While Marx as the Mystic Meg of the inevitability of socialism has long since lost any credibility outside of the unreconstructed far left, and people who have never actually read him for the most part, he is still an important figure.
The first volume of Capital stands as an excellent work of economic history. It charts through Marx and others research how economic relations have changed over the course of human history, and how economic forces through human agency have played a key role in shaping human society.
I was struck by this when listening to John Waters’ recent podcast where he referred to what some American conservatives refer to as ‘woke capitalism’. Many of the large global corporations have embraced the liberal agenda, and thus found themselves as the bedfellows of the left – even though if there is one thing Google and Facebook and the rest cherish over rainbow flags, “reproductive rights” and a diverse workforce; is a workforce that doesn’t join trade unions.
Waters makes the point that, apart from any public relations angle, the reason that major corporations – and he refers specifically to the large tech companies – support abortion is very simple: Having young female employees terminate their pregnancies is a far more efficient and less costly way to manage that segment of the workforce than to pay maternity leave.
In Capital Marx shows how the industrial revolution and its insatiable desire for labour sought to destroy the family, itself a delicate structure having survived the different amorality of late feudalism. Males were expected to work as many hours as were possible given the new technical capacities of Blake’s “Satanic Mills”, and women too were thrust into the maelstrom, as were children.
It is a dark world familiar with anyone who has read Dickens. Marx, while obviously sympathetic and sometimes searingly condemnatory of all of that misery, could not be separated from his teleological view that the worst excesses of capitalism were a regrettable but necessary stage in the inevitable transition towards socialism.
Thus, in Capital, he wrote that “However terrible and disgusting the dissolution of the old family ties within the capitalist system may appear, large scale industry by assigning an important role in socially organised processes of production, outside the sphere of the domestic economy, to women, young persons and children of both sexes, does nevertheless create a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and the relations between the sexes.”
Of course it did not. Conditions for women and indeed everyone else under socialism were even worse than the conditions which they claimed to have overthrown.
The struggle of working people in democracies resulted in the attainment of proper working conditions and rights, and beyond that the evolution of a society in which working people were not regarded as a means to an end; for either the factory or the state boss. It was people like Connolly here and social and Christian democrats in other democracies who achieved that. Not the ultra left.
I only make that historical digression because. once more, the robber barons and the left make common cause in certain matters. The chief of these is the destruction of the traditional, or if you will “bourgeois” family. That is why the Coppingers and the Zuckenbergs are on the same side on key issues.
Coppinger is perhaps an unwitting beneficiary of some of the hundreds of millions of dollars donated by billionaires to promote abortion. Perhaps she is not. After all the far left has always managed to come up with excuses for aid from armies that were attacking their own countries and from foreign intelligence agencies. The Marxist alliance with Hitler that almost led to domination for the Nazis is an exemplar.
The far left’s support for abortion and other things which they hope will lead to social collapse has different motivations than those of the corporations. The latter simply want to have as few obstacles to making money as is possible. They can no longer send little boys and girls into factories for 16 hours a day. Well, not in the west. They can of course do so in parts of Asia, including China.
The left’s motivation is similar to Marx. Any form of misery is in the end justifiable and perhaps even inevitable if it leads more quickly to a revolution that is supposed to bring about the New Jerusalem. If they were as historically and rationally informed as they feign, they would of course have realised after the destruction of millions of lives in its pursuit, that this is an illusion.
In the meantime, many of them have so much abandoned the moral compass that once guided the decent left that they celebrate abortion and any other thing that contributes to social degeneration as an end in itself. As one American conservative Rod Dreher, apropos of the corporations said: “You may get your way …. but you are going to be told what you are doing.”