Chris Cutrone

Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation. ( . . . )

Articles by month

Article dates

October 2020
S M T W T F S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

James Vaughn interviews Chris Cutrone on post-neoliberalism (George Washington Forum Radio podcast audio)

download srook

Chris Cutrone

September 12, 2020 | George Washington Forum Radio podcast Episode #2

Chris Cutrone (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) joins George Washington Forum Radio to discuss Trump and U.S Download the gif image. politics, the present crisis of neoliberalism, and the global shift toward post-neoliberalism.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

All episodes at: https://gwfohio.org/gwf-radio/ 

Subscribe to George Washington Forum Radio Android | RSS

신도라에몽 Download Master Cam 2017 Apple QuickTime player

Kautsky in the 21st Century (audio and video recordings)

The legacy of Karl Kautsky

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a Platypus Affiliated Society on-line public forum panel discussion with Adam Sacks (Jacobin magazine contributor), Ben Lewis (Communist Party of Great Britain) and Jason Wright (Bolshevik Tendency) on Saturday September 5, 2020.

For me, the question of the legacy of Karl Kautsky’s Marxism is not as a Marxist, but rather as the Marxist. He was the theorist, not of capitalism or socialism, but of the working class’s struggle for socialism, the social and political movement and most of all the political party that issued from this movement and struggle Latest 2019 August. Kautsky articulated the historical and strategic perspective and the self-understanding of the proletarian socialist party. He helped formulate the political program of Marxism — the Erfurt Programme in which the German Social-Democratic Party became officially Marxist — and explained it with particular genius. He was not a theorist of German socialism but rather of the world-historic social and political task of socialism, for the entire Socialist International 지 파일.

He was rightly if ironically called the “Pope of Marxism,” and this meant as a world political movement, indeed of the world party for socialism, in every country. For instance his writings converted the American socialist Eugene Debs to Marxism. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Trotsky and countless others learned Marxism from Kautsky Download the softwareserial.h library. Kautsky provided the theoretical self-understanding and strategic vision for all Marxists and for the broader socialist movement led by Marxism throughout the world, precisely when Marxism was a mass form of social struggle and politics, and precisely when this was so in the core metropolitan advanced capitalist countries.

In this respect Kautsky was one of the greatest political leaders of all time, in all of world history. However, he was the leader of a movement that failed, for Marxism failed Download Minecraft 1.12.1 apk.

This makes Kautsky a peculiar historical figure, and makes his thought — as we inherit from his writings — a specific kind of object and legacy. Kautsky explains something to us that no longer exists, namely the mass socialist political party and the class struggle for socialism of the working class, aiming for the world dictatorship of the proletariat taking over and transforming global capitalism Gx log viewer.

Kautsky’s Marxism summarized and appropriated the entire history and experience of the socialist workers’ movement up to that point, namely, the radical tradition of the bourgeois revolution, the industrial social visions of the Utopian Socialists, the unfinished tasks of the failed revolutions of 1848, the civil collective and social cooperative movements of labor organizers and anarchists, and the party as what Ferdinand Lassalle called the “permanent political campaign of the working class” aiming to win the “battle of democracy.”

But the history of socialism had exhibited antagonisms and conflicts between its various aspects and protagonists. The disputes within socialism were considered by Marxism such as Kautsky’s as not mere differences and disagreements, but rather expressed the self-contradictory character of the struggle for socialism and its tasks. The question was how the working class must work through such self-contradiction.

One catch-phrase from 19th century history preceding Kautsky was “social and political action.” Kautsky understood the proletarianized working class’s struggle for socialism to require both kinds of activity, and moreover sought to combine them in the political party for socialism and its associated civil-social movement organizations. This is what Kautsky and the greater Second International Marxism meant by “social democracy,” a legacy of the unfulfilled tasks of 1848, to achieve the “social republic.” Marxists understood this to require the independent political and social action of the working class leading the broader discontented, exploited and oppressed masses under capitalism.

Otherwise, the task of socialism in capitalism was liable to fall out into an antinomy of having to choose between social movement activism and political activity. It was Kautsky’s Marxism’s ability to comprehend and transcend this antinomy and achieve the combined tasks of both.

This is what the subsequent socialist movement since Kautsky’s time — since the failure of Second International Marxism — has foundered upon, starting at least as early as the 1930s Old Left of Stalinism and reformist Social Democracy, and especially since the 1960s New Left and its eschewing of the tasks of building the political party for socialism.

The historical wound of this history we face is that the Kautskyan political party both made the revolution and prosecuted the counterrevolution. Both Social Democracy and “Marxist-Leninism” — Stalinism — are descended from Kauskyan socialism — from this history of Marxism.

But rather than engaging and trying to work through the problematic legacy of Kautsky’s Marxism, socialists and the greater Left — and indeed democracy — has drawn back and retreated from it — avoided it.

The reason the question of Kautsky’s legacy specifically as well as that of Marxism more generally returns periodically is that it represents the unfinished work and task of history that must still be worked through.

In one way or another, we must engage the tasks — and contradiction — of social and political action in capitalism that points beyond it to socialism. So long as this task remains we will be haunted by Kautsky’s Marxism. | P

The fate of the American Revolution (audio and video recordings)

American Psycho

Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard, Pamela Nogales, James Vaughn

2020 summer lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society

Panel Discussion by the lecturers James Vaughn, Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard and Pamela Nogales

The red thread running through the lecture series, and the question discussed in this final panel among the lecturers, is the persistence and legacy of the revolution 사전 파일. How does Marxism appear today in light of the American Revolution, and vice versa?

Background reading:
Chris Cutrone, “The American Revolution and the Left” (2020)
https://platypus1917.org/2020/03/01/the-american-revolution-and-the-left/

perl 미션 임파서블 강호정 다운로드

The philosophy trap (Is theory good for anything?) Zero Books interview (audio and video recordings)

3DMax

Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation 나혼자 레벨업 텍스트 다운로드. He returns to the Zero Books channel to discuss his 2014 essay “Defending Marxist Hegelianism against a Marxist critique” and to discuss the role that critical theory should play in the struggle for socialism Nintendo Switch nsp.

Suggested reading:

Mike Macnair, “Lukács: The philosophy trap,” Weekly Worker 11/21/13 https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/987…

Chris Cutrone, “Defending Marxist Hegelianism against a Marxist critique,” Weekly Worker 8/11/11
https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/878…

Georg Lukács, Original Preface (1922) to History and Class Consciousness (1923)
https://www.marxists.org/archive/luka…

Chris Cutrone, “Why still read Lukács 브라운아이드소울 right 다운로드? The place of ‘philosophical’ questions in Marxism” (2014)
https://platypus1917.org/2014/02/01/w…

Suggested viewing:

Chris Cutrone, “CPGB contra Lukács” teach-in at SAIC, 1/11/14 https://youtu.be/kKt3zePUtMI

걸어서 세계속으로 평양 다운로드

The legacy of the American Revolution: The Gilded Age (audio and video recordings)

Chris Cutrone

Audio recording available at: https://archive.org/details/gilded-age-7-17-20

The Legacy of the American Revolution 2020 summer lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society

6.) Chris Cutrone on the Gilded Age and Second Industrial Revolution

The retrospective view from the present allows for regarding the 20th century as the outcome of the Gilded Age — of the Second Industrial Revolution 나루토 만화 다운로드. We still live in the after-effects of the crisis that conditioned the 20th century. The inability to overcome the discontents of capital from a century ago still swamps us today Download kakaotalk animated emoticons. In the late 19th century U.S., the Second Industrial Revolution was governed by the Republican Party, which was the combined party of progressive liberalism and big capital Download the rain to walk through the night. Progressivism emerged as a reform effort from within the Republican Party against manifest problems of Gilded Age capitalism in the 1890s–1900s — most dramatically under President Theodore Roosevelt and his run for reelection as a Progressive in 1912 Download netflix computer. In America and Europe, discontents with the Gilded Age capitalism of the Second Industrial Revolution manifested in the Socialist Parties of the Second International log4net.dll 다운로드. Liberal capitalism was opposed by a mass industrial workers politics — for instance the Socialist Party of America of Eugene Debs.

Lecture based on Cutrone’s essay “The end of the Gilded Age: Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution today,” available online at:
<https://platypus1917.org/2017/12/02/end-gilded-age-discontents-second-industrial-revolution-today/>

The Jeffersonian American Revolution (audio and video recordings)

Chris Cutrone

The recent protests against police brutality have raised questions about the revolutionary character of the United States. Platypus argues that any revolution in America for human emancipation would have to build on the legacy of 1776 and not 1619. We see the erasure of 1776 as a fundamental acquiescence to defeat 커피프린스1호점. This is why today we are making the case for 1776 and the promise of liberty yet to be fulfilled.

The red thread running through the lecture series is the persistence & legacy of the revolution. We ask: How does America remain a revolutionary society? How did each chapter of American history give a new impetus to the revolution that began in 1776 페도라 12 iso? Our approach to the American Revolution and the subsequent history of the polity it founded is from the perspective of the bourgeois revolution and its crisis in the Marxist philosophy of history.

Chris Cutrone’s presentation from the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum panel discussion on the American Revolution and the Left, February 22, 2020, at Columbia University, New York:
<https://platypus1917.org/2020/03/01/the-american-revolution-and-the-left/>


Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), some quotations

“He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither Download Planet Escape. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.”
— Thomas Jefferson, original draft of the Declaration of Independence (1776)

“I go right back to the equality clause. It is ‘all men are created equal.’ I think that’s the key one. And that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of happiness — it’s difficult to know 베어링 3d 다운로드. It’s not quite — he isn’t a pleasure-seeker. And yet he knows that freedom is happiness too. That liberty will enable you to pursue happiness. And how grand it is that in a capitalistic country like this, that he did not follow Locke and have life, liberty and property. And that mystery of the pursuit of happiness suits me just fine winzip 다운로드. If the equality clause will trouble us a thousand years, as [Robert] Frost said [in North of Boston, ‘The Black Cottage’ (1915)], if it’ll trouble us, then the pursuit of happiness will mystify us forever. And I like the trouble and I like the mystery. And that suits me just fine about Jefferson.”
— James Cox in Ken Burns’s PBS documentary Thomas Jefferson (1997)

“Whatever else the Civil War was for
It wasn’t just to keep the States together,
Nor just to free the slaves, though it did both.
She wouldn’t have believed those ends enough
To have given outright for them all she gave.
Her giving somehow touched the principle
That all men are created free and equal.
And to hear her quaint phrases — so removed
From the world’s view to-day of all those things.
That’s a hard mystery of Jefferson’s.
What did he mean? Of course the easy way
Is to decide it simply isn’t true.
It may not be. I heard a fellow say so.
But never mind, the Welshman got it planted
Where it will trouble us a thousand years.
Each age will have to reconsider it.”
— Robert Frost, “The Black Cottage” (1915)

“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. . . . And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
— Jefferson, Paris, November 13, 1787

“The tone of your letters had for some time given me pain, on account of the extreme warmth with which they censured the proceedings of the Jacobins of France. . . . In the struggle which was necessary, many guilty persons fell without the forms of trial, and with them some innocent. These I deplore as much as any body, and shall deplore some of them to the day of my death. But I deplore them as I should have done had they fallen in battle. It was necessary to use the arm of the people, a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree. A few of their cordial friends met at their hands, the fate of enemies. But time and truth will rescue and embalm their memories, while their posterity will be enjoying that very liberty for which they would never have hesitated to offer up their lives. The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest, and was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood? My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam and an Eve left in every country, and left free, it would be better than as it now is.”
— Jefferson, Secretary of State, letter to William Short, U.S. Ambassador to France, January 3, 1793

“I do not permit myself to take part in any new enterprises, even for bettering the condition of man, not even in the great one which is the subject of your letter [the abolition of slavery], and which has been thro’ life that of my greatest anxieties. the march of events has not been such as to render it’s completion practicable within the limits of time alloted to me; and I leave it’s accomplishment as the work of another generation. and I am cheared when I see that on which it is devolved, taking it up with so much good will, and such mind engaged in it’s encoragement. the abolition of the evil is not impossible: it ought never therefore to be despaired of. every plan should be adopted, every experiment tried, which may do something towards the ultimate object. that which you propose is well worthy of tryal. it has succeeded with certain portions of our white brethren, under the care of a [Christian communist George] Rapp and an [Utopian Socialist Robert] Owen; and why may it not succeed with the man of colour?”
— Jefferson to Frances Wright, August 7, 1825

Socialism in the 21st century: Living Art WKPFT Houston 90.1 FM radio interview with Chris Cutrone (audio recording)

Gauss

Michael Woodson interviews Chris Cutrone on capitalism, post-neoliberalism and prospects for socialism in the 21st century, for the radio program Living Art on WKPFT 90.1 FM, Houston, Texas, broadcast in two parts, May 28 and June 4, 2020 강철지그 다운로드. Part 1 addresses the difference between Ancient and Modern or traditional civilization and bourgeois society; Part 2 addresses the new contradiction of capitalism with the Industrial Revolution and the task of socialism Download Narcos Season 1.

“Socialism in the 21st century” article referenced in the interview available at:

https://platypus1917.org/2020/05/01/socialism-in-the-21st-century/

Part 1, May 28, 2020

Part 2, June 4, 2020

Complete unedited audio recording

헤비 거너 I downloaded Seagull

What is capitalism? (audio and video recordings)

A discussion among Dick Howard, Chris Nineham, Shane Mage, Leo Panitch and Chris Cutrone Billboard app. (Chris Cutrone’s prepared opening remarks were his three recent articles on capitalism, “Robots and sweatshops,” “Jobs and free stuff” and “Capital and labor.” [PDF flyer])

The present is characterized not only by a political crisis of the global neoliberal order but also by differing interpretations of the cause of this crisis: capitalism Download private videos on facebook. If we are to interpret capitalism, we must also know how to change it. We ask the panelists to consider the following questions:
– What is capitalism 더트랠리?
– Is capitalism contradictory? If so, what is this contradiction and how does it relate to Left politics?
– How has capitalism changed over time, and what have these changes meant politically for the Left Xml?
– Does class struggle take place today? If so, how, and what role should it play for the Left?
– Is capitalism in crisis? If so, how class-dump-z? And how should the Left respond?
– If a new era of global capitalism is emerging, how do we envision the future of capitalism and what are the implications of this for the Left?

Lenin at 150 (audio and video recordings)

Lenin today

Chris Cutrone

Presented at a Platypus teach-in on the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, April 22, 2020. Video recording available online at: <https://youtu.be/01z8Mzz2IY4>.

ON THE OCCASION OF THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN’S BIRTH, I would like to approach Lenin’s meaning today by critically examining an essay written by the liberal political philosopher Ralph Miliband on the occasion of Lenin’s 100th birthday in 1970[1] — which was the year of my own birth.

The reason for using Miliband’s essay to frame my discussion of Lenin’s legacy is that the DSA Democratic Socialists of America magazine Jacobin republished Miliband, who is perhaps their most important theoretical inspiration, in 2018 as a belated treatment of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917 — or perhaps as a way of marking the centenary of the ill-fated German Revolution of 1918, which failed as a socialist revolution but is usually regarded as a successful democratic revolution, issuing in the Weimar Republic under the leadership of the SPD Social-Democratic Party of Germany. There is a wound in the apparent conflict between the desiderata of socialism and democracy, in which the Russian tradition associated with Lenin is opposed to and by the German tradition associated with social democracy, or, alternatively, “democratic socialism,” by contrast with the supposedly undemocratic socialism of Lenin, however justified or not by “Russian conditions.” The German model seems to stand for conditions more appropriate to advanced capitalist and liberal democratic countries.

Ralph Miliband is most famously noted for his perspective of “parliamentary socialism” But this was not simply positive for Miliband but critical, namely, critical of the Labour Party in the U.K. — It must be noted that Miliband’s sons are important leaders in the Labour Party today, among its most prominent neoliberal figures. Preceding his book on parliamentary socialism, Miliband wrote a critical essay in 1960, “The sickness of Labourism,” written for the very first issue of the newly minted New Left Review in 1960, in the aftermath of Labour’s dismal election failure in 1959, Miliband’s criticism of which of course the DSA/Jacobin cannot digest let alone assimilate. The DSA/Jacobin fall well below even a liberal such as Miliband — and not only because the U.S. Democratic Party is something less than the U.K. Labour Party, either in composition or organization. Miliband’s perspective thus figures for the DSA/Jacobin in a specifically symptomatic way, as an indication of limits and, we must admit, ultimate failure, for instance demonstrated by the recent fate of the Bernie Sanders Campaign as an attempted “electoral road” to “socialism,” this year as well as back in 2016 — the latter’s failure leading to the explosion in growth of the DSA itself 킴스 컨비니언스. Neither Labour’s aspiration to socialism, whether back in the 1960s or more recently under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, nor the DSA’s has come to any kind of even minimal fruition. Thus the specter — the haunting memory — of Lenin presents itself for our consideration today: How does Lenin hold out the promise of socialism?

Previously, I have written on several occasions on Lenin.[2] So I am tasked to say something today that I haven’t already said before. First of all, I want to address the elephant in the room (or is it the 800lb gorilla?), which is Stalinism, the apparent fate of supposed “Leninism” — which is also a demonstrated failure, however it is recalled today in its own peculiar way by the penchant for neo-Stalinism that seems to be an act of defiance, épater la bourgeoisie [shock the bourgeoisie], on the part of young (or not so young) Bohemian “Leftists,” in their deeply disappointed bitterness and antipathy towards the political status quo. “Leninism” means a certain antinomian nihilism — against which Lenin himself was deeply opposed.

An irony of history is that Lenin’s legacy has succumbed to the very thing against which he defined himself and from which his Marxism sharply departed, namely Narodnism, the Romantic rage of the supposedly “revolutionary” intelligentsia, who claimed — understood themselves — to identify with the oppressed and exploited masses, but really for whom the latter were just a sentimental image rather than a reality. Lenin would be extremely unhappy at what he — and indeed what revolution itself, let alone “socialism” — has come to symbolize today. Lenin was the very opposite of a Mao or a Che or Fidel. And he was also the opposite of Stalin. How so?

The three figures, Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky, form the heart of the issue of the Russian Revolution and its momentous effect on the 20th century, still reverberating today. Trotsky disputed Stalin and the Soviet Union’s claim to the memory of Lenin, writing, in “Stalinism and Bolshevism” on the 20th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1937, that Stalinism was the “antithesis” of Bolshevism[3] — a loaded word, demanding specifically a dialectical approach to the problem. What did Lenin and Trotsky have in common as Marxists from which Stalin differed? Stalin’s policy of “socialism in one country” was the fatal compromise of not only the Russian Revolution, but of Marxism, and indeed of the very movement of proletarian socialism itself Vrcano do. Trotsky considered Stalinism to be the opportunist adaptation of Marxism to the failure of the world socialist revolution — the limiting of the revolution to Russia.

This verdict by Trotsky was not affected by the spread of “Communism” after WWII to Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Vietnam, and, later, Cuba. Each was an independent ostensibly “socialist” state — and by this very fact alone represented the betrayal of socialism. Their conflicts, antagonism and competition, including wars both “hot” and “cold,” for instance the alliance of Mao’s China with the United States against Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact, demonstrated the lie of their supposed “socialism.” Of course each side justified this by reference to the supposed capitulation to global imperialism by the other side. But the point is that all these states were part of the world capitalist status quo. It was that unshaken status quo that fatally compromised the ostensibly “socialist” aspirations of these national revolutions. Suffice it to say that Lenin would not have considered the outcome of the Russian Revolution or any subsequently that have sought to follow in its footsteps to be socialism — at all. Lenin would not have considered any of them to represent the true Marxist “dictatorship of the proletariat,” either. For Lenin, as for Marxism more generally, the dictatorship of the proletariat (never mind socialism) required the preponderant power over global capitalism world-wide, that is, victory in the core capitalist countries. This of course has never yet happened. So its correctness is an open question.

In his 1970 Lenin centenary essay, Miliband chose to address Lenin’s pamphlet on State and Revolution, an obvious choice to get at the heart of the issue of Lenin’s Stalinist legacy. But Miliband shares a great deal of assumptions with Stalinism. For one, the national-state framing of the question of socialism. But more importantly, Miliband like Stalinism elides the non-identity of the state and society, of political and social power, and hence of political and social revolution Download it in the wind. Miliband calls this the problem of “authority.” In this is evoked not only the liberal-democratic but also the anarchist critique of not merely Leninism but Marxism itself. Miliband acknowledges that indeed the problem touched on by Lenin on revolution and the state goes to the heart of Marxism, namely, to the issue of the Marxist perspective on the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which Marx considered his only real and essential original contribution to socialism.

In 1917, Lenin was accused of “assuming the vacant throne of Bakunin” in calling for “all power to the soviets [workers and soldiers councils].” — Indeed, Miliband’s choice of Lenin’s writings, The State and Revolution, written in the year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, is considered Lenin’s most anarchist or at least libertarian text. Lenin’s critics accused him of regressing to pre-Marxian socialism and neglecting the developed Marxist political perspective on socialist revolution as the majority action by the working class, reverting instead to putschism or falling back on minority political action. This is not merely due to the minority numbers of the industrial working class in majority peasant Russia but also and especially the minority status of Lenin’s Bolshevik Communist Party, as opposed to the majority socialists of Socialist Revolutionaries and Menshevik Social Democrats, as well as of non-party socialists such as anarchist currents of various tendencies, some of whom were indeed critical of the anarchist legacy of Bakunin himself. Bakunin is infamous for his idea of the “invisible dictatorship” of conscious revolutionaries coordinating the otherwise spontaneous action of the masses to success — apparently repeating the early history of the “revolutionary conspiracy” of Blanqui in the era of the Revolution of 1848. But what was and why did Bakunin hold his perspective on the supposed “invisible dictatorship”? Marxism considered it the corollary — the complementary “opposite” — of the Bonapartist capitalist state, with its paranoiac Orwellian character of subordinating society through society’s own complicity in the inevitable authoritarianism — the blind social compulsion — of capitalism, to which everyone was subject, and in which both and neither everyone’s and no one’s interests are truly represented. Bakunin’s “invisible dictatorship” was not meant to dominate but facilitate the self-emancipation of the people themselves. — So was Lenin’s — Marxism’s — political party for socialist revolution Download one fun man op.

Lenin has of course been accused of the opposite tendency from anarchism, namely of being a Lassallean or “state” socialist. Lenin’s The State and Revolution drew most heavily on Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, attacking the Lassalleanism of the programme of the new Social-Democratic Party of Germany at its founding in 1875. So this raises the question of the specific role of the political party for Marxism: Does it lead inevitably to statism? The history of ostensible “Leninism” in Stalinism seems to demonstrate so. The antinomical contrary interpretations of Lenin — libertarian vs. authoritarian, statist vs. anarchist, liberal vs. democratic — are not due to some inconsistency or aporia in Lenin or in Marxism itself — as Miliband for one thought — but are rather due to the contradictory nature of capitalism itself, which affects the way its political tasks appear, calling for opposed solutions. The question is Marxism’s self-consciousness of this phenomenon — Lenin’s awareness and consciously deliberate political pursuit of socialism under such contradictory conditions.

The history of Marxism regarding rival currents in socialism represented by Lassalle and Bakunin must be addressed in terms of how Marxism thought it overcame the dispute between social and political action — between anarchism and statism — as a phenomenon of antinomies of capitalism, namely, the need for both political and social action to overcome the contradiction of capitalist production in society. This was the necessary role of the mass political party for socialism, to link the required social and political action. Such mediation was not meant to temper or alleviate the contradiction between political and social action — between statism and anarchism — but rather to embody and in certain respects exacerbate the contradiction.

Marxism was not some reconciled synthesis of anarchism and statism, a happy medium between the two, but rather actively took up — “sublated” so to speak — the contradiction between them as a practical task, regarding the conflict in the socialist movement as an expression of the contradiction of capitalism, from which socialism was of course not free. There is not a question of abstract principles — supposed libertarian vs. authoritarian socialism — but rather the real movement of history in capitalism in which socialism is inextricably bound up 인터넷 보안설정. Positively: Lenin called for overcoming capitalism on the basis of capitalism itself, which also means from within the self-contradiction of socialism.

Lenin stands accused of Blanquism. The 19th century socialist Louis Auguste Blanqui gets a bad rap for his perspective of “revolutionary conspiracy” to overthrow the state. For Blanqui, such revolutionary political action was not itself meant to achieve socialism, but rather to clear the way for the people themselves to achieve socialism through their social action freed from domination by the capitalist state.

Miliband is at best what Marx/ism would have considered a “petit bourgeois socialist.” But really he was a liberal, albeit under 20th century conditions of advanced late capitalism. What does this mean? It is about the attitude towards the capitalist state. The predecessor to Bakunin, Proudhon, the inventor of “anarchism” per se, was coldly neutral towards the Revolution of 1848, but afterwards oriented positively towards the post-1848 President of the 2nd Republic, Louis Bonaparte, especially after his coup d’état establishing the 2nd Empire. This is because Proudhon, while hostile to the state as such, still considered the Bonapartist state a potential temporary ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie. Proudhon’s apparent opposite, the “statist socialist” Ferdinand Lassalle had a similar positive orientation towards the eventual first Chancellor of the Prussian Empire Kaiserreich, Bismarck, as an ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie — Bismarck who infamously said that the results of the 1848 Revolution demonstrated that not popular assemblies but rather “blood and iron” would solve the pressing political issues of the day. In this was recapitulated the old post-Renaissance alliance of the emergent bourgeoisie — the new free city-states — with the Absolutist Monarchy against the feudal aristocracy.

The 20th century social-democratic welfare state is the inheritor of such Bonapartism in the capitalist state — Bismarckism, etc. For instance, Efraim Carlebach has written of the late 19th century Fabian socialist enthusiasm for Bismarck from which the U.K. Labour Party historically originated[4] — the Labour Party replaced and inherited the role of the Liberal Party in the U.K., which had represented the working class, especially its organization in labor unions. The Labour Party arose in the period of Progressivism — progressive liberalism — and progressive liberals around the world, such as for instance Theodore Roosevelt in the U.S., were inspired by Wilhelmine Germany that was founded by Bismarck, specifically Bismarck as the founder of the welfare state. Bismarck’s welfare state provisions were made long before the socialists were any kind of real political threat. The welfare state has always been a police measure and not a compromise with the working class. Indeed socialists historically rejected the welfare state — this hostility only changed in the 1930s, with the Stalinist adoption of the People’s Front against fascism and its positive orientation towards progressive liberal democracy.

Pre-WWI Wilhelmine Germany was considered at the time progressive and indeed liberal, part of the greater era’s progressive liberal development of capitalism — which was opposed by contemporary socialists under Marxist leadership. But by conflating state and society in the category of “authority,” further obscured by the question of “democracy,” Miliband expresses the liquidation of Marxism into statism — Miliband assumes the Bonapartism of the capitalist state, regarding the difference of socialism as one of mere policy, for instance the policies pursued by the state that supposedly serve one group — say, capitalists or workers — over others. This expresses a tension — indeed contradiction — between liberalism and democracy. This contradiction is often mistaken for that of liberalism versus socialism, as for instance by the post-20th century “Left” going back to the 1930s Stalinist era of the Communist Party’s alliance with progressive liberals in support of FDR’s New Deal, whose history is expressed today by DSA/Jacobin.

For Lenin, by contrast, the issue of politics — and hence of proletarian socialism — is not of what is being done, but rather of who is doing it. The criterion of socialism for Marxism such as Lenin’s is the activity of the working class — or lack thereof. The socialist revolution and the political regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not for Lenin the achievement of socialism but rather its mere precondition, opening the door to the self-transformation of society beyond capitalism led by the — “dictatorship,” or social preponderance, preponderance of social power — of the working class. Without this, it is inevitable that the state serves rather not the interests of the capitalists as a social group but rather the imperatives of capital, which is different. For Lenin, the necessary dictatorship of the proletariat was the highest form of capitalism — meaning capitalism brought to highest level of politics and hence of potentially working through its social self-contradictions — and not yet socialism — meaning not yet even the overcoming of capitalism.

By equating the capitalist welfare state with socialism, with the only remaining criterion the democratic self-governance of the working class, Miliband by contrast elided the crucial Marxist distinction between the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism. For Miliband, what made the state socialist or not was the degree of supposed “workers’ democracy.” — In this way, Miliband serves very well to articulate the current Jacobin/DSA identification of its political goals with “democratic socialism.” But, like Miliband, Jacobin/DSA falls prey to the issue of the policies pursued by the state as the criterion of socialism, however without Miliband’s recognition of the difference between (social-democratic welfare state) policies pursued by capitalist politicians vs. by the working class itself.

Lenin pursued the political and social power — the social and political revolution — of the working class as not the ultimate goal but rather the “next necessary step” in the history of capitalism leading — hopefully — to its self-overcoming in socialism. As a Marxist, Lenin was very sober and clear-eyed — unsentimental — about the actual political and social tasks of the struggle for socialism — what they were and what they were not.

In harking back to the manifest impasse of the mid-20th century capitalist welfare state registered by Miliband, however through identifying this with the alleged limits of Lenin’s and greater Marxism’s consciousness of the problem, but without proper recognition of its true nature in capitalism, those such as Jacobin/DSA actively obfuscate, bury and forget, not Marxism such as Lenin’s, or the goal of socialism, but rather the actual problem of capitalism they are trying to confront, obscuring it still further.

The “Left” today such as DSA/Jacobin wants the restoration of pre-neoliberal progressive capitalism, for instance the pre-neoliberal politics of the U.K. Labour Party — or indeed simply the pre-neoliberal Democrats. Their misuse of the label “socialism” and abuse of “Marxism,” including even the memory of Lenin and their bandying about of the word “revolution,” is overwrought and in the service of progressive capitalism. This is an utter travesty of socialism, Marxism, and the memory of Lenin.

On the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, we owe him at least the thought that what he consciously recognized and actually pursued as a Marxist be remembered properly and not falsified — and certainly not in the interest of seeking, by sharp contrast to Lenin, the “democratic” legitimation of capitalism, which even liberals such as Ralph Miliband acknowledged to be a deep problem afflicting contemporary society and its supposed “welfare” state. By reckoning with what Marxists such as Lenin understood as the real problem and actual political tasks of capitalism, there is yet hope that we will resume the true socialist pursuit of actually overcoming it. | P

Postscript: On Jacobin’s defense of Miliband contra Lenin

Longtime DSA member and Publisher and Editor of Jacobin magazine Bhaskar Sunkara responded to my critique of Ralph Miliband by interviewing Leo Panitch of the Socialist Register on Jacobin’s YouTube broadcast Stay at Home #29 of April 27, 2020.[5] Sunkara has previously stated that rather than a follower of Lenin or Kautsky, he is a follower of Miliband. Sunkara and Panitch were eager to defend Miliband’s socialist bona fides against my calling him a liberal, but what they argued confirmed my understanding of Miliband as a liberal and not a socialist let alone a Marxist. The issue is indeed one of the state and revolution. It is not, as Panitch asserted in the interview, a matter of political “pluralism” in socialism.

Panitch, who claims Miliband as an important mentor figure, spoke at a Platypus public forum panel discussion in Halifax in January 2015 on the meaning of political party for the Left, and observed in his prepared opening remarks that in the 50 years between 1870 and 1920 — Lenin’s time — there took place the first and as yet only time in history when the subaltern have organized themselves as a political force.[6] In his interview with Sunkara on Miliband, Panitch now claims that Lenin’s strategy — which was that of 2nd International Marxism as a whole, for instance by Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Eugene Debs et al —of replacing the capitalist state with the organizations of the working class that had been built up by the socialist political party before the revolution, was invalidated by the historical experience of the 20th century. Instead, according to Panitch, the existing liberal democratic capitalist state was to provide the means to achieve socialism. This is because it is supposedly no longer a state of capitalists but rather one committed to capitalism: committed to capital accumulation. But Marxism always considered it to be so: Bonapartist management of capitalism in political liberal democracy.

Panitch claims that Miliband’s critique of the U.K. Labour Party was in its Fabian dogma of “educating the ruling class in socialism through the state,” whereas socialists would instead “educate the working class in socialism through the state.” But Lenin and other Marxists considered the essential education of the working class in the necessity of socialism to take place through its “class struggle” under capitalism — its struggle as a class to constitute itself as a revolutionary force — in which it built its civil social organizations and political parties aiming to take political and social — state — power. Panitch condemns Lenin for his allegedly violent vision of the overthrow of the capitalist state and replacing it with a revolutionary workers state — the infamous “dictatorship of the proletariat” always envisioned by Marxism.

Thus Panitch condemns the Marxist perspective on proletarian socialist revolution per se. But the question for Lenin and other Marxists was not revolution as a strategy — they were not dogmatic “revolutionists” as opposed to reformists — but rather the inevitability of capitalist crisis and hence the inevitability of political and social revolution. The only question was whether and how the working class would have the political means to turn the revolution of inevitable capitalist crisis into potential political and social revolution leading to socialism. By abandoning this Marxist perspective on revolution — which Miliband himself importantly did not rule out — Panitch and Sunkara along with Jacobin/DSA do indeed articulate a liberal democratic and not proletarian socialist let alone Marxist politics. | P


Notes

[1] “Lenin’s The State and Revolution,” Jacobin (August 2018), available online at: <https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/08/lenin-state-and-revolution-miliband>.

[2] See my: “The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century: Toward a Theory of Historical Regression: 1917,” Platypus Review #17 (November 2009), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2009/11/18/the-decline-of-the-left-in-the-20th-century-1917/>; “Lenin’s liberalism,” PR #36 (June 2011), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2011/06/01/lenins-liberalism/>; “Lenin’s politics,” PR #40 (October 2011), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2011/09/25/lenins-politics/>; “The relevance of Lenin today,” PR #48 (July–August 2012), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2012/07/01/the-relevance-of-lenin-today/>; and “1917–2017,” PR #99 (September 2017), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2017/08/29/1917-2017/>.

[3] Available online at: <https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/08/stalinism.htm>.

[4] “Labour once more,” Platypus Review #123 (February 2020), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2020/02/01/labour-once-more/>.

[5] Watch at: <https://youtu.be/oBJR3xfmgA4>.

[6] Transcript published in Platypus Review #74 (March 2015), available online at: <https://platypus1917.org/2015/03/01/political-party-left-2/>.