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In meinem Buch "Links–Nietzscheanismus. Eine Einführung" untersuche ich erstmals in umfassender Form einen nahezu übergangenen Bestandteil der Geschichte der Linken. Weder in der allgemeinen Geistesgeschichte noch in der Historiographie der linken Bewegung hat diese Strömung die Aufmerksamkeit erhalten, die sie eigentlich verdiente. Es ist Zeit das zu ändern – nicht zuletzt, weil mit dem Etikett „Links–Nietzscheanismus“ ein unabgegoltenes Erbe verbunden ist. Dieses zu verstehen kann dabei helfen, das Scheitern des linken Experiments an sich zu begreifen – und es vielleicht in Zukunft besser zu machen.
Wenige Persönlichkeiten, Adam Smith vielleicht ausgenommen, sind von der Linken derart mit Verachtung gestraft worden wie Nietzsche. Allzu beflissen ist der Philosoph des Eises und Hochgebirges in die Untiefen der rechten Reaktion verbannt oder als kurzlebige Koketterie verspottet worden, lediglich tauglich für Pubertätskrisen männlicher Jugendlicher.
HERBERT SPENCER’S GRAVE faces Marx’s at Highgate Cemetery in London. At his memorial, Spencer was honored for his anti-imperialism by Indian national liberation advocate and anti-colonialist Shyamji Krishnavarma, who funded a lectureship at Oxford in Spencer’s name.

A panel discussion held at Left Forum 2013, at Pace University, on June 9, 2013.

This panel was transcripted in Platypus Review #61 (Click on banner below to see):


Bourgeois society came into full recognition with Rousseau, who in the Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and On the Social Contract, opened its radical critique. Hegel wrote: "The principle of freedom dawned on the world in Rousseau." Marx quoted Rousseau favorably that "Whoever dares undertake to establish a people’s institutions must feel himself capable of changing, as it were, human nature... to take from man his own powers, and give him in exchange alien powers which he cannot employ without the help of other men." Rousseau posed the question of society, which Adorno wrote is a "concept of the Third Estate." Marx recognized the crisis of bourgeois society in the Industrial Revolution and workers' call for socialism. But proletarian socialism is no longer the rising force it was in Marx's time. So what remains of thinking the unrealized radicalism of bourgeois society without Marx? Kant stated that if the potential of bourgeois society was not fully achieved as the “mid-point” of freedom then Rousseau may have been right to prefer savagery against civilization’s “glittering misery.” Nietzsche warned that we might continue to be "living at the expense of the future:" "Perhaps more comfortably, less dangerously, but at the same time in a meaner style, more basely." How have thinkers of the revolutionary epoch after Rousseau, Adam Smith, Kant, Hegel, Benjamin Constant, and Nietzsche himself, contributed to the possibility of emancipation in a world after Marxism?

Chris Cutrone
Spencer Leonard
Sunit Singh

[archiveorg HistoryOfHumanity1600-1763 width=640 height=140 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true]

A lecture by Platypus member James Vaughn upon the history of humanity between 1600 and 1763, given as part of the Platypus summer 2011 radical bourgeois philosophy reading group. Held on July 27, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Platypus Summer Reading Group 2011: Radical Bourgeois Philosophy


We will address the greater context for Marx and Marxism through the issue of bourgeois radicalism in philosophy in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Discussion will emerge by working through the development from Kant and Hegel to Nietzsche, but also by reference to the Rousseauian aftermath, and the emergence of the modern society of capital, as registered by liberals such as Adam Smith and Benjamin Constant.

"The principle of freedom and its corollary, 'perfectibility,' . . . suggest that the possibilities for being human are both multiple and, literally, endless. . . . Contemporaries like Kant well understood the novelty and radical implications of Rousseau's new principle of freedom [and] appreciated his unusual stress on history as the site where the true nature of our species is simultaneously realized and perverted, revealed and distorted. A new way of thinking about the human condition had appeared. . . . As Hegel put it, 'The principle of freedom dawned on the world in Rousseau, and gave infinite strength to man, who thus apprehended himself as infinite.'"
- James Miller (author of The Passion of Michel Foucault, 2000), Introduction to Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (Hackett, 1992)