“Community,” as I so often see it used in Gainesville, is a term that mostly makes people forget that we are not together (com) as one (un). The demographics of Volta patrons and the demographics of tent city or Bo Diddley Plaza’s permanent residents are almost never together-as-one.
In short, I get annoyed with “community” from the mouths of liberals in the same way I do at “buy local.” Sure, buy local, but don’t give yourself even one pat on the back–you are not solving society’s problems in doing so. You are making it a nicer place for other privileged liberals, and not in any way for the poor.
Because Gainesville’s alleged community requires all sorts of class conformity, requires money to participate in, it is a community for the privileged and therefore, ultimately, not only not a place where they are welcomed but in fact an obstacle around which those excluded must navigate.
What I’m saying is, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to hear about Gainesville’s “community” from anyone who doesn’t recognize that we live in a system that necessarily destroys the possibility of a real and inclusive community-of-all-Gainesville.
I think I’m beginning to get a deeper understanding of Marxism from reading Engels’s The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (I should say that I’m also currently reading Draper’s Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, volume 1, which doesn’t hurt.)
Society really does adopt discrete political forms depending on the complexity of its economy. And those “steps” or stages of economy really do occur more or less sequentially and discretely. Virtually every human society lived under the gens, then the monarchy, and now the newest form of politics, the one that necessarily accompanies a global economy built on colonialism and then neocolonialism, the global bourgeois democracy.
And I understand better and more intuitively how politics follows from economics, and the idea that socialism really does exist inside of capitalism in the same way capitalism grew out of feudalism just by the feudal economies doing what they naturally did and growing in the ways they were bound to given the way they work.
And I understand now why Marx was so excited by the Paris Commune, because he saw for one moment a distinctly new structure spring up. It proved that there was a political form possible and ready to accompany a new economic form.
So to see where and how a new political form is going to spring up, you watch the places where the economic form has been proceeding for long enough that it seems to be shredding the old political form and the way it works (for instance, the monarchic state emerged in Athens because a growing trade economy had displaced so many people so frequently that it was impossible to have a political form based on lineage and kinship and necessitated a new state that was based on where one lived). So what is shredding the way bourgeois democracy works? What is making bourgeois democracy most unable to rule as it has tended to? What is most thwarting or confounding the expectations/heuristics/strategies of global bourgeois democracy? And where is this happening?
Where in the world is political power accruing most readily to forms of proletarian power?