The mistakes of individual Marxists

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Tue Jan 31 05:00:15 MST 1995


	People on this list have been agreeing lately that Laclau and
Mouffe's postmarxism must be flawed because their readers do not know
anything about Marxism, communism, the former USSR, or Trotsky's true
brilliance. One assumes that the readers in question must be those who
like postmarxism, since those who dislike it would be those who know
something about Marxism, communism, etc. The consensus is then that those
who like postmarxism do not know anything about Marxism, communism, etc.
The dogmatism implicit in this position -- and it is dogmatism because
Laclau and Mouffe make a number of claims about Marxism, communism, etc.,
which none of these people are disputing -- comes out in the notion that
the problems of Marxism are those of individual Marxists, who make
mistakes, not those of the theory. Hence, one damns Laclau and Mouffe by
associating them with academia and the theory industry, both of which are
interested in exploring methodological issues posed by Hegel, humanism,
science, etc. One also damns them by associating them with liberalism, to
which the liberal responds that the Marxists who dismiss liberalism in
the name of science are the first and the loudest to complain when their
right to free speech has been violated. The Trotskyists are the most
notorious of these Marxist hypocrits.

Philip Goldstein

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