[OPE-L:3264] Dunayevskaya (was Spinoza)

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 19:46:04 EDT

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An even more partial rejoinder (to Paul Zarembka's OPE-L:3262).

I had written:

"I don't think there was a break and I don't think that was
Dunayevskaya's argument either. She argues instead that the 1844
manuscripts, specifically Marx's grounding of the dialectic of
negativity in real human becoming, was the crucial "philosophic moment"
of his later development. But ... her metaphor is that of Prometheus
bring fire to earth and, before he could do so, he first had to have
the fire. Marx got his Promethean vision from Hegel prior to 1844 and
prior to 1843 when he ecame an exponent of proletarian revolution. In
short, she argues for a continuity of Marx's Marxism from 1841 (his
dissertation) through 1883."

Paul has responded:

"Contra Andrew's reading: Dunayevskaya says that Marx discovered in
1844 "a new continent of thought and revolution" (her Chapter IX, _Rosa
Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution_,
1982). It was driven, she says, by "Marx's concept of Alienated Labor
which broke [sic!] through all criticism [of bourgeois society]. That
discovery changed all else [sic!]. That 'self-clarification,'
stretching from April to August [1844], disclosed the inner connection
between philosophy and economics, philosophy and politics, subjective
and objective; it created a new beginning, a new totality of theory and
practice". It was sustained by a reformulation of Hegel's "'negation
of the negation', which Marx had called 'a new Humanism'" (pp. 122, 125,
49-50 fn. 33, respectively).

"Sounds to me like a 1844 "break" that Dunayevskaya thinks occured!

"Althusser also proposes a "break" only later and of different

I don't think that what you've quoted contradicts my interpretation. It
also doesn't seem to me that your interpretation is consistent with the
thrust of her argument as a whole. I suspect you are confusing "break"
with "breakthrough."

In the very first sentence of the section from which you mainly quote,
she writes:

"The path to Marx's discovery of the new continent of thought and
revolution in 1844 STARTED OUT at the university as he worked on his
doctoral dissertation" in 1841 (p. 122, emphasis added).

On the same page she writes,

"It is true that Marx would not work out that new beginning ... until he
discerned the working class as Subject. But, philosophically, there is
no doubt where he was headed [with his dissertation], as he ... developed
his most original interpretation of *praxis*. That was to remain his
unique category for breaking both with 'idealism' and 'materialism'."
(pp. 122-23)

What this means is that, when Marx, in 1844, worked out his concept of a
new humanism that is the truth of idealism and materialism, but distinct
from both, he was doing so ON THE BASIS of his 1841 interpretation of

She then writes that in 1841

"Marx himself had not yet discovered 'another element,' a new beginning,
a Subject; but that is what he was searching for -- and Freedom was the
ground." (p. 123).

Finally, IMMEDIATELY after the main passage you quote, she writes:

What we may call 'the self-determination of the Idea,' Historical
Materialism, which was born out of his concept of Alienated Labor, was
the CULMINATION [!!] OF THE CRITIQUE MARX BEGAN IN 1841 ...." (p. 125,
emphasis added).

He had been searching all along for the principle that led to Hegel's
accommodation to the Prussian state. Now, three years later, he had
found it and transcended it, by discovring its opposite.

So Marx hadn't yet made his breakTHROUGH discoveries in 1841.
Nonetheless, there was from 1841 to 1844, not a BREAK in, but rather a
continuity of development of, his thinking and his problematic.

Andrew Kliman

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