sabbaticals again

Jukka Laari jlaari at kanto.cc.jyu.fi
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 
consequences. 

Yours, Jukka Laari


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