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' 

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 Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu

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