Posts Tagged 'communism'



Gramsci on “Intellectualistic” Language

Gramsci circa 1922

While imprisoned under the fascist Italian regime of Mussolini, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) wrote:

It is necessary to avoid posing the problem in “intellectualistic” rather than historico-political terms.  Naturally it is not disputed that intellectual “clairvoyance” of the terms of the struggle is indispensable.  But this clairvoyance is a political value only in as much as it becomes disseminated passion, and in as much as it is the premiss for a strong will. (Gramsci, 113)

Source

Gramsci, Antonio.  Selections from the Prison Notebooks.  Eds. and trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith.  New York: International Publishers, 2008.

Advertisements

Mao on Practical Organizing and Studying Theory

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong (1893-1976), in 1930, wrote:

The method of studying the social sciences exclusively from the book is likewise extremely dangerous and may even lead one onto the road of counter-revolution.  Clear proof of this is provided by the fact that whole batches of Chinese Communists who confined themselves to books in their study of the social sciences have turned into counter-revolutionaries.  When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a “prophet” but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle.  We need Marxism in our struggle.  In our acceptance of his theory no such formalistic or mystical notion as that of “prophecy” ever enters our minds.  Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution, whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well.  Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country’s actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation.  (Mao, 42-43)

Source

Mao Tsetung.  Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tsetung.  Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1971.

Žižek and Liberal Democracy

Slavoj Zizek

Fabio Vighi and Heiko Feldner write:

[Slavoj] Žižek believes that, today, any genuine and legitimate anticapitalist stance must be complemented by an attack on liberal democracy, on the grounds that holding on to the latter functions as a blackmail against the implementations of radical political projects.  (Vighi and Feldner, 291)

Žižek’s point here is worth pondering, as it disturbs the fundamental boundaries of the standard leftist position today.  If the Left continues to adhere to the current democratic parameters (liberal democracy alied with global capitalism), it will face the same political deadlock ad infinitum-which means the Left will keep advocating a distributive justice that systematically fails to engender political passion whereas the Right will keep mobilizing various forms of obscene enjoyment (racism, proto-Fascist nationalisms, etc.).  (292)

Source

Vighi, Fabio and Heiko Feldner.  “Pathological Attachments: Slavoj Žižek on Anticapitalism and Liberal Democracy.”  Rethinking Marxism 21, no. 2 (April 2009): 290-97.

DeNazifacation and the Judicial System

Iosef Jughashvili Stalin (left) and Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian communist, converse.  Dimitrov won world reknowned fame for his vibrant defense of Communist ideals and of himself during the trial against him in Germany over the Reichstag Fire.

Iosef Jughashvili Stalin (left) and Georgi Dimitrov, a Bulgarian communist, converse. Dimitrov won world reknowned fame for his vibrant defense of Communist ideals and of himself during the trial against him in Germany over the Reichstag Fire.

Michael E. Tigar and John Mage write:

Gradually in the years after the “thaw” that followed on the death of Stalin, the rise of Khrushchev, and the end of the Korean War, the truth of the allegations could no longer be denied. It was established beyond question that Hitler’s loyal servants occupied key places from the top of the West German regime on down. West German Chancellor Adenauer’s chief of staff, Hans Globke, had played a central role in the drafting and enforcement of the infamous Nuremburg Laws and the extermination of the German Jews. Of the 160 top officers in the West German army in 1961 all but one had been a colonel or general in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. In West German university chairs in law there were professors who had written vicious articles on the “Jewish problem” in the years leading up to its “final solution.”…

The great bulk of German opposition to the Nazis had been from leftists, and it was in the government of the communist East German state—the German Democratic Republic—that it was easy to find those who had fought the fascists arms in hand, and those who truly had been opponents of the Nazis. A more promising alternative was to exculpate the Nazis—who after all had been staunch anticommunists—and in particular the Nazi legal system. A further, and more material, concern was the presence of substantial claims from Jewish victims of the Nazis, demanding restitution of property they had lost (of course always in accordance with legal process of some sort) in the first years after Hitler came to power.

Source

Tigar Michael E. and John Mage.  “The Reichstag Fire Trial 1933-2008: The Production of Law and History.”  Monthly Review 60, no. 10 (March 2009).  (Accessed June 23, 2009)

Overcoming a Series Through a Group

Sartre

In Jean-Paul Sartre‘s (1905-1980 CE) book Critique of Dialectical Reason Sartre merged Marxism with Existentialism.  Sartre stated that Marxism was the philosophy of its time and Existentialism just a small, less important, mode of thought under the umbrella of Marxism and Communism.

Sartre stated a Series was a group of people in relation to each other but with no common goal while a Group was a group of people in relation to each other, who know they are in relation to each other, and have a common unified goal and that Parti communiste français (PCF) erred in seeing the working class as a Group instead of seeing it as a Series.

It is seriality which must be overcome in order to achieve even the smallest common result (such as averting too rapid a fall of purchasing power).  But it is serialisty too which sustains the group making demands, in its very passivity, as a source of possible energy – the group, in fact, from the practical point of view of its action, can no longer conceive it except in the synthetic form of potentiality…

This means that class-being, as past, present, and future seriality, is always the ontological statute of the worker and that group praxis, as a surface dissolution of the relation of alterity [my note: “the state of being other or different] inside the class (and therefore on the surface in the worker) and as a conservative transcendence of serial being, is either the present practical reality of the common individual or his future possibility as an induced signification and as an abstract unification applying to the series from the depths of the future. (Sartre, 687-8)

Source

Sartre, Jean-Paul.  Critique of Dialectical Reason I: Theory of Practical Ensembles.  Edited by Jonathan Ree and translated by Alan Sheridan-Smith.  London: New Left Books, 1978.


Archives

My Tweet Ramblings

My Internet Ramblings

Advertisements