Marx and the Social Conflict conundrum

We are not nearly as evolved as we think we are:

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

It is plainly evident that Marx was extremely accurate in his assessment of the natural social order that will emerge if left to its own development. We have numerous examples of this in the 21st Century, nearly all of them the result of failed states. Neo-feudalism is actually the best they can hope for, and that is something everybody needs to keep in mind when discussing "revolution" and the redesign of American society. Marx was right, but as scientists will tell you identifying a problem is worlds away from solving said problem. Conflict of this sort is ancient; it was (is) not the result of a particular form of government, or economic system, or ideological bent. It is primal, and cannot be eradicated through violence:

Given conflict theorists’ assumption that conflict occurs between social classes, one outcome of this conflict is a revolution. The idea is that change in a power dynamic between groups does not happen as the result of adaptation. Rather, it comes about as the effect of conflict between these groups. In this way, changes to a power dynamic are often abrupt and large in scale, rather than gradual and evolutionary.

An important assumption of conflict theory is that human relationships and social structures all experience inequalities of power. In this way, some individuals and groups inherently develop more power and reward than others. Following this, those individuals and groups that benefit from a particular structure of society tend to work to maintain those structures so as to retain and enhance their power.

Conflict theorists tend to see war as either a unifier or as a cleanser of societies. In conflict theory, war is the result of a cumulative and growing conflict between individuals and groups and between whole societies. In the context of war, a society may become unified in some ways, but conflict still remains between multiple societies. On the other hand, war may also result in the wholesale end of society.

I know some reading this will disagree, but: Evolution takes time. Human beings still have a long way to go when it comes to cooperation. Again, there are numerous examples in the world that democracy is *not* a natural state. Exerting power and control over each other is our natural state, and a total dissolution of our current system, as flawed and class-based as it is, will not result in something better.

All that being said, America's Corporatocracy needs more than just some incremental nudges if we are to begin to solve Social Conflict issues. Democratic Socialism offers some interesting opportunities, and getting back to a strong progressive taxation system is a great place to start. But you can't reverse 40 years of Reaganomics overnight. Congressional elections come every two years, and the backlash from overreach could easily undo any effort along those lines. Whatever we try to do, the benefits need to be readily and immediately obvious, and not couched in ideological gibberish. There's a fine line between nuance and nonsense, and a lot of people who should know better run right past that line.



Fodder for the right-wing nutters...

But you know what? I don't give two little shits. The truth should never be avoided, regardless of the source. Marx is easily in the top five philosophers of his (or any) time, and should not be ignored or avoided due to some decades-old red scare bullshit.

Great post. Thanks.

I've read arguments from the right, left and center that underscore the thesis that upheaval is inevitable, while the speed of such upheaval is entirely unpredictable. The American oligarchy is playing with fire. Will our institutions ignite explosively or will it be more like skin cancer from third degree sunburns? Who knows.

PS Global warming will likely be the match that lights the fire. Mass evacuations of more than 500 million people worldwide ... that's a lot of relocation.

You know what's funny?

Back in the 60's-70's-80's overpopulation was one of our main fears, and it was justified. The amount of natural resources used up, and waste produced, to sustain those future masses was frightening.

But now, people are freaking out because of the drop in (American) population growth, and the number of babies born will soon be less than deaths (especially with aging Boomers). We should be dancing in the streets over that instead of crying in our corn flakes...