The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century

Toward a Theory of Historical Regression

Presented at the Left Forum in New York City, Pace University, April 18, 2009, and revised and expanded for presentation at the 1st annual Platypus international convention, Chicago, June 12, 2009. The panel, “The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century: Toward a Theory of Historical Regression,” was organized around four significant moments in the progressive diremption of theory and practice over the course of the 20th century: 2001 (Spencer A. Leonard), 1968 (Atiya Khan), 1933 (Richard Rubin), and 1917 (Chris Cutrone), introduced by Benjamin Blumberg. (Video recording.)


Chris Cutrone

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.
— Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)

Hegel links the freedom of each to the freedom of all as something of equal value. But in doing so he regards the freedom of the individual only in terms of the freedom of the whole, through which it is realized. Marx, by contrast, makes the free development of each the precondition for the correlative freedom of all Download one-shot steamboard.
— Karl Korsch, Introduction to Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme (1922)

THE YEAR 1917 is the most enigmatic and hence controversial date in the history of the Left. It is therefore necessarily the focal point for the Platypus philosophy of history of the Left, which seeks to grasp problems in the present as those that had already manifested in the past, but have not yet been overcome. Until we make historical sense of the problems associated with the events and self-conscious actors of 1917, we will be haunted by their legacy. Therefore, whether we are aware of this or not, we are tasked with grappling with 1917, a year marked by the most profound attempt to change the world that has ever taken place.

The two most important names associated with the revolution that broke out in 1917 in Russia and in 1918 in Germany are the Second International Marxist radicals Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, each of whom played fateful roles in this revolutionary moment. Two Marxian critical theorists who sought to follow Luxemburg and Lenin to advance the historical consciousness and philosophical awareness of the problems of revolutionary politics, in the wake of 1917, are Georg Lukács and Karl Korsch Download the shovel article.

While neither Lenin nor Luxemburg survived the revolutionary period that began in 1917, both Lukács and Korsch ended up disavowing and distancing themselves from their works, both published in 1923, that sought to elaborate a Marxian critical theory of the revolutionary proletarian socialist politics of Lenin and Luxemburg. Lukács adapted his perspective to the prevailing conditions of Stalinism in the international Communist movement and Korsch became a critic of “Marxist-Leninist” Bolshevism, and an important theorist of “Left” or “council communist” politics. Meanwhile, Luxemburg was pitted against Lenin in a similar degeneration and disintegration of the revolutionary consciousness that had informed the revolution of 1917.

The forms that this disintegration took involved the arraying of the principles of liberalism against those of socialism, or libertarianism against authoritarianism. Lenin and Lukács became emblems of authoritarian socialism, while Luxemburg and Korsch became associated with more libertarian, if not liberal, concerns Download high-capacity images.

But what remains buried under such a misapprehension of the disputed legacy of 1917 is the substance of agreement and collaboration, in the revolutionary Marxist politics of that moment, among all these figures. Behind the fact of Luxemburg’s close collaboration and practical political unity with Lenin lies the intrinsic relationship of liberalism with socialism, and emancipation with necessity. Rather than associating Lenin with revolutionary necessity and Luxemburg with desirable emancipation in such a one-sided manner, we need to grasp how necessity, possibility, and desirability were related, for both Luxemburg and Lenin, in ways that not only allowed for, but actually motivated their shared thought and action in the revolution that opened in 1917.

Both Lenin and Luxemburg sought to articulate and fulfill the concerns of liberalism with socialism—for instance in Lenin’s (qualified) endorsement of self-determination against national oppression.

Lukács and Korsch were among the first, and remain the best, to have rigorously explored the theoretical implications of the shared politics of Luxemburg and Lenin, in their works History and Class Consciousness and “Marxism and Philosophy,” respectively 조선의 반격. Both Lukács and Korsch approached what they considered the practical and theoretical breakthrough of the Third International Marxist communism of Luxemburg and Lenin by returning to the “Hegelian” roots of Marxism, a reconsideration of its “idealist” dimension, as opposed to a “materialist” objectivistic metaphysics that lied behind “economism,” for example.

This involved, for Lukács and Korsch, an exploration of Lenin and Luxemburg’s break from the objectivistic “vulgar Marxism” of the politics and theory of the Second International, exemplified by Karl Kautsky. Lukács’s term for such objectivism was “reification”; Korsch addressed it by way of Marx’s approach to the philosophical problem of “theory and practice,” which, he argued, had become “separated out” in the Second International period, their “umbilical cord broken,” while Lenin and Luxemburg had tried to bring them back into productive tension and advance their relation through their revolutionary Marxism.

Ironically, while the title of Lukács’s work is History and Class Consciousness, it was concerned with a more “philosophical” exposition and categorial investigation of the problem of “reification” and the commodity form as socially mediating, following Marx in Capital. Meanwhile, Korsch’s “Marxism and Philosophy” actually addressed the historical vicissitudes of the theory-practice problem in Marx and Engels’s lifetime and in the subsequent history of the Marxism of the Second International Download Kim Kwang-seok mp3. In both cases, there was an attempt to grasp the issue of subjectivity, or the “subjective” dimension of Marxism.

But it was this focus on subjectivity from which both Lukács and Korsch broke in their subsequent development: Lukács disavowed what he pejoratively called the attempt to “out-Hegel Hegel,” making his peace with Stalinist “dialectical materialism,” while (later) attempting to found a “Marxist ontology.” Korsch, on the other hand, distanced himself from what he came to call, pejoratively, the “metaphysical” presuppositions of Marxism — even and, perhaps, especially as practiced by Lenin, though also, if to a lesser extent, by Luxemburg and even by Marx himself — pushing him ultimately to call for “going beyond Marxism.”

In this complementary if divergent trajectory, Lukács and Korsch reflected, in their own ways, the return of the “vulgar Marxism” that they had sought to supersede in their theoretical digestion of 1917 — a return marked by the Stalinization of the international Communist movement beginning in the 1920s. For example, Theodor W. Adorno was excited to meet Lukács in Vienna in 1925, only to be repulsed at Lukács’s disavowal of the work that had so strongly inspired Adorno and his colleagues in the Frankfurt School, such as Walter Benjamin and Max Horkheimer. Korsch, who had also, like Lukács, been associated with the Frankfurt School from its inception, had come by the end of the 1930s to scorn the Frankfurt critical theorists as “Marxist metaphysicians,” while in the 1960s Lukács wrote contemptuously of them as having taken up residence at the “Grand Hotel Abyss,” explicitly deriding them for following his early work. In such disavowals can be found evidence for the repression of the problems Lukács and Korsch had sought to address in elaborating Marxian theory from Lenin and Luxemburg’s revolutionary thought and action in 1917–19.

Likewise, in subsequent history, the relation between “means” and “ends” for the Marxist radicals Lenin and Luxemburg in the moment of 1917 became obscured, Lenin being caricatured as believing, in some Machiavellian fashion, that the “ends justified the means,” or exemplifying “revolutionary will.” Luxemburg was equally caricatured as an upholder of principled emancipatory means in extolling the virtues of practical defeat, seemingly happy to remain a Cassandra of the revolution 위성지도. Biographically, this is crudely reconciled in the image of Luxemburg’s quixotic martyrdom during the Spartacist uprising of 1919, and Lenin’s illness and subsequent removal from political power at the end of his life, condemned to watch, helpless, the dawn of the Stalinist authoritarianism to which his political ruthlessness and pursuit of revolutionary ends had supposedly led.

In either case, rather than serving as an impetus for a determined investigation of these revolutionary Marxists’ thought and action at the level of the basis for their self-understanding and political judgment — models from which we might be able to learn, elaborate, and build upon further — they have been regarded only as emblems of competing principles, in the abstract (e.g., on the question of the Constituent Assembly, over which they had differed only tactically, not principally). So Lenin’s writings and actions are scoured for any hint of authoritarian inhumanity, and Luxemburg’s for anything that can be framed for its supposedly more humane compassion. At the same time, the futility of both their politics has been naturalized: It is tacitly understood that neither what Lenin nor Luxemburg aspired to achieve was actually possible to accomplish — either in their time or in ours.

In the words of Adorno’s writing on the legacy of Lenin, Luxemburg, Korsch, and Lukács, in his last completed book, Negative Dialectics, this way of approaching 1917 and its significance evinced “dogmatization and thought-taboos.”[1] The thought and action of Lenin and Luxemburg are now approached dogmatically, and they and their critical-theoretical inheritors, Lukács, Korsch, Benjamin, and Adorno, are approached only with a powerful thought-taboo firmly in place: that the revolutionary moment of 1917 was doomed to failure, and that its fate was tragically played out in the character of the revolutionary Marxism of its time Chaser. Their Marxism is thus buried in an attempt to ward off the haunting accusation that it did not fail us, but rather that we have failed it — failed to learn what we might from it. But, like Lukács and Korsch in their subsequent development, after they convinced themselves of the “errors of their ways,” we have not recognized and understood, but only rationalized, the problematic legacy of 1917.

1917 remains a question — and it is the very same question that Lenin and Luxemburg went about trying address in theory and practice — whether we ask it explicitly of ourselves now or not. It is the great tabooed subject, even if that taboo has been enforced, either by a mountain of calumny heaped upon it, or the “praise” it earns in Stalinist — or “Trotskyist” — “adherence.”

For example, it remains unclear whether the “soviets” or “workers’ councils” that sprung up in the revolutions of 1917–19 could have ever been proven in practice to be an adequate social-political means (for beginning) to overcome capitalism. The Lukács of the revolutionary period recognized, in “The Standpoint of the Proletariat,” the third part of his essay on “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” the danger that

[As Hegel said,] directly before the emergence of something qualitatively new, the old state of affairs gathers itself up into its original, purely general, essence, into its simple totality, transcending and absorbing back into itself all those marked differences and peculiarities which it evinced when it was still viable 평창군 ci. . . . [I]n the age of the dissolution of capitalism, the fetishistic categories collapse and it becomes necessary to have recourse to the “natural form” underlying them.[2]

Lukács recognized that the “producers’ democracy” of the “workers’ councils” in the revolutionary “dictatorship of the proletariat” was intrinsically related to, and indeed the political expression of, an intensification of the “reification” of the commodity form. Nevertheless, it seems that the attempt, by Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks, to bring “all power to the soviets” in the October Revolution of 1917, and by Luxemburg’s Spartacists in the German Revolution that followed, is something we can learn from, despite its failure. For this revolutionary moment raises all the questions, and at the most profound levels, of the problematic relationship between capitalism and democracy that still haunt us today.

Similarly, Korsch recognized that the revolutions of 1917–19 were the outcome of a “crisis of Marxism” that had previously manifested in the Second International, in the reformist “revisionist” dispute, in which the younger generation of radicals, Luxemburg, Lenin, and Trotsky, first cut their teeth at the turn of the century Download Romantic Doctor. But, according to Korsch in 1923, this “crisis of Marxism” remained unresolved. The unfolding of 1917 can thus be said to be the highest expression of the “crisis of Marxism” that Luxemburg, Lenin, and Trotsky — and Korsch and Lukács after them — recognized as manifesting the highest expression of the crisis of capitalism, in the period of war, revolution, counterrevolution, civil war, and reaction that set the stage for subsequent 20th century history. Arguably, the world never really overcame or even recovered from this crisis of the early 20th century, but has only continued to struggle with its still unresolved aftermath.

In this sense 1917 was not, in the self-understanding of its thinkers and actors, an attempt to leap from the realm of necessity, but rather the attempt to advance a necessity — the necessity of social revolution and transformation — to a higher stage, and thus open a new realm of possibility. The enigmatic silence surrounding the question of 1917 is masked by a deafening din of opprobrium meant to prevent our hearing it. It remains, as Benjamin put it, an “alarm clock that in each minute rings for sixty seconds,” whether we (choose to) hear it or not.[3] But the degree to which those who have come later have done so, the repression of 1917 has been achieved only at the cost of a regression that, as Benjamin put it, ceaselessly consumes the past and our ability to learn from it, ceding the meaning of history and its sacrifices to our enemies, and rendering those sacrifices in past struggles vain pc 밴드 다운로드.

Recognizing the nature of the difficulty of 1917, that the problems we find in this moment comprise the essence of its potential pertinence for us, may be the first step in our recognizing the character of the regression the Left has undergone since then. Like a troubling memory in an individual’s life that impinges upon consciousness, the memory of 1917 that troubles our conceptions of social-political possibilities in the present might help us reveal the problems we seek to overcome, the same problems against which Lenin and Luxemburg struggled. Even if a failure, theirs was a brilliant failure from which we cannot afford to be disinherited. | §

Originally published in The Platypus Review #17 (November 2009).

[1] Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, translated by E. B. Ashton (New York: Continuum, 2007), 143.

[2] Georg Lukács, “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” in History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, translated by Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971), 208.

[3] Walter Benjamin, “Surrealism,” in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, vol. 2, 1927–1930, edited by Michael W. Jennings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 218.

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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Remember the future!

A rejoinder to Peter Hudis on “Capital in History”

Chris Cutrone

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

Dunayevskaya and post-Trotskyism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the future!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Lissitzky, Lenin Tribune (1920)

El Lissitzky, Lenin Tribune (1920)

Finance capital

Why financial capitalism is no more “fictitious” than any other kind

Chris Cutrone

The following was distributed as a flyer [PDF] at the occupation protests that began in September 2011.

WITH THE PRESENT FINANCIAL MELT-DOWN in the U.S. throwing the global economy into question, many on the “Left” are wondering again about the nature of capitalism 요괴워치 어플. While many will be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the “bailout” being floated by the Bush administration and the Congressional Democrats (including Obama), others will protest the “bailing out” of Wall Street.

The rhetoric of “Wall Street vs. Main Street,” between “hardworking America” and the “financial fat cats,” however, belies a more fundamental truth: the two are indissolubly linked and are in fact two sides of the same coin of capitalism 맥용 아래아한글 다운로드.

It would be no less reactionary — that is, conservative of capitalism — to try to oppose “productive” industrial manufacturing or service sector capitalism to “parasitic” financial capitalism.

As Georg Lukács pointed out in his seminal essay “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat” (1923), following Marx’s critique of “alienation” (in Das Kapital, 1867) (and echoing the at-the-time yet-to-be discovered writings by Marx such as the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts and the Grundrisse, 1858), modern society structured by the dynamic domination of capital gives rise to “necessary forms of appearance” that are symptomatic of capital coding story.

These reified “forms of appearance” include not only forms of “exchange” such as monetary and financial systems, but also, more fundamentally, forms of wage labor and concrete forms of production, which are just as much a part of capital’s reproduction as a social system as are any conventions of exchange.

This means that one cannot oppose one side of capital to another, one cannot side with “productive labor” against “parasitic capital” without being one-sided and falling into a trap of advocating and participating in the reproduction of capital at a deeper level Download ms office 2019. Lukács recognized, following Marx, that capital as not merely a form of “economics” but a social system of (re)production.

But most varieties of “Marxism” have missed this very crucial point, and so take Marx to mean rather the opposite, that industrial production embodies what is true and good about capital, while exchange and money represents what is false and bad about it. Such pseudo-”Marxism” has falsely (and conservatively) vilified the supposedly “fictitious” nature of “finance capital.”

Following Marx, Lukács, through his concept of “reification,” sought to deepen the critical recognition of the social-historical problem of capital, to recognize that modern society as structured and dominated by capital exhibits specific symptoms of this domination adblock plus. Such symptoms are the attempts by human beings individually and collectively to master, control and adjudicate the effects of the social dynamism that capital sets in motion.

However, in Marx’s phrase (from the 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party), the dynamic of capital ensures that “all that is solid melts into air.” The modern society of capital is one in which all concrete ways of life, social organization and production, are subject to revolutionization through a cycle of “creative destruction.” But Marx did not simply bemoan this dynamism of capital that ends up making transient all human endeavors, mocking their futility Download Windows MovieMaker 2.1.

Rather, Marx recognized this dynamism as an “alienated” form of social freedom. The creative destruction engendered by capital is the way capital reproduces its social logic, but it also gives rise to transformations of concrete ways of social life the world has never before seen, engendering new possibilities for humanity — the past 200 years of capitalism have seen more, and more profound changes, globally, than previous millennia saw. Unfortunately, the reproduction of capital also means undermining such new human potentialities (for instance, new forms of gender and sexual relations) as soon as they are brought onto the ever-shifting horizon of possibility naturally 7.

With the current financial collapse, the temptation will be to retreat to what many on the pseudo-”Left” have long advocated, a “new New Deal” of Keynesian Fordist and welfare-state social-security reforms. The temptation on the “Left” (as well as the Right) will be to see what some have called “saving capitalism from itself” as “progress.” But such attempts to master the dynamics of capital will not only fail to achieve their aims, but will also entail unexpected further consequences and problems no less potentially destructive for humanity than so-called “free-market” practices of capitalism 캡틴 마블.

If the neo-Keynesians as well as others, such as the more radical “socialists” on the “Left” are mistaken in their hopes for reformist solutions to the problems of capital, it is not least because they don’t recognize capitalism as a (alienated) form of (increasing the scope of) freedom. Rather, their nemeses among the “neo-liberals” such as Milton Friedman (in the 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom) and Friedrich Hayek (in his 1943 book The Road to Serfdom) have given expression to this liberal dimension of capital, which they opposed to what they took to be the worse authoritarianism of (nationalist) socialism 크롬 한글 깨짐.

Opposed to this have been thinkers such as Karl Polanyi (The Great Transformation, 1944) and John Kenneth Galbraith (The Affluent Society, 1958, which warned of the effects of private-sector capital outstripping the public sector). Polanyi, for instance, complained that capitalism commodified three things that supposedly cannot be commodities, labor, land and money itself. In such a one-sided opposition to capital, Polanyi neglected to realize that what makes modern society what it is, what distinguishes modern capitalism from earlier pre-modern forms of capital, is that it precisely entails subjecting these supposedly not “commodifiable” things to the commodity form 헝그리 샤크 월드. Modern capital is precisely about the radical revolutionizing of how we relate to forms of social intercourse, labor, and nature.

So no one should be fooled into thinking that supposedly better forms of politically managing (e.g., under the Democrats) the social investment in, and thus preserving the “value” and promoting the improvement of material production, infrastructure, or forms of knowledge represents any kind of sure “progress.” — No one should mistake for even a moment that such efforts will not be a windfall and lining the pockets of the capitalists (on “Main Street”) through upward income-redistribution schemes any less than “bailing out” Wall Street will be.

The presently bemoaned deregulation of financial institutions that occurred under Bill Clinton in the 1990s was not meant (merely) to enrich the rich further, but to open the way for new forms of economic and social relations, both locally and globally. Such “neo-liberal” reforms were meant to overcome, in Milton Friedman’s phrase, the “tyranny of the status quo” — a sentiment any emancipatory Left ought not to regard with excessive cynicism. For the neo-liberals found a hearing not only among the wealthy, but also among many left out of the prior Keynesian/Fordist arrangements — see, for instance, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’s social activist work in “microfinance” in Bangladesh.

A Marxian approach to the problem of capital, as Lukács warned with his concept of “reification,” recognizes that “labor” and its forms of “production” are no less “reified” and “ideological” in their practices under capital, no less “unreal” and subject to de-realization, with destructive social consequences, than are the forms of “exchange,” monetization and finance.

An authentically Marxian Left should take no side in the present debates over the merits and pitfalls of the “bailout” of the financial system. One can and should critique this, of course, but nonetheless remain aware that this is no simple matter of opposing it. This side of revolutionary emancipation beyond capital, a Marxian politics would demand to better finance capital no less than to support labor. Finance capital is no less legitimate if also no less symptomatic of capital than any other phenomenon of modern life. So it deserves not to be vilified or denounced but understood as a way humanity has tried authentically to cope with the creative destruction of capital in modern social life. | §

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

Capital in history

The need for a Marxian philosophy of history of the Left

Chris Cutrone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Against Debord’s nihilism

Rejoinder to Principia Dialectica (U.K.)

Chris Cutrone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

“Let the dead bury the dead!”

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

Chris Cutrone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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