history and class struggle

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at SPAMarnet.com.ar
Sat Feb 17 22:18:28 MST 2001

En relación a history and class struggle,
el 17 Feb 01, a las 22:07,  George Snedeker dijo:

> I guess the real
> question is if everythink fits, if it all makes sense. this is not simply a
> philosophical problem. it is a political question. if we link rationalization to
> science and the domination over nature as Horkheimer and Adorno do, there really
> is no escaping this domination. history becomes a night mare. the theory of
> reification holds out the possibility of liberation from alienation.  this is
> why the opposition between Marx and Weber is so important. Lukacs had studied
> under Max Weber before he became a Marxist.

Certainly. In fact, most of his early work bears a critical imprint of Weber
(Lukacs was not a Weberian turned Marxist, IMHO, but this is an entirely
different issue). But the difficulties pointed out by George had two, not
_one_, actual possibilities of development.

What defines Horkheimer and Adorno as reactionary in the core (as opposed to
Benjamin, Korsch -his "hope as a principle" is the exact opposite of Adorno's
pessimism-, or Goldmann) is that they did not subject the overarching
determination by the rationality of capitalist production to a criticism.  Of
all the followers of Lukacs, I prefer Goldmann because his criticism stressed
two points that, IMHO, deserve further consideration:

(a) the idea that there might be a good reason in separating a world of the
"natural", where the rules of rationalization can be applied strictly, and the
world of the "social" -part of the "natural" but with laws of its own- where
matter attains consciousness of itself, thus is not amenable to rationalization
any more without betraying its own status as conscious matter,

(b) the idea that even under the worst situation there must be some way out due
to human agency. Goldmann, who wrote during the heyday of French welfare state,
thought he had found a way out in what he termed "revolutionary reformism".

Too much of a Western thinker to realize the meaning of the struggles in the
colonial periphery (though he warmly saluted the influence of the Chinese
revolution and of the Cultural Revolution on the European youth of his time),
he was not blind to the obvious signs of integration that the working classes
in the core were showing during the 60s. He did not find a revolutionary
spirit, but he insisted in that this integration would always be a
revolutionary integration, a counter-cultural integration, not without reason.

With the easy hindsight of the new century, these musings seem banal today.
Maybe they were. But they represented an attempt to find a way ahead in the fen
of stagnant waters of welfare state Europe. On this, Goldmann was more a
Marxist than good old Marcuse himself, in that he never lost faith in that
_the_ gravedigger of capitalism was to be the working class. The gloomy
addition "or there would be no gravedigger" -even though already exposed by
Rosa Luxemburg- did not enter his world of ideas.

I am not astonished when I see most Academic "Marxists" despise Goldmann as a
secondary figure in the "Western Marxism" school. He was too much of an active
politician for this fancy mob of brilliant chatterboxes.

A hug,

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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