I was very interested in Andrew Martin’s analysis of the language of Marx and how it seems apposite in today’s political climate:
In this article he analyses the phrase squeezed middle as a description of the middle classes in our country, who are more hard pressed than others in time of economic difficulty.
There is purity to the language and world picture of Marx, which filtrates out of society the basic model that defines the way our lives interact of a macro scale. Marx’s model is as relevant to day as it ever was. Previously in this blog I have written about the media and the means of production and Marxist exploitation on X Factor. I have written a novel about commodity fetishism and the lumpenproletariat.
Marx believes that alienation from species essence is a systematic result of capitalism. It is possible we are entering a phase of post capitalism where this alienation is being eroded by a sense that we are connecting again to a sense of communal economics and a communal society, mainly achieved through work and play on the Internet.
We have all felt a sense of alienation in out lives before; in mine, I was in my 20’s, living alone and reading Nausea by Jean Paul Satre. Many people’s psychological models of reality are heavily influence by the media, which informs us of everything we know about the world outside our own immediate social relations. Young people’s worldviews are heavily influence by the worlds of media and celebrity, insofar as the whims and diktats of those public and private forces determine everyday choices they make, from hair colour to music choice, from bodily self-image to the way they present themselves to strangers – many teenagers will not describe themselves as teenagers, but would rather present themselves as currently on the lowest rung of a career as a DJ, rapper, singer, model or actor, based on sketchy mixes disseminated on YouTube and cameraphone self portraits posted on Facebook. We are neurally linked to a reality picture the media had networked us into, and divorcing our minds from that dimension is as impossible and horrid to contemplate for young people as the worst existential nausea.
Andrew Jenkins self diagnoses alienation in himself. It is possible there is alienation, and that it is this classically Marxist alienation that started the riots over the summer. It is possible there is wider alienation amongst society, but that would be impossible to detect as these people are by definition beyond our visibility anyway, secluded as they are in private miseries that we cannot justify the cost of interrupting with good news.
A degree of social engineering would be welcome from those who have the capital concentrated in their hands, to create a media model of society that does not frustrate young people into smashing windows because they have not had a number one single before their 19th birthday. Whilst many of these young people might not actually know the blackest horrors of the abyss we all know may exist if we get society wrong, that is not to say that their turmoil is not real. An inclusivist model must be found to prevent alienation, in the Information Age, or the Age of Instant Celebrity, to give everyone the freedom to think inside the boxes the media have secured their minds inside. A possible reason for the riots was that media forces and editorial lines from bearded media fat cats screaming at us from newsstands cramped young people’s heads into a state of agonising stress that needed to be vented. This should never be allowed to happen again.