Subject-Object Dualism

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Tue Jun 13 08:49:17 MDT 1995

Leo Casey wrote:

>The only way I have found out of this dualism, with all of its
>attendant myopia of social analysis, is to engage in a fundamental
>critique of this aspect of Marxism, and to reconceptualize
>individuals as subject-object dualities,  that is, as simultaneously
>shaped and determined by social and historical processes (object) and
>as actors shaping and determining those same social and historical
>processes (subject). Thus, Marx's formula in the
>Eighteenth Brumaire -- men (sic) make history, but they do not make
>it as they please; they make it under conditions inherited from the
>past -- is much closer to the point then his philosophical cum
>political formulations.

Aside from the fact that a quote from Marx is used to show how Marx was
wrong, I'm still curious what these highly academic notions mean for real
politics. Marx himself certainly didn't kick back and wait for history to
take its course; he was engaged in the politics of his day. What does this
reconceptualization, this correction of myopia, mean for real politics? How
can it be made to speak to Leo C's students in Crown Heights, a Brooklyn
neighborhood profoundly divided by ethnicity (Lubavitchers, Caribbean
blacks, and American blacks, to name three major groups). I'd love to see
all the exquisite philosophical subtleties of RD to be translated into some
world-changing strategies.



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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