There seems to be two general currents in Marxism, one current proceeds from the form of Marx’s critique, the other from the motion underlying the critique.
By “motion” I am referring to the movement of thinking, the very way in which thought thinks, independent of its particular expression as any given form of thought. A problem with dialectic is that its essence cannot be grasped although it is most familiar. So familiar, that its familiarity escapes us. It cannot be grasped not because of some mystical transcendence of its meaning but because grasping presupposes fixed concepts to grasp on to (and dialectic is anything but fixed), and any concepts resulting from the motion of dialectic is a particular expression of that particular context, and thus can never stand in for it universally. It would be like mistaking the effect for the cause. Repeating it would stop the movement from progressing any further because the motion is dependent upon ever changing conditions.
Marxists who merely proceed from the form of Marx’s critique, using those presented concepts as the formal means to organize future activity, would be the anti-Marxists par excellance, for they merely re-instantiate the old in place of the new, because they have no contact with the real motion underlying the critical force of change while thinking they do. In this way, Marxists help recreate, the very thing which was supposed to be the cause of their concern, and are in a better position to do this than their opponents because of its self-justified self-understanding as the “science” of the working class. Self-identified Marxists, or identitarians of Marxism to varying degrees, will feel some indignation with what I have just said. This is to be expected. Those already committed to Marx’s real motive will not feel a hit (because they are already on the move).
You’d think this is old news, and that Marxists have learned from this. But no, there is a persistence in utilizing Marxism as just another means to understand how to organize labor to produce value, even up to the current. Now Marxist cyberneticists with the same kind of blind and naive techno-optimism driving Transhumanist libertarians think that it was just technological development that hadn’t caught up with Marxist theory, and that only now can we finally put the theory to the test. So Marxism is prophetics, or science, which one? Marxism is bipolar with regards to that, which means that it wants to pick one side but cannot decide, not realizing that to be able to pick a side at all means that one has already in advance made a decision.
The other current, the one that follows the movement, is thoroughly negative and persists to this day. It is a current that follows the life of that critical motion moving in Marx’s day. It traces the Frankfurt school particularly with Adorno & Horkheimer, taking poststructuralist and post-left considerations along the way without relinquishing its critical or negative dialectic and hard-left communist stance. Communisation theory is the general (non-label) label this non-movement goes under.
They tend to be more pessimistic than not, indicating that essentialist habits of thought still linger or have just surfaced. Pessimism need not apply because if there is nothing first anticipated as a legitimately possible thing to hope for, then there is nothing to be hopeless over. Pessimism is not the affect adequate to this understanding: meditative equipoise is. Pessimism is an indication that contact with the real motion has been lost or is out of synch. For, with the proper object of negation determined (which is anything that pretends to be founded on essential absolute existence) then what initially appeared to be impossible would reveal itself to be possible, within the parameters of present conditions. The only thing one could feel is nothing other than the pure unity of object-of-concern with subject-in-concern: synchronization with/as the proper object of affirmation. Being in revolution. The unity of personality and sociality.
One Reply to “Marxism: one in Name and one without.”