Anderson, NLR and all that

Jurriaan Bendien j.bendien at
Sun Dec 31 13:40:56 MST 2000


I agree Perry Anderson's books are very good, very erudite. His project of
introducing continental Marxist writers to an Anglo-Saxon audience was
certainly a worthy one. But sometimes I have to use a dictionary to
understand what he means, which is irritating. I don't agree with with his
theory about the bourgeoisie in his book about Postmodernism

>More importantly, Western Marxism was a response to the *defeat* of the
>revolutionary movement throughout Europe which was only partially the fault
>of the Stalinized parties.

This is true, I agree with that.

>The most momentous defeat in Germany in 1924 was
>the product of the Comintern during its "heroic" period.

I haven't made up my mind about this, I have not studied the failed German
revolution sufficiently, and I didn't really trust my sources. Somebody
like Gerd Hardach really knows that history (he wrote many good books which
I still have to read sometime). The IS and FI have put some literature out
on it.

>Furthermore, Mao's
>peasant ideology hardly enters the picture at all. An entry for Mao is not
>even found in the index, while there are dozens of pages referencing
>Adorno. This will give you a sense of Anderson's focus.

Yes I can figure out his "focus". Nevertheless it is rather odd given he
published Althusser and given the PCF's temporary fascination with Maoism.
I don't have anything against NLR, except that there too you sometimes have
to use a dictionary. A British chap called Elliott published a book on
Anderson not long ago from which I gather that Anderson is now trying to go
beyond historical materialism in some sense



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