Bourgeois Ideology

Part 1 - Metaphysics

Date: 6 Nov 2022

Author: Indescribled

Tags: N. America, Philosophy

The bourgeoisie—the rich ruling class—controls the narratives that the masses see. Ukraine, China, the DPRK, socialism, communism, capitalism, unions, trans rights, abortion, student loans, climate change—pick a topic, and the average United States citizen thinks about each one as the capitalists want them to. They cannot put a name to the system of thought that they are implicitly taught to believe—metaphysics—and many cannot correctly explain the same topics that they are taught to hate such as socialism. Living under capitalism, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, teaches and reinforces the thinking that things are stagnant, unchanging, and isolated.

Bourgeois rule is reinforced by teaching metaphysical thought to the masses; which is done implicitly through media, schooling, and so on. Metaphysical thought holds that all things are static, isolated, one-sided, and that the qualities of things are stagnant. Thinking in a static way implicitly upholds bourgeois rule, for example the belief that there will always be and have always been rich and poor groups in society. We working and oppressed people are told that with enough hard work we can move from one group to another, but the idea of removing a group or restructuring society is never part of the messaging; the question of socioeconomic prosperity is abstracted and individualized—rendering it impotent in the face of systemic oppression. The messaging is that capitalist society today will be the structure of society forever and there is nothing anyone can do about it at a fundamental level. What does the messaging look like?

One of the prominent methods by which the ruling class reinforces the stagnant thinking they want the masses, the working class, to hold is through the portrayal of history as a collection of events that happened because of random, spontaneous, and isolated decisions and coincidences. It is no surprise that throughout American schools, history is taught as many scattered, random, and unrelated events. World War I started because of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The United States expanded across the country because of Manifest Destiny. Iraq was invaded because of weapons of mass destruction. Russia invaded Ukraine because Putin wants to take over Europe. The analysis that we receive of these events is metaphysical, and rarely looks into what caused the events and what unfolded afterward. What were, for example, the material effects of the US-led bombing campaign in Yugoslavia? We as Marxists know that events are connected and have consequences, leading to and influencing future ones. Russia did not invade Ukraine on a whim by Putin. We can examine the historical context in the area and see NATO expansion toward Russia’s borders for the past three decades, the growth of fascism and Nazism inside Ukraine, attacks on the Donbass region, and more. We are first and foremost opposed to war - there are no excuses for the horrors; we mention the history around the conflict in Ukraine to highlight that communists saw it coming, and our calls for peace were ignored. There are countless connected events that lead up to the invasion of a country, it does not happen due to chance or a single event. The unconscious practice of metaphysics is how history is phrased and shown to the masses—as scattered, random, and unconnected. Students are taught to understand history in a metaphysical way and the media shows it in the same manner, which has been clearly demonstrated during the special operation in Ukraine.

Another example we can look at is the way the mainstream media presents the historic events unfolding in our own time, such as the New York Times' recent article titled "We Are Suddenly Taking on Russia and China at the Same Time". The function of these screeds, these modern pieces of yellow journalism, is to make it seem as if, out of the blue, the United States was in opposition to China starting only on October 12, 2022—before that there was no conflict between the two countries. These statements ignore decades, generations of developments—whether it be Chinese socialism in opposition to the imperialism of the United States or the fall of the Soviet Union and expansion of NATO across Europe toward Russia, they perpetuate the idea that events suddenly occur. 

In stark contrast to the notion of “spontaneous history,” we will here highlight that in March of 2021, amid a never-ending series of provocations and escalations, the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China politely reminded NATO that the Chinese people are still owed a blood debt for the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Serbia in 1999, killing three, and injuring over a dozen others. Many Chinese maintain still today that the bombing was intentional.

Xu Xinghu and his wife Zhu Ying, and Shao Yunhuan, Victims of the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in 1999

Francis Fukuyama took the static, metaphysical interpretation of the development history one step further when he declared the neoliberal dream of the End of History following the illegal dissolution of the Soviet Union. The idea of the End of History is that society has essentially developed as far as it will. What we have today is what we will have forever—capitalism, rich and poor classes, inequality, imperialism, hunger, climate disaster, and more. Much to the dismay of the imperialists, history has not stopped developing. Massive strides have been made over the past 30 years in all five existing socialist countries today. 

History has not ended, nor can it possibly end. 

— Xi Jinping

A common myth perpetuated by the ruling class is that human nature is inherently greedy—the belief that human nature is static and isolated. Human nature, just like history and all other things, is not static nor isolated. Human nature is closely related to our material conditions. Today, a large amount of greed exists, because capitalism encourages and rewards and encourages competition, greed, and exploitation. If we were to look at a snapshot of human nature in pre-class society we see a much different picture; human nature was more harmonious. The material reality, the conditions we live under, heavily influence our thoughts and mentalities. Human nature is what it is today because of generations of exploitation. As society develops toward socialism and then communism, human relations will change from highly exploitative to highly cooperative, societal development always continues. Our current society was not built in a day nor will it be fixed in one, but over time our society and its members will work for the benefit of everyone—not just the ones that own businesses and factories.

In class society, everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class. 

— Mao Zedong

Another impact of the metaphysical, stagnant thought that there have always been rich and poor classes is that the working class feels powerless to change their oppressed situation—C’est la vie! Metaphysically, the thought of only rich/poor classes existing is the concept that something is one thing—it cannot and will not be another, the only changes possible are quantitative changes within each class. The reality is completely different—the working class has all the power to change their conditions. Workers are not taught what they are capable of, they do not learn of the revolutionary successes of the masses around the world over the past centuries and the successes that continue today. Qualitatively transforming the class structure from oppressed worker into the oppressor of the capitalists, a phenomenon referred to as the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, paves the way to the dissolution of all class society. The only events that workers see, especially recently, are ever-rising corporate profits and individuals’ actions driving history—making the workers think that the only way to change their situation is by attempting to join the bourgeoisie themselves. “No one wants to work anymore” and “work harder” are two common tropes that are hurled at the working class, making them think that the situation is just or acceptable simply because they have not seen any different in their lifetimes. 

The bourgeoisie controls the narratives, and they do so in a way that reinforces and protects their rule. The masses are taught to think metaphysically—that things are stagnant, unchanging, and isolated. Understanding the tactics of the bourgeoisie is necessary for Communists to be able to identify, combat, and counter the bourgeois narrative. Marxism shows, and history proves, that being oppressed by the bourgeoisie is not all there is to life, that human nature truly can change, and that a better world is possible.