WHEN IT COMES TO LYOTARD’S POSTMODERN THESIS about the end of grand narratives, from enlightenment to historicism, everybody knows he’s talking about Marx. Politically speaking, no other grand narrative survived the 19th century.
Detlev Claussen is Professor Emeritus at Leibniz University in Germany and author of Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius. He defends Critical Theory’s political relevance against both academic co-optation and the charge of retreat into the academic ivory tower. His writings investigate, among other things, Lenin’s influence on Adorno’s thought. Jan Schroeder is a member of Platypus. The following interview was conducted in German on March 21, 2017. What follows is Clara Picker’s translation of the transcript of that interview.
Nikolai Bukharin opens his “Personal Confession,” written on June 2, 1937, with a list of his “general theoretical anti-Leninist views.” The first item on the list is his “lack of understanding of dialectics and substitution of Marxist dialectics with the so-called theory of equilibrium.” To explain this lack of understanding, Bukharin continues: “[I] was under the influence of A. Bogdanov, whom I wished to interpret only in a materialist way, which unavoidably led to a peculiar eclecticism - simply put, theoretical confusion - where mechanical materialism united with empty schemas and abstractions.”