"Horkheimer was the entrepreneur"

James Farmelant farmelantj at SPAMjuno.com
Fri Dec 31 17:06:26 MST 1999




On Fri, 31 Dec 1999 11:37:42 -0500 Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> writes:
>[From "The Grand Hotel Abyss" by Michael Sprinker in the latest New
>Left
>Review.

        <snip>

> In sober retrospect, then, it is
>difficult to take seriously the charge levelled by the Prime Minister
>of
>Baden-Wurttemberg, and echoed by the chairman of the CDU in Hesse,
>that
>critical theory offered aid and comfort to the German terrorism of the
>1970s.

But didn't that old reactionary have a point?  Despite the manifest
political intentions of Horkheimer & Adorno, the writings of the
Frankfurters did contribute to the development of the radical
sensibilities of German students in the 1960s.  It was certainly
not the intention of Horkheimer or Adorno to give any sort of
aid and comfort to left-wing terrorists or even to antiwar protestors
and yet the '60s generation's understandings of capitalism and
especially of its culture were informed to a significant degree
by the Frankfurters' writings.  To pose an analogy, what happened
in Germany in the '60s and '70s is sort of like what would have happened
if American radicals had in the late '60s taken to reading and
quoting say Sidney Hook's *Towards the Understanding
of Karl Marx* or his *From Hegel to Marx* and if they
used Hook's early writings to support a revolutionary politics
despite his later anti-communism and his vocal hostility
to the '60s student movement.

Jim F.


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