Category Archives: politics

Liberalism and Marx: An interview with Domenico Losurdo

PN: Concerning the radical inspiration for the framework you set up between Toussaint and the French Revolution, the striking thing about the Haitian Revolution is that it caused a division within France. It was not simply Toussaint versus the French liberals; the Haitian Revolution actually caused the French liberals to split and led to disarray. It raised another problem: Insofar as France could militarily continue to defend itself from counterrevolutionary forces in Europe, at this particular moment, it still depended on colonial production. It therefore seems to me that the Haitian Revolution posed the problem of the radicalism of liberalism straightforwardly and there were a number of responses. Is it possible to call Toussaint a liberal because he believed in the promises of liberalism?

Liberalism and Marx: An interview with Domenico Losurdo

PN: Concerning the radical inspiration for the framework you set up between Toussaint and the French Revolution, the striking thing about the Haitian Revolution is that it caused a division within France. It was not simply Toussaint versus the French liberals; the Haitian Revolution actually caused the French liberals to split and led to disarray. It raised another problem: Insofar as France could militarily continue to defend itself from counterrevolutionary forces in Europe, at this particular moment, it still depended on colonial production. It therefore seems to me that the Haitian Revolution posed the problem of the radicalism of liberalism straightforwardly and there were a number of responses. Is it possible to call Toussaint a liberal because he believed in the promises of liberalism?

Two Steps Back

Imagine the composition of the more than twelve hundred member audience, on a March evening in 1950, packed into New York’s Webster Hall to hear a public debate on the subject “Is Russia a socialist community?” The event, organized by the Eugene V. Debs Society, was chaired by the then thirty-three year old sociologist, C. Wright Mills, and pitted Earl Browder, deposed General Secretary of the Communist Party, still a staunch Stalinist, against the leader of the Trotskyist Workers’ Party, Max Shachtman. This event is a fascinating relic of American radical politics and an exemplary one, considering how little interest there is on the Left today in engaging in public debate.

Two Steps Back

Imagine the composition of the more than twelve hundred member audience, on a March evening in 1950, packed into New York’s Webster Hall to hear a public debate on the subject “Is Russia a socialist community?” The event, organized by the Eugene V. Debs Society, was chaired by the then thirty-three year old sociologist, C. Wright Mills, and pitted Earl Browder, deposed General Secretary of the Communist Party, still a staunch Stalinist, against the leader of the Trotskyist Workers’ Party, Max Shachtman. This event is a fascinating relic of American radical politics and an exemplary one, considering how little interest there is on the Left today in engaging in public debate.

Marx after Marxism: An interview with Moishe Postone

MP: I think what Marx is trying to do is delineate a form of social relations that is fundamentally different from that in pre-capitalist societies. He maintains that the social relations that characterize capitalism, that drive capitalism, are historically unique, but don’t appear to be social. So that, for example, although the amazing intrinsic dynamic of capitalist society is historically specific, it is seen as merely a feature of human interaction with nature. I think one of the things that Marx is trying to argue is that what drives the dynamic of capitalist society are these peculiar social forms that become reified.

Marx after Marxism: An interview with Moishe Postone

MP: I think what Marx is trying to do is delineate a form of social relations that is fundamentally different from that in pre-capitalist societies. He maintains that the social relations that characterize capitalism, that drive capitalism, are historically unique, but don’t appear to be social. So that, for example, although the amazing intrinsic dynamic of capitalist society is historically specific, it is seen as merely a feature of human interaction with nature. I think one of the things that Marx is trying to argue is that what drives the dynamic of capitalist society are these peculiar social forms that become reified.