Stuart Smithers—a professor of religion at the University of Puget Sound and occasional Stranger contributor—has a provocative article in Adbusters about Buddhism, Marxism, and why some people react so anxiously/defensively when they hear arguments that capitalism is not, in fact, inevitable—and may, in fact, come to an end.
Also discussed: cubicles, a post-work world, the Chinese invasion of Tibet, "well-dressed hungry ghosts," John Maynard Keynes, Occupy Wall Street, and JPMorgan Chase's $4.6 million contribution to the NYPD (to "strengthen security") during the months when OWS organizers were readying for the occupation of 1 Chase Plaza:
When the Dalai Lama announced his Marxist leanings last summer in Minneapolis, the only surprise was how surprising it was. The blogosphere was once again stirred up by this non-revelation...
There have been few silver linings to the Great Recession and America’s own “jobless” recovery, but Marx’s return is certainly one of them. Marxists are stepping out of the academic closet in greater numbers, and new life is being breathed into his ideas. Capital is a dish best served cold.
It was either Fredric Jameson or Slavoj Zizek (nobody seems totally clear on the point) who first suggested that it’s easier for people to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. It was definitely Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of Britain who insisted that the world needed to realize that THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE (TINA) to capitalism.
The current version of Marxist amnesia stems partly from the sudden demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the remarkable transformation of the economic culture in China. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, Margaret Thatcher repeatedly declared that liberal democracy and capitalism had triumphed over communism and the historical struggle between the two political systems was over—capitalism, as the last man standing, was the only viable ideology.
But the declared death of Marxism and communism—and the eternal triumph of capital—was perhaps just a wee bit premature...