Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Year Anniversary of Marxism Without its Head or its Heart

December 16, 2008 marked a year since we completed posting Marxism Without its Head or its Heart (MWHH).

Before we started posting it (in ten instalments beginning in September 2007), David North had claimed that the passage of a year without a response to a polemic (he was speaking of his own Marxism, History and Socialist Consciousness) constituted the passing of “something akin to a statute of limitations.” This was a hypocritical claim for North to be making, since (as we pointed out at the time) he himself had ignored our earlier polemics for three years.

In any case, if we look back on the last year, it is true that we received a response to MWHH, but only in a formal sense. This ‘response’ – by North, assisted by Ann and Chris Talbot – turned out to be a smear campaign against Alex Steiner. When it came to the substance of our criticisms of the International Committee’s political line, neither North nor the Talbots had anything to say. When it came to the philosophical issues, their ‘response’ was equally telling: while the Talbots mounted a blatant defence of empiricism and positivism, North’s only reference to dialectics was a contemptuous sneer. Dialectics remains a dead letter in the IC, as does any theoretical struggle against pragmatism.

It is a fair assumption that we won’t see a further response that actually addresses those issues. In that sense, the passage of a year is significant because if the IC leadership had been able to answer our criticisms, they would have done so already instead of resorting to an ad hominem attack on Steiner. Our analysis has withstood an important test.

The global financial meltdown guarantees that the coming period will be one of great political upheaval. As the old mainstream political consensus collapses, there will be a resurgence of interest in revolutionary Marxism among militant workers, youth and intellectuals. We are confident that Marxism Without its Head or its Heart will come to be seen as having made a positive contribution to that resurgence.

Frank Brenner
Alex Steiner
Dec. 21, 2008

1 comment:

Alex Steiner said...
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