Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

August 28, 2009

Love and the Marxist Tradition, introduction of themes, by Andrew Taylor, Aug 28, 2009

Marxists have frequently had little to say about love. This is understandable, since within capitalist social relations love itself like other dominant ideologies, has been molded and skewed to serve as a buttress for ruling class dominance. So Marxists - with the exception of the "humanist marxism" of Erich Fromm and followers, have left the subject alone. Many of us have been happy if we have found a small space for a personal life not wholly under the domination of the capitalist commodity form.

But at the genesis of our founding texts, specially in The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 as well as in The Manifesto, Marx and Engels not only analyzed the development of capitalism as a mode of production, but treated the relationship between the development of the system, and the ways in which capitalism frames and shapes the human experience of the political, economic, and personal dimensions of life.

There have been schools within the Marxist movement which have denied the centrality of the subjective dimension of affective relationships by an economistic algorithm: socialism, they assured, will resolve the contradiction of the base which involves labour and capital, once socialism takes root on earth all 'superstructural' and subjective contradictions will also be resolved. I should note the powerful exception of Marxist Feminist theory which has attempted to engage the question of affective relationships directly.

But, there remain many unanswered questions, among them: popular culture and the double-sided paradox of the idealization of romantic love on the one hand, and the trivialization of commoditized fucking on the other; the nature of household justice in the socialist revolutionary society; the mystification of love and romance; queer love and its relation to the Marxism; and the entire question of gender roles in relation to personal definition and oppression. The Christian-Marxist Dialogue processes of the 1960's and 1970's and later the Liberation Theologians of Latin America, raised to prominence the reality of religious faith lived not as a principle of Order but as the subjective experience of freedom and the yearning for social redemption within a community of solidarity.

“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.”
-Dorothy Day quotes (American activist and Founder of the Catholic Worker. 1897-1980)

TO BE CONTINUED...

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