Please read the short essay, or just click the answers to these simple questions. You may need to *enable popups.
Which of the statements below best describes the reasons for studying Marxism?
1. It helps us understand the world better, so that we may improve on it
2. We will advance ourselves through knowledge
3. Other people, especially liberals, are really impressed when we reveal that we are Marxists.
4. Perfect knowledge is its own reward.
Which is the worst obstacle to understanding Marxism?
1. It's too abstract and not associated with everyday events
2. All the language is foreign and/or not in modern English
3. Almost everything we read and all our cultural experiences seem to contradict Marxism.
4. Marxists are all intellectuals who cannot speak to ordinary Americans.
Which of the following probably came from Marxists:
1. "You can't fight City Hall."
2. "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
3. "Collective action is unproductive."
4. "Life is a jungle."
5. "A better world is possible."*If popups don't work when you click on the answers, you will probably get a yellow line across the top of your screen. Click on it and choose "temporarily enable popups."
Introduction: Why Study Marxism?
"Man's dearest possession is life. And since it is given
to him to live but once, he must so live as to feel no torturing regrets for
years without purpose. So live as not to be seared with shame of a cowardly
and trivial past. So live that dying he can say, 'All my life and my strength...
were given to the finest cause in the world -- the liberation of mankind!'"
-- V.I. Lenin
Understanding our world is necessary before we can seriously undertake to improve it. Marxist philosophy enhances our ability to understand. Marxism goes far beyond what is commonly accepted and "common sense."
Studying Marxism is fundamentally easy and natural. The main barrier to understanding is the constant storm of capitalist ideology that assaults us from every corner. It permeates virtually all of our culture, from advanced college classes to the lowest TV cartoons. Capitalists own virtually all the media, all the book publishers, all the movie studios, all the schools, and all the television networks and stations. Virtually all the pundits and philosophers are on their payrolls.
From the time we are born, we learn, from the capitalists themselves, that what exists today has always existed and will never change. We learn, "You can't fight City Hall," and "The more things change, the more they stay the same." We learn that cooperation is impossible and that "Life is a jungle." We learn that war and poverty are natural, if not actually good for us, and that we live in the best of all possible worlds.
An unnatural state of alienation and distrust is forced upon every one of us by those who control our information sources. It doesn't take a great intelligence to see through the capitalist mist, but it may take a small amount of courage.
We study Marxism because we recognize our own humanity. We care what happens to our sisters and brothers. We recognize suffering, and we want change.
This Marxist school can only improve from your participation and feedback. Please join in the collective effort.
--Jim Lane"The philosophers have done a good job of explaining the world. The purpose, however, is to change it."
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