[Marxism] Islamist, Socialist revolutions do not mix

David Picón Álvarez david at miradoiro.com
Fri Oct 5 06:47:05 MDT 2007


From: "Haines Brown" <brownh at hartford-hwp.com>
> The term "modernism" is ambivalent, for it is sometimes used to refer
> to whatever is contemporary or recent, and sometimes it refers to a
> specific era that arose with the Enlightenment and is associated with
> capitalism. For example, with decorative styles, "modern" is a _past_
> style that most be consciously recovered (Bauhaus, Art Deco,
> 1950s-style home decoration, etc.) and is not at all the same as
> "contemporary". The term "post-modern" is used to imply a rejection of
> Enlightenment ideas, and as such can justifiably be used to refer to a
> new intellectual current that is emerging in recent decades to replace
> the Enlightenment tradition. For example, Marxism today could well be
> described as recovering as a post-modern Marxism - a rejection of the
> Enlightenment values associated with its earlier career (as long as it
> is not also associated with some objectionable and well-known excesses
> of post-modernist thinking). I suspect, contrary to the views of many
> noteworthy Marxists, that the development of Marxist thinking has been
> held back by the Enlightenment heritage and is right now entering upon
> a new era of vitality (but I don't wish to pursue this side issue
> here).

Well, sorry if this hijacks the thread, but what you're saying seems quite 
the contrary to me. That said, I am not conversant with postmodernism as 
such, and so I may be reacting against the excesses you talk about, but it 
appears to me that the Enlightenment and Marxism are very tightly coupled. 
Basically, the points at which I think this is sharpest, are the 
perfectability of man and the world, the capability to utilize reason in 
order to find truth and plan the future, and the very idea of planning 
itself (as opposed to heuristic or random forms of development). I think few 
people could deny that the Enlightenment, incomplete as it might be, has a 
form and content that can be very liberating: from religion, from 
superstition, from arbitrary power... Marxism in its theoretical 
underpinnings is fundamentally an Enlightenment position: it uses reason in 
the form of dialectical thinking in order to find prescriptive solutions to 
objective problems. Postmodernism appears to me to be centered on issues 
like textual criticism and the negation of truth and programatic planning as 
possible or desireable, so I don't see how a postmodernist marxism is at all 
possible on those terms. In fact, marxism appears to be used by 
postmodernism as merely another source of criticism, a negation of bourgeois 
determinism and of infinite progress, without taking the affirmative 
programatic elements of marxism itself.

--David.




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