marxism-digest V1 #6602

OpenSentence Type Foundry typefoundry at opensentence.org
Fri Nov 14 14:09:40 MST 2003


> Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 12:07:31 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Henwood on globalization
>
> In the 2519 word article by Doug Henwood titled "Beyond Globophobia"
> (http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031201&c=1&s=henwood) the word
> "imperialism" does not appear once.
>
> Although the article is adapted from his new book "After the New
> Economy", there is nothing particularly new in his analysis. Henwood has
> been a critic of what he calls "globaloney" for more than a decade. On
> his website you can find a 1996 article titled "Antiglobalization"
> (http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Globalization.html) that makes
> essentially the same points that he makes in his new book, but with
> lip-service to Marxism. In the mid-1990s Henwood was widely perceived as
> a Monthly Review Marxist and it was not too much of a stretch to see him
> as the next Paul Sweezy or Harry Magdoff.
>
> But events transpired in 1996 to move him in the opposite direction.
> Alarmed by angry outbursts by graduate students in the audience hostile
> to postmodernism, the organizers of the '96 Rethinking Marxism
> conference persuaded Henwood to advise them on plenary speakers for
> their next conference. As an outside consultant who reflected classical
> Marxist thinking, Henwood was supposedly in a position to balance their
> own postmodernist leanings. By the end of 1997, however, Henwood became
> convinced by Rethinking Marxism organizers that they were more correct
> than his allies at MR. He would soon drop all pretensions to classical
> Marxism.
>
Here's the thing, Mr. Proyect: we on the "unaffiliated" left look at you and
see someone who is willing to make the effort to speak to a non-academic
audience in language they can understand (which is not necessarily Basic
English, but something somewhat disconnected from intellectual fashion).
And you are right to think that pomo leftists are occasionally masking
rather inscrutable concerns with transgressing Heidegger's line and whatnot.
But antipomo has its problems too, namely that postmodernist discourses are
more-or-less accurate pictures of the lifeworld nearly all people worldwide
with access to media live in: I would bet good money the Zapatistas are
"sneaker pimps" in their own minds, and maybe there's some kind of problem
with that but it's not necessarily a "construction of unreason".  Such
things exist, though, and I for one don't see any way around employing such
intellectual tools in practical struggles of the present.

Jeff Rubard


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