September 19, 2014 - admin

Is Marxism dead?

At the turn of the century, writers like Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker created monsters that reflected the times in which they lived, monsters that were either constructs of the new scientific age, or the undead sucking the very life-blood of people to survive and create the new race of non-humans.  These reflected the anxieties of society coming to terms with the onset of capitalism, with its misery and hopelessness.  Today’s monsters take on a different fear.  Zombies of all sorts roam the world, seeking out the living, eating their brains, and having no purpose other than driving forward to attack what ever remains alive.

In the first instance, those monsters either sought to make a life out of their reconstructed selves, or created a new society. Today, the monsters have no goal, create no space, and in the end when everyone is dead presumably the world they populate will just wither away.  It is, perhaps, an apt analogy when social critics begin to refer to zombie capitalism to represent this new era, a capitalism that does not promise a future as capitalists seek ever greater profits but produce little of value as they leave behind broken people, failed cities, and economies in shambles.  And it is no longer just economic destruction.  As many have noted, it is an environmental disaster on the scale of a life ending event on par with being struck by a meteor.  If we don’t find a way to create a low carbon economy no amount of political and social reform will save us from a zombie fate.

This is an inaugural post of a blog that will reflect on events past and future.  It will explore issues that don’t readily fit in an academic context, raise concerns about how we abandon cities, regions and even countries, and invite dialogue as progressive and concerned people try to go beyond breast beating and shaming to make a positive change.  Whenever possible, I will try to highlight efforts to mobilize and organize communities to resist all the many consequences of this late, zombie, capitalism. Marx offered us an understanding of how capitalism worked at the time of our first monsters, and I argue that Marx still remains the best analysis of capitalism today (a fact increasingly argued on the pages of the business presses–though perhaps not with the same objectives).  Future posts will begin to explore how we can use the methods Marx laid out to further both our understanding of what is happening and our strategizing about how to change.