Unified Field Theory

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Tue Jun 18 09:17:33 MDT 1996

At 9:55 AM 6/18/96, Zeynep Tufekcioglu wrote:

>Just this: I think the Marxist left, at least most in the west, has lost the
>ability to claim to represent a total emancipatory thought and action. Women
>seemed to find it inadequate;  guerrilla movements pop up trying to
>disengage themselves from being called Marxists; the banner for ecology, a
>subject that is fundamentally anti-capitalist is often carried by
>wishy-washy liberals and petit-bourgeois folks; the working class in Europe
>engages in biggest strikes for maybe a decade and where really is the left; ...

Yes, all true, but Marxism's fall from grace has coincided with the decline
of the left. All the particularist rethinkings that have been going on over
the last 20 years or so have yielded very little in practical political
wisdom, and they've muddied the theoretical waters considerably.

As much as I admire the Zapatistas, I wonder where they're going. They say
they don't mean to take over the state; ok, then, what is their strategy
for transforming Mexican society? What is their vision of a better world?

I agree, though, that today's Marxists spend too much time obsessing over
the past. Kronstadt was a long long time ago. The reason to read Marx is
that there is no better analysis of what capitalism is all about; in many
ways, today's capitalism behaves more like Marx's model than it did 100
years ago, since the system now pervades every nook & cranny of the world,
and of human life. We should take that understanding and apply it to the
world we live in, not the world of Lenin and Trotsky.



Doug Henwood
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