Marxism Empowers Workers—Anarchism Disorganizes Them

Conservatives tell us that Marxists have colonized our institutions, especially the cultural and educational systems. As a Marxist, I confess that I know a handful of other Marxists in the university system, but there are very few (I believe I am the only one on my campus) and their ideas are fading.

It’s frustrating. Marx’s materialist conception of history should be the foundation of anthropology and sociology in the same way Darwin’s materialist conception of natural history is the foundation of life sciences. But it’s not. And so the social sciences remain pre paradigmatic in the Kuhnian sense.

What I do see a lot of in the university, their crackpot ideas pressed into 4k-12 curricula and pedagogy, are postmodernists and social constructionists. Remember that wonderful passage in Matthew? “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” The attack on the republic and its creed represent the fruit of anarchist politics not Marxist. Marxism is not useful to the bourgeoisie. Marxism empowers workers. Anarchism disorganizes them.

Anarchism and the nihilism as its beating heart is a political and cultural tool to weaken the normative systems that sustain the nation’s institutional framework and values that legitimize its key institutions. Supranational forces are stepping up the project to dismantle democratic-republicanism. They’re portraying the Enlightenment as a projection of white supremacy. Science-denialism is rampant. Crackpot theories (critical race theory, queer theory, etc.) are ubiquitous. Public life is disordered by manufactured chaos and controversy.

Marx and Engels understood the threat anarchism posed to the establishment of a more free and just society; if the universities were indeed colonized by Marxist ideas, all the nonsense one encounters there would be missing. Instead, students would attend classes where they learned to do class analysis, critique the corporate state, and prepare to go out into the world and organize the organic interests of the proletariat. The 4k-12 teachers produced by a Marxist-run university system would stand as a bulwark against the crackpot theories embraced by the bourgeoisie.

The same absurd notions that prevail in our educational and cultural systems circulate in the boardrooms of corporations and in employee training sessions, where managers and professionals are instructed to take them up and use them to check others. That what appears as leftwing thought in our major institutions appears at all tells you that these are not the ideas of the left, but rather the ideas of the neoliberal order of things.

Sometimes I am astonished that this is not immediately apparent. Then I stop and remind myself of what I just said here: there are very few and increasingly fewer Marxists in the education system. Without the insights of Marxism, and instead the crush of bourgeois ideas, how will the youth of the West ever know what to look for, let alone recognize the truth of it when they see it?

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.