Sunday, October 20, 2013

Young Intellectuals Resurrect Marxism

I found this Michelle Goldberg piece pretty interesting, "A Generation of Intellectuals Shaped by 2008 Crash Rescues Marx From History’s Dustbin." (Via Maggie's Farm.)

Actually, though, I think the piece --- and this movement to dig up Marx --- underestimates how thoroughly leftist thought today is marinated in Marxist class-struggle epistemology. The central hurdle for an resurrection of Marxism is the historically problematic case of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. So we see in the Goldberg piece that it's apparently possible for new Marxists to be anti-capitalist and anti-Stalinist simultaneously. This isn't a new position, of course, as the piece mentions. Folks pushing a politics of a "new left" have always had to grapple with the totalitarian legacy of the Soviet Union. But since the left's longings for utopia never end, the program of collective amnesia toward socialism Stalinist crimes can only deepen. It's fundamentally a monstrous program of collective lies, because to deny the genocidal evil of Soviet communism is to mount an enormous project of Orwellian deception. This is the fatal flaw of all leftist ideological programs.