sabbaticals again

Jukka Laari jlaari at
Sun Oct 29 14:48:31 MST 1995

On Sun, 29 Oct 1995, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> Frankly, I don't think there's enough people on the list who have a
> basic Marxist framework in order to make a seminar worthwhile.

And JL asks:  Well, Louis... what is "a basic Marxist framework"?

> People who want to talk about what Deleuze or Poulantzas have to say
> about fascism, with all due respect, are really following a different
> discipline than I am.

And JL comments:  Hmm... Perhaps so? And then again, perhaps not?

One reason I've always admired Karl Marx is that he wasn't kind of
Besserwisser who already knew everything. Instead he did quite a
remarkable job in reading this-and-that, in finding out what others
might have achieved. And he respected those (Ricardo, Hegel and Smith
etc.) who had achieved something in theory or scientifically.
Personally, I've tried to learn that attitude of his. If that makes me
some kind of pariah in your eyes then be it so. But remember that blind
dogmatism is one reason behind several failures of marxism.

It might be that basic societal processes are pretty much the same now as
in 19th century. But emergence of modern technologies, nationalisms,
fascisms, and that media thing (radio, film, television and now computer
networks, which all have quite a lot to do with technology) all have heavy
impacts on daily lives of people nearly everywhere on this planet. And
they do affect our mental structures in a way that they little by little
change (for example) our perception, especially the way we see and judge
social phenomenon, and 'social identities'. It seems that in USA it is
exactly cultural studies people (not so much psychologists and
sociologists) who are trying to handle that kind of problems. That
thinking and research evolved out of marxist questions. When someone is
attacking these people in toto, then he is in a weird way attacking
several marxist assumptions concerning both society/culture and human
beings as such.

Note, I'm not saying that there isn't nonsensical stuff and
'postmodernist' babble in cultural studies, but it's wrong to deny all
the value of CS. Marxism can't be only political economy and politics.
There's much more to reality than plain economy. Unfortunately it seems
that in marxist circles that is sometimes forgotten - with fatal

Yours, Jukka Laari

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