The Ruling Ideas and the Faux-Left: How Corporate Power Borgs Its Opposition

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age.” —Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (1845)

Karl Marx and Fred Engels, authors of The German Ideology (1845)

Ask yourself: How did Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory become dominant ideas? I hear these are Marxist ideas. Conservatives and progressives alike tell me this. Does anybody believe we live in a socialist society? If you do, then you believe a lie. It’s a lie that is easily exposed. The working class neither owns nor controls the means of production. If you therefore think that by pushing such programs as BLM and CRT you are effecting radical change, you need to educate yourself. The truth is that we live under the hegemony of state monopoly capitalism. The perfection of that hegemony lies in wrapping up those who are inclined to care about justice.

Corporations steer history via the social logic of capitalist accumulation and control over politics and ideas. They control the administrative state. They control the regulatory apparatus. They control the culture industry. They control the academy. It is self-evident that the so-called radical movements of our epoch, once they appear, for example, as antiracist programming in our dominant institutions, are not radical at all, but are indoctrination programs designed to bend alien reason to the dominant narrative, to the ruling ideas of the epoch, and to bring into the fold those for whom capitalist accumulation represents the most exploitative force in history. That’s why workers are forced to say things they don’t believe—things they know aren’t true. That’s why they are forced to do things that violate their autonomy and those of their comrades. This is why too many reflex in the direction of obedience. The process already got to them.

Over decades, Capitalist planners brilliantly established a faux-left politics to divert the people from the path to class consciousness. That’s why the so-called neo-Marxism of today eschews class analysis. Except to accuse the working class of white supremacy, it leaves class outside the parameters of its “critique.” Class isn’t part of its “problematic.” Conservative thinkers believe that Marxism is dissimulated as trickery. But, really, it just isn’t there. The faux-left embraces false consciousness as its politics. It gets the power dynamic backwards. It stands the world on its head. It’s Hegelian. The educator needs educating.

“The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think.” When are you going to become consciousness? When are you going to think? How will you accomplished these feats? Through faith in the establishment?

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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