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Neo socialism

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 2 November 2011 01:10


Karl Marx, 1818 to 1883, was the German revolutionary sociologist who developed the socio-political theory of Marxism. He published various books during his lifetime, the most notable being the two books, ‘The Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Capital’.

He was heavily critical of the then socioeconomic structure of his time. Capitalism he called the “dictatorship of the bourgeois”. Marx believed that capitalism was run by the wealthy middle and upper classes purely for their own benefit; and predicted it would inevitably create internal tension, which would lead to its self-destruction and the replacement by a newer system namely, socialism.

Some time ago, I thought that socialism and the theories of Karl Marx had become a thing of the past. Well hadn’t capitalism proved itself with the fall of the Berlin wall and communist countries embracing Western systems?

This is why I was surprised, when I recently came across an article on the CNN website, titled ‘Who was Karl Marx?’ It was popular enough to draw over 3,000 Facebook recommendations. The author says: “It is time to understand Marx so that we are no longer made to fear him.”

The author comments: “I wonder how many of those who invoke the name of Marx in order to stifle political debate actually believe their own propaganda. Or are they conjuring up a convenient bogeyman at a time of great uncertainty. Do they raise Marx’s image in order to deflect attention from slightly warmer bodies (Marx has been dead for 128 years) in positions of political or economic power who are actually more pernicious? I also wonder whether those who use Marx’s name, and those who tremble at the thought of him, actually know much about the man. Are they reacting to Karl Marx or those things done in his name? I believe it is the latter.”

This prompts me to ask, has anyone heard of ‘Occupy Wall Street’? It is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City based in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district. They are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corruption and influence over government – particularly from the financial services sector and lobbyists. The protesters’ slogan, “We are the 99%,” refers to the difference in wealth between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population (Wikipedia).

The original protest began on 17 September 2011 and by 9 October, similar demonstrations were either ongoing or had been held in 70 major cities and over 600 communities in the US.

The direct democratic process adopted by Occupy Wall Street has deep roots in American radical history. Their website says that it was widely employed in the civil rights movement and by the students who want a democratic society. But its current form has developed from within movements like feminism and even spiritual traditions (both Quaker and Native American) as much as from within anarchism itself.

The reason why direct, consensus-based democracy has been so firmly embraced by and identified with anarchism is because it embodies what is perhaps anarchism’s most fundamental principle: that human beings, if they are treated like children, will tend to act like children. The way to encourage human beings to act like mature and responsible adults is to treat them as if they already were says the website.

Considering all this I have just one question – will the beginnings of neo-socialism initiate in the USA?

(The writer, a PR consultant and head of Media360, was previously a mainstream journalist in print and electronic media. He also edits a new media website.)

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