Concrete issues

Chris Cutrone

Originally published in abridged form as a letter in Weekly Worker 1042 (January 22, 2015). [PDF]

Not Weberian

Mike Macnair’s January 15 letter comes closer than his December 18 article to the concrete issues with which I have been concerned in my writings on democratic revolution, the contradiction of capital, and the issue of political party for the Left. It’s evidently possible that I have written on these issues poorly or at least unclearly. But that does not mean that I should be saddled with conventional misreadings of the Frankfurt School or Lukács. I wrote my PhD dissertation on “Adorno’s Marxism” and addressed there the prevalent and glaring misinterpretation of Adorno that neglected or misunderstood his Marxism 보통연애 mp3 다운로드. But I am not a historian and so I approach the issue at the textual level of theoretical “ideas” rather than tell a story of influences and development. If Adorno had a critique of Lukács, it was not against Lukács’s own (Marxist) critique of Weber, with which Adorno agreed. — So, no “Weberian Marxism” there. Lukács and Adorno disagreed with Weber that capitalism was aporetic theodicy, a wrong turn and dead end beginning with the Protestant Reformation and its “work ethic,” but followed Marx in considering capitalism as constrained revolution become self-contradictory, which is different. For Lukács and Adorno, Weber was counterrevolutionary. Was Weber a “bourgeois liberal?” Certainly not in the sense of Benjamin Franklin. For Weber, capitalism would continue “until the last ton of fossil fuel is burned up.” Not so for Lukács and Adorno, who continued to regard capitalism as “dialectical” and subject to change and not one-dimensional Bible text. I’ve tried to lay out the political categories for this.

Police state

I agree with Macnair that the difference between Hegel and Marx is “concrete,” but not in terms of “method” but what changed historically between Hegel and Marx’s time. This change was “capitalism,” meaning, for Marx, the Industrial Revolution. Regarding my use of categories in the “Marxist” rather than “colloquial” sense, this doesn’t mean that Marx et al. never used terms colloquially. But they did use them in specific and, to those unfamiliar, peculiar ways. One such category is “the state,” which Lenin, following Marx, defined strictly as “special bodies of armed men.” This does not mean the legislature, judiciary or even the government bureaucracy. The “state” for Marxists is not the “rule of law.” It is the “special bodies of armed men.” Prior to the failed revolution and Bonapartist resolution of 1848, in the Communist Manifesto, Marx had characterized the state as the “committee for managing the affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” But after 1848 the essence of the state was revealed to be rather the “special bodies of armed men.”

One concrete issue that demonstrates this specifically Marxist sense of “the state” is the new rise of police forces in the early 19th century, and not previously Happy me downloaded mr. This was meant to be according to the liberal “Peelian Principles” that however have never been realized but only violated. It is not a coincidence that the police arose during the Industrial Revolution, nor that they have always betrayed their original liberal principles. This goes to the issue of “Bonapartism,” in the Marxist and not colloquial sense. Specifically, about Louis Bonaparte or “Napoleon III,” not Napoleon Bonaparte the First, and hence about 1848 and its aftermath, not the Great French Revolution: Louis Bonaparte’s gang of criminals became the perfect police force for the capitalist state in the 19th century. Marx asked why, politically.

Trotsky called the USSR under the Stalinized Communist Party, not “totalitarian,” but a “police state,” and a “criminal” one at that — criminal against the revolution. This wasn’t an accident but of necessity. Trotsky wrote that where there is a line for bread there must be police to maintain order. The “police” in question was the Party’s own Central Control Commission under Stalin 경로추적 및 파일 다운로드. The Party itself was the primary object of repression in the USSR as a “police state.” However, if the USSR is not regarded as a “police state,” then perhaps a Gulag — a prison? Foucault wrote, in Discipline and Punish (1975), of how from its original inception in the early 19th century the prison has violated its intended principle of labor rehabilitation, and that in its “austere institution” one could nevertheless still hear the “distant roar of battle” — of the Revolution of 1848 and its failure. For Foucault, the prison is the parodic “farce” of the “tragedy” of industrial labor: it was punitive “discipline” for its own sake — and not Franklin’s or even Jeremy Bentham’s ideal. Furthermore, for Foucault in this “carceral” society starting in the 19th century, “power” leads to either “politics or prison.” The police state and its prisons are “Bonapartist” in Marx’s sense: counterrevolutionary, undemocratic, and illiberal; politically repressive uvlayout 다운로드. It is a nihilistic travesty of bourgeois society. It is a symptom specific to capitalism — to the 19th century — and the failure to transition from the Industrial Revolution to socialism in the crisis of the 1840s.

1848 crisis

Regarding the failure of 1848, Marx wrote, in The Class Struggles in France 1848-50, that,

Just as the period of crisis began later [elsewhere] than in England, so also did prosperity. The process originated in England, which is the demiurge of the bourgeois cosmos. [Elsewhere] the various phases of the cycle repeatedly experienced by bourgeois society assume a secondary and tertiary form. . . . Violent outbreaks naturally erupt sooner at the extremities of the bourgeois body than in its heart, because in the latter the possibilities of accommodation are greater than in the former 사전 파일. On the other hand, the degree to which revolutions [elsewhere] affect England is at the same time the [barometer] that indicates to what extent these revolutions really put into question bourgeois life conditions, and to what extent they touch only their political formations. On this all the reactionary attempts to hold back bourgeois development will rebound just as much as will all the ethical indignation and all the enraptured proclamations of the democrats.

I think that this grasps recent history very well, with regard for instance to the Wall Street crash and resulting Arab Spring and Occupy. Marx does not serve merely as a description of the crisis of the “hungry 1840s” and the resulting Revolution of 1848, but of the historical trajectory of bourgeois society in capitalism more generally — “world historically.” What this means is that bourgeois-democratic revolution in the “extremities” will fail the degree to which it does not “put into question bourgeois life conditions” in the “heart” but “touch only their political formations.” This will be to “all the ethical indignation and all the enraptured proclamations of the democrats.” This was Marx’s estimation of the necessary “revolution in permanence” revealed by 1848 Mamma Ai. The bourgeois revolution was not finished but in crisis in capitalism. Marx was Marx because of his formative historical moment, the 1840s, which remains with us: Marx’s critique of 1848’s failed democratic republicanism still tasks us.

Still revolutionary

To return to my primary thesis to which Macnair has not yet responded, the question of revolutionary politics and capitalism, Rosa Luxemburg, in Reform or Revolution (1900), pointed out that the state in the bourgeois epoch was the product of revolution, and continued to be informed in its action by the energy of that revolutionary origin. This was true in capitalism as well, and so affected politics. Even Luxemburg’s Wilhelmine Prussian Empire was the product of revolution — of 1789 if not 1848. In 1806, Hegel had regarded Napoleon’s “history on horseback” in liberated Jena and popped a champagne cork to celebrate. The most important political party of Wilhelmine Prussia was the SPD, which was the only legitimate political inheritor of the revolutionary energy of 1789 and the new, continued tasks of 1848 미스터션샤인 23회.

If the Hegelian dialectic had become for Marx “ideological” by the mid-19th century then this was due to capitalism, and not a “thought error” by Hegel. What was once a bourgeois dialectic of freedom had become falsified in capitalism as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Marx indicated as early as the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts that he was concerned with how the original bourgeois-revolutionary categories had been betrayed in capitalism — that is, since the Industrial Revolution — and that he was proceeding to critique such bourgeois categories “immanently.” The problem with Hegel as with all bourgeois-revolutionary thought was that it became merely formal or “abstract” as a description of the concretely changed society of capitalism, which was thus a crisis of bourgeois society and its categories of self-understanding. Such categories had come to merely describe and hence affirm, and so were no longer critical, revolutionary insights into the potential emancipatory transformation of society.

No anachronism

The problem with retrospective and hence anachronistic critiques of Hegel et al. is that they neglect precisely this concrete historical change in capitalism 스마트폼 이미지. Capitalism is a concrete issue that Hegel’s as all revolutionary bourgeois dialectical categories could not adequately grasp in their self-contradiction in capitalism. This was true in practice and not merely in theory. So what was once a productive dialectic of freedom between the individual and the collective in society, or between liberty and equality or justice, for Locke and Rousseau and their revolutionary followers such as Smith and Kant in the 18th century, became instead a destructive antinomy of unfreedom and crisis in 19th century capitalism. Such self-contradiction indicated for Marx and his followers a potential change originating from within bourgeois society, not outside it: still the bourgeois revolution’s struggle for liberal democracy, but in self-contradiction. This contradiction was for Marx expressed not only by communism but in capitalist politics as well. Today’s advanced capitalist countries are ruled by a police state that calls itself liberal and democratic, and indeed still regards itself as revolutionary — at least in the U.S 소아정신의학. For Marx and for later Marxists this contradiction of the bourgeois revolution arose also within the working class’s own political parties. I think this is still so, necessarily and not accidentally, remaining to be worked through. Marx’s dialectic goes beyond Hegel’s because capitalism goes potentially beyond bourgeois society. | §

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