Download Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism by Russell Jacoby PDF

By Russell Jacoby

Staring at that for either revolutionaries and capitalists, not anything succeeds like luck, Russell Jacoby asks us to reexamine a loser of Marxism: the unorthodox Marxism of Western Europe. the writer starts with a polemical assault on 'conformist' or orthodox Marxism, within which he contains structuralist colleges. He argues cult of luck and technological know-how tired this Marxism of its severe impulse and that the successes of the Russian and chinese language revolutions inspired a mechanical and fruitless mimicry. He then turns to a Western substitute that neither succumbed to the spell of good fortune nor obliterated the person within the identify of technological know-how. within the 19th century, this Western Marxism already diverged from Russian Marxism in its interpretation of Hegel and its assessment of Engels' orthodox Marxism. the writer follows the evolution of this minority culture and its competition to authoritarian types of political idea and perform.

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This can be stated in the obverse more emphatically: The most compelling and illuminating analyses of the secondary processes derive from a conservative, sometimes reactionary, tradition. This runs from Nietzsche and Spengler to contemporary - and surely lesser - critics, such as Jacques Ellul and Ivan Illich. This is hardly a coherent tradi- 32 Dialectic of defeat tion, and it is radically flawed in more than one respect. Yet the analyses that are proferred are unmatched - and unassimilated - by Marxists.

Technology everywhere was welcomed as facilitating socialism and, for that reason, was exempted from critical inspection. Marx was of course completely cognizant of the destructiveness of the labor process. 78 The notion was attractive and popular because it inferred that the factory and technology were the progressive elements of capitalism. Irrationality was confined to the marketplace and found its boundary at the factory gate. Furthermore, the notion accorded with common sense, which could confirm the confusion and lawlessness of the market but was mute before the apparent rationality and efficiency of production itself.

To-day we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual artillery that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama. . The liberal bourgeois mind is proud of the abolition of censorship, the last restraint, while the dictator of the press - Northcliffe! keeps the slave-gang of his readers under the whip of his leading articles, telegrams and pictures. Democracy has by its newspapers completely expelled the book from the mental life of the people .

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