Marxism Isn't Dead Essay

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ABSTRACT: I defend the continued viability of Marx's critique of capitalism against Ronald Aronson's recent claim that because Marxists are 'unable to point to a social class or movement' away from capitalism, Marxism is 'over' 'as a project of historical transformation.' First, Marx's account of the forced extraction of surplus labor remains true. It constitutes an indictment of the process of capital accumulation because defenses of capitalism's right to profit based on productive contribution are weak. If generalized, the current cooperative movement, well advanced in many nations, can displace capitalism and thus counts as the movement Aronson challenges Marxists to point to. It will do this, I argue, by stopping capitalist…show more content…
Since Marxists are "unable to point to a social class or a movement" embodying change away from capitalism, Ronald Aronson, still a Marxist, concludes Marxism is "over" at least "as a project of historical transformation." (5) He opposes capitalism but seeks change in movements like feminism and anti-racism, especially as informed by postmodernism.

Both of these proclamations of Marxism's demise focus on Marx's political strategy for moving toward socialism. Yet Marx's enduring pertinence lies instead in his indictment of capitalism. Capitalism is fully alive. Over the past twenty years the United States particularly merits Marx's indictment for its aggravations of class divisions. As the rich get richer and the poor poorer, we are all pitted against each other, millions in the third world are killed each year by humanly reproduced poverty, environmental despoilation proceeds out of control, and handy advantages of race, gender or nationality are used to exclude our neighbors. Thus, since capitalism isn't dead, neither is the heart of Marxism.

I find two errors in Aronson's views: first, there are large anti-capitalist movements afoot meriting Marxists' support. Secondly, socialists work not for Marxism, which is a theory, but for socialism, which is a future non-capitalist state of affairs. (6) What is
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