WHY IS THERE WAR? Because capitalism is self-contradictory, and this is expressed in conflicts among workers as well as among capitalists, and between “national” working classes and capitalist states, between politicians and political parties both within and between nation-states, and often these conflicts are violent.
BENEDICT CRYPTOFASH CRITICIZES me for using the “Left” as a concept for its alleged idealism and metaphysical essentialism. But by identifying the “Left” with a group of people, e.g. members of Jacobin/DSA et al., Cryptofash reifies the phenomenon of the Left, and in the worst possible way, by personalizing it.
LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI’S “THE CONCEPT OF THE LEFT” (1958) is useful for addressing what it means to say that there is a Left and a Right in Marxism. The actual occasion for Kołakowski’s article was Soviet Premier and Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin for “crimes against Leninism” and against socialism. What did this mean?
MY PRINCIPAL TEACHERS IN MARXISM were the Spartacist League, Adolph Reed and Moishe Postone — Theodor Adorno was also a crucial teacher, through his writings, which Reed had pointed me towards when we met up in Chicago after I graduated from college. The title of this essay is an homage to Adolph’s own “Paths to Critical Theory,” which narrates his political and theoretical coming to consciousness.
THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT is the most controversial proposition by Marxism — and is indeed how Marxism distinguishes itself politically, ideologically and theoretically, and intellectually as well as practically and organizationally.