May 16th, 2012

A new book is out. The Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence, 1954-1978: Dialogues on Hegel, Marx, and Critical Theory, Edited by Kevin B. Anderson and Russell Rockwell.

From the blurb, we learn that:

‘Among the thinkers discussed in the correspondence – some of them quite critically– are V. I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Mao Zedong’

Quite critically. Imagine! Wonder why Stalin isn’t rated as ‘a thinker?’ His work on linguistics cut the mustard, no? It gets you thinking…

10 Responses to “Comrades!”

  1. David Black Says:

    “Wonder why Stalin isn’t rated as ‘a thinker?’ His work on linguistics cut the mustard, no? ”

    Don’t be daft. Stalin was, according to Dunayevskaya, “a philosophical idiot” and I doubt either Marcuse or Fromm would have disagreed..

  2. Parker Everett Says:

    It is up on Google Books:,+1954-1978&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nN6zT9-IKYSu8QS9tunuCA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=The%20Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm%20Correspondence%2C%201954-1978&f=false

  3. Chris Wright Says:


    I think PD was making a joke.

  4. Says:

    More incredulity that someone like Mao get given the sobriquet ‘thinker’

    What was it exactly, that Our Great Helmsman bequeathed us with, that needs a fresh look at?

  5. Noa Rodman Says:

    Nevertheless in popular conception, it’s a small step from reading Marcuse to Red Army Faction, as the Munich script testifies:

    [Yvonne (in German:] Marcuse says Hegel’s Philosophy of Right does not place ‘wrong’ in a moral category, it’s -

    [Andreas:]Then it’s OK to kill someone who –

    [Yvonne:]Free Will necessarily creates wrong. That’s in Marx, the blind anarchy of capitalism. You have to be willing to re-consider, right, wrong, they’re just ways of talking about a terrible struggle, parts of an equation, a dialectic — strip the sentiment out and try to come to terms with historical forces external to us and indifferent to moral category.

    Perhaps the Hobgoblin should review this movie.

  6. O.F. Says:

    Stalin was not a philosophical idiot,he was a dangerous and criminal idiot that destroy the hope of socialism for centuries

  7. David Black Says:

    I think PD was making a joke.”

    You mean sometimes they’re serious?

  8. Chris Wright Says:

    Yes, that occurred to me as well. It does not change the fact that the Stalin comment was PD “taking the piss”, as I believe the British put it, yes?

  9. Russell Rockwell Says:

    “Figures” might have been a more accurate term for the blurb pointing to Dunayevskaya’s well-known critiques of Lenin, Trotsky, and especially Mao. Yet, in the context of the correspondence, “thinkers” refers to the impact of ideas (sometimes for lack of a better term) on masses of people trying to make a revolution. Do we still have a fully satisfying explanation for how people like Sartre and Althusser, not to mention a significant section of New Left youth, identified with Maoism–not only as practice but as theory?

    For a critical analysis of the Dunayevskaya, Marcuse, Fromm correspondence, 1954-1978, see the transcript of a talk presented in Chicago a couple of weeks ago:

  10. Chris Wright Says:

    Uri Zilbersheid’s “The Vicissitudes of the Idea of the Abolition of Labour in Marx’s Teachings – Can the Idea be Revived?” ( is a worthwhile read on the question of what Marx meant by the abolition of labor. The first half is especially good, though in my opinion Zilbersheid does not really get how Marx’s conception develops in the later works as the abolition of labor as primary social mediation, which leads him to believe that Marx retreats from the abolition of labor.

    The close conceptual analysis is especially good, attending to Marx’s use of language and the instrumental character of labor in Marx’s conception.

    The article is a worthwhile critical supplement to Russell’s work.

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