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Stalinism’s impact is difficult to see in the world today. North Korea and Cuba limp along, sponsored by a capitalist China and caudillo-ist Venezuela, respectively. The official Stalinist parties in the Western world remain, at least on paper, but tend to throw support behind Hillary Clinton or the local equivalent. In one way or another, any examination of Stalin is thus historical—not a critique of a living political movement, but of a movement situated in a time remote from our own. The object of investigation is a legacy whose practical effect in the present is deeply obscure.
Politics as a personal racket—no one has perfected this science better than the Clintons, a power couple that decided very early in their political careers on what they deemed “The Journey,” that eight years of Bill's presidency would inevitably be followed by eight years of Hillary
Famously, Clement Greenberg wrote in 1939 that the avant-garde is connected to the bourgeoisie by an “umbilical cord of gold.” This image has become so familiar that its peculiarities are rarely commented upon. The point is not simply the obvious one for Marxists, that art reflects the interests of a bourgeois class.
WRITTEN IN THE AFTERMATH of the 2008 banking crash and published in 2012, Andrew Kliman’s The Failure of Capitalist Production adds to the extensive literature on American decline. Kliman identifies the way that profits have tended to fall relative to investments since the 1970s and also the diminishing rate
On a May night in 2012, Sotheby’s sold a version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream for 119.9 million dollars, setting a new record for the price paid for a single work of art. Meanwhile, union art handlers, locked out in a months-long dispute over a new contract