Western Marxism and fascism

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
Fri Nov 10 13:02:05 MST 1995


Well, I say we should continue with the cyberseminar rather than batting
around the foolish ideas of us decadent youth.  (Though you can send me
down some fine whisky if you like; I just bought some Isle of Jura and
it's almost gone.)  But still, there seem some basic problems with Louis'
position...

On Fri, 10 Nov 1995, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> If you wanted to learn about how Nazism arose,
> you'd better look at Trotsky or Guerin. There's not a thing wrong with reading
> Walter Benjamin. It can only enhance your understanding of the period.
> But you're not going to find anything about POLITICAL ECONOMY in
> Benjamin.

But I'm not looking for anything about POLITICAL ECONOMY in Benjamin.
I'm looking to learn about NAZISM (unless this doesn't deserve
capitals).  It would be pretty foolish to want to learn about Nazism, go
to Trotsky or Guerin, and come out learning only about political economy.

> Marxism, above all, is POLITICAL ECONOMY.

Your marxism, maybe.  What is this "above all," anyhow: in the last
instance?  51%?  With no repercussions in PHILOSOPHY or elsewhere?

> Post-marxism, Western
> Marxism, whatever you want to call it, is rooted in PHILOSOPHY. Western
> Marxism is constantly trying to synthesize Marx with one or another
> philosopher, be it Kant, Hegel, Derrida or Lyotard. No harm in this at
> all. The human mind is capable of great wonders. When I step into the
> Barnard bookstore at lunch, I never fail to be impressed by all of the
> new book titles with the word Marx in them. What this has to do with the
> project Marx, Engels, Lenin, Rosemburg, Trotsky, etc. were involved with
> beats me.

Granted, Marx didn't read all that much Derrida or Lyotard.  But it
scarcely needs me to point out that he read his fair share of Hegel etc.

But again, me, I'm not so interested in philosophy.  Nor in defining
marxism.  Currently it seems more worthwhile to me to define fascism.

Oh, and I saw Paul Gilroy speak today, who was great.  Apparently his
next project is on fascism, too.

Take care

Jon

Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/~spoons


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