Leaving Marxism: Studies in the Dissolution of an Ideology by Stanley Pierson

By Stanley Pierson

The cave in of Marxism as a compelling ideology and political strength is without doubt one of the most vital advancements within the background of twentieth-century Europe. This booklet seeks to appreciate the failure of Marxism by means of viewing it up shut, within the reviews of 3 very important Marxist intellectuals—the Belgian Henri De guy, the German Max Horkheimer, and the Pole Leszek Kolakowski—each of whom embraced Marxism early in existence and later decisively rejected it. the writer makes a speciality of the techniques wherein those 3 figures misplaced their religion in Marxism, thereby offering the framework for a extra normal account of recent ideological disenchantment.

An introductory bankruptcy surveys an prior degree of that disenchantment via interpreting the allure of Nietzsche and his suggestion of the superman to Marxist intellectuals in all of the significant ecu socialist activities, focusing relatively on those that have misplaced self belief within the redemptive old function of the proletariat. In learning the ideological trajectory of De guy, Horkheimer, and Kolakowski, the writer identifies the typical dilemmas they confronted of their efforts to develop the Marxist reason. these dilemmas arose largely out of the conflict among their bourgeois moral sensibilities and the materialistic and deterministic outlook of orthodox Marxism. This conflict presents a connecting hyperlink among the 3 generations of Marxist intellectuals handled within the study.

The writer additionally discusses the aftermath of those 3 models of ideological disenchantment—the makes an attempt of every of those intellectuals to reconstruct a view of the area following the dissolution of his Marxist religion. The publication concludes via putting Marxism in a large ancient context, and increases questions on its place—and that of the utopian mind's eye in general—within Western civilization.

Reviews:

"Pierson offers an intelligible contribution to highbrow background, putting the careers of his matters within the political and ideoological currents in their times."—History: studies of recent Books

"Thoughtful, thorough, and provocative, this publication joins a transforming into physique of scholarship that examines highbrow political engagement thrugh Marxism as a sort of religion up to a look for knowledge."—Choice

From the interior Flap:

The cave in of Marxism as a compelling ideology and political strength is among the most vital advancements within the heritage of twentieth-century Europe. This ebook seeks to appreciate the failure of Marxism through viewing it up shut, within the stories of 3 vital Marxist intellectuals—the Belgian Henri De guy, the German Max Horkheimer, and the Pole Leszek Kolakowski—each of whom embraced Marxism early in existence and later decisively rejected it. the writer makes a speciality of the methods by which those 3 figures misplaced their religion in Marxism, thereby delivering the framework for a extra basic account of contemporary ideological disenchantment.

An introductory bankruptcy surveys an prior degree of that disenchantment by way of analyzing the allure of Nietzsche and his notion of the superman to Marxist intellectuals in all the significant ecu socialist activities, focusing rather on those that have misplaced self belief within the redemptive old position of the proletariat. In learning the ideological trajectory of De guy, Horkheimer, and Kolakowski, the writer identifies the typical dilemmas they confronted of their efforts to enhance the Marxist reason. these dilemmas arose largely out of the conflict among their bourgeois moral sensibilities and the materialistic and deterministic outlook of orthodox Marxism. This conflict offers a connecting hyperlink among the 3 generations of Marxist intellectuals handled within the study.

The writer additionally discusses the aftermath of those 3 models of ideological disenchantment—the makes an attempt of every of those intellectuals to reconstruct a view of the area following the dissolution of his Marxist religion. The booklet concludes via putting Marxism in a large ancient context, and increases questions on its place—and that of the utopian mind's eye in general—within Western civilization.

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28 But De Man's socialist faith, rooted in his bourgeois ethical sensibility, survived the collapse of Marxist orthodoxy. "29 Yet the meaning of the new socialism and Henri De Man that of his "true self" was still uncertain. Over the next few years De Man's course was erratic and frustrating. In 1919 he returned to his educational post in the Belgium Labor Party. But he soon gave it up. His hopes for a peace based on Wilsonian principles faded rapidly amid the vengeful atmosphere within the victorious European powers.

Nietzsche served Mussolini, as he served Sorel, to support an interpretation of Marxism that emphasized volitional and heroic values. Where Sorel's revolutionary revisionism remained abstract, distant from the working-class struggle, however, Mussolini engaged directly in political agitation. 86 Mussolini's place in the Marxist-Nietzschean dialogue was, in part, an expression of his own temperament, in part a consequence of the historical situation in which the Italian socialist party found itself during the first decade of the century.

What affected him most deeply, however, was the sudden dissolution of his own conscious principles. The pacifism that had been an essential part of his socialist faith was swept aside by the feelings aroused by the German invasion of Belgium. 27 He immediately volunteered for front line service as an infantryman. Later, as an officer in a mortar battalion, De Man gained a deeper understanding of the kind of men who made up the rank and file of the socialist movement. His criticism of the Marxist view of human behavior would owe much to his observation of soldiers in combat.

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