Friday, April 09, 2010

History, necessity, and the New Zealand Wars: a reply to Chris Trotter

There's an interesting contrast between two posts that Chris Trotter has recently made to his blog. In a post he made a couple of weeks ago called 'As Auckland goes, so goes the country' Trotter excoriates the bourgeoisie that established itself in Auckland in the nineteenth century. Trotter holds up Thomas Russell, the man who made large sums of money by speculating on lands confiscated from Maori after the invasion of Waikato, as a symbol of the mendacity of this capitalist class, which was as happy to pay Pakeha workers in the cities miserably low wages as it was to expropriate the land of Maori communities in the countryside.

It would be difficult to read 'As Auckland goes, so goes the country' without concluding that Chris regards the dispossession of Maori in the aftermath of the wars of the nineteenth century as an act of obvious injustice which ought to be condemned by historians. In a post he made last week, though, Trotter tries to argue that the loss of Maori land and sovereignty was ultimately a progressive phenomenon, and that historians and activists who have drawn attention to the dispossession and disempowerment of Maori have played a counterproductive role, despite their good intentions.

How can we understand the apparent contradiction between Trotter's posts? I would argue that it is a reflection of a wider contradiction amongst Western socialists, a contradiction that can even be found in the work of the most famous socialist of all, Karl Marx. In some of his best-known texts Marx salutes the progressive features of capitalism and hails the destruction of pre-capitalist societies by the industrialists and imperialists of the West, even as he draws attention to the negative aspects of capitalism, and predicts the ultimate downfall of the system.

The Communist Manifesto is a good example of Marx's conflicted attitude to capitalism: the text is best-known for its call for working class revolution in the advanced countries of the West, but it opens with pages of praise for the revolutionary features of capitalism, a system which Marx believes is abolishing 'the idiocy and backwardness of rural life' and bringing civilisation to 'the most barbarous of nations'. The Manifesto makes a coded reference to the Opium Wars which Britain had recently waged against China, in a successful effort to get that country to open its doors to trade. In articles written at about the same time as the Manifesto, Marx calls Britain's colonisation of India 'revolutionary'.

For much of his life, Marx believed that the imposition of capitalism was a prerequisite for the achievement of the socialist system he believed was superior to capitalism. He supported the imperialists who brought capitalism, with its factories and its railways and its splintering of communally-owned lands, to 'barbarous' countries like India and China, because he thought that capitalism represented a step forward for these countries. Only once they had passed through a 'stage' of capitalist development would nations like India and China be ripe for socialist revolution.

Towards the end of his life, Marx began to lose faith in his optimistic vision of socialist revolution following inevitably from capitalist development. He was upset by the failure of the Paris Commune of 1871 to inspire a socialist revolution across Western Europe. He was disturbed by the conservative hostility to revolution of an increasingly comfortable upper layer of skilled workers in nations like Germany and Britain.

In a series of texts written over the last decade of his life, Marx modified, and in some cases repudiated, his earlier praise for imperialism as a progressive force. In a preface to a Russian edition of the Communist Manifesto written the year before his death, for example, Marx deplored the way that capitalist 'development' was leading to the destruction of Russia's communally-owned peasant farms, and suggested that Russia did not need to experience all the horrors of capitalism before it could become socialist. For the late Marx, the communal forms of property that existed in societies like Russia, the Iroquois Federation, and Java could become the building blocks of an agrarian, indigenous socialism. But Marx never quite managed to reconcile his late enthusiasm for pre-capitalist societies with his early praise for imperialism, and his magnum opus, Capital, remained an unfinished, fragmentary work.

Chris Trotter can perhaps be described as a classical social democrat, of the sort that dominated the Second International that Marx's old ally Engels helped to set up in 1889. Classical social democrats like Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein observed the steady rise in prosperity in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe, and decided that the increased stability and wealth of capitalism made it possible for workers to 'tame' the system, by extracting reforms from it. Ultimately, Kautsky and many other Second Internationalists believed, capitalism could be made to evolve into socialism, as workers won control of the levers of the state and of industry from bosses. The Second International disintegrated in 1914, when Europe's ruling classes went to war, the workers of the continent followed them, and the notion of capitalism as a stable progressive system seemed suddenly bankrupt. The ideas of the International have nevertheless had a long afterlife; it might be argued, for instance, that they found their way into the programme of New Zealand's first Labour government, and that they influenced the popular Alliance Party in the 1990s. It is not surprising that the leading theorists of the Second International were hostile to Marx's late criticisms of imperialism and his late claim that 'primitive' societies could achieve socialism without first experiencing capitalism. After the death of Engels in 1895, Kautsky became Marx's literary executor, and began to repress the great man's 'heretical' late texts.

Kautsky was both a sophisticated intellectual and a compassionate man, and he was well aware of the suffering that capitalism caused, in the industrial West as well as the 'barbarous' countries of the East and South. He wrote often about the greed of factory-owners and bankers, and about the misery of those who worked for the bourgeoisie in factories and on plantations. But Kautsky was convinced that, despite all the suffering it caused, capitalism played a necessary and progressive historical role. It destroyed old and 'barbarous' forms of life and brought peoples together in the working classes of new industrial cities, where they could form trade unions and socialist parties that could campaign for a better future.

Chris Trotter's belief that the defeat of Maori in the wars of the nineteenth century was ultimately progressive, despite the injustice and suffering it involved, seems to me to echo the views of Kautsky and other Second Internationalists, and the attitude that Marx expressed in texts like The Communist Manifesto.

Trotter is no fool: he is well aware of the dubious motives of men like Thomas Russell, and he knows that Pakeha rule and capitalist economics were imposed upon the Maori of regions like the Waikato at the point of a gun. Yet he believes that the 'unitary state' and united working class allegedly achieved by Pakeha victory in the wars of the nineteenth century were essential for the development of New Zealand, and for the development of the New Zealand left. Trotter believes that the union movement of twentieth century New Zealand, with its 'homogenous' character and base in the big industrial cities of the country, was ultimately a product of the nineteenth century wars, and he rails against 'revisionist' historians and politically correct politicians who have allegedly weakened and divided the workers' movement by stirring up Maori grievances based in the wars.

Yet, as we have noted, Trotter's view of history sometimes forces him to perform somersaults. He can slam Thomas Russell and the nineteenth century bourgeoisie as the greedy racists they so obviously were; but he must also applaud and defend Russell and his ilk, as the unwitting agents of progressive change. The contradiction at the heart of Trotter's thought has led to a great deal of confusion amongst his readers, and perhaps limited his influence on the New Zealand left. Many Kiwi leftists have enjoyed and appreciated Trotter's shrewd analyses of the New Zealand bourgeoisie, and his denunciations of the neo-liberal economic and social policies that have done so much damage to our country over the past quarter century; they are bewildered, and perhaps even offended, though, when they read Trotter attacking Maori activism and tino rangatiratanga in language that might come from the mouth of Don Brash.

Trotter's recent blog post might be read as an attempt to cure the contradiction which has plagued his thought. Entitled 'Apologising for Victory', the piece, which was published in the weekly Independent as well as on Trotter's blog, sets out to prove that the defeat and dispossession of Maori in the nineteenth century was inevitable, even though it was also, in the short-term at least, unjust. If Trotter can prove that there was no possible alternative to Maori losing their sovereignty and much of their land, then he can prove that there is no real contradiction in his view of history. If Maori were doomed to defeat at the hands of Pakeha, and New Zealand was predestined to follow the path it took in the twentieth century, then it makes little sense to rake over the ashes of conflicts like the Waikato War, and to talk about reviving a Maori sovereignty that had became obsolete long ago.

Trotter is hardly the first writer to suggest that nineteenth century Maori suffered a decisive and inevitable defeat at the hands of Pakeha. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the inevitability of Maori defeat was taken for granted by Pakeha. James Cowan's monumental history of the nineteenth century wars, which was a standard work for decades after its publication in 1922, presents Maori as noble but melancholy savages, who were doomed to lose battles like Rangiriri and Orakau and destined to disappear from Kiwi society as the twentieth century wore on. In recent decades, a series of scholars have challenged Cowan's assumptions. James Belich's book The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict, for example, examines a number of campaigns and battles, and demonstrates that Maori fighters and organisers frequently performed far better than Cowan and other scholars of his time had allowed. Belich and other 'revisionists' have shown that anti-Maori forces were defeated in important battles, that these reverses prompted panic in colonial governments, and that it was a combination of the presence of large British expeditionary forces and a certain amount of luck which eventually allowed the colonists to prevail.

Contemporary scholars have also exposed the differences between London and governments in Auckland and Wellington over the necessity of the wars against Maori. The Foreign and Colonial Office in London was sometimes less enthusiastic than Auckland and Wellington businessmen and politicians about the prospect of war, and about the dispatching of thousands of British troops to obscure battlefields in the Waikato and Taranaki. Even the British commanders entrusted with prosecuting many of the wars were sometimes less than keen about their task. General Cameron, who led the invasion of the Waikato in 1863, sympathised with his Maori opponents, and tried whenever possible to limit the scope of his army's operations.

Trotter ridicules the idea that the British-appointed governors who prosecuted the wars against Maori might have chosen to honour rather than tear up the Treaty of Waitangi, and insists that any British government which refused to give its full backing to the wars that Russell and co organised would have been thrown out of office by voters. Even if Britain had abandoned Aotearoa to its indigenous inhabitants, Trotter believes that other imperial powers would have descended and launched their own settlement programmes:

Britain’s colonial rivals would never have permitted 268,000 square kilometres of prime real estate, located conveniently in the temperate zone of the Southern Hemisphere, to remain in indigenous hands.

If Britain didn’t have the stomach to rob the Maori of their patrimony, you may be certain that France, Germany, Spain or the United States would have "taken up the White Man’s burden" with alacrity. And while, for Pakeha, a French Nouvelle Zélande may well have been an improvement on Mother England’s (as the recent hit comedy Le Sud wittily confirms) it would still have been a disaster for Maori.


Britain certainly wished to cling to its southernmost colony during the 1860s, but the Old Country's politicians and bureaucrats did not necessarily think that expropriating Maori and enriching Thomas Russell and his cronies was the only way to hold onto New Zealand. In many parts of its empire, Britain was happy to allow indigenous people to retain to much of their land and run most of their own affairs, as long as they relinquished control of strategic assets like ports, large towns and mines, and ritually recognised British sovereignty and superiority. White colonies like Rhodesia, Australia, and New Zealand were the exception, not the rule, in the empire.

In Fiji, one of its most important Pacific possessions, Britain was happy to run a minimalist administration, leaving most land in indigenous hands and letting chiefs run their own villages. New Zealand attempts to flood Fiji with white settlers were frustrated by British administrators in Suva, who were aware of the way Maori were losing their land.

Britain initially chose to underwrite the war against Maori, but by the end of the 1860s it had run out of patience and withdrawn its troops, leaving the government in Wellington unable to press home victories in the Waikato and Taranaki and seize areas like the King Country and southern Taranaki. Even after the formal 'opening' of those areas to Pakeha in the 1880s, a situation that the historians Richard Hill and Mark Derby have called 'dual sovereignty' persisted in many rural areas of the North Island.

Trotter's argument that Britain was inevitably and irrevocably committed to the wars of the Pakeha bourgeoisie is, then, problematic. It is easy to imagine London's pragmatic, penny-pinching bureaucrats refusing to grant requests for troops from their obscure and unprofitable colony before the end of the 1860s, and instead brokering some sort of deal which guaranteed British control over New Zealand ports and other important assets in exchange for Maori control of swathes of the country's hinterland.

Trotter's claim that other colonial powers would have seized New Zealand and inundated it with settlers if Britain withdrew is also problematic. Trotter names Spain, the United States, Germany and France as would-be possessors of New Zealand. In the 1860s, though, Spain was a basket case, the United States was consumed by civil war, and Germany did not even exist as a unified nation, let alone an imperial power. When Germany did eventually colonise parts of the Pacific, it showed little interest in reconstructing these possessions along European lines. German farmers and traders were actively discouraged from settling in Samoa by the colonial dministration there.

Only France might have been expected to colonise a New Zealand abandoned by Britain in the 1860s, and it is by no means certain that the French would have been interested in expropriating Maori and flooding their new colony with large numbers of settlers. The massive redistribution of farmland which occurred during the French revolution meant that French peasants were less likely to want to travel to the other side of the world in search of land than their British cousins.

Trotter downplays the importance of nineteenth century Tonga, which managed to avoid colonisation, by suggesting that the country consisted of little more than a few 'specks of land' in a corner of the vast Pacific. In fact, Tonga was an exceptionally fertile country with two of the best harbours in the Pacific and a highly strategic location at the centre of a great deal of sea traffic. Tonga's King Tupou the first kept his nation's independence by building the institutions of a modern state, including a well-drilled army, and playing rival imperialist powers off against each other. For half a century, the Kingdom of Hawaii was able to perform the same feat.

Tonga and nineteenth century Hawaii offer proof that Polynesian peoples could build their own states, negotiate their own way into the modern world, and resist Western imperialism. On a smaller scale, the Maori King movement which ruled parts of the North Island from the 1850s to the 1880s offers the same lesson. The Kingitanga established a set of institutions and a pan-tribal consciousness that survived military defeat and have persisted to the present day.

The King movement's economic legacy is also important. The Marxist sociologist Dave Bedggood has used the term 'Polynesian mode of production' to describe the hybrid economic system that flourished in the Waikato Kingdom in the 1850s and early 1860s, and which later thrived in the famous mini-state of Parihaka. The inhabitants of the Waikato Kingdom and of Parihaka held and worked their land in common, but exported their products to Pakeha capitalist enclaves like Auckland. They thus participated in the capitalist economy without sacrificing traditional forms of social organisation. The mills that dotted the Waikato and the Maori-owned schooners that arrived in Auckland and other cities laden with fruit and vegetables testified to the success of the Kingitanga's socialistic economic system.

Perhaps the weakest part of 'Apologising for Victory' is Trotter's attempt to attribute the 'Maori renaissance' of recent decades to the machinations of a few Pakeha intellectuals who have gone 'soft', become 'revisionists', and decided to divide Kiwis along racial lines. In truth, it is Maori themselves who have been behind land rights marches, the language revival movement, the campaign for kohanga reo, the protests against the confiscation of the seabed and foreshore, and the many other political and cultural aspects of the Maori renaissance. Contrary to Trotter's suggestions, Maori were never 'assimilated' into a 'united' New Zealand in the twentieth century: they held on to their history, to their marae, and to important parcels of land. Even if the King movement and other expressions of the desire for tino rangatiratanga were defeated militarily in the nineteenth century, they left enough of a legacy to ensure the reemergence of Maori as a major force in New Zealand society in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

It seems to me that Chris Trotter has failed to demonstrate either the inevitability or the ultimately progressive nature of the defeats that Maori suffered in the nineteenth century. The contradiction at the heart of his thought remains unresolved. Instead of trying to turn history into teleology, Chris might consider abandoning the rather Eurocentric vision of socialism held by his Second International forebears, and instead investigating Marx's late, wonderfully open-minded, determinedly anti-imperialist writings. Chris may discover that the sort of socialism that Marx advocated for 'undeveloped' countries like nineteenth century Russia has a great deal in common with the Polynesian mode of production pioneered by the King movement in the Waikato a century and a half ago.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

where was the capital of the king movement?

3:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the king movement state I mean...

3:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We in the American Civil War Association (acwa.org), honor the sacrifices from both the North and South on Remembrance Day. We reenactors provide living history to the public.

8:40 pm  
Anonymous mike said...

Maps, surprised there have been so few comments on this post, from Mr. Trotter or anyone else.

Thanks for discussing what is an interesting strand of the Pakeha Left in NZ: its abiding discomfort with or ambivalance about Maori self-determination. It is a undercurrent not only in Chris Trotter's work, but can be found in full flight on 'The Standard' blogsite. I sometimes even sense it in Gordon Campbell's work.

Just one comment: I think one has to be a little cautious about characterising the Polynesian mode of production as "socialist" in one way or another. While aspects of Maori culture look "socialist", to label it as such is a potentially ethnocentric operation. Especially when "socialism" is historically situated as an ideology of political economy emerging from the specific conditions of 19thC Europe.

Pre-contact Maori lifeways, (trying to find a non-ethnocentric term) might not even necessarily be considered "economies" in the strict sense. Analysing mixed subsistence-agrarian cultures using categories such as "scarcity" and "production" can miss basic elements. For example, how subsistence communities draw upon the abundant use-value of the environment to feed themselves, rather than deriving exchange-value from the environment, as happens when "scarce" goods or services are produced to cater for supposedly infinite needs.

I believe that Pakeha can certainly learn from Maori culture in terms of its relationship with environment resources. But instead of projecting "socialism" onto such a set-up, better European parallels may be those pre-market capitalist modes based around concepts like "the commons". As a E.P. Thompson expert, I'm sure you'd be well-placed to judge the validity of this.

11:59 am  
Blogger dave said...

The fat French Peasants went to Algeria though. Nor was the constipation of the Colonial Orifice key. NZ was already being invaded by the Wakefielders. The class preceded their state. Marx's account in Chap 33 of Kapital is genius. Capital needs privatised land and free labour. Parihaka was a survival mode of collective land and unfree labour. Te Whiti was a Proudhonian socialist who saw the evils of capitalism in money, the shadow not the substance. His utopia of harmonious modes had to fail. British or French history marched to the tune of the commodity.
Today the Maori nationalists repudiate Te Whiti and worship money. Capitalism has dispensed with its prehistory and there is only the sound of the trumpet awaiting.

12:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog post is being discussed on the lbo mailing list. The discussion can be accessed at:

http://search.lbo-talk.org/search/swish.cgi?
query=new+zealand+wars&metaname=
swishdefault&sort=unixdate

Comment from James Heartfield:

In Scott Hamilton's article, recommended by Mike Beggs, I read:
'Marxist sociologist Dave Bedggood has used the term 'Polynesian mode of production' to describe the hybrid economic system that flourished in the Waikato Kingdom in the 1850s and early 1860s, and which later thrived in the famous mini-state of Parihaka. The inhabitants of the Waikato Kingdom and of Parihaka held and worked their land in common, but exported their products to Pakeha capitalist enclaves like Auckland. They thus participated in the capitalist economy without sacrificing traditional forms of social organisation.'

It is great to hear about Dave, who I knew in London twenty years ago. I would be interested to hear more about the 'Polynesian mode of production'. Still, Jairus Banaji made a good argument against those development economists who characterised the persistence of traditional forms of social organisation in the margins of capitalism as discrete 'modes of production'.

Banaji developed his argument in a chapter in 'Studies in the Development of Capitalism in India' by Patnaik et al, Lahore, 1978, copied here (http://www.jstor.org/pss/4365853) and in Capital and Class # 3, copied here: 'The colonial peasants integrated into commodity production by a process called "forced commercialization" entered capitalist relations of production behind the backs of their existing forms of production : here capitalist production thus retained a "surface layer", an "appearance" of superceded forms of economy, the peasants "retained the external attributes of independent producers" (Preobrazhensky, 1965, p . 186), and the forms of reproduction of labour-power retained the appearance of distinct, even if "dependent", forms of production.' http://anti-politics.net/discussion/Jairus_Banaji.pdf p 35

As I read it, the Governor Grey flip-flopped between supporting Maori land-rights as a limit on settler expansion at first, then shifting ground to attack the Maori the next. The British position was for many years very ambiguous, and the British army reluctant to back the settlers' campaign against the Maori. One of Grey's campaigns was to prevent Maori from selling land to settlers, which they were often keen to do, only later to make the greatest purchases as Governor. I agree that Trotter's argument that if the English settlers had not taken the land, others would is a bit of a red herring, but Scott ought to explain why it was that the Governor, and the Crown were willing to endorse Maori land-rights: if he did, I think he would discover that the colonial office was often in conflict with the settlers over the terms and pace of settlement

http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/pipermail/lbo-talk/Week-of-Mon-20100405/005527.html

12:23 am  
Blogger Chris Trotter said...

In response to Mike's perplexity, let me simply say that I consider Scott's essay to be an excellent contribution to the debate. There are, of course, a number of points that I would dispute - and Dave has already touched on one of them. Scott has not, it seems to me, dealt with the facts of history (such as the destruction of Hawaiian independence) that I used to back my original contentions. He has, however, made an eloquent plea for classical social-democrats to take a closer look at the later writings of Karl Marx, and I fully intend to respond to his challenge by doing exactly that. I fervently wish the blogosphere had more exchanges of this kind, and would urge RTM's readers to leap on into the ruck Scott's excellent tackle has set up.

10:34 am  
Blogger maps said...

I appreciate Chris' interest in history, which is all too rare in the Kiwi blogosphere, even though I disagree with many of his interpretations of history.

I've just been reading Kendrick Smithyman's denunciations in the early '60s of the 'provincialism' of Pakeha New Zealand society. For Smithyman, features of provincialism include a belief that the present is unique and that contemporary problems have no precedent in history, and an unhealthy, because fawning, interest in what is being thought and done in international 'centres' like London and New York. I don't think much has changed.

Mike makes many very interesting points. I can't agree with him, though, when he suggests that 'socialism' is an inherently European concept - I think that there were various attempts to hijack the concept by European intellectuals in the nineteenth century, including Marx's distinction between 'scientific' and utopian socialisms at the beginning of the Manifesto, and later Lenin's reduction of the diverse influences on Marx to English political economy, German idealism, and French socialism.

Cedric Robinson's books Black Marxism and An Anthropology of Marxism are attempts to expose the diverse non-European roots of Marxist thought which have been neglected by many historians.

Dave seems to grudgingly admit that there was such a thing as a Polynesian mode of production, but to insist that it quickly became irrelevant, as capitalism over-ran the Pacific. In any case, he argues, a looming final confrontation between capital and labour makes discussion of New Zealand history and the Polynesian mode of production little more than an antiquarian distraction from the urgent tasks of the present.

It seems to me, though, that the Polynesian mode of production still exists in most of Polynesia, and that the few revolutionary situations that exist in the world at present involve confrontations between capitalism and social forces based partly in pre-capitalist modes of production. In Venezuela, Chavez's movement has been fashioned partly out of informal workers - the 'urban peasantry' of the shantytowns of Caracas and other big cities - peasants, and indigenous peoples. In Bolivia we have a worker-peasant alliance. In Nepal the Maoists draw their support largely from peasants. If revolutionary events were occurring in Belgium and Britain, and not semi-developed nations on the periphery of capitalism, then I would have more sympathy with Dave's points.

I'm going to a forum tonight on Tonga, and will post tomorrow on how I see that country's development as tied up with the Polynesian mode of production.

3:24 pm  
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6:15 pm  
Anonymous mike said...

Chris, thanks for your comment - I guess there's been a few more comments now.

Maps, I would agree that the Polynesian subsistence mode is still a part of life for many Maori in New Zealand, encompassing activities such as fishing, whitebaiting and other gathering of kaimoana, pig and deer hunting, plant foraging, and muttonbirding (for a select few families, of course).

Many Pakeha also engage in these activities, especially fishing and hunting, though perhaps framed more as recreation (?).

This is certainly not a "mode" that is defunct or totally supplanted by a capitalist system of commodity exchange. It just exists tucked away, kind of out of sight, or something we don't perceive as anything to do with "the economy". And, as you point out, it presents a viable ideology in today's world.

As for the meaning of "socialism", I get what you're saying, but am a little suspicious of "back-projecting" concepts into other eras and contexts. "Socialism" and "socialist" weren't really used before the 1820s as far as I know; no doubt they had precursor terms, but I'd rather retain a sense of difference rather than lump them together.

The OED has a pertinent quote from Fuentes' "Buried Mirror": "Talk about Incan socialism is interesting but perhaps irrelevant for an economy devoid of money but elitist in structure."

8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you guys openly follow marx?

hey i got news for you...

HE WAS A FUCKING SATANIST!!!

9:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proof! Fuck yous!
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1121228/posts



Karl Marx? (The Cult of Marx - its origin in Satanism)
www.forerunner.com ^ | January 27, 1997 | Georgi Marchenko

Posted on Wednesday, 21 April 2004 7:28:01 a.m. by gobucks

The origin of Marxism is within a satanic mystery cult - something which very few Marxists are aware.

Before Marx became a famous economist and communist, he paid his tribute to humanism. Today, one-third of the world is Marxist.* Many in western countries acknowledge Marxism in one form or another. There are even many professing Christians, many of them highly revered, who are convinced that if Christ said many true things about the Kingdom of God, real answers on how to help hungry, poor and oppressed should be sought by reading Marx.

We've heard that Marx was a deep humanitarian; that he was possessed by the idea of helping the oppressed masses. His belief: The reason behind oppression is capitalism. As soon as this putrid system is destroyed after the time of proletariat's rule, a new society will appear in which everyone will work and receive according to their needs. There will be neither a state that represses individuality, nor war or revolution, but a world-wide brotherhood of nations lasting forever.

Marx opposed any form of religion since it prevented the fulfillment of his communist ideals - the only answer for all the world's problems.

This is the way Marxists explain their position. Yet there are even some Christians who have held similar views. Pastor Ostereier (UK) once preached in a sermon: "Communism, no matter in what form, good or bad as it appears today, is a movement for liberating man from exploitation. We, the members of Christ's body, humbly repenting should acknowledge that we owe a lot to every communist."

I have spent great deal of time and effort studying Marx's thoughts and I was fortunate to find some things that I'd like to share with my readers.



When he graduated from high school, his diploma contained the following in the category "Religious knowledge":

"His knowledge of Christian teachings and principles is clear and properly based. He also knows the history of Christian church to a great extent."

Soon after receiving of his diploma, something very mysterious happened. Even before Moses Gess led Marx to socialistic persuasions in 1841, he had become a zealous atheist. This change character could be seen in his later student years.

In one of his verses, Marx wrote: "I long to take vengeance on the One Who rules from above." Marx believed that "the One that rules from above" in fact existed. He contended with Him, although God never harmed him. Marx was from a relatively wealthy family. He didn't starve in his childhood and in his student years he lived much better than his friends. So what caused his fierce hatred towards God?

Personal motivations are not available to us. Maybe Marx was only somebody's else speaker in this defiant assertion?

During this period, the following lines are taken from him from the poem entiled: "Conjuration of falling into despair."

I'll set up my throne above, Cold and terrible will be the peak of it. Superstitious trembling is at its base, Master - most black agony.

9:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU EVIL BASTARDS READ AND SEE!!!!!!!

The Cult of Lenin

Marxism hides a mystery of which very few Marxists are aware. Yet Lenin wrote a half century later that none of the Marxists comprehended Marx.

There is a mystery in Lenin's life too. Here is what he wrote about the Soviet state: "The State is in our hands. And did it act this year according to the new economic policy as we desired? No, it didn't. We don't want to admit the following: it acted not as we desired. So how did it act? The machine jumped out of our hands: as if another person controlled it, and the machine didn't go to the place where we directed it, but went to the place where that someone else dictated."

What were those mysterious forces that overcame the plans of former Bolshevik's leaders? They gave life to a force, hoping to control it, but it appeared to be more terrible than they expected. What made them desperate?

I do not pretend that I have found perfect evidence of Marx's membership in a Satanic cult. But I believe there is a lot of information that points us to such a conclusion.

Again: I realize, the information given here by myself is far from perfect. This question has to be researched in details by someone else. However, from what is written here, we may conclude - that the Marx described by Marxists is nothing more than a myth.

The Marx who loves all people is a myth created after his death.

Darwin's book made Marx really happy. In his opinion, it was one more blow that forced man to forget his Godly origin and his great destiny. Darwin said that a man evolved from the ape and has no other purpose but to survive.

Satan was not able to pull down God's throne. Therefore, he made men valueless. Man was represented as a slave of his stomach and a descendant of an animal.

Later Freud continued the work of those two satanic giants, reducing human beings to base sexual instincts which sometimes give rise to politics, art and religion.

9:58 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The point is that pre-Industrial modes are now coexisting with what is now technically world wide Imperialism so that a more complex reading of Marxism sees the "workers" as everyone who does not own the means of production.

And of course it is obvious that for the people of South America or Nepal or Sri Lanka and in the Pacific regions (but Maori are possibly too much a part of a corrupt industrialism) this step by step "progress" from feudalism to capitalism etc is not really relevant. Their lives are too harsh, and these questions are too urgent.

(But they will still use theory, but clearly they see that practice means the theory has been altered).

Unfortunately there are no guarantees of "progress".

Smithyman and others see the (sometimes slavish) dependence of thought and also the way thinkers can be boxed in and stereotyped in their thinking.

No such stereotypical thinking stopped Mao Tse Tung and others in China from successfully leading the most recent major communist revolution based on the actions of peasants, workers, intellectuals and others.

10:24 pm  
Blogger Mike B) said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:25 am  
Blogger Mike B) said...

Sorry...too many typos. I'll try again.

I think socialism meant social ownership of the means of production and common ownership of the collective product of labour for Marx. Communism meant the same thing for Marx. Both implied a classless association of free producers who would plan how to develop the social product of their labour and distribute it for use and need amongst themselves.

I think what Marx opposed about utopian socialism was more the method of attempting to create socialistic communities and factories within the capitalist systems as examples which would spur the creation of communism. Marx saw this as pipe dreaming. The science of socialism was more to do with seeing its dependence on the coming in to being of a class conscious proletariat organising with the goal of necessity of abolishing wage-labour.

12:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talking of racism

Viktor Orban's centre-right Fidesz scored a landslide victory in Sunday's first round of parliamentary elections. But the real shake-up of the political landscape was the strong showing of far-right Jobbik — which gained 16.6 per cent of the vote to end up third, hard on the heels of the governing Socialists. The Socialist Party tumbled to less than 20 per cent compared to 43 per cent four years ago.

The European Union and Jewish groups used the Jobbik showing to sound the alarm about the rise of extremist parties across the continent.

Speaking for the European Presidency, Spain's state secretary for European affairs, Diego Lopez, said there were concerns about “the increase in the populist, more radical ... extreme right.”

“We all have to work so that within the EU, populist, xenophobia, radical, nationalist, anti-European positions have as little support as possible,” Mr. Lopez added.

The European Jewish Congress said Europe needed to work harder against the increase of “obsessive anti-Semitism.”

“As a result of the economic crisis, certain extreme parties are able to deliver a scapegoat upon which to blame all their ills,” said the congress's president, Moshe Kantor

Jobbik's rise from the political fringe over the past year has been based on an extreme nationalist message with strong anti-Gypsy and anti-Semitic overtones. The Jobbik theme exploits stubborn East European prejudices that the Gypsies — or Roma — are thieves who evade work while cashing in on state benefits, and that the nation is being sold out to a corrupt Jewish minority, many of them pulling the political and economic strings.

A sizable number of the party's new voters were from the poorest areas in northeast Hungary, where the jobless rate is far above the March national average of 11.4 per cent. Orban, in his post-election comments, linked the rise of Jobbik with the disenchantment of its supporters.

“The better the government, the less corruption there is, the fewer the reasons to hate the political elite, the lower the unemployment rate ... the more democracy is strengthened and the power of the extremists is reduced,” Mr. Orban told reporters. “The best recipe I can provide is good governance. I'm convinced that the better the performance of the government is, the weaker the far right will be in the future.”

Mr. Orban estimated the real unemployment rate at “somewhere between 16-20 per cent,” an unsustainable level.

“This a political and economic land mine,” said Mr. Orban, who was prime minister in 1998-2002. “If the unemployment rate remains this high, we cannot expect Hungary to remain a moderate, predictable democracy in the long run.”

Mr. Orban also suggested that the next government would enforce a court decision to disband the Hungarian Guard, a group tied to Jobbik whose black uniforms are reminiscent of Hungary's pro-Nazi groups of the 1940s and which is seen as a source of intimidation of Gypsies and other minorities.

12:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The global war on tribes:
http://www.counterpunch.org/grossman04132010.html

1:40 pm  
Blogger dave said...

For James and others interested in an attempt by John Macrae and myself to apply modes of production analyis to Aotearoa in the 1970s you can find it here:
http://maximumred.blogspot.com/2006/03/development-of-capitalism-in-nz-part-2.html

3:07 pm  

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