fascism until its economic and territorial
interests become threatened.

Tony Williams