Hannah Arendt: in praise of thought

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Fred
Hannah Arendt: in praise of thought
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Hannah Arendt: in praise of thought. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Fred
A stimulating and thought

A stimulating and thought provoking article from Jens, about Hannah Arendt, the Jewish question, and some films. 

 

Quote:
Arendt's major point is that the "unthinkable" barbarity of the Shoah, the mediocrity of the Nazi bureaucrats, is the product of the destruction of an "ability to think". Eichmann "does not think", he executes the orders of the machine, and does his job diligently and conscientiously, without any qualms, and without making the connection with the horror of the camps – of which he was nonetheless aware. In this sense, von Trotta's film should be seen as an elegy to critical thought.
 

 

Yet despite the awesome barbarity of what the Nazis achieved, as Jens points out, Stalin and Mao killed more people from a numbers point of view, though the Nazis still  take the official bourgeois prize for being the most "evil". Perhaps Pol Pot alone came close to competing,  Or perhaps achieving notoriety  for barbaric  acts requires the contribution of newsreel films and attention from Hollywood, to ensure a lasting fame. 

 

But an important question raised is that of "what is it, what was it that destroyed  the nazi bureaucrats' "ability to think"?  Additional questions arise from this and include: did this only happen to them or can it happen to others?  And, is decadent capitalism automatically the enemy of critical thought? 

 

Expect no in-depth answers from this correspondent  who will just point out that the Nazis emerged from the greatest defeat the revolutionary working class had yet undergone in its history. This defeat was not just a blow to the working class but to the whole of humanity, and humanity's aspirations, and hopes for a better and more intelligently organised world.  This destruction of an emerging class consciousness was a setback for the world, and undoubtedly shattered just about everyone's ability to think, thus paving the way for the brave new world  of nazi and other automotans round the globe, serving unquestionably the needs of capitalism's war machines. 

 

 

But although the working class at this present time in history is undefeated, and although numbers of people round the globe are rising in protest at the hardships of austerity and at what they see as the shortcomings of democracy, it is frequently this very limted notion of democracy  which serves to stifle struggle and thought and prevents the working class and others from understanding  that the "legitimacy" of bourgeois democracy has no legitimacy for us the proletariat  and that our struggle, for a new and better world, is against bourgeois democracy, not for its "improvement".  

Fred
Having somewhat lost my way

Having somewhat lost my way in the above post, let's return again to the question of what caused the bourgeoisie to lose "the ability to think" as Arendt claims.  Can we dare to say that the bourgeoisie suffered two defeats early in the last century?  One was the onset of capitalist decadence and the failure of their economic system. The other they shared with the working class. That is the  defeat of the revolutionary wave (1917-23) . You could argue that this was not just a defeat for the proletariat but for the whole of humanity including the bourgeoisie itself.  For, despite their attempts to raise themselves and their economic system beyond the reach of ordinary mortals, the bourgeoisie is finally human too. The onset of decadence and the crushing of humanity's aspirations, as embodied in the proletarian revolution, was a double whammy even for the ruling class whose contribution to the proletarian defeat is not to be played down.  Thus our rulers trembled somewhat at the time, and even crumbled  before events, losing whatever moral fibre they ever had  (never much and of poor quality), losing  confidence in their "vision" of a world triumphantly based on commodity production and the amassing of surplus value, and reduced to the category of subservient automatons before a blind system now completely out of their control.  War had become the order of the day as depression ruled the world.  The Nazis, Stalinism, Maoism, and eventually the grotesque travesty of world wide bourgeois democracy with its lies, hypocrisy, phony elections.  brutal police, tear gas, terrorism and continual attempts at thought control via the Internet, all go to show that the bourgeoisie has never properly recovered its capacity to think properly,  even though their counter-revolution may be losing its grip on the working class. 

 

The bourgeoisie also talk, by the way, a lot of rubbish about the Jews and how they, our rulers that is,   didnt connive generally speaking  in aiding Hitler and his cronies in their genocidal  pursuits.  But both  Roosevelt and  Churchill  put the telescope to their blind eye when it came to responding to what was happening to European Jewry - Roosevelt  thought the concentration of Jews in Central Europe  was too great and needed "thinning out" - and it seems many in the American Jewish community at the time felt similarly - so it seems the "inability to think" in any constructive pro-human manner was fairly widespread at the time.

 

 

And it still is of course.  The savage imposition of cruel austerity measures in the defense of capitalism across the world may not be the exact equivalent of the holocaust, but it still expresses a similar mind-set in our rulers, who find no measure of any kind in any way inhuman as long as it appears to further the interests of capital.  The banality of this uncritical response to the needs of capitalism may not yet approach a new "evil", but it certainly begs the question of whether the bourgeoisie are not complete losers when it comes to serious thought of any kind at all, especially as this might have dramatic impact on humanity itself. 

d-man
"And Arendt's philosophical

"And Arendt's philosophical work, especially her analysis of the mechanisms of totalitarianism remains relevant to this day."

What exact contribution does she make in her analysis? Because there are many similar takes, from social-democratic to freemarket liberal, from third positionist to anti-imperialist.

As for totality, didn't Lukacs say sort of that the point of view of the proletariat is that of the totality? And what about the Italian left's positive embrace of the term?:

"whoever combines the notion of socialism with any form of liberalism, democratism, factory councilism, localism, pluripartyism, or worse, anti-partyism places himself outside history, and off the road that leads to the reconstitution of the party and the International on a totalitarian communist basis."

http://www.international-communist-party.org/BasicTexts/WhatDist.htm#Return%20to%20revolutionary%20Totalitarianism

 

 

jk1921
The question of

The question of totalitarianism is a tough one. In political science, it generally denotes a system in which the population "participates" in its own exploitation/oppression. There really is no outside from which any effective struggle/criticism can arise. Obviously, no state has fulfilled this caricature completely, but this discussion raises interesting questions about the nature of totalitarianism and how we use the concept.

LoneLondoner
On Arendt, in reply to d-man

I'll try to take d-man's points one by one but briefly:

d-man wrote:

What exact contribution does she make in her analysis? Because there are many similar takes, from social-democratic to freemarket liberal, from third positionist to anti-imperialist.

I don't know what you mean about "similar takes". Similar how? But to my mind (having read her book on "The banality of evil") Arendt has two great contributions to make: first, her analysis of the Jewish state and the way in which the Eichmann trial was mounted cuts through all the ideological trash about the Shoah (without ever putting in doubt the full horror of the Shoah), and second her thought is extremely rigorous - this is something marxists can always profit from, whatever the domain it may be exercised in.

I also think that her analysis of the Nazi phenomenon goes a lot deeper, at least potentially, than the vulgar materialist viewpoint of the PCI in "Auschwitz the great alibi". Although that pamphlet had the great merit of laying bare the hypocrisy of the great democracies (and so was attacked by the "anti-negationists" in France), its essentially economistic analysis (Hitler got rid of the Jews to lay hands on their capital) is extremely one-sided and basically misses the point.

For anything deeper on totalitarianism I would need to read her book on that subject, however I can't see how what you say about "combining socialism..." is relevant here. Arendt never pretended to be socialist, or even marxist, as the article points out several times. 

As for the "totalitarian communism" - well, the text you have cited from the PCI is good in its attack on democracy and "anti-totalitarianism", but of course their idea of the PCI (which one by the way?) as "THE Party", and of THE Party being the "centralising organ of the working class", is nonsense. But even if we leave aside the PCI's fantasies about the Party, it should be obvious that they are using the term "totalitarian" in a very different way from Arendt.

jk1921
I have a slightly different

I have a slightly different take on the question of why the bourgeoise in the West still regard Nazism as an evil greater than Stalinism. For whatever the horror, Stalinism remained compatible with a certain ideological vision of the Enlightenment as the progress of man. Nazism was completely backward: blood and soil nationalism, occutlist even. In many ways it was coloured by a rejection of modernity itself. Stalinism had many critical supporters in the West, even when they acknowledged its horrors. It still isn't uncommon to hear university professors proclaim that "without the Soviet Union, the Western captialist democracries would have had no incentive to reform themselves." In a sense, Stalinism is credited with providing the impetus for the great period of reforms from the 30s onward. National health, social security, etc. were all necessary responses to Stalinism.

Moreover, it wasn't uncommon--even during the Cold War-- to hear Western liberals offer various excuses for the violence of Stalinism. It was seen as "rational" as compared to the irrational violence of Nazism. Barrington Moore made the point that while Stalin may have killed millions of people in his quest to modernize the country, comparable numbers of people die over the same time period in places like India where the exisiting conditions were allowed to continue without state intervention. Whereas the Nazis diverted vitial resources away from the war effort to murder Jews, Stalinism's violence comprised a rational program of modernization that in the long run benefited the country and by extension the broader project of modernity.

 

d-man
Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? (Zizek ref.)

FWIW in her Tot. book she uses Luxemburg's theory and cites Hilferding, on rise of monopolies probably. To claim that "her analysis of the mechanisms of totalitarianism remains relevant to this day" though is an empty statement. And you can say that about the work of any writer who opposes state domination. For such a claim to relevance to be creditable, there needs to be some evidence. Otherwise it just is about showing how one can namedrop authors. But even if you want to boost the ICC reputation with some intellectual flavor, at least do the work of summarizing her views to spare the trouble for people who didn't read any of her books like me.

jk1921
If I understood it correctly,

If I understood it correctly, Arendt's analysis of totalitarianism is based on its ability to enable truly abhorrent acts by turning them into a moments of bureaucratic banality. With one stamp or signature on a piece of paper that crosses some functionary's desk, millions are sent to their deaths. Totalitarianism involves the "destruction of thought," as society develops an autonomous process of administration of people as if they were things (echos of commodity festishism, but it is now turned back on humanity). Arendt was close to the Frankfurt School in this regard, even if there were important differences.

Of course, if her analysis of totalitarianism remains releveant to this day, and we live under "totalitarian state capitalism," how ever are we to get out of this morass? Where does the critical thinking necessary to transcend this mess come from? Is anyone still able to think critically? If so, who? Intellectuals like Arendt and the Frankfurt School? What about the proletariat? Do they have an inability to think on a daily level--evidened by general passivity, accomdation to power, obsession with the banality of popular culture, etc.? Is this of any significance at all or does proletarian resistance to this system come from somewhere else? If so, what exactly is it that Arendt is praising in critical thought and how does that inform the Marxist project, if at all? Do we need Arendt?

Fred
the banality of the bourgeoisie

jk wrote:
 What about the proletariat? Do they have an inability to think on a daily level--evidenced by general passivity, accomdation to power, obsession with the banality of popular culture, etc.? Is this of any significance at all or does proletarian resistance to this system come from somewhere else?
 

 

Thank you jk.   I suppose it depends on what you mean by "passivity".  In general, in Europe and the States, there may not be struggles on the streets like in Brazil, Turkey, China (protests all the time),and even Portugal today (nurses on strike over pay cuts PLUS longer working hours - my god! do they think we're crazy? ) but the resentment and suppressed anger against austerity is there is it not? It's palpable.  Does that count as "passivity"? 

 

Also,  until  we embark on struggles directly against the bourgeois State, and against bourgeois democracy,  we have inevitably to succumb to bourgeois power do we not, or waste our time in idle gangsterism and futile violence, such as smashing up shopping centers and the like. 

 

As to "obsession with the banality of popular culture"  isn't "obsession" a very strong word?  After all what other culture is there that's available to workers that doesn't require money and available free time to pursue it, and a modicum of decent education as a preparatory background for its appreciation?   Nor do I think it's  the "banality" of pop culture that appeals to workers, it's  just that pop culture  is all we  get, and all that the bourgeoisie allows us. And that it's "banal" is more the fault of our rulers who provide it, and who dumb everything down for workers and even for themselves - the bourgeoisie having given up on thought and culture years ago, preferring war and prostitution  nowadays. After all, the bourgeoisie in its decadence has reduced most everything to a mind numbing banality have they not? Like  the state murder of millions by Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao;  and "ethnic cleansing" by those bestowed with shining visions of a better capitalist society whether in the Balkans or in various places in Africa, and then of course the Shoah? 

 

[Edit] 

So, while questioning or doubting the  ability of the working class "to think" perhaps it would be better to begin by questioning the bourgeoisie's ability in that area,  and give some consideration to the effect of their anti-cultural,  anti-thought ideology which dominates the whole of this society.  For myself, I have no doubt at all that the proletariat thinks - that's part of what makes it the revolutionary class - and one day, if all goes well, we'll all stand up and prove it. 

d-man
Ayn Rand terrifiyingly

Ayn Rand terrifiyingly exposes the destruction of the ability to think in capitalism, in her essay The Comprachicos, included in; http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_nonfiction_return_of_the_primitive

jk1921
Is your point D-Man that the

Is your point D-Man that the "inability to think" thesis is not of any general help to Marxism--it can come from someone as expresssly un-Marxist as Rand, just as easily as from Arendt, etc.?

 

Fred, I take your point. There is a degree of geographic specificty to passivity. But I think it is also the case that if there is going to be a revolution, it will have to made by the very people who today are largely engulfed in pop culture in its various forms--sports, celebrity gossip, reality TV, the television trial spectacle, etc. The question is how can people whose intellectual horizons have been so dumbed down develop the critical thought necessary to think outside this system? Or is it the case that the impetus for class struggle comes from somewhere else (from the deprivation of material living conditions that prompts a need to go beyond capitalism)? But if this is the case, why do we need to celebrate the kind of critical thinking Arendt references? Critical thinking needs a material base, doesn't it?

it seems to me that what Arendt is doing is trying to defend a kind of liberal democratic conception of citizenry against the great totalitarian systems of the twentieth century. Demcratic citizenry is based on a form of subjectivity rooted in a self that is capable of maintaining some kind of personal autonomy from the system and think critically. So there really is a tangible difference between totalitarianism and democracy. Arednt's project seems to me to be rather backward looking; championing a form of citizenry whose time passed with the rising bourgeoisie. If we are going to get out of the morass of decadent captialism and its tendencies towards totalitarianism then it is going to have to be through a different avenue than revitalizing a public sphere of democratic citizenship based on personal autonomy and critical thinking. Its going to have to go through the material necessity of the class struggle. The revolution is going to have to made by the very mindless sheep that are so derided today by those who fancy themselves as critical intellectuals. 

Of course, there is an argument to be made that in the period of ascendancy there was a kind of "socialist public sphere" based on the insitutions of social demcoracy, in which the working class was able to maintain a level of intellectual and cultural autonomy from the insitutions of the dominant culture. Perhaps, Arendt has nostalgia for this? Certainly, Luxemburg did right? Still, we all know where this ended up--in the recuperation of Social Democracy into the state and the development wirthing the proletariat of a cultural and spritual attachment to democracy that foiled the revolutionary wave.

d-man
No (and it doesn't matter if

No (and it doesn't matter if something is of "any general help to Marxism", what matters is the truth). Rand's essay correctly describes the mechanisms in education (in western societies) that destroy the "ability to think" (sadly it's online only as audiobook afaik). Btw 'critical thinking' is a nonsense phrase. What I question is Arendt's contribution to thought.

http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/criticalthinking.htm

http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/stupidity.htm

http://www.ruthlesscriticism.com/stupid.htm

 

 

LoneLondoner
I'ld be tempted to say...

d-man wrote:

To claim that "her analysis of the mechanisms of totalitarianism remains relevant to this day" though is an empty statement.

And you could say that the above is an empty statement... which wouldn't get us very far

d-man wrote:

And you can say that about the work of any writer who opposes state domination. For such a claim to relevance to be creditable, there needs to be some evidence. Otherwise it just is about showing how one can namedrop authors. But even if you want to boost the ICC reputation with some intellectual flavor, at least do the work of summarizing her views to spare the trouble for people who didn't read any of her books like me.

And that could simply be described as offensive.

I thought that the point of the article was precisely to summarise some of Arendt's views for people who hadn't read her work. And in a previous reply I indicated why I found her book on the Eichmann trial worthwhile so I don't see any point in repeating myself on that.

d-man wrote:

What I question is Arendt's contribution to thought.

All well and good, but why should we take that seriously when you yourself say that you haven't read anything she wrote? Unless of course you think that nobody but Marx and "the marxist Canon" can be considered as contributing anything, but that is a whole other discussion.

jk1921
I would go on record as

I would go on record as defending the article as an attempt to broaden our horizons by considering contributions from traditions that are not strictly Marxist, but which may be able to inform our understanding of certain features of modern captialism. I don't see it as some kind of self-serving "attempt to namedrop" or "make the ICC's image more intellectual." I am not sure where this comes from.

That said, it is perfectly legitmate, once the question of Arendt's relevance to Marxism is posed, to ask if we really need her, what is her real contribution, how can Marxists use her insights if at all, etc. Asking these questions inevtiably poses analyzing her strenghts and weaknesses. It could be in the end that we decide that she is worthless after all, but it seems to me that it would be an error to conclude this before the fact.

I welcome the article, even if I have some questions and doubts about Arendt's project. I would also welcome an article on Zizek's discussion of totalitarianism, if someone were to do one.

d-man
I have a bit similar problem

I have a bit similar problem as Lbird did with the purported relevance of Freud. It's not that Freud wasn't a Marxist that is the problem, but the lack of proving the contribution he made to thought (summarizing a thinker's views is just a start, and tbh google relieves ICC from having to do this). And failing to do this, there is precisely the covering up of this by standing on the pedestal of being a broad-minded person who is able to consider non-Marxist traditions (I found the ICC interesting because I myself had quite enough of considering non-Marxist traditions). Also I said that Ayn Rand's critique of western education is very sharp, so again I don't use 'Marxist Tradition' as any kind of critiria, just the truth. On the contrary for Arendt, for whom the major problem with Eichmann it seems was his inability "to think from the standpoint of someone else" (so nothing wrong with his nazi beliefs, just lack of pluralism?!) (in http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/misreading-hannah-arendts-eichmann-in-jerusalem/ )

jk1921
I am not sure I understand

I am not sure I understand D-Man. On the one hand you say you, "had quite enough of considering non-Marxist traditions," yet in the next sentence you say your standard is not the Marxist canon, but the "truth." Either way, it is not quite clear to me what you find so problematic with this article. The comrade was clearly moved by the film to consider Arendt's relevance to whatever our project is here. We don't have to agree with his conclusions or even think that Arendt has any relevance at all, but it seems harsh to condemn the effort. I don't see anything disingenous here.

As far as Freud concerned, many of his conclusions were strikingly anti-Marxist, i.e. the need for social and psychological structures to repress basic instincts in order for civilization to fucntion at all, but one has to wonder why so many have tried to harvest other aspects of his work for Marxism, in particular in understanding how capitalist culture and the state can mobilize irrational or libidinal impulses in the service of reproducing the system. This is of course quite contentious, and it is perfectly fine to question how relevant this all is, but I don't see a problem with exploring these issues.

d-man
So you agree that she has no

So you agree that she has no relevance but you're using more diplomatic language (again as in the Luxemburg thread, somehow afraid of stating your view?), is that it comrade jk?

jk1921
No

d-man wrote:

So you agree that she has no relevance but you're using more diplomatic language (again as in the Luxemburg thread, somehow afraid of stating your view?), is that it comrade jk?

Not really. She wrote some interesting things about council democracy, for example.

But what's wrong with "diplomatic language"? You would probably stand a better chance of making your point if you adopted a less confrontational approach. BTW, you didn't answer my question. Are you tired of non-Marxist explanations or are you only interested in the truth regardless of whether or not it is Marxist? Which one is it?

d-man
If I may reconcile your

If I may reconcile your interest in her say on council democracy with your claim that "Arednt's project seems to me to be rather backward looking; championing a form of citizenry whose time passed with the rising bourgeoisie.", I think I agree with you, namely, that council democracy is a thing of the past (but the past is relevant), have I understood you correctly?

Fred
Marxism and Ethics (ICC)

Marxism and Ethics (ICC) wrote:
... in drawing a balance sheet of the Paris Commune, Marx contrasted the heroism, spirit of self sacrifice and passion for its Herculean task of the fighting, labouring, thinking Paris, with the parasitical, sceptical and egoistic Paris of the bourgeoisie.

 

 

The insistence by parts of this thread  that while the working class is without doubt dumbed down and incapable of thought, we can assume that this probably doesn't apply in the same way to the bourgeoisie, surprises me.  And, with regard to Arendt,  trying to decide whether she's  "worthless" or not, seems very much to cheapen her afforts  as thinker and writer. Do Marxists have to be so judgmental?  She never claimed to be a Marxist but wrote about and analyzed contemporary life as she saw it.   What's wrong with that? What she had to say is interesting.  She thought there was a certain banality to bourgeois thought in the persons of the Nazis.  As Marxists we see the numbing banality of bourgeois thought in general throughout the world since the onset of decomposition.  Why don't we focus on that rather than seeing the "inability to think" as only manifesting itself in the uncritical unthinking working class masses, "engulfed in pop culture" (arent we all?),  who are anyway only the product of the bourgeoisified and banal society in which they find themselves?  Do the bourgeoisie escape their own banality? Is that what we're supposed to take on board as part of our geographical passivity so to speak?  How did anyone who posts on this forum manage to develop the critical thought necessary to do it and to think "outside the system" if that's what we do? 

baboon
intellectual flavour

I'm going to sprinkle some intellectual flavour about and it may not be to everyone's taste.

Good discussion above and I liked the text of Jens and agree with its emphases.

Fred asks has the bourgeoisie lost out through the failure of a revolution taking place, because a revolution is an advance for the whole of humanity?  I guess in general the answer is yes. Elements of the bourgeoisie came over to the proletariat in Russia and Germany so some of it can be integrated into a revolution. Regarding bourgeoise thought, decadence brings all sorts of destruction and also destruction of thought. Cynical, ruthless, machiavellian, plotting, scheming, managing at every level, the ideology of the ruling class is based on an economic construct that 's gradually deconstructing. Paradoxically , along with breakdown, of which the Nazi genocide and the democratic slaughter around it, is just one significant beacon of the limitations of bourgeois thought, there is also a strengthening of the regimes. There's a certain constant centralisation of the bourgeoisies thought actions in decadence. In general the ruling class live quite well: less illness, greater longevity, the good things of life on tap and in general that must help them to suppress their demons. The wider layers of the bourgeoisie in democracies are quite happy to have professionals running the business of the state, the defence of the national interest. Marx said that the bourgeoisie become intelligent in times of crisis and we are in a deepening crisis.

Up to now the bourgeoisie has kept social peace in general given the attacks it's unleashed and it must be happy with that. There are the wars amongst itself but it just sees these as the nature of things - which is exactly what they are under capitalism. There has been outright bloody repression here and there but the bourgeoisie through it repressive apparatuses has been judicious is provoking too much of a response in key areas. How long can they keep this up for is based upon the same determinant provoking bourgeois thought, the economic crisis. And proletarian resistance comes from this same determinant and the position of the working class in that it able through its tendencies to unify to go onto the offensive. We've a long,  hard road from here jk. But as the crisis deepens it doesn't just begin to break down bourgeois ideology, it causes workers to come together and resist, strike, protest. These are the criticisms of the system at the highest level.

jk1921
Good Questions

Fred wrote:

 Why don't we focus on that rather than seeing the "inability to think" as only manifesting itself in the uncritical unthinking working class masses, "engulfed in pop culture" (arent we all?),  who are anyway only the product of the bourgeoisified and banal society in which they find themselves?  Do the bourgeoisie escape their own banality? Is that what we're supposed to take on board as part of our geographical passivity so to speak?  How did anyone who posts on this forum manage to develop the critical thought necessary to do it and to think "outside the system" if that's what we do? 

Nobody is only focusing on the uncritical thinking of the working class. But this is of central importance to the viability of our project. If society has truly become totalitarian--through whatever mechanism--where should expect mass resistance to come from if critical thought is no longer possible as a componet of civil society? Its true that a very small handful of people may be able to break through the banality, but what is their connection to a broader social movement? Is there an organic connection to the broader class or are we just the Frankfurt School, detached intellectuals or whatever? If there is a connection, how do we go about demonstrating it?

To say that because some extremely small minority of individuals profess revolutionary positions proves that the massive levels of resistance that are necessary to transform society are coming seems a stretch without demonstrating the organic link. That is unless, we drop all this business about totalitarianism. But that would seem to require us to look more closely at civil society and take the open expressions of consciousness more seriously: election results, etc. instead of dismissing these as inmaterial. Capitalist society would then be reproduced in civil society as much as thorugh the state and ideology and we would have to try understand why workers are so passive, easily enthralled, act against their own self interests, etc. as functions of real dynamics in the economy and civil society.

baboon
The banality of capitalism

I think that it's perfectly possible for artists, writers, philosophers, etc., to make incisive criticisms of capitalism without having a communist perspective. But, as Jens says, to make these critiques effective overall they can only take place within that perspective. But that doesn't invalidate partial critiques and Arednt makes some important critiques regarding a very important period in the history of capitalism. Anti-nazism, anti-fascism is an important tool in the bourgeoisie's armoury. For one thing it explains the SWP's ability to hoover up elements that are searching for some coherent critique or action against capitalism. Not just French schoolchildren are indoctrinated with the "evil" of fascism but it's constantly promoted in British schools and the BBC leads with its ideological brainwashing about the "evil" Nazis. One of the points about WWII is how the banality of capital continued under its watchword of "business as usual" both from the interests of German capital and its imperialist adverseries. The example of Eichmann demonstrates this reality. There's some interesting references to some articles by her that are worth following up and her analysis of the racism of the Zionist state is a point worth making. It was interesting to see that she arrived in the states penniless and then became a professor at Princeton - that's some leap.

jk1921
Going back to the discussion

Going back to the discussion of th emethodology of science, aren't all critques inherently "partial" in that we can't ever represent the totality through language?

KT
Out

FYI: The film is released on DVD in GB September 27, 2013.