Marxist Economics? /Lukacs

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Sat Sep 24 05:59:40 MDT 1994


	I too find the economic analyses boring and systematically delete
them. Economists must find them interesting but literary critics may not.
I would not conclude that literary or cultural types are, as a result,
lazy or blind to class differences. The kinds and forms of class
differences are matters of dispute among cultural theorists.

	In any event I mean to respond to Andy's comments on Lukacs. Andy
writes Basically, the argument is that the *left ethic* of the
pre-Marxist Lukacs,
while
it meant that he could not translate his opposition to the reified world
into a
practical programme, was incompatible with any kind of realpolitik. The
marxist
Lukacs collapses this ethic into an argument that the Communist Party
represents
the 'organised form of the class consciousness of the proletariat', and
it is
through this theory that Lukacs performs an accomodation with Stalinism.

The assumption of this argument is that individual ethics lets one
establish a unity of theory and practice but political commitments to a
party lead one to accept Stalinism or its equivalent. More precisely, the
argument says that Lukacs defends the "organized form of the class
consciousness of the proletariot" in order to accommodate Stalinism. This
latter claims collapses a whole number of historical steps in Lukacs'
development. I believe that he wrote the "reification and class
consciousness" essay in 1919 or thereabouts, when the German workingclass
groups, like their Russian equivalents, were still fairly radical. When
that radical movement -- the German -- failed, Lukacs, who gained
distinction as a German commissar of culture -- moved to Russia to join
the Leninists. Stalin does not gain any effective power in the party
until 1926 or 27, and Lukacs always criticized and opposed Stalin. In
fact, much of Lukacs' subsequent and very influential work can be read as
a defense of the critical ideals violated by the socialist realism which
the Stalinists promoted. OF course, Lukacs did not openly and explicitly
condemn Stalin; rather, he identified Stalin with a type of communism,
which he called war communism, and whose decline he announced in a
positive review of Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
In general, I think that the claim that individual ethics preserves a
unity of theory and practice while a collective political practice --
workingclass parties -- lead to Stalinism does not really get at the
dynamic which led Lukacs to his subsequent and rather difficult
positions.
	No doubt I have misread Andy's position.
Philip Goldstein


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