CPGB contra Lukács

Bad Country

Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee)
contra Georg Lukács

James Turley, Chris Cutrone, Lawrence Parker

Originally published in Weekly Worker January 24 – March 14, 2013 Free download to excel. [PDF]

articles:

James Turley, “The antinomies of Georg Lukács” 1/24/13

Chris Cutrone, “Regression” 1/31/13

James Turley, “Dummy” 2/21/13

Chris Cutrone, “Nota bene” 2/28/13

James Turley, “Bacon” 3/7/13

Lawrence Parker, “Lukács reloaded” 3/7/13

Chris Cutrone, “Unreloaded” 3/14/13

Planet virus

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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On Horkheimer and Adorno’s Marxism in 1956

Marxism became a “message in a bottle” — can we yet receive it?

Response to Todd Cronan’s review of Towards a New Manifesto

Chris Cutrone

The first version of the following essay is available here. Posted on Facebook August 11, 2012.

Horkheimer and Adorno’s 1956 conversation took place in the aftermath of the Khrushchev speech denouncing Stalin. This event signaled a possible political opening, not in the Soviet Union so much as for the international Left. Horkheimer and Adorno recognized the potential of the Communist Parties in France and Italy, paralleling Marcuse’s estimation in his 1947 “33 Theses”:

The development [of history since Marx] has confirmed the correctness of the Leninist conception of the vanguard party as the subject of the revolution 무료 파워 포인트 템플릿. It is true that the communist parties of today are not this subject, but it is just as true that only they can become it. . . . The political task then would consist in reconstructing revolutionary theory within the communist parties and working for the praxis appropriate to it. The task seems impossible today. But perhaps the relative independence from Soviet dictates, which this task demands, is present as a possibility in Western Europe’s . . . communist parties.

Horkheimer and Adorno’s conversation in Towards a New Manifesto was part of a greater crisis of Communism (uprising in Hungary, emergence of the post-colonial Non-Aligned Movement, split between the USSR and Communist China) that gave rise to the New Left. Verso’s title was not misleading: this was the time of the founding of New Left Review, to which C. Wright Mills wrote his famous “Letter to the New Left” (1960), calling for greater attention to the role of intellectuals in social-political transformation 일본 이력서 양식.

As Adorno put the matter, “I have always wanted to . . . develop a theory that remains faithful to Marx, Engels and Lenin.” Horkheimer responded laconically, “Who would not subscribe to that?” (103). It is necessary to understand what such statements took for granted.

The emphasis on Marxism as an account of “exploitation,” rather than of social-historical domination, is mistaken. Marx called “capital” the domination of society by an alienated historical dynamic of value-production (M–C–M' [Money–Commodity–Money]). At stake here is the proletarianization of bourgeois society after the Industrial Revolution, or, as Lukács put it in History and Class Consciousness (1923), how the fate of the workers becomes that of society as a whole Crystal Disk Info. This went back to Marx and Engels in the 1840s: Engels had written a precursor to the Communist Manifesto, a “Credo” (1847), in which he pointed out that the proletariat, the working class after the Industrial Revolution, was unlike any other exploited group in history, in both its social being and consciousness. The danger was that the working class would mistake their post-Industrial Revolution condition for that of pre-industrial bourgeois society, with its ethos of work. As the Abbé Sieyès had put it, in his 1789 revolutionary pamphlet What is the Third Estate?, while the Church’s First Estate with its property of communion with Divinity “prays,” and the aristocratic Second Estate with its property of honor in noble chivalry “fights,” the commoner Third Estate “works,” with no property other than that of labor lg smartphone firmware. Bourgeois society was the result of the revolt of the Third Estate. But the separate classes of increasing numbers of workers and ever fewer capitalists were the products of the division of bourgeois society in the Industrial Revolution, over the value of the property of labor, between wages and capital. This was, according to Marx, the “crisis” of bourgeois society in capital, recurrent since the 1840s.

At issue is the “bourgeois ideology” of the “fetish character of the commodity,” or, how the working class misrecognized the reasons for its condition, blaming this on exploitation by the capitalists rather than the historical undermining of the social value of labor. As Marx explained in Capital (1867), the workers exchanged, not the products of their work as with the labor of artisans, but rather their time, the accumulated value of which is capital, the means of production that was the private property of the capitalists. But for Marx the capitalists were the “character-masks of capital,” agents of the greater social imperative to produce and accumulate value, where the source of that value in the exchange of labor-time was being undermined and destroyed 트로피코6. As Horkheimer stated it in “The Authoritarian State” (1940), the Industrial Revolution made “not work but the workers superfluous.” The question was, how had history changed since the earlier moment of bourgeois society (Adam Smith’s time of “manufacture”) with respect to labor and value?

Adorno’s affirmation of Lenin on subjectivity was driven by his account of the deepening problems of capitalism in the 20th century, in which the historical development of the workers’ movement was bound up. Adorno did not think that the workers were no longer exploited. See Adorno’s 1942 essay “Reflections on Class Theory” and his 1968 speech “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?,” which he published in the U.S. under the title “Is Marx Obsolete?” In “Reflections on Class Theory,” Adorno pointed out that Marx and Engels’s assertion that the entire history of civilization was one of “class struggles” was actually a critique of history as a whole; that the dialectic of history in capital was one of unfreedom; and that only the complete dehumanization of labor was potentially its opposite, the liberation from work 알 pdf ocr. “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?” pointed out that the workers were not paid a share of the economic value of their labor, which Marx had recognized in post-Industrial Revolution capitalism was infinitesimal, but rather their wages were a cut of the profits of capital, granted to them for political reasons, to prevent revolution. The ramifications of this process were those addressed by the split in the socialist workers’ movement — in Marxism itself — that Lenin represented.

The crisis of Marxism was grasped by the Frankfurt School in its formative moment of the 1920s. In “The Little Man and the Philosophy of Freedom” (in Dämmerung, 1926–31) Horkheimer explained how the “present lack of freedom does not apply equally to all. An element of freedom exists when the product is consonant with the interest of the producer. All those who work, and even those who don’t, have a share in the creation of contemporary reality.” This followed Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, which prominently quoted Marx and Engels from The Holy Family (1845):

The property-owning class and the class of the proletariat represent the same human self-alienation Download Math Thief. But the former feels at home in this self-alienation and feels itself confirmed by it; it recognizes alienation as its own instrument and in it possesses the semblance of a human existence. The latter feels itself destroyed by this alienation and sees in it its own impotence and the reality of an inhuman existence.

And the necessary corrective was not the feeling of this oppression, but the theoretical and practical consciousness of the historical potential for the transformation of “bourgeois social relations,” at a global scale: “Workers of the world, unite!” This could only take place through the growth and greater accumulated historical self-awareness of the workers’ movement for socialism. But the growth of the workers’ movement had resulted in the crisis of socialism, its division into revolutionary Communism and reformist Social Democracy in WWI and the revolutions that followed (in Russia, Germany, Hungary and Italy). Reformist Social Democracy had succumbed to the “reification” of bourgeois ideology in seeking to preserve the workers’ interests, and had become the counterrevolutionary bulwark of continued capitalism in the post-WWI world 공부가 머니 다운로드. There was a civil war in Marxism. The question was the revolutionary necessity and possibility of Communism that Lenin expressed in the October 1917 Revolution that was meant to be the beginning of global revolution. Similarly, for the Frankfurt School, the Stalinism that developed in the wake of failed world revolution, was, contrary to Lenin, the reification of “Marxism” itself, now become barbarized bourgeois ideology, the affirmation of work, rather than its dialectical Aufhebung (negation and transcendence through fulfillment and completion).

To put it in Lenin’s terms, from What is to be Done? (1902), there are two “dialectically” interrelated — potentially contradictory — levels of consciousness, the workers’ “trade union” consciousness, which remains within the horizon of capitalism, and their “class consciousness,” which reveals the world-historical potential beyond capitalism. The latter, the “Hegelian” critical self-recognition of the workers’ class struggle, was the substance of Marxism: the critique of communism as the “real movement of history.” As Marx put it in his celebrated 1843 letter to Ruge, “Communism is a dogmatic abstraction . .  Secure Eyes. infected by its opposite, private property.” And, in his 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, Marx stated unequivocally that,

Communism is the position as the negation of the negation, and is hence the actual phase necessary for the next stage of historical development in the process of human emancipation and rehabilitation. Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism as such is not the goal of human development, the form of human society.

For Marx, communism demanded an “immanent critique” according to its “dialectical” contradictions, heightened to adequate historical self-awareness.

The issue is the potential abolition of wage-labor by the wage-laborers, the overcoming of the social principle of work by the workers. Marx’s “Hegelian” question was, how had history made this possible, in theory and practice Download the redhat kernel?

While Horkheimer and Adorno’s historical moment was not the same as Marx’s or Lenin’s, this does not mean that they abandoned Marxism, but rather that Marxism, in its degeneration, had abandoned them. The experience of Communism in the 1930s was the purge of intellectuals. So the question was the potential continued critical role of theory: how to follow Lenin? In “Imaginative Excesses” (orphaned from Minima Moralia 1944–47 — the same time as the writing of Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment), Adorno argued that the workers “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.”

Adorno and Horkheimer are thus potentially helpful for recovering the true spirit of Marxism. Their work expresses what has become obscure or esoteric about Marxism. This invites a blaming of their work as culpable, instead of recognizing the unfolding of history they described that had made Marxism potentially irrelevant, a “message in a bottle” they hoped could still yet be received. It is unfortunate if their conversation isn’t. | §

Originally published at nonsite.org [PDF] September 17, 2012.

On Horkheimer and Adorno’s Marxism in 1956 (first version)

Marxism became a “message in a bottle” — can we yet receive it?

Response to Todd Cronan’s review of Towards a New Manifesto

Chris Cutrone

Adorno and Horkheimer’s conversation in 1956 and its potential relevance today were written about recently by Micha Brumlik in the German daily taz (see “Adorno, Lenin und das Schnabeltier,” July 3, 2012, available online at <http://taz.de/Kolumne-Gott-und-die-Welt/!96574/>). An occasion for Brumlik’s article was the meeting of a study circle in Hamburg on the question of Adorno’s relation to Lenin. Was this “absurd?” Brumlik thought not.

Brumlik asked: Are Adorno’s writings consistent and coherent? (Or, is Adorno’s stated affinity for Lenin, for example, as incidental and inessential as Brumlik considers Adorno’s condemnation of jazz?) Does Frankfurt School Critical Theory offer a meaningful political perspective? Can “going back” to Marxism be a way of moving forward? Can a last exponent of the old such as Adorno be a precursor for the new? While Brumlik remained skeptical, equivocal and even ironical in his approach to Adorno, especially regarding Adorno’s “Leninism,” still, he recognized the issue well enough Download the exchange rate war pdf.

Horkheimer and Adorno’s 1956 conversation took place in the aftermath of the Khrushchev speech denouncing Stalin and how this signaled a possible political opening, not so much in the Soviet Union but for the international Left. Horkheimer and Adorno noted the potential in particular of the Communist Parties in France and Italy, paralleling Marcuse’s estimation in his 1947 “33 Theses” (translated by Horkheimer scholar John Abromeit and published in Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse, ed. Douglas Kellner, vol. 1: Technology, War, Fascism [Routledge, 1998], 215–227), which concluded that,

The development [of history since Marx’s time] has confirmed the correctness of the Leninist conception of the vanguard party as the subject of the revolution. It is true that the communist parties of today are not this subject, but it is just as true that only they can become it. . . . The political task then would consist in reconstructing revolutionary theory within the communist parties and working for the praxis appropriate to it owasp 다운로드. The task seems impossible today. But perhaps the relative independence from Soviet dictates, which this task demands, is present as a possibility in Western Europe’s . . . communist parties.

In this sense, Horkheimer and Adorno’s conversation was part of the moment that gave rise to the subsequent New Left in the 1960s. Their 1956 conversation did not demonstrate their abandonment but rather their — especially Adorno’s — continued adherence to Marxism. Otherwise, why would the occasion for their conversation in 1956 have been, as it was, the prospect of re-writing Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto for the 20th century? Verso’s title is not misleading. Their conversation took place in the same historical circumstances as those of the founding of, for example, New Left Review 구글 플레이 영화 다운로드.

As Adorno put it in his conversation with Horkheimer, “I have always wanted to . . . develop a theory that remains faithful to Marx, Engels and Lenin.” Horkheimer responded laconically, “Who would not subscribe to that?” (103). It is necessary to understand what such statements took for granted.

I have made my argument regarding Horkheimer and Adorno’s conversation at a forum of the Platypus Affiliated Society last year, on a panel with Andrew Feenberg, Richard Westerman and Nicholas Brown on “The politics of Critical Theory” (available online at <http://platypus1917.org/2011/07/09/the-politics-of-critical-theory/#cutrone>). The obscurity of Adorno’s avowed “Leninism” points not to problems of Adorno’s thought, but rather to how Marxism became esoteric — obscured by history. The question is the potential basis in Frankfurt School Critical Theory for the recovery of Marxism. But then it is necessary to recognize the actual stakes of their politics axios file.

The emphasis on Marxism as an account of “exploitation,” rather than of social-historical domination — the domination of society by an alienated historical dynamic (see Moishe Postone’s interpretation of Marx in Time, Labor, and Social Domination, 2003) — is mistaken. Marxists of the early–mid 20th century such as those of the Frankfurt School had a term for such a misapprehension: “vulgar Marxism.”

Such misunderstanding distorts not only the basis for judging Horkheimer and Adorno’s concerns in 1956, but also those of Marx and of subsequent Marxists such as Lenin. The issue is the proletarianization of bourgeois society after the Industrial Revolution, or, as Lukács put it in History and Class Consciousness (1923), how the fate of the workers becomes that of society as a whole. Lukács took this perspective not only from Marx but also from Lenin — as did Adorno and Horkheimer and their colleagues such as Marcuse as well. Lukács’s term for “vulgar Marxism” was the “reification” of “immediacy.” The answer for this was in recognizing the effect of “historical mediation.” The workers’ movement for socialism emerging in the 19th century itself required critical recognition of its actual historical stakes Download Nexon Kart Rider. This was Marx and Marxism’s point of departure.

At issue is the “fetish character of the commodity,” or, how the workers misrecognized the reasons for their condition, blaming it on their exploitation by the capitalists rather than the historical undermining of the social value of labor. For Marx the capitalists were the mere “character-masks of capital,” agents of the greater social imperative to produce value, where the source of that value in the exchange of labor was being undermined and destroyed. As Horkheimer stated it pithily, in his 1940 essay (written in honor of Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History”), “The Authoritarian State,” the Industrial Revolution made “not work but the workers superfluous,” impacting their social and political consciousness. How had history changed, with respect to labor and value?

Adorno’s dispute of Marx and his praising of Lenin on subjectivity need to be understood, not as some perverse Leninist anti-Marx-ism, but rather as a recognition of the deepening of the problem of capitalism in the 20th century 닌텐도 wii. Adorno did not think that the workers were no longer exploited. See Adorno’s 1942 essay “Reflections on Class Theory” (also written in honor of Benjamin), and his 1968 speech “Late Capitalism or Industrial Society?,” which he published in the U.S. under the title “Is Marx Obsolete?” — to which his answer was “no.” The issue of capitalism does not stop at the exploitation of the workers. This is what makes Marxist approaches potentially relevant, even today.

As Horkheimer phrased this, in his aphorism “The Little Man and the Philosophy of Freedom” from Dämmerung, popularizing themes from Lukács, “Of course the present lack of freedom does not apply equally to all. An element of freedom exists when the product is consonant with the interest of the producer. All those who work, and even those who don’t, have a share in the creation of contemporary reality.” As Lukács quoted Marx and Engels from The Holy Family (1845),

The property-owning class and the class of the proletariat represent the same human self-alienation Download The Phi Phi Theme. But the former feels at home in this self-alienation and feels itself confirmed by it; it recognizes alienation as its own instrument and in it possesses the semblance of a human existence. The latter feels itself destroyed by this alienation and sees in it its own impotence and the reality of an inhuman existence.

But the feeling of oppression is not the antidote to such universal “self-alienation.” Rather, what was necessary was the theoretical and practical consciousness of the historical potential for the transformation of “bourgeois social relations,” at a global scale: “Workers of the world, unite!”

To put it in Lenin’s “orthodox Marxist” terms, from What is to be Done? (1902), there are two “dialectically” interrelated — potentially contradictory — levels of consciousness, the workers’ “trade union” consciousness, which remains within the horizon of capitalism, and their “class consciousness,” which reveals the world-historical potential beyond capitalism. The latter, the critical self-recognition of the workers’ class struggle, was the substance of Marxism: the critique of communism as the “real movement of history.” As Marx put it in his celebrated 1843 letter to Ruge, “Communism is a dogmatic abstraction . .  Banished. infected by its opposite, private property.” And, in his 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, Marx stated unequivocally that,

Communism is the position as the negation of the negation, and is hence the actual phase necessary for the next stage of historical development in the process of human emancipation and rehabilitation. Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism as such is not the goal of human development, the form of human society.

Rather, as Marx and Engels put it in their 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party, the actual goal was a society “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” How had history made this possible?

To put it in Hegelian terms, for Marx and subsequent Marxists “class consciousness” is the historical self-consciousness and recognition of the “actuality” or historical potential and possibility of the workers’ “class struggle” against the capitalists, and how this points beyond capitalism, but is otherwise part of the dynamic of capitalism, perpetuating it 실리콘 밸리 미드. Capital’s alienated and destructive historical dynamic is reproduced by the social activity of the exchange of labor as a commodity, the form of solidarity in bourgeois society, which, after the Industrial Revolution, undermines itself in self-contradiction. The issue is the potential abolition of wage-labor by the wage-laborers, the overcoming of the social principle of work by the workers. As Horkheimer and Adorno put it in their 1956 conversation, work became an “ideology,” but one which, ensnared in “antinomy,” needed to be worked through “dialectically.”

This was the self-understanding common to Marx and Lenin, as well as to Horkheimer and Adorno. While Horkheimer and Adorno’s historical moment was not the same as Marx’s or Lenin’s, this does not mean that they abandoned Marxism, but rather that Marxism, in its degeneration, had abandoned them, precisely at the level of political consciousness: the “ontologization” of labor that Stalinized “Marxism” had in common with Heidegger and fascism more generally: “Arbeit macht frei.” See Adorno’s aphorism “Imaginative Excesses,” orphaned from Minima Moralia, written 1944–47 — the same time as the writing of Dialectic of Enlightenment — where Adorno argued that the workers “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.”

This bears on how it is possible to read Adorno and Horkheimer — and Marx and Lenin — today, regarding the potential continued relevance of Marxism. But Marxism would have needed to be made relevant again, for otherwise it was not so: what Marcuse had called the need for a “praxis appropriate to it.” Hence, the need Horkheimer and Adorno felt for a “new manifesto:” Marxism didn’t exist ready-made Download Google Image Search.

Adorno and Horkheimer are thus potentially helpful for recovering the true spirit of Marxism. Their work expresses what has become obscure or esoteric about Marxism. This invites a blaming of their work as culpable, instead of recognizing the unfolding of history they described that had made Marxism potentially irrelevant, a “message in a bottle” they hoped could still yet be received. It is unfortunate if their conversation isn’t. | §

A defence of Marxist Hegelianism — response to Mike Macnair

Chris Cutrone

I am writing in response to Mike Macnair’s 2003 critical review of John Rees and David Renton’s books (“‘Classical Marxism’ and grasping the dialectic,” Weekly Worker 495, September 11, 2003), cited in Macnair’s critique of Platypus (“No need for party?,” Weekly Worker 865, May 12, 2011; “Theoretical dead end,” Weekly Worker 866, May 19, 2011; “The study of history and the Left’s decline,” Weekly Worker 868, June 2, 2011; and “Divided by a common language?,” Weekly Worker 872, June 30, 2011). I wish to refer also to my three letters and article in response, “Platypus” (Weekly Worker 866, May 19, 2011), “Fish nor fowl” (Weekly Worker 867, May 26, 2011), “The philosophy of history” (Weekly Worker 869, June 9, 2011) and “Useful Platypus” (Weekly Worker 873, July 7, 2011).

I find Macnair’s analysis and critique of the political motivations and potential consequences of Rees’s affirmative account of Marxist Hegelianism compelling and good. I agree with Macnair’s conclusion that, despite Rees’s former SWP/UK leader Alex Callinicos’s anti-Hegelian Althusserianism, Rees considering “historical experience summed up in theory” was intrinsically connected to the SWP’s concept of the party as one which “centralises experience”, with all the problems such a conception entails.

I wish to offer a rejoinder to Macnair’s idea that such problematic conceptions of theory and political practice have roots in Lenin, Luxemburg and Lukács, Macnair’s analysis of whom I find to be false 스타크래프트 1.16 립버전. Also, I do not think that Macnair quite gets Hegel, although I agree with his characterisation (in “Against philosopher kings,” Weekly Worker 749, December 11, 2008) that “philosophy — as such — is inherently only a way of interpreting the world”, and so limits Hegel’s work for the political purposes under consideration. Furthermore, I agree with Macnair’s interpretation of Lenin with respect to the purposes of his polemical defence of Marxist approaches to philosophy in Materialism and empirio-criticism (1908). Moreover, I agree with his central point that philosophical agreement cannot be the basis of agreement on political action.

However, as Nicholas Brown responded to comrade Macnair’s question at the opening plenary on ‘The politics of critical theory’ of the Platypus convention in Chicago on April 29, it is not possible to ‘Hegelianise’ Marx, because Marx was more Hegelian than Hegel himself (Platypus Review 37, July 2011). That is, Marx tried to achieve the ‘Hegelian’ self-consciousness of his own historical moment. The question is, what relevance has Marx’s Hegelianism today, and what is the relevance of taking such a Hegelian approach to the history of Marxism subsequent to Marx?
Dialectical spiral

Lukács, Lenin, Luxemburg

I disagree that Lukács’s “subject” of history is the point of view or relative perspective of the proletariat as the revolutionary agent that must assert its “will”. Rather, I take Lukács to be following Lenin and Luxemburg (and Marx) quite differently than Macnair seems to think, in that the workers’ movement for socialism is the necessary mediation for grasping the problem of capital in its “totality”, that the workers must not remake the world in their image, but rather lead society more generally beyond capital 유비소프트 스토어. Hence, as Macnair characterises the approach of the Kautskyan “centre” of the Second International, the socialist workers’ movement must be a leading, practical force in democratic struggles beyond the workers’ own (sectional) interests in the transformation of society as a whole.

I disagree that Lenin made a virtue of necessity in the Russian Revolution after October 1917 and adopted a voluntarist (and substitutionalist) conception of the working class and the political party of communism. Rather, Lenin consistently criticised and politically fought against those tendencies of Bolshevism and in the early Third International. I do not think that Lenin’s newly found ‘Hegelianism’ after 1914 was the means by which he achieved (mistaken) rapprochement with the ‘left’.

The key is Luxemburg. I do not think she was a semi-syndicalist spontaneist/voluntarist, or that she neglected issues of political mediation: she was not an ‘ultra-left’. I take her pamphlet, The mass strike, the political party, and the trade unions (1906), to have an entirely different political purpose and conclusion. It was not an argument in favour of the mass strike as a tactic, let alone strategy, but rather an analysis of the significance of the mass strike in the 1905 Russian Revolution as a historical phenomenon, inextricably bound up in the development of capital at a global scale, and how this tasked and challenged the social democratic workers’ movement (the Second International and the SPD in particular) to reformulate its approach and transform itself under such changed historical conditions, specifically with regard to the relation of the party to the unions Download iTunes.

Luxemburg’s perspective was neither anarcho-syndicalist/spontaneist nor vanguardist, but rather dialectical. The mass strike was not a timeless principle. For Luxemburg, 1905 showed that the world had moved into an era of revolutionary struggle that demanded changes in the workers’ movement for socialism. A contradiction had developed between the social democratic party and (its own associated) labour unions, or ‘social democracy’ had become a self-contradictory phenomenon in need of transformation.

Furthermore, I take Lenin’s critiques of Kautsky for being “non-dialectical” to be very specific. This is not a critique of Kautsky ‘philosophically’ (although it does speak to his bad practices as a theorist), but politically. It is about Kautsky’s non-dialectical approach to politics: that is, the relation of theory and practice, or of social being and consciousness, in and through the concrete mediations of the historically constituted workers’ movement. Kautsky failed in this. Lenin agreed with Luxemburg in her Junius pamphlet (1915) that the problem was Kautsky thinking that the SPD’s Marxism (that is, what became Kautsky’s USPD) could “hide like a rabbit” during World War I and resume the struggle for socialism afterward 안전하지 않은 파일. Or, as Lenin put it in his Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism (1916) and Socialism and war (1915), contra Kautsky’s theory of ‘ultra-imperialism’, the world war must be seen as a necessary and not accidental outcome of the historical development of capitalism, and so a crisis that was an opportunity for revolutionary transformation, and not merely, as Kautsky thought, a derailment into barbarism to be resisted. This was the essential basis for agreement between Luxemburg and Lenin 1914–19.

I do not think the separation of the pre-World War I Lenin from Luxemburg is warranted, especially considering their close collaboration, both in the politics of the Russian movement and in the Second International more generally, throughout the period 1905–12 and again 1914–19. Throughout their careers, Lenin and Luxemburg (and Trotsky) were exemplars of the Second International left, or ‘radicals’ in the movement. They all more or less mistook Kautsky to be one of their own before August 1914. Also, Kautsky himself changed, at various points and times — which is not to say that Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky never changed.

But the question is the nature and character of such change, and how these figures allow us to grasp the history of Marxism. It is not about learning from their trials and errors, I think, but rather from the example of their ‘consciousness’, not merely theoretically, but practically. Moreover, the history of Marxism must be approached as part and parcel, and the highest expression, of the history of post-1848 capital.

Hegelianism

Lukács’s ‘Hegelian’ point was that “subjective” struggles for transformation take place in and through “necessary forms of appearance” that misrecognise their “objective” social realities, not in terms of imperfect approximations or more or less true generalised abstractions, but specifically as a function of the “alienated” and “reified” social and political dynamics of capital vsco 프리셋 다운로드. Capital is “objective” in a specific way, and so poses historically specific problems for subjectivity.

The reason for Marxists distinguishing their approach from Hegel is precisely historical: that a change in society took place between Hegel’s and Marx’s time that causes Hegelian categories, as those of an earlier, pre-Industrial Revolution era of bourgeois society, to become inverted in truth, or reversed in intention. Marx’s idea was that the “contradiction” of bourgeois society had changed. Thus the dialectical “law of motion” was specific to the problem of capital and not a transhistorical principle of (social) action and thought. Marx’s society was not Hegel’s. The meaning of Hegel had changed, just as the meaning of the categories of bourgeois society had changed. Labour-time as value had become not productive (if not unproblematically) — as in Hegel’s and Adam Smith’s time, the era of ‘manufacture’ — but destructive of society; as a form of social mediation, wage-labour had become self-contradictory and self-undermining in the Industrial Revolution, hence the ‘crisis of capital’.

One fundamental disagreement I have with Macnair’s approach, in which I think I follow Lenin, Luxemburg, Lukács and Marx, is with the idea that the potential transformation of capitalist society involves the confrontation of two antithetical social principles, of the workers (collectivism) vs the capitalists (individual private property). Capital, as Marx understood it, is not based on the mode of existence of the capitalists, falsely generalised to society as a whole, but rather that of the workers. This is not a top–down, but a bottom–up, view — shared by Smith, for example. As Lukács put it, the fate of the worker becomes that of “society as a whole” (“Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat” [1922] part 1, ‘The phenomenon of reification’ in History and class consciousness: studies in Marxist dialectics [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971], 91) 카카오톡 이전 버전. The contradiction of capital is the contradiction of the workers’ — not the capitalists’ — existence in society. For Marx, capital is a social mode of production and not merely a relation of production. As a mode of production, capital has become increasingly self-contradictory. As a function of capital’s historical development, through the Industrial Revolution, in which the workers’ own increasing demands for bourgeois rights, to realise the value of their labour, and not merely capitalist competition, played a key, indispensable role, bourgeois society became self-contradictory and self-undermining. That is, the workers centrally or at base constituted the self-destructive, social-historical dynamic of capital through their labouring and political activity. This development culminated in the crisis of world war and revolution 1914–19.

As Lenin put it in The state and revolution, the social relations of bourgeois society — namely, the mutual exchange of labour as the form of social solidarity in capital — could only be transformed gradually and thus “wither away,” and not be abolished and replaced at a stroke (The state and revolution chapter 5, ‘The economic basis of the withering away of the state’, part 3, ‘The first phase of communist society’). The proletarian socialist revolution was supposed to open the door to this transformation. The potential for emancipated humanity expressed in communism that Marx recognised in the modern history of capital is not assimilable without remainder to pre- or non-Marxian socialism.

As Marx put it, “Communism is the necessary form and the dynamic principle of the immediate future, but communism as such is not the goal of human development, the form of human society” (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844) Bom Movie. This was because, according to Marx, “Communism is a dogmatic abstraction and . . . only a particular manifestation of the humanistic principle and is infected by its opposite, private property” (letter to Arnold Ruge, ‘Ruthless criticism’, September 1843). Marx was not the pre-eminent communist of his time, but rather its critic, seeking to push it further. Marxism was the attempted Hegelian self-consciousness of proletarian socialism as the subject-object of capital.

As Lukács’s contemporary, Karl Korsch, pointed out in ‘Marxism and philosophy’ (1923), by the late 19th century historians such as Dilthey had observed that “ideas contained in a philosophy can live on not only in philosophies, but equally well in positive sciences and social practice, and that this process precisely began on a large scale with Hegel’s philosophy” (Karl Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy” [1923], in Marxism and Philosophy trans. Fred Halliday [New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970 and 2008], 39). For Korsch, this meant that ‘philosophical’ problems in the Hegelian sense were not matters of theory, but practice. From a Marxian perspective, however, it is precisely the problem of capitalist society that is posed at the level of practice.

Korsch went on to argue that “what appears as the purely ‘ideal’ development of philosophy in the 19th century can in fact only be fully and essentially grasped by relating it to the concrete historical development of bourgeois society as a whole” (40). Korsch’s great insight, shared by Lukács, took this perspective from Luxemburg and Lenin, who grasped how the history of the socialist workers’ movement and Marxism was a key part — indeed the crucial aspect — of this development, in the first two decades of the 20th century Download the Tea Story batch.

The problem we have faced since then is that the defeat of the workers’ movement for socialism has not meant the stabilisation, but rather the degeneration, disintegration and decomposition, of bourgeois society — without the concomitant increase, but rather the regression, of possibilities for moving beyond it. This shows that the crisis of Marxism was a crisis of bourgeois society, or the highest and most acute aspect of the crisis of capital: bourgeois society has suffered since then from the failure of Marxism.

Crisis of Marxism

The ‘crisis of Marxism’, in which Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky took part (especially in 1914–19, but also in the period leading up to this, most significantly from 1905 on), and Lukács tried to address ‘theoretically’ in History and class consciousness and related writings of the early 1920s, was (the highest practical expression of) the crisis of bourgeois society.

This crisis demanded a Marxist critique of Marxism, or a ‘dialectical’ approach to Marxism itself: that is, a recognition of Marxism, politically, as being a self-contradictory and so potentially self-undermining historical phenomenon (a phenomenon of history — hence the title of Lukács’s book, History and class consciousness), itself subject to necessary “reification” and “misrecognition” that could only be worked through “immanently”. This meant regaining the “Hegelian” dimension, or the “self-consciousness” of Marxism. This is because Marxism, as an expression of the workers’ “class-consciousness”, was — and remains — entirely “bourgeois”, if in extremis. While self-contradictory in its development, the socialist workers’ movement, including its Marxist self-consciousness, pointed beyond itself, ‘dialectically’ — as consciousness of the bourgeois epoch as a whole does Download kym file.

Georg Lukács, People's Commissar for Education and Culture in the Hungarian Soviet Republic, 1919

I follow Adorno’s characterisation of the problem of workers’ consciousness and the necessary role of intellectuals, which he took from Lenin, in his letter to Walter Benjamin of March 18, 1936: “The proletariat . . . is itself a product of bourgeois society. . . . [T]he actual consciousness of actual workers . . . [has] absolutely no advantage over the bourgeois except . . . interest in the revolution, but otherwise bear[s] all the marks of mutilation of the typical bourgeois character. This prescribes our function for us clearly enough — which I certainly do not mean in the sense of an activist conception of ‘intellectuals’. . . . It is not bourgeois idealism if, in full knowledge and without mental prohibitions, we maintain our solidarity with the proletariat instead of making of our own necessity a virtue of the proletariat, as we are always tempted to do — the proletariat which itself experiences the same necessity and needs us for knowledge as much as we need the proletariat to make the revolution” (Theodor W. Adorno, “Correspondence with Benjamin,” New Left Review I/81 [September–October 1973], 66–67).

The problem we face today, I think, is the opacity of the present, due to our lack of a comparably acute, self-contradictory and dialectical expression of the crisis of capital that Marxism’s historical self-consciousness, in theory and practice, once provided. | §

Oiriginally published in The Weekly Worker 878 (August 11, 2011) [PDF] 코분투.

Philosophy of history of the Left and Marxism: “authoritarianism” and “imperialism” — response to Mike Macnair

Chris Cutrone

Mike Macnair’s critique of Platypus in “The study of history and the Left’s decline” (Weekly Worker 868, June 2, 2011) takes issue on the philosophy of history of Marxism. I would like to clarify this, and the senses in which I used the terms “authoritarianism” and “imperialism” in my letters of May 19, 2011 (Weekly Worker 866) and May 26, 2011 (Weekly Worker 867), in response to Macnair’s two articles written after his attendance at the Platypus 2011 convention in Chicago, “No need for party?” (Weekly Worker 865, May 12, 2011), and “Theoretical dead end” (Weekly Worker 866, May 19, 2011).

Historiography of Marxism

First, however, I would like to address the issue of historiography with respect to the SPD in the 2nd International era. Carl E. Schorske (in German Social Democracy 1905–17: The Development of the Great Schism, 1955), and James Joll (in The Second International 1889–1914, 1974) are, among others, important historical sources for my and other Platypus members’ views. But I don’t think that what Macnair calls a “source-critical” approach to history should be attempted with reference to historians’ biographies, which does not clarify but potentially compounds the problem of philosophy of history calibre.

On J.P. Nettl, I would point to his substantial essay on “Ideas, intellectuals, and Structures of Dissent,” collected in Philip Rieff, ed., On Intellectuals: Theoretical Studies, Case Studies (1969). I dispute Macnair’s characterization of Nettl’s concerns. I think Nettl’s biography of Luxemburg was his life-work and not ancillary. As a liberal/non-Marxist, there are perhaps some issues to be taken with Nettl’s work on Luxemburg, but Nettl’s views as a political scientist were drawn from his long and close study of Luxemburg and her relation to Marxism, not applied by Nettl to Luxemburg from elsewhere. For Nettl, the history of Marxism raised questions about the possibilities of politics per se. Hence, the importance of Nettl’s argument.

Thus, Nettl’s article on “The German Social-Democratic Party 1890–1914 as Political Model” (Past and Present 30, April 1965) argued that Luxemburg’s views, as expressed in Reform or Revolution application/json? and The Mass Strike, among other writings, were not actionist but concerned with the transformation of the SPD in which the Marxist Left had a stake. Luxemburg and Lenin were not opposed to the formation of workers’ political parties as necessary instruments of emancipation, but they were aware of the dangers inherent in this, from a Marxist perspective on the historical development of capital, in which such workers’ organizations (including labor unions) were inevitably bound up. In other words, how, e.g., the SPD was a phenomenon of the history of capital, or, more precisely, how the workers’ movement for socialism was part of the historical development of capital, and did not somehow oppose it from outside. In this sense, there was an affinity of Eduard Bernstein’s views on “evolutionary socialism” with Luxemburg’s, but they drew the opposite political conclusions: where Bernstein found the transformation of capital through reforms to be ameliorative, Luxemburg found a deepening crisis. This was Luxemburg’s thesis in Reform or Revolution?, that only reformists separated social reform from political revolution, because Marxism recognized that reforms deepened the crisis of capital and made revolution not less but more necessary vray for sketchup 다운로드.

Benjamin and Adorno

I dispute Macnair’s characterization of Benjamin and Adorno’s philosophy of history as attempting to generate “useful myths.” Rhetorical and literary style aside, Benjamin and especially Adorno were rigorous Marxists and Hegelians who engaged the issues of “historical materialism” as manifested after the failure of Marxism. Benjamin and Adorno were not postmodernists avant la lettre, despite their spurious late pomo popularity. Rather, Benjamin and Adorno, like Lukács and Korsch (from whom they took direct inspiration), followed Luxemburg and Lenin’s judgments about the crisis of Marxism as the crisis of bourgeois society that Marxism itself, as part of the ideology and practical political leadership of the international social-democratic workers’ movement, had brought about.

Benjamin and Adorno challenged the linear-progressive conception of history, recovering from the history of Marxism what might appear to be an obscure point, but one addressed, for example, by Plekhanov as history moving in a “knotted line,” and by Lenin as history moving in “spirals” of repetition and crisis (see Lenin’s 1915 Granat Encyclopedia entry on “Karl Marx”). This Hegelian-Marxist approach to the dialectics of history was digested usefully by Lukács, as a discussion of historical “moment” and “process” in “Tailism and the Dialectic” (Lukács’s unpublished 1925 defense of History and Class Consciousness).

Hegel and Kant

The Hegelian — and Kantian — point is that the relation between theory and practice is not one of empirical deduction from trial and error in which an always imperfect theory is corrected, but “inductive,” in that the concrete “material” object of practice is the concretization of abstractions, and, furthermore, the object of practice is indeed first and foremost the human subject, i.e., the “subject-object” of transformation Download mp4 converter. The question is the adequacy of the relation of theory and practice. Metaphysical (“theoretical”) categories refer not to a world extrinsic to human subjectivity, but to the world constituted socially in and through such categories, which are always eminently practical as well as theoretical. So, in the most pertinent example, the “commodity form” is, for Marxists, a category of social relations, which gives it an effective social reality, different from physical nature. Macnair seems not to have attended to the Kantian revolution in philosophy from which Hegel, Marx, Lukács, Benjamin and Adorno followed.

How this matters for the philosophy of history is that history is not a compendium of past facts but a social relation of the “present” with itself. The past is not “past” but present, and present “historically.” So, for Benjamin and Adorno (following Lukács and Korsch, who followed Lenin, Luxemburg, and Marx and Engels on this point), the question was how to reckon the history of Marxism and the greater socialist workers’ movement as symptomatic expression of the history of capital, or, how the “proletariat” was and could become the transformed “subject-object of history.” Lukács’s term for the self-alienated character of this “subject-object” condition of the working class in capital was “reification.” “Reification” referred not to the workers’ quotidian consciousness in capitalism, but to the “class consciousness” of the workers, as expressed by Social Democracy (and “Marxism”) at its height. For Lukács and those who followed, “reification” meant Kautsky.

Abuse of theory

Nettl has a great line about how Kautsky attempted “to invest certain observed phenomena with the normative sanction of Marxist theory.” Nettl cited Parvus against Kautsky: “All the guts knocked out of [Marxism] 고등래퍼2 다운로드. Out of Marx’s good raw dough Kautsky made Matzes” (82). Kautsky abused theory, making it serve as justification or rationalization — as most “Marxists” do — rather than as a provocation to the self-reflection of consciousness, in the Hegelian sense.

While it may be tempting to oppose such apparent static/immobilized (or “contemplative”) consciousness with action(ism), Lukács knew well that the opposition of static and dynamic was an antinomy of capital itself, that capital moved through a dialectic of the antinomy of the dynamic and the static in history. This is where the recovery of the Hegelian dimension of Marxism was critical: Marxism itself had become “vulgarized” in its self-understanding, and had failed in taking a dialectical approach to itself as a historical phenomenon, as a symptom of the history of capital. Marxism had succumbed to the “bourgeois” (pre-Kantian) view of (linear) progress through trial-and-error, the asymptotic view of knowledge, in which, as Benjamin put it, mordantly citing, in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” Dietzgen as pathological example of Social Democratic progressivism, “Every day our cause becomes clearer and people get smarter.” History has proved otherwise.

Philosophy of history

Benjamin and Adorno’s challenge to such a “progressive” view of history, which they thought was ideologically blinding, was not irrationalism any more than Hegel was 산돌 고딕 m. It does not call for “myth,” but a different philosophy of history than the empiricist-deductive one. Dialectics is not a matter of estimating probability, but grasping inherent possibility in history.

Paul Klee's 1920 painting, "Angelus Novus" ("The New Angel") was not the traditional votive guardian, but, according to Benjamin, looked upon the historical unfolding of humanity with horror at the mounting catastrophe.

As Adorno put it, in his 1942 essay “Reflections on Class Theory,” in response to both Benjamin’s “Theses” and Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto, “According to [Marxian] theory, history is the history of class struggles. But the concept of class is bound up with the emergence of the proletariat. . . . By exposing the historical necessity that had brought capitalism into being, political economy became the critique of history as a whole. . . . All history is the history of class struggles because it was always the same thing, namely, prehistory. This gives us a pointer as to how we can recognize what history is. From the most recent form of injustice, a steady light reflects back on history as a whole. Only in this way can theory enable us to use the full weight of history to gain an insight into the present without succumbing in resignation to the burden of the past 구글 사전 다운로드. [Marxism has been praised] on account of its dynamism. . . . Dynamism is merely one side of dialectic: it is the side preferred by the belief in practicality. . . . The other, less popular aspect of dialectic is its static side. . . . The law that, according to the Hegelian dialectic, governs the restlessly destructive unfolding of the ever-new consists in the fact that at every moment the ever-new is also the old lying close at hand. The new does not add itself to the old but is the old in distress” (Adorno, Can One Live after Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader, 2003, 93–95).

Authoritarianism

This brings me around to the issues of “authoritarianism” and “imperialism,” which have different usage for me than the colloquial ones. Adorno co-authored the famous study on The Authoritarian Personality. This followed from the earlier Frankfurt School Studies on Authority and the Family n Trip. A commonplace misunderstanding of Frankfurt School Critical Theory is that it attempted to synthesize Marxist and Freudian psychoanalytic approaches, but this view is mistaken. Rather, Freudian psychoanalysis was itself taken by Adorno et al. to be a symptom of the historical development of capital. Freud’s categories were taken to be descriptive, and then resituated, critically, in a Marxian view of historical development of society. In this view, Marx was not ignorant of Freudian insights, but rather it was only as a function of the later social-historical development of capital that human “psychology” appeared as it did to Freud. A contemporary of Benjamin and Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, in his early work on “Ideology as a Material Force” published later in his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, pointed to how Marxism had failed to apprehend the “progressive” character of fascism; in other words, how fascism had expressed, however pathologically, the social-historical transformation of capital in the early 20th century better than “vulgar,” economic-determinist Marxism had been able to do. Hence, fascism’s ideological and political victory over Marxism. For Reich, (the failure of) Marxism was responsible for fascism. Fascism expressed the workers’ “fear of freedom,” which Marxism, in its false rationalism of “economic interest,” had failed to overcome Download the subtitle font. Workers had a subjective, “psychological” interest in unfreedom that Marxism needed to address.

What this meant to Benjamin and Adorno, following Lukács’s view on “reification,” was that Marxism had failed to address “authoritarianism” dialectically, as a function of the transformation of capital. In the Marxian view, the workers’ movement for socialism is itself the most important “self-contradictory” and self-alienated phenomenon of the history of capital. This is why Marx began with the critique of socialism, or, why the “critique of political economy” is the critique of the necessary and symptomatic consciousness of the socialist workers’ movement.

Imperialism

What I raised in my letter (published in The Weekly Worker 867, May 26, 2011) concerning the changed “organic composition of capital” is this: that the “mass” proletarianization of the core capitalist countries was the result, as Marx discussed in Capital vol. I on “the working day,” of politically variable social conditions of wage labor that, with increased worker empowerment, cause a shift from variable to constant capital, or, from labor-time intensive sweatshop to automated machine production, requiring ever less labor-input and resulting in ever greater value-crises Download Hancom Taza Practice.

This, in turn, affected the conditions of “colonialism.” Whereas colonies in the classical bourgeois era of the emergence of modern capital were sites of market expansion, in the late era of “imperialism” or “monopoly capital,” colonies become raw material resource-extraction zones feeding metropolitan industry. The humanity of not only those who were thus “colonized” but also of the metropolitan proletariat hence became superfluous, not even a “reserve army of unemployed” but a fascist rabble, subject to more or less desperate authoritarian politics. This was already true of the post-1848 world Marx addressed in Bonapartism (also evinced contemporaneously by Bismarck and Disraeli), but became even more so subsequently. The question is why the workers supported authoritarian politics, and how the workers’ movement for socialism was not free of this effect. (In this sense, Hayek’s critique of socialism in The Road to Serfdom is apposite.)

This is the world in which we continue to live today, but without the proximal history of the late 19th–early 20th century social-democratic workers’ movement and its Marxist political leadership that, in a “dialectical” (self-contradictory) way, participated in the history that brought these conditions into being — producing the need for world revolution that is Marxism’s legacy. | §

Originally published in The Weekly Worker 869 (June 9, 2011) [PDF].


Adorno and Korsch on Marxism and philosophy

Chris Cutrone

Presented on the panel “Reconsiderations in Western Marxism: Lukács, Korsch, Adorno, Marcuse,” with panelist Baolinh Dang, at the Historical Materialism conference, York University, Toronto, May 14, 2010; and on the panel “Hegel, Marx, and Modern Philosophy,” with panelists Patrick Murray and Richard Westerman at the Weissbourd 2011 Annual Conference, the University of Chicago, May 6, 2011. Excerpted from “Book review: Karl Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy” and “Rejoinder on Korsch,” originally published in The Platypus Review (#15, September 2009, and #20, February 2010).

The publication of Karl Korsch’s seminal essay “Marxism and Philosophy” in 1923 coincided with the publication of Georg Lukács’s landmark collection of essays, History and Class Consciousness. While Lukács’s book has the word “history” in its title, it follows Marx’s Capital in addressing the problem of social being and consciousness in a primarily “philosophical” and categorial manner, as the subjectivity of the commodity form. Korsch’s essay on philosophy in Marxism, by contrast, is actually a historical treatment of the problem, from Marx and Engels’s time, through the 2nd International, to what Korsch called the “crisis of Marxism” and the revolutions of 1917–19 Download windows 10 basic app. More specifically, Korsch’s essay takes up the development and vicissitudes of the relation between theory and practice in the history of Marxism, which Korsch considered the “philosophical” problem of Marxism.

Independently of one another, both Korsch’s and Lukács’s 1923 works shared an interest in recovering the Hegelian or “idealist” dimension of Marx’s thought and politics. Both were motivated to establish the coherence of the Marxist revolutionaries Lenin and Luxemburg, and these 2nd International-era radicals’ shared grounding in what Korsch called “Marx’s own Marxism.” Due to a perceived shortcoming in the expounding of revolutionary Marxism, the problem for Korsch and Lukács was interpreting Marxism as both theory and practice, or how the politics of Lenin and Luxemburg (rightly) considered itself “dialectical.” Both Lukács and Korsch explicitly sought to provide this missing exposition and elaboration.

Lukács and Korsch were later denounced as “professors” in the Communist International, a controversy that erupted after the deaths of Luxemburg and Lenin. In the face of this party criticism, Lukács acquiesced and made his peace with “orthodoxy,” disavowing his work of 1919–24 as comprising a misguided attempt to “out-Hegel Hegel.”

Korsch responded differently to the party’s criticism 유튜브 1시간. Quitting the 3rd International Communist movement entirely, he became associated with the “Left” or “council” communism of Antonie Pannekoek and Paul Mattick. Though making a choice very different from Lukács and distancing himself from official “Marxism-Leninism,” Korsch also came to disavow his earlier argument in “Marxism and Philosophy.” Specifically, he abandoned the attempt to establish the coherence of Lenin’s theory and practice with that of Marx, going so far as to critique Marx. Thus, in the 1930 essay “The Present State of the Problem of ‘Marxism and Philosophy:’ An Anti-Critique,” Korsch argued that, to the degree Marx shared a common basis with Lenin, this was an expression of limitations in Marx’s own critical theory and political practice. Indeed, for Korsch it was a problem of “Marxism” in general, including Kautsky and Luxemburg. Ultimately, Korsch called for “going beyond” Marxism.

The complementary, if divergent, trajectories of Korsch and Lukács are indicative of the historical disintegration of the perspective both shared in their writings of 1923 birthday cake photos. Both had understood the “subjective” aspect of Marxism to have been clarified by Lenin’s role in the October Revolution. The figure of Lenin was irreducible, and brought out dimensions of the Marxian project that otherwise lay unacknowledged. No less than Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, Korsch’s essay on “Marxism and Philosophy” inspired the work of the Marxist critical theorists associated with the Frankfurt School — Horkheimer, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Adorno. But the reputation of Korsch’s work has been eclipsed by that of Lukács. What the usual interpretive emphasis on Lukács occludes is that the Frankfurt School writers grappled not only with the problem of Stalinism but “anti-Stalinism” as well. Both Korsch’s and Lukács’s post-1923 trajectories were critiqued by the Frankfurt School writers.[1] Korsch, in the 1930 “Anti-Critique,” distanced himself from the problem Adorno sought to address, of the constitutive non-identity of theory and practice. Writing 40 years later, in Negative Dialectics (1966), Adorno thought, like Korsch and Lukács in the early 1920s, that Lenin and Luxemburg’s theoretical self-understanding, together with their revolutionary political practice, comprised the most advanced attempt yet to work through precisely this non-identity call time.

In Adorno’s terms, both the later Korsch and official “dialectical materialism” (including the later Lukács) assumed “identity thinking,” an identity of effective theory and practice, rather than their articulated non-identity, to which Korsch and Lukács had drawn attention earlier. Instead of this recognition of the actuality of the symptom of “philosophical” thinking, of the mutually constitutive separation of theory and practice, Korsch, by embracing “council” communism, and shunning Marxian theory in the years after writing his famously condemned work, succumbed to what Adorno termed “identity thinking” — just as Lukács had done in adapting to Stalinist “orthodoxy.” By assuming the identity of theory and practice, or of social being and consciousness in the workers’ movement, Korsch sought their “reconciliation,” instead of discerning and critically grasping their persistent antagonism, as would necessarily be articulated in any purported politics of emancipation.

Just as Adorno tried to hold fast to the Lukács of History and Class Consciousness in the face of Lukács’s own subsequent disavowals, the first sentence of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics reiterated Korsch’s statement in “Marxism and Philosophy” that “Philosophy cannot be abolished without being realized” (“Marxism and Philosophy,” in Marxism and Philosophy, trans. Fred Halliday [NY: Monthly Review Press, 1970 and 2008], 97). As Adorno put it,

Philosophy, which once seemed outmoded, remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed. The summary judgment that it had merely interpreted the world is itself crippled by resignation before reality, and becomes a defeatism of reason after the transformation of the world failed 세쌍둥이송.[2]

In 1923, Korsch had explicitly tied the question of “philosophy” to Lenin’s treatment of the problem of the state in The State and Revolution (1917). Just as, with the overcoming of capitalism, the necessity of the state would “wither,” and not be done away with at one stroke, so too the necessity of “philosophical” thinking, specifically the critical reflection on the relation of theory and practice, as it appeared in the epoch of capital, would dissolve. This side of emancipation, “theoretical” self-reflection, thought’s reflecting on its own conditions of possibility, remains necessary, precisely because it expresses an unresolved social-historical problem.

Korsch divided the relation of Marx’s thought to philosophy roughly into three periods: pre-1848, circa 1848, and post-1848. These periods were distinguished by the different ways they related theory and practice: the first period was the critique of philosophy calling for its simultaneous realization and self-abolition; the second, the sublimation of philosophy in revolution; and the third, the recrudescence of the problem of relating theory and practice.

Korsch’s third period in the history of Marxism, post-1848, extended into what he termed the “crisis of Marxism” beginning in the 1890s with the reformist “revisionist” dispute of Eduard Bernstein against the “orthodox Marxism” of the 2nd International — when the “revolutionary Marxism” of Luxemburg and Lenin originated — and continuing into the acutely revolutionary period of 1917–19, from the Russian Revolution of 1917 through the German Revolution and civil war of 1918–19, to the Hungarian Soviet Republic (in which Lukács participated) and the workers’ uprisings in Italy (in which Antonio Gramsci participated) in 1919 장화 홍련 영화.

It was in this revolutionary period of the early 20th century that “Marx’s own Marxism” of 1848, as expressed in the Communist Manifesto, regained its saliency, but in ways that Korsch thought remained not entirely resolved as a matter of relating theory to practice. In “Marxism and Philosophy,” Korsch found that while Lenin and Luxemburg had tried to better relate Marxian theory and practice than 2nd International Marxism had done, they had recognized this as an on-going task and aspiration, and not already achieved in some finished sense. In the words of the epigraph from Lenin that introduces Korsch’s 1923 essay, “We must organize a systematic study of the Hegelian dialectic from a materialist standpoint” (“On the Significance of Militant Materialism,” 1922). If Marxism continued to be subject to a “Hegelian dialectic,” thus requiring the “historical materialist” analysis and explanation that Korsch sought to provide of it, this was because it was not itself the reconciled unity of theory and practice but remained, as theory, the critical reflection on the problem of relating theory and practice — which in turn prompted further theoretical development as well as practical political advances.

For Korsch in the 1923 “Marxism and Philosophy,” Lenin and Luxemburg’s “revolutionary Marxism” was bound up in the “crisis of Marxism,” while advancing it to a new stage 암살교실 영화. As Korsch commented,

This transformation and development of Marxist theory has been effected under the peculiar ideological guise of a return to the pure teaching of original or true Marxism. Yet it is easy to understand both the reasons for this guise and the real character of the process which is concealed by it. What theoreticians like Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and Lenin in Russia have done, and are doing, in the field of Marxist theory is to liberate it from the inhibiting traditions of [Social Democracy]. They thereby answer the practical needs of the new revolutionary stage of proletarian class struggle, for these traditions weighed “like a nightmare” on the brain of the working masses whose objectively revolutionary socioeconomic position no longer corresponded to these [earlier] evolutionary doctrines. The apparent revival of original Marxist theory in the Third International is simply a result of the fact that in a new revolutionary period not only the workers’ movement itself, but the theoretical conceptions of communists which express it, must assume an explicitly revolutionary form. This is why large sections of the Marxist system, which seemed virtually forgotten in the final decades of the nineteenth century, have now come to life again 문명4. . . . [T]he internal connection of theory and practice within revolutionary Marxism had been consciously re-established. (67–68)

Korsch thus established the importance for what Adorno later called the “historically changing” relation of theory and practice, making sense of their vicissitudes in the history of the politics of Marxism. Furthermore, by establishing the character of the “crisis of Marxism” as a matter of theoretical reflection, Korsch re-established the role of consciousness in a Marxian conception of social revolution, why the abandonment or distancing of the practical perspective of revolution necessitates a degradation of theory.

Adorno, in one of his last writings, the “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969), stated that,

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.[3]

According to Adorno, Marx had a critical theory of the relation of theory and practice — recognizing it as a historically specific and not merely “philosophical” problem, or, a problem that called for the critical theory of the philosophy of history — and a political practice of the relation of theory and practice. Adorno noted that the relation of theory and practice is “not settled once and for all, but fluctuates historically.”[4] There is not simply a theoretical or practical problem, but also, and more profoundly, a problem of relating theory and practice tcpview 다운로드. It is not a matter of finding either a correct theory or correct practice, but of trying to judge and affect their changing relation and recognizing this as a problem of history. This is a function of the past’s problematic legacy in the present.

The revolutionary politics of Lenin and Luxemburg, following Marx, which inspired the Marxian critical theory of Lukács, Korsch and Adorno, recovered and struggled through the problem of theory and practice for their time, precipitating a crisis in Marxism, and thus potentially advancing it. Overcoming the “vulgar Marxist” ossification of theory and practice in the 2nd International opened the way to their critical relation, which Adorno elaborated. This meant the Marxist critique of Marxism, or, a Left critique of the Left. This was not a finished but an on-going task. Adorno’s focus, following Korsch, on the constitutive non-identity of theory and practice, is key to recovering a Marxian approach to the problem of an emancipatory, “dialectical” politics, an unresolved but neglected problem in the history of Marxism. | §


1. The reverse was also true. Korsch, in distancing himself from his 1923 work that was so seminal for the Frankfurt School writers, also came to critique them:

[Korsch] intended to try and interest Horkheimer and the [Frankfurt] Institute [for Social Research] in Pannekoek’s book Lenin as Philosopher (1938) [which traced the bureaucratization of the USSR back to the supposedly crude materialism of Lenin’s 1909 book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism] Download web attachments. . . . [Either] Korsch [or, the Director of the Institute, Horkheimer himself] would write a review for [the Institute’s journal] the Zeitschrift. . . . Yet no such review appeared. . . . [Korsch suffered] total disillusionment with the Institute and their “impotent philosophy.” Korsch [was] particularly bitter about the “metaphysician Horkheimer.” [Phil Slater, Origin and Significance of the Frankfurt School: A Marxist Perspective (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977), 73–74.]

The record for Korsch’s deteriorating relations with the Frankfurt Institute in exile is found in his private letters to Paul Mattick, editor of the journal Living Marxism: International Council Correspondence.

2. Translated by Dennis Redmond (2001).

3. Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis,” in Critical Models, trans. by Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 266. This essay, a “dialectical epilegomenon” to his book Negative Dialectics that Adorno said intended to bring together “philosophical speculation and drastic experience” (Critical Models, 126), reflected his dispute with fellow Frankfurt School critical theorist Hebert Marcuse over the student protests of the Vietnam War (see Adorno and Marcuse, “Correspondence on the German Student Movement,” trans. by Esther Leslie, New Left Review I/233, Jan.–Feb. 1999, 123–136). As Adorno put it in his May 5, 1969 letter to Marcuse,

[T]here are moments in which theory is pushed on further by practice. But such a situation neither exists objectively today, nor does the barren and brutal practicism that confronts us here have the slightest thing to do with theory anyhow. (“Correspondence,” 127.)

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

Adorno’s Leninism

Adorno’s political relevance

Chris Cutrone

Presented at Loyola University, Chicago, April 21, 2010 (audio recording), Woodlawn Collaborative, Chicago, May 8, 2010, and the Platypus Affiliated Society 2nd annual international convention, Chicago, May 29, 2010.

Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno, who was born in 1903 and lived until 1969, has a continuing purchase on problems of politics on the Left by virtue of his critical engagement with two crucial periods in the history of the Left: the 1930s “Old” Left and the 1960s “New Left.”  Adorno’s critical theory, spanning this historical interval of the mid-20th century, can help make sense of the problems of the combined and ramified legacy of both periods.

Adorno is the key thinker for understanding 20th century Marxism and its discontents. As T. J. Clark has put it (in “Should Benjamin Have Read Marx?,” 2003), Adorno “[spent a lifetime] building ever more elaborate conceptual trenches to outflank the Third International.” The period of Adorno’s life, coming of age in the 1920s, in the wake of the failed international anticapitalist revolution that had opened in Russia in 1917 and continued but was defeated in Germany, Hungary and Italy in 1919, and living through the darkest periods of fascism and war in the mid-20th century to the end of the 1960s, profoundly informed his critical theory. As he put it in the introduction to the last collection of his essays he edited for publication before he died, he sought to bring together “philosophical speculation and drastic experience.”  Adorno reflected on his “drastic” historical experience through the immanent critique, the critique from within, of Marxism. Adorno thought Marxism had failed as an emancipatory politics but still demanded redemption, and that this could be achieved only on the basis of Marxism itself. Adorno’s critical theory was a Marxist critique of Marxism, and as such reveals key aspects of Marxism that had otherwise become buried, as a function of the degenerations Marxism suffered from the 1930s through the 1960s. Several of Adorno’s writings, from the 1930s–40s and the 1960s, illustrate the abiding concerns of his critical theory throughout this period.

In the late 1920s, the director of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research Max Horkheimer wrote an aphorism titled “The Little Man and the Philosophy of Freedom” that is an excellent conspectus on the politics of Marxism.

[Read Horkheimer, “The Little Man and the Philosophy of Freedom.”]

The “Marxist clarification of the concept of freedom” that Horkheimer calls for is the usually neglected aspect of Marxism. Marxism is usually regarded as an ideology of material redistribution or “social justice,” championing the working class and other oppressed groups, where it should be seen as a philosophy of freedom.

There is a fundamentally different problem at stake in either regarding capitalism as a materially oppressive force, as a problem of exploitation, or as a problem of human freedom. The question of freedom raises the issue of possibilities for radical social-historical transformation, which was central to Adorno’s thought. Whereas by the 1930s, with the triumph of Stalinist and social-democratic reformist politics in the workers’ movement, on the defensive against fascism, Marxism had degenerated into an ideology merely affirming the interests of the working class, Marx himself had started out with a perspective on what he called the necessity of the working class’s own self-abolition (Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843).

Marx inquired into the potential overcoming of historical conditions of possibility for labor as the justification for social existence, which is how he understood capitalist society centos 7 package. Marx’s point was to elucidate the possibilities for overcoming labor as a social form. But Marx thought that this could only happen in and through the working class’s own political activity. How was it possible that the working class would abolish itself?

Politics not pre-figurative

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  This ethic of “pre-figuration,” the attempt to personally embody the principles of an emancipated world, was the classic expression of the moral problem of politics in service of radical social change in the 20th century. During the mid-20th century Cold War between the “liberal-democratic” West led by the United States and the Soviet Union, otherwise known as the Union of Workers’ Councils Socialist Republics, the contrasting examples of Gandhi, leader of non-violent resistance to British colonialism in India, and Lenin, leader of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and of the international Communist movement inspired by it, were widely used to pose two very different models for understanding the politics of emancipation. One was seen as ethical, remaining true to its intentions, while the other was not. Why would Adorno, like any Marxist, have chosen Lenin over Gandhi?  Adorno’s understanding of capitalism, what constituted it and what allowed it to reproduce itself as a social form, informed what he thought would be necessary, in theory and practice, to actually overcome it, in freedom.

Adorno, as a Marxist critical theorist, followed the discussion by Leon Trotsky, who had been the 26 year-old leader of the Petersburg Soviet or Workers’ Council during the 1905 Revolution in Russia, of the “pre-requisites of socialism” in his 1906 pamphlet Results and Prospects, where he wrote about the problem of achieving what he called “socialist psychology,” as follows:

Marxism converted socialism into a science, but this does not prevent some “Marxists” from converting Marxism into a Utopia. . . .

[M]any socialist ideologues (ideologues in the bad sense of the word — those who stand everything on its head) speak of preparing the proletariat for socialism in the sense of its being morally regenerated. The proletariat, and even “humanity” in general, must first of all cast out its old egoistical nature, and altruism must become predominant in social life, etc. As we are as yet far from such a state of affairs, and “human nature” changes very slowly, socialism is put off for several centuries. Such a point of view probably seems very realistic and evolutionary, and so forth, but as a matter of fact it is really nothing but shallow moralizing.

It is assumed that a socialist psychology must be developed before the coming of socialism, in other words that it is possible for the masses to acquire a socialist psychology under capitalism. One must not confuse here the conscious striving towards socialism with socialist psychology. The latter presupposes the absence of egotistical motives in economic life; whereas the striving towards socialism and the struggle for it arise from the class psychology of the proletariat. However many points of contact there may be between the class psychology of the proletariat and classless socialist psychology, nevertheless a deep chasm divides them.

The joint struggle against exploitation engenders splendid shoots of idealism, comradely solidarity and self-sacrifice, but at the same time the individual struggle for existence, the ever-yawning abyss of poverty, the differentiation in the ranks of the workers themselves, the pressure of the ignorant masses from below, and the corrupting influence of the bourgeois parties do not permit these splendid shoots to develop fully. For all that, in spite of his remaining philistinely egoistic, and without his exceeding in “human” worth the average representative of the bourgeois classes, the average worker knows from experience that his simplest requirements and natural desires can be satisfied only on the ruins of the capitalist system Sat Movie.

The idealists picture the distant future generation which shall have become worthy of socialism exactly as Christians picture the members of the first Christian communes.

Whatever the psychology of the first proselytes of Christianity may have been — we know from the Acts of the Apostles of cases of embezzlement of communal property — in any case, as it became more widespread, Christianity not only failed to regenerate the souls of all the people, but itself degenerated, became materialistic and bureaucratic; from the practice of fraternal teaching one of another it changed into papalism, from wandering beggary into monastic parasitism; in short, not only did Christianity fail to subject to itself the social conditions of the milieu in which it spread, but it was itself subjected by them. This did not result from the lack of ability or the greed of the fathers and teachers of Christianity, but as a consequence of the inexorable laws of the dependence of human psychology upon the conditions of social life and labour, and the fathers and teachers of Christianity showed this dependence in their own persons.

If socialism aimed at creating a new human nature within the limits of the old society it would be nothing more than a new edition of the moralistic utopias. Socialism does not aim at creating a socialist psychology as a pre-requisite to socialism but at creating socialist conditions of life as a pre-requisite to socialist psychology. [Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects (1906), in The Permanent Revolution & Results and Prospects 3rd edition (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1969), 82, 97–99.]

In this passage, Trotsky expressed a view common to the Marxism of that era, which Adorno summed up in a 1936 letter to Walter Benjamin as follows:

[The] proletariat . . . is itself a product of bourgeois society. . . . [T]he actual consciousness of actual workers . . . [has] absolutely no advantage over the bourgeois except . . . interest in the revolution, but otherwise bear[s] all the marks of mutilation of the typical bourgeois character. . . . [W]e maintain our solidarity with the proletariat instead of making of our own necessity a virtue of the proletariat, as we are always tempted to do — the proletariat which itself experiences the same necessity and needs us for knowledge as much as we need the proletariat to make the revolution . . . a true accounting of the relationship of the intellectuals to the working class. [Letter of March 18, 1936, in Adorno, et al., Aesthetics and Politics (London: Verso, 1980), 123–125.]

Adorno’s philosophical idea of the “non-identity” of social being and consciousness, of practice and theory, of means and ends, is related to this, what he called the priority or “preponderance” of the “object.”  Society needs to be changed before consciousness.

Adorno’s thought was preceded by Georg Lukács’s treatment of the problem of “reification,” or “reified consciousness.”  Citing Lenin, Lukács wrote, on “The Standpoint of the Proletariat,” the third section of his 1923 essay “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” that,

Reification is . . . the necessary, immediate reality of every person living in capitalist society. It can be overcome only by constant and constantly renewed efforts to disrupt the reified structure of existence by concretely relating to the concretely manifested contradictions of the total development, by becoming conscious of the immanent meanings of these contradictions for the total development. But it must be emphasised that . . . the structure can be disrupted only if the immanent contradictions of the process are made conscious. Only when the consciousness of the proletariat is able to point out the road along which the dialectics of history is objectively impelled, but which it cannot travel unaided, will the consciousness of the proletariat awaken to a consciousness of the process, and only then will the proletariat become the identical subject-object of history whose praxis will change reality. If the proletariat fails to take this step the contradiction will remain unresolved and will be reproduced by the dialectical mechanics of history at a higher level, in an altered form and with increased intensity another bot video. It is in this that the objective necessity of history consists. The deed of the proletariat can never be more than to take the next step in the process. Whether it is “decisive” or “episodic” depends on the concrete circumstances [of this on-going struggle.]  [Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971), 197–198.]

Lukács thought that,

Lenin’s achievement is that he rediscovered this side of Marxism that points the way to an understanding of its practical core. His constantly reiterated warning to seize the “next link” in the chain with all one’s might, that link on which the fate of the totality depends in that one moment, his dismissal of all utopian demands, i.e. his “relativism” and his “Realpolitik:” all these things are nothing less than the practical realisation of the young Marx’s [1845] Theses on Feuerbach. (Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, 221n60)

In his third “Thesis” on Feuerbach, Marx wrote that,

The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. Hence, this doctrine necessarily arrives at dividing society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionizing practice. [Robert C, Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1978), 144.]

So, what, for Adorno, counted as “revolutionary practice,” and what is the role of “critical theory,” and, hence, the role of Marxist “intellectuals,” in relation to this?

The politics of critical theory

In his 1936 letter to Benjamin, Adorno pointed out that,

[I]f [one] legitimately interpret[s] technical progress and alienation in a dialectical fashion, without doing the same in equal measure for the world of objectified subjectivity . . . then the political effect of this is to credit the proletariat directly with an achievement which, according to Lenin, it can only accomplish through the theory introduced by intellectuals as dialectical subjects. . . . “Les extrèmes me touchent [“The extremes touch me” (André Gide)] . . . but only if the dialectic of the lowest has the same value as the dialectic of the highest. . . . Both bear the stigmata of capitalism, both contain elements of change. . . . Both are torn halves of an integral freedom, to which, however, they do not add up. It would be romantic to sacrifice one to the other . . . [as] with that romantic anarchism which places blind trust in the spontaneous powers of the proletariat within the historical process — a proletariat which is itself a product of bourgeois society d드라이브로 다운로드. [Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin, The Complete Correspondence 1928–40, ed. Henri Lonitz, trans. Nicholas Walker (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 129–130.]

This conception of the dialectic of the “extremes” was developed by Adorno in two writings of the 1940s, “Reflections on Class Theory,” and “Imaginative Excesses.”  In these writings, Adorno drew upon not only Marx and the best in the history of Marxist politics, but also the critical-theoretical digestion of this politics by Lukács.

In his 1920 essay on “Class Consciousness,” Lukács wrote that,

Only the consciousness of the proletariat can point to the way that leads out of the impasse of capitalism. As long as this consciousness is lacking, the crisis remains permanent, it goes back to its starting-point, repeats the cycle until after infinite sufferings and terrible detours the school of history completes the education of the proletariat and confers upon it the leadership of mankind. But the proletariat is not given any choice. As Marx says, it must become a class not only “as against capital” but also “for itself;” that is to say, the class struggle must be raised from the level of economic necessity to the level of conscious aim and effective class consciousness. The pacifists and humanitarians of the class struggle whose efforts tend whether they will or no to retard this lengthy, painful and crisis-ridden process would be horrified if they could but see what sufferings they inflict on the proletariat by extending this course of education. But the proletariat cannot abdicate its mission. The only question at issue is how much it has to suffer before it achieves ideological maturity, before it acquires a true understanding of its class situation and a true class consciousness.

Of course this uncertainty and lack of clarity are themselves the symptoms of the crisis in bourgeois society. As the product of capitalism the proletariat must necessarily be subject to the modes of existence of its creator. This mode of existence is inhumanity and reification. No doubt the very existence of the proletariat implies criticism and the negation of this form of life. But until the objective crisis of capitalism has matured and until the proletariat has achieved true class consciousness, and the ability to understand the crisis fully, it cannot go beyond the criticism of reification and so it is only negatively superior to its antagonist. . . . Indeed, if it can do no more than negate some aspects of capitalism, if it cannot at least aspire to a critique of the whole, then it will not even achieve a negative superiority. . . .

The reified consciousness must also remain hopelessly trapped in the two extremes of crude empiricism and abstract utopianism. In the one case, consciousness becomes either a completely passive observer moving in obedience to laws which it can never control. In the other it regards itself as a power which is able of its own — subjective — volition to master the essentially meaningless motion of objects. (Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, 76–77)

In “The Standpoint of the Proletariat,” Lukács elaborated further that,

[T]here arises what at first sight seems to be the paradoxical situation that this projected, mythological world [of capital] seems closer to consciousness than does the immediate reality 여자친구 음악. But the paradox dissolves as soon as we remind ourselves that we must abandon the standpoint of immediacy and solve the problem if immediate reality is to be mastered in truth. Whereas[,] mythology is simply the reproduction in imagination of the problem in its insolubility. Thus immediacy is merely reinstated on a higher level. . . .

Of course, [the alternative of] “indeterminism” does not lead to a way out of the difficulty for the individual. . . . [It is] nothing but the acquisition of that margin of “freedom” that the conflicting claims and irrationality of the reified laws can offer the individual in capitalist society. It ultimately turns into a mystique of intuition which leaves the fatalism of the external reified world even more intact than before[,] [despite having] rebelled in the name of “humanism” against the tyranny of the “law.” . . .

Even worse, having failed to perceive that man in his negative immediacy was a moment in a dialectical process, such a philosophy, when consciously directed toward the restructuring of society, is forced to distort the social reality in order to discover the positive side, man as he exists, in one of its manifestations. . . . In support of this we may cite as a typical illustration the well-known passage [from Marx’s great adversary, the German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle]: “There is no social way that leads out of this social situation. The vain efforts of things to behave like human beings can be seen in the English [labor] strikes whose melancholy outcome is familiar enough. The only way out for the workers is to be found in that sphere within which they can still be human beings . . . .”

[I]t is important to establish that the abstract and absolute separation[,] . . . the rigid division between man as thing, on the one hand, and man as man, on the other, is not without consequences. . . . [T]his means that every path leading to a change in this reality is systematically blocked.

This disintegration of a dialectical, practical unity into an inorganic aggregate of the empirical and the utopian, a clinging to the “facts” (in their untranscended immediacy) and a faith in illusions[,] as alien to the past as to the present[,] is characteristic. . . .

The danger to which the proletariat has been exposed since its appearance on the historical stage was that it might remain imprisoned in its immediacy together with the bourgeoisie. (Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, 194–196)

In “Reflections on Class Theory,” Adorno provided a striking re-interpretation of Marx and Engels’s Communist Manifesto as a theory of emancipation from history:

According to [Marxian] theory, history is the history of class struggles 7월 멜론 탑100. But the concept of class is bound up with the [historical] emergence of the proletariat. . . . By extending the concept of class to prehistory, theory denounces not just the bourgeois . . . [but] turns against prehistory itself. . . . By exposing the historical necessity that had brought capitalism into being, [the critique of] political economy became the critique of history as a whole. . . . All history is the history of class struggles because it was always the same thing, namely, prehistory. . . . This means, however, that the dehumanization is also its opposite. . . . Only when the victims completely assume the features of the ruling civilization will they be capable of wresting them from the dominant power. [Theodor W. Adorno, “Reflections on Class Theory” (1942), in Can One Live After Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003), 93–110.]

Adorno elaborated this further in the aphorism “Imaginative Excesses,” which was orphaned from the published version of Adorno’s book Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (1944–47). Adorno wrote that,

Those schooled in dialectical theory are reluctant to indulge in positive images of the proper society, of its members, even of those who would accomplish it. . . . The leap into the future, clean over the conditions of the present, lands in the past. In other words: ends and means cannot be formulated in isolation from each other. Dialectics will have no truck with the maxim that the former justify the latter, no matter how close it seems to come to the doctrine of the ruse of reason or, for that matter, the subordination of individual spontaneity to party discipline. The belief that the blind play of means could be summarily displaced by the sovereignty of rational ends was bourgeois utopianism. It is the antithesis of means and ends itself that should be criticized. Both are reified in bourgeois thinking. . . . [Their] petrified antithesis holds good for the world that produced it, but not for the effort to change it. Solidarity can call on us to subordinate not only individual interests but even our better insight. . . . Hence the precariousness of any statement about those on whom the transformation depends. . . . The dissident wholly governed by the end is today in any case so thoroughly despised by friend and foe as an “idealist” and daydreamer. . .  directx 8. Certainly, however, no more faith can be placed in those equated with the means; the subjectless beings whom historical wrong has robbed of the strength to right it, adapted to technology and unemployment, conforming and squalid, hard to distinguish from the wind-jackets of fascism: their actual state disclaims the idea that puts its trust in them. Both types are theatre masks of class society projected on to the night-sky of the future . . . on one hand the abstract rigorist, helplessly striving to realize chimeras, and on the other the subhuman creature who as dishonour’s progeny shall never be allowed to avert it.

What the rescuers would be like cannot be prophesied without obscuring their image with falsehood. . . . What can be perceived, however, is what they will not be like: neither personalities nor bundles of reflexes, but least of all a synthesis of the two, hardboiled realists with a sense of higher things. When the constitution of human beings has grown adapted to social antagonisms heightened to the extreme, the humane constitution sufficient to hold antagonism in check will be mediated by the extremes, not an average mingling of the two. The bearers of technical progress, now still mechanized mechanics, will, in evolving their special abilities, reach the point already indicated by technology where specialization grows superfluous. Once their consciousness has been converted into pure means without any qualification, it may cease to be a means and breach, with its attachment to particular objects, the last heteronomous barrier; its last entrapment in the existing state, the last fetishism of the status quo, including that of its own self, which is dissolved in its radical implementation as an instrument. Drawing breath at last, it may grow aware of the incongruence between its rational development and the irrationality of its ends, and act accordingly.

At the same time, however, the producers are more than ever thrown back on theory, to which the idea of a just condition evolves in their own medium, self-consistent thought, by virtue of insistent self-criticism. The class division of society is also maintained by those who oppose class society: 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. It cannot be arbitrarily set aside. But while those professionally concerned with things of the mind are themselves turned more and more into technicians, 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 than thirty years ago [at the time of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution]. . . . Today, when the concept of the proletariat, unshaken in its economic essence, is so occluded by technology that in the greatest industrial country [the United States of America] 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. It has aligned itself to the prevailing commonsense views. 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 Download the insert. Only if the extremes come together will humanity survive. [Theodor W. Adorno, “Messages in a Bottle,” New Left Review I/200 (July–August 1993), 12–14.]

The problem of means and ends

A principal trope Stalinophobic Cold War liberalism in the 20th century was the idea that Bolshevism thought that the “ends justify the means,” in some Machiavellian manner, that Leninists were willing to do anything to achieve socialism. This made a mockery not only of the realties of socialist politics up to that time, but also of the self-conscious relation within Marxism itself between theory and practice, what came to be known as “alienation.”  Instead, Marxism became an example for the liberal caveat, supposedly according to Kant, that something “may be true in theory but not in practice.”  Marxist politics had historically succumbed to the theory-practice problem, but that does not mean that Marxists had been unaware of this problem, nor that Marxist theory had not developed a self-understanding of what it means to inhabit and work through this problem.

As Adorno put it 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. [Adorno, Negative Dialectics (1966), trans. E. B. Ashton (Continuum: New York, 1983), 143–144.]

What this meant for Adorno is that past emancipatory politics could not be superseded or rendered irrelevant the degree to which they remained unfulfilled. A task could be forgotten but it would continue to task the present. This means an inevitable return to it. The most broad-gauged question raised by this approach is the degree to which we may still live under capital in the way Marx understood it. If Marx’s work is still able to provoke critical recognition of our present realities, then we are tasked to grasp the ways it continues to do so. This is not merely a matter of theoretical “analysis,” however, but also raises issues of practical politics. This means inquiring into the ways Marx understood the relation of theory and practice, most especially his own. Adorno thought that this was not a matter of simply emulating Marx’s political practice or theoretical perspectives, but rather trying to grasp the relation of theory and practice under changed conditions.

This articulated non-identity, antagonism and even contradiction of theory and practice, observable in the history of Marxism most of all, was not taken to be defeating for Adorno, but was in fact precisely where Marxism pointed acutely to the problem of freedom in capital, and how it might be possible to transform and transcend it. Adorno put it this way, in a late, posthumously published essay from 1969, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis,” inspired by his conflicts with both student activists and his old friend and colleague Herbert Marcuse, who he thought had regressed to a Romantic rejection of capital:

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. [Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” (1969), in Critical Models, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 266.]

As Adorno put it in a [May 5, 1969] letter to Marcuse,

[T]here are moments in which theory is pushed on further by practice Download the Naver Capture program. But such a situation neither exists objectively today, nor does the barren and brutal practicism that confronts us here have the slightest thing to do with theory anyhow. [Adorno and Marcuse, “Correspondence on the German Student Movement,” trans. Esther Leslie, New Left Review I/233, Jan.–Feb. 1999, 127.]

In his final published essay, “Resignation” (1969), which became a kind of testament, Adorno pointed out that,

Even political undertakings can sink into pseudo-activities, into theater. It is no coincidence that the ideals of immediate action, even the propaganda of the [deed], have been resurrected after the willing integration of formerly progressive organizations that now in all countries of the earth are developing the characteristic traits of what they once opposed. Yet this does not invalidate the [Marxist] critique of anarchism. Its return is that of a ghost. The impatience with [Marxian] theory that manifests itself with its return does not advance thought beyond itself. By forgetting thought, the impatience falls back below it. [Adorno, “Resignation,” (1969), in Critical Models, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 292.]

This is almost a direct paraphrase of Lenin, who wrote in his 1920 pamphlet “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder that,

[D]riven to frenzy by the horrors of capitalism . . . anarchism is characteristic of all capitalist countries. The instability of such revolutionism, its barrenness, and its tendency to turn rapidly into submission, apathy, phantasms, and even a frenzied infatuation with one bourgeois fad or another — all this is common knowledge. . . .

Anarchism was not infrequently a kind of penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class movement. The two monstrosities complemented each other. [Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Lenin Anthology (New York: Norton, 1975), 559–560.]

Adorno paralleled Lenin’s discussion of the “phantasms” of non-Marxian socialism, and defense of a Marxist approach, stating that, “Thought, enlightenment conscious of itself, threatens to disenchant the pseudo-reality within which actionism moves.”  Immediately prior to Adorno’s comment on anarchism, he discussed the antinomy of spontaneity and organization, as follows,

Pseudo-activity is generally the attempt to rescue enclaves of immediacy in the midst of a thoroughly mediated and rigidified society. Such attempts are rationalized by saying that the small change is one step in the long path toward the transformation of the whole. The disastrous model of pseudo-activity is the “do-it-yourself.” . . . The do-it-yourself approach in politics is not completely of the same caliber [as the quasi-rational purpose of inspiring in the unfree individuals, paralyzed in their spontaneity, the assurance that everything depends on them]. The society that impenetrably confronts people is nonetheless these very people. The trust in the limited action of small groups recalls the spontaneity that withers beneath the encrusted totality and without which this totality cannot become something different. The administered world has the tendency to strangle all spontaneity, or at least to channel it into pseudo-activities. At least this does not function as smoothly as the agents of the administered world would hope. However, spontaneity should not be absolutized, just as little as it should be split off from the objective situation or idolized the way the administered world itself is Brickbreaking Game. (Adorno, “Resignation,” Critical Models, 291–292)

Adorno’s poignant defense of Marxism was expressed most pithily in the final lines with which his “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis” concludes, that,

Marx by no means surrendered himself to praxis. 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 it being criticized. . . . This admixture of delusion, however, warns of the excesses in which it incessantly grows. (Adorno, “Marginalia to Theory and Praxis,” Critical Models, 278)

Marxism is both true and untrue; the question is how one recognizes its truth and untruth, and the necessity — the inevitability — of its being both.

Adorno acknowledged his indebtedness to the best of historical Marxism when he wrote that,

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. [Adorno, “Sexual Taboos and the Law Today” (1963), in Critical Models, trans. Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 71.]

§

Gillian Rose’s “Hegelian” critique of Marxism

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

Chris Cutrone

Gillian Rose

Gillian Rose (1947-1995)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The problem of Marxism as Hegelian “science”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

4. Rose, Review of Negative Dialectics, 599.

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

6. Rose, The Melancholy Science, 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoinder on Korsch

Chris Cutrone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book review: Karl Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy

korschmarxismphilosophy2008Translated by Fred Halliday. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970 and 2008.

Chris Cutrone

[Marx wrote,] “[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.”[1] This dictum is not affected by the fact that a problem which supersedes present relations may have been formulated in an anterior epoch.

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.

— Karl Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923)

The problem of “Marxism and Philosophy” — Korsch and Adorno on theory and practice

KARL KORSCH’S SEMINAL ESSAY “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923) was first published in English, translated by Fred Halliday, in 1970 by Monthly Review Press. In 2008, they reprinted the volume, which also contains some important shorter essays, as part of their new “Classics” series.

The original publication of Korsch’s essay coincided with Georg Lukács’s 1923 landmark collection of essays, History and Class Consciousness (HCC). While Lukács’s book has the word “history” in its title, it follows Marx’s Capital in addressing the problem of social being and consciousness in a primarily “philosophical” and categorial manner, as the subjectivity of the commodity form. Korsch’s essay on philosophy in Marxism, by contrast, is actually a historical treatment of the problem from Marx and Engels’s time through the 2nd International to the crisis of Marxism and the revolutions of 1917–19. More specifically, it takes up the development and vicissitudes of the relation between theory and practice in the history of Marxism, which is considered the “philosophical” problem of Marxism.

Independently of one another, both Korsch’s and Lukács’s 1923 works shared an interest in recovering the Hegelian or “idealist” dimension of Marx’s thought and politics. Both were motivated to establish the coherence of the Marxist revolutionaries Lenin and Luxemburg, and these 2nd International-era radicals’ shared grounding in what Korsch called “Marx’s Marxism.” Their accomplishment of this is all the more impressive when it is recognized that it was made without benefit of either of the two most important texts in which Marx explicitly addressed the relation of his own thought to Hegel’s, the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (first published in 1932) or the notes for Capital posthumously published as the Grundrisse (1939), and also without access to Lenin’s 1914 notebooks on Hegel’s Science of Logic (1929). Due to a perceived shortcoming in the expounding of revolutionary Marxism, the problem for Korsch and Lukács was interpreting Marxism as both theory and practice, or how the politics of Lenin and Luxemburg (rightly) considered itself “dialectical.” Both Lukács and Korsch explicitly sought to provide this missing exposition and elaboration.

Lukács and Korsch were later denounced as “professors” in the Communist International, a controversy that erupted after the deaths of Luxemburg and Lenin 총게임. (Another important text of this moment was Lukács’s 1924 monograph in eulogy, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought.) In the face of this party criticism, Lukács acquiesced and made his peace with Stalinized “orthodoxy.” Eventually disavowing History and Class Consciousness as a misguided attempt to “out-Hegel Hegel,” Lukács even attempted to destroy all the existing copies of the unpublished “Tailism and the Dialectic,” his brilliant 1925 defense of HCC. (Apparently he failed, since a copy was eventually found in Soviet archives. This remarkable document was translated and published in 2000 as A Defence of History and Class Consciousness.)

Korsch responded differently to the party’s criticism. Quitting the 3rd International Communist movement entirely, he became associated with the “Left” or “council” communism of Antonie Pannekoek, Paul Mattick, et al. Though making a choice very different from Lukács and distancing himself from official “Marxism-Leninism,” Korsch also came to disavow his earlier argument in “Marxism and Philosophy.” Specifically, he abandoned the attempt to establish the coherence of Lenin’s theory and practice with that of Marx, going so far as to critique Marx’s own Marxism. Thus, in “The Present State of the Problem of ‘Marxism and Philosophy:’ An Anti-Critique” (1930), included in Marxism and Philosophy, Korsch argues that, to the degree Marx shared a common basis with Lenin, this was an expression of limitations in Marx’s own critical theory and political practice. Indeed, for Korsch it was a problem of “Marxism” in general, including that of Kautsky and Luxemburg. Ultimately, Korsch called for “going beyond” Marxism.

The complementary, if divergent, trajectories of Korsch and Lukács are indicative of the historical disintegration of the perspective both shared in their writings of 1923. Both had understood the “subjective” aspect of Marxism to have been clarified by Lenin’s role in the October Revolution. The figure of Lenin was irreducible, and brought out dimensions of the Marxian project that otherwise lay unacknowledged. As Theodor W. Adorno put it in private discussion with Max Horkheimer in 1956,

I always wanted to produce a theory that would be faithful to Marx, Engels and Lenin. . . . Marx was too harmless; he probably imagined quite naïvely that human beings are basically the same in all essentials and will remain so. It would be a good idea, therefore, to deprive them of their second nature. He was not concerned with their subjectivity; he probably didn’t look into that too closely. The idea that human beings are the products of society down to their innermost core is an idea that he would have rejected as milieu theory. Lenin was the first person to assert this.[2]

In this discussion, Adorno also proposed to Horkheimer that they “should produce a reworked [version of Marx and Engels’s] Communist Manifesto that would be ‘strictly Leninist’.”[3]

No less than Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, Korsch’s “Marxism and Philosophy” inspired the work of the Marxist critical theorists associated with the Frankfurt School — Horkheimer, Marcuse, Benjamin, and Adorno. But the reputation of Korsch’s work has been eclipsed by that of Lukács. What the usual interpretive emphasis on Lukács occludes is that the Frankfurt School writers grappled not only with the problem of Stalinism but “anti-Stalinism” as well.[4] Both Korsch’s and Lukács’s post-1923 trajectories were critiqued by the Frankfurt School writers Download Fashion of Christ.[5] As Adorno put it in Negative Dialectics (1966),

First Karl Korsch, later the functionaries of Diamat [Dialectical Materialism] have objected, that the turn to nonidentity would be, due to its immanent-critical and theoretical character, an insignificant nuance of neo-Hegelianism or of the historically obsolete Hegelian Left; as if the Marxist critique of philosophy had dispensed with this, while simultaneously the East cannot do without a statutory Marxist philosophy. The demand for the unity of theory and praxis has irresistibly debased the former to a mere underling; removing from it what it was supposed to have achieved in that unity. The practical visa-stamp demanded from all theory became the censor’s stamp. In the famed unity of theory-praxis, the former was vanquished and the latter became non-conceptual, a piece of the politics which it was supposed to lead beyond; delivered over to power. The liquidation of theory by dogmatization and the ban on thinking contributed to bad praxis; that theory wins back its independence, is the interest of praxis itself. The relationship of both moments to each other is not settled for once and for all, but changes historically. Today, since the hegemonic bustle cripples and denigrates theory, theory testifies in all its powerlessness against the former by its mere existence.[6]

In this passage Adorno was addressing, not the Korsch of the 1923 “Marxism and Philosophy,” but rather the later Korsch of the 1930 “Anti-Critique,” distanced from the problem Adorno sought to address, of the constitutive non-identity of theory and practice. Adorno thought, like Korsch and Lukács in the early 1920s, that Lenin and Luxemburg’s theoretical self-understanding, together with their revolutionary political practice, comprised the most advanced attempt yet to work through precisely this non-identity.[7]

In Adorno’s terms, both the later Korsch and official “Diamat” (including Lukács) assumed “identity thinking,” an identity of effective theory and practice, rather than their articulated non-identity, to which Korsch had drawn attention earlier in “Marxism and Philosophy.” Such constitutive non-identity was, according to Korsch’s earlier essay, expressed symptomatically, in the subsistence of “philosophy” as a distinct activity in the historical epoch of Marxism. This was because it expressed a genuine historical need. The continued practice of philosophy was symptomatic expression of the need to transcend and supersede philosophy. Instead of this recognition of the actuality of the symptom of philosophical thinking, of the mutually constitutive separation of theory and practice, Korsch, by embracing council communism and shunning Marxian theory in the years after writing his famously condemned work, succumbed to what Adorno termed “identity thinking.” By assuming the identity of theory and practice, or of social being and consciousness in the workers’ movement, Korsch sought their “reconciliation,” instead of discerning and critically grasping their persistent antagonism, as would necessarily be articulated in any purported politics of emancipation.

Just as Adorno tried to hold fast to the Lukács of History and Class Consciousness in the face of Lukács’s own subsequent disavowals, the first sentence of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics reiterated Korsch’s statement in “Marxism and Philosophy” that “Philosophy cannot be abolished without being realized” (97):

Philosophy, which once seemed outmoded, remains alive because the moment of its realization was missed. The summary judgment that it had merely interpreted the world is itself crippled by resignation before reality, and becomes a defeatism of reason after the transformation of the world failed.[8]

Philosophy’s end was its self-abolition. What Korsch prefaced to his statement helps to illuminate what Adorno meant. Korsch specified precisely what “the realization of philosophy” involves:

Just as political action is not rendered unnecessary by the economic action of a revolutionary class, so intellectual action is not rendered unnecessary by either political or economic action 얼라이드. On the contrary it must be carried through to the end in theory and practice, as revolutionary scientific criticism and agitational work before the seizure of state power by the working class, and as scientific organisation and ideological dictatorship after the seizure of state power. If this is valid for intellectual action against the forms of consciousness which define bourgeois society in general, it is especially true of philosophical action. Bourgeois consciousness necessarily sees itself as apart from the world and independent of it, as pure critical philosophy and impartial science, just as the bourgeois State and bourgeois Law appear to be above society. This consciousness must be philosophically fought by the revolutionary materialistic dialectic, which is the philosophy of the working class. This struggle will only end when the whole of existing society and its economic basis have been totally overthrown in practice, and this consciousness has been totally surpassed and abolished in theory. (97)

This was the original Marxist “defense” of philosophy that Adorno reiterated in Negative Dialectics. Over four decades previously, in 1923, Korsch had explicitly tied it to Lenin’s treatment of the problem of the state in The State and Revolution (1917). Just as, with the overcoming of capitalism, the necessity of the state would “wither,” and not be done away with at one stroke, so too the necessity of “philosophical” thinking as it appeared in the epoch of capital would dissolve. This side of emancipation, “theoretical” self-reflection, thought’s reflecting on its own conditions of possibility, remains necessary, precisely because it expresses an unresolved social-historical problem.

In “Marxism and Philosophy,” Korsch analyzed Marxism as emergent from and historically continuous with the “revolt of the Third Estate,” of the “bourgeois” liberal-democratic revolutionary epoch that preceded it. Korsch was concerned with Marx’s continuity with Kant and Hegel. A problem that occurred to them, namely, of theory and practice, repeated itself, if in a more acute way, for Marx. It is a problem of the philosophy of revolution, or of the “theory of social revolution.” This problem presents itself only insofar as it is conceived of as part and parcel of the social-historical process of transformation and not as contemplation from without. As it was for Hegel, Marx’s fundamental “philosophical” issue is this: How is it possible, if however problematic, to be a self-conscious agent of change, if what is being transformed includes oneself, or, more precisely, an agency that transforms conditions both for one’s practical grounding and for one’s theoretical self-understanding in the process of acting?

Korsch addressed the question of revolution as a problem indicated by the liquidation and reconstitution of “philosophy” itself after the crisis and “decay of Hegelianism” (“Marxism and Philosophy,” 29). Why did philosophical development take a hiatus by 1848 and only appear to resume afterwards? What changed about “philosophy” in the interim? For Korsch recognized there was a curious blank spot or gap in the history of philosophy from the 1840s–60s, the period of Marxism’s emergence. Korsch divided the relation of Marx’s thought to philosophy roughly into three periods: pre-1848, circa 1848, and post-1848. These periods were distinguished by the different ways they related theory and practice: the first period was the critique of philosophy calling for its simultaneous realization and self-abolition; the second, the sublimation of philosophy in revolution; and the third, the recrudescence of the problem of relating theory and practice Download Mulan Movies.

Korsch’s third period in the history of Marxism extended into what he termed the “crisis of Marxism” beginning in the 1890s with the reformist “revisionist” dispute of Eduard Bernstein et al. against the “orthodox Marxism” of the 2nd International — when the “revolutionary Marxism” of Luxemburg and Lenin originated — and continuing into the acutely revolutionary period of 1917–19, from the Russian Revolution of 1917 through the German Revolution and civil war of 1918–19, to the Hungarian Soviet Republic (in which Lukács participated) and the workers’ council movement in Italy (in which Antonio Gramsci participated) in 1919.

It was in this revolutionary period of the early 20th century that “Marx’s Marxism” circa 1848 regained its saliency, but in ways that Korsch thought remained not entirely resolved as a matter of relating theory to practice. In “Marxism and Philosophy,” Korsch found that while Lenin and Luxemburg had tried to better relate Marxian theory and practice than 2nd International Marxism had done, they had recognized this as an on-going task and aspiration and not already achieved in some finished sense. In the words of the epigraph from Lenin that introduces Korsch’s 1923 essay, “We must organize a systematic study of the Hegelian dialectic from a materialist standpoint” (“On the Significance of Militant Materialism,” 1922). If Marxism continued to be subject to a “Hegelian dialectic,” thus requiring the “historical materialist” analysis and explanation that Korsch sought to provide of it, this was because it was not itself the reconciled unity of theory and practice but remained, as theory, the critical reflection on the problem of relating theory and practice — which in turn prompted further theoretical development as well as practical political advances. As Adorno put it to Walter Benjamin in a letter of August 2, 1935,

The fetish character of the commodity is not a fact of consciousness; rather it is dialectical, in the eminent sense that it produces consciousness. . . . [P]erfection of the commodity character in a Hegelian self-consciousness inaugurates the explosion of its phantasmagoria.[9]

Marxism was caught in the “phantasmagoria” of capital, while “exploding” it from within.

For the Korsch of “Marxism and Philosophy,” Lenin and Luxemburg’s “revolutionary Marxism” was bound up in the “crisis of Marxism,” while advancing it to a new stage. As Korsch commented,

This transformation and development of Marxist theory has been effected under the peculiar ideological guise of a return to the pure teaching of original or true Marxism. Yet it is easy to understand both the reasons for this guise and the real character of the process which is concealed by it. What theoreticians like Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and Lenin in Russia have done, and are doing, in the field of Marxist theory is to liberate it from the inhibiting traditions of [Social Democracy]. They thereby answer the practical needs of the new revolutionary stage of proletarian class struggle, for these traditions weighed “like a nightmare” on the brain of the working masses whose objectively revolutionary socioeconomic position no longer corresponded to these [earlier] evolutionary doctrines. The apparent revival of original Marxist theory in the Third International is simply a result of the fact that in a new revolutionary period not only the workers’ movement itself, but the theoretical conceptions of communists which express it, must assume an explicitly revolutionary form. This is why large sections of the Marxist system, which seemed virtually forgotten in the final decades of the nineteenth century, have now come to life again 애니메이션 주제가. It also explains why the leader of the Russian Revolution [Lenin] could write a book a few months before October [The State and Revolution, 1917] in which he stated that his aim was “in the first place to restore the correct Marxist theory of the State.” . . . When Lenin placed the same question theoretically on the agenda at a decisive moment, this was an early indication that the internal connection of theory and practice within revolutionary Marxism had been consciously re-established. (67–68)

Korsch thus established the importance for what Adorno called the “historically changing” relation of theory and practice, making sense of their vicissitudes in the history of the politics of revolutionary Marxism. Furthermore, by establishing the character of the crisis of Marxism as a matter of theoretical reflection, Korsch re-established the role of consciousness in a Marxian conception of social revolution, why the abandonment or distancing of the practical perspective of revolution necessitates a degradation of theory.

Korsch and the 1960s “New Left” — the problem of “Leninism”

The 1970 publication of Korsch was an event for the Anglophone New Left. As Adolph Reed wrote,

Leninism’s elitism and denigration of consciousness had increasingly troubled me, but I feared I had no recourse without sacrificing a radical commitment. Korsch opened an entirely new vista, the “hidden dimension” of Western Marxism, and led to Lukács, a serious reading of Marcuse, and eventually the critical theoretical tradition.[10]

Reed’s brief comment is cryptic and can be taken in (at least) two opposed ways, either that Korsch provided the redemption of Lenin or an alternative to Leninism.

Such 1960s-era “New Left” ambivalence about “Leninism” can be found in attenuated form in Fred Halliday’s Translator’s Introduction. In it, Halliday sticks closely to a biographical narrative of Korsch’s work, seeking to bring out the coherence of Korsch’s early and later periods, before and after “Marxism and Philosophy,” while acknowledging the “erratic” character of Korsch’s thought over the course of his life, and calling Korsch’s tragic trajectory away from Lenin and Luxemburg’s revolutionary Marxism a “fatal consequence” of the failure of the revolution (26). By casting the issue of Korsch’s work as “interesting” (if “erratic”), Halliday remained somewhat equivocal about the relevance of Korsch’s key text, “Marxism and Philosophy,” and thus about the continued pertinence of the revolutionary Marxism that Lenin shared with Luxemburg. What remained unresolved?

Halliday also suggests that Korsch’s pre-1917 interests in the “syndicalist movement,” the “positive content and actively democratic aspects of socialism, by contrast with the orthodox Marxism of the 2nd International which he thought defined itself merely negatively as the abolition of the capitalist mode of production” (7–8), came to be expressed some years after the October Revolution, which witnessed “the decline in activity and the need for more critical reflection.” At that time, Korsch returned to his earlier concerns, but with the tragic consequence of “lapsing into ultra-leftism and becoming cut off from the working class” (26).

Perhaps the motivation for Halliday’s 1970 translation and publication of Korsch’s “Marxism and Philosophy” was an affinity, after 1968, with Korsch’s moment of “critical reflection” circa 1923. It may have expressed Halliday’s hope that Korsch’s further trajectory and fate might be avoided by the 1960s “New Left.” In the wake of 1968, Halliday and others wanted to avoid the choice of either ultra-Leftism (“Luxemburgism”) and “becoming cut off from the working class,” or official “Leninism,” and the 1923 Korsch seemed to provide a way out, through specific reflection on the problem of revolutionary political means and ends, in terms of articulating theory and practice Free download of evangelicals.

Forgetting the theory-practice problem — Korsch on spontaneity vs. organization and 1848 vs. 1917

In his 1930 “Anti-Critique” of the 1923 “Marxism and Philosophy,” Korsch wrote,

When the SPD became a “Marxist” party (a process completed with the Erfurt Programme written by Kautsky and Bernstein in 1891) a gap developed between its highly articulated revolutionary “Marxist” theory and a practice that was far behind this revolutionary theory; in some respects it directly contradicted it. This gap was in fact obvious, and it later came to be felt more and more acutely by all the vital forces in the Party (whether on the Left or Right) and its existence was denied only by the orthodox Marxists of the Centre. This gap can easily be explained by the fact that in this historical phase “Marxism,” while formally accepted by the workers’ movement, was from the start not a true theory, in the sense of being “nothing other than a general expression of the real historical movement” (Marx). On the contrary it was always an ideology that had been adopted “from outside” in a pre-established form. In this situation such “orthodox Marxists” as Kautsky and Lenin made a permanent virtue out of a temporary necessity. They energetically defended the idea that socialism can only be brought to the workers “from outside,” by bourgeois intellectuals who are allied to the workers’ movement. This was also true of Left radicals like Rosa Luxemburg. (113–115)

According to Korsch, the Revolution of 1848 and the role of the workers’ movement in it had provided “a rational solution for all the mysteries” of the contradiction between theory and practice that later 2nd International Marxists tried to sidestep by simply adopting Marxism as an ideology. Korsch commented that,

[A]lthough [Second International Marxism’s] effective practice was now on a broader basis than before, it had in no way reached the heights of general and theoretical achievement earlier attained by the revolutionary movement and proletarian class struggle on a narrower basis. This height was attained during the final phase of the first major capitalist cycle that came to an end towards 1850. (116)

Since the mid-19th century, Marxism, according to the Korsch of the “Anti-Critique,” had grown ideological. Even Marx’s Capital expressed a certain degeneration:

[T]he theory of Marx and Engels was progressing towards an ever higher level of theoretical perfection although it was no longer directly related to the practice of the worker’s movement. (117)

In other words, the mature theory of Marx (and its development by Engels and their epigones) was itself “anachronistic” and thus unassimilable by the resurgent workers’ movement of the last third of the 19th century.

Korsch abandoned his 1923 conception of Lenin and Luxemburg’s rearticulation of 1848 in the theory and practice of 1917–19, the “transformation and development of Marxist theory . . . effected under the peculiar ideological guise of a return to the pure teaching of original or true Marxism.” Marx’s Marxism, especially in his mature writings, could only be the elaboration of 1848, in isolation from the workers’ subsequent actual political practice, to which it became ideologically blind and blinding. No adequate “theory,” that is, no “general expression of the real historical movement,” had emerged since. This non-identity and divergence of theory and practice that began in the period of Marx’s maturity and continued into the 20th century meant, for the Korsch of the 1930s, that Marxism, even in its most revolutionary forms, as with Lenin and Luxemburg, had developed, not to express, but rather to constrain the workers’ movement. Marxism had become an ideology whose value could only be relative, not qualitatively superior to others.[11] When he died in 1961, Korsch was working on a study of Marx’s rival in the 1st International Workingmen’s Association, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin Download LEGO MindStorm ev3.[12]§

Originally published in The Platypus Review #15 (September 2009). Abbreviated for presentation at the Historical Materialism conference, York University, Toronto, May 14, 2010.


1. Karl Marx’s Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859).

2. Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, “Diskussion über Theorie und Praxis” (1956), in Horkheimer, Gesammelte Schriften (GAS) Vol. 19 (Nachträge, Verzeichnisse und Register) (S. Fischer, 1996), 69–71; quoted in Detlev Claussen, Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 233.

3. Claussen, 233; Horkheimer, GAS 19, 66. Furthermore, while “Marx wrote his critique of the [SPD, German Social-Democratic Party’s] Gotha Programme in 1875[,] Adorno had for some time planned to write a critique of the Godesberg Programme [in which the SPD formally renounced Marxism in 1959]” (Rolf Wiggershaus, The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 598).

4. From Phil Slater, Origin and Significance of the Frankfurt School: A Marxist Perspective (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977):

[Horkheimer wrote, in “The Authoritarian State” (1940),]

“The concept of a transitional revolutionary dictatorship was in no way intended to mean the monopoly of the means of production by some new elite. Such dangers can be countered by the energy and alertness of the people themselves. . . . [The revolution that ends domination is as far-reaching as the will of the liberated. Any resignation is already a regression into prehistory. . . . The recurrence of political reaction and a new destruction of the beginnings of freedom cannot theoretically be ruled out, and certainly not as long as a hostile environment exists. No patented system worked out in advance can preclude regressions. The modalities of the new society are first found in the process of social transformation.] The theoretical conception which, following its first trail-blazers [such as Lenin and Luxemburg], will show the new society its way — the system of workers’ councils — grows out of praxis. The roots of the council system go back to 1871, 1905, and other events. Revolutionary transformation has a tradition that must continue.” (66)

The Frankfurt School’s respect for [Lenin] was due in large measure to his ability to retain the dynamic unity of party, theory and class, a unity subsequently lost. Marcuse’s Soviet Marxism [1958] is here representative of the entire Frankfurt School:

“During the Revolution, it became clear to what degree Lenin had succeeded in basing his strategy on the actual class interests and aspirations of the workers and peasants. . . . Then, from 1923 on, the decisions of the leadership increasingly dissociated from the class interests of the proletariat. The former no longer presuppose the proletariat as a revolutionary agent but rather are imposed upon the proletariat and the rest of the underlying population.” (66–67)

Looking round for a possible practical exponent of [the] views of the Frankfurt School, one immediately encounters the figure of Trotsky Download seoul subway line list. . . . [Trotsky maintained that the bureaucratism of the USSR] completely disregarded Lenin’s conception of the dialectical interaction of party and class. . . . [Trotsky wrote that] the Marxist theoretician must still retain the concrete historical perspective of class struggle:

“[The causes for the downfall of the Social Democracy and of official Communism must be sought not in Marxist theory and not in the bad qualities of those people who applied it, but in the concrete conditions of the historical process.] It is not a question of counterposing abstract principles, but rather of the struggle of living social forces, with its inevitable ups and downs, with the degeneration of organizations, with the passing of entire generations into discard, and with the necessity which therefore arises of mobilizing fresh forces on a new historical stage. No one has bothered to pave in advance the road of revolutionary upsurge for the proletariat. [With inevitable halts and partial retreats it is necessary to move forward on a road crisscrossed by countless obstacles and covered with the debris of the past.] Those who are frightened by this had better step aside” [Trotsky, “To Build Communist Parties and an International Anew,” July 1933].

The Frankfurt School, while upholding a number of principles (which became “abstract” in their passivity and isolation), did indeed, in this sense, step aside. (68–70)

One is not without some justification in asking whether Council Communism could perhaps be a concrete embodiment of many of the principles of the Frankfurt School. . . . [But] the Council Communists did not point out the soviets’ [workers’ councils’] own responsibility for the collapse of the revolutionary wave of 1918–19. (73)

5. The reverse was also true. Korsch, in distancing himself from his 1923 work that was so seminal for the Frankfurt School writers, also came to critique them:

[Korsch] intended to try and interest Horkheimer and the [Frankfurt] Institute [for Social Research] in Pannekoek’s book Lenin as Philosopher (1938) [which traced the bureaucratization of the USSR back to the supposedly crude materialism of Lenin’s 1909 book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism]. . . . [Either] Korsch [or, the Director of the Institute, Horkheimer himself] would write a review for [the Institute’s journal] the Zeitschrift. . . . Yet no such review appeared. . . . [Korsch suffered] total disillusionment with the Institute and their “impotent philosophy.” Korsch [was] particularly bitter about the “metaphysician Horkheimer” (Slater, 73–74).

The record for Korsch’s deteriorating relations with the Frankfurt Institute in exile is found in his private letters to Paul Mattick, editor of the journal Living Marxism: International Council Correspondence.

6. Translated by Dennis Redmond, 2001. The first sentence of this passage, mentioning Korsch, is inexplicably missing from the 1973 Continuum edition of Negative Dialectics translated by E. B. Ashton (see “Relation to Left-wing Hegelianism,” 143).

7. In a lecture of November 23, 1965, on “Theory and Practice,” Adorno said,

I should like to say that there is no intention here of advocating a relapse into contemplation, as was found in the great idealist philosophies and ultimately even in Hegel, despite the great importance of practice in the Hegelian system. . . . The late Karl Korsch . . . criticized Horkheimer and myself even more sharply, already in America and also later on, after the publication of Dialectic of Enlightenment Solaris 11. His objection was that we had regressed to the standpoint of Left Hegelianism. This does not seem right to me because the standpoint of pure contemplation can no longer be sustained. Though we should note, incidentally, that the polarity Marx constructs between pure contemplation on the one hand and his own political philosophy on the other does only partial justice to the intentions of Left Hegelianism. This is a difficult question . . . although we cannot deny the impressive political instincts which alerted Marx to the presence of the retrograde and, above all, nationalist potential in such thinkers as Bruno Bauer, Stirner and Ruge. (Adorno, Lectures on Negative Dialectics [Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press, 2008], 52–53.)

8. Translated by Redmond.

9. Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings Vol. 3 (1935–38) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 54–56; Adorno et al., Aesthetics and Politics (London: Verso, 1980), 111–113.

10. Reed, “Paths to Critical Theory,” in Sohnya Sayres, Social Text Staff, eds., The 60s Without Apology (University of Minnesota Press, 1985), 257–258; originally published in Social Text 9/10 (Spring–Summer 1984).

11. Such eclecticism on the Left has only deepened and become more compounded since Korsch’s time, especially since the 1960s. However Marx may come up for periodic reconsideration, certain questions central to the Marxian problematic remain obscured. As Fredric Jameson has written,

A Marx revival seems to be under way, predating the current [2007–09] disarray on Wall Street, even though no clear-cut political options yet seem to propose themselves. . . . The big ideological issues — anarchism, the party, economic planning, social classes — are still mainly avoided, on the grounds that they remind too many people of Communist propaganda. Such a reminder is unwanted, not so much because it is accompanied by the memory of deaths and violence . . . as simply and less dramatically because such topics now appear boring. (“Sandblasting Marx,” New Left Review 55 [January–February 2009].)

For further discussion of the fluctuating currency and fortunes of Marxian approaches as a feature of modern history, see my “Symptomology: Historical transformations in social-political context,” The Platypus Review 12 (May 2009).

12. A. R. Giles-Peter, “Karl Korsch: A Marxist Friend of Anarchism,” Red & Black (Australia) 5 (April 1973). (Available on-line at: http://www.geocities.com/capitolHill/Lobby/2379/korsh.htm.) According to Giles-Peter, Korsch came to believe that the “basis of the revolutionary attitude in the modern bourgeois epoch would be an ethic Marx would have rejected as ‘anarchist’,” and thus “explicitly rejected the elements of Marxism which separate it from anarchism.”

As Korsch himself put it, in “Ten Theses on Marxism Today” (1950), translated by Giles-Peter in Telos 26 (Winter 1975–76) and available on-line at: http://libcom.org/library/ten-theses-korsch,

Marx is today only one among the numerous precursors, founders and developers of the socialist movement of the working class 의학 서적 pdf. No less important are the so-called Utopian Socialists from Thomas More to the present. No less important are the great rivals of Marx, such as Blanqui, and his sworn enemies, such as Proudhon and Bakunin. No less important, in the final result, are the more recent developments such as German revisionism, French syndicalism, and Russian Bolshevism.

Whereas Korsch in 1923 had grasped the essential and vital if transformed continuity between Marx and his precursors in the “revolutionary movement of the Third Estate” of the bourgeois liberal-democratic revolutions, by 1950 he wrote,

The following points are particularly critical for Marxism: (a) its dependence on the underdeveloped economic and political conditions in Germany and all the other countries of central and eastern Europe where it was to have political relevance; (b) its unconditional adherence to the political forms of the bourgeois revolution; (c) the unconditional acceptance of the advanced economic conditions of England as a model for the future development of all countries and as objective preconditions for the transition to socialism; to which one should add; (d) the consequences of its repeated desperate and contradictory attempts to break out of these conditions.