Adorno in 1969

Adorno’s Marxism and the problem and legacy of the 1960s Left in theory and practice

Chris Cutrone

Presented at the one-day conference “Adorno 40 Years On,” commemorating the 40th anniversary of Adorno’s death, University of Sussex, U.K., August 6, 2009. Prior versions were presented at the Rethinking Marxism 2006 conference, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, October 26, 2006, and at the University of Chicago Social Theory Workshop, October 23, 2006. Draft: not to be cited in present form.

Introduction — précis

A certain legend of the 1960s New Left has it that the Marxist critical theorist Theodor [Wiesengrund] Adorno had been hostile to student radicalism.  This placed Adorno’s legacy for progressive politics in doubt for at least two decades after 1969.  Adorno had defended his junior colleague Jürgen Habermas’s warning of “left fascism” among 1960s student radicals, and challenged Herbert Marcuse’s support for student radicalism, questioning its emancipatory character.  Adorno’s collaborator Max Horkheimer commented about the ’60s radicalism, “But is it really so desirable, this revolution?”  Infamously, Adorno called the police to clear demonstrators from the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research in 1969.  Students protested that “Adorno as an institution is dead.”  Some months later, while hiking on vacation, Adorno suffered a heart attack and died.

Eulogizing Adorno in 1969, Habermas raised two issues for the post-1960s reception of Adorno’s work: 1.) Adorno’s work was both inspiring and frustrating for the critique of modern society; and 2.) Adorno left little to suggest directions to take beyond a “meager reprise of Marxism.”

Fredric Jameson and others began revisiting Adorno’s legacy around 1989, the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, to challenge the politics of “postmodernism” and its relation to “neo-liberal” capitalism: ironically, it was the seemingly “out-of-date” character of Adorno’s Marxism in the 1960s that now made his critical theory relevant again, after the passing of the administered, “one-dimensional” society of the Fordist/welfare state.  The controversy over Adorno since the 1960s has been over the nature and character of Adorno’s Marxism, formed in the 1920s–30s, which has not been given a proper account.  For now there are two registers for the problem of recovering Adorno’s Marxism: the 1960s “New” Left; and the 1920s–30s “Old” Left, obscured behind the ’60s. 

Habermas, “calling into his master’s open grave”

Soon after Adorno died in 1969, Habermas wrote a eulogy to him titled “The Primal History of Subjectivity — Self-Affirmation Gone Wild.”  The title itself says quite a bit.  Habermas took this opportunity to offer a critique indicative of the problems in the reception of Adorno’s work in the 1960s.  It was as if Adorno had represented something of the block with which one was always struggling but failing to overcome.

For Habermas, Adorno was exemplary of “the bourgeois subject, apprehended in the process of disappearance,” “which is still for itself, but no longer in itself.”  Habermas introduced Adorno’s character in order to explain the possibility for real insights — but also “enchanting analyses:”

In psychological terms . .  통기타악보. Adorno never accepted the alternatives of remaining childlike or growing up. . . .  In him there remained vivid a stratum of earlier experiences and attitudes.  This sounding board reacted hyper-sensitively to a resistant reality, revealing the harsh, cutting, wounding dimensions of reality itself.

In this characterization, Habermas rehearsed the idea that Adorno, as a last “Mandarin” intellectual, was grounded in an earlier historical epoch, the liberal capitalism of the 19th century.  However, this fails to consider that the formative experiences for Adorno’s thought were those that defined 20th century history.

Habermas concluded Adorno’s “aid [had been] indispensable” to understanding the “situation” of the present.  Habermas was anxious to defend Adorno against the criticisms of some of his more “impatient” students in 1969 — for, as Habermas put it, “they do not realize all that they are incapable of knowing in the present state of affairs.”  This was the basis for Habermas’s defense of the “rational core” of Adorno’s critical theory.

“All that they are incapable of knowing” — for Habermas, Adorno’s critical theory had failed to render the social world of 1969 critically intelligible.  At best, Adorno’s work brought to manifest and acute presentation what had yet to be understood; at worst, it contributed to false understanding, that “the theory that apprehended the totality of society as untrue would actually be a theory of the impossibility of theory.  The material content of the theory of society would then also be relatively meager, a reprise of the Marxist doctrine.”  For Habermas, Marx’s critical theory of capitalism might have been adequate to its 19th century moment, but had become outdated.

The “meager reprise of Marxism” — this was Habermas’s way of addressing the theoretical tradition from which Adorno’s thought originated, and which was experiencing a certain (if ambiguous) renaissance during the final years of Adorno’s life: the “New” Left.  For the late 1960s saw the beginning of the last important “return to Marx,” which regained the saliency of Adorno’s critical theory, even if this was confronted by the demand from his students not only for social theory but, more emphatically, for social transformation and emancipation.  Cautioning against the conclusion that Adorno’s critical theory had resigned from the task of social emancipation, Habermas wrote that “after Adorno’s opening talk to the sixteenth German Congress of Sociology in 1968 on ‘Late Capitalism or Industrial Society’ [translated and published in English that same year in the journal Diogenes under the title “Is Marx Obsolete?”], one could not maintain this [criticism of Adorno] in the same fashion.”

But Habermas added that “the point [of this criticism] remains.”  Habermas cited contemporary criticism of Adorno, for instance by Adorno’s student Albrecht Wellmer, of

the danger that arises when the dialectic of enlightenment is misunderstood as a generalization[,] in the field of [the] philosophy of history[,] of the critique of political economy[,] and tacitly substituted for it.  Then . .  의사요한 9회. the critique of the instrumental spirit can serve as the key to a critique of ideology, to a depth hermeneutics[,] that starts from arbitrary objectifications of the damaged life, that is self-sufficient and no longer in need of an empirical development of social theory.

Such a misunderstanding was one into which, however, Habermas maintained, “Adorno never let himself fall.”

Habermas did object to the fact that it “was [seemingly] sufficient for [Adorno] to bring in a little too precipitously the analyses handed down from Marx,” adding that “Adorno was never bothered by political economy.”  Habermas resolved that “the decodifying of the objective spirit by ideology critique, to which Adorno had turned all his energy in such a remarkable way, can be easily confused with a theory of late-capitalist society,” a theory to whose lack Habermas attributed the problems and character of social discontents and rebellion in 1969 — “all that they are incapable of knowing.”

Habermas expressed sympathy with the gesture of Adorno’s student who had “called into his master’s open grave, [that] ‘He practiced an irresistible critique of the bourgeois individual, and yet he was himself caught within its ruins’.”  Habermas ventured “that praxis miscarries may not be attributed to the historical moment alone.”  Instead, Habermas considered “the imperfection of [Adorno’s Marxist] theory,” and wished to caution against any possible direct appropriation of Adorno’s work, what could only be a “meager reprise” of Marxism.

However, thought-figures seeking to elaborate Marx’s critique of social modernity — capital — permeate literally every phrase in Adorno’s corpus.  To grasp this requires more direct attention to the formative moment of Adorno’s thought than has been attempted.

The origins of Adorno’s Marxism

The Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 was the formative event of the 20th century.  The emancipatory moment of the Russian Revolution was the lodestar for all subsequent Marxism.  From a decade after 1917, in Horkheimer’s late Weimar Republic-era writings [from Dämmerung (1926–31)], we read that,

The moral character of a person can be infallibly inferred from his response to certain questions. . . .  In 1930 the attitude toward Russia casts light on people’s thinking. . . .  I do not claim to know where the country is going; there is undoubtedly much misery Download How to Use WordPress. . . .  [But] [a]nyone who has the eyes to see will view events in Russia as the continuing painful attempt to overcome [the] terrible social injustice [of the imperialist world].  At the very least, he will ask with a throbbing heart whether it is still under way. . . .

When Kant received the first news of the French Revolution [of 1789], he is said to have changed the direction of his customary stroll from then on.

In 1919 Horkheimer had been in Munich during the short-lived Munich Council/Soviet Republic that was inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, and he had to flee from the violence of its counterrevolutionary suppression.  The trajectory of revolution, counterrevolution and reaction, of world war and civil war, formed the substance of the concerns of Marxism in the 20th century, including that of the Frankfurt School.

At the time of the October Revolution, Adorno (b. 1903) was 14 years old.  He did not experience directly the radicalization that the German defeat in the war brought in 1918–19, as, for instance, Horkheimer and Marcuse had.  During this time the teenage Adorno was still living in his relatively quiescent hometown of Frankfurt, being tutored in philosophy by his family’s friend Siegfried Kracauer, with whom he discussed Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

However, Adorno became the thinker in Frankfurt School Critical Theory whose work most consistently incorporates the concerns and critically reflects upon the legacy of the emancipatory potential expressed by the moment of 1917–19; such concerns and reflections were sustained in Adorno’s work through his very last writings of 1968–69 레트로 게임 다운로드.

The writings of Adorno’s last year, [1968–69,] the time of the climax and crisis of the 1960s “New” Left, help to define and evaluate the terms of the late reception of Adorno’s work, after his death.  The politics informing Adorno’s work is obscured behind the 1960s, for Adorno’s Marxism was formulated in the 1920s–30s, the period of social and political crisis in the wake of the revolutions of 1917–19.

The Bolshevik Revolution and the radicalism of its historical moment had prompted a “return to Marx” in the early 1920s whose most brilliant expositions were made by Georg Lukács in History and Class Consciousness (1923) and Karl Korsch in “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923).  Both these sought to recover the critical intent and purchase of Marx’s theory and politics in the aftermath of the collapse of international Social Democracy with WWI and the failure of international anticapitalist revolution in 1917–19.  Their work, inspired by and picking up from the radical Left of pre-war international Social Democracy that informed the Bolshevik Revolution, the politics of both the Bolsheviks and Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacists, provided the departure for subsequent, “Frankfurt School” critical theory.  The ultimate failure of the anticapitalist revolution that had opened most fully in Russia, but also manifested significantly elsewhere, prompted critical reflection on the social-emancipatory content of Marxist politics, in hope of its further development.  However, because of the contrast of such radically searching work with the stifling repression of Stalinist reaction in Russia under the rubric of “orthodoxy”, this critical Marxism came to be known by the misnomer of “Western” Marxism.  Beginning in the 1920s–30s, and extending through the 1960s, Adorno’s work sought to sustain this critical “return to Marx” in the period of triumphant counterrevolution that characterized the high 20th century.

In this period, Marxism itself became an affirmative ideology of reactionary, “advanced” capitalism, for its emancipatory content — and hence its profoundest critique of modern society — was lost.  Just as Marx’s thought originated in the attempt at the progressive critique of the Left of the 19th century, Adorno’s thought, his sustained engagement with the critical theory of 20th century capitalism, necessarily pursued the immanent critique of Marxism, to register the disparity between theory and practice, not only how Marxism had failed, but how it might yet point beyond itself.

The “return to Marx” that occurred in the two periods of the 1920s–30s and the 1960s–70s can be characterized well by referring to certain seminal statements, such as found in writings by Korsch from the early 1920s, and by C. Wright Mills, Martin Nicolaus, and Leszek Kolakowski from the 1960s.  Bringing these into communication with Adorno’s work from the 1960s illuminates the social-political desiderata of Adorno’s Marxism through his very last writings and helps situate Adorno’s Marxism and the state of its legacy today to the extent that we might recognize the history for problems of any possible “Left” for our present in Adorno’s critical prognosis on the 1960s Bible Listening.

The “New” Left of the 1960s (1): motivations for a return to Marx

In 1960, [C. Wright] Mills wrote a letter to the newly founded British journal New Left Review, delivering a series of suggestions and caveats to the younger generation of self-styled Leftists.  Mills accounted for the emergence of a “New” Left in the crisis of liberalism, at the levels both of ideology and practical politics, manifesting in a combination of what he termed the “liberal rhetoric and conservative default” that amounted to political “irresponsibility.”  Furthermore, directing his comments specifically to his British readers and their Labor Party, Mills took issue with the attenuated politics of contemporary socialism/social democracy, afflicted by, as he termed it, a “labor metaphysic.”  The politics of this “labor metaphysic,” while apparently privileging the working class as “the historic agency of change,” in actuality treated the workers merely as “The Necessary Lever,” really the object and not, as was claimed, the subject of socialist politics. So what would be the adequate “subject” of emancipatory politics?  For Mills, it was precisely discontented consciousness, in the ideological forms it takes.  For this reason, Mills’s greatest ire was reserved for “end of ideology” Cold War liberalism (and social democracy).  Mills castigated “end of ideology” writers like apostate Marxist (and Adorno’s former research assistant) Daniel Bell for their “attack on Marxism . . . in the approved style.”  Citing Marx repeatedly throughout his “Letter,” Mills encouraged his readers to the return to Marx, if not to “Vulgar Marxism.”  Most remarkably, Mills inveighed in favor of the most radical politics of 20th century Marxism:

Forget Victorian Marxism [i.e., the late 19th century Marxism of social democracy], except whenever you need it; and read Lenin again (be careful) — Rosa Luxemburg, too.

The thrust of Mills’s “Letter” is its emphasis on the importance of ideology for Leftist politics.  Mills’s acute term for this was “utopianism.”  Mills suggested attention to the forms of discontent that had manifested in the post-WWII period, which he found among “intellectuals.”  It was in this spirit that Mills encouraged reconsideration of prior generations of radicalized intellectuals, such as the Marxists Luxemburg and Lenin, against the quiescent “labor metaphysic” of the late “Vulgar Marxism” in Western Social Democracy and Soviet-inspired Communism that had become uncritical, and hence implicated in political “irresponsibility.”

The recognition of the importance of critical consciousness had been formative for the thinkers like Adorno in the 1920s–30s.  As pointed out by the historian of the Frankfurt Institute Helmut Dubiel [in Theory and Politics (1978)], as regards the role of consciousness, there had been no difference between Luxemburg and Lenin.  From early on, the Frankfurt School critical theorists shared this perspective with their more directly political Marxist forebears:

[The] ascription of a continuum — that is, of a mediated identity — between proletarian class consciousness and socialist theory — united even such [apparently] divergent positions as those of Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin. . . .  Georg Lukács formulated this conception in History and Class Consciousness (1923).  Although this idea was traditionally held by the socialist intelligentsia . .  날씨 라이브 배경 화면 다운로드. [this] speculative identity of class consciousness and social theory formed the self-consciousness of those socialist intellectuals who were not integrated into the SPD [German Social-Democratic Party] and KPD [German Communist Party] in the 1920s.

By comparison, the Marxist “orthodoxy” of both Stalinized international Communism and rump, post-WWI Social Democracy became ensnared in the antinomy presented by the contradiction — the important, constitutive non-identity — of social being and consciousness, practice and theory (or, as in debates around historic Bolshevism, spontaneity and organization), whose dialectic had motivated the critical consciousness of practice for Marx, as well as for the radicals in pre-1914 Social Democracy like Luxemburg and Lenin.  Marxists had become stuck on the question of why the workers were not making the revolution.  But, as Karl Korsch put it in “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923),

As scientific socialism, the Marxism of Marx and Engels remains the inclusive whole of a theory of social revolution . . . a materialism whose theory comprehended the totality of society and history, and whose practice overthrew it. . . .  The difference [now] is that the various components of [what for Marx and Engels was] the unbreakable interconnection of theory and practice are further separated out. . . .  The umbilical cord has been broken.

The Left is tasked with discovering the basis for its own discontents.  Usually, this has taken the form of imputing interests to classes, but in the 20th century this became an evasion and abdication of critical consciousness, and Marxism became an affirmative ideology for society based on and social existence justified through “labor.”

Among the thinkers who tried to break out of this quandary of self-understanding for critical consciousness that beset “orthodox” Marxism in the 20th century was the dissident Polish Marxist philosopher Leszek Kolakowski.  Their critical Marxist dissidence came after the crisis of international Communism in 1956 that had come with the Khrushchev “revelations” of Stalin’s crimes, and with the suppression of the Hungarian revolt (in which Marxist radicals of the preceding generation like Lukács had also participated).

Kolakowski’s essay “The Concept of the Left” (1968) emphasizes the productive role of ideology for the Left, stating that

The concept of the Left remains unclear to this day ojdbc7.jar 다운로드. . . .  Society cannot be divided into a Right and a Left. . . .  The Left must define itself on the level of ideas . . . the Left must be defined in intellectual and not class terms.  This presupposes that intellectual life is not and cannot be an exact replica of class interests. . . .  The Left . . . takes an attitude of permanent revisionism toward reality . . . the Left strives to base its prospects on the experience and evolutionary tendencies of history [rather than] capitulation toward the situation of the moment.  For this reason the Left can have a political ideology. . . .  The Left is always to the left in certain respects with relation to some political movements . . . the Left is the fermenting factor in even the most hardened mass of the historical present.

Against the naturalization of “class interests” Kolakowski maintained that it was not society that was divided into Right and Left but ideology.  Kolakowski recognized the Left as the critical element in progressive politics at the level of consciousness, and as such destined to remain always a spirited “minority.”

Such recovery of the essentially critical, intellectually provocative role of the Left was motivated precisely by the attempt to see beyond the “present,” and conditioned by Kolakowski’s recognition that Soviet Communism had long since become implicated and responsible for the status quo.  The reconsideration of Marx that could be motivated through the emphasis on ideology, on the critical aspects of his work for provoking consciousness of unfulfilled emancipatory potential, was marked by the writings of dissident French Communist Louis Althusser and others such as André Gorz and Martin Nicolaus, those who had been termed (for instance by the president of the U.S. Students for a Democratic Society Carl Oglesby) “neo-Marxists.”  Modern Marxism, to remain critical, was tasked with pursuing recognition of its constitutive conditions, the conditions of possibility for critical social consciousness 펀치히어로 1.3.8.

Nicolaus’s 1968 essay on “The Unknown Marx” (1968) sought to recover neglected aspects of Marx’s thought on the basis of the Grundrisse, a collection of unpublished writings from Marx’s notebooks that had garnered little substantial attention.  Nicolaus arrayed Marx’s mature writings such as Capital, using the Grundrisse to inform his approach, against interpretations derived primarily from Marx’s more influential early writings such as the Manifesto of the Communist Party, and concluded that “the most important Marxist political manifesto remains to be written.”

The “New” Left of the 1960s (2): the political and intellectual pitfalls of post-Marxism

Examples of the similar kinds of obscuring of the social-emancipatory content of Marxian critical theory, and the blind alleys in which contemporary Marxists had found themselves can be drawn from writings of the late 1960s by Adorno’s colleague Herbert Marcuse.  For instance, “The End of Utopia” begins with a broadside against Marx, that

Marx says . . . that the only thing that can happen . . . is for labor to be organized as rationally as possible and reduced as much as possible.  But it remains labor in and of the realm of necessity and thereby unfree.  I believe that one of the new possibilities, which gives an indication of the qualitative difference between the free and the unfree society, is that of letting the realm of freedom appear within the realm of necessity — in labor and not only beyond labor.

(Marcuse was influenced here by Schiller’s account of the “play drive:” work was to become play.)  Thus Marcuse’s articulation expresses precisely the kind of “labor metaphysic” about which Mills had warned, the political incoherence that manifested with the attenuation of historical agencies of social change like the socialist working class movement — and the dearth of political imagination that Nicolaus marked, what stood in need of commensuration with Marx’s mature insights into the implications of the surplus-value dynamic of capitalism found in the Grundrisse.  Concomitantly, in “The Question of Revolution,” Marcuse stated that “the conception of freedom by which revolutionaries and revolutions were inspired is suppressed in the developed industrialized countries with their rising standard of living,” confusing economics and social politics.  Marcuse’s late writings thus belied the kind of conflation Kolakowski had critiqued, the inadequate conception of the Left that derived principally from the status of empirical social groups (“classes”) rather than from the very ideological dynamics of social consciousness.  Hence, Marcuse manifested precisely the failure of social imagination decried by Mills.

For example, Marcuse made much of the brute oppression and stark life-and-death struggle supposedly motivating political movements in Vietnam and other parts of the Third World as a salutary factor for emancipatory politics:

[T]he revolutionary concept of freedom coincides with the necessity to defend naked existence: in Vietnam as much as in the slums and ghettos of the rich countries.

By characterizing the military campaigns of the North Vietnamese Communist regime and the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam — not to say the Civil Rights Movement 마비노기 클라이언트 다운로드! — in terms of a defense of “naked existence,” Marcuse evacuated politics, eliminating any potential basis for progressive critique, and crudely instrumentalizing the horror of their realities.  Adorno laconically remarked that “it would be difficult to argue that Vietnam is robbing anyone of sleep, especially since any opponent of colonial wars knows that the Vietcong for their part practice Chinese methods of torture,” questioning Marcuse’s less than critical support for the Vietnamese and other Third World Communists — and the late-’60s student radicalism that saw itself acting in solidarity with them.

Taking Marcuse to task on the issue of support for the student movement/New Left, Adorno sums up their differences as follows:

You think that praxis — in its emphatic sense — is not blocked today; I think differently.  I would have to deny everything that I think and know about the objective tendency if I wanted to believe that the student protest movement in Germany had even the tiniest prospect of effecting a social intervention.

For Adorno, a critique of the Left was in order, no less in the 1960s than it had been in the 1920s–30s.  For — especially for intellectuals — remaining critical is the most effective form of solidarity and participation in struggles against oppression and for emancipatory possibilities.

Adorno, in his last major monograph, Negative Dialectic (1966), argued for critical theory in the context of attenuated “objective” conditions for emancipatory social-political transformative practice — as Mills had argued in his 1960 “Letter to the New Left” (e.g., decline of liberal civic associations and decline of the radicalism of the workers’ movement).  Adorno’s work needs to be disenchanted and resituated in its specific critique of the crisis of the Left that had begun at least as early as the Stalinist degeneration of the Russian Revolution in the 1920s, but was in a terminal phase by the ’60s.  It was in this context that Adorno tried to steer the hard road between the Stalinophobia of Cold War liberalism and social democracy (for instance of the late Horkheimer), and the abdication of the critique of Third World-ist Stalinism (by Marcuse) Download The Lotto.

While Adorno had indeed supported the earlier configuration of student protest in 1968, in tandem with workers’ organizations, against the proposed “emergency laws” [Notstandgesetze] in the Federal Republic of Germany, by late 1968 and 1969, as Adorno pointed out, the student movement was in crisis and sought infantile provocations to sustain its existence, as witnessed in the 1969 student takeover of the Frankfurt Institute organized by Adorno’s doctoral student Hans-Jürgen Krahl that prompted Adorno to call the police.  Among those evincing the regressive social-political consciousness of the ’60s radicals was the French student leader Danny “the Red” Cohn-Bendit.  In his 1969 book Obsolete Communism: A Left-Wing Alternative, Cohn-Bendit called for making the revolution “here and now,” reserving his most strident protests against the “deadly love-making on the [cinema] screen.”  While Marcuse insisted that those like Cohn-Bendit were marginal to the movement, Adorno knew that they were indicative of the greater problem.  Even Marcuse acknowledged a fatal mixture, “Rational and irrational, indeed counter-revolutionary demands are inextricably combined.”

Such a combination should not have disqualified the student radicalism of the 1960s, but for the lack of their critical self-awareness.  The critique and opposition Adorno had to the ’60s radicalism was not due to the juxtaposition of the orthodoxy of the 1930s against the movements of the 1960s.  As Adorno put it in his “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969),

Praxis is a source of power for theory but cannot be prescribed by it.  It appears in theory, merely, and indeed necessarily, as a blind spot, as an obsession with what is being criticized . . . this admixture of delusion, however, warns of the excesses in which it incessantly grows.

Hence, critical consciousness is tasked with reflexively recognizing this delusionary aspect of any possible emancipatory social-political practice: an unavoidable but constitutive problem. 

Adorno in 1969: the non-identity of subject and object

For Adorno, the subject mediates the object, or, in sociological terms, the individual mediates society, and, in philosophical terms, consciousness mediates reality.  This mediation takes place in the commodity form, of which the human being is both subject and object.  The non-identity of subject and object is a non-identity of social being and consciousness.  Adorno’s critique of the reconciliation philosophy of Hegel and others is based on the desideratum of subjectivity: as yet there is no subject, only critical consciousness of its possibility, there can be only a negative recognition, a recognition of the present absence of effective social subjectivity.

For Adorno, it is precisely the non-identity of social being and consciousness and of theory and practice that is salutary for their critical relation.  Capitalism is the dialectical source of the theory-practice problem, which is symptomatic and hence indicative of the potential for getting beyond it, but not as something that can be overcome in the here and now, as the ’60s radicals (and those later) thought.  As Adorno put it in the “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis,”

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.

In his Negative Dialectic (1966), in a section titled “Objectivity and Reification,” Adorno had written of the emancipatory aspect of the vision for “planning” in a socialist society in preserving the non-identity of subject and object:

In the realm of things there is an intermingling of both the object’s [non]identical side and the submission of men to prevailing conditions of production, to their own functional context which they cannot know.  The mature Marx, in his few remarks on the character of a liberated society, changed his position on the cause of reification [or alienation], [which he had attributed, earlier, to] the division of labor.  He now distinguished the state of freedom from original immediacy.  In the moment of planning — the result of which, he hoped, would be production for use by the living rather than for profit, and thus, in a sense, a restitution of immediacy — in that planning he preserved the alien thing; in his design for a realization of what philosophy had only thought, at first, he preserved its mediation.

The “functional context which [we] cannot know” is capitalism, which generates not only (critical) subjectivity, but the theory-practice problem itself, as a non-identity of subject and object of practice.  For Marx, “alienation” is not empirical but social-contextual.  By comparison, the 1960s radicals had anticipated overcoming the separation of theory and practice immediately through their own efforts at (personal) transformation.  Such a mistaken configuration of the problem was to the detriment both of practice and of critical consciousness, including to the present.  In this they had been encouraged by thinkers like Marcuse in their abandonment of the emancipatory desiderata of history accumulated in the most radical exponents of Marxist politics that the critical theory of the earlier Frankfurt School thinkers had sought to preserve against the “vulgar Marxism” of both Social Democracy and Stalinism in the 1920s–30s — in the aftermath of failed and betrayed revolution after 1917–19, the moment in which social-political possibilities for overcoming capitalism opened to their greatest extent to date.

Following Adorno, properly accounting for the actual emancipatory contents of possible social-politics, as Marx and later Marxist radicals tried to do, continues to task the present. | §

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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The Platypus Synthesis: History, theory

The Platypus Synthesis: History, theory, and practice

Presented at the Platypus Affiliated Society 1st annual international convention, Chicago, June 14, 2009. (Audio recording.)

History, theory

Chris Cutrone

I WANT TO BEGIN, straightaway, with something Richard raised, on which I would like to try to elaborate, by way of properly motivating the more “positive” aspect of Platypus’s theory. Not how we are misrecognized, as either neoconservatives, crypto-Spartacists or academic Left-liberals, and what this says “negatively” about our project, as if in a photonegative, as Richard has discussed, but rather how we positively think about the intellectual content of our project.

Let me begin with a thought experiment: What if the Spartacist critique of the 1960s New Left and Moishe Postone’s critique of the New Left, as disparate and antithetical as they might appear, were both correct? In other words, what if, paradoxically, the problem of the 1960s New Left was that it was simultaneously “too traditional” and “not traditional enough” in its Marxism?

What if the Spartacists were right that Stalinism and Trotskyism (and Bolshevism more generally) were not to be conflated, as they were in both Stalinophilic New Leftism, of Maoism and Che Guevarism, etc., and Stalinophobic neo-anarchism, Situationism, etc.? And what if Postone was correct, that Trotskyism, as part of “traditional Marxism,” was unable to deal with the problem of mid-20th century capitalism’s differences from earlier forms, and not able to address why revolutionary proletarian class consciousness, as it had previously manifested, did not continue, but seemed to become either irrelevant or, worse, affirmative of the status quo of the “administered society” of “organized” capitalism in the mid-20th century Download kakaotalk emoji images?

What both the Spartacists and Postone are unable to address, however, is why neither of their perspectives, which purported to grasp the problem of capital more deeply and in broader historical context than others in the post-1960s New Left, found virtually no adherents. If we in Platypus say that both the Spartacists and Postone are correct, but both fail to adequately account for their own forms of consciousness, this raises an interesting paradox that points back to issues of historical interpretation for the Spartacists and Postone’s points of departure, namely, Bolshevism as revolutionary Marxism, and Marx’s own Marxism.

We could say that the problem of the Spartacists and Postone point to two different aspects of temporality in the history of the Left, that the Spartacists act as if no historical time intervenes between themselves and 1917, and Postone acts as if the progression of historical transformation leaves the Marxist tradition permanently superseded.

Both the Spartacists and Postone acknowledge, in however a limited fashion, the problem of regression; in the case of the Spartacists, the regression is post-1917, and for Postone it is post-1968, but both consider regression in only a linear and static manner, as if the emancipatory moments of 1917 and 1968 wait to be resumed at some time in a future that never comes. — And, behind both of these, lies 1848, which also continues to haunt our world, as taken up by the Situationists, “Left-” and “council” or “libertarian” communists and “anarchists.” What if all three are correct, that we are indeed haunted by 1848, 1917 and 1968, that these moments actually circumscribe present possibilities? Then the question would be: How so?

The point would be, contra both the Spartacists and Postone, to grasp how and why the pertinence of history changes and fluctuates, over time, and as a function of the present. The point would be to be able to grasp a non-linear conception of historical progression — and regression. If, according to the Spartacists, the moment of the Bolshevik Revolution remains permanently relevant, and, for Postone, Marx remains permanently relevant, this side of overcoming capital, then we ought to be able to explain how this is so, and in ways the Spartacists and Postone themselves have been unable to do Windows 7 basic font. This is precisely what Platypus sets out to do.

Please let me begin again, with 4 quotations, to be considered in constellation. The first is from Walter Benjamin’s 1940 “Theses on the Philosophy of History:”

Karl Kraus said that “Origin is the goal.” History is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogenous, empty time, but time filled by the presence of the now. Thus, to Robespierre ancient Rome was a past charged with the time of the now which he blasted out of the continuum of history. The French Revolution viewed itself as Rome incarnate. It evoked ancient Rome the way fashion evokes costumes of the past. Fashion has a flair for the topical, no matter where it stirs in the thickets of long ago; it is a tiger’s leap into the past. This jump, however, takes place in an arena where the ruling class gives the commands. The same leap in the open air of history is the dialectical one, which is how Marx understood the revolution.

In attempting to read the history of the accelerated demise and self-liquidation of the Left after the 1960s, reading it, as Benjamin put it, “against the grain,” we in Platypus face a problem discussed by Nietzsche in his 1873 essay “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life:”

A person must have the power and from time to time use it to break a past and to dissolve it, in order to be able to live. . . . People or ages serving life in this way, by judging and destroying a past, are always dangerous and in danger. . . . It is an attempt to give oneself, as it were, a past after the fact, out of which we may be descended in opposition to the one from which we are descended. [Nietzsche translation by Ian Johnston at: http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/history.htm]

However, as Karl Korsch wrote, in his 1923 essay on “Marxism and Philosophy:”

[Marx wrote (in his 1859 Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy) that] “[Humanity] always sets itself only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely it will always be found that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or are at least understood to be in the process of emergence.” [But] this dictum is not affected by the fact that a problem which supersedes present relations may have been formulated in an anterior epoch 스위시 맥스 4. [Karl Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy,” Marxism and Philosophy (NLB: New York and London, 1970), 58]

As Adorno wrote, in his 1966 book Negative Dialectics:

The liquidation of theory by dogmatization and thought taboos contributed to the bad practice. . . . The interrelation of both moments [of theory and practice] is not settled once and for all but fluctuates historically. . . . Those who chide theory [for being] anachronistic obey the topos of dismissing, as obsolete, what remains painful [because it was] thwarted. . . . The fact that history has rolled over certain positions will be respected as a verdict on their truth content only by those who agree with Schiller that ‘world history is the world tribunal’. What has been cast aside but not absorbed theoretically will often yield its truth content only later. It festers as a sore on the prevailing health; this will lead back to it in changed situations. [T. W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics (Continuum: New York, 1983), 143–144]

We in Platypus consider ourselves, quite self-consciously, to be a function of such a return, under changed circumstances, to what was “cast aside but not absorbed theoretically.” We think that such an approach as ours is only possible by virtue of the ways history, in failing to be transcended, continues to “fester,” “yielding its truth content,” but “only later.” Our approach is informed by prior models for such an endeavor, namely, Trotsky and Adorno, and those who succeeded them, namely, the Spartacists and Moishe Postone.

We think that figures of historical thought and action such as Marx, Lenin and Luxemburg, Trotsky, Lukács, Korsch, Benjamin and Adorno have an apparently fluctuating pertinence, but we consider them to remain in constellation with the present, however distantly, precisely because these historical figures “remain painful [because they were] thwarted,” and because “history rolled over [their] positions” without their having been actually transcended and superseded, but only mistakenly “dismissed as obsolete.” As Adorno put it, in one of his last essays, “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?,” or “Is Marx Obsolete?,” if Marx has become obsolete, this obsolescence will only be capable of being overcome on the basis of Marx’s own thought and model of historical action. We in Platypus think the same goes for Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, and Adorno himself.

If these historical figures are obsolete but still remain capable of holding our attention and imagination, then we are tasked with explaining any continued pertinence they have by reference to their own models of historical thought and action, and thus, in a sense, “transcending” them, but only through “remembering” them, and on the basis that they themselves provide for our understanding them 한글 기본 글꼴. We want to transform the ways these figures haunt us in the present into a matter of actual gratitude as opposed to guilt (as Horkheimer and Adorno put it, in The Dialectic of Enlightenment, following Freudian psychoanalysis, about “The Theory of Ghosts”).

We recognize that Marx and the best Marxists, such as Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, will be transcended only by being fulfilled. We want to actually make them obsolete, whereas we find their (pseudo-)“obsolescence” declared by the “Left” today to be a function of trying to repress or ward them off instead. We begin with the discomfort of their memory, as an important symptom of history in the present.

But this involves a rather complicated historical approach, one that goes on in Platypus under the rubrics of “regression” and “critical” history, or history “against the grain” of events, which I would like to explicate now.

Nietzsche described what he called “critical history,” or an approach to history that is critical of that history from the standpoint of the needs of the present. Let me cite further from the passage of Nietzsche’s “Use and Abuse of History for Life” I’ve already quoted to illustrate this point.

Nietzsche said that,

Here it is not righteousness which sits in the judgment seat or, even less, mercy which announces judgment, but life alone, that dark, driving, insatiable self-desiring force.

So the question becomes, how, if at all, does memory of historical Marxism serve the needs of the present? We in Platypus recognize both the obscurity of the heritage of revolutionary Marxism and the ways the alternative, non-revolutionary lineage of the “Left” in its decline has been naturalized and so is no longer recognized as such. Our point of departure is the hypothesis that the history of the Left, however obscure, is the actual history of the present, or, more accurately, in Hegelian terms, how the history of the Left is the history of the present in its “actuality,” in its potential for change and transformation, and in its constraint of such potential 고전게임 nox 다운로드. We are bound by the history of the Left, whether we recognize this or not.

For example, we follow Trotsky’s caveat about the danger of being Stalinist in “method” if not in avowed “politics,” and judge the “Left” today to be beholden to Stalinism in importantly unacknowledged ways. Ian wrote an article in the May issue of The Platypus Review (#12), on “Resurrecting the ’30s,” in which he cited C. Wright Mills on how the “nationalization” of the Left in the 1930s–40s was “catastrophic.” We recognize this “nationalization,” the narrowing of horizons for Leftist politics that has been taken for granted by the Left, especially after WWII, to be the very essence of Stalinism and its historical legacy in the present. More importantly, we recognize that such “nationalization” of Left politics was utterly foreign to the perspectives of Marx and the 2nd International radical Marxists, Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky. Hence, we find in their example a potential critical vantage-point regarding the subsequent historical trajectory of the Left.

Furthermore, Nietzsche described the danger of

[the] attempt to give oneself, as it were, a past after the fact, out of which we may be descended in opposition to the one from which we are descended. It is always a dangerous attempt, because it is so difficult to find a borderline to the denial of the past and because the second nature usually is weaker than the first.

Richard, in his comments at our panel on “The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century” Friday night, spoke of how Trotsky and Benjamin provide the “hidden” or esoteric history of the 20th century, by contrast with its “real” history, exemplified by FDR and Hitler 어쌔신크리드 오디세이. Our present world is more obviously descended from the history of Hitler and FDR, who in this sense made the world what it is today, as the effect of their actions. But how might we (come to) be descended also from Benjamin and Trotsky? Can we claim their history as ours, or are we condemned to being only the products of the history of Hitler, FDR and Stalin (and those who followed them)?

Does the historical possibility represented by Trotsky and Benjamin have any meaning to us today? Clearly their historical legacy of opposition is weaker than the other, dominant and victorious one. But was Trotsky and Benjamin’s opposition to Stalin, FDR and Hitler so fruitless that we cannot make use of them in fighting against the continued effects of, and perhaps one day overcoming entirely, the legacy of the latter? It is in this sense that we can discuss the critique of the present available in history.

Benjamin contrasted such “critical history,” of the “vanquished,” which is related to but the converse of Nietzsche’s, a critique of the present from the standpoint of history, as opposed to Nietzsche’s critique of history from the standpoint of the present, to the affirmative history of the “victors,” the affirmation of history as it happened. — But, first, we need to be very clear about what Benjamin meant by the “vanquished,” who were not merely history’s victims, but the defeated, those who actually struggled and lost: Benjamin’s example was Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacus League in the German Revolution and Civil War of 1918–19. It was on behalf of such historically “vanquished” that Benjamin wrote that history needed to be read “against the grain” of the victories of the status quo that comprise the present 메이저 1기 다운로드. It is in memory of their sacrifices, the “anger and hatred” that emanates from the image of “enslaved ancestors,” that Benjamin thought the struggle for emancipation in the present could be motivated by history, that history could serve the present, contrary to the way it otherwise oppresses it, in its affirmation of the status quo.

It is in this sense that we in Platypus do not claim so much that Marx, Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, et al. were right, but rather we seek to make them right, retroactively. We do not claim their relevance, but seek to make them relevant. For they did not seek merely to find the crisis of capital, but to bring it about. Our critique of the present, initially, is what is available historically: how the present can be critiqued from the vantage-point of history.

The founder of the Spartacist League, James Robertson, once put it very well, in 1973 — in the aftermath of the ’60s — that,

The truth is historically conditioned; that is, the outlook of the Communist movement of the first four congresses of the Communist International rested upon a historic and successful upheaval of the revolutionary proletariat [in 1917]. A comparable theoretical breakthrough and generalization accompanied this massive revolutionary achievement. . . . It is as though the theoretical outlook of the proletarian vanguard in the period 1919–23 in the International stood atop a mountain. But since that time, from the period of the Trotskyist Left Opposition until his death and afterward, the proletariat has mainly witnessed defeats and the revolutionary vanguard has either been shrunken or its continuity in many countries broken. One cannot separate the ability to know the world from the ability to change it, and our capacity to change the world is on a very small scale compared to the heroic days of the Communist International easyview.

Robertson pointed out how deeply mistaken, and indeed “arrogant,” it was for us to assume that we know better than revolutionaries historically did. Our point is not to idolize the past but rather to instill an appropriate sense of humility towards it. Furthermore, the point is to be able to think in light of the past, how the past might help us think in the present. For, not only might we not know their past moments better than they did, but we might not know our present moment better than they might be able to prompt us to think about it. As Adorno wrote, in 1963,

The theorist who intervenes in practical controversies nowadays discovers on a regular basis and to his shame that whatever ideas he might contribute were expressed long ago — and usually better the first time around.

But repetition is regression. The second time around may not be better, but it might yet be productive in certain ways.

For it is not a matter of how these historical thinkers and actors we find important can be emulated in the present, practically, so much as it is a question of how far their perspective might see into the present. Not what would they do in the present, but what might they say to our present and its historical trajectory? So, initially, it is a matter of theory more than practice. Engaging the historical thought and action of our revolutionary Marxist forebears is not a matter of applying a ready-made theory, but rather tasks our own interpretative abilities ffmpeg exedownload. It demands that we think — not a simple matter. As Trotsky wrote to his followers in the 1930s, we must “learn to think,” again. This is what distinguishes us from other supposedly “Marxist” organizations. And this is what informs our practice, what we actually make happen in the world, as Ian will discuss.

Approaching history this way allows us to pose certain questions. It does not provide answers. The positive content of historical ideas is in their ambiguity: this is what makes them live for us today, by contrast with the dead positivity of the pseudo-ideas — really, the suppression of thinking — that we find on the fake “Left” today. For there is not merely the question of what we think about the past; but, also, and, perhaps most importantly, in our regressive moment today, the reciprocal one: what the past might think of us.

As Benjamin put it, history needs to be approached from the standpoint of its potential redemption. We think that the historical thought and action of Marxism demands to be redeemed, and that our world, dominated by capital, will continue to suffer so long as this task remains undone. We think that the constitutive horizon of our world was already charted, however preliminarily, by the revolutionary politics of historical Marxism, but that this horizon has become only blurred and forgotten since then. We in Platypus set ourselves the task of initiating thought about this problem, from deep within the fog of our present. We look back and see the revolutionary Marxists looking towards us from that faraway mountaintop asura games. In their fleeting gaze we find an unfulfilled hope — and a haunting accusation. | §

Symptomology

Historical transformations in social-political context

Chris Cutrone

Marx ridiculed the idea of having to “prove” the labor theory of value. If Marxian theory proved to be the means whereby the real relations of bourgeois society could be demonstrated in their movement, where they came from, what they were, and where they were going, that was the proof of the theory. Neither Hegel nor Marx understood any other “scientific” proof.

The more concrete the negation of the need, the more abstract, empty and flamboyant becomes the subjective mediation.

— C. L. R. James, “Dialectical Materialism and the Fate of Humanity” (1947)

THE PRESENT CRISIS has prompted numerous calls for a reconsideration of “socialism” and even for a return to Marx.[1] It seems to augur fundamental changes, changes met with no less fear than desire.

We in Platypus have anticipated, since our inception in 2006, the possibility of a “return to Marx,” and have sought to inform the terms in which this might take place Download The Little Spirit of the East. We have sought the re-opening of historical issues on the Left with the intention of their fundamental recon­sideration, taking nothing for granted, so that we could definitively close the books on stale “debates” in which the “Left” has remained stuck for more than a genera­tion, since at least the 1960s. Given the confusion reign­ing on the “Left” today, the urgency for this is evident.

The difficulty in addressing the present crisis of capi­talism is that almost all commentaries on it, not least those emerging from the Left, begin with a fundamen­tal misrecognition. We are not so much living through the crisis of capitalism as capitalism itself is the crisis. Capitalism is the — permanent — crisis of modern society. Only conjuncturally does capitalism become appreciably worse. But the history of capitalism is, whether in a fine-grained or a broad-gauged way, the history of going from one crisis to the next. It is in this sense that present circumstances and future prospects for capitalism must be addressed.

The election of President Obama is being regarded as an ambivalent phenomenon in this respect: On the one hand, Obama is saddled with responsibility of resolv­ing the crisis merely in order to restore some status quo ante, whether this is conceived as the 1990s heyday of Clintonism, before George W 윈도우 10 익스플로러 11. Bush messed things up, or the post-WWII welfare state of the Roosevelt to Nixon years. On the other hand, Obama’s election is taken to express or indicate the possibility for more radical change, towards which his administration might be pushed. But perhaps neither response to Obama is appropriate. Such prognostication ignores the history of transformations in capitalism, of which the present crisis might be only the latest occasion.

Whatever changes may or may not be brought about by Obama (or despite him) in response to the present crisis, his administration cannot solve the problems of capitalism but only transform them. The changes that take place will matter to the extent that they lay the groundwork for the next period of history under capital, structuring the conditions under which any future struggle against capitalism must take place — just as contemporary social forms are the accumulated effects of prior attempts to master the dynamic of capital in modern history.

To grasp the stakes of the present, we need to antici­pate potential changes, rather than simply getting swept up in them. We need, paradoxically, to try to remain “ahead of the curve,” precisely because, like everyone else, we are conditioned by and subject to forces beyond our control.[2] For what is missing is any agency adequate to intervening against capital (or, more accurately, to intervening from within its unfolding process) with more democratic results 로블록스 핵 다운로드.

The historical forces currently at work are beyond anyone’s, including Obama’s, control. However, the danger that the crisis presents is worse than this, which is, after all, the persistent characteristic of capital. The danger lies rather in the illusion that because of the economic crisis the workings of capital, which before had remained hidden, have now somehow revealed themselves to plain view. To grasp such workings requires more than experience. It requires us to attend to the vicissitudes in the history of theory, to distinguish affirmations and apologetics from critical recognitions.

The fate of Michel Foucault’s critique of modern soci­ety in the mid-20th century, during its last third and the first decade of the 21st century, can tell us a great deal about both the historical changes since the 1960s–70s “New Left” and the high 20th century social-political forms against which Foucault’s critique was directed.

Foucault’s work of the 1960s–70s retains great cur­rency in our time because it expresses discontent in a form that can find affirmation in the transformed society that came after its initial formulation and publication.[3] Foucault’s work was susceptible to being transformed from critique into affirmation and even common sense Download iPhone messages. This fact alone tells us a great deal about the historical changes with which Foucault’s work is bound up.

If Foucault’s work was expressive of forms of discon­tent that helped give rise to post-Fordist, neo-liberal capitalism since the 1970s, if the re-found “anarchism” with which his work has such great affinity has become the predominant form of radical social-political discon­tent on the supposed “Left,” this is because Foucault’s critique inadequately grasped its object, the Fordist capitalism of the mid-20th century. Consequently, when we read Foucault now, his work tells us — and affirms us in — what we already know. Only rarely, and, so to speak, despite itself, does it task us in the present. Only rarely does it help us to separate the critical from the affirma­tive, so that the one is not smuggled in under cover of the other. Hence, the question necessarily arises: Does Foucault’s work actually challenge us? Or does it merely entertain?

Film still, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Film still, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

The “New Left” in the 1960s–70s thought it was rebel­ling against capitalism, and thought it was doing so more profoundly than the preceding “Old” Left was able to do. But now it is difficult to deny that it was responding to one particular form of capitalism, one already in the pro­cess of dissolution. The New Left did not reach deeply enough to affect much of the subsequent transforma­tion of capitalism in the 1980s–90s, but it did serve to legitimize the replacement of what had grown obsolete Baby Boss. We read and accept, e.g., Foucault’s work, though we no longer have Fordist capitalism to critique. What we have instead is post-Fordism, of which Foucault’s work and other New Left thinking has become apologetic. If we find affirmation in Foucault, it is because we have long since flown the cuckoo’s nest of Fordist capital and are no longer in the care of Nurse Ratched.

By contrast with theories such as Foucault’s, Marx’s critical theory of capital has come up for repeated reconsideration since its origins in the mid-19th century, and will continue to do so, so long as capitalism as Marx understood it continues to exist. The other social thinkers whose work remain subject to such reconsid­eration — whose thought continues to haunt us in the present — are those bound up in the historical trajectory from which Marx’s thought emerged, those that predate, are roughly contemporaneous with, or are immediately successive to Marx, such as Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche and Freud. Beyond these, the thinkers after Marx who primarily claim our interest are those who most rigorously pursue the Marxian prob­lematic, such as Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Lukács, Benjamin and Adorno Download youtube music video. This is because, like Marx, the best 20th century Marxists were able to perceive and grasp both the most fundamental, perennial historical problems of life in capital as well as the problems of the struggle to overcome them. The recurrent “return to Marx” is thus a feature of our objective social life and will remain so. There is a reason why Marx does not fade as other thinkers do.

In his important 1989 work The Condition of Post­modernity, David Harvey provided an excellent account of how transformations of capitalism do not leave old forms entirely behind, but rather reconstitute them. For instance, Harvey argues convincingly that the form of capitalism that emerges after 1973 ought to be under­stood as post-Fordist, as the transformation of Fordism rather than its overcoming, just as 20th century Fordism was a transformation of the preceding, 19th century “liberal” form of capital.[4]

So the present crisis of post-Fordist/”neo-liberal” capitalism points not to the end of neo-liberalism, but rather to its transformed continuation. We will be mov­ing into a period in which are accumulated and recon­figured the historical legacies of all previous periods of capitalism: the liberal one of the mid- to late 19th century; the era of monopoly capitalism and imperial­ism of the late 19th to the early 20th century; the Fordist era of the high/middle 20th century; and the neo-liberal era of the late 20th century Download Isaac Rivers Fresh Mode. The question is whether this compounding of the problems of capitalism since Marx’s time makes it more politically and theoretically intractable.

Preceding forms of discontent with capitalism histori­cally found their expression (however uncertainly) on the Left, and these were transformed along with capitalism itself. The history of the Left is thus closely bound up with changes in the problem it has sought to overcome since the mid-19th century. The exhaustion and underly­ing despair of the “Left” today can be traced to its be­coming lost in a tangle of seemingly insoluble problems that have accumulated since Marx’s time. None of the problems raised in the history of preceding generations of the Left have been successfully worked through. All continue to haunt us.

What makes the present transformation of capital­ism very different from preceding ones, however, is the absence of a Left, an absence that points to a problem of consciousness android webview. If we are haunted by the past, this is largely in a repressed way. By treating the past as “an­cient history” we proclaim it to be no longer relevant. For this very reason, it is unclear whether and to what extent the problems of contemporary capitalism have been brought to conscious recognition.

While every historical crisis in capitalism has been met with (premature) announcements of its demise (whether welcomed or regretted), a history of the Left’s conception of capitalism can help us understand the changes that capitalism has undergone. Specifically, such a history would tell us how acutely (or not) the problem of capitalism and its potential overcoming have been grasped on the Left historically, and this, in turn, would help to reveal lingering theoretical problems. By helping us to better grasp the problem of capitalism, we could better understand how it has survived up to now.

The disadvantage with which we approach the present crisis is conditioned by the absence of a Left that could be meaningfully critiqued and practically challenged, as Marx and the best Marxists did in prior periods 아프리카tv 방송. There is no Left to push forward. This severely constricts our ability to actually get a handle on the present.

Whereas prior periods provided the Left with a rich symptomology that could be critically interrogated and thereby advanced, the pathologies we must work through today threaten to be entirely phantasmal. We might be left in coming years wondering why anyone ever made such a great fuss about “credit default swaps” and the like. The sufferings of the present might strike future considerations of them as having been quaint.

To better understand the world we need to try to change it. But the paralyzed consciousness on the “Left” prevents any attempt from whose failure we might learn. Still, a critical encounter with the enigmas of past attempts to change the world might help motivate our thinking and action in the present. The restive dead will continue to haunt us, though they might be made to speak. They are the only meaningfully acute symptoms available in the present. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #12 (May 2009) 웹 페이지 일괄.


1. For instance, see: Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas, “We Are All Socialists Now” in Newsweek February 16, 2009; and the on-going forum on “Reimagining socialism” in The Nation, with contributions by Michael Albert, Tariq Ali, Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher, Jr., Doug Henwood, Christian Parenti, Robert Pollin, Rebecca Solnit, Immanuel Wallerstein, et al., beginning in the March 23, 2009 edition with Ehrenreich and Fletcher’s article “Rising to the Occasion.” See also my letter in response, published in the April 20, 2009 edition, on the relation of Marx­ism to reality, utopia and the necessity for revolution.

2. See, for instance, recent Nobel Laureate in economics Paul Krugman’s “loyal opposition” — supposedly from the “Left” — to the Obama administration’s policies, signaled by a New York Times op-ed column on how the policies were slipping “Behind the Curve” (March 8, 2009), followed by another column, “Conscience of a Liberal” (March 21, 2009) and the Newsweek cover story on Krugman by Evan Thomas, “Obama’s Nobel Headache” (March 28, 2009).

3. See, for instance, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (1961), The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception (1963), The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (1966), The Archaeology of Knowledge (1971) and Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975).

4. Harvey’s more recent work, beginning at least with The New Imperialism (2003), up to and including his recent essay published in the Platypus Review 11 (March 2009), “Why the U.S. Stimulus Package is Bound to Fail,” has become more ambigu­ous if not incoherent, politically. He has therefore fallen below the threshold of the insight of his earlier work, which recognized the pitfalls of the nostalgia for Fordist capitalism that his more recent work evinces. This nostalgia is apparent in Harvey’s call, like others on the “Left” in the grip of the memory of the 1930s–40s, for a “new New Deal.” On the other hand, Harvey repeats standard post-1960s warnings about supposed imperial “decline” that have proven unwarranted through the several cri­ses the U.S. has weathered successfully since the Vietnam War debacle and the collapse of the post-World War II Bretton Woods system under Nixon.

Remember the future!

A rejoinder to Peter Hudis on “Capital in History”

Chris Cutrone

HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS ARTICULATES the problem of what “ought” to be with what “is.” The question is how the necessities of emancipatory struggles in the present relate to those of the past. The tasks revealed by historical Marxism have not been superseded but only obscured and forgotten, at the expense of emancipatory social politics in the present.

Dunayevskaya and post-Trotskyism

The problem with Raya Dunayevskaya lies in the belief that there has been any real theoretical or practical political progress since the failure of the revolutions of 1917–19. This imagined progress is explicitly or implicitly assumed in all “Trotskyism” and post-Trotskyism.

Contrary to the prevailing views of post-Marxism, the high-water mark of progress in the movement for human freedom was in the practical politics and theoretical self-understanding of Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks in Russia and Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacists in Germany. We have not progressed beyond the horizon of such political practice and its theory, but only regressed and fallen below this threshold. We urgently need to attain its spirit anew 돈벌지마.

For the past half century, revolutionary “Left” politics, Marxist or otherwise, have remained stuck in the antinomies of “spontaneity” and “organization,” “participatory democracy” and “vanguardist” politics, etc. Meanwhile, the historical moment of 1917–19 and its protagonists in thought and action remain enigmas to us.

A repressed historical fact: neither Lenin nor Luxemburg was a “vanguardist” or a “spontaneist.” These and other phantasies —indeed, any apparent resolution to, and progress beyond, the genuine political problems of social emancipation beyond capital revealed in 1917–19— are pernicious illusions.

Dunayevskaya never properly registers the problem of regression. The most problematic assumption is that coming later means knowing better. But newly emergent forms of “resistance to capital” might be symptomatic of regression, and thereby not point beyond capitalist social relations any more — and perhaps far less — than proletarian socialism did in the early 20th Century. It is not a matter of such new forms of politics expressing advances in social-political consciousness, but rather the effects of the horizon of a Marxian anticapitalist politics slipping away.

Hudis’s conception of capital as the domination of living labor by abstract labor leads to his equating all forms of resistance to capital as forms of “living labor’s” protest against and purportedly immanent attempt to overcome capital openstack 이미지 다운로드.

Such an analysis finds “new” forms of anticapitalism in the social movements of the 1960s “New Left” (e.g. women’s and gay liberation, black power, anti-colonization). The ”New Left”, however, actually represented a turning away from the problem of capital.

Why? Because only through proletarian socialism does the problem of the “contradiction” of capital —the self-contradictory character of proletarian labor in both its “abstract” and “concrete” dimensions— come to light. For capital is not merely the abstract dimension dominating the concrete, “living” dimension. It is rather the ways the abstract and concrete dimensions are related through market or state forms. Capital is the mode of self-relation of the proletariat and its consequences as a social-historical totality. All forms of “resistance to capital” constitute its reproduction in an on-going way.

Proletarian socialism, on the other hand, is the movement that reveals the self-contradiction of capital most explicitly and intensely in its reproduction Download The Sudden Attack Moonhack. Other symptomatic forms of coping with the capital dynamic do so only more obscurely. Only proletarian socialism, the most acute manifestation of the self-contradiction of capital, concretely points beyond it.

We need a proletarian socialist politics to manifest the problem of capital for us, so that we can begin to formulate a politics for getting beyond it.

The degree to which an approach such as Hudis’s attempts to be more open-minded about social struggles and their relation to the problem of capital, it actually conceals more than it reveals. Capital is a form of life, however “alienated,” and not just a form of domination “over” life. Hence, one cannot take the position of “life” against capital, of “living labor” against “abstract labor,” without naturalizing capital at another, deeper level.

Marx’s political vision: the “dictatorship of the proletariat”

Recognizing capital as a form of life also means recognizing the truly radical difference between a post-capitalist society and the society of capital Kyocera. It is, in fact, too radical for us to really foresee, despite humanity’s struggle to realize it over the course of more than a century. To clarify the relationship between the historical present and a possible future, it is helpful to consider Marx’s political thinking on socialism.

Marx’s understanding of socialist politics is expressed most clearly in his notion of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” For Marx, the “dictatorship of the proletariat” is not merely the overcoming of abstract labor by living labor, but rather the highest expression of their contradiction in the subjectivity of the commodity form.

Further, it expresses the contradiction of the democratic will of the producers in both their particular-“concrete” and “abstract”-general social dimensions. For example, the “participatory”-democratic ordering of the site of production will conflict with the more abstract “representative” democracy of political forms at a more general social level. In fact, the political circumstances of socialism would likely produce social conflicts, and hence politics. In a sense it would be, by comparison with the present, the first time in which authentic social-politics can be practiced pou 돈버그 판 다운로드.

In this sense, the “dictatorship of the proletariat” marks the end of politics as we know it, and the beginning of politics in a new and more advanced sense, with the working class and its activity helping to point beyond the social dynamic of capital. I disagree with Hudis that historical revolutionary Marxist protagonists such as Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky adopted a fundamentally different conception of the future of politics than Marx. Each of them, to the contrary, recognized the necessary leading, “vanguard” role of the working class in the attempt to democratize, or bring under conscious human control, the social process set in motion by capital.

The dynamic of capital does not evaporate through the activity of the working class. Quite the contrary, it is through this activity that capital, as Marx understood it, comes into being. Through the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” however, the working class plays the necessarily leading role globally in addressing the problem of capital and its effects Download the ranch story. In other words, it is the political means by which the social problem of capital is revealed so that it can begin to be overcome.

The proletariat then becomes for the first time, in Lukács’s Hegelian-Marxist terms, the subject-object of (its own) history. At the same time, the proletariat as a class begins to cease being the self-contradictory “subject-object” it is today under capital. The proletariat, when these conditions are met, becomes itself for the first time while ceasing to be what it has been — constituted by and reconstitutive of capital — and thus begins to overcome and abolish itself.

The most potentially “participatory” concrete form of democracy, that of “the producers,” must be recognized as the highest expression of the subjectivity of the commodity form, the subject-object relation of the proletariat with its own social activity of labor — and not as its “negation.”

Hence, evading or otherwise abandoning Marx’s conception of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” means abandoning the struggle to overcome capital. We need to remember what this actually meant by way of studying the most developed expressions to date of such a politics. We must remember the tasks of the past still informing our present by recalling what it was that revolutionary Marxism sought to accomplish, despite its historical failure.

Remember the future!

The political thought and action bound up in the revolutionary moment of 1917-19 comprise a complex, rich heritage we neglect at our peril wsimport 다운로드. This heritage, that of Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky and theorists in their wake, such as Lukács, Korsch, Benjamin and Adorno, is in the form of a set of problems to be worked through and not ready-made solutions. In order to recognize these outstanding problems of capital we must remember the future whose horizons of possibility informed the politics of the best traditions of revolutionary Marxism. Despite the limitations of Marxism as a historical movement, we nevertheless remain within the horizon of the history of capital and its social effects, whether politics today recognizes it or not. Hence, apparently paradoxically, it is by recognizing the horizons of possibility of capital as revealed in the past that we may recognize the limits humanity needs to overcome to realize its potential, emancipated future.

For example, in the earlier Marxist movement of the 2nd International (1889–1914), the women’s liberation movement took place as an integral part of the struggle for socialism, to which it was neither subordinated nor from which was it separated Download The Funying Grey Raven. Such Marxist socialists as August Bebel and Clara Zetkin, among countless other, now-forgotten, participants in this movement, achieved profound insights into the relation of traditional gender roles and sexuality to the radically changed circumstances of modern capitalism. They recognized how capitalism both drew upon and radically reconstituted, on a new and different basis, such “traditional” oppressive aspects of society. Furthermore, they recognized the obstacle to women’s emancipation capital had become and thus the fundamental connection between women’s and sexual oppression and other problems in modern society. It was only because of the subsequent degeneration and conservatization of this movement, due to a series of failures and defeats, that a separate “feminist” movement had to come into being in the course of the regression of the 20th Century. Embracing the history of feminism thus amounts to naturalizing and adapting to such defeat and lowering the horizons of social politics.

Over-attentiveness to newly emergent — though concrete — forms of “resistance” to capitalism amounts to chasing our tails in the present and tailing after the effects of capital mod apk 무료 다운로드. Such over-attentiveness does not broaden but narrows our horizons; it does not, as Luxemburg demanded, engage, seize hold of and attempt to guide, in however limited ways, the changes in and of capital, so that we might get beyond them. “Resistance” in the present represents attempts to cope with and thus catch up with the social dynamics of capital. And the terms of such resistance have only worsened over time with the waning and disappearance of proletarian socialist politics.

Far from pointing to a post-capitalist society, such forms of social struggle under capital actually represent the limits of the present and its future, but only in obscure form, and thus not the actual breadth of the horizon of a potential future of and beyond capital. They express not the potentially new future beyond capital, but only the trailing edge, the wake of the newly emerging past in the present.

The post-’60s “new social movements” such as feminism and other forms of politics of social identity have expressed reconstituted forms of participation in capital. Not “getting beyond” the working class as might have been thought, such movements have opened the way to new and reconstituted forms of proletarianization Download leo songs. Moreover, they have done so in ways that have obscured the problem of the social totality in which they have taken place — the central role of the working class in the reconstitution of capital. The illusion is that such new forms of politics mean getting beyond the necessity of proletarian socialism, when in fact they have meant the avoidance of this task.

Such purportedly post-proletarian forms of politics have represented new forms of capital in an already-captured future of the present. They do not help us recognize the actual necessary tasks of a politics in, through and beyond capital. Only a proletarian socialist politics could do this. We need to remember the horizon of this politics, or remain forever trapped, knowingly or not, by its unfulfilled potential and betrayed possibilities. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #8 (November 2008).

El Lissitzky, Lenin Tribune (1920)

El Lissitzky, Lenin Tribune (1920)

Capital in history

The need for a Marxian philosophy of history of the Left

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a panel with Kevin Anderson, Peter Hudis, Andrew Kliman and Sandra Rein at the Marxist-Humanist Committee public forum on “The Crisis in Marxist Thought,” hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, July 25, 2008.

I want to speak about the meaning of history for any purportedly Marxian Left.

We in Platypus focus on the history of the Left because we think that the narrative one tells about this history is in fact one’s theory of the present. Implicitly or explicitly, in one’s conception of the history of the Left, is an account of how the present came to be. By focusing on the history of the Left, or, by adopting a Left-centric view of history, we hypothesize that the most important determinations of the present are the result of what the Left has done or failed to do historically.

For the purposes of this talk, I will focus on the broadest possible framing for such questions and problems of capital in history, the broadest possible context within which I think one needs to understand the problems faced by the Left, specifically by a purportedly Marxian Left.

I will not, for example, be focusing so much on issues for Platypus in the history of the various phases and stages of capital itself, for instance our contention that the 1960s represented not any kind of advance, but a profound retrogression on the Left eco2. I will not elucidate our account of how the present suffers from at least 3 generations of degeneration and regression on the Left: the first, in the 1930s, being tragic; the second in the 1960s being farcical; and the most recent, in the 1990s, being sterilizing.

But, suffice it to say, I will point out that, for Platypus, the recognition of regression and the attempt to understand its significance and causes is perhaps our most important point of departure. The topic of this talk is the most fundamental assumption informing our understanding of regression.

For purposes of brevity, I will not be citing explicitly, but I wish to indicate my indebtedness for the following treatment of a potential Marxian philosophy of history, beyond Marx and Engels themselves, and Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky, to Georg Lukács, Karl Korsch, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and, last but not least, the Marx scholar Moishe Postone. And, moreover, I will be in dialogue, through these writers, with Hegel, who distinguished philosophical history as the story of the development of freedom. — For Hegel, history is only meaningful the degree to which it is the story of freedom.

Capital is completely unprecedented in the history of humanity, hence, any struggle for emancipation beyond capital is also completely unprecedented 마커스 7집 다운로드. While there is a connection between the unprecedented nature of the emergence of capital in history and the struggle to get beyond it, this connection can also be highly misleading, leading to a false symmetry between the transition into and within different periods of the transformations of modern capital, and a potential transition beyond capital. The revolt of the Third Estate, which initiated a still on-going and never-to-be-exhausted modern history of bourgeois-democratic revolutions, is both the ground for, and, from a Marxian perspective, the now potentially historically obsolescent social form of politics from which proletarian socialist politics seeks to depart, to get beyond.

Hegel, as a philosopher of the time of the last of the great bourgeois-democratic revolutions marking the emergence of modern capital, the Great French Revolution of 1789, was for this reason a theorist of the revolt of the Third Estate. Marx, who came later, after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, faced problems Hegel did not.

It has often been stated, but not fully comprehended by Marxists that Marx recognized the historical mission of the class-conscious proletariat, to overcome capitalism and to thus do away with class society. Traditionally, this meant, however paradoxically, either the end of the pre-history or the beginning of the true history of humanity. — In a sense, this duality of the possibility of an end and a true beginning, was a response to a Right Hegelian notion of an end to history, what is assumed by apologists for capital as a best of all possible worlds Download snowflakes.

Famously, in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels stated that all history hitherto has been the history of class struggles; Engels added a clever footnote later that specified “all written history.” We might extrapolate from this that what Engels meant was the history of civilization; history as class struggle did not pertain, for instance, to human history or social life prior to the formation of classes, the time of the supposed “primitive communism.” Later, in 1942 (in “Reflections on Class Theory”), Adorno, following Benjamin (in the “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” 1940), wrote that such a conception by Marx and Engels of all of history as the history of class struggles was in fact a critique of all of history, a critique of history itself.

So in what way does the critique of history matter in the critique of capital? The problem with the commonplace view of capitalism as primarily a problem of exploitation is that it is in this dimension that capital fails to distinguish itself from other forms of civilization. What is new in capital is social domination, which must be distinguished both logically and historically, structurally and empirically, from exploitation, to which it is not reducible. Social domination means the domination of society by capital. This is what is new about capital in the history of civilization; prior forms of civilization knew overt domination of some social groups over others, but did not know as Marx recognized in capital a social dynamic to which all social groups — all aspects of society as a whole — are subject.

So we must first draw a demarcation approximately 10,000 years ago, with the origins of civilization and class society, when the great agricultural revolution of the Neolithic Age took place, and human beings went from being nomadic hunter-gatherers to becoming settled agriculturalists 중국드라마 무료. The predominant mode of life for humanity went from the hunter-gatherer to the peasant, and was this for most of subsequent history.

Several hundred years ago, however, a similarly profound transformation began, in which the predominant mode of life has gone from agricultural peasant to urban worker: wage-earner, manufacturer, and industrial producer.

More proximally, with the Industrial Revolution in the late-18th to early-19th Centuries, certain aspects of this “bourgeois” epoch of civilization and society manifested themselves and threw this history of the emergence of modernity into a new light. Rather than an “end of history” as bourgeois thinkers up to that time had thought, modern social life entered into a severe crisis that fundamentally problematized the transition from peasant- to worker-based society.

With Marx in the 19th century came the realization that bourgeois society, along with all its categories of subjectivity including its valorization of labor, might itself be transitional, that the end-goal of humanity might not be found in the productive individual of bourgeois theory and practice, but that this society might point beyond itself, towards a potential qualitative transformation at least as profound as that which separated the peasant way of life from the urban “proletarian” one, indeed a transition more on the order of profundity of the Neolithic Revolution in agriculture that ended hunter-gatherer society 10,000 years ago, more profound than that which separated modern from traditional society.

At the same time that this modern, bourgeois society ratcheted into high gear by the late-18th century, it entered into crisis, and a new, unprecedented historical phenomenon was manifested in political life, the “Left.” — While earlier forms of politics certainly disputed values, this was not in terms of historical “progress,” which became the hallmark of the Left 신과함께 2.

The Industrial Revolution of the early 19th century, the introduction of machine production, was accompanied by the optimistic and exhilarating socialist utopias suggested by these new developments, pointing to fantastical possibilities expressed in the imaginations of Fourier and Saint-Simon, among others.

Marx regarded the society of “bourgeois right” and “private property” as indeed already resting on the social constitution and mediation of labor, from which private property was derived, and asked the question of whether the trajectory of this society, from the revolt of the Third Estate and the manufacturing era in the 18th century to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, indicated the possibility of a further development.

In the midst of the dramatic social transformations of the 19th century in which, as Marx put it in the Manifesto, “all that was solid melted into air,” as early as 1843, Marx prognosed and faced the future virtual proletarianization of society, and asked whether and how humanity in proletarian form might liberate itself from this condition, whether and how, and with what necessity the proletariat would “transcend” and “abolish itself.” As early as the 1844 Manuscripts, Marx recognized that socialism (of Proudhon et al.) was itself symptomatic of capital: proletarian labor was constitutive of capital, and thus its politics was symptomatic of how the society conditioned by capital might reveal itself as transitional, as pointing beyond itself. — This was Marx’s most fundamental point of departure, that proletarianization was a substantial social problem and not merely relative to the bourgeoisie, and that the proletarianization of society was not the overcoming of capital but its fullest realization, and that this — the proletarianized society of capital — pointed beyond itself.

Thus, with Marx, a philosophy of the history of the Left was born. For Marx was not a socialist or communist so much as a thinker who tasked himself with understanding the meaning of the emergence of proletarian socialism in history 야생화. Marx was not simply the best or most consistent or radical socialist, but rather the most historically, and hence critically, self-aware. By “scientific” socialism, Marx understood himself to be elaborating a form of knowledge aware of its own conditions of possibility.

For a Hegelian and Marxian clarification of the specificity of the modern problem of social freedom, however, it becomes clear that the Left must define itself not sociologically, whether in terms of socioeconomic class or a principle of collectivism over individualism, etc., but rather as a matter of consciousness, specifically historical consciousness.

For, starting with Marx, it is consciousness of history and historical potential and possibilities, however apparently utopian or obscure, that distinguishes the Left from the Right, not the struggle against oppression — which the modern Right also claims. The Right does not represent the past but rather the foreclosing of possibilities in the present.

For this reason, it is important for us to recognize the potential and fact of regression that the possibilities for the Left in theory and practice have suffered as a result of the abandonment of historical consciousness in favor of the immediacies of struggles against oppression.

Marx’s critique of symptomatic socialism, from Proudhon, Lassalle, Bakunin, et al., to his own followers in the new German Social-Democratic Party and their program at Gotha (as well as in Engels’s subsequent critique of the Erfurt Programme), was aimed at maintaining the Marxian vision corresponding to the horizon of possibility of post-capitalist and post-proletarian society 윈도우 10 한글팩.

Unfortunately, beginning in Marx’s own lifetime, the form of politics he sought to inspire began to fall well below the threshold of this critically important consciousness of history. And the vast majority of this regression has taken place precisely in the name of “Marxism.” Throughout the history of Marxism, from the disputes with the anarchists in the 1st International Workingmen’s Association, and disputes in the 2nd Socialist International, to the subsequent splits in the Marxist workers’ movement with the Bolshevik-led Third, Communist International and Trotskyist Fourth International, a sometimes heroic but, in retrospect, overwhelmingly tragic struggle to preserve or recover something of the initial Marxian point of departure for modern proletarian socialism took place.

In the latter half of the 20th century, developments regressed so far behind the original Marxian self-consciousness that Marxism itself became an affirmative ideology of industrial society, and the threshold of post-capitalist society became obscured, finding expression only obtusely, in various recrudescent utopian ideologies, and, finally, in the most recent period, with the hegemony of “anarchist” ideologies and Romantic rejections of modernity.

But, beyond this crisis and passage into oblivion of a specifically Marxian approach, the “Left” itself, which emerged prior to Hegel and Marx’s attempts to philosophize its historical significance, has virtually disappeared. The present inability to distinguish conservative-reactionary from progressive-emancipatory responses to the problems of society conditioned by capital, is inseparable from the decline and disappearance of the social movement of proletarian socialism for which Marx had sought to provide a more adequate and provocative self-consciousness at the time of its emergence in the 19th century Download Mario Kart64.

Paradoxically, as Lukács, following Luxemburg and Lenin, already pointed out, almost a century ago, while the apparent possibility of overcoming capital approaches in certain respects, in another sense it seems to retreat infinitely beyond the horizon of possibility. Can we follow Luxemburg’s early recognition of the opportunism that always threatens us, not as some kind of selling-out or falling from grace, but rather the manifestation of the very real fear that attends the dawning awareness of what grave risks are entailed in trying to fundamentally move the world beyond capital?

What’s worse — and, in the present, prior to any danger of “opportunism” — with the extreme coarsening if not utter disintegration of the ability to apprehend and transform capital through working-class politics, has come the coarsening of our ability to even recognize and apprehend, let alone adequately understand our social reality. We do not suffer simply from opportunism but from a rather more basic disorientation. Today we are faced with the problem not of changing the world but more fundamentally of understanding it.

On the other hand, approaching Marxian socialism, are we dealing with a “utopia?” — And, if so, what of this? What is the significance of our “utopian” sense of human potential beyond capital and proletarian labor classic mp3? Is it a mere dream?

Marx began with utopian socialism and ended with the most influential if spectacularly failing modern political ideology, “scientific socialism.” At the same time, Marx gave us an acute and incisive critical framework for grasping the reasons why the last 200 years have been, by far, the most tumultuously transformative but also destructive epoch of human civilization, why this period has promised so much and yet disappointed so bitterly. The last 200 years have seen more, and more profound changes, than prior millennia have. Marx attempted to grasp the reasons for this. Others have failed to see the difference and have tried to re-assimilate modern history back into its antecedents (for instance, in postmodernist illusions of an endless medievalism: see Bruno Latour’s 1993 book We Have Never Been Modern).

What would it mean to treat the entire Marxian project as, first and foremost, a recognition of the history of modernity tout court as one of the pathology of transition, from the class society that emerged with the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago and the civilizations based on an essentially peasant way of life, through the emergence of the commodity form of social mediation, to the present global civilization dominated by capital, towards a form of humanity that might lie beyond this?

With Marx we are faced with a self-consciousness of an obscure and mysterious historical task, which can only be further clarified theoretically through transformative practice — the practice of proletarian socialism. But this task has been abandoned in favor of what are essentially capital-reconstituting struggles, attempting to cope with the vicissitudes of the dynamics of modern history t freemium 다운로드. But this re-assimilation of Marxism back into ideology characteristic of the revolt of the Third Estate means the loss of the true horizon of possibility that motivated Marx and gave his project meaning and urgency.

Can we follow Marx and the best historically revolutionary Marxists who followed him in recognizing the forms of discontent in the pathological society we inhabit as being themselves symptomatic of and bound up with the very problem against which they rage? Can we avoid the premature post-capitalism and bad, reactionary utopianism that attends the present death of the Left in theory in practice, and preserve and fulfill the tasks given to us by history? Can we recognize the breadth and depth of the problem we seek to overcome without retreating into wishful thinking and ideological gracing of the accomplished fact, and apologizing for impulses that only seem directed against it, at the expense of what might lie beyond the traps of the suffering of the present?

We urgently need an acute awareness of our historical epoch as well as of our fleeting moment now, within it. — We must ask what it is about the present moment that might make the possibility of recovering a Marxian social and political consciousness viable, and how we can advance it by way of recovering it.

For the pathology of our modern society mediated by capital, of the proletarian form of social life and its self-objectifications, the new forms of humanity it makes possible, which are completely unprecedented in history, grows only worse the longer delayed is taking the possible and necessary steps to the next levels of the struggle for freedom.

The pathology grows worse, not merely in terms of the various forms of the destruction of humanity, which are daunting, but also, perhaps more importantly — and disturbingly — in the manifest worsening social conditions and capacities for practical politics on the Left, and our worsening theoretical awareness of them. If there has been a crisis and evacuation of Marxian thought, it has been because its most fundamental context and point of departure, its awareness of its greater historical moment, the possibility of an epochal transition, has been forgotten, while we have not ceased to share this moment, but only lost sight of its necessities and possibilities. Any future emancipatory politics must regain such awareness of the transitional nature of capitalist modernity and of the reasons why we pay such a steep price for failing to recognize this. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #7 (October 2008).

Against Debord’s nihilism

Rejoinder to Principia Dialectica (U.K.)

Chris Cutrone

PRINCIPIA DIALECTICA HAS RESPONDED to our critique of their détournement of our “death of the Left” rhetoric with a noisy disclaimer.

But to hold up Guy Debord’s “Situationism” circa 1968 against two centuries of the critical theory and politics of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Lukács, Korsch, Benjamin, Adorno, et al 알피스 네오. — to say nothing of the contributions to enlightenment of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, Durkheim, Freud, et al. — requires either a great deal of gall, or is meant only in jest.

We suspect the latter, and so seek, at the very least, to prevent the misappropriation — really, abuse — of Moishe Postone’s work by such bad faith efforts as Principia Dialectica bnb 어드벤쳐 다운로드. — Otherwise:

The title of the Principia Dialectica rejoinder to Platypus cites Amy Winehouse’s 2006 song “Rehab,” which sounds like a 1960s-era pop song, another piquant, if immediately dated and musty British appropriation and slick commodification of American culture. But, although Winehouse sang that she wouldn’t “go to rehab, no, no, no,” as it turned out, later she did!

This story does in fact speak to the principal intention of Platypus, to learn from the past and prevent its pathological repetition: The understandable desire to escape the past in a manic fit of ecstatic optimism is tragic to the extent that it is unrealistic and lands one precisely where one has sworn never to return; it is farcical to the degree that this is repeated — over and over again 심폐소생술.

Note to advocates of today’s already obsolete early 1990s-era rehabilitation of Situationism and other post-1960s politics of anarchism, autonomia, “post-work,” etc.: If you find yourself disagreeing with all or several of the most outstanding historical Marxist critical theorists and political actors listed above and/or the enlightened thought about modern humanity from the 17th–19th centuries from which the best Marxists drew and developed their insights, you can be sure that you are in denial and not on any road to recovery.

Whether you like it or not, and one way or another, you will find yourself “back to rehab” — in some form of political social democracy, liberalism, conservatism, or worse, or by being simply depoliticized and folded back into the rhythm of mainstream existence — or, in a dead-end of self-destruction, whether intoxicated or not Download hanyoung dictionary. Debord’s suicide — motivated very differently from Benjamin’s, Debord being more pathetic than tragic — should stand as a warning to any and all of his wannabe followers.

For, going down this highway, you will sooner or later either render yourself entirely useless politically, or you’ll end up dropping the attempt at emancipatory politics altogether — as indeed Debord’s Situationism had done already from the very beginning Download inception.

Platypus, by contrast, seeks to foster recognition by a new generation of thinkers and actors that there might be a point to developing and instrumentalizing ourselves for the possibility of human enlightenment and emancipation, and not complacently wasting ourselves away in a narcissistic narcosis of self-dosing on the gaiety of futility.

Note to young contrarian “rebels:” The “system” is going to consume you one way or another, no matter what you do, so it might as well be in ways that push the envelope of possibility and move oneself and others as far in the directions of human betterment and development of further potential as possible 천국보다 아름다운.

What Principia Dialectica says about class struggle, “proletarian” empowerment and capital is of course true: this is all immanent to and perpetuating of the “system.” Where Principia Dialectica, as all anarchism, goes wrong (but perhaps instructively) is in their Romantic nihilism. But the system is our reality — in and through it is the only direction in which our hope might lie.

The world doesn’t need any more Hölderlins; as Hegel said, the “unhappy consciousness” is regressive, falls below the threshold with which it is tasked, and so cannot fulfill itself, but must overcome itself Download facebook iPhone.

Debord’s notes on cocktail napkins can’t help us do that. | §

Coda

Anselm Jappe of the Krisis-Gruppe, in his 1993 book Guy Debord cites Debord’s affinity with Lukács with the following quotation, “The only possible basis for understanding this world is to oppose it; and such opposition will be neither genuine nor realistic unless it contests the totality” [also in Jappe’s pamphlet on Guy Debord’s concept of the spectacle, Chapter 1 of his book]. Principia Dialectica also turns to Jappe for the concept of capital as the “automaton” or “automatic subject” (in Jappe’s book Adventures of the Commodity: for a new critique of value, 2003/05) 암웨이. The question, however, is not one of affirming vs. opposing the social “totality” and the proletariat as being already the “subject-object of history,” but rather transforming the alienated totality of domination in an emancipatory manner, and the possibility of the working class becoming an actual subject of social emancipation in the process of overcoming capital: Lukács was not positing something but politically advocating it, and we need to understand why. According to Hegel, one becomes a subject only in the process of self-overcoming and transformation. This side of such an emancipatory process, the proletariat remains an “object” of the “automatic subject” of capital, which is an expression of the industrial working class’s alienated social agency in value production 퍼핀 동영상. What is missing from Principia Dialectica is precisely the sense of history — for instance, why Lukács’s book was titled History and Class Consciousness. The question is not what kind of subject the proletariat is, but what it could be — in the activity of its self-abolition, in, through and beyond capital, on the basis of labor as a socially mediating activity that becomes a form of self-domination under capital, its alienated product echart 다운로드. But Lukács recognized such revolutionary socialist politics as the “completion” of “reification,” and so that this is not the end goal of emancipation but rather a necessary stage for the possible overcoming of capital. That, in the USSR, etc. and in Stalinist and social democratic and other nationalist-reformist working class politics in the 20th century, the proletariat participated in the reconstitution of capital and not in its revolutionary overcoming, was the result of the failure of the 1917–19 anticapitalist revolution, not its cause — or the original animus of the Marxism of Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky. Debord’s Situationism is just as much an adaptation to this failure as any other form of the “politics” of post-Marxism in the 20th century. Debord and his followers went along with the lie that Lenin led to Stalin, with all the confusion this entailed. The goal is indeed the overcoming of proletarian labor — the society of work — as mediating and thus dominating modern human history. The question is, how?§

“Let the dead bury the dead!”

A response to Principia Dialectica (U.K.) on May 1968

Chris Cutrone

THE NEW MAYDAY MAGAZINE (U.K.) and Platypus have been in dialogue on the issues of anarchism and Marxism and the state of the “Left” today in light of history. (Please see “Organization, political action, history and consciousness” by Chris Cutrone for Platypus, and “Half-time Team Talk” by Trevor Bark for Mayday, in issues #2, February 2008, and #4, April–May 2008, respectively.)

Principia Dialectica, another new British journal, also has taken note of Platypus (see “Weird gonzo leftoid journal,” April 15, 2008), specifically with our interview of Moishe Postone on “Marx after Marxism” (in issue #3, March 2008).

In their note of us, Principia Dialectica cites our interview with Postone to say that “Postone’s reflections on Lukács are certainly bracing, and enough to challenge any cryogenically frozen leftoid stuck in 1917.” Platypus raises the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which Lukács regarded as follows:

Only the Russian Revolution really opened a window to the future; the fall of Czarism brought a glimpse of it, and with the collapse of capitalism it appeared in full view Wireless internet. At the time our knowledge of the facts and the principles underlying them was of the slightest and very unreliable. Despite this we saw — at last! at last! — a way for mankind to escape from war and capitalism.” (1967 Preface to History and Class Consciousness)

But Platypus raises Bolshevism and its historical moment less as a rallying cry than as a question and problem. 1917 should be followed not by an exclamation point but a question mark, but one that has not lost its saliency but only become a more profound enigma in subsequent history 제주고딕. What was to Lukács and others of the time a brief glimpse of emancipatory potential has only become more obscure, but without becoming any less penetrating.

— But today the danger is not being frozen in 1917 but rather 1968.

Principia Dialectica distributed the leaflet “Let the dead bury the dead!” at the May ’68 Jamboree at Conway Hall in London on May 10, 2008. This leaflet uses a great deal of Platypus rhetoric, on the “fossilized” and undead character of today’s “Left,” on anarchism being an enduring “bad conscience” of the failures of Marxism, etc., and involves not only this plagiarism but an unacknowledged response to our statements on the necessary return to the history of the revolutionary Marxist tradition Download virtual machines. At the same time, this leaflet rehearses precisely those aspects of a non-/anti-Marxian and/or “anarchist” approach we have addressed previously in our articles in dialogue with Mayday.

The problem with this Principia Dialectica statement is that it has no cognizance of the issue of historical regression. Necessarily, this involves a non-dialectical and non-immanent understanding of capitalism as a “system,” resulting in an insistence on an (historically impossible) “outside” of capitalism Download the subway app. — Regarding the announcement appended below their leaflet, for a meeting on “What is value, and how to destroy it?,” the point, following Marx, is not to “destroy” (the social) “value” (of capital and proletarian labor), but rather to realize and overcome it on its own basis, and so would mean redeeming the very great sacrifices humanity has already made — and continues to make — in the history of capitalism.

Corollary to the one-sided view of and opposition to “value” (and what it means socially) is an unjustified yet assumed progressive view of history. This is unwarranted especially in light of the state of the “Left” today, 40 years after 1968, which has not shown any progress. — Otherwise, why call the “Leftist” commemoration of 1968 that Principia Dialectica picketed with its leaflet, a “wake” conducted by “embalmed” “mummies?” But, like all anarchism, Principia Dialectica has no (need for a) theory of history (of capital) 제트 브이 디.

An incoherent view of capitalism and its recent history both underlies and results from the leaflet’s ambivalent salute and adieu to 1968. As Moishe Postone has pointed out (in his 2006 article on “Theorizing the Contemporary World: Brenner, Arrighi, Harvey”), the combined and equally inappropriate triumphalism and melancholy of post-1968 politics results from the undigested character of the Marxist tradition from which the 1960s “New” Left sought to depart:

[T]he emancipatory potential of general social coordination [i.e., Marxist “planning”] . . . should [not] be dismissed. But that potential can only be realized when it is associated with the historical overcoming of capital, the core of our form of social life 엔플라잉 옥탑방. . . . Without such an analysis of capital, however, one that is not restricted to the mode of distribution, but that can, nevertheless, address the emancipatory impulses expressed by traditional Marxism . . . our conceptions of emancipation will continue to oscillate between a homogenizing general (whether effected via the market or the state) and particularism, an oscillation that replicates the dualistic forms of commodity and capital themselves.

As such, the Principia Dialectica leaflet commemorating 1968 is a symptom of what Postone calls the post-1960s postmodernist politics of “premature post-capitalism,” which imagines that the necessity for proletarian labor in mediating the conditions of modern social life and its potential emancipatory transformation has already been overcome in practice, however ripe its overcoming has been historically in theory Acronis True Images 2016.

As Lars Lih has pointed out (in his essay “Lenin and the Great Awakening,” in the conference anthology Lenin Reloaded, 2007), the reconsideration of history for an anticapitalist politics adequate to our time would mean indeed redeeming and realizing what Principia Dialectica disdainfully calls “proletarian Messianism.” — Precisely Walter Benjamin’s understanding of the historical significance of such “Messianism,” and its negative philosophy of history in the period of defeat and regression on the Left after 1917–19, provides the necessary guiding insight for such redemption. As Theodor W. Adorno interpreted Benjamin, “The only philosophy which can be responsibly practiced in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all [historical] things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of [their potential] redemption” (“Finale,” Minima Moralia, 1944–47).

Rather than attempts at redeeming the modern (and still on-going) history of the industrial proletariat, and realizing and fulfilling — and going beyond — this necessity of what Marx called proletarian self-transcendence/self-abolition (Aufhebung), however, the “Left” has (ever since 1917–19, but especially after 1968) regressed behind this task Download the thread file. This is why the revolutionary Marxism of 2nd International radicalism of Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, et al. — as well as the thought and politics of Marx himself — can still “flash up” as a historical image that haunts us and won’t go away, despite all efforts at exorcism by varieties of “post-Marxism.”

The very problematic history of the Marxist revolutionary “tradition” — as well as of the modern workers movement — requires redemption. And this is not simply desirable or possible, but actually unavoidably necessary.

Historical “anarchism” and its various offspring (e.g., Situationism) remain the deserved forms of the “bad conscience” of the failures of historical (“traditional”) Marxism, but anarchism is nevertheless a symptomatic regression to pre-Marxian socialism (of Proudhon et al.).

Marxism was not a mistaken detour because it failed historically. Rather, the continued recrudescence of anarchism proves in a certain sense that a reconstitution of the Marxian point of departure remains necessary adb. A revisiting — and “repetition” — of the Marxian critique of (pre-Marxian as well as post-Marx-ist) socialism is in order. — As Adorno put it (in “Resignation,” 1969), the return of anarchism “is that of a ghost,” which however “does not invalidate the [Marxian] critique” of it.

For Adorno, anarchism manifested “the impatience with theory.” Ironically, such impatience with theory is corollary to the dismissal of the industrial proletariat as “Subject” of human emancipation (through its self-transformation and overcoming). This dismissal is seen in the Principia Dialectica celebration of the “happy unemployed” and the calls to “never work ever” and thus (try to) remain “outside” the “system.” But as the historical Marxian critique of “actually existing socialism” — and the history of capitalism to date — has shown, there is no secure let alone emancipated state outside of capitalism that has been possible 갤럭시 워치 유심 다운로드. Capitalism will be overcome from within (its own historical logic), or not at all.

As Adorno put it (in “Imaginative Excesses,” orphaned from Minima Moralia), “Only if the extremes [of the theoretically armed revolutionary intellectuals, and the industrial working class] come together will humanity survive.” — Platypus is noted — and attacked — for being on the one hand too intellectual and on the other hand too committed to a proletarian path to social emancipation beyond capital. Thus our indication of this dual necessity of theory and practice finds its critical affirmation — even when our project remains unacknowledged rather than singled out by our interlocutors.

The history of the failed Marxian attempted departures from symptomatic socialism (from Marx’s departure from Proudhon, to Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lukács’s departure from the politics of 2nd International Social Democracy and its “vulgar Marxism,” to Trotsky and the Frankfurt School’s departures from Stalinized 3rd International Communism) still tasks us, but not as ritual invocation devoid of the actual content of historical self-understanding, but only as this history allows for its critical apprehension — in the critique of the present and how we got here. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #5 (May–July 2008).

On anarchism and Marxism

Organization, political action, history, and consciousness

Chris Cutrone

Socialism is the first popular movement in world history that has set itself the goal of bringing human consciousness, and thereby free will, into play in the social actions of mankind . . . to try to take its history into its own hands; instead of remaining a will-less football, it will take the tiller of social life and become the pilot to the goal of its own history.
— Rosa Luxemburg, The Crisis of German Social Democracy (1915)

PLATYPUS HAS EARNED RECOGNITION from the new British publication Mayday: magazine for anarchist/libertarian ideas and action, in its inaugural issue #1 (Winter 2007–08) “Introduction: Open letter” (pp. 2–7). Mayday cites the initial Platypus statement, “What is a platypus? On surviving the extinction of the Left:”

Attempts at progressive political renewal are occurring all round the world . . . Platypus in their 2006 document ‘On Surviving the Extinction of the Left’ say: ‘We maintain that past and present history need not indicate the future 엠파스 데스크톱 검색. Past and present failures and losses on the Left should educate and warn, but not spellbind and enthrall us. Hence, to free ourselves, we declare that the Left is dead. — Or, more precisely, that we are all that is left of it. This is less a statement of fact than of intent. — The intent that the Left should live, but the recognition that it can, only by overcoming itself. And we are that overcoming!’ (2–3)

Mayday goes on to say:

This is a spirit which Mayday has much in common with, although we include the anarchist movement in this assessment, and it is through engagement with such groups who are beginning again that serious progress may occur. (3)

The Platypus assessment of the “death” of the “Left” also applies to anarchism.

But we should distinguish a Marxian approach from anarchism to clarify our engagement. A key distinction is the relation of political organization and historical consciousness. Critical historical consciousness is primary for Platypus, and we are currently addressing classical issues in the history of revolutionary Marxism 1900–40 through a series of discussions in Chicago, reading Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky to approach the relation between history and organization on the Marxist Left, how and why theory and political programme are essential forms of historical memory and consciousness on the Left Download Meta 4. Platypus asks: What is the purpose of “revolutionary” organization? Revolutionary “leadership?” — Or, as present “anarchist” aversion to organizational leadership would have it, are such formulations contradictions in terms?

The Mayday “Introduction: Open letter” states that “Mayday was produced because experience within political movements led to dissatisfaction with what already passes for politics and political organisation” (3). Mayday critiques the organizational “conservatism” and “hierarchies” of political groups “more concerned with the continuation of themselves rather than the growth of an independent and free workers movement” (3). Mayday ascribed this phenomenon to “Leninist tactics which are designed to perpetuate the organization not the class struggle” (3). But Mayday thinks “anarchist” groups are not exempt from this problem: “Rather than enabling progressive politics, existing practice was rather sectarian in approach; they practice self-isolating politics, rather than an inclusive and growing approach, and this even from anarchists” (3) 트위치 삭제된 다시보기. Mayday notes the legacy of 1960s New Left activism that the “movement is full of lions led by donkeys,” due to an “anti-intellectualism” that is “also suggestive of hidden hierarchies inside outwardly democratic appearances” (3). Mayday thereby disarticulates a usual but unwarranted and problematic identification of intellectualism with pitfalls of leadership.

Platypus considers that there might be reason for the self-perpetuation of avowedly “revolutionary” organizations, but that this should not be taken for granted and needs to be justified. Perhaps there is a specific relation of organization to consciousness and emancipatory action that is lost in the classic antinomy of spontaneity vs. organization. As Rosa Luxemburg’s biographer J. P. Nettl pointed out, Lenin and Luxemburg each addressed different, complementary questions, but towards the same purpose: How does political action enable transformative organization; and how does political organization enable transformative, emancipatory, and not foreclosing action? How can the Left “live” and take form not deadly to itself?

Nicholas Spencer, in his 1997 essay “Historicizing the Spontaneous Revolution: Anarchism and the Spatial Politics of Postmodernism,” stated the issue as follows:

[T]he Marxist model of a rational or scientific understanding of historical processes . .  Ban Chang-ko. culminate[s] in a class-based revolution at the end of dialectical time. . . . Conversely, those of an anarchist persuasion have often criticized the Marxist emphasis on rational history as a counter-revolutionary justification for the authority of the state and political party leaders. Both anarchists and Marxists consider themselves the spokespersons for the authentic political revolution. . . . Luxemburg supported the need for party leaders and organization to guide revolutions according to the historical science of dialectical materialism. . . . According to anarchist philosophy, belief in history is the guarantor of political authority, since change over time implies the need for a centralized body to guide the processes of change. The anarchist appeal to spontaneous revolution is one symptom of the rejection of history. [Available on-line at: http://www.ags.uci.edu/~clcwegsa/revolutions/Spencer.htm]

Platypus pursues the revolutionary Marxist tradition to ask questions of the relation between organization and historical consciousness. What role, if any, does historical consciousness play in emancipatory politics? What is meant by “historical” consciousness?

The relevance of history is not given but made Fineprint Hangul. But “made” in a dialectical sense. As Marx put it in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, humanity makes history but not under conditions of its own choosing. History is made but in ways that also produce us. We make history with what is given under certain conditions, and so need to be conscious of how history is made and reflect upon its significance, rather than taking it for granted. This is why Walter Benjamin spoke, in his 1940 “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” of the “writing” of history, historiography on the Left being urgent for emancipatory politics.

From a Marxian approach to capital, there are two registers for apprehending history: the specificity of modern, capitalist society as an epochal problem distinguished from other historical forms of society; and the historical transformations that occur within the epoch of capital in which social-emancipatory movements take part, since Marx’s time of the Industrial Revolution and related social and political changes starting in the mid-19th century and the emergence of the modern workers’ movement, to the present. The issue of capital thus becomes the question of: What changes while remaining “the same?”

Benjamin’s concept of “constellation” refers to the sense that historical moments might not have pertinence to the present in a linear-progressive way Download the inscription in other words. Rather, these historical constellations appear as structuring figures in the constitution of the present, as sets of enduring problems yet to be worked through. As Benjamin put it, this is a matter of making the past present. Hence something that happened more recently might not have a more immediate relevance to problems of the present than something that happened long ago. Something later might expire faster because it is less essential to the present than something earlier might allow us to grasp.

Such constellations in the appearance of history are importantly involuntary: as Benjamin put it, they “flash up;” as Marx put it, they “weigh like a nightmare on the brains of the living.” So history cannot be a simple matter of an inventory of “lessons already learned.” For, as Benjamin put it, “even the dead are not safe.” The significance of the past changes as a function of the present. History haunts us as a problem in the present. This is why Benjamin spoke of regarding history from the standpoint of its redemption. What value, if any, do past thoughts and actions have for us now? The history of the Left furnishes us with a set of questions and problems that we are tasked to answer in the present. But, as Adorno put it in Negative Dialectics (1966), “What has been cast aside but not absorbed theoretically will often yield its truth content only later 뱀파이어 노츠 다운로드. It festers as a sore on the prevailing health; this will lead back to it in changed situations.”

The question of organization can be seen in a limited, one-sided respect if it is treated merely in terms of effective action in the present, if it is not also seen as a problem of historical continuity, through moments of change in which conscious actors have taken part. The organization of emancipatory politics should be understood properly as a matter of self-transformative action. What organization allows for itself to be transformed in and through actions it makes possible? Thus we can see that the present fossilization of the Left, in both theory and practice, presents problems of organization in a certain light. We need to understand the reasons for and significance of this inertia, and how it is a problem that we don’t have the choice to bypass but must try to overcome.

Programmatic organization might be necessary precisely because it can objectify and thus make available for critical reflection problems of changes in consciousness. Problems of organization are not only deplorable in terms of resulting incapacity for effective and sustainable transformative action under changing conditions, but might be important symptoms whose task it is for us to work in and through, and not merely oppose 영화 아이엠샘. Perhaps we need to be “conservative” in our “revolutionary” politics in order to be actually radical in the present.

“History” can be accumulated in forms of organizational programme as a problem of consciousness in and of the present, in the results of attempts (but failures) to consciously act effectively. But organization transcends the immediate act; it is its own cause and effect. Hence this is a problem of how we recognize history in the guise of problems of organizational forms, not simply as a matter of their inevitable obsolescence. Not simply that groups and programmes on the Left have become “dead,” but how and why this has become so, for what they were trying to accomplish has hardly become irrelevant but remains to be fulfilled. Such is the only way this history can be made relevant, if at all, to the present. So Platypus asks: What did historical Marxism seek but fail to accomplish that might yet succeed through our efforts?

Hence, the Platypus declaration that “the Left is dead!” is not only a characterization of the present as a place or condition in which we happen to be, but is more importantly a historical characterization of the present, a hypothesis and provocation for recognition of what has led to the present and what it might take to lead ourselves out of it Java file. So it is not merely a question of “where” we “are” vs. where we “were,” as Mayday, among others, asks, but also and perhaps more importantly “when” we are — and “when” was the historical Left? How can the historical Left, specifically the history of revolutionary Marxism, help us situate ourselves in and despite the historical moment of today?

For we do not live in some timeless and perpetual present of oppression and struggle against it, but in what Benjamin called the “time of the now” (Jetztzeit), a time of particular and fleeting possibilities and the ambiguously obscure history that brought them — us — into existence.

The present might not be an opportunity for a break so much as for recovery and reinvention. As Lenin wrote, in the title of his 1901 article that became the basis for What is to be done?, “Where to begin?” — Or, how? Platypus proceeds now that emancipatory social politics is necessarily at a preliminary phase of potential development 그 섬 다운로드. Beginning this way gives the history of the Left and questions and problems of our consciousness of it relevance for being able to grasp the very possibility of emancipatory politics today, and what is most essential towards this. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #2 (February 2008).

“Resistance” and the “Left”

The 3 Rs: Reform, Revolution, and “Resistance”

The problematic forms of “anticapitalism” today

Chris Cutrone

Presented at the public forum of the Platypus Affiliated Society on “The 3 Rs: Reform, Revolution, and ‘Resistance’: The problematic forms of ‘anticapitalism’ today,” with panelists Michael Albert (Z magazine), Stephen Duncombe (New York University), Brian Holmes (Continental Drift), and Marisa Holmes (new Students for a Democratic Society), School of the Art Institute of Chicago, November 6, 2007 7510 driver. An edited transcript of the forum was published in The Platypus Review #4 (AprilMay 2008) Four hundred and 5.0. (Video recording.)

After the failure of the 1960s New Left, the underlying despair with regard to the real efficacy of political will, of political agency, in a historical situation of heightened helplessness, became a self-constitution as outsider, as other, rather than an instrument of transformation Download Psyki Kusio's Disaster Movie. Focused on the bureaucratic stasis of the Fordist, late 20th Century world, the Left echoed the destruction of that world by the dynamics of capital: neoliberalism and globalization 북한 글꼴 다운로드.

The idea of a fundamental transformation became bracketed and, instead, was replaced by the more ambiguous notion of “resistance.” The notion of resistance, however, says little about the nature of that which is being resisted, or of the politics of the resistance involved Diavolo's Great Adventure.

“Resistance” is rarely based on a reflexive analysis of possibilities for fundamental change that are both generated and suppressed by the dynamic heteronomous order of capital vox.dll 다운로드. “Resistance” is an undialectical category that does not grasp its own conditions of possibility; it fails to grasp the dynamic historical context of capital and its reconstitution of possibilities for both domination and emancipation, of which the “resisters” do not recognize that that they are a part 2015 베테랑 다운로드.

— Moishe Postone, “History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism” (Public Culture 18.1: 2006)

My name is Chris Cutrone and I am representing the Platypus Affiliated Society at this forum we have organized.  Here at the School of the Art Institute, I teach Marxian critical social and aesthetic theory, through the works of Benjamin and Adorno.  I am one of the original lead organizers of Platypus Final Fight.

When we in Platypus conceived the topic of this forum on “Resistance” and the Left, we had in mind the title of a pamphlet written over a hundred years ago by the brilliant Marxist radical Rosa Luxemburg, titled Reform or Revolution Download the Facebook image?, which sought to argue for the necessity of revolutionary politics on the Left, not against reforms, but against a reform-ist perspective that was developing on the Marxist Left at the time, in which it was regarded that only reforms were possible — and hence that political and social revolution was not only unlikely and unnecessary, but undesirable as well 밴드 pc용 다운로드.

We in Platypus seek to respond, in the present, to the development of the perspective on the Left that assumes that only “resistance” is possible.  We find this to be a symptom of the degradation and degeneration of the Left over at least the past generation — over the last 40 years, since the 1960s “New” Left — and, indeed, for much longer than that.  We find the current self-understanding of the Left as “resistance” to express despair not only at prospects for revolutionary transformation, but also for substantial institutional reforms.

We in Platypus seek to develop critical consciousness of the history of the Left, which we think is necessary for the possibility of emancipatory politics today and in the future.  We understand the last, 20th Century, as one of the history of the defeat and decline — and ultimate disappearance — of the Left, as the 19th Century was of the Left’s emergence and rise.  We consider how we might suffer from a more obtuse grasp, a less acute consciousness, of socially emancipatory politics than those on the Left that came before us were able to achieve, how the Left has degenerated in both practice and theory.

In Rosa Luxemburg’s phrase, the world in the crisis of the early 20th Century faced the choice of “socialism or barbarism.”  But socialism was not achieved, and so perhaps the present is the descendant and inheritor of barbarism — including on the “Left.”

So we seek to re-open the question and problem of anticapitalist politics at the most fundamental levels, asking what it means to struggle against and seek to move beyond capitalism, and what makes this possible — and desirable. — This is what the name and the works of Marx signify to us.

Marx did not invent anticapitalist politics or socialism, but rather sought to understand the significance of Left politics in light of history.  Marx saw himself, and we regard him principally in his capacity of offering a critique of the Left, understanding its assumptions and aspirations in light of the historical development of possibilities, and thus seeking to push these further, through seeking to understand how the Left pointed beyond itself.

For instance, we follow Marx as a critic of the Left to the extent that we find that the conception of emancipation remains inadequate if understood as deriving primarily from struggles against exploitation and oppression.  Rather, following Marx and his liberal predecessors, we seek to specify the freedom-problem expressed in the history of capitalist society, to clarify how capitalism is bound up with changes in the character of free humanity.

We find the true significance and meaning of anticapitalist politics in its expression of how capital itself is the product of and continually creates possibilities for its own self-transformation and self-overcoming.  Modern categories for emancipatory social struggles should be understood as part and parcel of capital and how it might point to its own transformation and self-abolition.

We find evidence of failure to grasp capital in this double-sided sense to the extent that the very conception of emancipation — as the freedom-in-becoming of the new, rather than the freeing of the prior-existent — to be virtually tabooed on the Left today.  The Left today almost never speaks of freedom or emancipation, but only of “resistance” to the dynamics of change associated with capital and its transformations.  The spirit of Marx’s observation that in bourgeois society, under capital, “all that is solid melts into air,” has been displaced by his other famous observation from the Communist Manifesto that “history is the history of class struggle” — but even this has been debased to the sense of the perennial suffering of the oppressed, taking the subaltern in its alterity, and not, as Marx meant in his notion of the proletariat, in the figuration of the new — and the new not as an end, but as an opening onto yet further possibilities.

A crucial distinction Marx found it important to make over a hundred and fifty years ago was between a progressive-emancipatory and reactionary-conservative critique and opposition to capital.  Marx spoke of “reactionary” socialism, and categorized socialists of his day such as Proudhon, the coiner of the term “anarchism,” among conservative and not progressive responses and oppositions to capital.  Marx resisted the one-sided, Romantic critique of capital prevalent in his time, and understood socialism as being made possible by capital itself, as becoming possible only through capitalism.

But, with the reconsideration of Marx and Marxian critical theory must come reconsideration of the meaning of the history of subsequent Marxism.  But this means treating the tradition of the revolutionary Marxist Left of the turn of the 19th and 20th and of the early 20th Century, especially of its best and most effective exponents, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky, not in terms of what this Left actually accomplished, which from the standpoint of emancipation was minimal and quickly stifled and undone, but rather what the historical revolutionary Marxist Left strived for but failed to achieve.

Platypus seeks to reconsider the legacy of Marxist politics in order to understand our present as being conditioned — and haunted — by its failure, so that we can marshal its suppressed and buried history, its unfulfilled emancipatory potential, to the service of the critique of and the attempt to overcome the most fundamental assumptions of the present, including and especially those on the “Left.” | §

3 Rs poster

Introducing Platypus

The problem of theory and practice in political solidarity and critical consciousness on the Left today

Chris Cutrone

The producers are more than ever thrown back on theory . . . by virtue of insistent self-criticism. . . . Following the schematic division of physical and mental labour, they split themselves up into workers and intellectuals. This division cripples the practice which is called for. . . . The growing opacity of capitalist mass society makes an association between intellectuals who still are such, with workers who still know themselves to be such, more timely. .  . . [In the past] such unity was compromised by free-wheeling bourgeois of the liberal professions, who were shut out by industry and tried to gain influence by left-wing bustlings. . . . Today, when the concept of the proletariat, unshaken in its economic essence, is so occluded that in the greatest industrial country there can be no question of proletarian class-consciousness, the role of intellectuals would no longer be to alert the torpid to their most obvious interests, but to strip the veil from the eyes of the wise-guys, the illusion that capitalism, which makes them its temporary beneficiaries, is based on anything other than their exploitation and oppression. The deluded workers are directly dependent on those who can still just see and tell of their delusion. Their hatred of intellectuals has changed accordingly Download the yogi. . . . The masses no longer mistrust intellectuals because they betray the revolution, but because they might want it, and thereby reveal how great is their own need of intellectuals. Only if the extremes come together will humanity survive.”
— Theodor W. Adorno (1903–69), “Messages in a Bottle,” orphaned from Minima Moralia (1944–47)

PLATYPUS IS AN IDEA for a journal project on the Marxian Left several of us have had for a number of years, starting with two of us with a long political background on the Trotskyist Left, going back to our undergraduate years (1989–92) at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The journal idea has been grounded in our shared commitments to challenging post-New Left politics. In recent years, the initial two of us were joined by a few University of Chicago students of the critical social theorist and Marx scholar Moishe Postone. We have been motivated by questioning what a Leftist politics today might be — we are struck by the decline if not total demise of the Left, and by the certain absence of Leftist politics informing the world. So our project involves radically interrogating the self-declared “Left,” taking nothing for granted in our sense of the necessity for reformulating a Leftist politics and re-appropriating the history of the Left towards the present.

The idea for taking our namesake from the platypus comes from the history of the creature’s discovery and difficulties being categorized and recognized for what it is, which we take to be emblematic for the state of any possible Left — of any social-emancipatory politics — today Aqua Data Studio. Just as the platypus symbolizes the challenge to traditional understandings of the order of the natural world, our intent is to challenge the received understanding of the Left, both “Old” (of the 1920s–30s–40s, i.e., post-1917) and “New” (1960s–70s) — as well as “post-” (1980s–present). We find present and historical self-understandings on the Left to manifest great confusions that remain confounding and defeating for emancipatory politics today. Because our focus is on ideological problems of the Left, we consider ourselves to be revolutionary intellectuals and identify as such.

Our approach to the history of the Left is characterized by going “against the grain” of historical events, exemplified by Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history. For us, past moments in the history of the Left are charged with emancipatory potential that went unrealized but nonetheless continues to task us in the present. It is in this sense that we understand Benjamin’s injunction that “even the dead are not safe.” Past struggles that failed or were betrayed can be failed and betrayed again, and needless suffering in the present and future that could have been averted will not be. For us, any possible future emancipation is tied to honoring — learning from — past efforts and sacrifices. Our first meetings of the Platypus Marxist reading group in Chicago grew out of the course I teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) on Theodor W Download mobile app games. Adorno and addressed Adorno’s 1969 correspondence with Herbert Marcuse concerning the New Left: we recognized the history for problems of our present in Adorno’s critical prognosis on the 1960s.

The principal influences for Platypus are the Marxist political tradition exemplified by Marx, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky, and the critical theoretical tradition of the Frankfurt School, exemplified first and foremost by the works of Adorno, but also by important works by Lukács, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Marcuse, et al. However, we are also concerned with the complex legacy of 20th Century thought and politics that has developed in response to — and reaction against — Marxism, both politically and intellectually: existentialism, post-structuralism, and other tendencies leading to “post”-modernism — as well as neo-conservatism — which we regard as products of the regression and disintegration of the Left to the present.

These first years of my teaching at SAIC and the University of Chicago have been characterized politically by the conditions of the post-9/11/01 world: the various policies of the George W. Bush administration, and the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions and occupations. So my teaching Marxist critical theory in this context has always involved certain caveats about the (in)adequacy of the present “Left” response, and how the historical critical-theoretical tradition (of Adorno, Benjamin, et al.) might speak to the state of the Left today.

The actual determining impetus to form the Platypus reading group was provided by a few of my graduate students from SAIC classes last year (2005–06), who raised the issue of an extra-curricular forum that could address the purchase of historical critical theory for the tasks and problems of the Left today 한셀 뷰어. Thus the reading group was formed in Spring 2006, at first including the core Platypus group of long-term participants, and expanding to include my fellow teacher colleagues and graduate students from University of Chicago and my graduate students from SAIC (about a dozen people altogether), and growing by June to include a group of undergraduate students from SAIC and University of Chicago, with whom we doubled our numbers.

At the meeting that saw the undergraduate students join the group in numbers, I presented the short editorial/mission statement, “What is a platypus? On surviving the extinction of the Left,” which I had drafted at the request of my long-term colleagues on the Platypus project for a planned intervention at the Marxism 2006 “Festival of Resistance” Conference of the British Socialist Workers Party (affiliated with the International Socialist Organization in the U.S.). I proposed a “syllabus” of readings for the group to discuss for Summer and Fall 2006, centered around readings from The New Left Reader anthology (1969) edited by former Students for a Democratic Society President (1965–66) Carl Oglesby. The core members of the prospective editorial collective regard the reading group as a place for expanding the editorial collective and cultivating writing contributors for the journal, which we intend to launch in 2007. The Platypus editorial statement and supplemental short history of the Left can be found at:http://platypus1917.home.comcast.net/~platypus1917/platypus_statement.html

The Platypus Marxist reading group in Chicago presently consists of about two dozen regularly attending participants, of which approximately three-fourths come to any particular meeting 캐논픽쳐스타일. We have held bi-weekly meetings since April, with some discussions spawning extra meetings and many continuing onto our e-mail discussion list.

Events that groups of several of us have attended that have informed our progress in the reading group and the Platypus journal project, allowing for our growing familiarity and critical awareness of the present state of the “Left,” have been the following: Talks given in Chicago by David Harvey on cosmopolitanism and the “new” imperialism, Brian Holmes on emergent “continental” identities and geopolitics, the Retort Collective on their book Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War, Fredric Jameson on dialectic and historical meaning, and Richard Wolin on his book The Frankfurt School Revisited; the Chicago Social Forum this past May; and the re-founded Students for a Democratic Society First National Conference in August. In September, most of us attended the Chicago screenings of Patricio Guzmán’s film Salvador Allende (2004), which provided a good frame for our discussion of classic historical issues on the Marxist Left concerning the state, political parties and social revolution. — These events have informed our sense of possibilities for a re-founded Left mostly in a negative sense, allowing us to grasp what any future Left will have to combat and overcome (and illustrating for us the manifold legacy of the preceding Left of the 1960s that has been our critical focus thus far). Positively, the massive immigrants’ rights protests in the first half of 2006, which happened to coincide with the emergence of our group efforts, have remained signal events for our thinking about emerging possibilities for the Left in North America.

Up to this point, our discussions in the Platypus reading group in Chicago have been concerned primarily with issues of theory and practice, specifically in considering the history of the 1960s “New” Left in terms of its multiple origins and concerns, such as the Civil Rights movement, the student Free Speech movement, solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, protest against the Vietnam War and imperialism, and women’s liberation, and how these had challenged the Left.

One important discussion, which was carried over the course of several weeks, concerned the historical struggle against racism and for social equality; the roles played by the Civil Rights movement, organized labor and the Marxist Left; the emergence of Black Nationalism (Malcolm X) and the Black Power turn of the late 1960s; the relation of these developments to the self-understanding of the Left; and its legacy for ostensibly Leftist politics today Download Drift Girls. We consider the Black Power turn to have been highly destructive of the Left, for it was predicated on the idea of such a thing as a “white” Left, where political solidarity — and consciousness — should not be so racialized. Our sense of the present dearth of blacks on the Left indicates this to us, for we do not regard victims of oppression as thereby having inherently more emancipatory politics, and we regard “identity” politics as symptomatic of the decline of the Left. An important point in our discussion of the late-1960s Black Power turn was to question whether Malcolm X and the Black Panthers really had been to the “Left” of — had more social-emancipatory politics than — Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin, et al.

On the issue of identity politics, we also addressed the issue of women’s liberation from gender and sexual oppression versus feminism, primarily through our reading of a seminal essay by the psychoanalytically informed socialist-feminist theorist Juliet Mitchell, “Women: the Longest Revolution” (1966: a work first published in The New Left Review but inexplicably omitted from Oglesby’s New Left Reader), her subsequent debate with Marxist scholar Quintin Hoare, and a constellation of related texts, including Marcuse’s essay “Marxism and Feminism,” which contains theses that Mitchell explicitly critiqued. As in the case of the Black Power turn, we discussed the emergence of so-called “second-wave” feminism (of the 1960s–80s) and its explicit anti-Marxism as having been disastrous for clarity about social-emancipatory politics on the Left to the present. Like other substantial essays from the 1960s we have considered, we took Mitchell’s work as indicative of a path not taken that we must necessarily revisit, rather than accepting its subsequent historical eclipse Download Tinkerard.

In neither case of the historical struggles for social equality, against racism or for women’s and sexual liberation, do we accept that the 1960s “New” Left “knew better” than previous Marxist politics had done. Rather, our point is to recover the actual social-emancipatory content of the history of the Left and recognize that perhaps the perceived failures of the “Old” Left had come to seem so only because of subsequent historical defeats and disintegration that set the stage for the 1960s, and not due to inherent deficiencies or blindness in the Marxist revolutionary socialist tradition. Perhaps the fault was in the (1960s) present and not a past too hastily liquidated. The questions that remain to be answered include: How does a working class-struggle perspective point beyond itself? What, for Marxists, is the social-emancipatory content of the struggle of “labor against capital,” beyond the empirical struggles of workers under capitalism?

The Leftist tendencies that have been important as influences for our past and present activities towards Platypus include various currents in the (post-)Trotskyist Left, including such groups as the Spartacist League and News and Letters (Marxist-Humanists). Beyond these, we have had contact with several other groups in Chicago. A few participants in the reading group during Summer 2006 came to us from the 49th St edonkey 다운로드. Underground, an extremely broad-based and all-inclusive Chicago group whose lead organizers are also University of Chicago graduate students.

In mid-summer (July), the reading group came to touch upon the issue of the significance of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent international Communism, in the context of discussing the troubled legacy of “Leninism” for the New Left, after 1956 (the crises of the Khrushchev “revelations” of Stalin’s crimes, the split between the Soviet Union and Mao’s China, and the Soviet invasion of Hungary) and after 1968 (when the New Left became predominantly “Marxist-Leninist,” i.e., Maoist). Our discussion of Communism began with reading French Communist Party theorist Louis Althusser’s essay on “Contradiction and Overdetermination” (1962), addressing the issue of problems in Marxism regarding the Hegelian dialectical “logic” of history and the role of critical consciousness and agency in revolutionary possibilities. This was followed by our reading of contemporary (circa 1960) Trotskyist writings on the problem of Marxism and revolutionary “leadership” (including the issue of the 1959 Cuban Revolution).

However, this discussion of historic Bolshevism and international Communism in the 20th Century was the occasion of a precipitous and unfortunate development for Platypus. Rather than trying to think through and reconsider the meaning of the importance of the Russian Revolution for 20th Century Marxism, two reading group participants from the University of Chicago balked and left the group, bringing about the first major controversy that Platypus has experienced. (This was a “shake-out” that only involved those leaving who had not been full participants in the group but had maintained an ambivalent distance for political reasons.)

The frame through which the dissenters chose to attack Bolshevism was the issue of the Bolshevik suppression of the Kronstadt garrison mutiny in 1921 (which the Bolsheviks themselves had not glorified but had regarded as a “tragic necessity,” and on which the principal historian of the event, Paul Avrich — an anarchist — had concluded [in his 1970 book], despite his stated sympathies for the mutineers, that the Bolsheviks had been “justified”) Download Rajbian os. We maintained that the suppression of the Kronstadt mutiny was a greatly misleading frame for evaluating the merits of historical Bolshevism, and is not good for explaining the subsequent problems of the Left in the 20th Century; rather, Kronstadt as an issue is a well-worn hobby-horse for a very specific politics: post-1917 anarchism. In the e-mail debates on Kronstadt that ensued, the dissenters refused to engage the very difficult but important issue of the meaning of the Russian Revolution for 20th Century Marxism: What, precisely, was the nature and character of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that at once had seemed to confirm and challenge Marxism (Gramsci had called it the “Revolution Against [Marx’s] Capital“)? For our consideration of the 1960s “New” Left, this difficulty took the form of the 1960s failures to avoid the twin, complementary pitfalls of Stalinophobia and Stalinophilia in regarding both the Soviet Union and international Communism: What would it mean to adopt a critical attitude towards the Russian Revolution and the history of the Soviet Union and international Communism without abandoning everything we might learn and re-appropriate from it (and treating 20th Century Communism merely, as the title of the recent book by apostate Communist and In These Times editor James Weinstein [1926–2005] called it, The Long Detour [2003])?

If, as was asserted by the dissenters, Lenin and the Bolsheviks (including Trotsky) and the influence of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Soviet realities had “destroyed” Marxism for the Left, then what are we to make of the fact that all the problems of Stalinism raised by the dissenters seemed to confirm 19th and 20th Century anarchist critiques of Marx (e.g., by Bakunin, et al.), which forecast that Marxism could only lead to a totalitarian state? What remains of Marxism if the history of Bolshevism is denied root and branch? If, according to the dissenters, the anarchist critiques of Marx are not good, but only Rosa Luxemburg’s critiques of Lenin, then what are we to make of Luxemburg’s and her Polish and German organizations’ long history of political collaboration with Lenin and the Bolsheviks, her solidarity with the Bolshevik Revolution and identification of her own politics with “Bolshevism,” and her membership in the Bolshevik-led Third (Communist) International after the Russian Revolution up to her murder by German counterrevolutionaries in 1919? — These are the kinds of issues to which we are committed to (re)thinking through, and for which we do not accept prima facie received “wisdom” of any kind jsp blob 파일 다운로드.

Towards the end of Fall 2006, we look forward to addressing the aftermath of the 1960s New Left and the crisis of progressive politics in the 1970s–80s through a few meetings on the case study of Michel Foucault and his response to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, through the recent book Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (including Foucault’s writings on Iran) written by Chicago-based authors Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson. Starting in Winter 2007 and extending through the Spring, we project embarking on a series of lectures and discussions on the history of the Left, pre-1789 to post-2001.

We anticipate that Platypus could be part of a potentially much broader renaissance on the Left in coming years, one which might occasion yet another “return to Marx” (as had occurred in the 1920s30s and 1960s70s) for grappling with capitalism as the fundamental context for social politics. Our goal is to develop a cohort of like-minded thinkers around a publishing vehicle to help inform to best effect such a reconsideration of the critical-theoretical tradition in light of the history of the Left, and thus help open possibilities for actual — eminently realizable — emancipation from an oppressive and highly destructive present and future that need not have been and need not yet be.

As C. Wright Mills put it at the dawn of the last, “New” Left (1960), we must “try to be realistic in our utopianism.” | §

Originally published in AREA Chicago #3 (Summer/Fall 2006).