For some time now I have been developing a theory based on Marxism. I cannot say how original it is and whether someone else has come up with it but I have yet to read anything like it. If anyone does by chance find something similar, I would be interested to know to see how it differs.
Marxism has been undermined academically as an inadequate theory of power as it views the world as black and white. This criticism claims that Marx put too much emphasis on class conflict deriving from the economy. Many have argued that there are other factors such as gender, age, race, religion etc are equality or more influential. Whilst this is a strong argument, I do not believe this is enough to discredit Marx entirely. I for one take a Neo-Marxist approach and do believe that class conflict is not purely based on economic factors.
Previous to the Capitalist stage, we saw slavery disappear and Feudalism develop and blur into Capitalism. Marx had this assumption that Capitalism would be the final stage of oppression where finally the Proletariat would break free against the false consciousness caused by the owners of the means of production. Just because this never happened should not be a reason to completely disregard Marxism. I propose that Marx was wrong about two main ideas: the economy was not the only cause for class conflict and that Capitalism was not the final stage of history.
I mean to develop now the idea of capitalism as being the final stage. With hindsight it is not difficult to criticise Marx by saying the revolution never occurred but this is where I believe Marx was wrong. We are no longer in the industrial era of capitalism with factories and production but have entered the Communication Age. The Bourgeois are no longer the people who own factories but they are the people who control ideas and the mass media. An example is Rupert Murdoch. He owns News Corporation, one of the world’s largest and most influential media corporations. He is not only influential in the UK by owning The Sun, The Times, News of the World, The Sunday Times and Sky Television, but owns a mass global network of newspapers and television networks such as the Fox Network in the US. Murdoch exerts control over the contents of the papers ensuring that what is published is pro-conservative and supportive of all his business ventures. In doing so, it is not giving the public a true picture of what is happening in society by his right wing filtering and ignoring certain newsworthy stories. What is very concerning is the way in which he single-handedly can control the direction of a country’s political system by adopting a position during elections. Murdoch has the power to discredit an individual if he chooses in his papers to win support of political parties that fit his right-wing beliefs.
However, during the Communication Age is where we see a step up of the false consciousness. The Proletariat are so disillusioned that they are now happy with their state of life. They no longer want to rebel because they are happy with everything life has to offer. The people are satisfied with their material wealth, however small compared to the ruling classes. The working classes are fed brain rotting drivel such as Big Brother, Pop Idol and Page Three in the Sun that provide all they need. They are so caught up with this rubbish, whilst eating their Big Macs, that they no longer see the bigger picture and in turn no longer mentally able to either. This mental degeneration has created a culture where there are plenty of complaints about society with a feeling of us and them but with no one feeling bothered to do something about it. The media brainwashing has created a culture where personal responsibility has been eroded and no longer a desire to stand up and fight against the oppression. The Proletariat are generally happy with their binge drinking life style and turn against each other. When a class is divided, it no longer sees the bigger picture of the false consciousness and allows the Bourgeois to continue to dominate. One may question why it even matters that this oppression should be stopped if the masses are happy. This misses the point. As we saw before, stages evolve and where the Proletariat may feel no reason to rebel, a time will come when this will change.
It seems that all hope is lost with any revolutionary types readily dismissed as loonies during the Communication Age. Once again, this stage will come to an end. With the mass consumption of all classes, we will eventually move out of the Communication Age into the next stage. The planet has a limit to growth whereby it cannot withstand indefinitely the abuse it takes. To keep up with modern lifestyles, oil is needed and underpins the global way of life. The shift out of the Communication Age will see a move into a stage where there is a fight for resources. I will coin this the Resource Deprivation stage. The division is not slaves and masters, landlords and farmers, factory owners and workers or media providers and media consumers but those with resources and those without. The people with the money are going to be the people who manage well at first. It will be the poor who will go down first who will not be able to provide for themselves but eventually there will be a revolution. The revolution will lead not to only a socialist system but to a new society where sustainable local living will be the only way to continue. It will no longer be possible to continue our way of life and a move back to nature will have to occur. Through our selfish ways of living in the Communication Age, we have forced the next stage upon ourselves with a return to a more or less Utopian state of nature. Man no longer seeks gratification though television but through his local community by working towards common goals of self-provision and looking after his family by providing collectively for everyone. There no longer needs to be big powerful structures and mechanisms of false consciousness so they fall away because they can no longer be administrated through separate local communities.
Marx was right in that there is some form of class conflict in society but it is not always about the economy. The Bourgeois use any mechanism to their disposal to keep their power. I have outlined a theory that encapsulates environmentalism and Marxism to create a Neo-Marxist concept. Whether or not class conflict can ever be removed is debatable as even within the revolution after the Resource Deprivation stage, dominate leaders emerge. I can conclude from this that there are always going to some kind of division in society. It is the role of the people to keep it in check to ensure it does not grow too powerful and convince us it doesn’t exist when it does so it can exploit us further.