[I was unable to post my comment at the website linked below, so its editor has been relaying (I don’t say refereeing) the exchange. He sent me Chris’ response, which I reproduce unaltered. I will comment upon it when I have time.]
“If the social revolution is the assumption of power by the productive classes (and it is nothing if not that), which is effected, as most socialists (even Marxists) would agree, by the seizure of control over the product of their collective labor, then isn’t propaganda the art of persuading these classes of the need to take power? And does it not follow that theory, if it be of any use at all, should be subordinated to that end?”
Fryett complains about “What a curse Marxism has been for the long-suffering laboring masses,” but ignores the role of bourgeois ideology in the self-consciousness of the emancipation of labor.
The cry of the “long-suffering laboring masses” has been heard clearly in all political events of the past several centuries, from the Protestant Reformation of Christianity and the Dutch Revolt to the Fall of the Berlin Wall and on to the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) parties and the protests at Tahrir Square and the spokespeople for the purported “99%” in Occupy Wall Street.
For capitalist entrepreneurs are also members of the “productive classes” — certainly Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have been highly productive workers and not coupon-clippers or corporate welfarists! How will we measure and “control,” politically, the actual social value of the “product of collective labor,” what Marx called “capital?”
The question is, why have the “long-suffering laboring masses” been in more or less continuous revolt for hundreds of years and the result has been capitalism not socialism?
Marxism seeks to reflect upon that problem. — It’s not thinking for the timid, mind you!
More than a hundred years ago, the great Marxist Rosa Luxemburg wrote in Reform or Revolution? (1900) that, “No coarser insult, no baser defamation, can be thrown against the workers than the remark, ‘Theoretical controversies are for the intellectuals’. – Chris Cutrone.”