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A Fragmentary Panorama Of Revolutionary Possibilities

Historical Trajectory Of Communist Theory...

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The International was founded in order to replace the Socialist or semi-Socialist sects by a real organization of the working class for struggle. The original Statutes and the Inaugural Address show this at the first glance. On the other hand the Internationalists could not have maintained themselves if the course of history had not already smashed up the sectarian system. The development of the system of Socialist sects and that of the real workers' movement always stand in inverse ratio to each other. So long as the sects are (historically) justified, the working class is not yet ripe for an independent historic movement. As soon as it has attained this maturity all sects are essentially reactionary. Nevertheless what history has shown everywhere was repeated within the International. The antiquated makes an attempt to re-establish and maintain itself within the newly achieved form.” Karl Marx, Letter Friedrich Bolte In New York, November 23, 1871, from marxists.org

Marx pronounced the uselessness of sects in 1871 in the context of the upsurge of the First International. However, the International itself failed to maintain this upward trajectory. So, on the one hand, Marx’s denunciation of sects was appropriated by Lenin into an argument for a totalitarian state capitalism. On the other hand, the proletariat itself certainly failed to make the linear progress that would allow the statement to be conceivably true today.

Revolutionary theory aims to comprehend the frontier between the progress of capitalism and the progress of its real and potential negations. The production system generates those who must sell their labor for social survival as well as physical production workers facing “good, old-fashioned” physical survival. Capital generates a large number of information workers and “professionals”. Some forces move these people towards rebellion and others move them towards merely extending capitalist social relationship in a “progressive” fashion. The lurch to crisis throws the most dispossessed into the streets and makes the survival of the higher sectors tenuous.

The purely subjective revolt of “everyone” has its most horrible manifestation in “Orange Revolutions” and similar manifestations. A purely subjective rebellion of civil society may seem to have destroyed “all authority” yet cannot create anything and cannot act for itself. The “objective” perspective that looks towards “productive” workers is a slowly fading approach that cannot go beyond the high point of Stalinist Russia (despite the revival of fundamentalist Marxism along side the other “fundamentalisms”).

So, I am indeed saying that there can be different rebellions which might involve some of the same people but have different content. Indeed, today there is no doubt that the working class is organized, is communicating, is aware of different many things and is even often managing itself. Our lack of collective power means that we are unaware of ourselves and thus only managing capitalist relations. But what this means is this self-organization is happening in the most unconscious fashion possible. Working class people, of whatever definition, are on the Internet, talking about every imaginable question – nearly always from the point of view of the best way of the manage capitalism.

The position of capital generating purely subjective rebellion is one natural duality within the bifurcation of Marxian analysis. It is taken up more vulgarly and systematically by academics like John Holloway or Moishe Postone even than by the Situationist International. The magazine Aufheben has often debated the question of proletarianization. Despite going into great Marxological depth and marshaling quite reasonable arguments, I feel my friends at Aufheben fail to look at the historically specific qualities that the working class and the proletariat take.

If the question could be solved by simply finding the best definition, then we’re at loggerheads. Both the “autonomist” and the “traditional” definition have their problems. Professionals are “proletarianized” in the sense that their activities have become generic – a computer, a supervisor, meetings to go to, rhetoric to craft, etc. and also in the sense that the income they make is necessary to maintain their social position.

Is the economy driven by the accounting of “generalized” survival or by plain-old survival? With generalized survival, we can expect class struggle throughout the world. With simple survival, we would expect class struggle to concentrate in China with the US as virtually a “bourgeois” society. Now, my point isn’t that one or another measures is true while all the others are false. Each plays a part in the unfolding dynamics of crisis-driven capitalism.

We proletarians slip from one position of survival to another. Always there is some resistance to this slippage but this resistance does not always take an identical form. When this resistance becomes collective action, capital faces a crisis. As the collective action of a crisis substitutes communist relations for capitalist relations, the challenge will be to create a power which entirely beyond the reasoning of merely regaining lost ground.

We can see the “multi-tiered” struggle that happened in Argentina – the middle class demanding money, the working class demanding jobs and the poor demanding food. This constituted a power which did not effectively tackle the newest form of crisis capital while it reached the end of previous struggle forms. The 2009 revolt in Iran, where “people,” especially middle class people, stand up for one faction of the Islamic Republic shows the ability of the Spectacle's forces to get out of hand.

The evolution of modern capitalism has transformed the conditions of the classes within it tremendously but cannot end the reality of the dispossessed within capitalist society. It is simply the flip side of the freely available labor power capitalist production depends on.

If the working class are those with bare survival wages, then their number has fluctuated over time. If the working class is industrial workers, then their numbers first grew and now have shrunk. If the working class is all those who must sell their labor power to survive on some level, all wage laborers, then their numbers have grown and grown (and moreover, their number were significant before the dawn of the capitalist era).

Again, everywhere, we see tendencies which the 19th century revolutionary saw as a progression actually occurring in cycles instead. While we have seen many cycles of advance, the dispossessed have certainly not progressively advanced their conscious level of coherence and organization.

Despite Marx’s instructive descriptions of capital continuously revolutionizing both the means of production and society in general, the original workers’ movement, of which Marx and Engels were a part, assumed that capitalist society had fairly fixed boundaries. So this tendency saw commodity relation as taking place within the fixed bounds of “civil society”. This viewpoint can seen most clearly in Marx and Engel’s illusion that the working class could capture the machinery of American democracy.

However, as capitalist society has developed, the process of marketization has corroded away any such boundary within capitalism itself or within the outside world. Everything is for sale, including illusions about money itself.

For the classical theorists, one crucial boundary of capitalist society has been the boundary between the industrial worker, the service worker and the professional.

The most specific prediction of Marx for the future of capitalist society was that the industrial working class would become socially and numerically the dominant class. This scenario has not come about. There is currently no nation on earth with an industrial working class comprising more than fifty percent of the population.

The rise of capitalism in the 19th century was both the rise of a particular and the rise of an abstract, self-reproducing system. The more that this society undermines all of our immediate assumptions, the more it strengthens the fundamental order, capital – the buying of generic labor power for the reproduction of a greater mass of generic labor power.

The vanishing of previous assumptions and previous resistance has left our fundamental dispossession unchanged. The rise of a generic system naturally provoked Marx’s understanding of Capitalism within dialectics, arguably a 19th century equivalent to system theory. But naturally, this theory was unfinished and could not be finished before the end of capitalism itself.

The more general prediction, that wage labor would become the dominant relation, has indeed come about. In capitalist nations, those who must work for money to survive in the larger sense have become the vast majority. In looking at my non-definition of class, I wish to extend this process. I can see how capitalism has tended to suppress the role of the worker in the sense of pure production worker. I would accept the analysis of the Situationists and the ultra-left that the interests of said worker-as-worker indeed tend to be served by the mediation of a Stalinist left (since this is the worker who specifically won’t stop being a worker even in a “workers’ state”).

So what has happened to the proletariat-as-dispossessed and what has happened to the potentials of anti-capitalist organizing? I claim that they follow a similar, fractal path. The proletariat simultaneously is utterly crushed and possesses increasing organizing ability and increasing potential organization (with the chasm between the potential and the real yawning always). Just as much, capital forces as great a portion of the proletariat as possible into an entrepreneurial position but one which cannot be maintained during the periods of collapse, collapse which itself happens on a more frequent and, especially, more extreme basis.

Certainly, the cataclysmic unfolding of the many potentials in alienated labor provides us with the many awe-inspiring and nightmarish scenarios visible in the present world. We can see the situation of Argentina, where, due to the collapse of banks, the middle classes neither joined the revolutionary movement nor supported the state. Interestingly, one would find much less cultural distinction between lower and middle class in the US than one would find in Argentina. Further, in the US, the middle class, or middle stratum, has no assets but rather lives on credit.

Another point is that we are not looking at this morally. The “productive classes” today, in the sense of being the rising and powerful section of the working class, is not the industrial worker but the information worker, the system administrators who keep the most advanced infrastructure functioning. This is, of course, an even smaller group than the industrial working class even now.

We need arrive at the answer through historical and theoretical analysis, that is to say dialectically. The answer is that I would give is that in the diffuse world of today, the more prosperous “middle class” wage earner is pulled various ways by various forces. Those forces will not be decisive until further storms arise.

Now, within all this, we can ask about the prospects of revolution. For the purely abstract, individual wage laborer, the logical path towards revolution is subjectivity. For the collectively organized and exploited industrial worker, the path to revolution is objective, collective organization. I can see the three paths to counter-revolution in Argentina: the Middle Class resentment of the bank customers, the self-management of factory workers, and the bought-off gangster of the Piqueteros.

In the evolution of possibilities, this same group came together to create a powerful upsurge. But in the evolution of such a historical event, such an event must constantly interrogate and overcome itself. The upsurge floundered on step two and this must be our lesson two.

So where will a professionalized American working class go in a crisis? Unlike Argentina, they can not demand their money since even the highest stratum live on credit. Moreover, the advance of professionalization both increases the numbers of professionals and decreases their wages. Capital unleashes more and more of this force, yet the quandary is how those fundamentally disposed by Capital can reach the stage of creating a social relationship which goes with this order. Certainly, they won’t get there by working.

For not having a better conclusion, I don’t necessarily see immediate action despite the immediate horrors moving us toward destruction. But we can expect that the system will impose deprivation and chaos on us at whatever rate we are willing to take and at an accelerating rate. By this token, I expect a breaking point to be reached sooner than a simplistic analysis would expect.

Even would-be revolutionaries fail terribly in considering the process of accelerating change. Critiques of Marx or the Situationists or others seem to see a static world wherein you can pick or choose a series of correct or incorrect lines. The reality is that there are accelerating series of battles. These battles aren't hopeful or pleasant affairs – mostly they are the almost invisible process of reinforcing previous defeats. All previous revolts are covered with a hundred feet of ice as La Banquise implied. But just as much, a distinct subterranean world exists – bare, horrifying but beginning at the point where all else ends. However, the world of capital just as quickly experiences its crises. Our task is to be ready at the point revolutionary struggle appears out of this stew. But in this process, our task is to not be too far behind the struggle that appears.

Mathematically, a singularity is a point on a curve beyond which it is not possible for smooth changes in the slope to continue a process of change because these changes contradict themselves. There is no doubt the present order is approaching a singularity of one sort or another.

Theses On Production And Revolution

  1. The manner in which a revolutionary tendency describes its theory should be inseparable from its understanding of the pace of revolution. A theory that requires long study is only applicable to a revolution that will involve a long movement happening over many years. Despite coming out of the spectacle’s tendency to pure surface, sound bites are a natural part of any quick revolution.

  2. The Situationists’ sometimes crude identification of power, control, technology and capital is forgivable only by their approach of strategically theorizing – the fact that they situated their praxis within the immediate historical moment.

  3. The later framework of capitalist production naturally encompass earlier frameworks. From the point of view of information systems, any particular production process as developed by capitalism moves from piece-meal creation to the filtering and combining of an existing stream of information (information being fundamentally the result of human labor). The earlier move from craft production to mass production was only a partial example of this.

    Revolutionary process should naturally take part in this move towards filtering. In 1987 when The Simpsons premiered, mainstream criticism had outpaced what passed for radical thought. The Robot Chicken of 2006 far outpaces them. If there is anything Robot Chicken shows, it is that the mass media of the last thirty years has become more and more of a fire hose spewing the filtered totality of social existence back at us, adding only bits and pieces to the mix. Capitalism itself has adopted the position of the Situationists in the sense that its leading edge is not about production but about the circulation of daily life. All art is detournement and mainstream art is recuperated detournement.

    The Situationists often confused the form of production with its essence – seeing hierarchy, control, specialization, etc. as fundamental when they are just moments of capitalism’s evolution. But what made them crucial was their practice of strategic communication – seeing that revolutionary theory acts on the totality of society. To take seriously a partial theory is more critical than to academically exposit a total theory.

    The system produces an ever-widening gulf between what is possible in human relations and what is realized. The Internet shows this gulf floridly. It is now clear that we aren’t limited in our ability to send information but by our inability to create a language describing the system and its negation.

  4. The position that revolution proceeds explosively does not promise a quick, happy ending. It is simply an observation of the current time. It is a corollary of the observation that production moves from linear to non-linear.

    One plausible scenario is that an explosion will set the stage for future struggles towards communism. We can look at all the dynamics of high-explosive chemical reactions for this investigation. The progress of the means of production under capitalism thus involves the production process becoming more dialectical while a coherent practice of dialectics become more difficult. One of these tendencies will eventually overwhelm the other.

  5. In the first stage of the spectacle, every communication within civil society had effectively become a statement regarding the command and control of an unquestionable capitalism. Yet civil society itself was only fraction of total communication. The tension that has characterized the last forty years' history has been technology's expanding the possibilities of communication coming up against the expansion of market relations within all aspects of daily life.

  6. The world today is a world in which the process of interpersonal communication has become more colonized than ever before by capitalist relations in general and the neoliberal order in particular. This modern regime might be called 'the social factory' in the sense that labor in an automated, assembly-line-like setting has left the factory proper and has moved to a world which aspires to organize the totality of social interactions with order similar to the order of the machine. It could be called the 'virtual world' in the sense that production measured in number, weight, height and length has been superseded by production measured by information. Marketization colonizes the dreams of artists transformed into entrepreneurs. Every means of survival can be self-consciously used as a scheme for increases in the rate of exploitation. At the same time, this world puts whatever would-be revolutionaries are left in the position where we can directly communicate our positions, beginning with the need for unalienated relations.

  7. The further evolution of a given production process often involves harnessing a number of its previous forms. But naturally, this advance everywhere results in missed possibilities and potentials. Revolutionary theory takes part in this. Marx only barely learned mathematics and this text’s author has barely mastered Marx’s writings.


An optimistic leftist might see daily life as small instances of resistance spread through every workplace and, every day, resistance that invisibly builds up to explosions on a regular basis. This is an appealing possibility. Certainly, no one submits utterly to the demands of bosses and bureaucracy, even the bosses and bureaucrats can’t really follow their own logic. But if we looked at America in 2007, one would be hard-pressed to say that enough resistance was accumulating to create a collective refusal of the current conditions either inside or outside the workplace.

We can view the desperation of individual acts as a gauge of what we all put up with silently. It does happen that people spend their entire lives resisting. It happens more often that a person lives with a series of compromises, temporary treaties, reconciliations with the daily misery governing our lives - if I steal enough coffee, I can get through the day, that house in country is my refuge from this insanity, etc. There are constant disturbances of this sleep; dreams of further possibilities appear but they usually leave us accepting the logic of the system. Even the feeling that a crisis could bring down the entire complex provides a comfort to some people today.

Some palpable spirit of opposition generally comes before any articulated positions or any visible acts. Everyday, we act on things that we do not have a certain argument for or against. Thus the next explosion can percolate in the banal office or factory. A critical strategy of resistance today needs to look for a spirit of resistance rather than calling for increased militancy or making rational arguments for the undesirability of this society. In reality, this is one of the most rational societies history has known. The rationalist can divide up the moments of this insanity and prove each step is sane. You are working at an absurd job and driving an hour each way to get there. But each step is justified - you signed the contract, you chose the car as the way to get there, you chose the little luxuries that keep you from saving any money. Freedom and responsibility dominate each moment despite the totality being insane. We are not interested in finding a better way to manage the present disaster called society - we are experimenting with which ways we can end it most quickly.

The explosions we do see today happen when those large and small compromises can no longer hold. Sometimes this happens spontaneously. Sometimes this happens when the system seems so weak that it tempts us to demand more. But this often happens when the system breaks its side of the bargain. Certainly, we can see more instances of that happening lately as the world economy implodes.

Spectacle And Abstraction

We live in a world of lies. Humanity drifts through a distorting field whose complexity dwarfs all previous examples. From the ordinary prejudices of journalists we go to chaotic positions of bloggers and Internet rumors. Never have we had so much information and never has it been so suspect.

To unravel such a situation requires not just an effort tell the truth but the difficult choices of which truth to look at first. The universal distortion certainly reinforces itself through the use of small truths in the service of large lies; politicians often doing well enough at analyzing problems that they have no hope of solving, each doing an excellent job at showing the problems of the alternatives, etc.

For us, the key entry point to begin our unraveling is history itself. The terrain on which all the other lies live is the belief that the present world is typical, things have always been like this and will always continue like this. The reality is that we human beings are moving on a steep and chaotic trajectory of accelerating history. In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation. Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Derek Sayer points out that Marx did not define class and other critical questions but rather allowed the definition of class to flow out of the entire historical development of capitalism. I could begin by defining some terms. I could begin by defining all terms. Just by virtue of being human beings, we are in the middle of a dialog. But in the current stage of history, we are in a dialog and a historical conflict. So I have to rely on you, the reader’s, abilities, given by your history in capitalist society and as a human being.

That said, I aim to define those terms which I think people need. Such definitions naturally involve putting my own spin on these ideas – like someone defines a complex concept. So, as I write, some old and new words may get a formal introduction while others will just appear on stage without fanfare. Such is the way of all theater.

Human language is both a game of sounds rearranged with complex rules and a process of representation, where a sequence of sounds can describe some other thing. What is abstraction? Language can describe particular details, the sights and sounds and material qualities of the world. Those parts of language which describe wider swathes of details are more abstract. Nouns like “the world”, “the nation”, “people”, “things” all bring us into the world of abstraction. But verbs lacking detail can also bring us into a realm of abstraction; “to act”, “to exist”, “to be” can be more abstract than “to walk” or “to hammer”. And naturally, this is hardly an adequate summary but rather a reminder for we humans who are already using language and using abstractions.

The spectacle is part and parcel of our modern world. Even if spectacular domination is not the fundamental problem in the society, it is worth noting how the present spectacular order involves signs which are circulating for themselves without effectively representing anything besides the importance of their users.

One crude example of a spectacular symbol is the Abercrombie and Fitch logo. This symbol literally stands for a company but it is “blurred together” with the implication that those sporting the logo have both money and “a certain attitude”. A given person might not feel all of these things but since “we” know that most others in this society feel one or another of these things, the overall mesh effect “works”.

When the lion roars, he isn’t representing anything else. Rather, he is presenting himself. The A & C logo fuses representation and presentation into a single process. Another example of a spectacular symbol is a phrase like “national security”. Here, there is no particular company which owns the symbol and there is no single image which the user of the phrase automatically presents.

Now, the qualities which a spectacular sign uses are not, themselves new to modern society. Like most animals, pre-humans began using sound primarily for presentation with representational speech evolve 100,000 years ago at least. After this, human speech has involved a fusion of represent and presentation.

One important factor to consider is how the movement towards abstraction can also be a movement toward presentational behavior. The impetus which I have for speaking of the spectacle now is that modern processes have been codified and to an extent automated to what was previously immediate tension between human beings. Capitalism is an abstract social system which automates and incorporates the previously haphazard behaviors of human beings.

A given group of birds might unify their community through maintaining a single tone in their call. Similarly, human presentation has a natural unity to it – the call to payer of a Muslim village or the church bells of a medieval village presented the unity of the community. The spectacle is an automated process which attempts to regain that unity of the precapitalist village through a hum of “images detached from every aspect of life” which appear to “merge into a common stream” (though in comparison to coherent pre-capitalist life, it fails).

Now, an important aspect of this is that many abstract terms have naturally become spectacularized. Indeed, it is natural for the terms for discussing the conditions of our life to be falsified to the degree to which they are critical.

To Put An End To Easy Answers...

Amid the many horrors of the present era, I can feel a palpable inability among we would-be opponents of the system to act even slightly effectively against it. I see this less in the general inactivity than in the collective inability to produce any new understandings of the present era (with only the smallest exceptions).

... the ultra left continues to speak about the affirmation of the proletariat whilst witnessing the collapse, as a revolutionary movement, of everything that could mean the rising in working class power in the capitalist mode of production – a rising in power without which this affirmation becomes a completely empty project. Theorie Communiste (fragment on the web at http://riff-raff.se/wiki/en/roland_simon/critical_foundations_for_a_theory_of_the_revolution/chapter_5/contents).

It is not the job of the revolutionary to provide an objective prediction about the likelihood of revolution. In any case, such predictions are presently impossible . What we might find, when present conditions are plugged into the best of our computers, is zero divided by zero – an irresistible force meets an immovable object. The contradictions are piling up but won’t be calculated till the final round. The only task of the anti-capitalist revolutionary is to consider the tools, the tendencies and the tactics which might lead to a situation where the dispossessed and the capitalist class face each other more directly, where a more total struggle can happen – insert your favorite Sun Tzu or Clausewitz quote here.

Two hundred years ago, Karl Marx opened the field of the materialist analysis of society. The rejection of crude materialism and dialectical idealism in Theses On Feuerbach represented a point of departure in humanity’s ability to consider it own condition, but this was also revealed to be simply a part of the evolution of human action in the world – specifically, the means of production reaching a historically unique level of self-modification. After this point, the only theory that merited the name was praxis – action on the historical stage. Equally, the evolution of human society has gone more and more to the point where the only choice is between being a slave to ideology or being engaged in a lucid praxis authentically addressing the conditions of the world.

Looking at the present era, this insight has to be modified by an understanding of how the present era is the product of massive “counter-revolution”. These events, including the two world wars, were not a single program but rather a generalized approach which Kenneth Rexroth described as civilization’s turning of its resources upon the destruction of it future possibilities. Thus, the present era has a prevailing despair far from the optimistic feeling characteristic of the rise of capitalist society.

This situation remains true even as many aspects of the movement of which Marx was a part have faded. Indeed, while there’s no obvious upsurge in world wide revolutionary activity lately, the self-destructive activity of capital leaves the choice of revolution or suicide just as poignant.

I have published the previous seven issues of “ASAN” over the last twenty years or so years. The late eighties were the very end of both the “affluent society” and any vision of a unified left. In my twenty years of publishing ASAN, an affirmative left has collapsed along with the Soviet Union. This collapse has certainly involved only a deepening of the working class’ atomization and bourgeois-ization within capital.

I can see two general positions of an opposition. One projects a well defined working class which organizes for itself, as it is now and eventually takes power in some form (either through a state or through workers councils). Another perspective looks at transforming the roles that exist in this society – switching the conditions of life of all existing classes from the specialized, bureaucratic organization of life to a holistic existence.

Leninism as well as some versions of councilism and anarcho-syndicalism can be seen purely as part of the first tendency. But many tendencies involve both aspects. I once defined myself as “between the ultra-left and the Situationist International” and associated with others who defined themselves with a similar “mix” of politics. The evolution of this milieu unfortunately has only been undesirable, with the politics becoming effectively an effort to have a similar position to the left without “vanguardism” or “authoritarianism”. As Theorie Communiste points out, such projects are likely to be nothing more than blowing on the dying embers of positive working class self-organization (certainly, vanguardism and authoritarianism aren’t the issue. Substitutionism is closer but not quite it either).

Now, instead of being “between”, it would be perhaps better to place myself on the other side of the Situationist from Left communism. This has nothing to do with agreeing with every position of the SI. Rather, the SI was close enough to the critical positions that they were a historical milestone. My goal, however foolish or pathetic, is to be part of a further milestone beyond this. While this might constitute the height of egotism, it comes also from the understanding that the only way out of the present debacle is to see it through all of its possibilities, to create a resistance which is both against and beyond the present regime – a supersession.

It is natural for some proportion of extreme leftist to read the SI, extol some of their virtues, talk about their excesses, make a few noises in the direction of Gilles Dauve and then go back to their Capital reading group. (At the time that Fascism/Anti-Fascism was published, its most salutary aspect was that its message simply could not be tolerated by the leftist social milieu, but things have shifted since then)

Empirically, one can guess that most groups of would-be revolutionaries will turn out to be worse than nothing in a revolutionary situation. It is worth remembering that the Situationists positioned themselves in the line of historical events as the supersession of not just Marx and Anarchism but also of Stirner and Nietzsche, Dada and Surrealism, as well as the cinema and the modern means of psychological conditioning. (Who says that we do not, like Nietzsche, look to the man of the future but look with a clearer vision than old Fredrick’s syphilis-addled sight?) What matters is not simply a certain mix but a process of overcoming.

And, again, if this is taken as a claim to individual accomplishment, it forms a pathetic claim to stardom within the spectacle of historical accomplishment. If it is an invitation for the entire proletariat to take up this historical legacy, then it is simply a necessary call in a harsh time.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that recent research had disproved once and for all every one of Marx’s individual theses. Even if this were to be proved, every serious ‘orthodox’ Marxist would still be able to accept all such modern findings without reservation and hence dismiss all of Marx’s theses in toto – without having to renounce his orthodoxy for a single moment. Georg Lukacs What is Orthodox Marxism?

The position of the SI is crucial to us, more crucial than the particular points of dialectical reasoning they might take. Reich, the scientist, for example, seems just one fumbling step in the long line of human research on sexuality and body-mind processes, the majority of which seems to have been carried in pre-capitalist societies. It is debatable whether Reich made advances over the researches of Indian Tantra.

Yes, Reich the would-be revolutionary very correctly outlined the historical and even biological defeat that the possibilities of human community suffered in the early twentieth century. It seems a natural conclusion that in those areas of knowledge where science and Ceteris paribus can quickly unlock nature’s secret, modern bourgeois processes have made notable strides, and equally in those areas roughly described in bourgeois terms as “psychology” or “sociology”, science has failed to make progress or has even regressed.