Chris Cutrone of the Platypus Affiliated Society discusses his essay “Afghanistan: After 20 and 40 years” with Douglas Lain 사무라이 쇼다운. Put differently, the last Marxist weighs in on the invasion, occupation, and withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Excerpt from essay: “AFGHANISTAN WAS INTENDED BY THE U.S Download the seven sin-sin sin sin sin sin sin sin sin sin sin. in the 1980s to be the Soviet Union’s Vietnam War. But it is the United States today that is experiencing a second Fall of Saigon in Kabul. If the Great Recession was the historic crisis of neoliberalism, then the U.S dawn prayer music. loss of Afghanistan to the return of the Taliban marks the definitive crisis and terminus of neoconservatism. John Bolton ran screaming bloody murder when fired by Donald Trump for resisting ending the Afghanistan war, but it is Joe Biden who now rules over the U.S 삼국지 5 pk. withdrawal. This is not some end to U.S. global hegemony — no more than Vietnam was.” Link to essay: https://platypus1917.org/2021/09/02/a…
In the Parrot Room, Chris Cutrone discusses the COVID crisis, capitalism, socialism, the welfare state, Travelers science-fiction TV series, and avant-garde modernist art 카라반.
Chris Cutrone is a college educator, writer, and media artist, committed to critical thinking and artistic practice and the politics of social emancipation. ( . . . )
Presented on a panel discussion with Dennis Graemer (Association for the Design of History), Doug Lain (Zero Books) and Douglas Kellner (UCLA) at the Platypus Affiliated Society International Convention on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
I will present on the reason why Marxism was and must be “dialectical” — to demystify this word and specify it and its necessity for Marxism. What is the necessity of the dialectic for Marxism? It is of an essentially negative character. — For instance, all degeneration of Marxism can be called “undialectical,” the abandonment of this essentially negative and dialectical character. The Frankfurt School thinker Theodor Adorno titled his last completed book Negative Dialectic, and he thus sought to recapture this original sense of Marxism, which had been progressively abandoned in Adorno’s lifetime in the 20th century. Moreover, as Adorno emphasized, the task is to “think dialectically and undialectically at the same time,” because getting beyond capitalism would mean getting beyond the dialectic, or as Adorno wrote, “no longer a totality nor a contradiction.”
Looking back upon the history of Marxism, there are three different moments for considering this problem: Marx’s own formative moment of Marxism; the height of Marxism as a political force in the world, in the time of Lenin; and the degeneration of Marxism into what Adorno called “dogmatization and thought-taboos.” — Our own moment today is the product of a century of such degeneration Love fee mp3.
By contrast, for Marx in his own time, the necessity of the dialectic was to be found in the self-contradictory character of not only capitalism but of the struggle to overcome it in socialism. Marxism has its origins in the dialectical critique of capitalism which also includes — at its core — the dialectical critique of socialism. It is significant that Marx and Engels began with the dialectical critique of the socialists and communists of their time, of the Young Hegelians and others such as Proudhon.
In the subsequent height of Marxism as a political force, during Lenin’s time, the proletarian socialist movement and its organized parties became self-contradictory — subject to a dialectic — for instance, as Rosa Luxemburg critiqued of reformist Revisionism in Marxism, there was a contradiction between the movement and its goal, or between means and ends, which also involved a contradiction between practice and theory, etc. Lenin went so far as to say that this contradiction — division and split — within the workers’ movement for socialism was what made political and social revolution possible and necessary 연계교재. How was this so?
First, it is necessary to address how Marx and Marxism understood capitalism as a problem to be overcome. What kind of society is capitalism, from a Marxist perspective?
Marx defined capitalism as a mode of production as the contradiction of “bourgeois social relations” and “industrial forces of production.” This is the essential character of the dialectic for Marxism, from which several other contradictions can be derived, for instance, the contradiction between the bourgeois “ideological superstructure” of “false consciousness” and the “socioeconomic base.” There, Marx defined the contradiction as temporal and historical in nature: the ideological superstructure “changes more slowly” than the socioeconomic base.
“Bourgeois consciousness” is of a historical and not class character in a sociological sense of a particular group of people. Bourgeois means “urban” in the original French, and workers as well as capitalists are bourgeois in the sense of not members of the traditional rural classes — castes — of preceding agricultural civilization (peasants, manorial lords, parsons of the parish church, guild craftsmen of the village and traveling merchant traders serving the lord, et al). The new situation of society in the bourgeois epoch brought with it new forms of self-understanding that are well-established and continue in capitalism, especially the autonomous individual as social subject of production and exchange.
Another way of describing capitalism is the contradiction between social being and consciousness. For Marxism, this contradiction of capitalism began with the Industrial Revolution. The consciousness of participation in society in practice and theory is bourgeois while its actual social being has become industrial 페북 동영상. The most important bourgeois ideology for Marxism is the consciousness of the workers as subjects of bourgeois society. The proletariat is a peculiar term referring to how the working class retained its formal rights as bourgeois citizens while substantially becoming expropriated of its property in its labor as a commodity, harking back to the Ancient Roman class of proletari citizens without property.
The Marxist critique of bourgeois consciousness as ideology is in its self-contradictory character. Hence, what distinguishes the Marxist dialectic is its critical character — from which it is distinguished for example from the Hegelian dialectic, which as a description of bourgeois emancipation of free labor from slavery and caste constraint — the bourgeois revolution — became an affirmative dialectic unable to address the problem of capitalism after the Industrial Revolution. So the critical theory of Marxist politics — to invert the title of this panel discussion — is essentially its negative character: the self-negation of bourgeois society in the Industrial Revolution, in which, for example bourgeois right became self-contradictory, self-undermining and self-destructive in capitalism.
It is important that most avowed “Marxists” today adopt Marxism in a false way as a positive theory, a theory of what capitalism is, for example, rather than as Marx and original Marxism approached capitalism, which was as a contradiction and crisis of society, a contradiction of its self-understanding and self-consciousness. I mentioned for instance social being and consciousness: for Marxism, social being does not define consciousness — in theory and practice — but rather consciousness, or bourgeois ideology as “false consciousness” is contradicted by the social being of industrial production in capitalism Download New West Organic7 3.
The temporal and historical character of this is crucially important — and usually neglected. From a Marxist perspective, bourgeois society was not capitalist — not self-contradictory — from the beginning (in the Renaissance and subsequent 16th, 17th and 18th centuries) but rather became so only in the 19th century, after the Industrial Revolution — in Marx’s own time. This means an essentially negative approach to history in capitalism. History in capitalism for Marxism does not unfold positively — as with Hegel, as the development of consciousness of freedom — but rather negatively, a broadening and deepening crisis of society, borne of the essential contradiction of industrial forces of production against bourgeois social relations.
Capitalism is not a form of society for Marxism but rather a self-contradiction and crisis of society — of bourgeois society specifically. The history of capitalism was for Marxism that of the unfolding task of socialism. But for the last 100 years, the task of socialism was abandoned in favor of the mere denunciation of capitalism, which was thus accepted as a positive fact rather than regarded properly as a negative task, something to be overcome. Involved in this was a collapse of the original distinction Marxism made between bourgeois society and capitalism — an elision of the contradiction between industrial forces and bourgeois social relations of production Mappy Dark.
The bourgeois social relations for Marxism are those of labor — cooperative social production. As Marx early on described about “alienation” — that is, the self-estrangement of social relations — in capitalism, social relations are not only between people in society, but also between humanity and nature, and our relations with ourselves. — Marx added to this three-fold character of bourgeois social relations a fourth dimension of alienation in capitalism, namely the estrangement of labor from capital as its product. So, for Marxism, social relations in capitalism are phenomena of contradiction and crisis, and no longer (primarily) the constitutive dimensions of society, as they had been in bourgeois consciousness, for instance for Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel and others. For Marxism, capitalism is not really a mode of production, but the self-contradiction of the bourgeois mode of production, that is, of the cooperative social production through the social relations of labor as a commodity.
Marx defined bourgeois society as commodity-producing society: a society of commodities that produce other commodities. Labor — and later in manufacture and industry, labor-power and labor-time — as a commodity produces other commodities. But in the Industrial Revolution, labor (including labor-power and labor-time) as a commodity becomes divided against itself: it produces two opposed commodities: use-values whose consumption reproduces labor in society; and capital as the objectification — and alienation or self-estrangement — of the social value of labor, which ends up contradicting and undermining the basis for the reproduction of labor in society — the social relations of cooperative production. Capital investment becomes divided between human labor and scientific technique in production. Marx called science and technology the “general social intellect,” which mediated social production in a fundamentally different way from that of individual human labor.
Social cooperation in capitalism was mediated by capital (hence, “capitalism”) — and for Marxism as a form of Hegelianism, what “mediates” is also what embodies contradiction: what mediates also contradicts. So capital contradicts social cooperation; but also social cooperation — the bourgeois social relations of labor as a commodity — contradicts capital, hence, the class struggle of the workers as subjects of social cooperation versus the capitalists as stewards of the social value of accumulated labor in capital. Labor and capital confront each other as aspects of social self-contradiction — capital is the self-contradiction of labor, and labor is the self-contradiction of capital in industrial production.
The workers’ demand for the value of their labor in capitalism is historically regressive in that it seeks to restore the value of labor as a commodity that industrial production has contradicted and undermined. However, although the workers demand the reconstitution of the social value of labor as a commodity, and thus the reconstitution of bourgeois society, this is also the inevitable form in which the demand for socialism will be manifested: socialism will inevitably be posed as the restoration of society in bourgeois terms, that is, in terms of the social relations of labor.
This means that the workers’ struggle for socialism is inherently self-contradictory: it is divided and indeed torn between the contradictory impulses to restore and reconstitute labor as well as to transcend labor as a social relation and value.
In the crisis of Marxism itself that came at the end of the First World War as the cataclysmic culmination of the Second Industrial Revolution, there was a division between the old Socialist and new Communist Parties over the issue of whether and how to save society from the devastation of war and political and social collapse and to revolutionize it beyond capitalism. There was an actual civil war within Marxism in the revolution that unfolded 1917-19. One side defended the working class as it existed in capitalism, while the other sought to overcome it. Socialism itself became divided between the interests of the workers. The anti-communists considered revolution to be a threat above all to the working class itself.
The socialist political party that had been built up to overcome capitalism became its last bulwark of defense. The power to overthrow and smash the capitalist state proved to be the power to save it. And both sides claimed not only to represent the true interests of the working class but the ultimate goal of socialism itself. Both had right on their side — at least apparently.
This was the most powerful demonstration of the dialectic ever in world history. And that is entirely appropriate since the Marxist dialectic was designed to address precisely this problem, as it had first manifested in the workers movement for socialism in the 1840s and the Revolutions of 1848, repeating itself on a higher level and in more drastic and dramatic — and violent — form in the Revolutions of 1917-19, and the division of Marxism between the parties of the old Socialist Second and new Communist Third Internationals.
But this political conflict within the Marxist-led workers movement was not a de novo phenomenon but had long historical roots, which pointed to the development of contradictions within Marxism itself. This demanded a dialectical critique — a Marxist critique — of Marxism itself. Just as Marx had engaged in the dialectical critique of the socialism and communism of his time, so Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and other radical revolutionaries in the Second International engaged in the dialectical critique of their own Marxist socialist movement. — Later, Trotsky engaged in the dialectical critique of Stalinism. In subsequent history, successive generations’ rediscovery of Marxism was the rediscovery of the dialectic, which however proved ephemeral and elusive, and fragile as a red thread that has been lost — broken — many times.
This tradition of negative dialectical critique was carried on by the Frankfurt School, under the rubric of “Critical Theory” — as I already mentioned, including Adorno’s magnum opus Negative Dialectic, but also Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, etc.
But the dialectic fell out of style in the 20th century, with Marxism itself rendered undialectical and discontents of the failure of Marxism blaming the dialectic for the impasse of Marxism. Undialectical “Marxists” made explicit return to pre-critical — indeed pre-Socratic — philosophy such as Althusser and his followers. Postmodernists such as Foucault rejected the “grand narrative” of history as the struggle for freedom. Unable to grasp the nature and character of the dialectic at a standstill in capitalism as the crossroads of socialism or barbarism, the domination of the contradiction of capital was blamed on the dialectic — and often on Marxism — itself. And yet the ironies of the Hegelian cunning ruse of reason were hard to shake off entirely, leaving the lingering question of meaning at the supposed “end of history.”
This is the most difficult aspect of Marxism but also the most essential; it is the most esoteric but also the substantial core of Marxism: it is the most enchanting but also most frustrating quality of Marxism. It will inevitably return, as Marxism continues to haunt the world of capitalism and its manifest contradictions: but can it be sustained? Will the capitalist world be brought back to the point of its dialectical contradiction that points beyond itself? If so, then the necessity of the Marxist negative dialectic will be felt again and anew. | P
Chris Cutrone on Adorno, value and capital (video recording)
Douglas Lain of Zero Books interviews Chris Cutrone on Adorno, Lukacs, reification, commodity fetishism, value theory, capitalism and the struggle for socialism 영문 필기체.
The former president of the Platypus Affiliated Society returns to the channel/podcast in order to defend the memory of Theodor Adorno after viewing our video “Class Consciousness vs 만화 통 다운로드. the Fiction of ‘Class First’ Politics.” https://youtu.be/bU5s7COxpl0
Chris Cutrone interviewed by Laurie Johnson (Political Science, Kansas State University) on the origins of Platypus, the death and life of the Left, socialism and the hidden potential of liberalism and potential futures 연애 서큘레이션.
September 12, 2020 | George Washington Forum Radio podcast Episode #2
Chris Cutrone (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) joins George Washington Forum Radio to discuss Trump and U.S Download the gif image. politics, the present crisis of neoliberalism, and the global shift toward post-neoliberalism.
Presented on a Platypus Affiliated Society on-line public forum panel discussion with Adam Sacks (Jacobin magazine contributor), Ben Lewis (Communist Party of Great Britain) and Jason Wright (Bolshevik Tendency) on Saturday September 5, 2020.
For me, the question of the legacy of Karl Kautsky’s Marxism is not as a Marxist, but rather as the Marxist. He was the theorist, not of capitalism or socialism, but of the working class’s struggle for socialism, the social and political movement and most of all the political party that issued from this movement and struggle Latest 2019 August. Kautsky articulated the historical and strategic perspective and the self-understanding of the proletarian socialist party. He helped formulate the political program of Marxism — the Erfurt Programme in which the German Social-Democratic Party became officially Marxist — and explained it with particular genius. He was not a theorist of German socialism but rather of the world-historic social and political task of socialism, for the entire Socialist International 지 파일.
He was rightly if ironically called the “Pope of Marxism,” and this meant as a world political movement, indeed of the world party for socialism, in every country. For instance his writings converted the American socialist Eugene Debs to Marxism. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Trotsky and countless others learned Marxism from Kautsky Download the softwareserial.h library. Kautsky provided the theoretical self-understanding and strategic vision for all Marxists and for the broader socialist movement led by Marxism throughout the world, precisely when Marxism was a mass form of social struggle and politics, and precisely when this was so in the core metropolitan advanced capitalist countries.
In this respect Kautsky was one of the greatest political leaders of all time, in all of world history. However, he was the leader of a movement that failed, for Marxism failed Download Minecraft 1.12.1 apk.
This makes Kautsky a peculiar historical figure, and makes his thought — as we inherit from his writings — a specific kind of object and legacy. Kautsky explains something to us that no longer exists, namely the mass socialist political party and the class struggle for socialism of the working class, aiming for the world dictatorship of the proletariat taking over and transforming global capitalism Gx log viewer.
Kautsky’s Marxism summarized and appropriated the entire history and experience of the socialist workers’ movement up to that point, namely, the radical tradition of the bourgeois revolution, the industrial social visions of the Utopian Socialists, the unfinished tasks of the failed revolutions of 1848, the civil collective and social cooperative movements of labor organizers and anarchists, and the party as what Ferdinand Lassalle called the “permanent political campaign of the working class” aiming to win the “battle of democracy.”
But the history of socialism had exhibited antagonisms and conflicts between its various aspects and protagonists. The disputes within socialism were considered by Marxism such as Kautsky’s as not mere differences and disagreements, but rather expressed the self-contradictory character of the struggle for socialism and its tasks. The question was how the working class must work through such self-contradiction.
One catch-phrase from 19th century history preceding Kautsky was “social and political action.” Kautsky understood the proletarianized working class’s struggle for socialism to require both kinds of activity, and moreover sought to combine them in the political party for socialism and its associated civil-social movement organizations. This is what Kautsky and the greater Second International Marxism meant by “social democracy,” a legacy of the unfulfilled tasks of 1848, to achieve the “social republic.” Marxists understood this to require the independent political and social action of the working class leading the broader discontented, exploited and oppressed masses under capitalism.
Otherwise, the task of socialism in capitalism was liable to fall out into an antinomy of having to choose between social movement activism and political activity. It was Kautsky’s Marxism’s ability to comprehend and transcend this antinomy and achieve the combined tasks of both.
This is what the subsequent socialist movement since Kautsky’s time — since the failure of Second International Marxism — has foundered upon, starting at least as early as the 1930s Old Left of Stalinism and reformist Social Democracy, and especially since the 1960s New Left and its eschewing of the tasks of building the political party for socialism.
The historical wound of this history we face is that the Kautskyan political party both made the revolution and prosecuted the counterrevolution. Both Social Democracy and “Marxist-Leninism” — Stalinism — are descended from Kauskyan socialism — from this history of Marxism.
But rather than engaging and trying to work through the problematic legacy of Kautsky’s Marxism, socialists and the greater Left — and indeed democracy — has drawn back and retreated from it — avoided it.
The reason the question of Kautsky’s legacy specifically as well as that of Marxism more generally returns periodically is that it represents the unfinished work and task of history that must still be worked through.
In one way or another, we must engage the tasks — and contradiction — of social and political action in capitalism that points beyond it to socialism. So long as this task remains we will be haunted by Kautsky’s Marxism. | P
Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard, Pamela Nogales, James Vaughn
2020 summer lecture series by the Platypus Affiliated Society
Panel Discussion by the lecturers James Vaughn, Chris Cutrone, Reid Kotlas, Spencer Leonard and Pamela Nogales
The red thread running through the lecture series, and the question discussed in this final panel among the lecturers, is the persistence and legacy of the revolution 사전 파일. How does Marxism appear today in light of the American Revolution, and vice versa?
Michael Woodson interviews Chris Cutrone on capitalism, post-neoliberalism and prospects for socialism in the 21st century, for the radio program Living Art on WKPFT 90.1 FM, Houston, Texas, broadcast in two parts, May 28 and June 4, 2020 강철지그 다운로드. Part 1 addresses the difference between Ancient and Modern or traditional civilization and bourgeois society; Part 2 addresses the new contradiction of capitalism with the Industrial Revolution and the task of socialism Download Narcos Season 1.
“Socialism in the 21st century” article referenced in the interview available at:
Presented at a Platypus teach-in on the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, April 22, 2020. Video recording available online at: <https://youtu.be/01z8Mzz2IY4>.
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF LENIN’S BIRTH, I
would like to approach Lenin’s meaning today by critically examining an essay
written by the liberal political philosopher Ralph Miliband on the occasion of
Lenin’s 100th birthday in 1970
— which was the year of my own birth.
The reason for using Miliband’s essay to frame my discussion
of Lenin’s legacy is that the DSA Democratic Socialists of America magazine Jacobin republished Miliband, who is
perhaps their most important theoretical inspiration, in 2018 as a belated
treatment of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917 — or
perhaps as a way of marking the centenary of the ill-fated German Revolution of
1918, which failed as a socialist revolution but is usually regarded as a
successful democratic revolution, issuing in the Weimar Republic under the
leadership of the SPD Social-Democratic Party of Germany. There is a wound in
the apparent conflict between the desiderata of socialism and democracy, in
which the Russian tradition associated with Lenin is opposed to and by the
German tradition associated with social democracy, or, alternatively,
“democratic socialism,” by contrast with the supposedly undemocratic socialism
of Lenin, however justified or not by “Russian conditions.” The German model
seems to stand for conditions more appropriate to advanced capitalist and
liberal democratic countries.
Ralph Miliband is most famously noted for his perspective of
“parliamentary socialism” But this was not simply positive for Miliband but
critical, namely, critical of the Labour Party in the U.K. — It must be noted
that Miliband’s sons are important leaders in the Labour Party today, among its
most prominent neoliberal figures. Preceding his book on parliamentary
socialism, Miliband wrote a critical essay in 1960, “The sickness of
Labourism,” written for the very first issue of the newly minted New Left Review in 1960, in the
aftermath of Labour’s dismal election failure in 1959, Miliband’s criticism of which
of course the DSA/Jacobin cannot
digest let alone assimilate. The DSA/Jacobin
fall well below even a liberal such as Miliband — and not only because the U.S.
Democratic Party is something less than the U.K. Labour Party, either in
composition or organization. Miliband’s perspective thus figures for the DSA/Jacobin in a specifically symptomatic
way, as an indication of limits and, we must admit, ultimate failure, for
instance demonstrated by the recent fate of the Bernie Sanders Campaign as an
attempted “electoral road” to “socialism,” this year as well as back in 2016 — the
latter’s failure leading to the explosion in growth of the DSA itself 킴스 컨비니언스. Neither
Labour’s aspiration to socialism, whether back in the 1960s or more recently
under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, nor the DSA’s has come to any kind of even
minimal fruition. Thus the specter — the haunting memory — of Lenin presents
itself for our consideration today: How does Lenin hold out the promise of
Previously, I have written on several occasions on Lenin.
So I am tasked to say something today that I haven’t already said before. First
of all, I want to address the elephant in the room (or is it the 800lb
gorilla?), which is Stalinism, the apparent fate of supposed “Leninism” — which
is also a demonstrated failure, however it is recalled today in its own
peculiar way by the penchant for neo-Stalinism that seems to be an act of
defiance, épater la bourgeoisie [shock
the bourgeoisie], on the part of young (or not so young) Bohemian “Leftists,”
in their deeply disappointed bitterness and antipathy towards the political
status quo. “Leninism” means a certain antinomian nihilism — against which
Lenin himself was deeply opposed.
An irony of history is that Lenin’s legacy has succumbed to
the very thing against which he defined himself and from which his Marxism
sharply departed, namely Narodnism, the Romantic rage of the supposedly
“revolutionary” intelligentsia, who claimed — understood themselves — to
identify with the oppressed and exploited masses, but really for whom the
latter were just a sentimental image rather than a reality. Lenin would be
extremely unhappy at what he — and indeed what revolution itself, let alone
“socialism” — has come to symbolize today. Lenin was the very opposite of a Mao
or a Che or Fidel. And he was also the opposite of Stalin. How so?
The three figures, Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky, form the
heart of the issue of the Russian Revolution and its momentous effect on the
20th century, still reverberating today. Trotsky disputed Stalin and the Soviet
Union’s claim to the memory of Lenin, writing, in “Stalinism and Bolshevism” on
the 20th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1937, that Stalinism was the
“antithesis” of Bolshevism
— a loaded word, demanding specifically a dialectical
approach to the problem. What did Lenin and Trotsky have in common as Marxists from
which Stalin differed? Stalin’s policy of “socialism in one country” was the
fatal compromise of not only the Russian Revolution, but of Marxism, and indeed
of the very movement of proletarian socialism itself Vrcano do. Trotsky considered
Stalinism to be the opportunist adaptation of Marxism to the failure of the
world socialist revolution — the limiting of the revolution to Russia.
This verdict by Trotsky was not affected by the spread of
“Communism” after WWII to Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Vietnam, and, later,
Cuba. Each was an independent ostensibly “socialist” state — and by this very fact
alone represented the betrayal of socialism. Their conflicts, antagonism and
competition, including wars both “hot” and “cold,” for instance the alliance of
Mao’s China with the United States against Soviet Russia and the Warsaw Pact,
demonstrated the lie of their supposed “socialism.” Of course each side
justified this by reference to the supposed capitulation to global imperialism
by the other side. But the point is that all these states were part of the
world capitalist status quo. It was that unshaken status quo that fatally
compromised the ostensibly “socialist” aspirations of these national
revolutions. Suffice it to say that Lenin would not have considered the outcome
of the Russian Revolution or any subsequently that have sought to follow in its
footsteps to be socialism — at all. Lenin would not have considered any of them
to represent the true Marxist “dictatorship of the proletariat,” either. For Lenin,
as for Marxism more generally, the dictatorship of the proletariat (never mind
socialism) required the preponderant power over global capitalism world-wide,
that is, victory in the core capitalist countries. This of course has never yet
happened. So its correctness is an open question.
In his 1970 Lenin centenary essay, Miliband chose to address
Lenin’s pamphlet on State and Revolution,
an obvious choice to get at the heart of the issue of Lenin’s Stalinist legacy.
But Miliband shares a great deal of assumptions with Stalinism. For one, the
national-state framing of the question of socialism. But more importantly,
Miliband like Stalinism elides the non-identity of the state and society, of
political and social power, and hence of political and social revolution Download it in the wind. Miliband
calls this the problem of “authority.” In this is evoked not only the
liberal-democratic but also the anarchist critique of not merely Leninism but
Marxism itself. Miliband acknowledges that indeed the problem touched on by
Lenin on revolution and the state goes to the heart of Marxism, namely, to the
issue of the Marxist perspective on the necessity of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, which Marx considered his only real and essential original
contribution to socialism.
In 1917, Lenin was accused of “assuming the vacant throne of
Bakunin” in calling for “all power to the soviets [workers and soldiers
councils].” — Indeed, Miliband’s choice of Lenin’s writings, The State and Revolution, written in the
year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, is considered Lenin’s most anarchist or at
least libertarian text. Lenin’s critics accused him of regressing to
pre-Marxian socialism and neglecting the developed Marxist political
perspective on socialist revolution as the majority action by the working
class, reverting instead to putschism or falling back on minority political
action. This is not merely due to the minority numbers of the industrial
working class in majority peasant Russia but also and especially the minority
status of Lenin’s Bolshevik Communist Party, as opposed to the majority
socialists of Socialist Revolutionaries and Menshevik Social Democrats, as well
as of non-party socialists such as anarchist currents of various tendencies,
some of whom were indeed critical of the anarchist legacy of Bakunin himself.
Bakunin is infamous for his idea of the “invisible dictatorship” of conscious
revolutionaries coordinating the otherwise spontaneous action of the masses to
success — apparently repeating the early history of the “revolutionary
conspiracy” of Blanqui in the era of the Revolution of 1848. But what was and
why did Bakunin hold his perspective on the supposed “invisible dictatorship”? Marxism
considered it the corollary — the complementary “opposite” — of the Bonapartist
capitalist state, with its paranoiac Orwellian character of subordinating
society through society’s own complicity in the inevitable authoritarianism — the
blind social compulsion — of capitalism, to which everyone was subject, and in
which both and neither everyone’s and no one’s interests are truly represented.
Bakunin’s “invisible dictatorship” was not meant to dominate but facilitate the
self-emancipation of the people themselves. — So was Lenin’s — Marxism’s — political
party for socialist revolution Download one fun man op.
Lenin has of course been accused of the opposite tendency from anarchism, namely of being a Lassallean or “state” socialist. Lenin’s The State and Revolution drew most heavily on Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme, attacking the Lassalleanism of the programme of the new Social-Democratic Party of Germany at its founding in 1875. So this raises the question of the specific role of the political party for Marxism: Does it lead inevitably to statism? The history of ostensible “Leninism” in Stalinism seems to demonstrate so. The antinomical contrary interpretations of Lenin — libertarian vs. authoritarian, statist vs. anarchist, liberal vs. democratic — are not due to some inconsistency or aporia in Lenin or in Marxism itself — as Miliband for one thought — but are rather due to the contradictory nature of capitalism itself, which affects the way its political tasks appear, calling for opposed solutions. The question is Marxism’s self-consciousness of this phenomenon — Lenin’s awareness and consciously deliberate political pursuit of socialism under such contradictory conditions.
The history of Marxism regarding rival currents in socialism
represented by Lassalle and Bakunin must be addressed in terms of how Marxism
thought it overcame the dispute between social and political action — between
anarchism and statism — as a phenomenon of antinomies of capitalism, namely,
the need for both political and social action to overcome the contradiction of
capitalist production in society. This was the necessary role of the mass
political party for socialism, to link the required social and political
action. Such mediation was not meant to temper or alleviate the contradiction
between political and social action — between statism and anarchism — but
rather to embody and in certain respects exacerbate the contradiction.
Marxism was not some reconciled synthesis of anarchism and
statism, a happy medium between the two, but rather actively took up — “sublated”
so to speak — the contradiction between them as a practical task, regarding the
conflict in the socialist movement as an expression of the contradiction of
capitalism, from which socialism was of course not free. There is not a
question of abstract principles — supposed libertarian vs. authoritarian
socialism — but rather the real movement of history in capitalism in which
socialism is inextricably bound up 인터넷 보안설정. Positively: Lenin called for overcoming
capitalism on the basis of capitalism itself, which also means from within the
self-contradiction of socialism.
Lenin stands accused of Blanquism. The 19th century
socialist Louis Auguste Blanqui gets a bad rap for his perspective of
“revolutionary conspiracy” to overthrow the state. For Blanqui, such
revolutionary political action was not itself meant to achieve socialism, but
rather to clear the way for the people themselves to achieve socialism through
their social action freed from domination by the capitalist state.
Miliband is at best what Marx/ism would have considered a “petit
bourgeois socialist.” But really he was a liberal, albeit under 20th century
conditions of advanced late capitalism. What does this mean? It is about the
attitude towards the capitalist state. The predecessor to Bakunin, Proudhon,
the inventor of “anarchism” per se, was coldly neutral towards the Revolution
of 1848, but afterwards oriented positively towards the post-1848 President of
the 2nd Republic, Louis Bonaparte, especially after his coup d’état establishing the 2nd Empire. This is because Proudhon,
while hostile to the state as such, still considered the Bonapartist state a
potential temporary ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie. Proudhon’s
apparent opposite, the “statist socialist” Ferdinand Lassalle had a similar
positive orientation towards the eventual first Chancellor of the Prussian
Empire Kaiserreich, Bismarck, as an ally against the capitalist bourgeoisie — Bismarck
who infamously said that the results of the 1848 Revolution demonstrated that
not popular assemblies but rather “blood and iron” would solve the pressing
political issues of the day. In this was recapitulated the old post-Renaissance
alliance of the emergent bourgeoisie — the new free city-states — with the
Absolutist Monarchy against the feudal aristocracy.
The 20th century social-democratic welfare state is the
inheritor of such Bonapartism in the capitalist state — Bismarckism, etc. For
instance, Efraim Carlebach has written of the late 19th century Fabian
socialist enthusiasm for Bismarck from which the U.K. Labour Party historically
— the Labour Party replaced and inherited the role of the Liberal Party in the
U.K., which had represented the working class, especially its organization in
labor unions. The Labour Party arose in the period of Progressivism — progressive
liberalism — and progressive liberals around the world, such as for instance
Theodore Roosevelt in the U.S., were inspired by Wilhelmine Germany that was
founded by Bismarck, specifically Bismarck as the founder of the welfare state.
Bismarck’s welfare state provisions were made long before the socialists were
any kind of real political threat. The welfare state has always been a police
measure and not a compromise with the working class. Indeed socialists
historically rejected the welfare state — this hostility only changed in the
1930s, with the Stalinist adoption of the People’s Front against fascism and
its positive orientation towards progressive liberal democracy.
Pre-WWI Wilhelmine Germany was considered at the time progressive
and indeed liberal, part of the greater era’s progressive liberal development
of capitalism — which was opposed by contemporary socialists under Marxist
leadership. But by conflating state and society in the category of “authority,”
further obscured by the question of “democracy,” Miliband expresses the
liquidation of Marxism into statism — Miliband assumes the Bonapartism of the
capitalist state, regarding the difference of socialism as one of mere policy,
for instance the policies pursued by the state that supposedly serve one group —
say, capitalists or workers — over others. This expresses a tension — indeed
contradiction — between liberalism and democracy. This contradiction is often
mistaken for that of liberalism versus socialism, as for instance by the
post-20th century “Left” going back to the 1930s Stalinist era of the Communist
Party’s alliance with progressive liberals in support of FDR’s New Deal, whose
history is expressed today by DSA/Jacobin.
For Lenin, by contrast, the issue of politics — and hence of
proletarian socialism — is not of what is being done, but rather of who is
doing it. The criterion of socialism for Marxism such as Lenin’s is the
activity of the working class — or lack thereof. The socialist revolution and
the political regime of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not for Lenin the
achievement of socialism but rather its mere precondition, opening the door to
the self-transformation of society beyond capitalism led by the — “dictatorship,”
or social preponderance, preponderance of social power — of the working class.
Without this, it is inevitable that the state serves rather not the interests
of the capitalists as a social group but rather the imperatives of capital,
which is different. For Lenin, the necessary dictatorship of the proletariat was
the highest form of capitalism — meaning capitalism brought to highest level of
politics and hence of potentially working through its social
self-contradictions — and not yet socialism — meaning not yet even the
overcoming of capitalism.
By equating the capitalist welfare state with socialism,
with the only remaining criterion the democratic self-governance of the working
class, Miliband by contrast elided the crucial Marxist distinction between the
dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism. For Miliband, what made the
state socialist or not was the degree of supposed “workers’ democracy.” — In
this way, Miliband serves very well to articulate the current Jacobin/DSA identification of its
political goals with “democratic socialism.” But, like Miliband, Jacobin/DSA falls prey to the issue of
the policies pursued by the state as the criterion of socialism, however
without Miliband’s recognition of the difference between (social-democratic
welfare state) policies pursued by capitalist politicians vs. by the working
Lenin pursued the political and social power — the social
and political revolution — of the working class as not the ultimate goal but
rather the “next necessary step” in the history of capitalism leading — hopefully
— to its self-overcoming in socialism. As a Marxist, Lenin was very sober and
clear-eyed — unsentimental — about the actual political and social tasks of the
struggle for socialism — what they were and what they were not.
In harking back to the manifest impasse of the mid-20th
century capitalist welfare state registered by Miliband, however through
identifying this with the alleged limits of Lenin’s and greater Marxism’s
consciousness of the problem, but without proper recognition of its true nature
in capitalism, those such as Jacobin/DSA
actively obfuscate, bury and forget, not Marxism such as Lenin’s, or the goal
of socialism, but rather the actual problem of capitalism they are trying to
confront, obscuring it still further.
The “Left” today such as DSA/Jacobin wants the restoration of pre-neoliberal progressive
capitalism, for instance the pre-neoliberal politics of the U.K. Labour Party —
or indeed simply the pre-neoliberal Democrats. Their misuse of the label
“socialism” and abuse of “Marxism,” including even the memory of Lenin and their
bandying about of the word “revolution,” is overwrought and in the service of
progressive capitalism. This is an utter travesty of socialism, Marxism, and
the memory of Lenin.
On the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, we owe him at
least the thought that what he consciously recognized and actually pursued as a
Marxist be remembered properly and not falsified — and certainly not in the
interest of seeking, by sharp contrast to Lenin, the “democratic” legitimation
of capitalism, which even liberals such as Ralph Miliband acknowledged to be a
deep problem afflicting contemporary society and its supposed “welfare” state. By
reckoning with what Marxists such as Lenin understood as the real problem and
actual political tasks of capitalism, there is yet hope that we will resume the
true socialist pursuit of actually overcoming it. | P
Postscript: On Jacobin’s defense of Miliband contra Lenin
Longtime DSA member and Publisher and Editor of Jacobin magazine Bhaskar Sunkara
responded to my critique of Ralph Miliband by interviewing Leo Panitch of the Socialist Register on Jacobin’s YouTube broadcast Stay at Home #29 of April 27, 2020.
Sunkara has previously stated that rather than a follower of Lenin or Kautsky,
he is a follower of Miliband. Sunkara and Panitch were eager to defend Miliband’s
socialist bona fides against my
calling him a liberal, but what they argued confirmed my understanding of
Miliband as a liberal and not a socialist let alone a Marxist. The issue is
indeed one of the state and revolution. It is not, as Panitch asserted in the
interview, a matter of political “pluralism” in socialism.
Panitch, who claims Miliband as an important mentor figure,
spoke at a Platypus public forum panel discussion in Halifax in January 2015 on
the meaning of political party for the Left, and observed in his prepared
opening remarks that in the 50 years between 1870 and 1920 — Lenin’s
there took place the first and as yet only time in history when the subaltern
have organized themselves as a political force.
In his interview with Sunkara on Miliband, Panitch now claims that Lenin’s strategy
which was that of 2nd International Marxism as a whole, for instance by Karl Kautsky,
Rosa Luxemburg, Eugene Debs et al —of replacing the capitalist state with
the organizations of the working class that had been built up by the socialist
political party before the revolution, was invalidated by the historical
experience of the 20th century. Instead, according to Panitch, the existing liberal
democratic capitalist state was to provide the means to achieve socialism. This
is because it is supposedly no longer a state of capitalists but rather one
committed to capitalism: committed to capital accumulation. But Marxism always
considered it to be so: Bonapartist management of capitalism in political liberal
Panitch claims that Miliband’s critique of the U.K. Labour
Party was in its Fabian dogma of “educating the ruling class in socialism
through the state,” whereas socialists would instead “educate the working class
in socialism through the state.” But Lenin and other Marxists considered the
essential education of the working class in the necessity of socialism to take
place through its “class struggle” under capitalism — its struggle as a class to
constitute itself as a revolutionary force — in which it built its civil
social organizations and political parties aiming to take political and social —
power. Panitch condemns Lenin for his allegedly violent vision of the overthrow
of the capitalist state and replacing it with a revolutionary workers state —
the infamous “dictatorship of the proletariat” always envisioned by Marxism.
Thus Panitch condemns the Marxist perspective on proletarian socialist revolution per se. But the question for Lenin and other Marxists was not revolution as a strategy — they were not dogmatic “revolutionists” as opposed to reformists — but rather the inevitability of capitalist crisis and hence the inevitability of political and social revolution. The only question was whether and how the working class would have the political means to turn the revolution of inevitable capitalist crisis into potential political and social revolution leading to socialism. By abandoning this Marxist perspective on revolution — which Miliband himself importantly did not rule out — Panitch and Sunkara along with Jacobin/DSA do indeed articulate a liberal democratic and not proletarian socialist let alone Marxist politics. | P