PURELY ACADEMIC, MARX-BAITING, LOST MESSAGES?

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Wed Apr 12 22:58:14 MDT 1995


>I liked the seriousness of Ralph's illustration of this in a
>critique of a particular work. but when Ralph says >>  This work
>is quintessentially academic, what does that mean? Is it that it
>has no likely or possible connection with practice?

No.  Quintessentially academic means insubstantial, superficial
intellectual content or import despite a courtly display of
acquaintance with all the right literature and abstract schematic
notions.  This is quintessentially academic because its
conspicuous display of sophistication obscures the lack of any
real intellectual sophistication.  What I call philosophical
channel-surfing can only be the product of academic training and
purely academic thinking, ie. showing little more than I Have Done
the Reading.  I am now reading the final chapters of Dick Howard's
book, and it gets more contemptible the further into it one gets.
Though that is not _my_ issue, of course this academic onanism has
no possible connection with practice, as a direct consequence of
the fact that it has no possible connection with any substantive
analysis of the world or even of the world of ideas.  That Dick
Howard should be considered an authority on Marxism is criminal.
Of course he is acquainted with much of the intellectual
literature, I am sure much more than I will ever be, but his brand
of abstract fluff belongs more in an English department where such
foppery is at home.

BTW, my last batch of messages was garbled upon downloading and
one or two may have been lost.  The topics were Dick Howard, my
last post to Despain, and maybe Sayers vs Cohen.  Despain's reply
to me was garbled (my file was damaged) and I may have lost the
last part of it.

The part that I did get was pretty sad, however:

>I contend that Scientific Socialism (which seems to lack a
>humanistic ethical commitment) finds its paradigm within Marx.

What utter nonsense.

>It has occered meto be, especially in his *German Ideology*; a
>response to Stiner, Feuerbach, and Bauer; that instead of
>grounding an alternative (communism) in ethical humanism,
>developed from Feuerbach's notion of human nature, which seems
>to be Marx's notion of Species Being, seems abandoned in GI, for
>instead an insistence that communism is something that is going
>to emerge historical, regardless of any ethical commitment to
>its conception.

I would like to see (no I wouldn't really) a textual and
contextual analysis that would support this contention, especially
the last three lines above.  Of course your question is important
with respect to a critique of Stalinism, but you are wasting your
time fishing for Stalin in _The German Ideology_.  Hans, I don't
question your expertise in economics and I freely admit my own
ignorance in that area, but your irresponsibility in textual
analysis and the reconstruction of historical context hits my last
nerve.  I suggest you begin by reading the Marx vs. Stirner
chapter in Paul Thomas' KARL MARX AND THE ANARCHISTS, which I
reviewed about four months ago.  Thomas completely blows your
contention out of the water, as well as most prior Marx-Stirner
commentary.

Wait till I write my analysis of this bullshit of blaming Marx for
nurturing Stalinism by misplacing his commas.  What a convenient
distraction from examining the true social, psychological, and
ideological sources of support for Stalinism and its cousins
within the intelligentsia itself!  Who supported Stalin in the
1930s?  People like you!  Who supported Mao in the 60s?  People
like you!  Who took Eldridge Cleaver as anything but a psychopath?
People like you.  The postmodernists are the same sort of people.
The defenders of Public Enemy (at least one of these assholes is
on this list) are just those sort of people.  I've had it up to
here with them!  Your distancing yourself from the undotted i's
and uncrossed t's of Marx is a camouflage and diversion from a
real self-examination of why people like you always fall in with
social-fascist barbarism and tyranny.

The fault, dear comrades, lies not in our Marx but in ourselves.



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