Brecht Forum article

steve at steve at
Sat Jan 29 20:51:00 MST 2000

Michael Yates said:
> The last issue of the Brecht Forum's "Schedule of Events" has an article
> by Doug Henwood titled "Marx Lives (They Thought He Was a Goner)." It's
> a pretty good piece.  Perhaps Doug might post it on his list.

My problem with his article, and it makes me wonder where the Brecht
Forum is going, is what he writes here:

        ThereÕs a role for Marxists (and admirers of Marx who donÕt want to go
        whole hog and call themselves Marxists) [here is where he makes room for
        himself] to play in it: to offer what we think is the best analysis of
        capitalism yet developedÑnot in the style of missionaries trying
        to thrust our version of revealed truth on others (an attitude
        that has discredited Marxism in the past) [who is he talking
        about?], but with enthusiasm, modesty, and a willingness to listen
        and talk. WeÕve got some work to do. We still have to figure out
        how our concerns fit with those of what used to be called the new
        social movements (now not so new). But a lot of the antagonisms
        that used to exist between those movements and an older left are
        dissolving, as it becomes clearer to people on both sides of that
        unfortunate divide how race and class form each other and how
        labor and nature are often despoiled together. That too was one of
        the great aspects of the week in Seattle, as ancient disunities
        were overcome in practice.

        None of this is easy, in theory or in practice. Marxists have to drop
        their lingering suspicions that greens and feminists are petit
        bourgeois reactionaries, [Why do we have to drop this? Are they
        now not so?] and members of the NSMs have to get over
        their suspicions that anyone who talks about political economy is
        an economic determinist or would-be Gulag commandant. We have to
        figure out how to speak in a fresh language to a population thatÕs
        politically demobilized and skeptical of the possibilities of
        collective action. But it has to be done if we want to make Marx
        more than a specter.

To whom is he more than a spectre?

Steven Matthews

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