LIFE IN CONTEMPORARY PAKISTAN is marked by a sense of despair and helplessness. A report commissioned by the British Council based on research conducted by the Nielsen Company recently found that only a third of the Pakistanis surveyed thought democracy was the best system for the country, a ratio roughly equal to that preferring sharia. The findings amounted to what David Martin, director of the British Council in Pakistan, called “an indictment of the failures of democracy over many years."
GIVE THE MAN full points for timing. Released less than a year after the onset in the summer of 2008 of the global economic crisis, and now available on DVD, Michael Mann’s Public Enemies captures perfectly, if unconsciously, the political condition of our time. The film tells the story of John Dillinger, a bank robber who was elevated by the desperation of the Great Depression into an iconic outlaw and an enduring American folk hero. A brilliant filmmaker, Mann must be an economic genius, if not an outright clairvoyant, to have successfully planned his film to coincide with this recent summer of American discontent. Or, if this sounds like too much, then certainly Mann was awfully lucky. For otherwise adverse conditions conspired to produce a most receptive climate for Public Enemies.
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.
The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century Toward a Theory of Historical Regression WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SAY, as Platypus does, that the Left is dead? And what does it mean to speak of the history of the Left postmortem? Our task is to address these questions. In the present, the Left has turned away from the question of how the defeated revolutionary Marxism of the first and second decades of the twentieth century continued through mid-century in the Frankfurt School.
The Decline of the Left in the 20th Century Toward a Theory of Historical Regression THE ABANDONMENT OF EMANCIPATORY POLITICS in our time has not been, as past revolutionary thinkers may have feared, an abandonment of revolution in favor of reformism. Rather, because the revolutionary overcoming of capital is no longer imagined, reformism too is dead. As the task of achieving human society beyond capital has been abandoned, nothing worthy of the name of politics takes its place, nor could it. The project of freedom has now altogether receded from view. For, while bourgeois thinkers like Hegel were no doubt mistaken in their identification of capital with freedom, they nevertheless grasped that the question of freedom only poses itself with reference to the capital problematic.