Spider and Fly: The Leninist Philosophy of Georg Lukács

Spider and Fly: The Leninist Philosophy of Georg Lukács

Paul Le Blanc

Language: English

Pages: 29

ISBN: 2:00195921

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From 1919 to 1929, the great Hungarian Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács was one of the leaders of the Hungarian Communist Party, immersed not simply in theorising but also in significant practical-political work. Along with labour leader Jenö Landler, he led a faction opposing an ultra-left sectarian orientation represented by Béla Kun (at that time also associated with Comintern chairman Zinoviev, later aligning himself with Stalin). If seen in connection with this factional struggle, key works of Lukács in this period – History and Class Consciousness (1923), Lenin: A Study in the Unity of His Thought (1924), Tailism and the Dialectic (1926) and ‘The Blum Theses’ (1929) – can be seen as forming a consistent, coherent, sophisticated variant of Leninism. Influential readings of these works interpret them as being ultra-leftist or proto-Stalinist (or, in the case of ‘The Blum Theses’, an anticipation of the Popular Front perspectives adopted by the Communist International in 1935). Such readings distort the reality. Lukács’s orientation and outlook of 1923–9 are, rather, more consistent with the orientation advanced by Lenin and Trotsky in the Third and Fourth Congresses of the Communist International. After his decisive political defeat, Lukács concluded that it was necessary to renounce his distinctive political orientation, and completely abandon the terrain of practical revolutionary politics, if he hoped to remain inside the Communist movement. This he did, adapting to Stalinism and shifting his efforts to literary criticism and philosophy. But the theorisations connected to his revolutionary politics of the 1920s continue to have relevance for revolutionary activists of the twenty-first century.

Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1929-41

Reporting the Chinese Revolution: The Letters of Rayna Prohme

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty

The Communists and Peace with A Reply to Claude Lefort

At the Cafe: Conversations on Anarchism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

consciousness of the proletariat and for making conscious the alliance with the semi-proletarian layers (as much in these layers as in the proletariat). For the consciousness of the masses at any one time does not develop independently of the party’s politics, and the class consciousness embodied in it.’48 Confronting limitations Yet there are gaps – ultimately fatal gaps – in Lukács’s discussion of the ‘forms of organisation’ required to advance the working class as an effective revolutionary

11.  Fekete and Karadi (eds.) 1981, p. 119. 12. Kadarkay 1991, pp. 262, 292; Fekete and Karadi (eds.) 1981, p. 141. Such a simple description was a tell-tale identification of Lukács regardless of underground precautions. He was ‘a man whose powerful intellect was matched only by his lack of physical substance’, Ernst Fischer wrote many years later. ‘It was as though his mind had constructed this tough and delicate frame with the utmost economy so that only the minimum worldly provision would

11.  Fekete and Karadi (eds.) 1981, p. 119. 12. Kadarkay 1991, pp. 262, 292; Fekete and Karadi (eds.) 1981, p. 141. Such a simple description was a tell-tale identification of Lukács regardless of underground precautions. He was ‘a man whose powerful intellect was matched only by his lack of physical substance’, Ernst Fischer wrote many years later. ‘It was as though his mind had constructed this tough and delicate frame with the utmost economy so that only the minimum worldly provision would

the organisations of the working class, especially trade unions, from maintaining their independence. Instead there is a need for bureaucratic structures, government controls, legislatively required arbitration, etc., to enforce harmony between employers and workers. Such an approach has been given the label of corporatism by some analysts.23 This corporatist approach to maintaining the health of capitalism was most dramatically advanced by ex-socialist Benito Mussolini with the establishment of

present-day imperialism, and it lends its support to the suppression of class struggles, the institutional prevention of wage struggles, the fascisisation [actually corporatisation, or subordination to the state] of the trade unions, and the integration of social democracy and the trade-union bureaucracy into the fascist [i.e., corporatist] state apparatus.’24 This forms the analytical framework within which Lukács articulates a revolutionary strategic orientation for Hungarian Communists: During

Download sample

Download