Friday, July 31, 2009

Modernizing Marxism

One of the most amazing things about the communist manifesto and the ideas that it espouces is the fact that it was written in 1848, and yet it still feels relevant and up to date today. I personally still feel that it is relevant not so much as an effective model for a future ecconomic system but closer to using it to point out what is wrong with the current system. In a cruel twist of irony, in many ways we have gone backwards from Marxist socialization in our country. While most trade jobs, teachers, and actors all have unions which tightly monitor the amount of labor buisness people do not. So they end up getting paid fixed salary jobs and are forced to work hundred hour weeks without any extra compensation. A total victory for the burgeosie, all the unionized production jobs have been moved out of country to places filled with exploitable labor and then they just started exploiting a new class of amercians who are far more spineless. Join the winning team kids, they have nachos.

So they got some things right. No doubt. However, at the same time, they also got some things wrong so we need to take a look at that. Marx claims that the burgeoise maintains its grip on power through constantly revolutionizing the means of production. At the time of its writting this was more than true. Factories were new and all the times new ways were coming out that allowed you to build things bigger better and faster. There was a generalized blizzard of technology that swept up all of the world in its wake leaving the common person dizzy and confused.

This still happens. However, when Marx made the statment that the Burgeosie is capable of infinate creativity allowing them to never run out of ways to advance the means of production he was more right that he knew. See constant revolution is expensive, so instead of dealing with constant revolution the burgeosie simply moved their workforce and who they exploited to elsewhere. So we exploit now third world countries and white collar workers. We also exploit the fuck out of the retail industry holy shit those people get so hard core shafted it is INCREADBLE and they put up with it too! Oh well that is a diffrent topic for a diffrent time.

By now you are either on board with me or you think I am a crack pot. WAIT no... okay no I am good lets keep going. This is where I come in.

The artist fits into the marxist paradime in an unusual way. See the artist themselves are a means of production. Sure the burgeoise can provide them with new and expensive tools, but that doesn't cover things like preformance art, found art, and the dozens upon dozens of art forms which neatly circumvent the burgeosies neat little means of production. As they themselves change the means of production art grows and changes with it. This is where I go off and maul Benjamine but I think I am going to re read the essay and do that up proper. The artist hasn't been swallowed up by cinema and big budget holywood productions. For contextual evidence consult the works of Peter Jackson, Robert Rodreiguez, and Quienten Tarrintino. All three started off as balls to the wall men with cameras and friends who went out and made a movie. Then they became famouse.

This brings me to my next point is that ordinarly the proletariat is seen as the general source of consumerism, and the burgeosie is the force that provides the goods to be consumed which conversly conmsuming little in return. However, especially in the case of high art, this is specifically not true. Take the surrealists who attempted to turn this paradime on its head. They were really the first to understand that the burgeosie is the primary consumer of art. So they sought to shock the burgeosie into submission by creating the most bizzare, outlandish, art known to man. What they failed to take into account is the emense situational flexibility that the burgeosie can demonstrate. As a result, despite all the subversive subtexts, plain wierdness, and their best attempts rattle the burgeosie from their thrones the burgeosie instead managed to conquer surrealism and turn it into one of the defining charecteristics of good taste IE burgeosie crap.

As the burgeosie relies on the proletariate to produce for them, and in turn consume that which they produced, the artist relies on the burgeosie to provide production materials and consume what is produced. The artist forms a similar relationship to the burgeosie that the burgeosie has with the proletariate but it don't quite have the same trappings of mega wealth that is normally maintained by the burgeoisie. This right here is key. The burgeosie don't consume much in the way of produced goods. They can't for despite all their wealth they simply don't need as much as say the filthy unwashed poor which spend every penny they have on day to day essentials. To cause the burgeosie to consume is a momentus event, you can tell when some rich dude buys your piece of blue canvas for 30 million dollars. Hrm I can't really think of a way to explain how momentus this is. I think I'll need textual evidence to really do it justice. Speaking of which either tonight or tomarrow I really need to grab a copy of the book and go back and put in a whole bunch of quotes everywhere to back up what I am saying. I hate going back and doing it, I really should of done that while I was going. I think what I am going to do is just to make a seperate post where I do nothing but shore up arguments. So I am going to end this one here. Buh bye for now

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