Marginal note: Nicos Poulantzas

Hinrich Kuhls kls at
Thu Oct 26 05:20:46 MDT 1995

On Mon, 23 Oct 1995,  in one of his postings on fascism cyberseminar Louis N
Proyect included the following note:

>Someone suggested Nicos Poulantzas. By all means! If you think the
>author of "Zorba the Greek" has some interesting things to say about
>fascism, contribute a report on his thoughts.

Preliminary remark 1: Having been involved in political-theroetical
collective work for more than 25 years I think this fascism cyberseminar an
exciting experiment which I wholly support. I think the reading list lacks
some topics, especially texts on the economic and class situation in
prefascist societies (Unfortunately I cannot well-foundedly suggest some
texts written in English), and some texts are not of relevance (f.e. Reich).
Also the starting questions on this topic could be put in another way
(hoping to be able to contribute one or two arguments to the main thread) -
but all that is minor to the most important fact that this special
collective discussion has been started.

Preliminary remark 2: I will not be able to contribute a report on
Poulantzas' thoughts on facism.

Given this two preliminary remarks I can't stop myself from saying that
Nicos Poulantzas was one of the first Marxist in post-war Europe who
demanded to rethink the connection of classes, ideology, political power,
dictatorship and fascism. One has not to be familiar with his theoretical
work, and one has not to agree to all of his theoretical arguments - but
beside Althusser it was he who influenced large parts of the European left
in their efforts to rethink Marx and Marxism in the 1970ies. Here are the
titles of his major books (at the moment I cannot trace the publishers of
the English translations):

1973: Fascism and Dictatorship
1974: Political Power and Social Classes
1975: Classes in Capitalist Societies
1977: Crises of Dictatorships
1977: State, Power, Socialism (english edition 1978: NLB)

Poulantzas died 1979; his last interview was published in Marxism Today,
July 1979.

I am sure Louis would have loved him for his vivid political-theoretical
interventions and his fight against what nowadays is called postmodernism as
well as against a lot of antiquated arguments pursued by both
socialdemocratic parties or Governments and the parties of the communist
world movement.

(By all means! Mandel wrote an essay on thrillers, but I think nobody would
tell us, that his political-theoretical quintessence is summarized in this
special book.)


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