Over the past year or so, two people have asked me how I became a Marxist. No-one had asked me that for years prior. As I always do, I mumbled something about going to the LPYS, not finding it very left-wing and joining the Communist Party instead. The real story is too long and challenging to fit in a short vignette, and I’m never very sure of how people would react to it.
So here goes.
Last week I attended a fantastic meeting at the Glasgow Coalition of Resistance, with speakers from various national and local campaigns and live international link ups with an activist from Occupy Wall Street and another from Syria as well as a French Trade Unionist. The talks were inspirational and the contrast between going immediately from a Syrian activist fighting in a murderous regime to a local anti-poverty campaigner seeking to cut deaths in the elderly and low paid injected a level of bathos into the proceedings.
Most Marxists and Anarchists are aware of the historical tensions which led to the collapse of the First International at the Hague Congress in 1872, there is however a very interesting story behind the schism.
In August 1872, Marx was aware of the tensions that were emerging between groupings in the First International and of the contributions that he had made to the schism. Fearing that fictitious splits may become a real one, he sent a telegram to Bakunin
Over on Wired, Amber Case sets out to illuminate the brave new world of calm computing. The idea being – as Mark Weiser puts it – that it appears when when it needs to be used, and gets out of the way when it isnt, suggesting an ever present techological field attuned and pre-empting our desires. Case uses an interesting quote in the article to describe this phenomenon – taken from The Communist Manifesto she uses the subtitle “all that is solid melts into air“. It is worth putting this snippet into context.
All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.