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Showing posts from April 25, 2021

A footnote on European Maoism

  “The PPS, established a September 9, 1967 in Vevey, broke off from the Swiss Communist Party (marxist-leninist). According to article 3 of the statutes, the PPS was open to orientations of the left: “socialist, progressive, Maoist, ... etc.” In spite of this unusual political openness, the Spark, the party’s organ, insisted on the Maoist orientation of the party... Many members of the OAS, as well as former officers of the SS, adhered to the PPS in Vevey...” - Journal du Valais, Nov. 16, 1978 One of the more peculiar stories of the 60s and 70s in Europe is the unlikely collaboration between the so-called Maoists and the European far-right.   The Sino-Soviet split did not perturb the alliance, tacit or otherwise, between the Communist parties of the Western European states and the Soviet Union. But the official Communist parties did not absorb all the left-leaning demographic. For some of the Ultras, Mao was a much more attractive figure than Brezhnev or Kosygin. Surely communis

Tove Ditlevsen's Copenhagen Trilogy - a note

  The program era killed the proletarian novel. Or perhaps, it died when the cold war turned to modernism. Whatever the causes of death, the corpse seems to be largely unmourned. The disorganization of the working class has extended into our multi-media moronosphere – it is rare thing for a sitcom to feature even a lower middle class protagonist. The suburbs and the professional class won. And specialization won – who among us believes that the garbageman may be reading Marx, or even Upton Sinclair, on the side? This happened in my lifetime. When I was a young sprout, the above scenario would not have been artistically implausible. I myself, working as a janitor at a Sears Warehouse, spent my breaks reading Wittgenstein, as the dock guys played dominoes. To my mind, the slap of dominoes and the Philosophical Investigations still belong together. I’ve been reading Tove Ditlevsen’s Copenhagen Trilogy, and as is the way of your wired reader, I have also been reading around the rev

Danton's fate: notes on Lukacs, Buchner and Epicurus

      “Philippeau, welch trübe Augen! Hast du dir ein Loch in die rote Mütze gerissen? Hat der heilige Jakob ein böses Gesicht gemacht? Hat es während des Guillotinierens geregnet? Oder hast du einen schlechten Platz bekommen und nichts sehen können?” - Herault in Danton’s Death “Philippeau, what sad eyes! Did you rip a hole in your red cap? Did St. Jacob give you the evil eye? Did it rain during the guillotining? Or did you get a bad seat and couldn’t see anything?” In 1939, Georg Lukacs, who was living, I believe, in Moscow at the time, published an essay about Georg Büchner with a typically tendentious Lukacs-ian title, Georg Büchner and his Fascist Misrepresentation . It was another potshot in Lukacs’s shooting war on European irrationalism, of which the leading philosophical figure was, of course, Heidegger – although as we all know, Lukacs, in his Weber days, writing things like Soul and Form, got pretty fuckin close to irrationality – thought that yearns to be appreciat