The tendency toward the denigration of "vulgar materialism" in Marxism explained via apartment tenants being assholes to each other
The position of the contemporary Marxist seems at times like that of a person living on the first floor of a house, who turns to the tenant of the second floor and says: 'You think you're independent, that you support yourself by yourself? You're wrong! Your apartment stands only because it is supported on mine, and if mine collapses, yours will too'; and on the other hand to the ground-floor tenant: 'What are you saying? That you support and condition me? What a wretched illusion! The ground floor exists only in so far as it is the ground floor to the first floor. Or rather, strictly speaking, the real ground floor is the first floor, and your apartment is only a sort of cellar, to which no real existence can be assigned.' To tell the truth, the relations between the Marxist and the second-floor tenant have been perceptibly improved for some time, not because the second-floor tenant has recognized his own 'dependence,' but because the Marxist has reduced his pretensions considerably, and has come to admit that the second floor is very largely autonomous from the first, or else that the two apartments 'support each other'. But the contempt for the inhabitant of the ground floor has become increasingly pronounced.
- Sebastiano Timpanaro, Sul Materialismo (1970)