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. ( . . . )

Articles by month

Article dates

July 2022
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Dogmatization and thought-taboos on the “Left” (audio recording)

Chris Cutrone

L-R: Jason Myles, Chris Cutrone, Spencer Leonard, Kuba Wrzesniewski
L-R: Jason Myles, Chris Cutrone, Spencer Leonard, Kuba Wrzesniewski, Norman Finkelstein

Presented on the panel “Self-censorship on the Left” with Norman Finkelstein, Spencer Leonard and Kuba Wrzesniewski moderated by Jason Myles at the Sublation Media launch party at Project Parlor in Brooklyn, NY, June 26, 2022.

The title for my opening remarks is “Dogmatization and thought-taboos on the ‘Left’,” which is a phrase taken from Theodor Adorno’s 1966 book Negative Dialectics on what Marxism succumbed to in the 20th century. I want to begin with a quotation from Georg Lukacs’s essay on “Class consciousness” from his 1923 book History and Class Consciousness. Lukacs 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 이클립스 프로젝트. 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.

We have a lot more suffering yet to endure, it seems. The true understanding of the working class’s situation and of its true class consciousness has yet to be achieved. Marxists do not have it ready-made for them. But they act like they do. This is how and why Marxism has become a parody of itself, a farce of proletarian class consciousness. Marxism has come to serve entirely other ends than those of proletarian socialism: it has become a middle class — bourgeois — ideology of discontents within capitalism, actually of aspirations for more “progressive” capitalism, and not for overcoming it. The bitter lesson of history — attended to by the avowed Right — is that attempts to improve capitalism have made it “progressively” worse. At least worse in the sense of accumulated problems more difficult to overcome. And certainly worse in terms of a more confounding task politically difficult to engage and achieve. In comparison to past times, the working class seems hopelessly lost in the labyrinth of capitalism, confronted immediately by a host of every conceivable problem more directly than by capitalism itself. It is wishful thinking or ugly naiveté to think that as Marxists we can point to all these problems and simply call them “capitalism.” In this sense, the problem of capitalism has yet to actually present itself 널 사랑하겠어 다운로드. It must be made to. And that will not happen before the working class is organized as a social and political force to confront it. The issue is what stands in the way of that. The Left today is itself an obstacle to working class struggle. If not the most major obstacle, still a very significant one.

The topic of this panel is “censorship on the Left,” but I am going to address that indirectly, but articulating myself the Marxism that is censored on the Left, and not just recently but for a long time already. What is censored is what is tabooed, and what is tabooed is proletarian socialism as Marxism understood it. When Marxism is expressed today it is in self-censored form, as dogmatic. The certitudes of Marxism cover up a crucial uncertainty, namely the content of the task of proletarian socialism.

One thing that frustrates students of Marxism is its lack of a blueprint for the liberated society beyond capitalism — what socialism or communism is meant to look like. But while Marxism accepted and promulgated the Hegelian notion of “determinate negation,” this did not mean a determination of the socialist society. Rather, capitalism was the determinate negation of bourgeois society in the contradiction of industrial production. The proletarianized working class was the determinate negation of bourgeois social relations as objectified in capitalism, the contradiction of living and dead labor. Etc. What Marxism was certain of was not the content of emancipation — freedom — that will have overcome capitalism, but rather the negative necessity with which the working class must overcome capitalism 용의자. Capitalism is the negation of bourgeois society that must itself be negated, and by a negatively determined subject, the proletariat. Marxism was not positive about anything but this. The proletariat was not to posit its own being in the place of bourgeois society, but to abolish itself in overcoming capitalism.

The present condition of the ostensible “Left” is due to its thought-taboos about socialism. Everything flows from fear of and hostility to the working class. There is no trust in empowering the working class, which is seen as racist, sexist, homophobic etc. or otherwise ignorant and backward. Socialist revolution is regarded as impossible, unnecessary and undesirable by the “Left.” The Marxist concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, apart from any technical details, is something to which the present Left is fundamentally averse. One key reason for this is avoidance of objective criteria for societal transformation beyond capitalism in favor of more subjective concerns, indeed matters of cultural taste. The old Marxist adage that the goal and task is to change conditions not attitudes has been forgotten.

Leftist intellectuals today are unable to subordinate their activity to the requirements of building working class social and political power, but assume rather that the working class ought to submit to the ideology of the Left, a complete reversal of the historical Marxist approach. The Left regards the working class as its instrument for implementing its ideology rather than aspiring to become the working class’s political instrument in changing society Download the subtitles for free. It seeks support from the working class for its power, rather than offering its support for working class power.

Looking out onto our audience, I would love to be able to say that you are proletarian socialist revolutionaries, but, no, you are petit bourgeois intellectuals, with all the problems this entails. How do I know this? By everything that you say and do, what you think and how you feel. (I don’t mean this pejoratively or to call out or disqualify you, but just to attend to the actual roles you play and functions you perform, which cannot be changed but only potentially turned to a different purpose, to serve proletarian socialist revolution, through discipline to its social and political tasks, rather than to reproduce capitalism.) You find the problem of capitalism — when you are really considering this at all, which is very rare — to be a moral one of unfairness and injustice, of abject suffering and misery. This is not how Marxists once approached things.

Sohrab Ahmari recently published in Compact Magazine a report on the Labor Notes conference in Chicago, where he observed a cultural divide between unionized workers in attendance and the conference organizers — one might say simply, between the workers and the organized labor bureaucrats. The latter, as dutiful Democrats, engaged in woke culturalism, while the former ignored the discursive and behavioral rules for the conference, for instance neglecting COVID masking and proclamations of gender identity. Why do things like the latter matter, if they do at all? Perhaps they don’t. But in trying to model behavior prefiguratively, the Left gives a misleading impression of the kind of society we are living in and the one proletarian socialists aspire for. By following the lead of Democratic Party woke capitalism, the Left proclaims itself to be part of the ruling ideology. It wrongly identifies the interests of the working class and “socialism” itself with the political fortunes of “progressive liberal” capitalism. They channel working class organizing and any potential struggle into the terms of the capitalist employers and managers, if not their immediate ones then the more general staff of the capitalist state and its crony corporate rackets and their interests 문명 2. It is a massive concession to workplace discipline imposed by the bosses to protect them from lawsuit litigation. Indeed this is because organized labor today is mostly in the business of legal disputes over labor contracts and not class struggle at all.

How can I say that? Because I am a Marxist, and hence for me class struggle means the struggle for socialism, and the struggle for socialism means the constituting and growing, building and developing of the social and political organization and power of the proletarianized working class, leading to their taking over the control of society as a whole. Organized labor has nothing to do with that today, but only for managing an increasingly raw deal for the workers to protect the unions’ own vested interests. They are not organs of working class power but rather the opposite, for capitalist power over the workers, only negotiating the terms for the latter. This is why they concede all the major points and terms to the capitalists, all the way up to the culture demanded and promulgated by the state and corporations for the everyday practices of capitalism.

To the degree that this culture remains utterly foreign to the working class in its lived reality and consciousness, this is a good thing and a great opportunity for actual socialist organizing. If workers are cynical about the rules and etiquette they are forced to observe on the job, then this means that their hearts and minds are available for entirely other consciousness. For the most part this is taken by religion and other traditional cultural values. The latter are wise enough to concede to this fallen world its sinfulness and to “render unto Caesar” whatever might be demanded, while preserving true spiritual values separately and apart from this.

But the Left makes it seem that practical struggles over matters of life — pursuit of which was never foresworn entirely but accepted by religion, again wisely! — must take place within a framework of social and political power that must be accepted as such, and this massively undercuts and hobbles not merely the attitudes and ideas of the working class but its material concerns as well. It actively lowers the political horizon of what seems possible and necessary, and indeed creates the very space in which socially, culturally and politically reactionary ideology — and the regrettable cynicism — can flourish.

If working class people seem to agree or say what you want to hear, it is because they have learned the wisdom to keep their mouths shut and their true feelings private. They have learned to suffer in silence. Occasionally, they might find some resonance in what you say and find a glimmer of hope of recognition, but it is always qualified with a great deal of reservation, hard-bitten with past discouragement. Workers are seldom in the position to indulge in the enthusiasms of true belief. But the Left are nothing if not true believers— they can afford their illusions, however disposable they prove to be, blown from one passing fad to the next. The working class knows the difference between entertainment and real life. The Left are hucksters — who are themselves the most easily bamboozled. But socialism will not be a swindle — that is, if it is not merely another capitalist ideology. “Socialism” today is just that, what Marx criticized ruthlessly as a pernicious illusion of capitalism by another name.

This is because the Left, as a petit bourgeois intellectual phenomenon, itself can neither feel nor see let alone believe in the necessary task and potential society as a goal beyond capitalism to be engaged and achieved. The Left’s vision and imagination are conditioned by the very wrong — opposite — perspective of considering only what can be controlled or managed differently, rather than as a fundamentally different state of being.

Not that working class people can imagine or envision this, either, but at least they know that it is not a matter of managing or controlling, getting others to do what they want, or convincing themselves of something to do, since that is not true to their experience, but only of cooperation, motivated by working together. — The labor bureaucracy takes advantage of this to the detriment of the workers by posing matters as those of co-management of work by unions in cooperation with employers, labor and capital working together. A fine bourgeois sentiment, but woefully inadequate — need I say so? — to the struggle for proletarian socialism, from a Marxist perspective.

You will always remain mere petit bourgeois democrats — whether lower-case or upper-case Democrats — not socialists because you will always submit to whatever “progressive” capitalists dangle before you.

What is the true task of socialist intellectuals, then? To grasp the truth of this society that underlies and transcends its immediate realities, but which constrains things in a deformed image of what they could and should become beyond them. The trick is how to distinguish overcoming capitalism from merely its next phase. Generations of purportedly “socialist” intelligentsia have performed the function of more or less brain-trusting the renovation of capitalism. But this is actually the very least of their crimes.

The principal issues of present society, today, globally and historically — as a matter of world history — how it is that conditions everywhere came to be as they are now, are not racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. (for instance, religious sectarianism and ethno-cultural differences), which are either thousands of years old or, on the contrary, indeed very modern phenomena, but rather are due to capitalism, which is only two hundred years young.

This is not a world of blacks and whites, or Muslims, Jews, Christians, animists, Buddhists and Hindus etc., or men and women, or queers and straights, or nonbinaries and cisgendered, or Latins, Anglos, Germans, Slavs, Celts, Scandinavians, Nordics, Mediterraneans, Turks, Arabs, Semites, Caucasoids, Negroids and Mongoloids, Neolithics and Paleolithics, etc., but of workers — and a few capitalists who have thankfully saved the funds necessary for investment in old and new production.

The fact that Leftists today must mis-imagine socialism in progressive liberal terms of pluralist democracy and cultural tolerance and respect — which is actually the more or less official dogma of liberal democratic and international cosmopolitan capitalism, and not only recently, but for the past 200 years — means they are profoundly mistaken from the start, and proceeding in a way utterly foreign and alien(ating) to the working class, both of their own and of any other country in the world. If workers ever listen to them, it is actually as their social and cultural “betters,” as their friendly bosses, rather than the strict hard-asses following more directly the imperatives of capital without the polite discursive couching and legalistic disclaimers and expressions of sympathy.

Insofar as young people appear to be more idealistically Leftist, this is only because they haven’t yet learned let alone mastered the actual rules of the game, and have been misled by their teachers into thinking that something different is possible in capitalism than is actually the case — they call “capitalism” everything that thwarts or disappoints their ingenuously naïve sense — actually lack of sense — of reality.

Not that their fantasies are utterly valueless, but they must be recognized as what they are, capitalist fantasies, to be actually useful in any way. This society does generate felt senses of possibility that are cruelly betrayed constantly by the onrush of history in capitalism. But they are not exact and indeed are necessarily and not accidently indeterminate. We do not — cannot — know what a socialist society beyond capitalism will look like. This is because the future will not in fact be our doing. Nor will it be that of anyone today who is able to deliberately determine it consciously — of whom there is in fact no one now.

This is not so bad as it might sound, since we neither are nor ever will be in a position to create such a world. Only the working class could ever be in that position, precisely because the world as it is now is the result of their action — and inaction — for the last 200 years. If we hate the world as it now is, it is because it is the world the working class has created — and we hate them for it.

By contrast, if we ever confront actual capitalists about the state of the world, they can legitimately shrug their shoulders, sincerely express their regrets, and point to conditions beyond their control — by which they mean the billions of workers. If we resent them for this, it is because we are under the illusion that, if instead of them we were in charge, things would be so much better. It is not as workers but rival capitalists — as petit as opposed to haut bourgeois — that we challenge their authority (we don’t really dispute their power but only envy it).

And that is the point: The world will not be what we as Leftist or socialist intellectuals might imagine or envision or want it today in capitalism, but only what the working class might make it in the future, whether or not they ever overcome capitalism, they will have made the world as they will — and precisely not as we would. Our task is to support and help them in their overcoming of the capitalist limitations to their remaking the world.

The best we can do is to understand the limitations of capitalism. And to do so means overcoming — actually, first recognizing — the dogmatization and thought-taboos of capitalism that we will otherwise enforce, over ourselves and over any (mercifully few) workers within our reach, even and especially when we don’t think that we are doing so.

We ourselves, in everything we feel and think, do and say, are the blinders from which we as well as others must be freed. We are the instruments which will be used, more or less, to remake the world, either as capitalist — through the capitalist tools that we are — or otherwise. Can we allow ourselves to be remade — by the working class — to help remake the world other than as we would? | §

Chris Cutrone with Theory Pleeb on Lenin and Adorno (video and audio recordings)

스케치업 프로

Chris Cutrone is back to answer the pleeb’s questions in Why Lenin and Adorno 위키독스? Chris Cutrone is the founder of Platypus Affiliated Society and he thinks that for there to ever be a Left again there are certain lessons we must learn from Lenin and Adorno postgresql odbc 다운로드. We’re going to try to figure out what that is in this stream.

sims 4 studio 다운로드 Download Jang Kye-hyun's farewell

Chris Cutrone with Doug Lain on Debord, Lenin, Adorno and Marxism on history (video recording)

Download Ubuntu git

This week’s Pop the Left was set up as a conversation about Guy Debord and the errors of the Situationist Internationale but ended up being a conversation about the sexual revolution, Roe vs Download Thirsty Deer. Wade, and the question of the party. As always, Chris Cutrone pushes against the current limits of “left” politics on this week’s Pop the Left Download InterestTalk.

3dmark 다운로드 휴먼 옛체

Chris Cutrone with Theory Pleeb on “Anti-Left Marxism”(video and audio recordings)

f lux

“Two Marxists walk into a bar… one thinks the left is dead and needs to be brought back, the other thinks it is inseparable from the Democrats and must therefore be killed 삼성페이 apk. Happy birthday, Karl Marx! A livestream response from Cutrone to Cryptofash in lieu of a debate… Pleeb will play interviewer and occasional devil’s advocate so that we can hopefully learn something 카카오 인코딩. Read pleeb’s substack post that provides some context for this here: https://nspleeb.substack.com/p/a-resp…

돌핀 동영상 슈퍼배드 3

Chris Cutrone with 99 Zu Eins on the dictatorship of the proletariat (video and audio recordings)

Chris Cutrone interviewed on “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the death of the Left”

“This is CC at his brilliant best Switch romfile. Explaining in common universalising language difficult complex categories. He manages to show very clearly that the task of reaching the mass of people by explaining in concrete terms the necessity of going beyond the present is more than achievable make it right. Most importantly there is no defensiveness, there is no need, calmly and rationally explained very well. Many fear the requirement of reaching the “masses” Download the pension lottery. The task is to educate oneself to a level of competence that we can explain as CC does here what the problem is, what the solution may be and why it is necessary to attempt to achieve it Download Xerox Driver. There is no Alternative preached Margaret Thatcher and those that have followed her since. Well there is you see. We have a world to win, when we do not know, but won it must be 울트라 문. Brilliant and so well teased out by Nadim. Well done all, inspiring stuff.”

The purpose of Marxism (video and audio recordings)

What is Marxism for?

Chris Cutrone

Presented on a panel discussion with Benjamin Studebaker, Donald Parkinson and James Heartfield at the 2022 Platypus Affiliated Society International Convention in Chicago on April 2, 2022 at Northwestern University.

Marxism is borne of critique. Critique is not mere criticism, not fault-finding or debunking or falsifying of things, but exploring conditions of possibility for change, and not merely accidental, random or otherwise “objective” change, as in entropic processes, but conditions for transforming things as subjective agents of freedom, the realization of potential in what exists beyond itself. Furthermore, critique is not opposition, not treating things as if from the outside, but finding potential from within things of which we are inextricably parts and participants. The aim of critique is to recognize the possibilities for being subjects rather than objects of change: not change as something that happens to us, but change for which we can claim responsibility as the product of our own action.

There was a socialist or communist movement before Marxism, originating in the early 19th century. Marxism was borne of the critique of an existing socialist and communist movement. Marxism sought to clarify the aims of a movement already under way, by critiquing it, finding its conditions of possibility in its symptomatic expressions, diagnosing its prognosis aoa Shim Kung.

Socialism was not possible before capitalism. Nor was it necessary, nor even desirable. Marxism hence held a dialectical relationship between capitalism and socialism. For Marxism, capitalism is nothing but the possibility and necessity of socialism. Capitalism was for Marxism the crisis borne of the contradiction of bourgeois social relations by the industrial forces of production that were the product of the historical progress of bourgeois social relations. In this way, Marxism found the industrial forces of production pointing beyond the bourgeois social relations to be the expression of the self-contradiction of those social relations. What were these “bourgeois social relations,” according to Marxism? They were the social relations of labor: the exchange of labor as a commodity as the basis for society, emerging in and through and as the product of the dissolution of the preceding caste community of traditional civilization. Bourgeois society was the liberation of production through the emancipation of labor.

The bourgeois revolution regarded itself as the revolt of labor: the revolt of the Third Estate against the illegitimate authority of the religious and noble-aristocratic orders, the First and Second Estates. The Third Estate comprised all those who worked, as opposed to those who prayed and those who fought. Bourgeois right was the right of labor against the right of might, the right of conquest, upon which the preceding social and political order had been based, and which religious authority regarded as the Divine Right of God’s (or the gods’) will, in which “might makes right.” This was the rule of society for thousands of years — perhaps of nature for eons Download The Empire of Sensibility. Bourgeois society is one in which there are “no gods and no masters,” no traditionally sanctioned patriarchs and no slaves, but only human social rights: it was the rule of freedom over nature. Marxism regarded the struggle for socialism or communism to proceed from this already accomplished bourgeois emancipation. If there was still illegitimate power — not right based on labor and its exchange-relations in freedom — Marxism regarded this not as a holdover from the ancient past but a new modern problem due to capitalism. In this respect, Marxism regarded capitalism as the regression of bourgeois society — the regression from bourgeois freedom: “wage-slavery.” It was the regression from a history of freedom to pre-history, a reversion to nature.

Marxism regarded the emerging self-contradiction of bourgeois social relations in capitalism to point beyond the emancipation of labor from traditional civilization, which was found to be necessary but insufficient for full freedom. Alongside the subjective phenomenon of the socialist or communist movement for working class freedom emerging after the Industrial Revolution, there was a new objective phenomenon of a proletarianized working class, workers expropriated of the social property of their labor as self-possessing owners of commodities, their labor-power and its products as contributions to social cooperation, participating as bourgeois citizens in society through their labor. The “proletariat” refers to citizens without property in the Ancient Roman Republic: tribal Romans who were entitled to rights as citizens despite not owning property — which meant not possessing the land of Rome’s conquests Download the Play game. (Tribal Romans were a ruling class in the sense of an aristocratic warrior caste of conquerors ruling over subjugated peoples and territories.)

But in bourgeois society, property is not a physical possession claimed through conquest, but a social right recognized through the social relations of labor in free association and cooperation. Hence, a proletarianized working class in bourgeois society is a contradiction in terms, a phenomenon of the self-contradiction of society. For Marxism, it is the Industrial Revolution that divides the bourgeois Third Estate of labor and its social relations into antagonistic interests of capitalists and workers: owners of capital as the means of social production and owners of labor-power as a commodity that is increasingly stripped of its material contribution to social cooperation. This division was an expression of the self-contradiction of freedom in social production: the self-production of society and its free self-transformation.

This is why Marxism regards capitalism as a self-contradiction and crisis of production — and not a matter of unequal distribution and inequitable consumption. It is a crisis of society and its freedom. It is a real crisis of the basis or substance of society, in which workers as citizens lose their social rights, not intentionally or deliberately, but as a result of a seemingly “objective” process of the development of social production. It is not the result of ruthless exploitation or theft — which bourgeois society condemns as not only illegitimate but criminal — by others, but Marxism thought was the result of the actions of the workers themselves, and was their responsibility centos openssl. Workers’ demands for the social value of their labor as participants in bourgeois cooperation — the cooperation of citizens in bourgeois society — is an engine driving the improvement of production, to realize and maximize the value of labor in the production of wealth, but undermines the social measure of wealth according to the time of labor, as industrial production — science and technology — outstrips the measure of human labor-time as the basis for the value of wealth in society. The unintended consequence of this is the devaluation of labor even while social wealth increases.

This is a complex phenomenon that is expressed at both a micro and macro level. It manifests as a phenomenon of the reproduction of the human species in the historical succession of generations, in which a surplus of workers is experienced as over-population — the crisis of the overproduction of both material wealth and of the human species itself. But Marxism regarded it not as surplus humanity but surplus labor and surplus capital, the waste of social production and of human life, pressing for a resolution. It was a contradiction of wealth and value, or of wealth and the means of appropriation of that wealth by society in its social relations of labor. The struggle for the appropriation of social wealth and its potentialities beyond itself between capital and labor is not a struggle for possession between groups but a self-contradiction of wealth and its social value in capitalism.

Thus Marxism regarded communism as the “real movement of history” in capitalism, namely the real potential possibility of industrial production pointing beyond bourgeois society and its relations of labor y Tragedy. But this real movement of history is contradictory. It is not only linear but also cyclical: it points backwards as well as forwards, as society struggles to restore the social value of labor even while the industrial condition of material production leaves it behind. The result of this contradictory movement of society in history is not only to divide the bourgeois Third Estate between workers and capitalists, but also and more importantly to divide the proletarianized working class between high-wage and low-wage sectors as well as between employed and unemployed, etc. in a disparity and hierarchy of exploitation and wealth and participation in social production within the working class, which takes place not only within local communities but between localities in global production; and not only in space but in time, for instance between generations, in which older workers might benefit from capitalism at the expense of younger workers or younger workers benefit at the expense of older ones.

In short, it creates competition between workers — competition within the working class — as a new dynamic of historical movement, fundamentally affecting the concrete forms of social production in capitalism, especially as the conditions for production are struggled over, economically, socially and politically. But this competition not only promotes innovation or improvement of production as in the original bourgeois vision, but actually undermines and destroys the basis of social production, and is less than even a zero-sum game, by devaluing both labor and capital, throwing human beings and concrete forms of production prematurely on the scrapheap of history before their full potentials are even begun to be realized.

In Marx’s own time, it appeared that the widening contradiction between bourgeois right — bourgeois social relations — and industrial production in society led directly to social and political crisis and antagonism — a political struggle — that demanded resolution. As Marx put it, the capitalists and workers both had bourgeois right — the right of the social value of labor in production, whether in the form of wages or capital — on their side, and that hence, “where right meets right, force will decide,” namely politics (not violence!). Hence, capitalism was a condition of “insoluble contradiction” and the “class struggle” was inevitable. This class struggle, however, was understood originally by Marxism to be not merely the antagonism of different social groups — capitalists and workers — but the struggle for the proletarianized working class to constitute itself as a social and political force and thus as a class: the proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie. But since the working class not only suffers but benefits from capitalism — depending on wage-labor to survive and indeed to thrive — the class contradiction of the proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie is not the same as the antagonism of the capitalists and the workers — which itself is not identical to the contradiction of capital and labor.

The workers’ labor is capital — it is for instance, circulating capital vs. fixed capital and variable vs. constant capital, according to Marx — and so the social antagonism of capital and labor is always also an antagonism within labor as well as an antagonism within capital. It was not enough for Marxism that the social disintegration of production in capitalism manifest as antagonism, for instance the Darwinian struggle for existence among capitalist firms or among many capitals — for example, between “national” capitals — but also such a struggle among workers  — including among “national working classes [sic]” or national sectors of the global working class.

What Marxism regarded as necessary was the self-constitution of the working class as a class in-itself objectively, through constituting itself as a class for-itself subjectively. For example, Marxism recognized that, for the value of labor as a commodity to be constituted in industrial (as opposed to artisanal) production at all requires collective bargaining; without collective bargaining, for instance through trade unions, labor is not even a commodity, not even a unit of social exchange, and there is no bourgeois social relation or bourgeois right of labor to be found at all — this is why liberal democratic bourgeois thought found labor union collective-bargaining to be necessary to not only preserve but constitute bourgeois social rights in capitalism.

But the workers’ struggle to constitute their social right in capitalism was for Marxism the constitution of the contradiction of capitalism: the contradiction of industrial forces by bourgeois social relations. Society itself seemed to face the crisis — choice — between supporting human labor in the working class and supporting scientific technique and technology in production. It is society as a whole that faces the choice and contradiction of capital vs. labor. This includes the working class in its collective bargaining as a social subject in capitalism — whether this takes place economically through trade union negotiation in private employment contracts, or as the public subject of citizenry in political democracy adjudicating law and policy.

For Marxism, the limits — the self-contradiction — that the proletarianized working class came up against in capitalism had already been faced in bourgeois society and liberal democracy, in both civil society and political democracy in the early 19th century, and the struggle for socialism or communism had emerged as a consequence of such limits being reached and contradictions made manifest as an inevitable impasse in history. But this contradiction and limit had manifested and reached an impasse in the socialist or communist movement itself, producing divisions and antagonisms in both theory and practice among the socialists who predated and lived into and as contemporaries of Marx’s own time.

Not only that, but the self-contradictory character of socialism had already been recognized in bourgeois economic, social and political thought and among bourgeois politicians — sometimes more acutely than among the socialists themselves. Not only Marxists and socialists, but bourgeois thinkers and political actors found the real movement of history to lead inevitably to socialism. Conservative bourgeois and reactionary observers in the 19th century bemoaned it, but nonetheless recognized the inexorable tide of history moving against them towards socialism. So the problem was one to be faced and overcome by the would-be reformers and “revolutionaries” of capitalism themselves, whether from among the workers or the capitalists. For Marxism, the class struggle was one over the direction of society within and beyond capitalism.

Marxism began by taking up and critiquing the crisis and confusion of contemporary reformers and revolutionaries as a matter of their self-contradictory social and political aspirations and visions — how these were not observations from outside but perspectives from within capitalism itself, from within its self-contradiction and crisis pointing not only to potential possibilities beyond itself but to its seemingly inevitable end.

The purpose of Marxism in its original historical moment was to serve as a critical faculty in the progress of the proletarianized working class’s struggle for socialism. It was to arm socialists with an awareness of the reasons for the historical crises besetting their own movement, and precisely in its success and forward motion. — But not only that success and forward motion but the movement itself ended long ago.

Today, by contrast, after the rise and fall of historical Marxism over a century ago, and due to its failure, capitalism no longer appears to have an inevitable end expressed by the possibility and necessity of socialism, but rather “socialism” seems to be a mere desire, a utopian vision divorced from practical reality, whether economic, political or social — for instance, an aspiration that, as the DSA’s Jacobin magazine founder and editor Bhaskar Sunkara put it recently, is “at its core moral and ethical in nature,” but which drives not inevitably towards its revolutionary realization but rather motivates capitalist reforms to render distribution more “equitable,” and this is primarily on a national-state and not international let alone global level. It necessarily and not accidentally avoids the contradiction of capital.

The problem of capitalism is today no longer faced let alone grasped as Marxism once did, as a self-contradiction of the workers’ struggles leading to the necessity of socialism as a historic task, but is just a matter of unbearably excessive social pathologies demanding capitalist political measures to try to deal with mounting discontents: Sunkara’s Jacobin/DSA is formulating solutions for capitalism to continue.

The current crisis of neoliberalism is not a terminal crisis of capitalism — not even one that could be made so politically — but merely an opportunity for the reconstitution of capitalism, and not through the self-constitution of the working class as an economic, social and political subject of history, but just as an electoral constituency of liberal democracy — and not even a subject of liberal democracy but an object of state policy.

Jacobin agonizes over its role as would-be professional managers of the working class; really, they are not even that but just self-deluded ideologues opining their craft of spin for the latest capitalist messaging — and not even policy. More or less unemployed Millennial and Zoomer workers watch YouTube videos as neurasthenics between anxious applications for their next gigs, seeking to explain the “reasons” for their endless misery. — Hopefully they will quickly forget them for the niche click-bait ephemera that they are, in favor of more mainstream and hence more socially rational pursuits.

This is why the existential crisis of humanity and society shows up today not in the battle of politics and democracy in a proletarianized society and its working class but rather in culture and psychology, about which Marxism has nothing to say beyond how these are already expressed by humanistic bourgeois culture in crisis, including its most radical anthropological questioning such as speculations on the “trans-“ or “post-human” condition of society in capitalism. It is not raised to the level of collective politics in public life — not even as technocratic management, which is just reified and ossified mechanized humanism — but devolves upon isolated individuals in private misery.

Supposed “Marxism” today is not the critical self-clarification it once was of a historic revolutionary or even reform movement for socialism, but is just an obscure justification for choosing among policies for managing a crisis that is no longer regarded as an insoluble contradiction and historical impasse, but has become naturalized as a permanent condition of society and of humanity, purported “human nature” itself — including the degraded condition of what passes for “politics” as the gang-warfare — telling you which “side” to be on — among the ruins and desperate new upshoots of chaotic permutation in the long disintegration of decaying bourgeois society in capitalism.

Marxism today has no purpose — there is no purpose to Marxism — but serves only as a reminder that there once was a purpose, a purpose to capitalism, in socialism. Without an existing struggle for socialism, Marxism has no purpose. Without the purpose of socialism, there is no Marxism. | P

Consciousness is essential — why the death of the Left is consequential: A rejoinder to Benedict Cryptofash


Chris Cutrone

Platypus Review 145 | April 2022

BENEDICT CRYPTOFASH CRITICIZES me for using the “Left” as a concept for its alleged idealism and metaphysical essentialism.[1] But by identifying the “Left” with a group of people, e.g. members of Jacobin/DSA et al., Cryptofash reifies the phenomenon of the Left, and in the worst possible way, by personalizing it. But even in colloquial discourse it is well understood that Left and Right represent principles not people. This is why someone who was a Leftist can become a Rightist: he can change his mind.

The Left is not a thing but rather expresses a process; moreover the Left refers to the tendency or force of a historical process. Aaron Benanav criticized Platypus for its preoccupation with the Left rather than with class — similar to the criticism of Platypus by my old ex-comrades of the Spartacist League[2] — and referred as Cryptofash does to the Left as the Left-wing of capitalism, as if this disqualified the concept.[3] But Marxism always considered itself to be the consciousness of the historical tendency of capitalism that pointed beyond it and that was necessary in order to actually get beyond it. For instance, Lenin considered the Marxist approach to socialism to be overcoming capitalism on the basis of capitalism itself. But that tendency was self-contradictory in that it pointed both further beyond capitalism but also back to the reconstitution of its historical roots in bourgeois society — the society of labor Download Windows 7 PhotoViewer. The modern labor movement of the proletarianized working class was itself the core engine of capitalist development, driving the industrial development of production, which contradicted and undermined and destroyed its bourgeois social relations, producing crisis. The problem with the present Left — and for the past hundred years — is that it no longer expresses the emerging and developing consciousness of the subject of a historical tendency — proletarian socialism — but rather the memory of something that proceeds today seemingly objectively — without a corresponding political movement aiming to go beyond it. In the absence of such a subjective consciousness of history as a phenomenon in practice, capitalism itself appears to regress.[4] This regression is something that can be observed in both long-term and short-term political processes.

In my previous article in this thread, I tried to explain very briefly the mind of original historical Marxism as a political movement.[5] I will now try to illustrate the point with the example of the leader of Jacobin/DSA, Bhaskar Sunkara, who recently took over the historically progressive liberal Nation magazine. Sunkara has apparently changed since he published an article in The Nation, “Reclaiming Socialism” (2015), in which, under the influence of my teachings in Platypus, he cited Kołakowski’s “Concept of the Left” to justify his political vision.[6] Back then, Sunkara’s influences were Lenin and Kautsky (from “when Kautsky was still a Marxist,” as Lenin put it[7]) Hot body. But this is no longer the case.

More recently, Sunkara claimed that he was less a follower of Kautsky than of Ralph Miliband. This is in keeping with the 2017 statement written by Vivek Chibber to distinguish Jacobin/DSA’s perspective from that of the Marxism of Kautsky and Lenin, “Our Road to Power” — by contrast with Kautsky’s 1909 The Road to Power, which Lenin followed in the Revolution of 1917.[8] I addressed this on the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, to which Sunkara and Leo Panitch replied, defending Miliband’s “Marxist” bona fides against my characterization of him as a “liberal” — a proponent of a liberal democratic road to socialism, very much like the reformist Revisionism of Eduard Bernstein et al. from more than fifty years earlier.[9] Miliband’s idea, with which Sunkara, Chibber and Panitch agreed, was that the capitalist state could not be overthrown and replaced by the working class’s own organizations in the dictatorship of the proletariat, but had to be worked through existing liberal democratic electoral means to a potential transformation of society — the endless dream of reformist social democracy (through the Democratic Party of all vehicles!) that has ensnared the Millennial Left like the generations before them. Most recently, Sunkara said that socialism was probably ultimately impossible in the U.S., but at least some “social democracy” was possible, by which he meant public sector and welfare state expansion.[10] This was an abandonment of Marxist ideas, or at least of their current relevance politically.

Perhaps Sunkara thinks he has remained consistent, but there seems to be some change of mind Mysterious apartment free. Perhaps not in principle — perhaps he still finds socialism desirable but not possible, and ultimately not necessary to meet the needs of the present — but certainly in terms of practical politics and what he takes to be the “art of the possible,” which is the essence of politics. In so doing, he has abandoned the Left’s role in pushing — and transcending — the envelope of possibility and realizing hitherto unrealized potentials, not even necessarily in changing society but merely in renewing the Left and socialism or Marxism as a political tendency. Sunkara has abandoned the task of building a socialist party. Instead, Sunkara et al. among the Millennial Left have fallen back upon the dead traditions of the past post-Marxist “Left” — accepting and reinforcing the liquidation of proletarian socialism over the course of the past century, since Lenin’s time. This is why and how it takes the form of calls for a “new New Deal” etc.[11]

This downward trajectory in perspectives is a significant degeneration of consciousness on the part of a key leader of the Millennial Left. Five years ago I called it the death of the Millennial Left, in its liquidation into the Democratic Party.[12] It has only grown worse since then. I take Cryptofash’s objection to “Leftism” to be a symptomatic phenomenon of the same degeneration, but one which throws the baby out with the bathwater, in rejecting Jacobin/DSA’s road back to the Democrats. Cryptofash derogates consciousness by calling it “idealistic” and “metaphysical,” an “abstract” and so supposedly unreal “essence.” But then one must ask what the purpose of Cryptofash’s own writings is 택시 드라이버. What is the point of his arguments if all that matters is “material reality”? Indeed, in prioritizing empirical reality over consciousness, Cryptofash follows the present dead “Left’s” lead into accommodating the power of the status quo, abandoning the consciousness of how it could and should be changed — first of all, how the present “Left” must be fundamentally changed. Cryptofash’s “anti-Leftist Marxism” merely strikes a pose against the “Left.”

Marx followed Kant and Hegel’s — modern German Idealism’s — and bourgeois thought’s more general sense of the task of “consciousness” as the necessity of freedom: the struggle for freedom is motivated by consciousness of necessity. And the highest necessity is not base “material” need — the animal survival of the workers — but rather freedom: the necessity of changing the world, specifically of overcoming capitalism. It was a matter of Rousseau’s “general will” of society as more than the sum of its parts in the wills of its members, Kant’s “transcendental subject” of freedom, and Hegel’s “objective mind” (Geist, Spirit) as it develops in history. Marxism’s consciousness of “communism” was more specifically — and empirically — that of a political outlook and strategy for pursuing it and the reasons for this historically. Marx did not invent communism, which predated him, but critiqued it. Marx’s was moreover a “historical” critique of existing society in the contradictions of capitalism to be overcome, a “historical consciousness” or “consciousness of history” and its tasks: why socialism or communism arose as an ideology in the very specific phase of history in the Industrial Revolution. Marx thought that the world had only to recognize what it was struggling for in order to realize it.[13] Marx found the existing communist consciousness of his time to be lacking: its call to abolish private property resulted in a reification of labor rather than its overcoming, especially since capitalism itself already abolished private property snagit 2018 다운로드.[14] But he thought that proletarian socialism as a movement was capable of learning the bitter lessons of its struggles — why it remained trapped in its opposition to and within capitalism. This learning process was the subjective factor of history. But what can be learned can also be unlearned.

Cryptofash exhibits a striking “historical” liquidation of the historical, reducing things like the splits of Marxism in revolution and civil war as mere “context,” which ends up affirming whatever happened. — I am reminded of my late professor Moishe Postone saying that capitalism will be overcome when it is good and ready, despite what the Left wants or thinks. The Marxist critique of history is lacking. The fact is that the workers’ movement for socialism has up to now failed, and this has affected history. The issue is the objective vs. subjective character of the proletarianized working class in capitalism. — In his last interview before he died, Postone claimed that we were presently witnessing the historical liquidation of the working class.[15] But for that to actually happen would require a subjective political act, leading to actually overcoming capitalism, since capitalism can objectively by (Marx’s) definition not do without workers. As long as there are desperately poor people willing or able to have their labor exploited, capitalism will continue — until the workers themselves put a stop to it. There is a necessity of politically achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat.[16] Communism as the “real movement of history” according to Marx is not merely an objective but a subjective issue: “theory gripping the masses” as a “material force”[17] also means the masses grasping theory — or at least a political ideology. That’s the role of the Left.

Antonio Negri had an idea that we were already living in communism but just didn’t realize it.[18] But the point of the Left is to realize it — not in the sense of just an idea or change of “consciousness” in the colloquial sense, but a critical theory helping make it happen in reality, in practice. The working class won’t be able to do so without a Left, without a theory of what they are trying to do in practice. Cryptofash’s desire to proceed separately from and in opposition to the Left, and without the necessity of Left theory and ideas, expects communism to happen on its own — with people as not the subjects but the objects of history. But people have perspectives and ideas, and those ideas and perspectives matter. We cannot afford to abdicate on helping to provide them. They are affected by the history of the Left and the historical self-liquidation of Marxism, which is not merely past but a continuing obstacle to the future.[19] The Left’s corpse is not something we can ignore.[20] We must remember history. | P


[1] “The Left is not the Right,” March 10, 2022, available online at <https://antileftistmarx.substack.com/p/the-left-is-not-the-right>.

[2] See “Platypus Group: Pseudo-Marxist, Pro-Imperialist, Academic Claptrap,” Workers Vanguard 908 (February 15, 2008), available online at <https://www.icl-fi.org/english/wv/908/ysp-platypus.html>, where they wrote that “For Platypus, the fundamental social divide is not the class struggle of proletariat vs. bourgeoisie, but an amorphous and classless contest of ‘Left’ vs. ‘Right’.”

[3] See Benanav’s remarks on the panel discussion “Program and utopia,” Platypus Review 58 (July 2015), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2013/07/01/program-and-utopia/>.

[4] See The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century: Toward a Theory of Historical Regression, Platypus Review 17 (November 2009), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/the-decline-of-the-left-in-the-20th-century/>.

[5] “The Left is a concept — but social revolution is not: A response to ‘Benedict Cryptofash’,” Platypus Review 143 (February 2022), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2022/02/01/the-left-is-a-concept-but-social-revolution-is-not-a-response-to-benedict-cryptofash/>.

[6] The Nation, 150th Anniversary Issue 300.14 (April 6, 2015), March 23, 2015, available online at <https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/red-any-other-name/>.

[7] “I. In What Sense We Can Speak of the International Significance of the Russian Revolution,” in “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/lwc/ch01.htm>.

[8] Jacobin, December 5, 2017, available online at <https://jacobinmag.com/2017/12/our-road-to-power>.

[9] See my “Lenin today,” Platypus Review 126 (May 2020), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2020/05/01/lenin-today/>.

[10] “The Promise (and Limits) of Social Democracy,” The Jacobin Show, June 6, 2021, available online at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLl2fAydnhE>. — Actually, I don’t know when and where Bhaskar said this exactly; I couldn’t find it when looking for it now. Perhaps it was something I dreamed in the haze of the COVID pandemic lockdown. But I’m pretty sure he said it in some context or other, and it struck and stuck with me. See also “Biden Offers Fiscal Liberalism, not Social Democracy,” Jacobin Show, June 7, 2021, available online at <https://youtu.be/uTBGqc0O3oI>. ADDENDUM (4/1/22): I finally found it!  In the Bard College Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities talk of March 2, 2021, “Tough Talks: Bhaskar Sunkara,” Sunkara said that, “Perhaps we will fall short of our loftier ambitions [of socialism], but we will still manage to win a more just United States that will at least have Medicare for All, and a living wage for all, and the chance for decent work for all,” online at <https://youtu.be/UpJ9iqvIdmY>.

[11] See my “The end of the Gilded Age: Discontents of the Second Industrial Revolution today,” Platypus Review 102 (December 2017 – January 2018), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/12/02/end-gilded-age-discontents-second-industrial-revolution-today/>.

[12] See my “The Millennial Left is dead,” Platypus Review 100 (October 2017), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/10/01/millennial-left-dead/>.

[13] See Marx’s September 1843 letter to Arnold Ruge, “For the ruthless criticism of everything existing,” in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Robert C. Tucker, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978), 12–15, available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/letters/43_09.htm>.

[14] Marx and Engels, “II. Proletarians and Communists,” in Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm>.

[15] “Marx in the Age of Trump,” Vienna Humanities Festival: Hope and Despair, September 17, 2017, available online at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJIaze-C2Qs>.

[16] See my “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the death of the Left,” Platypus Review 141 (November 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/11/01/the-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat-and-the-death-of-the-left/>.

[17] Marx, “Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” (1843), available online at <https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm>.

[18] See Michael Hardt and Negri’s books Empire (2000), Multitude (2004) and Commonwealth (2009) where this is elaborated.

[19] See my “Remember the future! A rejoinder to Peter Hudis on ‘Capital in history’,” Platypus Review 8 (November 2008), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2008/11/01/remember-the-future-a-rejoinder-to-peter-hudis-on-capital-in-history/>.

[20] See my “Vicissitudes of historical consciousness and possibilities for emancipatory politics today: ‘The Left is dead! — Long live the Left!,” Platypus Review 1 (November 2007), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2007/11/01/vicissitudes-of-historical-consciousness-and-possibilities-for-emancipatory-social-politics-today/>.

April 1, 2022 | Posted in: Essays | Comments Closed

Ukraine: More of the same

Chris Cutrone

Platypus Review 145 | April 2022

WHY IS THERE WAR? Because capitalism is self-contradictory, and this is expressed in conflicts among workers as well as among capitalists, and between “national” working classes and capitalist states, between politicians and political parties both within and between nation-states, and often these conflicts are violent. But this does not mean that economics determines politics in capitalism. Quite the opposite. Neither does politics determine economics. Indeed for Marxism politics means the “class struggle” — and the class struggle means overcoming capitalism in socialism — and anything less than that is not really politics at all — not struggle for the direction of our freedom — but just Darwinian struggle for existence and gangsterism: eating and being eaten Download finaldata.[1]

There is thus no alignment of economic and political interests. There is not only independence of politics from economics but also within politics. The Marxist approach to socialism is in crucial ways fundamentally different from capitalist (pseudo-)“politics” in that it seeks however conjuncturally — in revolution — to line up economic and political interests in proletarian socialism, but this is not normative and applies to literally no other form of politics and is moreover critical in character: that economics and politics should be made identical so that they can be overcome through their mutual contradiction. Indeed this is the very point of Marxism: in capitalism there is not only no alignment of economics and politics, but they are in direct contradiction to each other 방송 효과음 다운로드. The proletarianized working class is the most self-contradictory of all subjects of capitalism: they have no objective interest other than their self-abolition as laborers — though they have a subjective interest in their self-fulfillment as workers.[2] The workers’ individual and collective interests are contradictory.[3] The capitalist bourgeoisie can seem by contrast to have identical political and economic interests — and identical collective and individual interests — and hence appear to represent the interests of society as a whole in a non-self-contradictory way.

The lack of contradiction leads us to the slaughter. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt that the present conflict is between the Ukraine and Russia gifs 다운로드. Under present conditions it makes no sense to say that it is a conflict between Ukrainian and Russian capitalists to whom the Ukrainian and Russian workers and other people are subject. Nor does it make sense to say that this is a conflict between imperialism and anti-imperialism — however one might regard this, whether of U.S./NATO imperialism and/or Russian imperialism. This is not only because national-communitarian conflict predates the current crisis — the breakaway Russian-majority provinces in the Donbas region of Ukraine and Ukrainian nationalist militias as well as the Ukrainian government’s attempts to suppress them — but because there is no possible or potential alternative political leadership in the current conflict other than capitalist ones; only an alternative opposition to capitalist leadership would make the present leadership specifically capitalist as opposed to something else — other than simply nationalist Download the swordsman's youngest son.[4] The Ukrainians and the Russians have the leadership they do in this moment, and this shapes the nature and character of the conflict. There is no point to pointing to contrary “underlying causes” for this conflict other than the obvious ones: it really is Putin vs. Zelensky; and, yes, Zelensky is receiving support, albeit qualified, from the U.S. and NATO (as well as from the greater “international community” i.e. other capitalist leaders — from whom Putin also receives support, including from the U.S., for instance through oil sales) Download english cursive fonts. That war is a horror show and miserably sordid affair is captured well by the image of rusting Russian tanks swerving to crush fleeing cars and shooting up apartment blocks in their invasion of the Ukraine. — Superfluous labor and capital indeed.[5]

A Marxist approach hence has little if anything — perhaps nothing at all — to say beyond what in the capitalist policy debates is already being said.[6] For example, the “Realist” academic International Relations professor John Mearshimer has criticized the U.S. political consensus of liberal humanitarian interventionism and neoconservatism that has dominated policy for decades — except Trump.[7] As was observed recently by Christoph Lichtenberg of the former Spartacist “Trotskyist” Bolshevik Tendency, Fox News conservative pundit Tucker Carlson has a more accurate analysis of the Ukraine war and its causes than most ostensible “Marxists.”[8]

The “Left” has fallen out over Ukraine depending on which capitalist politicians they want to tail after and follow in the present conflict, cheering from the sidelines in the usual ways of unseemly sports spectatorship. Some on the “Left” are positioned as “anti-fascist” — whether Russian or Ukrainian — in Russia’s “military operation of denazification” of the Ukraine; others of the “anti-imperialist Left” lick their chops in hopes of a new anti-war movement — which will not happen out of fear that criticizing the Biden Administration will help Trump’s otherwise inevitable return to the U.S. Presidency: the “Left” in all its varieties is as ever switched on and off as needed by the Democrats; and the Democrats are beating the drums for war against Russia, convinced by their own lies about Trump and other Republicans’ “Russian collusion;” and anyway desperate to stem their coming rout in the 2022 midterm Congressional elections due to their cascade of failures from COVID to crime to inflation — and now Ukraine.

The Millennial Left was born in the anti-war movement against the George W. Bush Administration that vanished upon Obama’s election in 2008.[9] Its revival in Occupy Wall Street and other anti-austerity protests in the Great Recession led to the rebirth of the Democratic Socialists of America under the leadership of Jacobin magazine’s editorial board convened by Bhaskar Sunkara, boosted by the Bernie Sanders campaign that was part of the same moment as Trump’s election in 2016.[10] It is telling that DSA today is equivocal on the war: they have nothing new to say; neither does anyone. “World War III” is just yet another 1980s remake streaming on multiple platforms. Condoleezza Rice said that she didn’t want the “smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” but we know that was never going to happen. Now, after the death of the Millennial Left,[11] a new generation can come back full circle to the terrifying spectacle of war 20 years later — long enough to have forgotten the last war and requiring the same lessons to be learned — which weren’t — again.[12] They won’t be.[13] | P


[1] See my letter, “Platypus ‘position’ on ‘imperialism’,” published as “Platypus fuss” in the Communist Party of Great Britain’s Weekly Worker 964 (May 30, 2013), available online at <https://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/964/letters/>.

[2] See my “The dictatorship of the proletariat and the death of the Left,” Platypus Review 141 (November 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/11/01/the-dictatorship-of-the-proletariat-and-the-death-of-the-left/>.

[3] See my “The negative dialectic of Marxism,” prepared opening remarks for the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum panel discussion on “The politics of critical theory,” transcript published in Platypus Review 140 (October 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/10/01/the-politics-of-critical-theory-2/>.

[4] See my “Internationalism fails,” Platypus Review 60 (October 2013), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2013/10/01/internationalism-fails/>.

[5] See Moishe Postone, “History and helplessness: Mass mobilizations and contemporary forms of anticapitalism,” Public Culture 18, no. 1 (Winter 2006), available online at <https://read.dukeupress.edu/public-culture/article-abstract/18/1/93/31815/History-and-Helplessness-Mass-Mobilization-and>.

[6] See Spencer Leonard, “Nothing left to say,” Platypus Review 10 (February 2009), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2009/02/03/nothing-left-to-say-a-critique-of-the-guardians-coverage-of-the-2008-mumbai-attacks/>.

[7] See my “Why not Trump again?,” Platypus Review 123 (February 2020), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2020/02/01/why-not-trump-again/>.

[8] See the Platypus Affiliated Society public forum panel discussion “Crisis in Ukraine! The Left and the Current Crisis,” held on March 10, 2022 in New York City: watch online at <https://youtu.be/Uyoe5ml05LQ>.

[9] See my “Iraq and the election: The fog of ‘anti-war’ politics,” Platypus Review 7 (October 2008), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2008/10/01/iraq-and-the-election-the-fog-of-anti-war-politics/>.

[10] See my “The Sandernistas: The final triumph of the 1980s,” Platypus Review 82 (December 2015 – January 2016), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2015/12/17/sandernistas-final-triumph-1980s/>; Postscript on the March 15 Primaries, Platypus Review 85 (May 2016), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2016/03/30/the-sandernistas/>; and P.P.S. on Trump and the crisis of the Republican Party (June 22, 2016) appended to the prior Postscript.

[11] See my “The Millennial Left is dead,” Platypus Review 100 (October 2017), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2017/10/01/millennial-left-dead/>.

[12] See my “Afghanistan: After 20 and 40 years,” Platypus Review 139 (September 2021), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2021/09/02/afghanistan-after-20-and-40-years/>.

[13] See my “1914 in the history of Marxism,” Platypus Review 66 (May 2014), available online at <https://platypus1917.org/2014/05/06/1914-history-marxism/>.

| Posted in: Essays | Comments Closed