Inevitability in Marx
djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sun Sep 17 03:18:27 MDT 1995
I am not able to work out comments on Jerry's thoughtful post about the
conception of inevitability im Marx. I recently came across an excellent
essay entitled "Historical Inevitability" by John Lewis in his Marxism and
the Open Mind. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957. This collection of
essays marveously contradicts the thesis that destalinization led to
right-wing revisionism among Marxists. I believe that Lewis later had a
debate with Althusser. That would be interesting to find out more about.
If Lewis were alive today, I think that he could have had a most splendid
debate with Jerry.
Jerry raised another very important point at the end of the post, the
problem of the needs and desires of the human subject in what Marcuse's
student William Leiss in his Limits to Satisfaction has called a
high-intensity market environment.
I have nothing substantive to add to Jerry's post, just wanted to underline
the obvious importance of the questions he has raised.
>One issue that Marx didn't really discuss was the environmental impact of
>increasing living standards of the working class in the sense that the
>social and historical component of the wage would rise over time and with
>it workers ideas of what they considered to be "necessities" would change
>as well. How this impacts revolutionary movements of the working class is
>an interesting question. I think that the early vision of a working class
>"with only its chains to lose" is somewhat misguided. Why can't workers
>who have some things to gain and some things to lose become part of the
>revolutionary process? The idea that only those who have nothing to lose
>will become the army of revolutionaries is simplistic and fails to
>account for how a number of social revolutions of the 20th Century were
>led by social forces who knew that they had a lot to lose, most
>especially, their lives. If workers are willing to risk their lives for
>social transformation, then, concerns about TVs, homes, cars etc. will
>assume secondary importance at *that moment* in history.
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