The Future

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Tue Nov 29 05:53:51 MST 1994


Norman,

	I thought that Warren Montag wrote something on The Future Lasts
Forever and that his piece was published in the proceedings of that
Rethinking Marxism conference.

	Many of the reviews of The Future Lasts Forever are pretty bad --
has anyone seen any? They complain that Althusser is a Stalinist who
fails to understand the horrors of communism and that he gives a partial,
tendentious reading of Marx. What is curious about this complain is that
everyone knows that the partial reading is his way of opposing
traditional Marxism-Leninism. He establishes a "scientific" Marx whose
systematicity, rather than his dogmas, oppose the traditional historical
Marx. On this basis he attacks Marxism-Leninism, humanist Marxism, and
the French and the Soviet CPs. Althusser also praises the French CP - it
provides the broadest social experience, has the most practical political
wisdom, is the strongest left force, especially after WWII. The reviews
cannot see how he can critique and praise the French CP because they
won't allow that it would tolerate an internal, intellectual opposition
or that it could reform in light of his critiques. They construe him,
instead, as the "foremost theorist" of the CP who just did not understand
Marx  and who, in the process, fooled or misled radical academics around
the world.

	Althusser's admitting that he did not know much Marx justified
such negative reactions, yet this admission shows a certain integrity or
honesty which the reviewers miss. HIs claim to distinction was not based
on his mastery of Marx's work but on his care and his rigor in developing
his account of Marx. In political matters, care and rigor count for a
lot.

Philip Goldstein


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