Somewhat interesting news from New York about the growing popularity of communism in the Big Apple:
“As the economic crisis has gotten steeper in the country, it is not surprising that people are opening their minds to other ideas. Words like socialism and communism have been so stigmatized by the educational system that many people are afraid of those words. However, many studies have shown Americans support the redistribution of wealth but if you mention the socialism word they won’t agree with it anymore.”
In modern day America, the specter of communism hangs over the bottom floor of a brick building on the West side of downtown New York City. It’s the Brecht Forum, which started out as the NY Marxist School in 1975. Here, communism is certainly no bogeyman and its poster-philosopher so to speak is revered. “I am a Marxist and I wanted to be around other Marxists and just to talk with other Marxists,” explained Dale. In the US that may sound a little taboo, even unpatriotic to the average Joe. But these days, amid rising poverty and inequality in the country more and more people are joining in the discussion. “I think people certainly since the financial crisis hit home and some people realized there are some systemic problems, we saw a huge influx of traffic,” said Max Uhlenback, development coordinator at the Brecht Forum.
On the one hand, it’s kind of encouraging to see more Americans start to examine the codswallop they’ve been swallowing so unquestioningly. On the other hand, I hope they do more than just classic Marxism. A lot has happened in leftist thought since the Soviet Union collapsed. This passage is kind of worrying, though:
Though it’s the Marxist school the people there don’t seem to be calling for a proletariat revolution or violent political uprising. But the history and philosophy of communism is everywhere you look. The works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Joseph Stalin fill the shelves.
Yes, you read that right, Joseph Stalin, the man of steel himself. I’ve already got several objections to classic Marxism and Marxism-Leninism as proposed originally, but they’re also studying Stalinism? Yeesh.
I’ve said it before, but the more I learn about political systems, the more I think anarchism is the way to go. Without leaders and without hierarchy, that’s the way to go. It seems to work well enough for the International Postal Union. There Is No Alternative, said Thatcher, but the fight continues, say the Zapatistas. I’ll side with the people who would never have put Pinochet’s girlfriend in charge.
1. Note that the picture above is an excerpt from a larger comic. I’ve linked to the Scans Daily article because it explains some points for the uninitiated, but the original relettered English version can be found here.