C.L.R. JAMES, KARL MARX, MAX STIRNER

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Sat Feb 18 12:14:26 MST 1995


Ralph Dumain seems to hold a curiously Manichean view of the Marx-Stirner
confrontation. Marx, the good guy in the white hat, impresses Dumain with
a greatness even more awesome than he previously supposed, whereas
Stirner, the bad guy in the black hat, is the progenitor of all that
nasty Nietzschean filth that plagues the world today. The dank darkness
of the narcissistic intellectual set against the sunshine of worker
solidarity. Could it be that things are more complex?
	I don't wish to claim that Stirner and other individualists were
without shortcomings. It is known that he became an influence on the
young Mussolini and the French fascist Robert Brasillach. Even more well
known, to the point of cliche, is the Nazi appropriation of Nietzsche.
And although it can be rejected as absurd that Stirner and Nietzsche were
protofascist thinkers, it seems a fair question to ask whether there were
flaws in their thinking that opened the door to abuse. But if this is
true of the 'psychological anarchists,' how much more true is it in the
case of Marx! Marx may well have upheld the individual to a great extent,
but see with what contempt concrete individuals have been treated by
marxist parties and states. You want to talk about the narcissism of
intellectuals? Nothing could beat the arrogance and narcissism of
Bolshevism's technocratic intelligentsia. True, more of this degeneration
of consciousness can be blamed on Engels, but Marx himself cannot be
entirely exonerated. Bakunin was right to predict the tyranny of the
socialist state and science.
	Intellectuals as a class *should* in fact disappear, ideally. Let
everyman be an overman...if it's possible. Marx at his best certainly
seems to suggest that such is possible. But marx-ists have often tended
to behave as if pedagogy and tutelage are the only means of leading the
toiling masses down the yellow brick road to Socialism. In order for the
real commmunism, the *Gemeinwesen*, to come about, it does have to made
by concrete individuals, workers becoming theoreticians, refusing
mediation and consciousness brought in from the 'outside,' workers
refusing the identity of worker and the reactionary concept of the
dignity of labor. Till that happens, I'd rather suffer the existence of a
few embittered declasse intellectuals drowning in the narcissism of their
dank soul-basements, than cadres of positive-thinking assholes who
believe they are the cutting edge of progress cracking the whip over us all.

--AT
	
	


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