The "Return To Marx"

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Red Hughs
The "Return To Marx"
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Despite having some exposure to anti-state communism over the last twenty years, my experience on Libcom and on the Internet in general, has been something of an "awakening".  I was actually rather taken aback by the many folks posting from a particular "Pure Marxist" position. (I know this is vague - I intend to post a longer "Internet Memories" discussion later).

On Libcom, there are variety of posters who seem to extensive quote Marx and disect his categories in detail while expressing contempt for the question of where historic tendencies after Marx went. Poster who come to mind are: Mikus, Oisleep, DaveC, and Angelus Novus.

As far as I can tell, to some extent this approach comes out of the intellectual current labeled "The Return To Marx". Especially, there seem to be a whole series of Marx-tinged theorists in Germany who influence Angelus Novus, Gruppe Crisis being one and the rather bizarre "Ruthless Criticism" website being another ( I know Mikus and DaveC have some connection to the "Marxist Humanist" followers of Rayadunyevskya and their various evolutions.

To diverge for second, a point in which I strongly agree with the ICC is that revolutionaries should make their basic positions as clear as possible and outline the choices between tendencies and ideas which are offered by capitalism.

[ICC Platform: "as an integral part of this intervention, constantly dedicates itself to the work of theoretical clarification and reflection which alone will allow its general activity to be based on the whole past experience of the class and on the future perspectives crystallised through such theoretical work."]

Obviously, revolutionaries should organize but I don't we have or will find a magic trumpet of organizing tactics which, when blown, will cause the proletariat to immediately self-organize and end capitalism. Rather, workers all already self-organizing and will continue to do so with less or more success depending on circumstance. What distinguishes communists is mostly the effort to clearify this process.

The point, I think where I find "The Return To Marx" tendency really annoying is that through the "method" of only quoting Marx and actively opposing analysis of post-Marx historical processes, they actively oppose the process of clarification.

But I've already complained and had this argument a number of times on libcom. I'm posting here more with the aim of getting information. This article, sadly from a standard Trotskyist position, does give some sketch of the intellectual processes within the "Return..." current.

[link removed again spam filter]

I believe that Lucio Colletti was a philosopher who influenced this tendency ([link removed versus spam filter] - his evolution from Stalinist to Palimentarian seems hardly stiring). Moishe Postone is another academic that gets considerable attention. And certainly, the various tendencies and individuals have many internal differences  (Colletti articulated an Kantian, anti-dialectical Marx while Postone articulates standard dialectics but has other problem). But again, our task as revolutionaries is to extract the micro-taxonomy of these tendencies but rather to see the broad processes underlying them).

So, despite this being something of a rant, I'd be interested in pointers to more concrete articles these tendencies. I know the "Anti-German Germans" are the most infamous product of the various German Marxists but that doesn't mean the rest of the group is unproblematic and moreover, I don't know of any English overview of this tendency.

Sorry if this long and rambling, I wanted to put it out just to get some discussion going...




Red Hughs
The social review links

The social review links was:

        //  /isj79/ rees.htm

Add HTTP: at the start

 The spam filter is indeed mighty aggressive but I know them spamsters are hard working too... Lol capitalism...

In the German section of this

In the German section of this site there was actually a couple of articles and discussions dealing with some of these groups. Can't speak of a 'Return To Marx tendency' though (the article you linked doesn't clarify more). Besides, you know very well that the posters and groups you mention have strong disagreements with each other.

Marx and nothing but

 For me the problem is academicism. Mikus knows a huge amount about Marx and Capital but seems to have no discernable political positions whatever. Angelus is similar: apart from Marx he seems mainly to be impressed by a series of 'published authors' all of whom seem to be denizens of the academic world. The 'pure' Marxists (or marxologists) seem to have little or no interest in the organised marxist/communist/proletarian movement, whether in Marx's day or subsequently, so for them Marx himself tends to become a very very clever academic and not a product of the workers' movement. Dave C on the other hand seems to have more political concerns: his recent text on Marx and the state was very good, and he doesn't seem to indulge in the 'anti-Engelsism' which is so often a feature of these kind of approaches. Perhaps there are other positive elements involved in this 'tendency' so I think it is still necessary to engage with them. For example, we went to a meeting of the 'Wine and Cheese Appreciation Society' in London, a group connected to the German 'Junge Linke' who also seem close to the same approach, and it was possible to discuss with them in a fraternal way.   

Red Hughs
Yes, Dave C's article seems

Yes, Dave C's article seems quite nice.

I was going to propose a discussion of its virtues and limitations.





Red Hughs
"In the German section of

"In the German section of this site there was actually a couple of articles and discussions dealing with some of these groups."

Are they in English or German?



 German I'm afraid - the site pages are organised into languages. Do you know anyone who can read (or translate) German? The German ICC comrades are pretty heavily burdened, but if you find something that you think would be of general international interest, maybe we can get a translation...


Link to the articles, copy/paste the links in google-translation, and the result will be fine;