Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Aug 25 09:43:03 MDT 1995

I was disturbed to read this from Lou Proyect:

> I for one would love to hear a continuing discussion between Scott and
> Jeff, two exemplary worker-communists. I'm totally removed from the world
> of the working-class and I would like to find out what's going on the
> UAW-USW-IAM merger, Labor Party advocates, AFL-CIO union elections, etc.
> I'm up here in the upper east side of manhattan nibbling on arugula salad
> and sipping Perrier every night, so I need information from the other
> side of the tracks.

There is nothing wrong with eating arugula salad. In solidarity with the
working class, must we confine ourselves to iceberg and cello tomatoes,
washed down with Kost Kutter Kola? Italian communists eat sundried
tomatoes; why can't we?

In her exposition, Lisa described arugula as "trendy." The arugula boom was
10 years ago; it is now a member in good standing of the salad green

I must object to this strain of vulgar Cuisinism infecting this list. As a
Marxist no less orthodox than Ernest Mandel put it:

Any rejection of the so-called 'consumer society' which moves beyond
justified condemnation of the commercialization and dehumanization of
consumption by capitalism to attack the historical extension of needs and
consumption in general (i.e., moves from social criticism to a critique of
civilization), turns back the clock from scientific to utopian socialism
and from historical materialism to idealism. Marx fully appreciated and
stressed the civilizing function of capital [footnote: Grundrisse, pp.
409-410], which he saw as the necessary preparation of the material basis
for rich individuality.... For socialists, rejection of capitalist
'consumer society' can therefore never imply rejection of the extension and
differntiation of needs as a whole, or any return to the primitive natural
state of these needs; their aim is necessarily the development of a 'rich
individuality' for the whole of mankind [sic].... Marx himself deliberately
pointed out the need to work out a system of needs, which has nothing to do
with the neo-asceticism peddled in some circles as Marxist orthodoxy
[footnotes: Grundrisse, pp. 409, 528; TSV III: pp. 256-257, 260-261].

Another reason to miss Mandel....



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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