Re: [OPE-L] The HM [Haunted and Mysterious] Conference

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Oct 26 2005 - 00:00:49 EDT

> Marx was clearly referring to vampire bats, who live off other
> animals by sucking their blood: the analogy was intended to imply
> that capitalists were parasites.

Hi Ian:

While I agree that the analogy was intended to suggest that
capitalists are parasites [NB: one could claim that in _any_
class society, the ruling class is parasitic], I do not agree with
your suggested interpretation -- especially the assertion that
Marx was "clearly" referring to vampire bats.

Against that interpretation, I offer the following:

1.  Even during Marx's time and culture, the meaning of  "vampires"
and "vampire bats" had two quite different meanings.

2.  As far as I can determine, Marx never referred to vampire

3.  Let us recall that Marx used the vampire analogy _repeatedly_
throughout his life.   A  listing of  the works where he referred to
vampires includes:

-- Justification of the Correspondent from the Mosel (1843)

-- The German Ideology (1845)

-- The Holy Family (1845)

-- Neue Rheinsiche Zeitung, No. 297 (May, 1849)

-- Class Struggles in France (1850)

-- 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1852)

-- Letter to Engels (6/22/1867)

-- The Civil War in France (1871)

If you read these other instances in which he referred to vampires,
I think it's pretty clear that he was referring to vampires,
not vampire bats.

4.   The analogy that he was making regarding capitalists and
workers was of a member of one _species_ preying upon
members of the _same species_.  Even though vampires are
undead, they were once living human beings, not an altogether
different species.  In this sense, the vampire bat analogy would
not work as well for what Marx was trying to convey.

5.  The analogy to vampires  has a lot more literary flair and
meaning within the culture of Marx's time than the more
mundane analogy to vampire bats.

Would you care to re-consider?

In solidarity, Jerry

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