Hi there, and welcome to the Marxian Matrix!
If you despise spineless politicians and are wary of false appearances, I think you will enjoy yourself here. What we discuss is not necessarily a pleasant thing, but I want to make it as close to real as possible. No politically correct bullshit, no identity politics and no social justice crusades.
So let’s make it real, right now. I belong to a class of people who must sell their time and bodily life in order to survive. Ours is a class where we must pay the rent/mortgage and buy the food necessary for our survival: we do not have these things and we cannot produce them for ourselves. In Marxian terms, we lack the means of production. So to get these things, we go to work for the whole day so that we may come home and go work again the next day.
Sometimes, a few of us manage to find some free time, and I’m among those, at least for now. Others have a nice fat pension waiting for them, or cool benefits, or a very good salary with which they can buy 95% of the merchandise out there. In short, a lot of those of us in the working class have attained a certain level of comfort which makes life seem tolerable.
But I think we all have those moments, more or less every day, where we get a fleeting feeling that something is not ok. “I’m ok, but I don’t feel ok.” We wait for this to pass and we are so glad when it does. But it regularly comes back, and there is such a visceral solidity to it that we know deep down that we’re not tackling something.
It’s hard to find a reason to really tackle it, mostly because we don’t exactly know what it is. This is where Marx comes in, and this is the reason why we’re calling this the “Marxian” Matrix. I’ve been a reader for my whole life, but, until not so long ago, I’d never touched Marx because I had always told myself that whatever he was saying, it had led to a degree of human destruction in history that was unjustifiable. A few years ago, I finally had a class on Marx at an academic level, and that changed everything.
I felt ALIVE when I read him. I couldn’t possibly understand it: I’d already been “captivated” by a book, fiction or not, but I hadn’t ever really felt bursting with vitality. It was hard reading and complicated to decipher, but I took the time and at the end, I felt HEALTHY. So the first thing I want to do with this publication is to try to pass on this feeling, because I believe Marx feels healthy because he can teach us what this “thing” is that we need to tackle.
I believe that the only way to pass on this feeling, other than reading Marx’s Capital in the right place and at the right time, is to analyze the world we live in systematically. This is the “Matrix” portion of this publication’s name. Be it in biology, in geology or in mathematics, the notion of a matrix points to a context, material or abstract, in which particular elements are embedded. I think we could also call this a totality: that background sum of notions indispensable for all thought and action.
In our case, we will attach our attention to the social matrix, to those social relations within which we are embedded. I think these objective relations work a lot to structure and limit how we think and act, but I also believe just as strongly that we have to get out of objectified relations and talk about the objectifying nature of human action and what that means for us in terms of opening the horizon of our actions.
While this may seem a lofty objective, I want to find out just how hard it is to accomplish. We’re wary of false appearances, remember?
So here’s what I offer to you, reader. There will be at least one weekly “feature” article, where I go in-depth about a Marxian reading of our social matrix. My highest ambition is to write these in such a way so that they form a coherent and continuous mesh with all previous and future feature articles, while still being readable in themselves and offering interesting angles of analysis. The first of these will be a deep analysis of the Matrix trilogy: it is only fitting to pay a tribute to a movie whose subject is that very feeling of knowing deep down that we’re not tackling something; not only that, but I’m not aware of an elaborate analysis of the movie nor the trilogy through Marxian lens; finally, it’s a great way to introduce you to Marx himself.
In addition to this, I hope to include some minor content every day, be it a small commentary about recent events, a few jokes that you all can enjoy or some seemingly unrelated content that really baked my noodle that day. There will never be any ads nor any other commercial interests present: we are among citizens here, consumers belong in the mall.
In return, I ask for your honest engagement: questions, commentaries, rebuttals. I want this publication to be a place that nurtures the association of ideas and of bodies for collective action.
In the eventuality that this publication survives the initial shock of its birth, I will provide a way for caring readers to contribute to its material sustenance.
Ultimately, in this collective action and in the present act of writing, it’s a way for me to define who I am and what I know, through what I do. It is the same for you.