Magna Graecia: The Ultimate Resistance to Post-Modernity

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The Coronavirus has proven the essentiality of the traditional mode of community and being, which can survive manufactured crises and transcend the entire capitalist paradigm

By Alessandro Napoli

We are in a moment of epoch-making transition in which concepts such as development, progress and the “normality” of modern life are proving inconsistent in the face of a threat of a virus, one probably produced by the same as those who brought hybrid wars and a race to global domination by a super-bourgeoisie.

This is a virus which in fact among the fundamental and dominant characteristics does not have the lethality of diseases of the past or still existing today in remote places on the planet, but that of mainly destabilizing the administrative, economic, social system due to its high level of virulence and its effects on those affected who need invasive interventions to survive. These are those which are not available to everyone when they are too many – there is an atavistic fear of the instability that this condition could generate, as well as the the same fear of imminent death that re-emerges from the deepest depths of history, re-evoking medieval scenarios, fears to which individuals and peoples react differently depending on the impact they suffer with it.

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Counter-Hegemonic Visions of Neo-Eurasianism

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Introduction

Intellectuals and writers of modern Russia with great enthusiasm take care of the search for adequate socio-political explanations of the former gigantic empire, which after the collapse of the Soviet Union was lost and disoriented. At the same time, the universal vacuum was affecting Russia’s integral environment due to the fall of the Marxist-Leninist development project. After all this, philosophers and social activist tried to make a foundation to the actual ideological goals of Russian society. However, so far, many of ideological aspirations to create new national policy was unsuccessful.

Since the mid-1990s, theoretical debates about Russia’s role in post-soviet space began with the key concepts of “Eurasia” and “Eurasianism”. The concept of Eurasia has become an integral part of the political discourse in Russia. As a matter of this discourse, the value of this concept appeared numerous presentations and analytical works of publicists, intellectuals, and politicians who are tried to use it to describe the present and future role of Russia in world politics. Today, Eurasianism advocates general turns and ideas of geo- political and geo-strategic processes which should give an idea about the Russian position in the post-communist world order. In this sense, the concept of Eurasia represents mainly normative category, which is used in the work within the framework of political and ideologically debate about the self-understanding of Russia.

It is obvious that an increasing spread of the hypothesis of Eurasia is not only about a geographical value, but it also refers to specific socio-cultural issues that can serve as the point of crossing of very different research strategies. Despite the apparent popularity of the concept, yet there are no criteria that should justify the scheme of the concept of Eurasia’s geographical space that covers the Russia and the countries of Central Asia, as well as some adjacent areas of Western and Eastern Europe. In this paper, I would like to relate the points of view on contemporary Eurasianism – what impact it has on modern political processes. First, we consider the post-Soviet debate over Eurasians and Eurasianism in Russia. At the same time, we will focus on the concept of Eurasianism how it perceives the modern globalization.

 

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How are Progressives Being Used for Imperialism? Front & Center – ep 4

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Tim Kirby, ideological director at the Center, and Joaquin Flores, director at the Center, debate what the ins and outs of ‘Progressive Imperialism’.  Kirby poses the question to Flores “How are progressives being used for imperialism?”

Flores tries to deconstruct the phenomenon, beginning by talking about how the Atlantic Council has ‘deployed’ a series of progressive journalists recently to write hit pieces on the Center. Flores and Kirby move towards deconstruction the psychological, sociological, and geopolitical factors behind this phenomenon. What emerges is quite interesting: Progressive institutions which have arisen in more recent decades, have re-written history.

 

While ‘progressive’ reforms in the US were sometimes supported by progressives, in reality they were fought for by much more militant and grass-roots people and movements, who had broader visions and who were hardly in-league with US imperialism. Far from it, they were its most ardent opponents.

The US has successfully transformed its narrative into one which co-opts the struggle against the US ruling class itself, and weaponized into a tool – a legitimating ideology – which lures in and convinces progressives from other countries, primarily peripheral to Europe and in the post-communist world.

This is where Human Rights Imperialism recruits its most ardent foot soldiers from – those who do not really understand the America story from a really American working-class or grass-roots perspective, and are only really exposed to the narrative of its progressive institutions.

Heidegger & Marx: Marcuse’s Dialectic

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In this piece republished by CSS, Feenberg develops concepts of liberation within the Heideggerian and Marxian framework as developed by Marcuse. While the Center has found much of Marcuse’s theses to be either unfinished or flawed, it is in the process of understanding the questions posed that the contribution to the literature and the corpus, on the whole, can be found.

Feenberg approaches Marcuse as a ‘Left-Heideggerian’, a category which Abromeit disputes, and instead places Marcuse within the Marxian tradition. The relevance or utility of the need to categorize Marcuse as one or the other is, at first passing, irrelevant. But it is through an understanding of the deep problems within Western academia, censorship, its funding sources, and ‘personality contests’ between the men that academia attracts, that we find the real reasons.

It echoes the treatment and categorization of Nietzsche by Walter Kaufman – the well-known scholar who translated and annotated critical English language versions of works like ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’ and ‘Ecce Homo’. His aim is to sanitize Nietzsche, to misrepresent Nietzsche’s views on Rome and Judea, to present Nietzsche as either anti-science or anti-nature, and the core purpose of his ostensible philosemitism.  Yet his introduction of Nietzsche to the Anglophone world defined its interpretation for several generations. But Kaufman’s revisioning of Nietzsche was justified within its paradigm.

How so? If Nietzsche and Heidegger are going to be categorized as worthy subjects of study for their insights and revealed truths, and not as examples of mistakes, Western academia finds itself in the position of also having to categorize them as something other than how they were understood by political actors in the last century.

In the case of Nietzsche, it is increasingly impermissible in Western academia to embrace his call for a transvaluation of values without first changing the real content of his other, though related, ideas. Rather than an apologia, we find a rewriting of the real meaning and historical record.

In the case of Marcuse, Abromeit’s ideological and career commitments in light of the above described conditions prevailing in academia, force a position in which he concludes the best contributions of Marcuse have a lineage traced through the acceptable Marxian tradition and not from its Heideggerian foundation. It is, as we can see not surprising, that Marcuse’s work – the nature of its flawed or incomplete conclusions despite the posing of valid and new questions – also a reflection of the purpose of the Columbia University Institute for Social Research (known also  as the Frankfurt School), which may have influenced or predetermined these errors.

The Center reproduces these for the public without alteration, towards a broader and more meaningful public discourse in this exciting and revolutionary post-academy age.

[Originally titled ‘Marcuse’s Dialectic’ – Forthcoming in Transvaluation of Values & Radical Change: Five Lectures]

by Andrew Feenberg

 

old-english-calligraphy-alphabet-this is how Marcuse began his lecture at the famous “Dialectics of Liberation” conference in London in July, 1967:

 

I believe that all dialectic is liberation…and not only liberation in an intellectual sense, but liberation involving the mind and the body, liberation involving entire human existence…. Now in what sense is all dialectic liberation? It is liberation from the repressive, from a bad, a false system — be it an organic system, be it a social system, be it a mental or intellectual system: liberation by forces developing within such a system. That is a decisive point. And liberation by virtue of the contradiction generated by the system, precisely because it is a bad, a false system. I am intentionally using here moral, philosophical terms, values: “bad,” “false.” For without an objectively justifiable goal of a better, a free human existence, all liberation must remain meaningless — at best, progress in servitude. I believe that in Marx too socialism ought to be. This “ought” belongs to the very essence of scientific socialism. It ought to be; it is, we may almost say, a biological, sociological and political necessity. It is a biological necessity in as much as a socialist society, according to Marx, would conform with the very logos of life, with the essential possibilities of a human existence, not only mentally, not only intellectually, but also organically. (Marcuse 1968, 175-76)

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Left Heideggerianism or Phenomenological Marxism? Reconsidering Herbert Marcuse’s Critical Theory of Technology

CSS republishes the following, with the intention of publicizing part of a debate within the decaying corridors of academia, between Abromeit – co-editor of the text ‘Heideggerian Marxism’ – and Feenberg and Wolin. The latter, in the view of Abromeit, are of the view that Marcuse is best categorized as a ‘Left-Heideggerian’, whereas Abromeit places Marcuse in the Marxian tradition. In the view of the Center, the argument is taxonomical, perhaps just semantical in nature, and only contributes to an understanding of more important questions through the digressions and other points raised in the essay along its course, which are secondary or less in the eyes of the author, Abromeit, himself. This ‘debate’ also underscores the state and condition of Marxian academia itself, which is to say, not a healthy state.

The Center views the discourse exemplified in the proceeding to be evidence of one of the Center’s central tenets – that popular discourse online, in virtual spaces and through social media (e.g. YouTube, etc.), nominally on these same subjects, goes much further in both their explanatory and developmental power in this territory.

That said, the ‘gems’ which we believe are of interest to the Center and the reader contained in Abromeit’s piece, are nevertheless valuable and are worthy of making more accessible to the public than its original form when it was published in Constellations in 2010. – CSS Research Team

Constellations Volume 17, No 1, 2010.
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.,

By John Abromeit
Herbert Marcuse’s theoretical debts to Martin Heidegger have become the subject of renewed scrutiny. A number of recent publications have documented and analyzed Marcuse’s early engagement with Heidegger’s philosophy as well as the remnants of that engagement in Marcuse’s later works. In what follows, I would like to make a contribution to these recent discussions by revisiting Marcuse’s theory of technology and technological rationality. A reappraisal of Marcuse’s theory of technology is crucial to determining the extent to which he remained indebted to Heidegger, since many commentators see this as the aspect of his thought that most clearly displays Heidegger’s continuing influence. In contrast to this interpretation, I will argue that Marcuse borrows elements from the phenomenology of Heidegger and – to an even greater degree – Edmund Husserl, but that these elements are critically appropriated within an overall Marxist theoretical approach, in which social and historical factors are seen as the ultimate determinants of technology and technological rationality.

I would like to offer an alternative interpretation to that put forth recently by Andrew
Feenberg and Richard Wolin, both of whom see a more profound and lasting influence of Heidegger on Marcuse’s later work. While both Feenberg and Wolin recognize the ways in which Marcuse was critical of Heidegger, they also insist that he remained a “Heideggerian” in some significant sense until the end of his life. Feenberg emphasizes Marcuse’s indebtedness to Heidegger in order to praise his work and highlight his continuing relevance for a critical theory of technology.1

Wolin, in contrast, sees Marcuse’s indebtedness to Heidegger as a blind spot in his work, which made him susceptible to problematic anti-modern and anti-democratic tendencies, shared by other “children” of Heidegger, such as Hannah Arendt,
Karl L¨owith and Hans Jonas.2

While Feenberg and Wolin both capture important aspects of Marcuse’s relationship to Heidegger, in the end they overemphasize his indebtedness to Heidegger and fail to grasp the subordinate role that Heidegger, in particular, and phenomenology, in general, play in Marcuse’s non-traditional Marxist Critical Theory.3

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