Use and abuse of The theses against Feuerbach

Curtiss Leung bofftagstumper at
Sun Apr 9 13:23:30 PDT 2000

Brad deLong wrote:

> Marx started as a German-style philosopher, decided
> that was B.S. and that he should be a French-style
> revolutionary, and then decided that it was more
> important to figure out what was going on and became
> an English-style political economist.

> Subsequently, the Marxists have recapitulated this
> development--in reverse.

Witty, but a bit superficial, no? If there were any anarchists or activists in Seattle who were taking some cues from the Situationist International, for example, they'd be drawing on all three aspects of Marx you mention without limiting themselves to any one of them. And without thinking themselves "Marxists" or "Marxians" or whatever....

A while back in a conversation with Ken, if wondered aloud if debating the fine points of theory wouldn't look like arguing if Spiderman could beat up Superman, and now I think -- especially in light of my limited acitivities and bad behavior -- that in fact some of these debates are that trivial.

But I also think that engagement on each of the three points -- philosophy, activism, political economy -- is necessary. Not out of any abstract refusal to "privledge one discourse over another" but because our opponents have already pitched the battle on these and other fronts and coordinated their efforts accordingly. It's as if capital takes more seriously and employs more fully the various interpretations of the 11th Thesis against Feuerbach than we do.

These words may ring false, especially coming from someone who just recently engaged in some rather sarcastic invective on a number of topics. That was stupid and counterproductive of me. We all read and post to this list, which says to me we all share certain basic premises. But if there's a general shift in emphasis from the criticism of corporations to criticism of capitalism, it may simply be because after a little more than ten years of capital triumphant over the globe, it's possible for people to discover for themselves what it took Marx years of study to understand. That they know the man's name or works is unimportant. We have our different roles to play, and to nod to Max S., the politics are difficult. What is to be done? A great deal.

Offering this to atone for past bad behavior, -- Curtiss

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