Internationalism - reply to brother Rubard

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Mon Nov 17 01:40:33 MST 2003

Okay brother Rubard,

Right, but the point of "sociologistic" analyses of the feudal period is to
show that "the modern era never began": processes of modernization have been
present in literate civilization since its inception, and furthermore you're
still talking about a "future state" in basically millenarian terms
(although you're questioning those terms).  There's a lot not to like about
Christianity, and I'm personally not fond of Catholic "just price/just war"
thought *at all*; but even that tradition is split, and provides a ground
for argumentation.

I distinguish clearly between christians and christianity. Some christians
are very likeable, some are not, their behaviours may range from barbaric to
angelical, just as with Marxists, but this merely proves my point that
reference to christian morality does not explain a great deal, and if I
attribute the origins of capitalism to the protestant ethic or I attribute
wars to religious difference, then I have abstracted from the material
interests involved and the class forces operating. The danger of seeing
christian morality only as a sexual style is that is misses the historical
linkages of christianity with capitalism and class society.
Modernisation is essentially a concept of the bourgeois epoch and not a
concept of Marx and Engels. If there is something to be modernised, this
presupposes that there already exists a new standard which can be achieved,
but this merely reflects the permanent technological revolution under
competitive conditions which is inherent in capitalist development. That is
to say, the accumulation of capital is predicated on modernisation in
bourgeois society. The term modernisation is itself of relatively recent
vintage in popular parlance, and in sociology supplants the term
industrialisation (you cannot very well have industrialisation if a society
is post-industrial).

You assert:

I will simply point out, without wanting to do Frankfurt's Greatest Hits for
the nth time, that the language you are using here to describe humanistic
values is very much the language of capitalist (albeit not "primitive")

If you are focusing just on words, maybe. You would be better off specifying
how postmodernism can be part of the solution rather than part of the
problem. Personally I benefited a great deal from David Harvey's discussion
of postmodernism, although I would want to extend the analysis much more.
But in many respects, I am a Harveyist, and it is not accidental either that
in his latest article in Socialist Register he articulates very well what I
have been saying more simply on this list.

Your wrote:

Start on a first name basis, end with "intellectual sentimentalist".  Man,
when I was a young'un I could not have given a goddam about internationalism
of any kind ("Why is the organization rigid enough for this question to
arise?" would have been my attitude).

I have no knowledge about your political affiliations, I am just saying
where I stand. If my comments do not satisfy you, there are many others with
whom to discuss.



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