Thursday, May 01, 2014

"You say socialism like it's a bad thing!"

Today a post from the archives gets another airing:

Socialism. In the USA this word ranks alongside colonoscopy as something citizens would least like to experience. The fact is though, socialism is nothing more than an attempt to re-balance a system which has become too heavily weighted on one side - the side of the powerful and wealthy, against the interests of ordinary people. If a system remains in just balance there's never a need for socialism or any similar -isms. Just as colonoscopy can, in the right circumstances, be A Good Thing, so can socialism.

John Reed, Abbie Hoffman, Saul Alinsky, Emma Goldman have been featured in posts on this blog in the past, under a heading "US Radicals" who embraced socialism as an ideal. They, surely, were influenced by the writings of an earlier group of radicals originating in Germany: Moses Hess, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.The driving force behind all these radically minded individuals was a wish to correct imbalance and injustices heaped upon ordinary working people by the ruling and wealthy classes - whether these were in the form of royalty, dictators, land owners, wealthy capitalist employers or religious leaders.

In the 19th century, as the industrial revolution got underway, there was much injustice and imbalance around. But then, as far back as history can take us, the ordinary man in the street or man in the field has been treated badly by those who liked to assume they were "above him". Serfdom in mediaeval Britain and Europe was much the same as African-American slavery in effect. As centuries trundled on, philosophy and radical thought began to trickle down......

Moses Hess, the eldest of today's featured trio to some extent influenced both Engels and Marx. He was born in Bonn on 21 June 1812, to Jewish Orthodox parents, soon drawn to philosophy and particularly philosophical socialism. Hess played a prominent role in transforming Hegelian theory by conceiving of man as the initiator of history rather than as a mere observer. He was reluctant to base all human destiny on economic causes and class struggle, and he came to see the struggle of races, or nationalities, as the prime factor of past history. He was responsible for converting Engels to Communism, and he introduced Marx to social and economic problems.

Friedrich Engels was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen (now Wuppertal), Germany. His father had interests in textile mills in England. Already active in radical causes when he met Karl Marx in 1842, Engels was soon influenced by this man who he saw as a more original thinker than himself.

During the 1840s Engels spent a period working as a manager at one of his father's mills in the north of England. Shocked by the conditions working people were forced to live in, he wrote his first prominent work, "The Condition of the Working Class in England" published in 1844. For anyone who has no knowledge of working class life in 19th century Britain, there's an extract from Engel's writing on the Dante-esque scenes of Old Manchester at this website. In 1847 Marx was asked to write a document proclaiming the principles of communism; Engels collaborated and helped write the now famous Communist Manifesto. In 1850 Engels returned to England to run the factory of which he was now part owner. During this time he also provided assistance to the then poverty stricken Karl Marx who had been driven from Brussels for his revolutionary activity.

Karl Marx was born to Jewish parents in Trier, Germany, on 5 May 1818. He studied law and at some point was introduced to the writings of G.W.F Hegel. Marx was especially impressed by Hegel's theory that a thing or thought could not be separated from its opposite. For example, the slave could not exist without the master, and vice versa. Hegel argued that unity would eventually be achieved by the equalizing of all opposites, by means of the dialectic (logical progression) of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. This was Hegel's theory of the evolving process of history.

Marx met Moses Hess, a radical who called himself a socialist, and began attending socialist meetings organized by Hess. Members of the group told Marx of the sufferings being endured by the German working-class and explained how they believed that only socialism could bring this to an end. Marx had become a close friend of Friedrich Engels, who had just finished writing a book about the lives of the industrial workers in England. Engels shared Marx's views on capitalism and after their first meeting Engels wrote that there was virtually "complete agreement in all theoretical fields". Marx and Engels decided to work together. It was a good partnership, whereas Marx was at his best when dealing with difficult abstract concepts, Engels had the ability to write for a mass audience.

A look at the natal charts of the three featured German radicals. Maybe there'll be an interesting link between them.

Marx is the only one for whom Astrodatabank offers a time of birth, so the other two charts are set for 12 noon.

The planet most astrologers would expect to see prominent in such charts as these is Uranus - the rebel, the avant garde, the anti-status quo planet. The two younger men were born with Uranus conjunct Neptune (illusion, delusion, creativity) in Sagittarius - the sign of the philosopher. In the case of Hess, Uranus was in Scorpio, but would have been conjunct his natal Moon (inner self), either tightly or loosely, whatever his time of birth.

In Engel's case, as well as being conjunct Neptune, Uranus is also conjunct Mercury (communication "to a mass audience") and Mars (drive & energy)and in the same expansive Sagittarian cluster as his natal Sun (self).

Part of the reason Engels and Marx got on so well has to be the placements of their natal Moons : somewhere in Virgo for Engels - more likely than not in trine with Marx's Moon/Sun in Taurus. Even if not in close trine, their common Earthy Moon would be a significantly compatible link.

If the time of birth for Karl Marx is accurate, it puts Uranus close to mid-heaven. Aquarius rising defines what we know of him, and the ascendant degree is in harmonious sextile to Uranus, Aquarius's modern ruler. Taurus Sun conjunct Moon is something of a surprise - but what it does signify is a determined and stubborn nature, though Mercury nextdoor in its home sign of Gemini could lighten and loosen this quite a lot - at least in his communication style, while still retaining an inner entrenched position.

Lots of other chart factors could be taken as significant individually, but Uranus does seem to be an obvious link here.


mike said...

It's interesting that humans have always allowed or required a hierarchy of power and-or control. The notion of individual, social, economic, and political freedom is extolled, but not practiced, which is ironic...the unachievable goal. All of the "-isms" work perfectly on paper, but miserably fall apart when applied.

The dominant male-female syndrome with sub-group rankings found throughout most animal species is part of the human DNA, too, and apparently impossible to intellectually over-rule at this point in our evolution, if ever. This game of thrones and followers is found in all groupings: economic, political, religious, employment, etc.

The Japanese have some interesting aspects applied to business management: "ringiseido", which distributes decision making practices more homogeneously, but still maintains levels of power. Perhaps this is reflected in their politics and social ordering, too. The Japanese have never been exempt from power abuses, but have historically integrated more equanimity into their social orderings.

Greed, avarice, and that dirty X-gene prevent humans from experiencing the benefits of any excellent concepts, whether communism, socialism, or capitalism. All three have excellent merit and if one truly ponders and contrasts each with the others, they essentially have the same end-result. The humans get in the way of the practical application. Humans are not inherently capable of sharing resources equally, which would result in a level social, economic, and political ordering.

Sex, drugs, and money make the world go 'round.

LB said...

Twilight ~ I notice all three men have strongly aspected Chirons in Pisces - also Pluto in Pisces.

Hess and Engels also had significant oppositions involving Chiron and Pluto along the Virgo-Pisces axis.

I think Uranus/Aquarius can sometimes get lost in the world of big ideas and abstract concepts, with little patience for practical details or effort - and with less compassion for (and/or awareness of) the needs of the individual. Placements along the Virgo-Pisces/6th-12th axis might have informed their passion for social justice in more practical, compassionate ways.

Having natal Pluto in Pisces must have a similar feel to natal Pluto in the 12th - I know how that feels.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, all the -isms look good in theory, until we humans get at them and screw 'em up.

What seems to happen then is often a seesaw effect, total or modified - things gradually go all one way, either to extreme tipping point or almost there, resulting in either bloody revolution or some crafty "just enough to keep the peasants quiet" changes, or negotiation/deception among leaders. i.e. attempt to find some balance, or an all-out forced reversal of direction, depending on depth of passions aroused, level of discomfort and injustice felt, and temperament of those involved.

We should be coming up for one or t'other within the next decade or two, unless changes occur which are out of human control. It'll be unlikely to follow old patterns exactly though. I doubt we shall ever see the likes of the three men feature this post again.

Twilight said...

LB ~ The three are all part of the Pluto in Pisces generation, and with Chiron, you're right - that would have added a strongly compassionate note to their more intellectually-based revolutionary theories. A good mixture for their times!

David said...

Nice blog and given the current political state in the US quite brave. If only there were more posts like this one.

Twilight said...

David ~ Thank you!

ex-Chomp said...

Americans have been completely deviated about the real meaning of socialism which, in their opinion, is like dictatorship while it deals with a different way of organizing the economy.

As you know, while politics in America is less violent than in Europe, in economy debates are viral and mad, a sort of sacred doctrine is involed in all this.

And socialism touched the sacred milestone on which America has been founded, this narrative states, commonly accepted in America, that is the very point.

So all is less surprising that in America common opinion about socialis is totally deviated.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ Hi! All true. Plus, socialism has been equated with communism since Joe McCarthy poisoned minds here - that along with the good reason you've outlined still hangs over the USA like a murky cloud of distrust.

Politics here is less violent than in Europe, because here the brainwash over many decades has taken a much firmer hold - that's my view anyway. :-/