By Russell Jacoby
Watching 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 comprises structuralist colleges. He argues cult of good fortune 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 replacement 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 review of Engels' orthodox Marxism. the writer follows the evolution of this minority culture and its competition to authoritarian different types of political idea and perform.
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Additional resources for Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism
Secondary refers to those features that stand once removed from the primary economic organization of wages, working conditions, imperialism, and the market. It refers to a series of relations, such as urbanism, mass media, psychological life, and leisure. These are not necessarily second in importance, but are second in that they cannot exist apart from the basic political-economic organization of society. In recent decades these areas have increasingly drawn the attention of Marxists, but earlier Marxists ignored them.
His work has been marked by two closely related elements, a phobia of Hegel and a passion for science. "We have the right. . and the duty, politically, to use and defend - by fighting for the word - the philosophical category of 'science'. . To use and defend the word 'science'... "62 The main weapon of the petty-bourgeois hordes is history, or "historicism" in Althusser's lexicon. History and historicism compromise the rigor of science. " 63 Conformist Marxism 25 Next to history, the main danger to science is Hegel; Althusser has met this danger through exorcism.
Little seemed more certain than that Marxists accepted and even accelerated these advances. Nevertheless, a yawning gap between the general principles and the particulars vitiated a critical appropriation of a technological world. 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.