RE: false consciousness: real and virtual worlds

From: Eugene Matusov (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 15:17:33 PST

Dear Andy and everybody–


Thanks a lot, Andy, for very useful references to Marx’s speeches. However,
I could not find speeches where Marx treated workers as YOU. Maybe I was out
of luck or maybe I am misinterpreting Marx’s writings (speeches). Let me
give an example from Andy’s list. Here is a fragment from Marx’s speech “The
International Working Men's Association, 1872 La Liberté Speech” at


“In our midst there has been formed a group advocating the workers'
abstention from political action. We have considered it our duty to declare
how dangerous and fatal for our cause such principles appear to be.

Someday the worker must seize political power in order to build up the new
organization of labor; he must overthrow the old politics which sustain the
old institutions, if he is not to lose Heaven on Earth, like the old
Christians who neglected and despised politics.

But we have not asserted that the ways to achieve that goal are everywhere
the same.

You know that the institutions, mores, and traditions of various countries
must be taken into consideration, and we do not deny that there are
countries -- such as America, England, and if I were more familiar with your
institutions, I would perhaps also add Holland -- where the workers can
attain their goal by peaceful means. This being the case, we must also
recognize the fact that in most countries on the Continent the lever of our
revolution must be force; it is force to which we must some day appeal in
order to erect the rule of labor.”

It is difficult for me to assume that Marx referred YOU and WE to workers.
Rather he seemed to refer workers to “HE” and “THEM”. It seems to me that WE
and YOU were revolutionary intellectuals talking and thinking on behalf of
(most progressive, those without false consciousness) workers.


What do you think?




> -----Original Message-----

> From: Andy Blunden []

> Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 10:59 PM

> To:

> Subject: RE: false consciousness: real and virtual worlds


> There are lots of examples of Marx talking TO working class people in his

> writings. For example his talks on Economics which were given to groups of

> revolutionary-minded workers, and his speeches at the International

> Workingmen's Association. Not that of course his more philosophical or

> polemical works weren't meant for the eyes of workers, but nor were they

> specifically aimed at working class people.


> Examples:





> A


> > I wonder how Marxist texts would look like (and if they are

> >possible) if Marx wrote not ABOUT working class (to a community of

> >middle-class revolutionary intellectuals) but TO working class people

> >as a mentor but as a "buddy"). I'm not talking about popularization of

> >Marx's ideas to working class people but again to talking to (if not

> >them. Is such text possible? Would it have "false consciousness" wording?

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