RSS FeedRSS FeedLivestreamLivestreamVimeoVimeoTwitterTwitterFacebook GroupFacebook Group
You are here: Platypus /Archive for tag marxist
Play

Richard Rubin
Lecture 7:
1953-1963

Part of the Summer 2012 Platypus Affiliated Society Primary Reading Group Lecture Series: Trotsky and Trotskyism

• recommended / + supplemental reading

Week 7 Readings:

+ Cornelius Castoriadis, “The workers and organization” (1959)
• Cliff Slaughter, “What is revolutionary leadership?” (1960)
• Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party/U.S., “In defense of a revolutionary perspective” (1962)
+ Tony Cliff, “The coming Russian revolution” (final chapter of Russia: A Marxist Analysis, 1964)
+ Hal Draper, “The two souls of socialism” (1966)
+ Isaac Deutscher, “Marxism in our time” (1965)
+ Murray Bookchin, “Listen, Marxist!” (1969)
• Spartacist League, “Genesis of Pabloism” (1972)

CHRIS CUTRONE WRITES, “What the usual interpretive emphasis on Lukács occludes is that the Frankfurt School writers grappled not only with the problem of Stalinism but with that of ‘anti-Stalinism’ as well.” This statement is well founded, considering how Korsch’s troubled relationship with Adorno and Horkheimer was paralleled by Sohn-Rethel’s with those two during the same period; not to mention the later dialogues Dunayevskaya had with Marcuse and Fromm.
KARL KORSCH'S SEMINAL ESSAY “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923) was first published in English, translated by Fred Halliday, in 1970 by Monthly Review Press. In 2008, they reprinted the volume, which also contains some important shorter essays, as part of their new “Classics” series.
Play

Re: Platypus:

"They had friends, they had enemies, they fought, and exactly through this they demonstrated their right to exist."

-- Trotsky, on the history of new political and artistic movements (1938)

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/06/artpol.htm

Not a single progressive idea has begun with a “mass base,” otherwise it would not have been a progressive idea. It is only in its last stage that the idea finds its masses -- if, of course, it answers the needs of progress. All great movements have begun as “splinters” of older movements. In the beginning, Christianity was only a “splinter” of Judaism; Protestantism a “splinter” of Catholicism, that is to say decayed Christianity. The group of Marx and Engels came into existence as a “splinter” of the Hegelian Left. The Communist International germinated during the war from the “splinters” of the Social Democratic International. If these pioneers found themselves able to create a mass base, it was precisely because they did not fear isolation. They knew beforehand that the quality of their ideas would be transformed into quantity. These “splinters” did not suffer from anemia; on the contrary, they carried within themselves the germs of the great historical movements of tomorrow. . . .

When an artistic [like a political] tendency has exhausted its creative resources, creative “splinters” separate from it, which are able to look at the world with new eyes. The more daring the pioneers show in their ideas and actions, the more bitterly they oppose themselves to established authority which rests on a conservative “mass base,” the more conventional souls, skeptics, and snobs are inclined to see in the pioneers, impotent eccentrics or “anemic splinters.” But in the last analysis it is the conventional souls, skeptics and snobs who are wrong -- and life passes them by. . . .

The ideological base of the conflict between the [Trotskyist] Fourth International and the [Stalinist, mainstream Communist] Third International is the profound disagreement not only on the tasks of the party but in general on the entire material and spiritual life of mankind. . . .

“Independence” and “freedom” are two empty notions. But I am ready to grant that “independence” and “freedom” as you understand them represent some kind of actual cultural value. Excellent! But then it is necessary to defend them with sword, or at least with whip, in hand. Every new artistic or literary tendency (naturalism, symbolism, futurism, cubism, expressionism and so forth and so on) has begun with a “scandal,” breaking the old respected crockery, bruising many established authorities. . . . [T]hese people -- artists, as well as literary critics -- had something to say. They had friends, they had enemies, they fought, and exactly through this they demonstrated their right to exist.

So far as your publication [Partisan Review] is concerned, it wishes, in the main instance, apparently to demonstrate its respectability. You defend yourselves from the Stalinists like well-behaved young ladies whom street rowdies insult. “Why are we attacked?” you complain “we want only one thing: to live and let others live.” Such a policy cannot gain success. . . .

[S]erious success has never yet been based on political, cultural and esthetic disorientation.

I wanted to hope that this was but a temporary condition and that the publishers of Partisan Review would cease to be afraid of themselves. I must say, however, that the Symposium outlined by you is not at all capable of strengthening these hopes. You phrase the question about Marxism as if you were beginning history from a clean page. The very Symposium title itself sounds extremely pretentious and at the same time confused. The majority of the writers whom you have invited have shown by their whole past -- alas! -- a complete incapacity for theoretical thinking. Some of them are political corpses. How can a corpse be entrusted with deciding whether Marxism is a living force? . . .

Currents of the highest tension are active in all fields of culture and ideology. You evidently wish to create a small cultural monastery, guarding itself from the outside world by skepticism, agnosticism and respectability. Such an endeavor does not open up any kind of perspective.

It is entirely possible that the tone of this letter will appear to you as sharp, impermissible, and “sectarian.” In my eyes this would constitute merely supplementary proof of the fact that you wish to publish a peaceful “little” magazine without participating actively in the cultural life of your epoch.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/06/artpol.htm

Play

Re: Platypus:

"They had friends, they had enemies, they fought, and exactly through this they demonstrated their right to exist."

-- Trotsky, on the history of new political and artistic movements (1938)

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/06/artpol.htm

Not a single progressive idea has begun with a “mass base,” otherwise it would not have been a progressive idea. It is only in its last stage that the idea finds its masses -- if, of course, it answers the needs of progress. All great movements have begun as “splinters” of older movements. In the beginning, Christianity was only a “splinter” of Judaism; Protestantism a “splinter” of Catholicism, that is to say decayed Christianity. The group of Marx and Engels came into existence as a “splinter” of the Hegelian Left. The Communist International germinated during the war from the “splinters” of the Social Democratic International. If these pioneers found themselves able to create a mass base, it was precisely because they did not fear isolation. They knew beforehand that the quality of their ideas would be transformed into quantity. These “splinters” did not suffer from anemia; on the contrary, they carried within themselves the germs of the great historical movements of tomorrow. . . .

When an artistic [like a political] tendency has exhausted its creative resources, creative “splinters” separate from it, which are able to look at the world with new eyes. The more daring the pioneers show in their ideas and actions, the more bitterly they oppose themselves to established authority which rests on a conservative “mass base,” the more conventional souls, skeptics, and snobs are inclined to see in the pioneers, impotent eccentrics or “anemic splinters.” But in the last analysis it is the conventional souls, skeptics and snobs who are wrong -- and life passes them by. . . .

The ideological base of the conflict between the [Trotskyist] Fourth International and the [Stalinist, mainstream Communist] Third International is the profound disagreement not only on the tasks of the party but in general on the entire material and spiritual life of mankind. . . .

“Independence” and “freedom” are two empty notions. But I am ready to grant that “independence” and “freedom” as you understand them represent some kind of actual cultural value. Excellent! But then it is necessary to defend them with sword, or at least with whip, in hand. Every new artistic or literary tendency (naturalism, symbolism, futurism, cubism, expressionism and so forth and so on) has begun with a “scandal,” breaking the old respected crockery, bruising many established authorities. . . . [T]hese people -- artists, as well as literary critics -- had something to say. They had friends, they had enemies, they fought, and exactly through this they demonstrated their right to exist.

So far as your publication [Partisan Review] is concerned, it wishes, in the main instance, apparently to demonstrate its respectability. You defend yourselves from the Stalinists like well-behaved young ladies whom street rowdies insult. “Why are we attacked?” you complain “we want only one thing: to live and let others live.” Such a policy cannot gain success. . . .

[S]erious success has never yet been based on political, cultural and esthetic disorientation.

I wanted to hope that this was but a temporary condition and that the publishers of Partisan Review would cease to be afraid of themselves. I must say, however, that the Symposium outlined by you is not at all capable of strengthening these hopes. You phrase the question about Marxism as if you were beginning history from a clean page. The very Symposium title itself sounds extremely pretentious and at the same time confused. The majority of the writers whom you have invited have shown by their whole past -- alas! -- a complete incapacity for theoretical thinking. Some of them are political corpses. How can a corpse be entrusted with deciding whether Marxism is a living force? . . .

Currents of the highest tension are active in all fields of culture and ideology. You evidently wish to create a small cultural monastery, guarding itself from the outside world by skepticism, agnosticism and respectability. Such an endeavor does not open up any kind of perspective.

It is entirely possible that the tone of this letter will appear to you as sharp, impermissible, and “sectarian.” In my eyes this would constitute merely supplementary proof of the fact that you wish to publish a peaceful “little” magazine without participating actively in the cultural life of your epoch.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/06/artpol.htm

Play

Platypus chapter at SAIC meets Sundays at

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 S. Michigan Ave.

Room 707

1-4pm

[contact: ian.morrison.a@gmail.com]
Play

Platypus chapter at University of Chicago meets Sundays at
Reynolds Club 5706 S. University Ave.

2nd floor South Lounge
2-5PM
For more information contact mtorre3@artic.edu

Play

1960s paths not taken (1): Civil Rights - Black Power

bayard_rustin2

Platypus Marxist readings for Sunday January 11, 2009

· Richard Fraser, Two Lectures on the Black Question in America and Revolutionary
Integrationism
(1953)


· James Robertson and Shirley Stoute, "For Black Trotskyism" (1963)

Spartacist League, "Black and Red — Class Struggle Road to Negro Freedom" (1966)

· Bayard Rustin, "The Failure of Black Separatism" (1970)

At two locations in Chicago:

University of Chicago
Reynolds Club 5706 S. University Ave.
2nd floor South Lounge
2-5PM

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
112 S. Michigan Ave.
room 707 (7th floor)
1-4PM

If you are not affiliated with SAIC and would like to participate in the reading group contact lrojas@saic.edu

Play

SAIC chapter meets Sundays at
112 S. Michigan Ave.
room 707 (7th floor)
1-4PM

Contact lrojas@saic.edu if you are not affiliated with SAIC.

For the “Left” that is critical of him, the most common comparison made of Obama is to Bill Clinton. This critique of Obama, as of Clinton, denounces his “Centrism,” the trajectory he appears to continue from the “new” Democratic Party of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) expressed by Clinton and Gore’s election in 1992. Clinton’s election was seen as part of the triumph of “Third Way” politics that contemporaneously found expression in Tony Blair’s “New” Labour Party in Britain.