Tuesday, April 19, 2005

SSP Manifesto: more Marxist than Marx

The SSP manifesto, launched yesterday, promises to end poverty by making "capitalism history". The analysis is simple: capitalism causes poverty so get rid of capitalism and poverty is eliminated. The introduction to the manifesto goes on:
"Capitalism is a system that breeds division and hatred. It is unable to seriously challenge racism, homophobia and religious hatred, because these problems are rooted in the system itself."
The weakness of this argument is one found all too often on the hard left: they err because they know not their history, nor their Marx. Even a superficial understanding of human history should give one the insight that the existence of poverty, hatred, racism, homophobia and sexism pre-date capitalism. And what I mean by being more "Marxist than Marx" is this: it would need to be more than superficial but - and I hate being the bearer of bad news - a proper understanding of Marx should not lead one to believe that capitalism is the worst thing the human race has ever had to endure.

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