The Platypus Review
Latest Issue: #112
2018 HAS BEEN A YEAR OF COMMEMORATION and confusion for the French Left. The fiftieth anniversary of May ‘68 has been marked by museums exhibitions, book launches, and quaintly nostalgic demonstrations, leaving the anniversary proceedings as less a reckoning than a leftist-version of Woodstock II.
Young Marx is a production at the end of history. It is a production led by a Marx whose ideas are parodied, whitewashed, and made to seem out of touch with contemporary reality.
In his still unrivalled 1930 History of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky celebrated the type of Marxist revolutionaries who, under Vladimir Lenin’s leadership, carried out the October 1917 insurrection in Petrograd. “Bolshevism created the type of authentic revolutionist,” he recalled, “who subordinates to historic goals irreconcilable with contemporary society the conditions of his personal existence, his ideas, and his moral judgments. The necessary distance from bourgeois ideology was kept in the party by a vigilant irreconcilability whose inspirer was Lenin.”
Jim Igor Kallenberg was a dramaturg at the festival for contemporary music Wien Modern, which this year covered the 50th anniversary of 1968. In this capacity, he spoke with the composer Christian Wolff who wrote a new piece for this years edition of the festival. Christian Wolff is a centeral figure in New Music history and significant especially for the music that developed around 1968 – together with his friends and colleagues John Cage, Frederic Rzewski, Cornelius Cardew, Morton Feldman, and others in the U.S.
Taking stock of the universe of positions and goals that constitutes leftist politics today, we are left with the disquieting suspicion that a deep commonality underlies the apparent variety: What exists today is built upon the desiccated remains of what was once possible
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Platypus Review Staff
Frederik R. Heinz