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Re: Hard ball modernism

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  • William
    ... You insert a barrier between communism and Marxism, I have not been exposed to that. I do remember reading that Marx tried to write in capitalist Great
    Message 1 of 51 , May 2, 2011
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      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
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      > Bill,
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      > First of all, Marx is the mother of all modernists. The attack on Modernism by the left was, in part, an attack on Marxism, just so you know. The specific reasons for this are complicated and probably beside the point here, so I will forgo the history lesson. But I can put it simply by saying that whereas Marxism insists on there being a basic sense to the world, post-modernism insists that all we have are texts and games.
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      > Anyway, right up front, I can suggest to anyone interested in Marx's classic, Capital, a nice online master class by David Harvey. He is weak on Hegel and dialectics, but not to the point of that being a problem. He is clear and patient in his rendition of the text. The link is: http://davidharvey.org/2008/06/getting-started/
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      > Okay, then, and sorry for repeating myself in some respects vis-à-vis our former discussions. So we have Marx's texts, and we have the general dialectical reality of the world as it is today. The world has a history, and in this history are the events of power and the responses to power, themselves quanta of power. The tension between them, wrought of them, is what we understand as our historical moment. The young Marx saw this as the historical condition of revolution; being less romantic at the moment, I will call it (in the shadow of Badiou) the unfolding Event of history.
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      > This 'unfolding' is not an eschatological necessity, but it is teleological in a specific sense. The conditions of tension of our moment are clearly articulable, clearly apprehendable. They have to proceed according to their specific conditionality, one way or the other. There are multiple ways to articulate this. We can call it a differential within the will-to-power itself, and this is so, but such does not get to the actual historicality of the matter. The only salient context that gets to the root of the matter is the globality of Capitalism, by which latter is meant the utter commoditization of human work (and not the simple monetary exchanges at your local grocery). This is where Marx's texts meet the world. Yes, sure, there are other texts, even other worlds, as it were, but THIS one is the one that fills our newspapers and blogs every day, the one that subtends the ensuing tragedies of foreclosures and union prohibitions and the "privatization" (commercialization, corporatization) of common humanity.
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      > That is my primary orientation to the matter.
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      > But, as you insist, there is that 500 lb gorilla of failed Sovietism. What of that? Well, it is failed Sovietism. The reasons for its failure are various -- a too primitive economy unprepared for democratic ideals (Russia and China were basically feudal realms); the Asiatic predisposition to autocratic dictatorships; Western provocation exacerbating anti-West sentiments, leading to a paranoid clampdown on liberties; etc.?
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      > Maybe. Maybe not. All that I can say with regard to the Soviet answer is, "Not that." In the end, what do I care about Russia's experience? The bugbear of "The Commie Threat", and other 'Birch Society' paranoid conspiracy yarns, were never a reality. There was never a global war against "liberty" in the way that we were 'taught' when I was in school as a lad. It was a shame that the West did not respond better to Khrushchev when he began to loosen things in 60s. But he was 'our' worst fear: a human face and a rational appeal. So, if you remember, we were barraged with pure negative propaganda about him on TV and in the classroom. "We will bury you!" the voiceover said, as Khrushchev banged his show on the table at the UN. Blah, blah -- all bullshit. We were played, just as we are now, but at least -- at least -- we no longer have to contend with some "enemy from abroad" issue. My Marxism is concerned with us, right now, and without any apologetics.
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      > That said, the other factor common to today's neo-Marxists, if I can use that term, is that it is not an exclusive discourse, as if all questions have preordained "Marxist" responses. I am glad that that stupidity is all but gone (except for a few sad hold outs from the 60s). Marxism has returned as a contribution to THINKING.
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      > Hope that helps.
      > Wil
      > Wil, Thank you for a thoughtful post as I can be accused of being one of those sixties holdovers, you give me things to ponder. Your identification of Asiatic totalitarianism is new to me. I had no concept of Asia and doubt I will ever broach the subject.
      You insert a barrier between communism and Marxism, I have not been exposed to that. I do remember reading that Marx tried to write in capitalist Great Britain and was rebuffed.
      I cannot get around the idea of trade being integral to the progress of man. If only governments trade the individual becomes a tiny cog with little personal worth.
      I remember the pictures of the drab stores in Moscow, few ,substandard goods but a lot of cheap vodka. I know I harbour survivalist traits which take me closer to animal models than to idealistic theories. Capitalism is cruel and animalistic but it works for the rest of life and I do not think we as a species have the power or will to move away from the general orientation of the cosmos. "From each according to his ability,to each according to his need" makes soft people. I invite you to watch the Burlington Eagles. They are a study in the wild with cameras in the nest,day and night, of a nesting Eagle pair and their three chicks. That is survivalism as they fight off owls and climbing mammals to attempt to survive. It is very far from theoretical economics but the basics are laid bare. Ill think about Marx if you watch the Eagles. Thanks,Bill
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: William <v.valleywestdental@...>
      > To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sun, May 1, 2011 8:27 pm
      > Subject: [existlist] Re: Hard ball modernism
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      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@ wrote:
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      > > Bill,
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      > > You write: "The idea that the most recent "Ism" will be the best is just not supported in the case of post modernism. I put post modernism in the waste can with national socialism, fascism, communism and all the various forms of fundamentalism. I think modernism in a potent form is on the ascendance."
      > >
      > > Reponse: The isms of that list are, as theory, dead; but, as with such things as these, they are born posthumously as well. Postmodernism, by which I mean Deconstruction, was just the latest form of petty-bourgeois cynicism, dressed up as a skepticism. In Derrida's formulations, as in Of Grammatology, it was a 'tactic' to render useless the power of language, and thus to supposedly announce an 'epochal' liberation from the metaphysics of domination. But, in the end, it was a device to turn a deaf ear to the actual work of philosophy -- that is to comprehend our time and place in the world in light of the big questions that haunt us. When Derrida, for whom everything is a "game", dismissed Foucault (a hero of mine) as 'still' working within the philosophical/political enterprise, the latter returned the favor by remarking how Derrida seemed little more than a spoiled brat who lived a few doors down from Mitterrand.
      > >
      > > But Deconstruction lives on in various other forms, even if not theoretically contiguous. What appears in Derrida as (or as if) a rigorous hermeneutic is also what appears as our otherwise merely pretentious "metero-sexual", ennui-ridden, social-relativistic and apolitical urbanite. And this sort is counterpoised against his/her false double: the social libertarian. But they are really the same epistemic consequent. They are both self-interested retreats from serious engagement.
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      > > Nazism is dead, but its tenets are still very current, and in the mainstream. Does Mein Kampf really depart all that much from a typical right-wing zealot today? Is it that far from Limbaugh? It isn't. I have fairly recently -- last year or so -- reread MK. I am not making these remarks just to be provocative.
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      > > Fascism is a work in progress here. I needn't belabor this.
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      > > As for Communism, this topic is more complex. To be brief, I will put my own feeling this way. "Communism" is dead; long live Marx. I think Marx may finally be truly relevant. See Zizek and Badiou. I can go on if anyone wants.
      > >
      > > Wil
      > > Wil, Yes, I would like you to continue as I think our discussion,as diverse as it is , is twisting threads into usable ,modernist rhetoric. All those failed systems produce a vacuum that modernists should fill.
      > How can the post Stalinist,post USSR ,Russia be explained. Are those people still the children of Marx" Why do they side with North Korea, Iran and Gadaffe? I am mystified and wonder if a submerged communist block is still active. Are we still reacting to communist threats real or imaginary?
      > I admit I fear communism more than Islam. When the USSR failed I had great hopoe for the world but we fell off or were lured into numerous wars of liberation for very questionable allies. How big a deal did Reagan and Gorbachev put togeather ? All these questions go toward what the philophical underpinnings of our modernist world really are. Can you ,Wil, meld Marx with your brand of modernism? Bill
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      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: William <v.valleywestdental@>
      > > To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      > > Sent: Sun, May 1, 2011 6:34 pm
      > > Subject: [existlist] Hard ball modernism
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      > > I am happy to hear that Wil still considers himself a modernist. The idea that the most recent "Ism" will be the best is just not supported in the case of post modernism. I put post modernism in the waste can with national socialism, fascism, communism and all the various forms of fundamentalism. I think modernism in a potent form is on the ascendance. Note the very recent air strikes on Gadaffe, the NATO coalition claiims they are only targeting command and control but it is clear they mean to topple Gadaffe. That is a level of commitment that we need if we are to prevail. That the British prime minister spoke of the strikes suggests a true committment . This is conventional warfare killing deviants from the past. It needs to succeed lest we are forced to take it to the next level. The crazy islamists in their various personifications have to go if any substantive progress is to be accomplished in the mid east. If the oil money were fairly dispersed the re gion might become a livable area. That will only happen if modernist philosophical principles prevail. If we need to bomb them back to the stone age so be it, they are not very far from there anyway. Bill
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    • Herman
      Hi Wil, I have replied to this post previously, but it deserved more thought, and here it comes :-) ... The virtue of Marx lays with him wresting history away
      Message 51 of 51 , May 14, 2011
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        Hi Wil,

        I have replied to this post previously, but it deserved more thought, and
        here it comes :-)

        On 7 May 2011 01:49, <eupraxis@...> wrote:

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        > Herman,
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        > Gender is not a valid universal vis-a-vis the global struggle of humanity
        > at large.
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        The virtue of Marx lays with him wresting history away from idealists like
        Hegel. For Marx, as for me, there are concrete realities and relations that
        have nothing to do with "Ideas" or "Notions".


        > But, that aside, show me that for Marx lumpen are male, that that has
        > anything to do with anything anyway, and that the gender of those outside of
        > historical agency (i.e., the proletariat) is even mentioned.
        >
        Marx, to himself, is a man, not an "Idea" or a "Notion" or a "Mensch". His
        entire narrative of the concrete relations that existed while he was writing
        treated of the relationships between men only.

        To the extent that he did not see what he did not see, we must add to Marx.
        We need to, because he did not see that "Workers, unite" left out half of
        those who work.

        Hint: they have vaginas


        Herman




        >
        > Textual examples would be okay; if not, then some explication.
        >
        > Wil
        >
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        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Herman <hhofmeister@...>
        > To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        > Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 10:42 am
        > Subject: Re: [existlist] Re: Hard ball modernism
        >
        > Hi Wil
        >
        > On 6 May 2011 23:12, <eupraxis@...> wrote:
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        > > Mary,
        > >
        > > First of all, I think I needn't have to argue that Marx's dalliances with
        > > his maid do not provide evidence of sexism in Marx's oeuvre.
        > >
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        > You miss my point altogether. Marx was oblivious to the true universal of
        > gender (and sexism,as a consequence). For him, the lumpen were men, all
        > men.
        >
        > Cheers
        >
        > Herman
        >
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