On one Monday evening in Oxford I was asked if I would like to purchase a Big Issue by a street vendor. After handing over the cash I noticed that the front story was on the riots which prompted the vendor to ask me: “What did you think of the riots?” adding, “The last person I spoke to with dreadlocks thought they were a good thing.”
This is the first problem that I have encountered many times in arguing my standpoint: Cliche
How can I be certain that calling myself ‘Left Wing’ or a ‘Marxist’ or a ‘Communist’ is not precisely what is expected of me. Furthermore, how do I know that this is not being capitalised on by the very system that I wish to oppose because by fitting into a certain role, have I not become a target market?
This leads me to my second problem: Conformity
If I wear Dreadlocks, buy Marxist Penguin Classics and listen to resistive music – am I not simply doing what is expected of me as a irate consumer? How much do my actions in resisting capitalism actually resist; and how much do they simply support the system I abhore
And to my final problem: Contradiction
“We cannot afford not to be utopian” – David Harvey
It usually takes the form of someone pointing out that I complain about Capitalism and yet seem to fully enjoy its benefits (being on the right side of the tracks) and therefore am clearly not as against the system as I appear to be. But, at least to this, I have an answer. I would rather be attempting to change the system than simply give up and let it carry on. I would rather believe that human kind can achieve better than this. I would rather be utopian than part of the unthinking majority.