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[Xmca-l] Re: YV, Marxism and revolution



Hello Tom and esteemed others,

First! I am delighted by everyone from their discussion who have participated. I learn something from everyone, and I'm grateful to you all for my learning, so thanks! We might forget how magical it is that we can all discuss this topic together despite being in various far-flung and not-so-farflung places on this dear and resplendent planet of ours!

As might be seen from the NYC article that mike posted recently on the list, reporting is not always very clear about what is happening in Greece, about Greece, for Greece. The acceptance of markets as the normal medicine for deciding the fate of countries and economic well being can be hard to escape in our newspapers here, it can distort any given journalist from being "fair and balanced," as fair and balanced reporting goes. 

(May I remind you that this year apparently there are more journalists in jail than ever before, so getting good news is becoming a major event considering all the risk that is being taken out there by journalists of the world.)

I freely admit that I am suited up in a onesie when it comes to understanding the intricacies to Marx. Regardless, I don't attempt to present myself in any other way than a curious person who is looking for understanding the issues. What I am interested here is to hear what people have to say, not so much about academic Marxism, but how it relates to the here and now, the present moment that we are living today, and how Marx is being internalized, practiced, referenced, practiced, argued, practiced, adulated, practiced, condemned, or otherwise grasped while practiced. 

This article by Varoufarkis (and I seem to have botched the spelling of his name so others take note), was meaningful because it was an entrance into the mainstream media (at least to this here American on the Left Coast) and whether Varoufakis is a demagogue or some other kind of dramatis personae on the world stage, he has appeared into my consciousness through this Guardian article. Subsequently, I am sitting up and taking note of him! If it was his objective to get people talking, then it has worked, and if it was to get people to argue what is Marxism and what is the proper understanding of Marxism, then that has worked too. Doesn't it behooves us to keep talking and thinking and being constructive, which is such a marvelous result from being a member of this list. What do you think about this?

I can only guess Varoufakis's intentions, as a former academic, still I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt than showering him in aspersions, which is quite easy to do with today's politicians. I am guessing he is taking what he has studied, moving from the ivory tower into the world, to apply what he knows with the hope of making a difference. That takes great courage.

As Andy has noted, Varoufarkis is being honest and putting himself out there, and I have to emphasize that that is what I found admirable about the contents of the article.

I was reminded as well of David Graeber, another academic we've been inspired by lately, and his stance to do something out in the world. And his commentary about academia (http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau4.3.007) In Graeber's case, it would be in his worldview pure hypocrisy to get involved in government, seeing as he is an anarchist. So he is following his moral imperative down a different path. Yet, here is another academic doing something in the world, attempting to make a difference. 

My, likely naive, response is that it seems counterproductive to argue how Varofarkis interprets Marx when he is in the line of fire. He is out there DOING something. I felt that Varoufakis's critique of Marx, came from feeling unprepared to apply the Marxism and that he was calling to the ghost of Marx to answer some questions that seem to frequently emerge in the space between theory and practice. This is my interpretation.

Here is a chance for me to see practice in action, as discussed by this erratic Marxist, whatever this means, as I've never heard this before, and that seems new, the term erratic Marxist, that is. If all Marxists don't understand Marx does that make everyone an erratic Marxist? Just asking.

So far, with my finger to the wind, a few people are saying, Varoufakis doesn't understand Marx. This seems to be a constant criticism I hear by most Marxists of others who call themselves Marxists, erratic or otherwise. This perplexes me, that few understand Marx. So this makes me ask, "Are there any other real Marxists besides Andy Blunden?" OK...that was a joke (just in case anyone was taking that seriously… and BTW I've frequently wondered if there is any humor sometimes in Marxism. But OK).

Perhaps this is how one moves into Marxism, in fits and starts?

Anyway, what is it about Marxism that makes it something that so few understand? Does there need to be a newcomers page to that too?? A user-friendly Marxism that doesn't defy the basic tenets? Or is it an all-or-nothing affair?

In my remedial view of economic history, I seem to recall that Germany had heaped upon it great financial burdens in the 1930s, which were justifiable from one point of view, but maybe not from another. All it did was create a lot of inhuman distress that circled around the world until there was relief in 1945. Are there no parallels here today to that? If so what are these similarities? If not, how are they different (outside of being different European countries almost 100 years apart in time).

What I find ironic is the Germany is in the place to make a difference for Greece, where Germany once was. 

Rather than get bogged down in the brick by brick and how they do or do not fit together, isn't more important to see the big picture and consider how this will affect us all? If this effects us more than an engaging discussion on this list, then what can we do? then what can we do? then what can we do?

I hope you share with me this line of thought, because what we each can do may be extremely relevant in the present moment, our present moment.

There is saying Marxism and there is doing Marxism, and perhaps I am learning, with your help, what that is by watching this play unfold in Greece.

Kind regards on a Sunday,

Annalisa