[OPE] G.A. Cohen

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Sat Aug 08 2009 - 14:06:53 EDT

Marxism as a doctrine, a catechism, an ideology, an orthodoxy or a faith is
pretty much dead, it has if anything to be reinvented, with plenty room for
our own creativity and insight, preserving the substantive ideas but giving
them a new form. Yet Marxism, as I pointed out in a press article in 1983,
has also inspired countless social scientists, literary people, historians
and futurologists.

The generation which is now vanishing is that of the New Left emerging in
the hippy era, which redefined Marxist concerns intellectually in a new
historical context. But it's not entirely a bad thing, if the old generation
bows out, since we now live in different times. There is a very coherent
Marxian story to be told about the current economic troubles, and perhaps
one day I will have the opportunity to write some of that up. But I don't
think we'll get very far, if we persist in the habits and political methods
of the previous generations, which are not adequate to what is happening

The problem as I see it is that most Marxists I know, whatever their
undoubted merits, often aren't radically innovative, instead they are really
deeply conservative people venting a certain moral outrage perhaps. They
dare not to question very much, for fear of contradicting the faith. They
want to preserve an authorative tradition (or myth), with a certain
sentimental or moral feeling, and seek for confirmation of traditional
beliefs, but this often has more to do with their own personal dispositions,
than with objective realities. Rather than throwing the disorientation and
incoherence of the powers that be into sharp focus, entering into dialogue
with people of different persuasions, they ruminate despairingly about the
non-existence of a living, growing Marxist movement that would breathe new
life into an old political tradition. And that is just not very politically


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Received on Sat Aug 8 14:09:35 2009

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