Aldo Tortorella from the latest issue of the journal MARXIST CRITICISM we publish the introduction returns of Marx, organized by Fondazione Luigi Longo and Marxist criticism in Alexandria, on 22-24 October 2015..
A return, almost a fashion, Marx was widely spoken after the start of the Great Depression opened in 2008 by the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the risk of other very large US banks – then saved with public money, reflecting a mechanism , said conventionally liberal, specializing in privatize profits and socialize losses. Printing and dissemination of the texts of Marx multiplied worldwide, manifested new movements inspired directly or indirectly to a critique of the financial capital, found vast echo research Piketty, non-Marxist, the capital in the XXI century and its concentration in the same way and in the same hands as ever, a topic of interest Marxian.
More recently, the confirmation of a return was made from an unusual source but sensitive to the spirit of the times as the world of the visual arts, with a dedication to Marx of the Venice Biennale this year, including a public reading and systematic Text of the Capital . The greater part of our ineffable daily press has treated the subject almost as a kind of strangeness of the Nigerian curator, who – Okwi Enwezor – is, in fact, one of the most important American intellectuals of matter, distinguished university professor and creator of the most great art exhibitions in the world. The text of his presentation of the biennial, inspired by the reading of Walter Benjamin’s Angelus Novus of Klee, realizes with painstaking meticulousness of the origin and meaning of the reference to Marx: “Capital – writes – is the great tragedy of our time . Today looms more than any other element in every sphere of life … ‘, determining whether “the state of affairs” is the way to watch them.
The Capital of Marx since its release – he adds – has involved not only politicians, economists, philosophers, but artists and the exhibition in Venice, then promises to perceive – says – “the aura, the effects, the consequences and spectra of the capital. ” That the program is successful or not is and will be, of course, the subject of discussion, but it is well proven the validity of a return to those who first put under scrutiny, in fact, the foundation of the contemporary world and it has envisioned the consequences.
The last burial officer, who seemed the final one, was filed at the end of the Soviet Union. Many funeral orations were spoken by publicists and thinkers of various kinds. Among the political parties of the traditional left of ancient origin terzinternazionalista, but also in the socialist parties, and among many of the intellectuals who were, or were supposed to close them there was a race to deny any relationship with Marx.In Italy, as you know, it takes place the transformation of the Communist Party, party planning but inspired by Marxian reworking of Gramsci. In the German social rethinking of the program of Bad Godesberg – namely the total repudiation of Marxism – begun in the years of Brandt, and continued by Oskar Lafontaine, will close with the “new center” of Schroeder. England Blair will do away with the article of the statute it provides that aims to overcome the capitalist property.
Here, nell’aneddotica of that hasty transformation is also a place for our magazine Marxist Critique , redeemed at the price of a penny, and so saved dall’autodafé collective, and made reborn to a new life. The task that we inscribed in the head, and that has a time even in today’s conference, was to “rethink the left” – the theme, as seen in each other daily, never exhausted.
Then it seemed to some of us, in addition to other considerations, supremely unfair that he considered himself the old Marx as head even last of the tragic fates of the Soviet system came to collapse or errors that the Italian Communists could have done.
An injustice because there had been among the staunchest critics of the Soviet model so many excellent scholars of Marx (including several Italian), all Marxists persecuted by Stalinism, as well as politicians who claimed to be inspired by him (including, albeit belatedly, the top leaders of the Communist Party). But also a mistake because we felt that his thought – and the attempt to use it critically as already suggested the name of the magazine – was essential precisely in order to a radical renewal of ideas and political practices of the left.A renewal is essential, but to qualify for both the change in the global economic and political reality with the global victory of the capitalist model and for the transformations in production systems, in lives and in human relations induced by scientific discoveries and the technological revolution of the century .
In the twentieth century
The story of unwise burials and recurring return alive Marx would, I believe, a search distinct from those on many Marxists, whose history began even during the lifetime of Marx, and the subject of a vast bibliography, is largely summarized by us, at least until the beginning of the eighties of the last century, a collective work conceived and edited by Einaudi Hobsbawm and others. The study of death certificates of Marx’s thought, that accompany the moments of greatest success of the various experiences economic, social and political the capital structure, there would seem to me less important than that of his subsequent resurrection to major crises or disasters of wars.
If at the beginning, at the time of the triumphant bourgeoisie and colonialism ruling, the slating of the economic and social development of Marx, moved by optimism scientist and industrialist, they belonged to a theoretical discussion on the law of value, sull’impoverimento absolute, on ‘outcome of the cyclical crises, after the October Revolution the removal or convictions Marxian analysis were associated largely aversion to the Soviet state nascent. But as well as the outbreak of World War I had done justice to at least some of the more reckless criticisms – like those that assumed a relative ease in overcoming cyclical downturns without contemplating the risk of recourse to war – and had created the revolutionary struggles of the post-war period, the same way the crisis of ’29 brought with it a revival of the analysis Marx and a thorough critique to economic liberalism.
Then, as you know, the ruling classes and the imperial ruling classes were faced with the crisis with the analysis of Keynes and Roosevelt’s reforms in the capital market, while in continental Europe most of the national bourgeoisies were promoting Nazism and fascism and while worldwide Soviet forced collectivization campaign and the repression of dissenting generated the terrible tragedies that you know. He came here to a new time of anti-Marxism combined with the anti-Soviet, with the appreciation of the successes in the West in the internal policies of the Nazis and fascists – and the abandonment of the Spanish republic to Franco – until the new and frightening world war the international anti-fascist alliance again tipped the scale of values and pushed to new interest in Marx a part of the intelligentsia and the new generations matured during the conflict and the resistance.
It was still, however, an interest in which the image of Marx mingled with that of the country of the Battle of Stalingrad and the red flag on the Reichstadt, the country in which, albeit with terrible tragedies, for the first time it had come experimenting the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and exchange.A mixture that was underpinned by new revolutions in the giant China and Cuba in the small. Even the great youth rebellion of ’68 dall’antiautoritarismo move, having the background Vietnam Ho Min did not give us to draw on past revolutions, albeit sometimes, but not always, watching the dissenters persecuted more than the winners.
Equally and not, for as long as the Cold War the anti-Marxist polemic flourished and developed having the background the same image overlay: there was talk of Marx, but it was thought – or were referred – Stalin, Mao, Castro .
The success of the idea promoted by Isaiah Berlin purely negative freedom (ie as total rejection of any interference from the public other than safety of life and property) has the background, in fact, the unacceptability of a model of absolute statism and denial of freedom, as well as the idea, propagated by Thatcher, that the company is purely abstract notion as the only concrete thing are the individuals it targets the very notion of the welfare state, seen almost as an antechamber to the Soviet model of collectivism.
In fact, that overlap, although almost fatal, was essentially arbitrary. In the days of November 1917 a young Italian socialist of great talent, which will be one of the founders of the Communist Party, had written and realized that the October Revolution – which he like millions of people around the world appeared enthusiastic – it was, in Actually, its a revolution against the Capital of Karl Marx. Gramsci differed, in that well-known article on ‘ Avanti , a Marx “tainted by positivism and naturalism” by Marx heir, as he says, “the idealistic thought Italian and German. ‘ The first would be the author of the idea that comes before the capitalist bourgeoisie, its maturity and its crisis, and only at the end of the socialist transformation – and against this Marx, in fact, occurred the October Revolution. In contrast, according to the Marx ‘that never dies, “he taught, according to the young Gramsci, that” the greatest factor of history “is not given the” economic facts brutes “but the relations between human beings,” the society of men “who” develop a collective will, “which” shapes the objective reality that lives, moves, acquires the character of matter telluric boiling, which can be channeled where the will like “2. The times are not required, therefore, and the maturation of consciousness and revolutionary will of the exploited, very long in normal times, could have acceleration due to special reasons – in this case the World War. Unfortunately, the absolute voluntarism that inspired that article born on the wave of emotion and one that did not belong to the old Marx, was not enough and in fact, as we shall see, he could turn against itself.
And, in fact, Gramsci, then, long worked in the notebooks of the jail on that famous passage of the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy of ’59 – omitted in a text written for the party school of 1925, as recalled Fabio Frosini3 – in Marx speaks of the conditions for which you run out of old social formations and the new born, a song that he translates: “No social order ever perishes before they have developed all the productive forces for which it is still not enough, and new, higher relations of production have not taken place before the material conditions of existence of the latter have been hatched in the womb of the old society. Therefore mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; (If you observe more accurately, you will always find that the task itself arises only where the material conditions for its resolution exist or at least are in the process of their becoming) “4. Gramsci interpret this passage from stripping can read deterministic, but he tried his acuity of thought seeing the substance that is a criticism of the fantasies that, at the same time, defines the actual terrain of the political struggle and ideal, and does not eliminate the role of subjectivity policies. Marx had so little to do with the Soviet model that the Vulgate became known as “Marxism-Leninism” which was added, then, the suffix “Stalinism”, in order to establish a sort of canon immutable. Which, as should be obvious, it was not only distant but opposed to every form of critical thinking – in which Marx also is recognized as a major.
However that mixture and culturally undue overlap was practically inevitable given the origin of the promoters of the ideal of a socialist revolution, and this explains the presumption dell’affossamento definitive Marx following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its dismemberment, the transformation of Russia into a country of capitalism more or less wild. The launch of China in a similar direction, despite the red flag, completed the work. He even spoke of the end of history, in the sense that the winning model would have no alternative. It was a form of self-deception of the winners. The basic reasons that had driven the search for Marx had failed, despite the technological abyss separating us from him. For this is the new return, but if you do not remember the previous one can not understand the difference.
Well dug, old mole!
Today, there is no illusion that somewhere on earth was found the formula of the new world, or that no longer considered inevitable march towards socialism is already embodied in a social formation. Capitalism has shown its ability to huge quantitative development and adaptation, as Marx had predicted, and founded on the desire (ie the individual) and choice (ie free will).
Social ownership of the means of production and exchange, the time and place in which it was attempted, became state property and property in this bureaucratic, and bureaucrats into capitalists robbery. If someone levasse, the call for unity of the proletariat, already rejected in the trenches of World War I, would sound foreign to the reality of a world in which, despite a number of workers than ever, the work must continue to decrease, competition downward it is already deadly fragmentation multiplies misery overflows and generates plenty of recruits for promoters of wars. That is, in short, that this time the return to Marx does not presume to be based on data acquired or easy hopes, and can not have the quality of mature disenchantment.
Born, also, this return by the rapid depletion of the promises implied in the birth of a world unified under the sign of financial capital.
The Cold War ended with the victory of one of the contenders did not open the way to permanent peace and a linear progress. Instead, it returned to the confrontation between the powers and the multiplicity of wars appears to be a world war creeping, potentially explosive. The supposed self-regulating capacity of the market has failed. The idea of infinite development has come up against the physical limits of the planet and threatens the very conditions of life. They do not change, and in many cases increase, the gap between rich and poor and, in each country, between the very rich and the great mass of others. Traveling between the stars but too many people continue to die of hunger, and it seems to be disproportionate welcome those who run away from war and poverty. The pontiff of the Catholic Church had to explain that when he speaks in defense of the poor and against the immoderate gains it does because it is communist but because it is inspired by the Gospel. He had to reinterpret Scripture to explain that the man was not donated the land and the animals that live there to ruin the one and torturing others at will but to protect them.
One would think, with the greatest respect, ‘Well dug, old mole “. In truth, Hamlet says, “Well said, old mole” to the spectrum of the father at the time warned the ground: it was, of course, the voice of the past buried and ignored who returns to tell what he knows, and go in peace. As for Marx, who in the 18th Brumaire he quoted from memory, the mole digging well, as you know, is the image of the revolution which operates under the radar. For us, perhaps, the word spectrum underground is just to Marx now freed from the burden of something that did not belong and also helps those who are distant or hostile. A voice, too, heard so much better after the work of interpretation. For us, but not only for us, it should first reading that did Gramsci who taught to understand, among other things, the mutual influence between the base material, economic, society and all the phenomena called superstructure in lexicon of tradition.
And they have also helped all the jobs that have enabled it to overcome the anachronisms and place it in its time and in its culture, highlighting, for example, the difficulty of this individual to look not only socially determined or the failure to understand the influence patriarchal order in the determination of the male as unacceptable absolute value. A thought does not stay indefinitely because this is no time, but because, in the narrow limits of time, culture and life of its author, opens a new window to look at reality. Now no one, more innocent, drink the hemlock to comply with the law of the city, rather than the more guilty the more frolic. But no one can dispute that the poor Socrates is one of the first inventors of ethics, including the public.
And so it is for Marx. Considering it a kind of Bible, you use it, of course, against himself, perhaps unlikely to endorse or pernicious doctrines of others, as indeed happened (and happens). Seen within its limits and its shortcomings studied for many years, including in this meeting will be discussed, he returns the actuality of who, in fact, found in the capital and along the explosive force, as has been said, the drama of our time, and he teaches about the building of human reality from the ground, trying to see it for what it is and not for what we imagine it to be.
Can return, so, the author moved by a powerful but misunderstood ethics office that breaks the hypocrisy of the beautiful souls smug virtue of their real or alleged but unable to look at the origins of the evils to deprecate words. The school of thought of Kantian origin who emphasized, at the beginning of the past century, this side of Marx was submerged by those who believed the author of an exact science, then returned to the subject constantly. Its scientific analysis, like every other, is conditioned by the level of knowledge at that time and therefore can be reached continuously partly denial partly correct, but, being the object to which it refers to the social relations – and thus ultimately between people – he would never even born had it not been moved by indignation and a passion. The outrage over the fate of the last and penultimate manufacturers of objects indispensable to life and a good life, a passion for the freedom of each and all. Relations between Marx and Spinoza, a scholar of the passions, now fill a library. The work changes, changes the system of education or employment of consciences, the dominated may ignore or even to be so happy to be so, but without that anger and that passion genuinely experienced, you can not do political action, let alone one called left.
Can return, today, the author who studied this thinking of the future, perhaps in the belief, as certain look, a certain history in the mouth, but said he did not want to do and never did the pastry chef of the future, the ‘ author of an open-ended but not so much because it thus: and so Marx said he was not a Marxist, knowing that their critical method would also cover his work. This is not groped do not know which new orthodoxy, but to read it without distorting lenses to be helped to understand the origin of this distressing problem. And also to be led to a deeper self-criticism.
This world is in danger and forged dominated by capital everywhere and winning first flowering of civilization in places that can not be said to be inspired by Christianity, not only that but also the other Protestant majority here, although raised in the little loyalty or ignorance of the Gospel, as we are now told authoritatively. This is Western civilization today questioned. And the onslaught of fundamentalism losers can not be answered, otherwise the catastrophe, with the fundamentalism of winning. This world is super armed is now closing grimly, as last tried even Switzerland, instead of looking at himself and seek to correct their distortions considering them because of those of others. The tendency to use inordinate force becomes greater, with the attendant risks.
It should react to what is called the left. But having thrown away Marx did not help and, in fact, has been a powerful incentive to slip into the arms of neoliberalism successful and unsuccessful, so the distinction between left and right has become increasingly blurred. It is obvious that not just Marx, but without continuing a rigorous analysis, as was his, the economic and social model in which we live will continue to miss the contribution that the left could give to solve the growing problems of the present. I think that, with open eyes, Marx may be more useful than ever to stimulate research and, also, political action.
2) A. Gramsci, The revolution against the “Capital”, in Id., The future city from 1917 to 1918 , edited by S. Caprioglio, Turin, Einaudi, 1982, p. 514.
3) See. F. Frosini, Preface of ’59 , in G. Liguori, Voza P. (eds), Dictionary Gramscian 1926-1937, Rome, Carocci, 2009, p. 661.
4) A. Gramsci, Appendix. Excerpts from the Notebooks of translation, in Id., Prison Notebooks , edited by V. Gerratana, Rome, Einaudi, 1975, p. 2359.