CLJ James and Workers Councils

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Sun Aug 27 09:25:12 MDT 1995


>Castoriadis spoke on a panel on the former Soviet Union and was
>absolutely profound, in the same league as Mandel.

Well, he has 50 years behind him in dissing the Soviet Union, so I
guess he's gotten good at it.  You should see some of his essays
in POLITICAL AND SOCIAL WRITINGS (3 vols.).

>I got the impression he's some kind of Trotskyist

He was up until 1948 or so and then broke with Trotskyism.  C.L.R.
James did so in 1951.  Their two groups were allies in the 1950s
and "co-authored" some stuff.  I'm sure Castoriadis would not have
been involved with vanguard party thinking during his stint with
Socialisme ou Barbarie.  Ultimately his group went defunct, and
Castoriadis became a psychiatrist.  He also starting writing
philosophy books, such as THE IMAGINARY INSTITUTION OF SOCIETY and
LABYRINTH AT THE CROSSROADS.  I have never been tempted to acquire
this literature.  I think he has departed from Marxism more or
less.

He gave a lecture which is printed in CLR JAMES: HIS INTELLECTUAL
LEGACIES, a fat volume which represents a stage in James studies
which has seen its last days.  Castoriadis summarizes some of this
history, and makes some very stupid remarks about Marx which leads
me to question his profundity.  When people start talking about
the "capitalist imaginary", it's time for me to leave.

University of Minnesota Press had a book sale this spring, and
they were selling the three volumes at $5 apiece.  It might be too
late to get them cheap, but you can always try.


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