Marx's fascination with alienation Feb 7, 2014 9:02:57 GMT -5
Post by Deleted on Feb 7, 2014 9:02:57 GMT -5
A Mr. Healy, from whom we have not until now heard, has written in with a certain urgency to enlighten us a little on the alienation question. "The human race lives in a terrible contradiction," he begins. "Billions suffer deprivation and are denied their human rights so that the capitalist profit-making system can maintain itself. Even in the prosperous countries we experience at every turn the limitations of our rights. We have the right to vote but not to control the politicians who clearly do not rule in our interests. And our right to free speech and human dignity ends the moment that we enter the work-place." ["Work-place" is Mr. Healy's term. I would rather call it an arena for the exercise of wage-slavery.] "There it is replaced by a complex system where the 'boss' [we apologize for Mr. Healy's vulgar expression] pretends to be your friend and you are encouraged to surrender your creativity to the greater glory of profit. No wonder our week-ends and our brief windows of self-actualisation are sacred to us." [I don't know that "sacred" is quite the right word there!] "But, given that our 'free time' has become a batttle-ground for marketeers to separate us from our money, our freedom soon loses its sweetness." [You see, for both Mr. Healy and Herr Marx - whom he introduces in the next paragraph - sweetness is the point!] "The term that characterises this is 'alienation,' one of the most powerful and least understood words in the political lexicon."
"As a young man," Mr. Healy continues, "Karl Marx became fascinated by this phenomenon, and he began to diagnose it in the 1840s. It remained central to his thinking for the rest of his life. He was not the first to identify the idea of alienation, but it was he who best succeeded in explaining it. As we approach the great turning-point associated with climate change, and the ruthless onward march of capitalist austerity, grasping the concept of alienation is all the more important. Marx studied capitalism not just to comprehend it but to allow humanity to free itself."
So, is alienation a problem for our membership? Have you been alienated of much? How far would you follow Marx?
There is a bit more explanation of this Entfremdung here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx%27s_theory_of_alienation