Left Forum NYC 2010: Iraq

The Left and prospects for democracy in the Middle East: Iraq

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a panel with Issam Shukri (Worker-communist Party of Iraq) and Ashley Smith (International Socialist Organization) at the Left Forum in New York City, Pace University, March 21, 2010.

American political activist Danny Postel interviewed the British Left historian of the Middle East Fred Halliday in Chicago in 2005. They published the interview under the title “Who is responsible?” This is the question faced by purported “Leftists” internationally. What would it mean to practice a responsible politics on the Left in the face of phenomena like the Iraq war Download Dragon Taming 3 Dubbing?

But we can turn this problem around slightly, in the issue of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, now winding up. The question is, “Who was responsible?” for the war. While the Spartacist socialist radical Karl Liebknecht may have said of Germany in the first World War, “The main enemy is at home!,” he certainly did not think that the German ruling class was the only enemy or the main enemy of everyone, but rather the main enemy for the German Left, especially in the context of the war in which the German working class was held hostage. So the kind of inverted nationalism one sees in today’s so-called “anti-imperialism” is completely foreign to the perspectives of historic revolutionary Marxist politics hp 리커버리 매니저 다운로드. While U.S. policy is certainly responsible, it is not exclusively so. And while the U.S. ruling class and its government may be the “main” or principal enemy for American Leftists, it is not the only one – and, perhaps more importantly, it is certainly not the main or only enemy for Iraqi Leftists. Most have avoided this fundamental truth. But this is a measure of the unseriousness of their “politics.”

Baathism was responsible at least as much as U.S. Republicans and neoconservatives for the Iraq war. This can be demonstrated conclusively to the degree that Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime made two disastrous miscalculations: 1.) in feigning possession of WMDs; and 2.) thinking that it was possible to split Europe from U.S Download php. hegemony and balance one against the other, preserving some breathing room for Baathist Iraq. That Iraqis had absolutely no ability to resist these catastrophic political miscalculations by the Baathist regime is the most fundamental fact conditioning the war. The truth is that the Baathist regime is what made the war possible — perhaps even inevitable — to begin with. The regime was willing to drag the rest of Iraq down with it.

On the Baathists’ political calculus, would it have been better if Iraq had indeed had WMDs, or if Europe had actively opposed the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq 윈도우 10 pe? Were the Russian and Chinese vetoes in the U.N. Security Council in any way progressive or emancipatory in character? Who had the best interest of the Iraqis, let alone their potential emancipation, in consideration in this decisive context? Weren’t the Europeans, Russians (and before them, the Soviets) and Chinese, and not only the U.S., responsible for not only the toleration but the very existence and continued subsistence of the Baathist regime in Iraq?

So the geopolitics of the Iraq war needs to be evaluated in light of Iraq and the greater Middle East, not exclusively and perhaps not even primarily in terms of U.S 동물의숲 nds. hegemony — to which there is no actual alternative anyway. The U.S. was going to remain the cop of the world whether or not it invaded Iraq. That the U.S. risked and did not necessarily enhance its role as global cop/hegemon in invading and occupying Iraq should point this basic fact out clearly enough.

The truth is that all of the neighboring countries were hostile to Baathist Iraq. (This is also true, relatedly, for Iran today, so this is a historical lesson that needs to be learned!) Not only Europe but also Russia and China were no reliable friends of the Iraqis, to say the least Naver heavy dictionary apk. They have long been and remain perhaps worse enemies of the Iraqis than the U.S. has been, as seen in their erstwhile support for Saddam’s Baathist Iraq.

In this situation that the Worker-communist Party has described evocatively as the “dark scenario” for Iraq, we must face the deeper history that has made this possible today. Only in this way can we face squarely the tasks of the present — the potential possibilities internationally for a truly social-emancipatory politics Download the exciting praises. All else remains vain posturing or merely hand-wringing. In the U.S. itself, it is merely high-strung rhetoric covering, in the case of Iraq, a desire to have the Republicans voted out in favor of the Democrats. Now that this has happened, there is embarrassed silence about Iraq on the “Left.” But Obama did exactly what he promised. And the Democrats more generally never offered anything of a progressive-emancipatory alternative to the Republican policy. — This can be seen in Biden’s proposal to divide Iraq into three separate countries, punishing the Sunnis for their resistance by robbing them of access to Iraq’s oil wealth (which is concentrated in the Shiite South and Kurdish North) hp 노트북 터치패드 드라이버 다운로드. Leaving Baathist Iraq alone would have hardly been better for the Iraqis in the long term, if history is any kind of indication.

Why did the Iraq war happen? Because Saddam’s Baathist regime had turned Iraq into a pariah state internationally, and a grotesque house of horrors for its own inhabitants. The Baathist regime was becoming worse not better for the Iraqis as time went on. Saddam was willing to wager the Iraqi people, seemingly without limit, for the continuation of his regime. Did he really think he could outlast the hostility he had generated, not only with the U.S., but also with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and others Spring spring? What was the actual future for Baathist Iraq, if not implosion and civil war, barring (also) foreign intervention of one form or other (if not invasion and occupation)? — Has Lebanon really been any better?

On the other hand, what about Iraq today, after the invasion and occupation? It is arguably true that, apart from Israel, Iraq is today the most politically “democratic” state (if only in political dynamism) in the Middle East. The U.S. achieved its aims of removing Baathism and making Iraq a state more responsible not only to the international community but also to its own inhabitants 게임 사운드 다운로드. The only question is whether the cost for achieving this has been too great. If so, then one needs to ask, who actually made it so costly? Was the so-called “resistance” worth it? Was it even directed at the U.S. occupiers, or really at its sectarian opponents (on both sides)? Was it only or even primarily the U.S. that was responsible for the destruction, or were there other actors involved, and, if so, how do we hold them accountable — and how may any purported “Left” challenge and oppose them, moving forward? Isn’t this the question we especially face today, when the U.S. is vacating the scene? Or will the “Left” simply forget about Iraq, end of story? — Weren’t Iraq and the Iraqis always in fact forgotten in the estimations of the so-called “Left?”

Who was responsible? | §

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. ( . . . )

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Left Forum NYC 2010: Iran

The Green Movement and the Left: prospects for democracy in Iran

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a panel with Siyaves Azeri (Worker-communist Party of Iran) and Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University) at the Left Forum in New York City, Pace University, March 21, 2010. A previous version of this presentation was given at the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum on “30 years of the Islamic Revolution in Iran: the tragedy of the Left,” with panelists Maziar Behrooz (San Francisco State University), Kaveh Ehsani (DePaul University, Chicago) and Danny Postel, University of Chicago, November 5, 2009, whose transcript was published as a special supplement to Platypus Review #20 (February 2010), and presented as an individual lecture at Loyola University, Chicago, December 3, 2009, and at the University of Chicago, October 29, 2009.

I would like to pose the question: What can the history of the Islamic Revolution in Iran teach the Left?

The 30th anniversary of the toppling of the Shah of Iran witnessed the controversy over the election results in the Islamic Republic, in which the incumbent (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad claimed victory over his opponent (Mir-Hossein) Mousavi, and mass protests against this result were subject to brutal, violent repression Autocad map.

These two historic moments, those of the birth and crisis of the Islamic Republic of Iran, communicate over time, and can tell us a great deal about the nature and trajectory of the contemporary world, and the role of the demise of the Left in it.

We in Platypus approach the history of the Islamic Revolution in Iran as a specific story in the overall history of the death of the Left — its historical decline and disappearance.  The self-destruction of the Left in Iran is a good entry into investigation of the death of the Left internationally, over the course of at least the past generation.

It is instructive that, where once the Left in Iran was the most vital and potentially significant in the Middle East or Muslim world, today the Left has been completely eradicated in Iran band pc photo.

Whereas the Shah simultaneously sought to repress and co-opt the Left, the Islamic Republic has brought about its entire elimination in Iran (and has sought to do so elsewhere, for instance in the Lebanese civil war, through its proxies Hezbollah).  It is in this sense that one can meaningfully talk about the reactionary, Right-wing character of the Islamic Republic, relative to what came before it under the Pahlavi dynasty.  There are fewer possibilities for Iranian society today than there were 30 years ago.  This bitter fact is something most try to avoid confronting, but is where I want to focus attention in my presentation.

The Left is defined by potential and possibility, the Right by its foreclosure.  The Left expresses and reveals potential possibilities, while the Right represses and obscures these bestez qway.

For this reason, the role of the Iranian and international Left in repressing and obscuring the true character of social possibilities in Iran, during the period leading up to Islamic Revolution, is crucial for grasping, not only how the Left destroyed itself, but also, and more importantly, how it destroyed itself as a Left, and thus contributed to the construction of a new Right.  Only justice for past crimes committed by the Left can recover old, and open new possibilities in the present.  Only by confronting its problematic historical legacy can the Left today be a Left at all.  But this is something virtually no-one wants to do.

Slavoj Zizek, in his recent book In Defense of Lost Causes, cites Heidegger’s embrace of Nazism and Foucault’s embrace of the Islamic Revolution in Iran to demonstrate the importance and necessity of what Zizek calls “taking the right step in the wrong direction.”  Zizek is eager, as he expressed in his writing on the recent election crisis in Iran, to find the “emancipatory potential” of “good Islam.”  He thinks that a more radical emancipatory potential was grasped, however uncertainly, by Foucault in 1979 (and by Heidegger in 1933!).  I wish to argue the contrary, that Foucault’s — and the rest of the “Left’s” — embrace of Islamism was and continues to be a conservative move, thinly veiled by claims to more radical bona fides.

This phenomenon of seeking the “emancipatory potential” of “good Islam” can be traced all the way through the recent election crisis in Iran.  We need to examine the trajectory of the supposedly “Left” Islamist discontents and opposition to the Shah’s regime leading up to the Islamic Revolution, and how this plays out for continuers of such politics such as Mousavi in the Islamic Republic in the present Download EuroTruck 2 Korea Map.

The New Left Islamist figure Ali Shariati is key to understanding the relation of the Left to Islamism, both around the 1979 toppling of the Shah and the political divisions in the Islamic Republic of Iran today.  For instance, opposition presidential candidate Mousavi, and especially his wife Zahra Rahnavard, were students of Shariati who worked closely with him politically in the 1960s and ’70s.  The largest political organization on the Left in the 1979 revolution were the MEK (Mojahedin-e-Khalq, or People’s Mojahedin of Iran), who helped organize the street protests that toppled the Shah and participated in the taking of the U.S. embassy, and found inspiration in Shariati’s approach to Islam.

The fact that Mousavi and Rahnavard eventually joined the Khomeini faction, and that there is a significant likelihood that Khomeini’s agents were responsible for Shariati’s untimely death in exile in 1977 at age 44, should not obscure the New Left Islamist roots of the Khomeiniite Islamic Republic, of which Mousavi was Prime Minister from 1981–89, under Khomeini’s “supreme” leadership, approving the slaughter of the Left.  The present controversy in the Islamic Republic establishment is not to be understood in terms of new wine in old bottles but rather the old in the new.  The Islamist politics on both sides is a Right-wing phenomenon, now as before.  Mousavi as standard bearer for discontents in the Islamic Republic is a phenomenon of political confusion, to which any Left must attend.  There are significant problems to be addressed in the relation of ideology to social and political reality.  The point is that Khomeini’s supremacy in the Islamic Revolution was not to be explained by his superior insight and grasp of realities, but rather his successful navigation of them, which is a different matter.  The present dispute between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi amounts to this 슬픈 노래 무료.

Khomeini did not lead a revolutionary transformation of Iranian society but rather the reconsolidation of Iran after the crisis and fall of the Shah.  The phenomenon of the so-called “Left” (for the most part) calling black white, does not change the fact that Khomeini represented a Right-wing response to the discontents and crisis of Iranian society in the 1970s.  The Left’s support of Khomeini expresses its disorientation and confusion theoretically, and its Right-wing role practically.  There is no mystery here: telling women to cover themselves was not an emancipatory act!

The collapse of the Shah’s regime did not increase but ultimately decreased the possibilities for Iranian society.  The Khomeiniite Islamic Republic was not the expression but the repression of potential, in the context of diminished possibilities.  To understand how this was so, it is useful to consider the historical trajectory of Iran in global context.  The developmental states of the post-colonial world underwent a severe crisis starting with the global downturn of the 1970s.  The 1970s were the period in which, for example, so-called “Third World debt” manifested itself as a serious problem for these states.

Oil revenues could not provide remedy in the case of Iran, because what was encountered, throughout the world in the 1970s, was the crisis of the mid-20th century transformations that went on under the rubric of “modernization.”  In Iran, this was carried out through the Shah’s White Revolution, in which he had been goaded, beginning in the early 1960s, by the U.S Download Windows 10 1903 Language Pack. Kennedy Administration, and continued to be by those subsequent.  Khomeini’s rise as a politician originated in protest against the policies of modernization — and social liberalization — implemented by the Shah, under pressure from the U.S.  Khomeini was always clear about this in ways the “Left” has not been.  The Left abdicated from providing an emancipatory response to the changes in Iranian society.  The Shah stood between Right- and Left-wing discontents, but the Left steadily liquidated its own concerns.

Indeed, despite that discontents with the Shah were channeled into New Left “anti-imperialist” politics, the Shah indeed was bucking the “Great Satan” on his own accord.  Not only was the Shah’s regime prompted to transform Iranian society, through the White Revolution reforms of the 1960s–70s, exacerbating social and political discontents, but indeed responsibility for the ultimate demise of the Shah can be laid at the door of U.S. policy, for President Carter refused to support the Shah against the tumult of protests that broke out in 1978.  The U.S. not only supported the Shah’s regime but significantly undermined it as well.  This was not a mistake on the part of the U.S., but expressed the differing interests of U.S 아바타 게임. policy as against the Shah.

So much for supposed “anti-imperialism.” — So, what happened in Iran?  Certainly the close if not always happy relationship between the Shah’s regime and the U.S. became symbolic for discontents in Iran.  But symbolic in what sense?  The New Left conception of “imperialism” got in the way of a sober perception of the problems facing Iranian society in the 1970s.  Iran was not suffering from U.S. imperial oppression.  Rather, Iran faced a crossroads in its development in which an insurgent Islamist politics found purchase.  The nature of this Islamist politics was obscured by the Left’s conceptions of the potential social-political divisions in Iranian society and in its greater global context Download Windows xp in English.

Iran was the site for the most significant political Left in the Middle East and Muslim world.  Many thousands of Iranian students with Leftist inclinations studied abroad in Europe and North America.  In their encounter with the metropolitan New Left, they were encouraged to embrace the supposed Muslim roots of Iranian society and find potential there for emancipatory politics.  But emancipation from what, and for whom?

The issue of Islamist politics looms.  The New Left Islamist Shariati considered himself a follower of Frantz Fanon.  Others, including Khomeini, also found resonance with Fanon’s writings (on Algeria and Africa), on what they considered to be the problem of “cultural imperialism.”  So, according to this view, Iran suffered, not from structural and political problems in modern historical context, so much as from cultural problems, of so-called “Westernization,” which was pathologized.  The problems of modernization became the problem of Westernization, which thus needed to be eradicated.  Islamist politics was the means by which the cure for this “disease” has been attempted.

To this day, the Islamic Republic of Iran is premised on a culturalist conception of politics.  Ahmadinejad and others speak of Iran’s “political frontiers” as if they were just lines on a map.  Their “Islamic Revolution” is civilizational and global in reach.  It is not about Iran.  Ahmadinejad wrote an “open letter” to President Bush chastising the failure of “liberal democracy” and urging the principles of Islamist politics instead Pentastom Taiwan server.

Khomeini’s Islamic Republic, whose legitimate mantle was in dispute between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad in the recent election, is premised on the idea that the entire Iranian population, suffering from the illness of “cultural imperialism” by the West, needed to be held as minority wards of the mullahs.  This is why there is a Guardian Council and a Supreme Leader above all elected officials.  When Ahmadinejad referred to the election protesters as “shit,” this was the social imagination behind it: he considered them to be religiously fallen, culturally corrupted, and hence evil, in a disqualifying, dehumanizing sense.  The powers-that-be of the Islamic Republic, still pursuing the Islamic Revolution, including Mousavi, have moral contempt for the people of Iran — as any Right-wingers do for their subalterns.

This is why it is worse than tragic, indeed, I would argue, criminal, for the Left to continue to embrace today, in whatever form, the presuppositions of such Right-wing politics of Islamism — as the Left did in the Islamic Revolution 30 years ago.  It was worse than a mistake then, and it continues to be so today.  The degree to which the Green Movement espouses or merely accepts the framework of the Islamic Republic, it remains in the thrall of Islamist politics. It is part of the deliberate obscuring of social realities behind bad ideology and worse politics.  The history of the past 30 years proves that Islamism was no way to address the discontents and ameliorate the problems of Iranian or indeed Muslim society 로제타 스톤 스페인어 다운로드. This is not only a lie, but a crime.

Any purported “Left” must treat Islamist politics, not as some kind of framework, but as a deadly obstacle, necessary to overcome. | §

Left Forum NYC 2010: On anti-black racism in the U.S.

The American Left and the “black question” — from politics to protest to the post-political

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a panel with Tim Barker (Columbia University), Benjamin Blumberg (Platypus) and Pamela C dictionary db. Nogales C. (Platypus) at the Left Forum in New York City, Pace University, March 20, 2010. Audio recording available at: <https://archive.org/details/PlatypusAtLeftForumNyc2010TheAmericanLeftAndTheblackQuestion>

The black American political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr Thunderbird. recently wrote an essay on “The Limits of Anti-Racism” for the Left Business Observer, in which Reed stated that anti-racism as politics has clearly failed.  Earlier, Reed had written about the Hurricane Katrina disaster that pointing to racism may prove to be an unacceptable “distraction” from more substantial politics.  Reed also pointed out, however, that “race is a class issue,” thereby bypassing, productively, the usual “race vs 오락실 보글보글. class” antinomy that has long plagued the American “Left.”  Considering that, at present, anti-black racist attitudes have appreciably diminished, while the social conditions for the vast majority of black Americans have worsened and not improved since the 1960s, seen clearly in declining statistics of social welfare and employment, as well as more spectacularly in mass criminalization and incarceration, this raises serious issues for problems considering the question of American “race and class” for the “Left.”  But perhaps this question has passed into history, now 무료 찬송가.

The present moment may be a good occasion for a thorough and critical reconsideration of anti-racism as politics, both with regards to today, and retrospectively, as regards the history of the American Left, in what Ben Blumberg has termed its “Unmet Challenge.”  The point is that if the problem of anti-black racism in the U.S Download pixel guns. has been an “unmet challenge” perhaps it will remain so, as it has now passed into history.  Today, it may be less a matter of an existing challenge for the Left, but more the legacy of a historically missed opportunity for the American Left, a missed opportunity for which we continue to pay a steep price in the attenuated possibilities for a social-emancipatory and anticapitalist politics today in the U.S 시절인연.

Clearly, the historical problem of anti-black racism in the U.S. has been resolved to a certain extent, but in the most politically conservative way possible.  What the historical phenomenon of the Obama Presidency symbolizes with regards to the problem of anti-black racism is the historical result of a combination of: 1.) middle class anti-discrimination initiatives; with 2.) the post-1960s economic downturn (in which real incomes have declined for the American working class by as much as 40%) and labor union decimation; and 3.) culturalist politics.  It has meant a naturalization and not an overcoming of the supposed black-working class divide.  The “Left” since the 1960s, especially since the Black Power turn, has played into this supposed divide, with terrible results both for the vast majority of black Americans and for the American working class and Left politics as a whole Download that mandal.

I am going to offer a very provocative formulation of this problem: that what was most specific and peculiar about American anti-black racism historically was also an expression of its greatest emancipatory potential regarding capitalism.  There is a great historical paradox in that the worst, most thorough-going historic racism in modern history, that of the condition of blacks in the Jim Crow-era Southern United States, coincided with the historic height of working class political movement and empowerment.  I wish to raise this paradox as a question: What was the relation between the development of working class organization and politics and the exacerbation of racist divisions in American society?  How was the “racial” division of the American working class an expression of the self-contradictory character of working class politics under capital 사랑이 맞을거야? — Relatedly, how was it that CIO unionism in the 1930s, which meant challenging segregation through inter-racial organizing, became, by the 1960s, the spectre of labor unions as conservative institutions: as white working class job trusts, excluding black workers dts 코덱 다운로드?

Rather than taking on this very important question directly, I want to point out that, to my mind, there has been a false resolution of this historic problem in the transformation of American racism since that time, away from its sui generis “race color-caste” character (as in the “one drop rule” etc.) to harmonizing with the more globally typical racism associated with ethno-cultural divisions in society.  In the post-1960s era, specifically, there was a romance of alternative models of racial identity, for instance in Brazil.  But Brazil is a very brutal place for black people, if for different reasons of political history than the U.S Bahubali. is.  The degree to which the U.S. becomes more like Brazil in its racial dynamics, with a stark distinction between conditions for black middle class and (sub-)working class people, I think that this represents a regressive and not progressive trend.  Let me explain.

The transformation of black Americans from a “race color-caste” into an “ethnic” or “culturally” distinct group, for instance seen in the substitution of “African-American” for “black,” has meant the passing of an opportunity to overcome the specifically racist (and not “cultural”) division of the American working class, in a potential transformation of working class organization and politics in a progressive-emancipatory and anticapitalist direction.  Combating racist divisions was once an issue around which it was possible to organize workers for radical politics.  No longer.  The task of working class political integration was displaced into middle-class integration through the model of ethno-cultural “diversity.”  Whereas race was once a class issue, an issue for the American working class as such, it is now much less so, and hence it has ceased to be the same kind of issue — and challenge — for the Left and American society it once was.  It has become the more direct matter of poverty.

Racism could have been a revolutionary issue, but was depoliticized, at least as an issue for the working class and for an anticapitalist Left.  Now more than ever “race is a class issue” (in Reed’s sense), but it is now so in a way that (as Reed has noticed) can only be addressed effectively in purely class terms, as an issue of the black working class and so-called “underclass.”

There is an irony of the earlier turn-of-the-20th century American socialist Eugene Debs’s declaration that socialism had nothing to offer blacks apart from their interests as workers. This was (mis)taken, especially by the 1960s “New Left,” to be, not merely inadequate, but some evidence of American “Old” Left or working class racism.  But this formulation by Debs turns out to have been the actual historical task — long since failed — of the Left, up to the present.  The problem is: how do we fulfill Debs’s task today?  How do we make “racism” into a “class issue,” as Reed put it, after racism per se seems to have been defused as a political issue in American life? — Perhaps we don’t!

It may seem that the W.E.B. DuBois/NAACP and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. program (of supposed “middle class” integrationism) has been fulfilled, but really it was the Booker T. Washington program of accommodation to an invidious class and “racial” situation which has ultimately succeeded.  The black working class has been effectively “handled” by increasingly effective middle-class black political leadership (primarily in the Democratic but also the Republican Party), while its grievances have been successfully neutralized as a political matter in American social life.  We have not only Obama but, more significantly, a host of black cops and prison wardens (not to mention U.S. military commanders) supervising the degradation of social life.  These are not Uncle Toms or “house Negroes,” according to the old imagination, but rather a new, post-1960s black middle class of managers of American poverty.  This is the deeply conservative-reactionary character of social politics in our time.

For black Americans did not want recognition of their supposed “cultural” differences (think of Obama listening to Jay-Z on his I-Pod while shooting hoops at the White House), but have demanded, more basically, increased life-chances in American society.  They have received one but not the other.  We have gone all the way back to the beginning, in this sense.  This is the way in which Debs’s formulation haunts us today.

It is not the 1960s-era politics of “Black Power” and cultural politics of the ’70s–’80s that comprise our open wound in the present, but rather the deeper post-Reconstruction era failures of American working class politics, which has shadowed historical developments ever since.  It is not the historical figures of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers or Marcus Garvey who stand accusingly over the present, but rather Fredrick Douglass and Paul Robeson — and hence MLK and DuBois, but in the less familiar guise of a labor-Left and not a “racial” politics.  MLK’s “dream” has only apparently been realized; his core demand for “jobs and freedom” (the slogan of the 1963 March on Washington) for all Americans has clearly not.  What was supposedly a “reformist” demand turns out to be the most revolutionary of all. | §

Gillian Rose’s “Hegelian” critique of Marxism

Book review: Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology. London: Verso, 2009.

Chris Cutrone

Gillian Rose

Gillian Rose (1947-1995)

GILLIAN ROSE’S MAGNUM OPUS was her second book, Hegel Contra Sociology (1981).[1] Preceding this was The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno (1978), a work which charted Rose’s approach to the relation of Marxism to Hegel in Hegel Contra Sociology.[2] Alongside her monograph on Adorno, Rose published two incisively critical reviews of the reception of Adorno’s work.[3] Rose thus established herself early on as an important interrogator of Adorno’s thought and Frankfurt School Critical Theory more generally, and of their problematic reception.

In her review of Negative Dialectics, Rose noted, “Anyone who is involved in the possibility of Marxism as a mode of cognition sui generis . . . must read Adorno’s book.”[4] As she wrote in her review of contemporaneous studies on the Frankfurt School,

Both the books reviewed here indict the Frankfurt School for betraying a Marxist canon; yet they neither make any case for the importance of the School nor do they acknowledge the question central to that body of work: the possibility and desirability of defining such a canon. As a result both books overlook the relation of the Frankfurt School to Marx for which they are searching. . . . They have taken the writings [of Horkheimer, Benjamin and Adorno] literally but not seriously enough. The more general consequences of this approach are also considerable: it obscures instead of illuminating the large and significant differences within Marxism.[5]

Rose’s critique can be said of virtually all the reception of Frankfurt School Critical Theory.

Rose followed her work on Adorno with Hegel Contra Sociology. The book’s original dust jacket featured a blurb by Anthony Giddens, Rose’s mentor and the doyen of sociology, who called it “a very unusual piece of work . . . whose significance will take some time to sink in.” As Rose put it in The Melancholy Science, Adorno and other thinkers in Frankfurt School Critical Theory sought to answer for their generation the question Marx posed (in the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts), “How do we now stand as regards the Hegelian dialectic?”[6] For Rose, this question remained a standing one. Hence, Rose’s work on the problem of “Hegelian Marxism” comprised an important critique of the Left of her time that has only increased in resonance since then.

Rose sought to recover Hegel from readings informed by 20th century neo-Kantian influences, and from what she saw as the failure to fully grasp Hegel’s critique of Kant. Where Kant could be seen as the bourgeois philosopher par excellence, Rose took Hegel to be his most important and unsurpassed critic. Hegel provided Rose with the standard for critical thinking on social modernity, whose threshold she found nearly all others to fall below, including thinkers she otherwise respected such as Adorno and Marx.

Rose read Marx as an important disciple of Hegel who, to her mind, nevertheless, misapprehended key aspects of Hegel’s thought. According to Rose, this left Marxism at the mercy of prevailing Kantian preoccupations. As she put it, “When Marx is not self-conscious about his relation to Hegel’s philosophy . . . [he] captures what Hegel means by actuality or spirit. But when Marx desires to dissociate himself from Hegel’s actuality . . . he relies on and affirms abstract dichotomies between being and consciousness, theory and practice, etc.” (230–231) kmsauto net 2018 portable 다운로드. In offering this Hegelian critique of Marx and Marxism, however, Rose actually fulfilled an important desideratum of Adorno’s Marxist critical theory, which was to attend to what was “not yet subsumed,” or, how a regression of Marxism could be met by a critique from the standpoint of what “remained” from Hegel.

In his deliberate recovery of what Rose characterized as Marx’s “capturing” of Hegel’s “actuality or spirit,” Adorno was preceded by the “Hegelian Marxists” Georg Lukács and Karl Korsch. The “regressive” reading proposed by Adorno[7] that could answer Rose would involve reading Adorno as presupposing Lukács and Korsch, who presupposed the revolutionary Marxism of Lenin and Luxemburg, who presupposed Marx, who presupposed Hegel. Similarly, Adorno characterized Hegel as “Kant come into his own.”[8] From Adorno’s perspective, the Marxists did not need to rewrite Marx, nor did Marx need to rewrite Hegel. For Adorno the recovery of Marx by the Marxists — and of Hegel by Marx — was a matter of further specification and not simple “progress.” This involved problematization, perhaps, but not overcoming in the sense of leaving behind.[9] Marx did not seek to overcome Hegel, but rather was tasked to advance and fulfill his concerns. This comports well with Rose’s approach to Hegel, which she in fact took over, however unconsciously, from her prior study of Adorno, failing to follow what Adorno assumed about Marxism in this regard.

Two parts of Hegel Contra Sociology frame its overall discussion of the challenge Hegel’s thought presents to the critical theory of society: a section in the introductory chapter on what Rose calls the “Neo-Kantian Marxism” of Lukács and Adorno and the concluding section on “The Culture and Fate of Marxism.” The arguments condensed in these two sections of Rose’s book comprise one of the most interesting and challenging critiques of Marxism. However, Rose’s misunderstanding of Marxism limits the direction and reach of the rousing call with which she concluded her book: “This critique of Marxism itself yields the project of a critical Marxism. . . . [P]resentation of the contradictory relations between Capital and culture is the only way to link the analysis of the economy to comprehension of the conditions for revolutionary practice” (235). Yet Rose’s critique of Marxism, especially of Lukács and Adorno, and of Marx himself, misses its mark.

One problem regarding Rose’s critique of Marxism is precisely her focus on Marxism as a specifically “philosophical” problem, as a problem more of thought than of action. As Lukács’s contemporary Karl Korsch pointed out in “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923), by the late 19th century historians such as Dilthey had observed that “ideas contained in a philosophy can live on not only in philosophies, but equally well in positive sciences and social practice, and that this process precisely began on a large scale with Hegel’s philosophy.”[10] For Korsch, this meant that “philosophical” problems in the Hegelian sense were not matters of theory but practice. From a Marxian perspective, however, it is precisely the problem of capitalist society that is posed at the level of practice. Korsch went on to argue that “what appears as the purely ‘ideal’ development of philosophy in the 19th century can in fact only be fully and essentially grasped by relating it to the concrete historical development of bourgeois society as a whole.”[11] Korsch’s great insight, shared by Lukács, took this perspective from Luxemburg and Lenin, who grasped how the history of Marxism was a key part, indeed the crucial aspect, of this development, at the time of their writing in the first years of the 20th century.[12]

The most commented-upon essay of Lukács’s collection History and Class Consciousness (1923) is “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” written specifically as the centerpiece of the book, but drawing upon arguments made in the book’s other essays. Like many readers of Lukács, Rose focused her critique in particular on Lukács’s argument in the second part of his “Reification” essay, “The Antinomies of Bourgeois Thought,” neglecting that its “epistemological” investigation of philosophy is only one moment in a greater argument, which culminates in the most lengthy and difficult third part of Lukács’s essay, “The Standpoint of the Proletariat.” But it is in this part of the essay that Lukács addressed how the Marxist social-democratic workers’ movement was an intrinsic part of what Korsch had called the “concrete historical development of bourgeois society as a whole,” in which its “philosophical” problem lived. The “philosophical” problem Korsch and Lukács sought to address was the “dialectic” of the political practice of the working class, how it actually produced and did not merely respond to the contradictions and potentially revolutionary crisis of capitalist society 펌프 잇 업. It is because of Rose’s failure to grasp this point that her criticism of Marx, Lukács, and Adorno amounts to nothing more than an unwitting recapitulation of Lukács’s own critique of what he called “vulgar Marxism,” and what Adorno called “positivism” or “identity thinking.” Lukács and Adorno, following Lenin and Luxemburg, attempted to effect a return to what Korsch called “Marx’s Marxism.”

In examining Rose’s critique of Lukács, Adorno, and Marx, and in responding to Rose’s Hegelian interrogation of their supposed deficits, it becomes possible to recover what is important about and unifies their thought. Rose’s questions about Marxism are those that any Marxian approach must answer to demonstrate its necessity — its “improved version,” as Lukács put it, of the “Hegelian original” dialectic.[13]

The problem of Marxism as Hegelian “science”

In the final section of Hegel Contra Sociology, in the conclusion of the chapter “With What Must the Science End?” titled “The Culture and Fate of Marxism,” Rose addresses Marx directly. Here, Rose states that,

Marx did not appreciate the politics of Hegel’s presentation, the politics of a phenomenology [logic of appearance] which aims to re-form consciousness . . . [and] acknowledges the actuality which determines the formation of consciousness. . . . Marx’s notion of political education was less systematic than [Hegel’s]. (232–233)

One issue of great import for Rose’s critique of Marxism is the status of Hegel’s philosophy as “speculative.” As Rose wrote,

Marx’s reading of Hegel overlooks the discourse or logic of the speculative proposition. He refuses to see the lack of identity in Hegel’s thought, and therefore tries to establish his own discourse of lack of identity using the ordinary proposition. But instead of producing a logic or discourse of lack of identity he produced an ambiguous dichotomy of activity/nature which relies on a natural beginning and an utopian end. (231)

Rose explicated this “lack of identity in Hegel’s thought” as follows:

Hegel knew that his thought would be misunderstood if it were read as [a] series of ordinary propositions which affirm an identity between a fixed subject and contingent accidents, but he also knew that, like any thinker, he had to present his thought in propositional form. He thus proposed . . . a “speculative proposition.” . . . To read a proposition “speculatively” means that the identity which is affirmed between subject and predicate is seen equally to affirm a lack of identity between subject and predicate. . . . From this perspective the “subject” is not fixed: . . . Only when the lack of identity between subject and predicate has been experienced, can their identity be grasped. . . . Thus it cannot be said, as Marx, for example, said [in his Critique of Hegel’s “Philosophy of Right” (1843)], that the speculative proposition turns the predicate into the subject and therefore hypostatizes predicates, just like the ordinary proposition hypostatizes the subject. . . . [Hegel’s] speculative proposition is fundamentally opposed to [this] kind of formal identity. (51–53)

Rose may be correct about Marx’s 1843 critique of Hegel. She severely critiqued Marx’s 1845 “Theses on Feuerbach” on the same score (230). What this overlooks is Marx’s understanding of the historical difference between his time and Hegel’s. Consequently, it neglects Marx’s differing conception of “alienation” as a function of the Industrial Revolution, in which the meaning of the categories of bourgeois society, of the commodity form of labor, had become reversed Download Sky Edu Ingang.

Rose’s failure to register the change in meaning of “alienation” for Marx compromised her reading of Lukács:

[M]aking a distinction between underlying process and resultant objectifications[,] Lukács was able to avoid the conventional Marxist treatment of capitalist social forms as mere “superstructure” or “epiphenomena;” legal, bureaucratic and cultural forms have the same status as the commodity form. Lukács made it clear that “reification” is the specific capitalist form of objectification. It determines the structure of all the capitalist social forms. . . . [T]he process-like essence (the mode of production) attains a validity from the standpoint of the totality. . . . [Lukács’s approach] turned . . . away from a logic of identity in the direction of a theory of historical mediation. The advantage of this approach was that Lukács opened new areas of social life to Marxist analysis and critique. . . . The disadvantage was that Lukács omitted many details of Marx’s theory of value. . . . As a result “reification” and “mediation” become a kind of shorthand instead of a sustained theory. A further disadvantage is that the sociology of reification can only be completed by a speculative sociology of the proletariat as the subject-object of history. (30–31)

However, for Lukács the proletariat is not a Hegelian subject-object of history but a Marxian one.[14] Lukács did not affirm history as the given situation of the possibility of freedom in the way Hegel did. Rather, following Marx, Lukács treated historical structure as a problem to be overcome. History was not to be grasped as necessary, as Hegel affirmed against his contemporaries’ Romantic despair at modernity. Rose mistakenly took Lukács’s critique of capital to be Romantic, subject to the aporiae Hegel had characterized in the “unhappy consciousness.” Rose therefore misinterpreted Lukács’s revolutionism as a matter of “will”:[15]

Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness is an attempt to give [Marx’s] Capital a phenomenological form: to read Marx’s analysis of capital as the potential consciousness of a universal class. But Lukács’s emphasis on change in consciousness as per se revolutionary, separate from the analysis of change in capitalism, gives his appeal to the proletariat or the party the status of an appeal to a . . . will. (233)

Nonetheless, Rose found aspects of Lukács’s understanding of Marx compelling, in a “Hegelian” sense:

The question of the relation between Capital and politics is thus not an abstract question about the relation between theory and practice, but a phenomenological question about the relationship between acknowledgement of actuality and the possibility of change. This is why the theory of commodity fetishism, the presentation of a contradiction between substance and subject, remains more impressive than any abstract statements about the relation between theory and practice or between capitalist crisis and the formation of revolutionary consciousness. It acknowledges actuality and its misrepresentation as consciousness. (233)

What is missing from Rose’s critique of Lukács, however, is how he offered a dialectical argument, precisely through forms of misrecognition (“misrepresentation”).[16]

This is why the theory of commodity fetishism has become central to the neo-Marxist theory of domination, aesthetics, and ideology. The theory of commodity fetishism is the most speculative moment in Marx’s exposition of capital. It comes nearest to demonstrating in the historically specific case of commodity producing society how substance is ((mis-)represented as) subject, how necessary illusion arises out of productive activity Download The World. (232)

However, the contradiction of capital is not merely between “substance and subject,” but rather a self-contradictory social substance, value, which gives rise to a self-contradictory subject.[17]

Rose’s critique of the “sociological” Marxism of Lukács and Adorno

Rose’s misconstrual of the status of proletarian social revolution in the self-understanding of Marxism led her to regard Lukács and Adorno’s work as “theoretical” in the restricted sense of mere analysis. Rose denied the dialectical status of Lukács and Adorno’s thought by neglecting the question of how a Marxian approach, from Lukács and Adorno’s perspective, considered the workers’ movement for emancipation as itself symptomatic of capital. Following Marx, Lukács and Adorno regarded Marxism as the organized historical self-consciousness of the social politics of the working class that potentially points beyond capital.[18] Rose limited Lukács and Adorno’s concerns regarding “misrecognition,” characterizing their work as “sociological”:

The thought of Lukács and Adorno represent two of the most original and important attempts . . . [at] an Hegelian Marxism, but it constitutes a neo-Kantian Marxism. . . . They turned the neo-Kantian paradigm into a Marxist sociology of cultural forms . . . with a selective generalization of Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism. (29)

But, according to Rose, this “sociological” analysis of the commodity form remained outside its object:

In the essay “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat” in History and Class Consciousness, Lukács generalizes Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism by making a distinction between the total process of production, “real life-processes,” and the resultant objectifications of social forms. This notion of “objectification” has more in common with the neo-Kantian notion of the objectification of specific object-domains than with an “Hegelian” conflating of objectification, human praxis in general, with alienation, its form in capitalist society. (30)

Rose thought that Lukács thus undermined his own account of potential transformation: “Lukács’s very success in demonstrating the prevalence of reification . . . meant that he could only appeal to the proletariat to overcome reification by apostrophes to the unity of theory and practice, or by introducing the party as deus ex machina” (31). In this respect, Rose failed to note how Lukács, and Adorno following him, had deeply internalized the Hegelian problematic of Marxism, how Marxism was not the (mis)application but the reconstruction of the Hegelian dialectic under the changed social-historical conditions of capital. For Rose, Lukács’s concept of “reification” was too negative regarding the “totality” of capital, which she thought threatened to render capital non-dialectical, and its emancipatory transformation inconceivable. But Rose’s perspective remains that of Hegel — pre-industrial capital.

Hegel contra sociology — the “culture” and “fate” of Marxism

Just before she died in 1995, Rose wrote a new Preface for a reprint of Hegel Contra Sociology, which states that,

The speculative exposition of Hegel in this book still provides the basis for a unique engagement with post-Hegelian thought, especially postmodernity, with its roots in Heideggerianism. . . . [T]he experience of negativity, the existential drama, is discovered at the heart of Hegelian rationalism. . . . Instead of working with the general question of the dominance of Western metaphysics, the dilemma of addressing modern ethics and politics without arrogating the authority under question is seen as the ineluctable difficulty in Hegel. . . . This book, therefore, remains the core of the project to demonstrate a nonfoundational and radical Hegel, which overcomes the opposition between nihilism and rationalism. It provides the possibility for renewal of critical thought in the intellectual difficulty of our time. (viii)

Since the time of Rose’s book, with the passage of Marxist politics into history, the “intellectual difficulty” in renewing critical thought has only gotten worse Download Minecraft 0 7 2 apk. “Postmodernity” has not meant the eclipse or end, but rather the unproblematic triumph, of “Western metaphysics” — in the exhaustion of “postmodernism.”[19] Consideration of the problem Rose addressed in terms of the Hegelian roots of Marxism, the immanent critique of capitalist modernity, remains the “possibility” if not the “actuality” of our time. Only by facing it squarely can we avoid sharing in Marxism’s “fate” as a “culture.” For this “fate,” the devolution into “culture,” or what Rose called “pre-bourgeois society” (234), threatens not merely a form of politics on the Left, but humanity: it represents the failure to attain let alone transcend the threshold of Hegelian modernity, whose concern Rose recovered. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #21 (March 2010).


1. Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology (London: Verso, 2009). Originally published by Athlone Press, London in 1981.

2. Rose, The Melancholy Science (London: Macmillan, 1978).

3. See Rose’s review of the English translation of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics (1973) in The American Political Science Review 70.2 (June, 1976), 598–599; and of Susan Buck-Morss’s The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt Institute (1977) and Zoltán Tar’s The Frankfurt School: The Critical Theories of Horkheimer and Adorno (1977) in History and Theory 18.1 (February, 1979), 126–135.

4. Rose, Review of Negative Dialectics, 599.

5. Rose, Review of The Origin of Negative Dialectics and The Frankfurt School, 126, 135.

6. Rose, The Melancholy Science, 2.

7. See, for instance, Adorno, “Progress” (1962), and “Critique” (1969), in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 143–160 and 281–288.

8. Adorno, “Aspects of Hegel’s Philosophy,” in Hegel: Three Studies, trans. Shierry Weber Nicholsen (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994), 6.

9. See Georg Lukács, Preface (1922), History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (1923), trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971):

The author of these pages . . . believes that today it is of practical importance to return in this respect to the traditions of Marx-interpretation founded by Engels (who regarded the “German workers’ movement” as the “heir to classical German philosophy”), and by Plekhanov. He believes that all good Marxists should form, in Lenin’s words “a kind of society of the materialist friends of the Hegelian dialectic.” But Hegel’s position today is the reverse of Marx’s own lg 모바일 드라이버 다운로드. The problem with Marx is precisely to take his method and his system as we find them and to demonstrate that they form a coherent unity that must be preserved. The opposite is true of Hegel. The task he imposes is to separate out from the complex web of ideas with its sometimes glaring contradictions all the seminal elements of his thought and rescue them as a vital intellectual force for the present. (xlv)

10. Karl Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923), in Marxism and Philosophy trans. Fred Halliday (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970 and 2008), 39.

11. Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy,” 40.

12. See, for instance: Rosa Luxemburg, Reform or Revolution? (1900), in which Luxemburg pointed out that all reforms aimed at ameliorating the crisis of capital actually exacerbated it; Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done? (1902), in which Lenin supposed that overcoming reformist “revisionism” in international (Marxist) social democracy would amount to and be the express means for overcoming capitalism; and Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906), in which Trotsky pointed out that the various “prerequisites of socialism” not only developed historically independently but also, significantly, antagonistically. In The State and Revolution (1917), Lenin, following Marx, critiqued anarchism for calling for the “abolition” of the state and not recognizing that the necessity of the state could only “wither away” as a function of the gradual overcoming of “bourgeois right” whose prevalence would persist in the revolutionary socialist “workers’ state” long after the overthrow of the bourgeoisie: the state would continue as a symptom of capitalist social relations without capitalists per se. In Literature and Revolution (1924), Trotsky pointed out that, as symptomatic products of present society, the cultural and even political expressions of the revolution could not themselves embody the principles of an emancipated society but could, at best, only open the way to them. For Lukács and Korsch (and Benjamin and Adorno following them — see Benjamin’s 1934 essay on “The Author as Producer,” in Reflections, trans. Edmund Jephcott [New York: Schocken, 1986], 220–238), such arguments demonstrated a dialectical approach to Marxism itself on the part of its most thoughtful actors.

13. Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, xlvi. Citing Lukács in her review of Buck-Morss and Tar on the Frankfurt School, Rose posed the problem of Marxism this way:

The reception of the Frankfurt School in the English-speaking world to date displays a paradox. Frequently, the Frankfurt School inspires dogmatic historiography although it represents a tradition which is attractive and important precisely because of its rejection of dogmatic or “orthodox” Marxism. This tradition in German Marxism has its origin in Lukács’s most un-Hegelian injunction to take Marxism as a “method” — a method which would remain valid even if “every one of Marx’s individual theses” were proved wrong. One can indeed speculate whether philosophers like Bloch, Benjamin, Horkheimer, and Adorno would have become Marxists if Lukács had not pronounced thus 악어의 숲. For other Marxists this position spells scientific “suicide.” (Rose, Review of The Origin of Negative Dialectics and The Frankfurt School, 126.)

Nevertheless, Rose used a passage from Lukács’s 1924 book in eulogy, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of His Thought as the epigraph for her essay: “[T]he dialectic is not a finished theory to be applied mechanically to all the phenomena of life but only exists as theory in and through this application” (126). Critically, Rose asked only that Lukács’s own work — and that of other “Hegelian” Marxists — remain true to this observation.

14. See Lukács, “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” 171–175:

The class meaning of [the thoroughgoing capitalist rationalization of society] lies precisely in the fact that the bourgeoisie regularly transforms each new qualitative gain back onto the quantitative level of yet another rational calculation. Whereas for the proletariat, the “same” development has a different class meaning: it means the abolition of the isolated individual, it means that the workers can become conscious of the social character of labor, it means that the abstract, universal form of the societal principle as it is manifested can be increasingly concretized and overcome. . . . For the proletariat however, this ability to go beyond the immediate in search for the “remoter” factors means the transformation of the objective nature of the objects of action.

The “objective nature of the objects of action” includes that of the working class itself.

15. Such misapprehension of revolutionary Marxism as voluntarism has been commonplace. Rosa Luxemburg’s biographer, the political scientist J. P. Nettl, in the essay “The German Social Democratic Party 1890–1914 as Political Model” (in Past and Present 30 [April 1965], 65–95), addressed this issue as follows:

Rosa Luxemburg was emphatically not an anarchist and went out of her way to distinguish between “revolutionary gymnastic,” which was “conjured out of the air at will,” and her own policy (see her 1906 pamphlet on The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions). . . . [Later Communist historians have burdened her] with the concept of spontaneity. . . . [But her’s] was a dynamic, dialectic doctrine; organization and action revived each other and made each other grow. . . . It may well be that there were underlying similarities to anarchism, insofar as any doctrine of action resembles any other. A wind of action and movement was blowing strongly around the edges of European culture at the time, both in art and literature as well as in the more political context of Sorel and the Italian Futurists. . . . [But] most important of all, Rosa Luxemburg specifically drew on a Russian experience [of the 1905 Revolution] which differed sharply from the intellectual individualism of Bakunin, [Domela-]Nieuwenhuis and contemporary anarchism. She always emphasized self-discipline as an adjunct to action — the opposite of the doctrine of self-liberation which the Anarchists shared with other European action philosophies. (88–89)

The German Left evolved a special theory of action. . . . Where the German Left emphasized action against organization, Lenin preached organization as a means to action. But action was common to both — and it was this emphasis on action which finally brought the German Left and the Russian Bolsheviks into the same camp in spite of so many serious disagreements. In her review of the Bolshevik revolution, written in September 1918, Rosa Luxemburg singled out this commitment to action for particular praise. Here she saw a strong sympathetic echo to her own ideas, and analyzed it precisely in her own terms:

“With . .  인텔 터보부스트. the seizure of power and the carrying forward of the revolution the Bolsheviks have solved the famous question of a ‘popular majority’ which has so long oppressed the German Social Democrats . . . not through a majority to a revolutionary tactic, but through a revolutionary tactic to a majority” (The Russian Revolution)

With action as the cause and not the consequence of mass support, she saw the Bolsheviks applying her ideas in practice — and incidentally provides us with clear evidence as to what she meant when she spoke of majority and masses. In spite of other severe criticisms of Bolshevik policy, it was this solution of the problem by the Bolsheviks which definitely ensured them the support of the German Left. (91–92)

The possibilities adumbrated by modern sociology have not yet been adequately exploited in the study of political organizations, dynamics, relationships. Especially the dynamics; most pictures of change are “moving pictures,” which means that they are no more than “a composition of immobilities . . . a position, then a new position, etc., ad infinitum” (Henri Bergson). The problem troubled Talcott Parsons among others, just as it long ago troubled Rosa Luxemburg. (95)

This was what Lukács, following Lenin and Luxemburg, meant by the problem of “reification.”

16. As Lukács put it in the Preface (1922) to History and Class Consciousness,

I should perhaps point out to the reader unfamiliar with dialectics one difficulty inherent in the nature of dialectical method relating to the definition of concepts and terminology. It is of the essence of dialectical method that concepts which are false in their abstract one-sidedness are later transcended (zur Aufhebung gelangen). The process of transcendence makes it inevitable that we should operate with these one-sided, abstract and false concepts. These concepts acquire their true meaning less by definition than by their function as aspects that are then transcended in the totality. Moreover, it is even more difficult to establish fixed meanings for concepts in Marx’s improved version of the dialectic than in the Hegelian original. For if concepts are only the intellectual forms of historical realities then these forms, one-sided, abstract and false as they are, belong to the true unity as genuine aspects of it. Hegel’s statements about this problem of terminology in the preface to the Phenomenology are thus even more true than Hegel himself realized when he said: “Just as the expressions ‘unity of subject and object’, of ‘finite and infinite’, of ‘being and thought’, etc., have the drawback that ‘object’ and ‘subject’ bear the same meaning as when they exist outside that unity, so that within the unity they mean something other than is implied by their expression: so, too, falsehood is not, qua false, any longer a moment of truth.” In the pure historicization of the dialectic this statement receives yet another twist: in so far as the “false” is an aspect of the “true” it is both “false” and “non-false.” When the professional demolishers of Marx criticize his “lack of conceptual rigor” and his use of “image” rather than “definitions,” etc., they cut as sorry a figure as did Schopenhauer when he tried to expose Hegel’s “logical howlers” in his Hegel critique. All that is proved is their total inability to grasp even the ABC of the dialectical method. The logical conclusion for the dialectician to draw from this failure is not that he is faced with a conflict between different scientific methods, but that he is in the presence of a social phenomenon and that by conceiving it as a socio-historical phenomenon he can at once refute it and transcend it dialectically amtlib.dll. (xlvi–xlvii)

For Lukács, the self-contradictory nature of the workers’ movement was itself a “socio-historical phenomenon” that had brought forth a revolutionary crisis at the time of Lukács’s writing: from a Marxian perspective, the working class and its politics were the most important phenomena and objects of critique to be overcome in capitalist society.

17. See Moishe Postone, Time, Labor and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

18. See Adorno, “Reflections on Class Theory” (1942), in Can One Live After Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003), 93–110:

According to [Marxian] theory, history is the history of class struggles. But the concept of class is bound up with the emergence of the proletariat. . . . By extending the concept of class to prehistory, theory denounces not just the bourgeois . . . [but] turns against prehistory itself. . . . By exposing the historical necessity that had brought capitalism into being, [the critique of] political economy became the critique of history as a whole. . . . All history is the history of class struggles because it was always the same thing, namely, prehistory. (93–94)

This means, however, that the dehumanization is also its opposite. . . . Only when the victims completely assume the features of the ruling civilization will they be capable of wresting them from the dominant power. (110)

This follows from Lukács’s conception of proletarian socialism as the “completion” of reification (“Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” in History and Class Consciousness):

The danger to which the proletariat has been exposed since its appearance on the historical stage was that it might remain imprisoned in its immediacy together with the bourgeoisie. With the growth of social democracy this threat acquired a real political organisation which artificially cancels out the mediations so laboriously won and forces the proletariat back into its immediate existence where it is merely a component of capitalist society and not at the same time the motor that drives it to its doom and destruction. (196)

[E]ven the objects in the very centre of the dialectical process [i.e., the political forms of the workers’ movement itself] can only slough off their reified form after a laborious process. A process in which the seizure of power by the proletariat and even the organisation of the state and the economy on socialist lines are only stages. They are, of course, extremely important stages, but they do not mean that the ultimate objective has been achieved. And it even appears as if the decisive crisis-period of capitalism may be characterized by the tendency to intensify reification, to bring it to a head. (208)

19. Rose’s term for the post-1960s “New Left” historical situation is “Heideggerian postmodernity.” Robert Pippin, as a fellow “Hegelian,” in his brief response to the Critical Inquiry journal’s symposium on “The Future of Criticism,” titled “Critical Inquiry and Critical Theory: A Short History of Nonbeing” (Critical Inquiry 30.2 [Winter 2004], 424–428), has characterized this similarly, as follows:

[T]he level of discussion and awareness of this issue, in its historical dimensions (with respect both to the history of critical theory and the history of modernization) has regressed 영화 화이. . . . [T]he problem with contemporary critical theory is that it has become insufficiently critical. . . . [T]here is also a historical cost for the neglect or underattention or lack of resolution of this core critical problem: repetition. . . . It may seem extreme to claim — well, to claim at all that such repetition exists (that postmodernism, say, is an instance of such repetition) — and also to claim that it is tied somehow to the dim understanding we have of the post-Kantian situation. . . . [T]hat is what I wanted to suggest. I’m not sure it will get us anywhere. Philosophy rarely does. Perhaps it exists to remind us that we haven’t gotten anywhere. (427–428)

Heidegger himself anticipated this result in his “Overcoming Metaphysics” (1936–46), in The End of Philosophy, ed. and trans. Joan Stambaugh (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003): “The still hidden truth of Being is withheld from metaphysical humanity. The laboring animal is left to the giddy whirl of its products so that it may tear itself to pieces and annihilate itself in empty nothingness” (87). Elsewhere, in “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking” (1964), in Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), Heidegger acknowledged Marx’s place in this process: “With the reversal of metaphysics which was already accomplished by Karl Marx, the most extreme possibility of philosophy is attained” (433).

Rejoinder on Korsch

Chris Cutrone

Police photo of Vladimir Il’ich Lenin, taken after his arrest in 1895 for participation in the St. Petersberg Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class.

DAVID BLACK’S VALUABLE COMMENTS and further historical exposition (in Platypus Review 18, December 2009) of my review of Karl Korsch’s Marxism and Philosophy (Platypus Review 15, September 2009) have at their core an issue with Korsch’s account of the different historical phases of the question of “philosophy” for Marx and Marxism. Black questions Korsch’s differentiation of Marx’s relationship to philosophy into three distinct periods: pre-1848, circa 1848, and post-1848. But attempting to defeat Korsch’s historical account of such changes in Marx’s approaches to relating theory and practice means avoiding Korsch’s principal point. It also means defending Marx on mistaken ground. Black considers that Korsch’s periodization — his recognition of changes — opens the door to criticizing Marx for inconsistency in his relation of theory to practice. But that is not so.

What makes Korsch’s essay “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923) important, to Benjamin and Adorno’s work for instance, and what relates it intrinsically to Lukács’s contemporaneous treatment of the question of the “Hegelian” dimension of Marxism in History and Class Consciousness, is Korsch’s discovery of the historically changing relation of theory and practice, and the self-consciousness of this problem, in the history of Marxism Free Adobe Auditions. This meant that the matter was, from a Marxian perspective, as Adorno put it in Negative Dialectics, “not settled once and for all, but fluctuates historically.”[1] Indeed, as Adorno put it in a late essay,

If, to make an exception for once, one risks what is called a grand perspective, beyond the historical differences in which the concepts of theory and praxis have their life, one discovers the infinitely progressive aspect of the separation of theory and praxis, which was deplored by the Romantics and denounced by the Socialists in their wake — except for the mature Marx.[2]

However one may wish to question the nuances of Korsch’s specific historiographic periodization of the problem of Marxism as that of the relation of theory and practice, both during Marx’s lifetime and after, this should not be with an eye to either disputing or defending Marx or a Marxian approach’s consistency on the matter. One may perhaps attempt a more fine-grained approach to the historical “fluctuations” of what Adorno called the “constitutive” and indeed “progressive” aspect of the “separation of theory and praxis.” Korsch’s point in the 1923 “Marxism and Philosophy,” followed by Benjamin and Adorno, was that we must attend to this “separation,” or, as Adorno put it, “non-identity,” if we are to have a properly Marxian self-consciousness of the problem of “Marxism” in theory and practice. For this problem of the separation of theory and practice is not to be deplored, but calls for critical awareness. Marx was consistent in his own awareness of the relation of theory and practice. This meant that at different times Marx found them related in different ways.

By contrast, what has waylaid the sectarian “Marxist Left” has been the freezing of the theory-practice problem, which then continued to elude a progressive-emancipatory solution at any given moment 음성 통역. Particular historical moments in the theory-practice problem have become dogmatized by various sects, thus dooming them to irrelevance. So generations of ostensibly revolutionary “Marxists” have failed to heed the nature of Rosa Luxemburg’s praise of Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks in the October Revolution:

All of us are subject to the laws of history. . . . The Bolsheviks have shown that they are capable of everything that a genuine revolutionary party can contribute within the limits of historical possibilities. . . . What is in order is to distinguish the essential from the non-essential, the kernel from the accidental excrescencies in the politics of the Bolsheviks. In the present period, when we face decisive final struggles in all the world, the most important problem of socialism was and is the burning question of our time. It is not a matter of this or that secondary question of tactics, but of the capacity for action of the proletariat, the strength to act, the will to power of socialism as such 마인 크래프트 평지 맵 다운로드. In this, Lenin and Trotsky and their friends were the first, those who went ahead as an example to the proletariat of the world; they are still the only ones up to now who can cry with Hutten: “I have dared!” This is the essential and enduring in Bolshevik policy. In this sense theirs is the immortal historical service of having marched at the head of the international proletariat with the conquest of political power and the practical placing of the problem of the realization of socialism, and of having advanced mightily the settlement of the score between capital and labor in the entire world. . . . And in this sense, the future everywhere belongs to “Bolshevism.”[3]

The Bolshevik Revolution was not itself the achievement of socialism and the overcoming of capitalism, but it did nevertheless squarely address itself to the problem of grasping history so as to make possible revolutionary practice. The Bolsheviks recognized, in other words, that we are tasked, by the very nature of capital, in Marx’s sense, to struggle within and through the separation of theory and practice. The Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 was the occasion and context for Korsch’s rumination on the theory and practice of Marxism in his seminal 1923 essay on “Marxism and Philosophy.”

In the extended aftermath of the failed revolution of 1917–19, the crisis of the Stalinization of Third International Communism and the looming political victory of fascism, Horkheimer, in an aphorism titled “A Discussion About Revolution,” addressed himself to the same subject Luxemburg and Korsch had discussed, from the other side of historical experience:

[A] proletarian party cannot be made the object of contemplative criticism Download internet explorer a tag. . . . Bourgeois criticism of the proletarian struggle is a logical impossibility. . . . At times such as the present, revolutionary belief may not really be compatible with great clear-sightedness about the realities.[4]

This is because, for Horkheimer, from a Marxian “proletarian” perspective, as opposed to a (historically) “bourgeois” one (including that of pre- or non-Marxian “socialism”), the problem is not a matter of formulating a correct theory and then implementing it in practice. It is rather a question of what Lukács called “historical consciousness.” We should note well how Horkheimer posed the theory-practice problem here, as the contradiction between “revolutionary belief” and “clear-sightedness about the realities.”

Horkheimer elaborated further that proletarian revolutionary politics cannot be conceived on the model of capitalist enterprise, and not only for socioeconomic class-hierarchical reasons, but rather because of the differing relation of theory and practice in the two instances; it is the absence of any “historical consciousness” of the theory and practice problem that makes “bourgeois criticism of the proletarian struggle” a logical “impossibility.” As Lukács put it, in “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat” (1923), “a radical change in outlook is not feasible on the soil of bourgeois society.” Rather, one must radically deepen — render “dialectical” — the outlook of the present historical moment. The point is that a Marxian perspective can find — and indeed has often found — itself far removed from the practical politics and (entirely “bourgeois”) ideological consciousness of the working class. This has not invalidated Marxism, but rather called for a further Marxian critical reflection on its own condition.

In a letter of February 22, 1881 to the Dutch anarchist Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Marx wrote,

It is my conviction that the critical juncture for a new International Working Men’s Association has not yet arrived and for that reason I regard all workers’ congresses or socialist congresses, in so far as they are not directly related to the conditions existing in this or that particular nation, as not merely useless but actually harmful 알라딘 1992년 영화. They will always ineffectually end in endlessly repeated general banalities.[5]

How much more is this criticism applicable to the “Left” today! But, more directly, what it points to is that Marx recognized no fixed relation of theory and practice that he pursued throughout his life. Instead, he very self-consciously exercised judgment respecting the changing relation of theory and practice, and considered this consciousness the hallmark of his politics. Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852) excoriated “bourgeois” democratic politics, including that of contemporary socialists, for its inability to simultaneously learn from history and face the challenge of the new.[6] How else could one judge that a moment has “not yet arrived” while calling for something other than “endlessly repeated banalities?”

Marx had a critical theory of the relation of theory and practice — recognizing it as a historically specific and not merely “philosophical” problem, or, a problem that called for the critical theory of the philosophy of history — and a political practice of the relation of theory and practice. There is not simply a theoretical or practical problem, but also and more profoundly a problem of relating theory and practice.

We are neither going to think our way out ahead of time, nor somehow work our way through, in the process of acting solidworks 2017. We do not need to dissolve the theory-practice distinction that seems to paralyze us, but rather achieve both good theory and good practice in the struggle to relate them properly. It is not a matter of finding either a correct theory or correct practice, but of trying to judge and affect their changing relation and recognizing this as a problem of history.

Marx overcame the political pitfalls and historical blindness of his “revolutionary” contemporaries, such as the pre-Marxian socialism of Proudhon et al. leading to 1848, anarchism in the First International, and the Lassallean trend of the German Social-Democratic Party. It is significant that Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875) critiqued the residual Lassallean politics of the Social Democrats for being to the Right of the liberals on international free trade, etc., thus exposing the problem of this first “Marxist” party from the outset.[7]

Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky, following Marx, recovered and struggled through the problem of theory and practice for their time, precipitating a crisis in Marxism, and thus advancing it 영국약전. They overcame the “vulgar Marxist” ossification of theory and practice in the Second International, as Korsch and Lukács explained. It meant the Marxist critique of Marxism, or, an emancipatory critique of emancipatory politics — a Left critique of the Left. This is not a finished task. We need to attain this ability again, for our time. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #20 (February 2010). Parts included for presentation on “Adorno and Korsch on Marxism and philosophy” at the Historical Materialism conference, York University, Toronto, May 14, 2010.


1. Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton (New York: Continuum Publishing, 1983), 143.

2 신입 이력서 양식. Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis,” in Critical Models, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 266. This essay, a “dialectical epilegomenon” to his book Negative Dialectics that Adorno said intended to bring together “philosophical speculation and drastic experience” (Critical Models, 126), was one of the last writings he finished for publication before he died in 1969. It reflected his dispute with fellow Frankfurt School critical theorist Hebert Marcuse over the student protests of the Vietnam War (see Adorno and Marcuse, “Correspondence on the German Student Movement,” trans. Esther Leslie, New Left Review I/233, Jan.–Feb. 1999, 123–136). As Adorno put it in his May 5, 1969 letter to Marcuse, “[T]here are moments in which theory is pushed on further by practice. But such a situation neither exists objectively today, nor does the barren and brutal practicism that confronts us here have the slightest thing to do with theory anyhow” (“Correspondence,” 127) Download emergency room mp3.

3. Rosa Luxemburg, “The Russian Revolution,” in The Russian Revolution and Leninism or Marxism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961), 80.

4. Max Horkheimer, Dawn and Decline, trans. Michael Shaw (New York: Seabury Press, 1978), 40–41.

5. Karl Marx to Domela Nieuwenhuis, 22 February 1881, in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Selected Correspondence, 1846-1895, trans. Dona Torr (New York: International Publishers, 1942), 387, <www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/letters/81_02_22.htm>.

6. As Luxemburg put it in 1915 in The Crisis of German Social Democracy (aka The Junius Pamphlet, available online at <www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/>),

Marx says [in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)]: “[T]he democrat (that is, the petty bourgeois revolutionary) [comes] out of the most shameful defeats as unmarked as he naively went into them; he comes away with the newly gained conviction that he must be victorious, not that he or his party ought to give up the old principles, but that conditions ought to accommodate him.” The modern proletariat comes out of historical tests differently Download Mr. Nobody. Its tasks and its errors are both gigantic: no prescription, no schema valid for every case, no infallible leader to show it the path to follow. Historical experience is its only school mistress. Its thorny way to self-emancipation is paved not only with immeasurable suffering but also with countless errors. The aim of its journey — its emancipation depends on this — is whether the proletariat can learn from its own errors. Self-criticism, remorseless, cruel, and going to the core of things is the life’s breath and light of the proletarian movement. The fall of the socialist proletariat in the present world war [WWI] is unprecedented. It is a misfortune for humanity. But socialism will be lost only if the international proletariat fails to measure the depth of this fall, if it refuses to learn from it.

7. Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Program,” in Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978), 533–534, <www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/>. Marx wrote, “In fact, the internationalism of the program stands even infinitely below that of the Free Trade party. The latter also asserts that the result of its efforts will be ‘the international brotherhood of peoples.’ But it also does something to make trade international. . . .The international activity of the working classes does not in any way depend on the existence of the International Working Men’s Association.”