Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We Need To Talk...Marxism

After reading works discussing Marxism by Eagleton, Althusser, and Wyllie, it is clear that Marxism is about abolishing the current ways in which society works in order to create a more equal world. Marx believed that the only way to begin a revolution against the current system of society is to first be consciously aware of the inequities that exist within the system and recognize oppression. In addition to that, there should be an action to change the situation once such oppression has been recognized. This is a theory called "praxis" by Freire, which Wyllie defines as linking "the work of critical reflection on the situation of oppression with action which changes that situation in a concrete, objectively verifiable way" (Wyllie p. 2). One systematic change that is crucial to a Marxist revolution seems to be a change in the way societies communicate. As Wyllie recounts, Freire focused a good deal of his work on the way people communicate. In the current system, those in power do not converse with the classes below them, but instead issue "communiques", or announcements/orders of some sort. Freire recognizes that in order for there to be revolution, there must be true change and leaders must communicate with everyone instead of at them. He believed that "revolutionary leadership must dialogue with the people and avoid the temptation to issue communiques themselves" (Wyllie p. 12). Marxism is based off the ice that the system needs to be changed in order to eliminate any imbalances in power, and one of the most important aspects of such societal change is an alteration in communication.

My artwork depicts this idea of changing the system of communication in order to move towards Marxist revolution. On the left is the current system in which the person (or people) in power at the top of the social pyramid issue commands at all those below them. On the right is a more equal form of communication in which people are conversing with each other, while reflecting on the ideas discussed in order to initiate change.

What other social constructs could be changed with a change in the way we communicate? What would it take to make such a drastic change? Is a true Marxist revolution even possible?


  1. K-dizzle, I like the way you explain the ideal form of leadership communication , "Freire recognizes that in order for there to be revolution, there must be true change and leaders must communicate with everyone instead of at them." It seems like Marx's concern was the separation of educated scholars and students, and perhaps the circle of communication (the right side of your drawing) was still happening between scholars and their colleagues, but not shared with those below them. Ideally, knowledge would not only be shared and exchanged, but monetarily speaking it should be converted to enable ideas to be expressed in an understandable way for everyone, like simplifying a 19-page essay.

  2. Yes, the communicate WITH instead of communicate AT model is such a nice nutshelling of this Marxist pedagogy. And your final questions are spot on...though I would really like to know a bit more about what YOU think about the answers, since this post doesn't give away too much of your opinion... :)

    1. I definitely think that Marxism is right on with believing that a change in communication is key to making other changes. Communication affects every part of life, so a change in communication could potentially produce change in countless other social constructs. However, I think that in order to change in the way that Marxism urges us to change is nearly impossible to accomplish completely, or if it is, it would take centuries. There would have to be full commitment to changing the way we think and reconstructing our entire society for hundreds of years. Because of this, I don't think a total Marxist revolution is possible. Our society is already too deeply ingrained in us.

  3. In response to your questions I would even go as far as saying that a revolution created with communication is already in affect today. Our educational system in the United States has often been formatted in much the same way as the people on the left side of your artwork. The teacher stands at the top as the all knowing and all powerful leader and the students form orderly beneath him for the chance to be on top one day themselves. However now that our system has started creating situations for teachers and students to communicate more efficiently we are finding that our old form of education is flawed. All it took was for the students of the past to start communicating with the teachers of the present and everything starts to change. We are in no way finished with our transformation but I would still argue that it is a revolution that has been a long way coming.