Another moribund Marxist dickfight is underway: http://philosophersforchange.org/2014/03/18/theory-and-practice-reconsidered-the-role-of-critical-theory/.
[I was unable to post this comment at the website as WordPress wouldn’t allow it.]
So this is “scientific socialism”? Does anyone really believe, can anybody believe, that the idiosyncratic academic musings above have any relevance to the real cause of socialism: the emancipation of labor? While Chris’ ruminations may provide ample fuel for spirited debate at a philosophy seminar, they at best do nothing to advance the cause, and at worst act as a brake upon it.
What a curse Marxism has been for the long-suffering laboring masses. For Marxists socialism is a riddle whose elusive solution, once properly divined, becomes the Rosetta Stone of the social revolution. Thus far every tortured explication (particularly Lenin’s) has resulted in disappointment and misery for those very same working classes in whose name the effort was undertaken.
While you Marxist theoreticians are pondering the dialectic’s next move, you might consider this: If the social revolution is the assumption of power by the productive clases (and it is nothing if not that), which is effected, as most socialists (even Marxists) would agree, by the seizure of control over the product of their collective labor, then isn’t propaganda the art of persuading these classes of the need to take power? And does it not follow that theory, if it be of any use at all, should be subordinated to that end?
Does anything in Chris’ languid expatiation bring us any closer to our goal? Lukacs and Korsch do a laudable job of elucidating the failings of Marxist theory, but they do nothing to hasten the fall of capitalism.
Socialism does not depend upon a theory! It can only be obstructed by dogmatism. It is not an academic exercise, not a solve-for-x algebra problem. We workers are human beings, not historical caricatures whose mores need to be understood by bourgeois intellectuals and corrected. We are ready for socialism now, as we are. Propaganda, in its best sense, is education. Our task as revolutionaries is to expose state and capital for the extractive, oppressive institutions they are, and to suggest a new classless social order based on equality and cooperation. That is our challenge, and Chris’ philosophical necromancy here cannot help us–at all. Nor can Marx’ immutable laws of history. The working class will decide its fate as it sees fit. Climb on board or get the fuck out of the way.
As an atheist, I don’t often quote the bible, but here is my favorite bit: “Silence your sacred assemblies and let justice burst forth.” Perhaps, Chris, you might consider it. Until then “Theory and practice reconsidered: the role of ‘critical theory’” is just more hapless Marxist irreleva.