In message <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>, Louis
Proyect <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes
>Heartfield:
>>
>>In Particular Marx and Engels both considered native American society
>>backward technologically and morally, as the blood-ties of kinship
>>groups (gens) stifled individual personality.
>>
>
>I think at this point we understand what Heartfield means by "individual
>personality". It has little to do with Marxism,

' However impressive the
people of this epoch appear to us, they are completely undifferentiated
from one another; as Marx says, they are still attached to the navel
string of the primitive community'

Engels, 'Origin of the Family...'


> With
>respect to technological backwardness, this is a truism and hardly worth
>commenting on.

On the contrary, it was a discussion on this list, which Louis P
contributed to at length.

> With respect to morality, I am not aware of Marx dwelling
>much on this question outside of the context of the need to establish
>communism.

A common misreading of Marx. Because he eschewed a fixed moral order, it
does not follow that Marx has no moral goal - on the contrary, the goal
is human development, of yes, free individuals (quite how Marxism got
counterposed to freedom is a mystery to me). Where Marx's morality
differs from say Kant, or the medieval church, is that his is open-
ended.

> Now one could read into Heartfield's selective quotations and
>possibly conclude that if the Aztecs et al were bellicose, why wring one's
>hands over the rape and pillage wrought by the Spanish invaders?

Well, I presume you did not want me to reproduce the whole thing. But
what is it that you mean here? That Marx did not write these things?
That the Aztecs did not engage in human sacrifice? That the Iroquois did
not engage in bloody wars against other native Americans? Or that
evidence of these atrocities should be supressed? Do we want to
understand native American society, or idealise it?

As to the rape and pillage wrought by the Spanish invaders five hundred
years ago, I must say it leaves me wholly indifferent. None of the
perpetrators lives. It is at most of historical interest. 'Let the dead
bury their dead' I say. On the other hand, the social inequality created
in that historical transition is with us today, and that we can do
something about.

>I plan to offer my own reading of the history of the genocide against
>Native Americans and subject the standard Marxist interpretation to a fresh
>re-evaluation. My sources will be scholarly histories of today, not
>selective quotes from Marx. 

I look forward to reading it. 
-- 
James Heartfield

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