In the midst of Marxists

By Yvonne Santy

It was really nice to meet him because I felt the appreciation in his handshake before we exchanged emails. I was there to find out what The Marxist School of Sacramento is all about and Seth was there to better inform me. Of the others who showed up that night, it appeared I was the youngest pupil. I would surely learn a thing or two tonight at my first time at The Marxist School of Sacramento.

I was given a glossary of terms to supplement the video we watched entitled Capitalism Hits the Fan. I was grateful to be spared the embarrassment of asking for definitions. I have to admit that I never really cared about Marx and his ideas when I first heard about him. As I looked at the words “labor-power” and “surplus-value” I flashed back to high school, where I associated Karl Marx with images of bombs and people on strike. I had seen these terms somewhere before but was probably too busy passing notes to my best friend. “Whatever,” I thought. I had other things to care about. Like my hair.

Well, whatever turned into six years later and I now find myself interested in the current financial crisis of the nation because I can finally see for myself this economy is wack. Now I’m a member of the working class, Marx’s ideas actually interest me.

What I learned at The Marxist School: Referring to the current national issue as a “financial crisis” actually limits the situation that did not start and will not end with banking.In the 1930’s. Attempts like the stimulus check failed because quick fixes do not saving the economy. Hmm…I wonder where that $600 tax return I received a few years ago actually went?

The video also touched on how the standard of living improved as a reflection of American exceptionalism, how people lost jobs after being replaced by computers, and how individuals and businesses were left traumatized as the working class put in more hours of work only to start borrowing more money. After the last part of the video presented the idea that re-regulation of the economy was not going to work the class broke into discussion.

Upon our verbal exchange, one woman pointed out that the film did not contain any bits of suggested organizing. Another gentleman stated how hard it was to get the general public to talk about and understand capitalism when they are not experiencing it. He said that younger people are disillusioned.

Being of the younger, disillusioned generation, frustrated by my ignorance, I asked the man guiding the lecture, “So, what’s your hope for this school?”

“You,” he replied.

Me? I did not understand and I felt like like saying “I am not worthy.”

Then I realized… I am an American, a consumerist by nature. I am also a returning student more concerned with attaining an education than fighting for a dollar, and I think I like the idea behind The Marxist School of Sacramento.

They try to avoid having discussions on topics that people have to buy material for and they steer way from books because they are not easily available. The Marxist School of Sacramento has a monthly publication (check out monthlyreview.org), guest speakers in class, and hosts discussions at the SMUD building which are open to the public. If you want to learn more about, or at least better understand, Marxist thought then you may want to come to school every third Thursday of the month. I’ll save you a seat and we can exchange notes instead of pass them to and fro.

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