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Archive for the ‘Marx’ Category

From Herbert Marcuse’s Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory:

‘The concept that definitely connects Marx’s dialectic with the history of class society is the concept of necessity. The dialectical laws are necessary laws; the various forms of class society necessarily perish from their inner contradictions. The laws of capitalism work with ‘iron necessity towards inevitable results,’ Marx says. This necessity does not, however, apply to the positive transformation of capitalist society. It is true, Marx assumed that the same mechanisms that bring about the concentration and centralization of capital also produce ‘the socialization of labor’. ‘Capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation,’ namely, property based ‘on cooperation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production’. Nevertheless, it would be a distortion of the entire significance of Marxian theory to argue from the inexorable necessity that governs the development of capitalism to a similar necessity in the matter of transformation to socialism. When capitalism is negated, social processes no longer stand under the rule of blind natural laws. This is precisely what distinguishes the nature of the new from the old. The transition from capitalism’s inevitable death to socialism is necessary, but only in the sense that the full development of the individual is necessary. The new social union of individuals, again, is necessary, but only in the sense that it is necessary to use available productive forces for the general satisfaction of all individuals. It is the realization of freedom and happiness that necessitates the establishment of an order wherein associated individuals will determine the organization of their life. We have already emphasized that the qualities of the future society are reflected in the current forces that are driving towards its realization. There can be no blind necessity in tendencies that terminate in a free and self-conscious society. The negation of capitalism begins within capitalism itself, but even in the phases that precede revolution there is active the rational spontaneity that will animate the post-revolutionary phases. The revolution depends indeed upon a totality of objective conditions: it requires a certain attained level of material and intellectual culture, a self-conscious and organized working class on an international scale, acute class struggle. These become revolutionary conditions, however, only if seized upon and directed by a conscious activity that has in mind the socialist goal. Not the slightest natural necessity or automatic inevitability guarantees the transition from capitalism to socialism.’

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In a shameless bid to increase traffic to my otherwise unnoticeable little blog, I’ve uploaded David Harvey’s recent interview about capitalism for those who can’t watch it through the BBC.

David Harvey on Capitalism Today from Herr Naphta on Vimeo.

Thanks to Antonovich from the Lenin’s Tomb comments for originally ripping it.

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Though I have no wish to contribute to the vastly over-inflated role which the Tea Parties occupy in the current liberal imagination, I can’t help but repost this passage from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, where Marx describes the bourgeoisie’s retreat, in the face of proletarian insurrection, from its own previously held ideals.  This narrative of bourgeois ideology would go on to play an important role in Georg Lukács’ theory of the novel, of which more will be said in an upcoming post.  For now, here is Marx.

As monosyllabic on the platform as in the press. Flat as a riddle whose answer is known in advance. Whether it was a question of the right of petition or the tax on wine, freedom of the press or free trade, the clubs or the municipal charter, protection of personal liberty or regulation of the state budget, the watchword constantly recurs, the theme remains always the same, the verdict is ever ready and invariably reads: “Socialism!” Even bourgeois liberalism is declared socialistic, bourgeois enlightenment socialistic, bourgeois financial reform socialistic. It was socialistic to build a railway where a canal already existed, and it was socialistic to defend oneself with a cane when one was attacked with a rapier.

Sound familiar?

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