Building on my last post, the BP oil disaster is a good example of how Marxism is a particular way of approaching the world. All over the media you see this portrayed as a lack of responsibility on the part of particular corporations and workers. In other words, the event is individualized. What Marxist analysis reveals is how such apparently individual events are effects of the systematic functioning of capital (likewise with our environmental problems). This difference in perspective is not without concrete consequences. The first perspective leads to legal action against individuals, the latter to new regulations. The financial collapse has largely been discussed through the perspective of the greed of banks, rather than a systematic tendency of capital accumulation. This has had a profound impact on how governments have responded.

In comments to my last post, Mikhail has made a number of interesting points. In particular he points out that revolution is never expected. With this I agree, with the caveat that Marxism attempts to formulate a four-dimensional topography of the present that maps attractors, bifurcation points, or tendencies within the social field through which change might be produced. By “four-dimensional” I am referring to the unfolding of time in the present. Through such a topography of tendencies it hopes to strategically intensify these tendencies through political practice.