Marxism, philosophy, and more

Sat Jan 28 20:34:07 MST 1995

I found Louis recent post very stimulating and feel akind to its tone.
Specifically, I am sympathetic when he writes that

'there is a place for research and investigation within
Marxism, but I don't believe it falls within the purview of
"amending" or "improving" it. This is a big waste of time.
The crying need is for Marxist economists, political
scientists and historians to apply the Marxist method to
some of the complex issues of the day and to make sense out
of them, in order to facilitate effective political action.'

Living in Buffalo, I feel a certain sense of embarrassment
not to have any great insights when he asks,
'What has happened to places like Pittsburgh,
Flint and Buffalo? What transformations is the US working
class going through? These are the types of questions that
preoccupied Lenin when he wrote about the Russian peasantry.'

When Louis states that Post-Marxism accepts the
'inspiration deriving from Marx's intellectual
legacy, especially his early works, but denies the Marxist
emphasis on the economic substructure', I sensed that he
could or was including the so-called Mass.-Amherst Althuserian
school (although I don't think they are Althuserian), particularly
since they also  'tend to argue on behalf of radical democracy rather
than socialist planned economies in the Soviet model.'  But I wonder
if those two choices (radical democracy or the Soviet planned economy
model) are the only choices.

My own view is that the Soviet experience was not an experience
of worker empowerment and therefore not an experience of
socialism.  But neither is radical democracy (or if it is in
its initial stages as a political force, it's inability to
confront the issue of the power of the bourgeoisie leads its
program to eventual defeat).  So, what are some of the dimensions
of a possible third- (fourth-, fifth-, whatever-) way?

Paul Zarembka


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