Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Radically Speaking

Re-airing an archived post from 2010, with corrections and additions to birth data used in my original post.

Socialism. In the USA nowadays 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. 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 all been featured in this blog in the past (relevant posts can be found by clicking on "socialism" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar) they 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! Of course, there had been just as much of it before then. As far back as history has been written, the ordinary man in the street or man in the field has been treated badly by those "above him". Serfdom in mediaeval times in 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 January 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 (on right in photograph) 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
(on left in photograph above) 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 these three German radicals. Maybe there'll be an interesting link between them. Birth data for all 3 (now updated/corrected) taken from Astrodatabank. Times of birth may or may not have been rounded up, for all are "on the hour".

Moses Hess born 21 January 1812 in Bonn, Germany at 5.00 pm.

Friedrich Engels born 28 November 1820 in Barmen (now Wuppertal), Germany, at 9.00 pm.

Karl Marx born 5 May 1818 in Trier, Germany, at 2.00 am.

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, and/or its sign of rulership, Aquarius. The two younger men were born with Uranus conjunct Neptune, as were all of their generation (illusion, delusion, creativity) in Sagittarius - sign of the philosopher. In the case of Hess, his Sun was (just) in Aquarius, with Uranus in Scorpio, in harmonious trine to Mars and Pluto.

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

Part of the reason Engels and Marx got on so well is likely reflected in the placements of their natal Moons : in Virgo for Engels, in trine to Karl Marx's Moon/Sun in Taurus.

If the time of birth for Karl Marx is accurate, then Aquarius rising defines him. His 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. Mercury, next door in its home sign of Gemini would lighten and loosen things quite a lot, at least in his communication style, while still retaining an inner entrenched position.

Many other chart factors could be taken as significant individually, but here I'm mainly interested to discover whether any link exists between the three charts.


mike said...

Last week while you were contemplating magic brownies, a group of doctors announced their support of a single-payer health plan:
Single-payer was Obama's original version of the Affordable Health Act, but the Republicans in congress insisted on maintaining the middle-men, private insurers (aka private insurance lobbyists doing their jobs). Of course, The Bern is pushing single-payer, too. Interesting case in Colorado, with their Amendment 69 for single-payer, and the enormous backlash from the private insurance industry:

Several of my neighbors are horrified by socialism and have made comments in the past about their abhorrence of socialized anything. They brought it up, so I usually take advantage and remind them that lil' Bush implemented one of the largest socialist programs in American history with his Republican, economic stimulus programs bailing-out the financial and auto industries. Too big to fail is not an option in a capitalistic society, but survival of the fittest is.

There's also a problem when it comes to lil' Bush's "faith-based" charities program receiving federal dollars to support their programs. Not the best interpretation of separation of state and church. Socialism wearing the beard of religion.

Socialism carries the same fear as public restrooms for transsexuals' usage. The horror!

Twilight said...

mike ~ I did notice a couple of headlines about the group of doctors supporting "single payer". It's encouraging to know that there's an undercurrent of discontent, even among the professional health care people. At present the entire system is so tightly rigged that such support will likely remain academic.

Americans have been taught to abhor the word socialism. Sad and true - even most of the better educated, who ought to know better, seem to have an inbuilt horror of it.
McCarthy did it! Maybe the next generation will bring with it a necessary change of mindset.

I'm not in favour of total socialism, but a balance of well-regulated capitalism and socialism.

mike (again) said...

You said, "...even most of the better educated, who ought to know better, seem to have an inbuilt horror of it."

No...they're busily pushing their anti-socialism, pro-corporatism agenda:

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Ew!! That is SOME revelation! Thanks for the link. Bernie ought to make is more widely known by mentioning it in his campaign speeches.

I'm still bog-eyed from reading my fellow-Brit Andrew Sullivan's l-o-n-g piece mainly about Trump/Trumpism.

In the early paragraphs he makes some decent points, but he waffles on far too long and comes to the rather ridiculous conclusion that we actually need the elites to "save us from ourselves"...."us" of course being the peasantry tottering dangerously on several rungs beneath elites such as himself. :-/

What pissed me off even more than that, though, is the fact that he mentions Bernie once in 7.500 words - and describes him as "a demagogue" - dearie me! Anyone less demagogue-like I find it hard to imagine, and anyone more full of himself than Andrew Sullivan I also find it hard to imagine. Dang!!