It is reasonable. You can grasp it. It’s simple.
You’re no exploiter, so you’ll understand.
It is good for you. Look into it.
Stupid men call it stupid, and the dirty call it dirty.
It is against dirt and against stupidity.
The exploiters call it a crime.
But we know:
It is the end of all crime.
It is not madness but
The end of madness.
It is not chaos,
It is the simple thing
That’s hard to do.
Bertolt Brecht In Praise of Communism
The aim of Midwestern Marx, like the final statement of Brecht’s poem, is a simple one that is quite hard to do. The aim is to fill the void in American society that is directly impeding the advancement of history, the void of a working class in the circles of radical thought, and of radical thought in the working class.
We see the source of this disconnect, unlike most on the socialist left today, not on the inability of workers to commit to an anti-capitalist sentiment, but rather on the inexistence of a left that truly aims at the heart of capitalist society. Today’s American left is a senior patient of the Sisyphus Syndrome Institute for the Powerless. It seems like every few years a movement begins in which the possibility of attaining power seems plausible and dissipates by the time we become conscious of the apparent possibility itself. The thing is that the tragedy is not in the failure itself but in the inability to, as Beckett would say, “fail better”.
We believe this inability to fail better is the result of the hegemony of what is considered ‘New Left’ socialism. New Left socialism, although undeniably making great contributions in the spheres of Marxist cultural critique, whether of modernity or post-modernity, has a foundational flaw, that with its hegemonizing, has cursed the American left into this position of a static repetition of failures. The flaw’s centrality has led this New Left socialism to represent a safe synthetic critique of capitalist culture. One which in varying from the root of the issue has become a mere controlled pocket of capitalist ideology, that is on the surface presented as a radical critique, while in reality being completely compatible with the apparent object of critique. To be paradoxical, it is a socialism in line with the one-dimensionality of capitalist society.
We have beaten around the bush, but now the question lays, what is this flaw? The flaw, as mentioned at the beginning, is one that requires a simple fix, given that it is merely a variable which throws the whole answer to the equation of emancipation off. This variable is the agent of revolutionary action. It is the conception of what class in society has the potentiality to be the heart of emancipation. The traditional Marxist left understood that it was the industrial or agricultural working class that could serve this role, the New Left socialist believe these sectors have become reactionary or opportunistic, and thus since the mid 1960 have turned their attentions to other part of the working masses, which traditionally would’ve been loosely called the lumpen proletariat. Now, the case we are attempting to make here is not that we ought to forget about these aspects of the working masses, or that they are not important in revolutionary struggle and should be dismissed. Rather, the point to be made is that the class of workers with the potential of striking a knife through the heart of capitalism is the same one as was conceived of by Marx and many Marxist after him. This class is the one that deals with the direct production of commodities, not the ones that work in the post-production sectors. To prove this, let us consider a simple thought experiment.
If American industrial workers have a general strike, all sectors of the economy fall. If a general strike of teachers, waiters, or retail workers takes place, certain sectors might be shocked, but the rest of the economy will run just fine. This shows us that the amount of power in the hands of the former is unmatched with that of any of the other sectors of the working masses. Thus, any attempt to transcend the current system, if it wants any real possibility to attain its goals, must have this fundamental part of the working class on its side. I repeat, this does not mean we must disregard other sectors, for they too are important and suffer capitalist exploitation sometimes even more than industrial workers themselves. Rather, we must end this conception that this ‘traditional’ working class is reactionary, opportunistic, or whatever else we keep telling ourselves to not focus our organizational efforts in those sectors. What this has resulted in is not only the inability to attain power, but also for this sector of the working class to fall for the rhetoric of fake right wing populism, as in the case of Trump, Boris Johnson, or Bolsonaro.
Stemming from this inability to recognize the power in the working class, we have the ‘deemed for failure’ inversion of the traditional Marxist formula of economic organization as the preceding necessity to political struggle. This means that what we have also seen as a result of this previously mentioned theoretical error, is the tactical error of the attempt to attain political power without having achieved economic organization in the key revolutionary sector of the working masses. We believe that with the recentralization of the industrial working class the theoretical and tactical errors can be realigned towards an actual potential of capitalist transcendence, or in the least, towards the type of failure that opens up the possibility of a non-failure.
Concretely, the aim of Midwestern Marx is (1) to recentralize the concept of the industrial working class as the heart of the revolution, (2) promote the economic organization of this sector in specific, but of the working masses overall as well, and (3) do so through philosophy, what Marx considered to be the “head of the emancipatory body”. Given our material standing within the Midwest (specifically within Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois), our direct setting of praxis will take place here. This means that certain works will have particular aim at this Midwest context. Regardless, we aim at having even the particular pieces based on the Midwest promote ideas that can be generalized to a wider context. The other works will be of general use to all, whether of philosophical, politic, or historic nature.
In summation, in Contributions to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction Marx states that “Just as philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat, so the proletariat finds its intellectual weapon in philosophy”. This is precisely the goal of Midwestern Marx, the reconciliation of philosophy’s material weapon and of the working class’ intellectual one, both truly being one and the same but of overall absolute necessity in the struggle against capitalism.
 Herbert Marcuse, one of the fathers of this New Left, was a critic of what he termed as one-dimensional society, a society in which all things are shaped to fall in line with the logic of the existing system, and those that don’t are dismissed (he extended this concept to Soviet society as well).
 Although primarily the focus is on the industrial proletariat, Marx himself recognizes the revolutionary potential of the peasantry, this can be seen in the last section of The 18th Brumaire on Louis Bonaparte. After studies in anthropological texts, like Morgan’s Ancient Societies and Kovalevsky’s works, Marx also began to see a revolutionary role in the communard communities, something which has been shared by 20th century Marxist like José Carlos Mariategui and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.
 In Hegel directly, although I would argue in dialectical thought overall, we see the distinction between the failure that serves as a procedural step for truth, and the one which does not. We can see Hegel speak of this kind of failure midway through the preface of the Phenomenology of Spirit.
 In Contributions to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction Marx states in respect to Germany (although definitely generalizable) that “Philosophy is the head of this emancipation and the proletariat is its heart.”