[OPE-L:6171] Re: Lucio Colletti: 1924-2001

From: glevy@pratt.edu
Date: Sat Nov 10 2001 - 19:40:45 EST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: antonio callari <a_callari@email.fandm.edu>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2001 19:32:24 -0500
Subject: Re: [OPE-L:6170] Lucio Colletti: 1924-2001

No, I don't really think much of this obit--not that I'm surprised by
it, though. Colletti, as the obit makes clear, did turn on Marxism.
Now, if I am remembering correctly, Colletti did, arguably, put his
finger on what, retrospectively, could be seen to have been the weak
spot of Marxism--of the Marxism that he had learned and that was
prevalent at the time, i.e. up to the 60s or so: Hegel. [and no, this
is not a simplistic rejection of Hegel, who can be and has been read
in different ways, with different emphases. The Hegel that was the
weak spot of Marxism was the one that emphasized "system" rather than
openness, the one who had a teleological understanding of
contradiction. This Hegelian mantle provided intellectual cover for
the totalitarian construction of socialism--really, state capitalism,
we can say now--the Stalinist experience turned out to be].
What the obit fails to note is that Colletti was not the only one who
picked up on this. Others also picked up on the effect of the
philosophical mantle on political practice and on the effects of
"Hegel" (the system Hegel, that is). But, unlike Colletti, these
others, notably Althusser, did not use the Hegelian legacy in order
to abandon it, but tried to discover (and did discover) new
philosophical linkages and foundations around which to rebuild
Marx/ism. Unlike Althusser, Colletti (and I see this as a poverty of
spirit and imagination on his part) seemed so stuck on the Hegelian
legacy for marxism that he saw no way out; and he, therefore, was led
to conclude that the very idea of socialism was inevitably corrupted
by a totalitarian urge. HENCE, I DO NOT FIND IT SURPRISING AT ALL
Anyway, that's my take on him.

>Lucio Colletti, an intellectual influence on a number of listmembers,
>died on November 3. The following is an obituary from _The Guardian_.
>Do you agree with the accessment of J.F. Lane?
>In solidarity, Jerry
>	    ------------------------------------------------
>The Guardian (UK)
>November 8, 2001
>Lucio Colletti
>by John Francis Lane
>Lucio Colletti, who has died of a heart attack aged 76, was a much-loved
>philosophy professor at Italian universities who dedicated most of his life
>to studying and teaching Karl Marx - and ended his days as a parliamentary
>deputy for the party of premier Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's richest
>capitalist. Yet in spite of those contradictions, Colletti will be
remembered >as someone who tried to come to terms with the failure of the
communism for >which, like so many of his generation, he had held high hopes
when fascism >was engulfing Europe. As a young man eager to study philosophy,
he had to >wait till the fall of fascism in 1945 before he could enrol at
Rome >University. He first taught at the University of Messina, but in the
early >1950s was awarded a philosophy chair at Rome. He joined the Communist
party >of Italy (PCI) but was already an irascible comrade, particularly
after the >1956 Soviet party congress, when Nikita Khrushchev denounced
Stalin. After >the suppression of the Hungarian revolution that year he was
one of the 101 >PCI intellectuals who published a manifesto denouncing the
party's failure to >distance itself from the Soviet Union. The PCI's founder
philosopher was >Antonio Gramsci, but Colletti preferred another Marxist
thinker, Galvano >Della Volpe. One of the most conspicuous victims of the
1960s radical wave at >Rome University, he had no sympathy for the 1968
movement. In 1974 he abjured >Marxism, expressing his views in an interview
with Perry Anderson published >first in the New Left Review and later
expanded in Italian as a pamphlet. He >became an outsider on the Italian left
just when the PCI, under Enrico >Berlinguer, was winning more electoral
backing. After publication of his >Twilight Of Ideology (1980), Colletti
decided that the moderate socialism >within a market society proposed by
Bettino Craxi, the new secretary of the >Socialist party (PSI), might be the
solution he hoped for. After Soviet >Communism's collapse and the debacle of
Craxi's brand of socialism, Colletti >was ready to support the first to come
along with an attractive proposal for a >renewal of Italian society, but many
were surprised that he should have felt >attracted to Berlusconi, who puts
private interests before public service. >Colletti ran in a safe seat at the
1996 elections, which Berlusconi lost. He >was re-elected this year and
though he has often been critical of Berlusconi's >actions - such as the way
the G8 affair in Genoa was conducted - he remained a >loyal supporter to whom
Berlusconi paid tribute after his death, praising "his >courage in rejecting
communism". He is survived by his second wife, Fauzia, >and their daughter
Giulia, and a daughter by his first marriage.  Lucio >Colletti, academic,
born December 8 1924; died November 3 2001 -- ************

Antonio Callari
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		 Lancaster PA 17604-3003
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