marx/stalinism

eugeneh eugeneh at HUMANITIES1.COHUMS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Mon Aug 8 07:07:20 MDT 1994


     Phil,

     On the matter of what is basic and what is ancillary to Marxism (for
     that, it seems to me, is what we're disagreeing about), I think we've
     known since Althusser that Marxism is much better off without Hegelian
     philosophy of history (as well as other Hegelian elements) -- which
     the writers you cite make out to be even worse than Althusser did
     (although he was out to expunge Stalinism, too).

     But this weeding out of Hegelianism leaves Marx's critique of
     capitalist political economy pretty much intact -- which I take to be
     the "basic model or plant" of Marxism anyway.  (Here I may come close
     to reproducing Jon's earlier "thesis on marxism" whereby Marx got the
     economics right and the politics wrong; as I see it, the political
     question does remain open in Marxism.)

     So here's where I think we finally disagree: I feel that the "basic
     plant" of Marxism -- the critique of capitalist political economy --
     is still healthy, but that various political offshoots of this
     critique (often but not always inspired by Hegelian philosophy of
     history) have proven disastrous.  These should be pruned so as to let
     1,000 other branches bloom.

     Gene Holland


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