Mattick

Philip Ferguson plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Wed Feb 13 15:00:02 MST 2002


Mine, it's been a while since I looked at his 'Anti-Bolshevik Communism'.
I have it at home, picked it up in a secondhand bookshop about four years
ago.  I don't recall the essay about Kautsky in it, but I never did get
round to reading all of it - it's not exactly Mattick's best work.

He was a tool-and-dye worker by trade and a member of the youth wing of
Rosa Luxemburg's group in Germany.  He emigrated to the States in the 1920s
and in the 30s folunded several magazines, 'Living Marxism' and (I think)
'New Essays'.

Politically, Mattick was a council communist.  He was staunchly
anti-Bolshevik and anti-Lenin, claiming that the Bolshies set up a new
class society in Russia.

His stuff on politics is sometimes quite unreal, which is a bit odd
considering he was a worker and should have had a bit more of a grasp on
reality.  I remember reading stuff where he suggested the revolution would
happen kind of spontaneously and that workers wuld spontaneously develop
revolutionary consciousness.  It was so unconvincing I just kind of threw
my hands up in the air and put the book down.

But his work on political economy is, generally, excellent.  He probably
did more than anyone in the US to retrieve Marxist crisis theory and help
make it available to a new generation in the 1960s.  Also, a lot of
European Marxists who totally disagree with his council communist and
anti-Bolshevik politics nevertheless recognise his contributions in
relation to political economy.

Cheers,
Phil








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