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why do most people on this website seem to hate Karl Marx?

0 votes
they say stuff like Marx was "ideological" forgetting that "ideology" was a dirty word to marx,also they say marx was left-wing and they somehow are not even thou they are anti-capitalist,anti-racist,pro-feminist etc
asked May 29, 2016 by anonymous
I don't know that i would say i hate km; since he's dead it feels like a waste of energy. There is a little matter of the first international and the deceitful ways those who like to use his name have historically engaged with anarchists, though. That and his being a statist are why i generally hate marxists.
Whatever failings Marx had as an individual human being (and there were plenty: see https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/john-zerzan-the-practical-marx ), the vast majority of people who label themselves marxists have engaged in actions that are diametrically opposed to those of most anarchists and non-party communists. It doesn't really matter what anyone says about their own ideas; it's the actions that count.

I agree with dot; one or two citations from elsewhere on this site might do more to spur an actual conversation.
I get that you two are responding literally to the idea that you hate Karl Marx as a person - but that Zerzan essay is like really dumb.

There are probably lots of instances where people on this site have either made or alluded to a post-left criticism of Marx's ideas that is thoughtful, strident, and principled. This could be as good a place to say it as any.

I am not the one to do this since I'm way more Marxist than most people here (which is to say not very).

Marx was the "original anti-capitalist, given that the word 'capitalist' was invented by marxists"?! You're hilarious. Wikipedia: "The term capitalist, meaning an owner of capital, appears earlier than the term capitalism. It dates back to the mid-17th century... The initial usage of the term capitalism in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 ("..what i call 'capitalism' that is to say the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others") and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861 ("Economic and social regime in which capital, the source of income, does not generally belong to those who make it work through their labour.").[30] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engelsreferred to the capitalistic system.[31][32] and to the capitalist mode of production in Das Kapital (1867)."

The term capitalist dates back to 1791, not the 17th century and comes from the French term "capitaliste."

@OP, I've never read people on here hating Karl Marx. Then again, I've never searched his name on here until your question.

@rs666, sometimes lawrence comes off as a bit douchetastic for a website that's intended for people newer to anarchism.
Rick, I don't think you're stupid; you're just a little too quick with "add comment." You're giving Wikipedia way too much power if cutting and pasting a few sentences is sufficient to chase you away. Sincerely, don't let that be the reason; you're smarter than that.

I'm also not an egoist, and if Stirner were alive today, he'd be hideous.
for future reference, three posts by ricksantorum666 have been removed by him. the first one said (as can be inferred) that marxists created the word capitalist. it also said some other interesting things.

the second one was mad at lawrence's response and accused lawrence of calling rs666 stupid.

the third said that rs666 has been trying to stop using this site and the internet in general.

2 Answers

+1 vote

i agree with ingrate's comment that your question is not at all how i would say people on this site feel about marx. who can hate a person they've never met?

i do feel quite negatively about many marxists, who, like christians, go off in all kinds of directions from their namesake's original opinions, most of those directions demonstrably bad for anarchists. comments about marxists are also comments about many anarchists, who piggyback (or just accept entirely) many marxist premises, like the definition and significance of the working class, for example.

your argument, anon, seems to be that marx should not be a symbol of what many/most of his followers have done/promoted. if you're convinced of the excellence of his ideas and how those ideas are not well represented by his followers, then promoting those good, unrepresented ideas and distancing marx from his followers is certainly an option. doesn't sound fun to me.

perhaps you could cite some instances where people say these things on this site? perhaps there is context missing?

answered May 29, 2016 by dot (50,140 points)
+3 votes
Setting aside the obvious fact that Marxists have almost universally been responsible for some of the biggest failures in attempting to liberate people from capitalism (to be fair, anarchists have also not fared much better), which is a historical a posteriori problem and thus doesn't interest me: It should be assumed that anarchists are not very much in favor of Marx, considering that anarchists aren't Marxists.

There seems to be some misconceptions some people have that anarchists and Marxists are essentially the same, except on the question of the State. If this were true, libertarian Marxists like the Situationists and Autonomists would basically be anarchists, or vice versa anarchists are basically libertarian Marxists, right? But there is a distinct difference between even anarchists and libertarian Marxists: Anarchists by and large don't use Marx as the basis for their ideas. There is certainly something to be said for Marx's critique of capitalism - however painstakingly lengthy and repetitive it is - but one could likewise argue that Marx's critique of capital is both superfluous up to a certain point and also only touches on the problem of capitalism. Marxists tend to subordinate (starting with Engels) any questions of the State under dialectical materialism; they tend to assume that the dissolution of capital will just magically fix every other issue, because they make the a priori argument that everything can be rooted in the material conditions of society. And this is where I take the biggest issue with Marx and Marxists.

Certainly the material conditions of society are a major factor in how power is distributed in society. I don't think any anarchists are opposed to this idea. But to argue that everything can be traced to material economic conditions just blatantly ignores the plasticity of human beings. The material conditions of one society may affect it differently than another, because the culture of that society and the psychology of individuals in that society also affects its conditions. It seems to me rather that Marx and Marxists seek to essentially reproduce Enlightenment narratives of human rationality by supposing that we will more or less react equally to any given material economic conditions. Marx and Engels sought to give their ideas the character of a "science", to make objective claims to "truth", and anyone who ever claims that they have "solved" things and have know the "truth" because of their one weird trick are not to be trusted, IMO. It's a classic reactionary move to claim that your position is the rational, logic, and truthful one - and even if you believe this, you unknowingly carry a whole host of meta-assumptions in your position. It's no surprise then that Marxists have had to gradually allow for Marxism to deal with racial and feminist struggles and not simply write them off for being the "superstructure" and thus subordinated to class.

To put it another way: It's not the material conditions that entirely determine how power is distributed. The fact of the matter is that the bourgeois are a tiny percentage of the population. If we didn't accept the morality of the ruling class which endorses democracy as the will of the people and capitalism as the "most efficient and fairest system" that "creates value" (commodity fetishism), we would simply drag the bourgeois out of their mansions. But humans are irrational creatures.

I do nonetheless like libertarian Marxism and the Frankfurt School. But I'm personally more in favor of a Nietzschean/Foucaultian view that the real source of domination is the distribution of power, and I think anarchists have always had a better grip on this than Marx and Marxists. Anarchists have always understood that the real problem is hierarchy itself, and that even if we and Marxists share the same goal of a stateless society, you cannot actualize that if you continue to reproduce the logic of hierarchical societies. Though to be fair, classical anarchism has come rather close to being as naive as Marxism insofar as it has ignored certain hierarchies like sex and race, or ideology, formal organization, and forced collectivism. But nevertheless, anarchism's engagement with questions of the State has always put it one step ahead.
answered Jun 9, 2016 by n1x (590 points)
i'd mark this "best answer" except for the unfortunate "the bourgeois are nothing more than a bunch of fat old men," which i both disagree with and find unfortunate for other reasons.

other than that, nicely put.
dot, indeed. where i live the bourgeois are very often lean, athletic women. the monopoly game's top-hat guy is so....'gilded age.'
seconded. or thirded. who the fuck can count anymore without a calculator.
'twas merely a rhetorical move. Edited it out
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