Progressivism to New Deal: The Communist Party of the United States


1.  Bildung
2.  Stalinism as a Removable Singularity
3.  A Deep Perversion of the Cogitive Field (Einstein)
4.  McCarthyism and Stalinism: Fundamental Isomorphism (Lewin and Levien)
5.  NEP and New Deal (Minutes of Exec Bd, 1938 and 1939)
6.  KE and State Capitalism (NEP and New Deal)
7.  Death of Progresivism: Persistence, Ressentiment, Narcissism

moz
 Was Mozart a Communist?
Bildung

The inner life of the membership/milieu of the Communist Party of the United States was not ideological, in the simplistic sense that one, in the search for the motives of individuals that led to association and participation in those things called Communist, would look for the ideas that somehow caused individuals to make their choices.  All the terms italicized are more than suspect (see philosophy and history): they are the fundamental elements of the mythic structure of modern society, and as such are useless for purposes of analysis.  

The inner life of the CP milieu was at the same time a moment in the unfolding of the historical dynamic of cognitive development.  What some saw as an obsession with theory as mere ideology was in fact the passion of the discovery of the power of formal operational thought.  The inner life of the CP is continuous with the development not merely of reason grasped as mere ideology; it was the very expression of the passion of the mind as a force unto itself.  This is something that in retrospect is perfectly clear to anyone who has grown up in that milieu and reflects upon it in the light of current scholarship. (see Vivian Gornick, The romance of American Communism (Basic Books, 1977.)  This an existential reality, not a superficial (merely ideological) committment.

The excerpt in the right panel, from Mozart, a Cultural Biography, could just as well describe the mentalité of the Communists I have known, of the milieu in which I grew up.  This was the intellectual dimension of the Left.  One has only to add to this Enlightenment mentalité some form of solidarity and one gets modern communism.

{But also consider the significance of the depressive position as central to both the transcendence of concrete-operational thought and the transcendence of the merely local, provincial, and personal dimensions of "identity"}


from Robert W. Gutman, Mozart, a Cultural Biography (Harcourt Brace, 1999)

Let your reason furnish the answer . . . ," the second priest in Mozart's The Magic Flute advises the questioning birdman, Papageno.  The philosophe believed that through rational analysis the world could be understood, explained, and regulated.  Its good was to be cherished, its evil conquered.  European thought became permeated with the idea that society had the means to construct a better civilization, that through the exercise of reason, the human lot might be enobled. (20-21)

The Progressive mind assigned the Bible's revelations and miracles as well as the Church's sacraments to superstition and looked upon ideas like God and the soul at best as ideals, at worst as illusions.  The three boy messengers in The Magic Flute would assuredly proclaim: "Soon superstition will die, soon the wise will prevail. . . .  Then the earth will be a paradise, and men will be like gods. (21)

Science, though in its infancy, particularly threatened the credibility of the Bible.  As early as 1712, the Marquise de Lambert observed that in the salon the Christian Mysteries had become a laughingstock: "Anyone but venturing a belief in God was thought to belong to the lower orders."  Cardinal de Bernis remarked in his Mémoires that by 1720 people of quality for the most part ignored the Gospels. (25).  Insttead the preoperatiobna
kantA second existential reality is only poorly reflected in the term anti-racism (which gives a merely ideological slant to what was more than just a comittment).  The accusations levelled against "communists" by the barbarian culture of the ancien regime were true.  Disrespectful toward unmerited hierarchy, hostile to class and racial arrogance and abuse of power, communists began to approximate the bourgeois ideal famously enunciated by Immanuel Kant.  (And of course, Stalinism was a failure to sustain that ideal, a reflection of the limits of modernization.)
  Immanuel Kant, spiritual    
father of
 the Enlightenment  

Right hand panel: Jack Gilford (my godfather).
gilfordJack Gilford.  In 1938, Gilford worked as the master of ceremonies in the first downtown New York integrated nightclub, "Cafe Society".  Gilford's career was derailed for a time during the 1950s and the McCarthy Era. He was an activist who campaigned for social change, integration and labor unions. He was quite active both socially and politically in left wing causes, as was his wife, actress Madeline Lee Gilford.  Gilford and his wife were implicated for their alleged sympathies by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy Era. Gilford and Madeline were specifically named by choreographer Jerome Robbins in his testimony to the HUAC. Gilford and his wife were called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. The couple had difficulty finding work during much of the rest of the 1950s due to the Hollywood blacklist. Jack and Madeline often had to borrow money from friends to make ends meet.  (from Wikipedia)
Anti-racism and Bildung


Anti-racism is often misundertood as sympathy.  In some cases this is true, but in the case of the Communist subculture of which I was a part, and in terms as well of my own personal experience, anti-racism is a critical moment in the unfolding of Bildung. To put it most bluntly, anti-racism is fundamentally about one's own development as a thinking Being.  Anti-racism is about self-development through confrontation with and overcoming the culture of ressentiment.  Anti-racism is not only emotional and cultural.  It is a critical aspect of cognitive development, a testing ground where formal operational competence (which is also a form of inner discipline) grows in combat with the culture of ressentiment, and deconstructs the shibboleths of a pathological society dominated by the mechanisms of defense (the paranoid-schizoid position).

The excerpt to the right from Wikipedia is clear and to the point.  I include the portrait of his immanence, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, because it is Hegel's ideas on this score, not those of Marx, that are much more relevant in our contemporary context. (The quotes from Lenin on this page take on a new meaning in the context of Hegel's concept of Bildung.)

I doubt if any at that time (1930s to 1950s) understood their anti-racism in this way.



      Bildung (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
hegel
The term refers to the German tradition of self-cultivation, (as related to the German for: creation, image, shape), wherein philosophy and education are linked in manner that refers to a process of both personal and cultural maturation. This maturation is described as a harmonization of the individual’s mind and heart and in a unification of selfhood and identity within the broader society, as evidenced with the literary tradition of bildungsroman.

In this sense, the process of harmonization of mind, heart, selfhood and identity is achieved through personal transformation, which presents a challenge to the individual’s accepted beliefs. In Hegel’s writings, the challenge of personal growth often involves an agonizing alienation from one’s “natural consciousness” that leads to a reunification and development of the self. Similarly, although social unity requires well-formed institutions, it also requires a diversity of individuals with the freedom (in the positive sense of the term) to develop a wide-variety of talents and abilities and this requires personal agency. However, rather than an end state, both individual and social unification is a process that is driven by unrelenting negations

understanding that which is called Stalinism


One of the fundamental problems that I have had to deal with is the contradiction between the intelligence and fearlessness of the Communists I have known,  and their subservience to Stalinism in the 1930s and forties.  It will not do to simply say they were dupes.  That's a really stupid evasion of one of the major problems of history: the collapse of the popular Enlightenment linked to the New Deal (Richard Yates's novel Revolutionary Road, published in 1961, charts the inner life of that collapse).

One element of that cognitive weakness is not merely the obtuseness of American Communists when it came to the emerging barbarism of 1920s and 1930s Russia.  More to the point, the so-called cult of personality is actually a commonplace of political cultures based on preoperational cognitive structures, and therefore its presence among Communists is a striking indication of a fundamental cognitive weakness within that element of the Leftwing culture of the times.

One of the problems with the notion of dupes--so widespread in some of the literature on the CPUSA--is that it takes as timeless and permanent something with was ephemeral and internally unstable.  Yet if one reads the history of the CPUSA in the period  of the 1920s (esp. Theodore Draper's The Roots of American Communism and American Communism and Soviet Russia: The Formative Period) one get a sense of a a group of actors strongly influenced by developments in the broader world of American politics.  Reaction (the Red Scare and the attacks on unions in the immediadate post-WWI years) produced an ultra-left defensiveness.  Prospects for progressive reform, most notably the Progressive Party campaign of Robert M. La Follette, Sr. in 1924, saw many Communists drawn to this breakthrough to the progressive left in American politics, something that is critiqued from the Left as opportunism.

But the CPUSA was at the time a small group of English-speaking members (most were members of the foreign languge federations).  Not until the election of FDR did the Party grow among Engligh-speaking citizens.  By the mid-1930s the Engligh-speaking, American-born Communists were esentially New Dealers.  With the end of the Third Period and the adoption of the Popular Front strategy in 1935, Communists became a major element within the broader social democratic forces in the United States.  Then, with signing of Stalin-Hitler pact, the party bureaucracy, in obeisance to Russian Stalinism,  turned against Roosevelt and the New Deal.  In 1941, with Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, the party bureaucracy reverted to its pro-New Deal, pro-Roosevelt line.






stalin
Josef Stalin, Icon of Bureaucratic Barbarism

from Moshe Lewin, Russia/USSR/Russia: the drive and drift of a superstate (The New Press, 1995)

 . . .  Stalinism recreated in Russia, although just provisionally, the last model of a sui generis "agrarian kingdom." (p. 13)

Because of the destruction of so many previous cultural, political, and historical advances, the country and the new state became more open and vulnerable to to some of the more archaic features of the Russian historico-political tradition and less open to the deployment of its forward-looking and progressive features. (p. 69)
add Walzer

from Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2005)

America is the home of by far the most deep, widespread and conservative religious belief in the Western world, including a section possessed by wild millenarian hopes, fears and hatreds—and these two phenomena are intimately related. . .  [A]t the start of the twenty first century the United States as a whole is much closer to the developing world in terms of religious belief than to the industrialized countries (although a majority of believers in the United States are not fundamentalist Protestants but Catholics and “mainline,” more liberal Protestants).  p. 8

In the United States, this sense of defeat and embattlement resides in four distinct but overlapping elements of the American national tradition: the original, ‘core’ White Anglo-Saxon and Scots Irish populations of the British colonies in North America; the specific historical culture and experience of the White South; the cultural world of fundamentalist Protestantism; and the particular memories, fears and hatreds of some American ethnic groups and lobbies.” p. 91

The Greater South extends beyond the borders of the former Confederacy and even the Mason-Dixon line . . . to cover large parts of the Midwest and the West. According to some cultural geographers, the northern border of the Greater South lies rightly along route 40, which runs from east to west across the middle of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  In the West, the Greater South includes Oklahoma and other states largely settle from the Old South.” p. 107

 . . . the fundamentalist wing of the evangelical tradition is a very powerful ideological force in large parts of the United States and retains elements of thought which have come down with relatively few changes from much earlier eras.  Its origins are pre-Enlightenment, and its mentality to a very great extent anti-Enlightenment.  p. 124
from Moshe Lewin, The Making of the Soviet System (Pantheon Books, 1985) p. 16

The direct and indirect impact of rural religiousity (or for that matter, religious beliefs in society at large) on Soviet politics and culture is not easy to show convincingly, although some broad phenomena are well know and their religious origins obvious.  A culture so deeply imbued with different creeds, inherited from ages of cultural experiences and preserved in different stages of integrity or decomposition (sometimes even recomposition[new right]) until the most recent times, must have colored the feelings and thoughts of people reacting to the tremendous changes that occurred around and to them. . .   A mentality still strongly addicted to the trappings of magic, a Manichaean view of the real and the imaginary worlds--Christ and the saints versus the Devil and his countless hosts of lesser spirits--coupled with remnants of older cults, must also have an impact in many still unexplored ways on the polity itself, however secular and committed to rationalism.  At times of crisis and tremendous tensions, the rational is under strain, too, and neither modernizing states nor modern individuals are that immune to the less rational springs of power and of political strategems, if they are available.  Even if the problem, as conceived by the state, is simply to counter backward influences and superstitions, the idea of combatting a cult by some countercult is already an example of a real impact of the very object to be exorcised.

The problem of stalinism is two-fold.  First, and most obviously, the Euro-American Left--and modern thought in general--were both cognitively incapable at that time and also creatures of their time--the world economic crisis.  Cognitively incapable, because of their Enlightenment rationalism which had no place for the kinds of cultural, cognitive, psychoanalyutic, and giolgical perspectives availabe today.

And second, it is only from the vantage point of the present--when eveything that fascism reprsents has persisted to a degree hitherto unimaginable--that one can look back, as Moshe Lewin does, and see the deep sources of the reaction to modernity (see also McMahon).

This leads to a critical reappraisal of eveerything associated with the term Marxism.  From Marx's mentor and father in law Ludwig von Westphalen up to the present the Elightenment weltanschauung has persisted, virtually unchanged, in the domain of modern thought and politics.  It is only on the assumption of the utlimate cogitive modernity of man, however much he may have fallen under false consciosness, that one can entertain a hope for a modern fture.  (The only place in today's world that might pass muster is perhaps Finland)

Although this may give heart to the right, the gloting would be falsely based.  For, whhile the barbarian persists as such, it also has an enourmous impalct on the formtion of human cpital.  In the usa this is very clear: the forces of barbarism, utilized by certain modern as wll as privncial institons (wall st and small busness), have successfuly sabatoged the process of cognitive development.  Increasingly, the us must import its higher level technical personel from alien culture (alien meaning non christan, not white).  It is entrely conceivable, esp in usa, that the fnctioning  of modern cpolix isntions will and perhaps already are collapsing intenaly due to the cgntive inadequanc of the pop avialbe  (see from  the New York Times, March 17, 2011, "Citing Near Misses, Report Faults Both Nuclear Regulators and Operators," by TOM ZELLER JR.  in American Exceptionalism II)


The point of this--nicely summarized in my interview with George Charney and in Charney's book, A Long Journey--is that among party members, membership ebbed and flowed with these shifts in policy.  Many members dismayed by turns away from participation in American progressive politics dropped out, then were encourged to reengage by the turn toward the mainstream of American reform politics.

Charney described to me the reaction of the New Deal Communists at meetings. When the bureaucratic leadership subservient to Stalin turned ultraleft, criticism errupted, not in the meetings, but in the hallways.  The problem was not slavish adulation of Stalin, but rather situated behavior.  They could perfectly well think for themselves as American progressives, but in power-laden situations remained glumly silent.  One must read Charney's A Long Journey, possibly the most revealing text on the subject.  (And again, Richard Yates's novel Revolutionary Road, published in 1961, should be read along with Charney's, published in 1968)

There is a deep similarity between McCarthyism in the U.S. and Stalinism in Russia: both were dependent upon and expressed the most archaic features of their respective societies, and both were deeply hostile to Enlightenment values.1  The great misundestanding of the Left historically is its failure to understand the dark energy of ressentiment (see Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense) that overwhelmed it in the United States (and elsewhere--but I can only speak with any confidence about my own country).  

see Lewin and Miles





Understanding these two major existential forces--cognitive development and anti-racism (Bildung)--in the everyday lives of communists requires deployment of Melanie Klein's concept of the depressive position (just as understanding racism and subservience to the authority structure of the ancien regime requires deployment of Klein's concept of the paranoid-schizoid position).  For years I have avoided this realization.  For one thing, it seemed too theoretical--but that problem was actually a reflection of the kind of intimidation that established modalites of writing on such subjects can have on all of us.  While on the subject of intimidation, another question even more unsettling:   In Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees, by Richard W. Wrangham and Michael L. Wilson (in www.academia.edu), one gets a glimpse into certain primal formations at the heart of today's rightwing political performativities.  The ancien regime rests on ancient foundations indeed: on the primate group.  The bourgeois revolution of the mind--the developmental leap into formal operational performativity--is the decisive break with our deep primate roots.  


Bildung

In the 1970s I interviewed more than a hundred UAW activists, including many communists.  One of them was Saul Wellman, in the postwar years the chairman of the Michigan CP.  The transcript below is a striking expression of the cognitive and cultural dynamic of becoming a Communist:

Wellman: Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint, and they came out of indigenous folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

P. Friedlander:  to me that's one of the most significant processes of people becoming radicals, is this . . .

SW: but you lose them in their area . . .

PF: right.  You lose them, but I think something is going on there that I think radicals have not understood about their own movement . . .

SW: right . . .

PF: something about the urge toward self improvement . . .

SW: right . . .

and cultural advancement . . .

SW: right, right . . .

PF: and not to remain an unskilled worker in the asshole of the world . . .

SW: right, right.  But there are two things going on at the same time.  The movement is losing something when a native indigenous force leaves his community.  On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here.
wellman
  Saul Wellman, Robert Thomson, David Doran, at Fuentes de Ebro, during the Spanish Civil War
from Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroan in European Culture (Verso, 2000)

"And  yet, in novel after novel, the protagonist of the Bildungroman, whose social origin is often in what German historians call Bildungsburgertum, or bourgeoisie of culture, does not direct his steps toward the Besitzburgertum, or bourgeoisie of property, but rather--think of the frequent episode of the hero's 'farewell to his bourgeois friend'--toward an aristocratic universe with which it feels a far deeper kinship." p. viii-ix) ... " . . . outside of work, what is the bourgeois?  what does he do?  how does he live?" (p. ix)

"All this compels us to re-examine the current notion of'modern ideology' or 'bourgeis culture', or as you like it.  The success of the Bildungsroman suggests in fact that the truly central ideologies of our world are not in the least . . . intolerant, normative, monologic, to be wholly submitted to or rejected.  Quite the opposite: they are pliant and precarious, 'weak' and 'impure'. (p. 10)

"The most classical Bildungsroman . . . conspicuously places the process of formation-socialization in the world of work."
     "The process of formation-socialization placed outside work: a surprising and somewht disturbing development, given our automatic tendency to juxtapose 'modern ethics' and 'capitalism'.  25

"The two tensions--autonomy and socialization--are less predetermind in their development; their reconciliation is less evident and straightforward.  The attempt to join modernity and tradition remains: but these two historical and cultural poles acquire a more unusual and interesting appearance. . . .  The characters in Wilhelm Meister are not idlers.  If they make this impression on Werner itis because, as a proper merchant, he cannot conceive of work that does not bring with it renunciation, ascesis, sacrifice.  But the immense wager of the Society of the Tower, previously announced by Wilhelm in the letter to Werner on the difference between the noble and the bourgeois (Wilhelm Meister, V. 3) is that a kind of work can be created that would enhance not 'having' but rather 'being'. . . .  In this second sense, work is fundamental in Meister: as noncapitalist work . . . it is an unequalled instrument of social cohesion . . . .  It reinforces the links between man and nature, man and other men, man and hisemself. . . .  Work seems to have as its end the formation of the individual.  It is, in its essence, pedagogy.  This is the true occupation, much more so than its landed enterprises, of the Society of the Tower, which, after all, owes its origin to a pedagogical experiment.  Producing men--this is the true vocation of the masons in Meister. (28-29)



Noble, bourgeois, proletarian--what static terms, what lifeless concepts these are in the context of the historical dynamism of modernity.  Rethinking my interview with Saul Wellman, stumbling across Moretti's book while putting together this page, and doing all this while reading Colebrook's Gilles Deleuze (Routledge, 2002) after having read John Marks's Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998) after having read Miguel de Beistegui's Truth and genesis : philosophy as differential ontology (Indiana University Press, 2004) . . .  and I think I can describe what is happening on this page and in this website: this page is certainly a plane of immanence, an adventure in transcendental empiricism.  (What are these things?  Justice Potter Stewart, in a famous Supreme Court Case on pornography, said "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."[Emphasis added.]  Just so: abstract attempts to define plane of immanence and transcendental empiricism may fail (or rather flail); but I knew it when I had produced it.

Thus, while it was extremely frustrating to read this stuff, it was at the same time extremely productive.  As deVries/Sellars puts it:

from Willem A. de Vries, Wilfrid Sellars (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005), p. 7

Philosophy's ultimate aim is practical; a form of know-how.
 
Knowing one's way around is, to use a current distinction, a form of 'knowing how' as contrasted with 'knowing that'.  (PSIM in SPR: 1)

Philosophy is distinct from any special discipline, although it presupposes such disciplines and the truths they reveal.

Philosophy in an important sense has no special subject-matter which stands to it as other subject matters stand to other special disciplines. (PSIM in SPR: 2)

The problem with philosophy is that it is treated as a discipline, instead of as the inner life and voice of thought itself, and therefore as something that should accompany any and all acts of thinking . . .  as something that cannot stand alone, something that cannot stand anywhere because it must be found everywhere . . .   And conversely, any attempt at thought that is not interwoven with this inner voice can only reproduce the shibboleths of its age, and is thus almost . . .  worthless.

If this page is a plane of immanence then its axis is the concept of Bildung  
from Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroan in European Culture (Verso, 2000), 

If twentieth-century heroes are as a rule younger than their predecessors, this is so because, historically, the relevant symbolic process is no longer growth but regression.  The adult world refuses to be a hospitable home for the subject?  Then let childhood be it--the Lost Kingdom, the 'Domaine mystérieux' of Alain-Fournier's Meaulnes.  Hence Malte's longing for his mother, or Jakob's anguished final cry ('Ah, to be a small child--to be that only, and forever!'); or, in a more militant vein, Törless's devstatiing sense of omnipotence: the most regressive of features, out of which will arise--through Le grand Meaulnes (1913), Le Diable au corps (1923), and Lord of the Flies (1954)--a veritable tradition of counter-Bildungsroman.  'What is the matter,' asks the hero of Meaulnes, 'are the children in charge here?'  They are, and readers of Golding know the end of this story, where childhood may well be the biological trope for the new phenomenon of mass behaviour.  The regression from youth to adolescence and childhood would thus be the narrative form for what liberal Europe saw as an anthropological reversal from the individual as an autonomous entity to the individual as the mere member of a mass.  Given this framework, the postwar political scenario could hardly encourage a rebirth of the Bildungsroman: that mass movements may be constitutive of individual identity*--and not just destructive of it--was to remain an unexplored possibility of Western narrative.

Homeless, narcissistic, regressive**: the metamorphosis of the image of youth in our century is by now a famiiar fact.  p. 231-2


" . . . the postwar political scenario could hardly encourage a rebirth of the Bildungsroman: that mass movements may be constitutive of individual identity*--and not just destructive of it--was to remain an unexplored possibility of Western narrative."

So writes Moretti.  But Saul Wellman would respectfully beg to differ.  For a time the mass movement of 'the workingclass'--in Flint, Michigan, and in many other American cities--was indeed a rebirth of the Bildungsroman:

Saul Wellman: Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint, and they came out of indigenous folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

P. Friedlander:  to me that's one of the most significant processes of people becoming radicals, is this . . .

SW: but you lose them in their area . . .

PF: right.  You lose them, but I think something is going on there that I think radicals have not understood about their own movement . . .

SW: right . . .

PF: something about the urge toward self improvement . . .

SW: right . . .

and cultural advancement . . .

SW: right, right . . .

PF: and not to remain an unskilled worker in the asshole of the world . . .

SW: right, right.  But there are two things going on at the same time.  The movement is losing something when a native indigenous force leaves his community.  On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here.

The question of Bildung seems to be implied in John B. Hatch, "Labor Conflict in Moscow, 1921-1925," in Fitzpatrick, Rabinowitch, and Stites, Russia in the Era of NEP (Indiana University Press, 1991).  See especially pp. 64-67.  (excerpt to come later)

Bildung enters through Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994).

Read chapter 1.  "Political Ties and Libidinal Ruptures: Narcissism as the Orgin and End of Textual Production."  [That's an order!]  When I get a chance I will include excerpts.

Further ramifications of Bildung (which is really what Alcorn's text is about) can be seen upon reading see Mary Stanton's Journey Toward Justice: Juliet Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (University of Georgia Press, 2006)
A key shibboleth of the left involves the apotheosis of the proletariat.  Karl Marx's famous comment in A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction got the ball rolling on this phenomenon:

Where, then, is the positive possibility of a German emancipation?

Answer: In the formulation of a class with radical chains, a class of civil society which is not a class of civil society, an estate which is the dissolution of all estates, a sphere which has a universal character by its universal suffering and claims no particular right because no particular wrong, but wrong generally, is perpetuated against it; which can invoke no historical, but only human, title; which does not stand in any one-sided antithesis to the consequences but in all-round antithesis to the premises of German statehood; a sphere, finally, which cannot emancipate itself without emancipating itself from all other spheres of society and thereby emancipating all other spheres of society, which, in a word, is the complete loss of man and hence can win itself only through the complete re-winning of man. This dissolution of society as a particular estate is the proletariat.

This appears to be a continuation of the same sentiments noted by Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred.

This Marxist shibboleth has been the cause of no little anguish on the part of those psychologically dependent on this rhetorical trope.  As the Communist Party expanded in numbers and influence from the mid-1930s, its center of gravity became increasingly "middle class," as George Charney has noted (64, 139, 156-7, 176).  And this in the merely conventional sense of that term (as referring to occupation).  But, as Saul Wellman has observed in his interview with me, the Party recruited dozens of workers in Flint, Michigan, but couldn't keep them down on the farm after they got a whiff of the intellectual life waiting for them in Detroit.  Though "working class" in occupation, they were becoming "bourgeois" in the sense of Bildung referred to above.  At the level of cognitive and characterological development, there are two basic positions: barbarian and bourgeois (which correspond nicely with Melanie Kleins two basic positions: paranoid-schizoid and depressive).  The workers who took the lead and/or developed within the movement were--dare I say it--bourgeois.  In this regard consider the next panel, involving another personal encounter.


"On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this
type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around
and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here."
farm
"How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm?" (Nora Bayes, 1919)
Eddie Cantor - How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down On The Farm 1923
Bildung

When Coleman Young, Mayor of Detroit, died, I gave a class on "the Life and Times of Coleman Young."  At that time my classes consisted of high-wage good benefits working class Detroiters, most of whom were women employed by the downtown business sector (Complex of Corporate Activities).  One of the beautiful things about racism in the once-unionized city of Detroit is that it produced a web of neighborhood and family ties that crossed many boundaries.  

A a result of this situation, One of my students brought to class an old timer who lived in her apartment building in Detroit.  The class was packed, due to the great interest at that time in the subject (and also, I must add, my reputation).  And in walks a wiry old man in his late eighties carrying a shopping bag loaded with books.  He proceeded to speak to us about the importance of reading and thinking--of the power of reason.  Was he a leader, in the formal sense of the word?  A writer perhaps, or a student who had become radicalized while in college during the 1930s?  Nope.  Just a worker, but a worker of the kind that Saul Wellman spoke of.  This should indicate how useless, from the standpoint of praxis and Becoming, the category "worker" is.  A few months later I heard from the student who had brought him to class that he had passed.  In a final gesture this man of reason willed his body (for research purposes) to either Wayne State's medical school or Henry Ford Hospital, thus sticking it to his Baptist family.  For him reason was a passion . . .  to the very end.
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from Hell Irvin Painter, The Narrative of Hosea Hudson: His Life as a Negro Communist in the South (Harvard University Press, 1979)
hudson
When I was singing, I wasn't a bad looking person.  (I was little rowdy in them days, you know, before I got in the Party.  The Party learnt me a whole lot.)  I was looking pretty good, I reckon, because all kinds of ladies was always making marks or shaking hands and scratching me in the hand and making eyes or something.  So I would try to find out how to chance to make contact, in a quiet way.  I didn't have no close friends.  I didn't do much talking.  What I do, I went on and done it, keep going.  (After I joined the Party in '31, I quit.  I quit.  I understood that I was supposed to live a respetable life in order to lead the people.  So I laid all my lady friends aside.) p. 78
Bildung

The cognitive-developmental dimension of the radical enlightenment in early 20th century Russia is suggested by these quotes in the right panel from Lenin's What is To Be Done.  This was written in 1902, and should be compared with Lenin's 1923 quotes from Better Fewer, But Better.

The usage of the term class is vexacious, to say the least.  In my experience, and in much of the literature, class is taken as an stable social object, as if it were an estate.  The usage was often theological, and fraught with emotion.  Frequently references to "class" were epithetical.  But above all they were philosophically, methodologically, and empirically shallow.  What is really interesting is to leave the Jesuitical world of the rhetoric of class behind, and ponder what Saul Wellman has to say about actual workers in the heat of becoming (rather than considered as static objects aquiring a recognition of their class position and class interests).

Much of what I heard back in the day merited the scorn that Lenin heaped on the Economist pedgogues.

This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of “literature for workers” but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature.

I suggest that the transcendence suggested in the above quote is consistent with Wellman's remarks, and more generally with the idea of bildung, a very bourgeois concept (Hegel's version of bourgeois, not Adam Smith's).

In Better Fewer but Better (1923) Lenin does no less than articulate a bourgeois ideal.

we hear people dilating  at too great length and too flippantly on "proletarian" culture. For a  start, we should be satisfied with real bourgeois culture; for a start we  should be glad to dispense with the crude types of pre-bourgeois culture, i.e., bureaucratic culture or serf culture, etc.


Now consider the excerpts below from the Minutes of the Murray Body Committee Local 2 at the UAW Executive Board Meeting (1939): in it there is a long discussion of competitive conditions in the spring industry, and of the possibility of working with the advanced manufacturers in this industry to drive the sweat shops out of business, simultaneously stabilizing and raising wages and creating conditions for high tech capital investments.  This goes against much naïve thought on the working class as the bearer of virtue, and shows instead intelligence, discipline, and planning in collaboration with a section of the manufacturers.  Working class in occupation, they have undergone and are undergoing the transformation subsumed under Bildung, and are participating as equals in the management of an entire industry.  (Many interviewees observed similar developments: Kord, Dodge #3)
from Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, What Is To Be Done? (1902)


We have said that there could not have been Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It would have to be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[2] The theory of socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals. By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement; it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of thought among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia. In the period under discussion, the middle nineties, this doctrine not only represented the completely formulated programme of the Emancipation of Labour group, but had already won over to its side the majority of the revolutionary youth in Russia. pp. 17-18

Attention, therefore, must be devoted principally to raising the workers to the level of revolutionaries; it is not at all our task to descend to the level of the “working masses” as the Economists wish to do, or to the level of the “average worker” as Svoboda desires to do (and by this ascends to the second grade of Economist “pedagogics”). I am far from denying the necessity for popular literature for the workers, and especially popular (of course, not vulgar) literature for the especially backward workers. But what annoys me is this constant confusion of pedagogics with questions of politics and organisation. You, gentlemen, who are so much concerned about the “average worker”, as a matter of fact, rather insult the workers by your desire to talk down to them when discussing working-class politics and working-class organisation. Talk about serious things in a serious manner; leave pedagogics to the pedagogues, and not to politicians and organisers! Are there not advanced people, “average people”, and “masses” among the intelligentsia too? Does not everyone recognise that popular literature is also required for the intelligentsia, and is not such literature written? Imagine someone, in an article on organising college or high-school students, repeating over and over again, as if he had made a new discovery, that first of all we must have an organisation of “average students”. The author of such an article would be ridiculed, and rightly so. Give us your ideas on organisation, if you have any, he would be told, and we ourselves will decide who is “average”, who above average, and who below. But if you have no organisational ideas of your own, then all your exertions in behalf of the “masses” and “average people” will be simply boring. You must realise that these questions of “politics” and “organisation” are so serious in themselves that they cannot be dealt with in any other but a serious way. We can and must educate workers (and university and Gymnasium students) so that we may be able to discuss these questions with them. But once you do bring up these questions, you must give real replies to them; do not fall back on the “average”, or on the “masses”; do not try to dispose of the matter with facetious remarks and mere phrases.   pp. 83-4


from Minutes, Murray Body Committee Local 2 at Executive Board Meeting, April 26, 1939, Toledo Ohio, Addes Collection, Box 14, Reuther Archives Detroit

    BROTHER REUTHER:  In the spring end of your production there, you weren't having any trouble with L.A. Young, Gibson and Muer?

     BROTHER MANINI:  Our rates are comparable.

    BROTHER HALL: McInery in Grand Rapids, and Great Lakes of Chicago.  I understand that L.A. Young and Falls have smaller factories out in the small outlying districts that are paying less than the fellows in Detroit.

   BROTHER REUTHER:  There is something here, I don't know whether you want me to discuss it here now, but I have one spring plant in my local and they don't, that is Precision Springs, die springs and things like that, but your trouble is with cushion springs.

    BROTHER MANINI:  Cushion springs.

  BROTHER REUTHER: We had a conference with the Spring-Fall and Jimson Muer, that was the Spring Council and we have been trying to cordinate that.  We had a conferenced with our Bargaining Committee and the management of Precision Spring.  There is a fellow there by the name of Peterson, one of the big shots of the Spring Manufacturers Association.  He is quite an advanced sort of fellow on these problems and he is willing, next month there is a going to be a Spring Manufacturers Association meeting in New York City, there was one last year, at which time they agreed if the UAW would send an International representative their group of people would fight on the floor and try to force an agreement for the whole industry.  In order to try to take labor out of competition.  Last yer Tucci was instructed to go there and he got there a day late, after the conference ws over.

     Here is what he want us to do.  He wants to do this if we can get the various committes, now if we can get L.A. Young to get their management and Jinson and Fall Spring and Precision Spring, if we get all the spring companies in Detroit who are dealing with the union and have the highest wage rate in Detroit, if we can get these people to come together and have a joint management meeting and committee meeting and you people send people from your spring plants and other plants in Detroit, we can sit down and map out a program and send an Interntional representative to the Association's meeting and the fellows will work wth us when we try to break this thing down.

(continued below)







from Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, What Is To Be Done? (1902)

This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians, as Proudhons and Weitlings; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of “literature for workers” but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature. It would be even truer to say “are not confined”, instead of “do not confine themselves”, because the workers themselves wish to read and do read all that is written for the intelligentsia, and only a few (bad) intellectuals believe that it is enough “for workers” to be told a few things about factory conditions and to have repeated to them over and over again what has long been known.  note 26,  p. 119


In the panel below I quote Lenin on the emergence of the kind of bureaucratic barbarism that was coming to dominate the Soviet state, and would soon be known as Stalinism.  But what these comments point toward is a far deeper problem: the Persistence of the Ancien Regime as sociocultural force, and the weakness of the popular Enlightenment.





Murray Body continued


    (REUTHER continues) Peterson tells us our committee was there two weeks ago, that the spring companies in Detroit are technically equipped and strong enough, if they work as an organized group with the support of the union working in a concerted program they could lick the God damn sweat shops up-state.

     I think that is the sort of approach that is necessary in this industry.  We have got to being[begin?] to work as an organized group with the organized group of manufacturers who are willing to accept the union.  In Precision we have a closed shop, this fellow says, "The Union is here to stay and I am going to live with it and I want to work with the union and lick these others."

     Peterson thinks that L.A. Young and some of the other companies here that are being pushed like Jinks[Jenks] & Muer will cooperate if we do that sort of thing and we can get before the Association of Spring Manufacturers and set up a blanket agreement in the spring industry and we can begin to squeeze these little fellows who are operating little shops and s[l]ave shop wages.  If this can't be done through the Association then we might get Peterson and these fellows in Detroit to lead a movement for setting up a new association in the spring industry the same as they did in the clothing industry.  In the clothing industry they had to help an advanced group of employers.  In the clothing industry they started with the white goods industry and they had to help these fellows set up a whole new association and together they licked the sweat shops in the clothing industry.  These are the possibilities that we have got to explore.  If you fellows can go the management and get them to agree in a joint meeting like that in Detroit so they can work out a caucus in the Association, I think you might move this thing.

     Jenks and Muer is a big company and I think if they start squeezing in one way and we send organizers to Grand Rapids we can begin to do a job.  I would like to see if you fellows would cooperate.

     BROTHER MANINI:  I am willing to lay my pocktbook on the table.

     BROTHER HALL:  Jenks and Muer, there we have a very fair administration to work with.  They are very fair and willing to work wth us.  I will agree to that.  We can get them to do something about McIneryny(sic) because they have Chrysler work Dodge work and all of that that we used to have and they are working three full shifts and that is what is pinching us and we have a hell of a time working one and half shifts.  Half of the time our day shifts go home anywhere from 9:30 in the morning up to four in the afternoon. pp. 9-11

see Moshe Lewin, Lenin's Last Struggle (Pantheon, 1968), pp. 26-27

Only big capital possessed the qualities that were useful to progress: its ability to organize on a large scale, its tendency to plan and its sense of discipline.  This was why the Workers' State should conclude an alliance with it in order to combat the pernicious influence of the already tottering petite bourgeoisie.  Lenin said: "The proletarian state must form a bloc or an alliance with 'state capitalism' against the petit bourgeois element."

Also see John B. Hatch, "Labor Conflict in Moscow, 1921-1925," in Fitzpatrick, Rabinowitch, and Stites, Russia in the Era of NEP (Indiana University Press, 1991)
Validmir Lenin and the Bourgeois Ideal


from V. I. Lenin, Better Fewer, But Better ( Written: March 2,  1923)

In the matter of improving our state apparatus, the Workers’ and  Peasants’ Inspection should not, in my opinion, either strive after  quantity or hurry. We have so far been able to devote so little thought and  attention to the efficiency of our state apparatus that it would now be  quite legitimate if we took special care to secure its thorough  organisation, and concentrated in the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection a  staff of workers really abreast of the times, i.e., not inferior to the  best West-European standards. For a socialist republic this condition is,  of course, too modest. But our experience of the first five years has  fairly crammed our heads with mistrust and scepticism. These qualities  assert themselves involuntarily when, for example, we hear people dilating  at too great length and too flippantly on "proletarian" culture. For a  start, we should be satisfied with real bourgeoislenin culture; for a start we  should be glad to dispense with the crude types of pre-bourgeois culture, i.e., bureaucratic culture or serf culture, etc. In matters of culture,  haste and sweeping measures are most harmful. Many of our young writers and Communists should get this well into their heads.

Thus, in the matter of our state apparatus we should now draw the  conclusion from our past experience that it would be better to proceed more  slowly.

Our state apparatus is so deplorable, not to say wretched, that we must  first think very carefully how to combat its defects, bearing in mind that  these defects are rooted in the past, which, although it has been  overthrown, has not yet been overcome, has not yet reached the stage of a  culture, that has receded into the distant past.  I say culture deliberately, because in these matters we can only regard as achieved what  has become part and parcel of our culture, of our social life, our habits.  We might say that the good in our social system has not been properly  studied, understood, and taken to heart; it has been hastily grasped at; it  has not been verified or tested, corroborated by experience, and not made  durable, etc. Of course, it could not be otherwise in a revolutionary epoch, when development proceeded at such break-neck speed that in a matter of five years we passed from tsarism to the Soviet system.

Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 487 -  502
First Published: Pravda (No. 49), March  4, 1923
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive  (marxists.org) 1999
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
(emphasis added)
from Moshe Lewin, Russia/USSR/Russia: the drive and drift of a superstate (The New Press, 1995)

The socialist idea (and ideology) was obviously about more than just overcoming the effects of a form of property; it was also about eliminating the effects of deeply embedded and oppressive structures, including punitive and militaristic states, as well as a constraining class system--the proletariat, even if called "working class," being one of them.  The latter is often forgotten: The proletariat is, in itself, not anything ideal; it is a sever impediment to overcome.  And in Marx's conception, socialism would lead to the disappearance of the proletariat and its transformation into an educated middle class of the future, though the term middle class ws not used in this way by socialists.  After all, not just a ruling class but economic classes in general, as they were historically known, were constraining--if not directly oppressive--structures. (p. 150)
" . . . the postwar political scenario could hardly encourage a rebirth of the Bildungsroman: that mass movements may be constitutive of individual identity*--and not just destructive of it--was to remain an unexplored possibility of Western narrative."


I conclude this section on the mass movement as constitutive of individual identity with this quote from Nietzsche.  I do this in the context of my initial contention--that "The inner life of the CP is continuous with the development not merely of reason grasped as mere ideology; it was the very expression of the passion of the mind as a force unto itself.  This is something that in retrospect is perfectly clear to anyone who has grown up in that milieu and reflects upon it in the light of current scholarship. (see Vivian Gornick, The romance of American Communism (Basic Books, 1977.)  This an existential reality, not a superficial (merely ideological) committment."

Note the apparent contradiction between Nietzsche and Wellman.  The Wellman interview describes the emergence of a working class elite that is at the same time the negation of the condition of the working class.
Bildung


from Friederich Nietzsche, Geneology of Morals, II, 12

 The democratic idiosyncracy which opposes [the will to power] has permeated the realm of the spirit and disguised itself in the most spiritual forms to such a degree that today it has forced its way, has acquired the right to force its way into the strictest, apparently most objective sciences;  indeed, it  . . . has robbed life of a fundamental concept, that of activity.  Under the influence of the above metioned idosyncracy, one places instead "adaptation" in the foreground, that is to say,  an activity of the second rank, a mere reactivity; indeed, life itself has been defined as a more and more efficient inner adaptation to external conditons (Herbert Spencer).  Thus, the essence of life, its will to power, is ignored; one overlooks the essential priority of the spontaneous, aggressive, expansive, form-giving forces that give new interpretations and directions, although 'adaptation' follows only after this; the dominant role of the highest functionaries within the organism iself in which the will to life appears active and form-giving is denied.
If the above Marx quote was in the context of a critique of what one might call the petit bourgeois appropriation of the concept of emancipation as something on the order of a state of freedom and bliss, equllity, well-being, etc (Nietzsche's Christians, Cows and women), the Marx quote to the right is entirely consistent with the Wellman intervieew.  On the one hand, being anc contentment; on the other, praxis and development.  Marx the liberal (or socal democrati) concerned with the well-being qustion; or Marx the Hegelian, concerned with Bildung.

One does not understand Lenin and his conception of the party, or his conception of the role of what is called theory (which I think can be better understood within a Hegelian context of Bildung and the Wellman interiew)

Today, for example, we can look at Occupy Wall Street and change.org in the context of the above and come to some conclusions.

see any strange stuff lately (and half the time wildcats had no stated rationale)

wheel assembly

Joe Noble

from Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction

The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself. The evident proof of the radicalism of German theory, and hence of its practical energy, is that is proceeds from a resolute positive abolition of religion. The criticism of religion ends with the teaching that man is the highest essence for man – hence, with the categoric imperative to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence, relations which cannot be better described than by the cry of a Frenchman when it was planned to introduce a tax on dogs: Poor dogs! They want to treat you as human beings!


from Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (Penguin, 1968, p. 92)

For what is freedom?  That one has the will to self-responsibility.  That one preserves the distance that divides us.  That one has become more indifferent to harshhip, toil, privation, even to life.  That one is ready to sacrifice men to one's cause, oneself not excepted.  Freedom means that the manly instincts tha delight in war and victory have gained mastery over theothr instincts--for example, over the instinct for 'happiness'.  The man who has become free -- spurns the contemptible sort of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, women, Englishmen andther democrats.  The free man is a warrior.
note.  Lewin (right) should have said a different species of the same genus, if not an entirely different genus.  This is actually an extremely interesting and productive error.  The genus homo now includes only homo sapiens, the other species (homo habilis, homogenus erectus, etc.) having gone extinct.  But scholars such as de Waal, Wrangham, and Mazur have demonstated profound behavioral similarities between the extant species, homo sapiens, within the genus homo, and the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan, commonly referred to as the Chimpanzee and the Bonobo.  (The diagram is taken from Hominidae in wiki.)  The authoritarian behavior of peasants, as described by Boris N. Mironev in "Peasant Popular Culture and the Origins of Soviet Authoritarianism,"* is readily explicable in terms provided by Mazur (Biosociology of Dominance and Deference).  At the other end of our historical trajectory I introduce an expanded and historicized version of Piaget and Vygotsky in the form of a concept of cognitive-developmental order.  But this must include a cultural-psychological-characterological dimension as well.  Thus the present as history incorporates the biological heritage of the genus homo and the genus pan; but it also contains what can only be characterized as a post-biological transformation at the cognitive and psychological level.  These include the emergence of the formal-operational cognitive modality, and bourgeois character structures. These two are closely related.  Bourgeois forms of property, however, are only minimally related to formal-operational modalities and bourgeois character structures.  Indeed, bourgeois forms of property are at the present subversive of both the cognitive and the characterological developmental praxis of post-biological homo sapiens.

* in Stepen P. Frank and Mark D. Steinberg, eds., Cultures in Flux: Lower Class V alues, Practices, and Resistance in Late Imperial Russia (Princeton University Press, 1994)
from Moshe Lewin, Russia/USSR/Russia: the drive and drift of a superstate (The New Press, 1995), pp. 59-60

The Impression given by Soviet and many Western presentations of an ummuttable "essence" called "the Communist Party" has to be dispelled.  First . . . the party consisted of a network of clandestine committees, not more than 24,000 strong, at the beginning of 1917.

Was the party before 1917 really the disciplined and centralized squad of "professional revolutionaries" who did as told by the top leader?  Would this "classical" Leninist model withstand the scrutiny of a good monograph?  The party represented more than just professional revolutionaries.  There were elections, conferences, congresses, debates. . . .  It is clear, though, that the Bolshevik Party was an unusual organization.  It was not bracing itself to take power directly, because its leaders did not expect the coming revolution to be immediately socialist; at least, they were not at all sure what its character would be.

Dramatic changes occurred in this party in 1917.  It became at the very least a different genus of the same species, if not an entirely different species [see note at left].  It was now a legal organization operating in a mulitparty system; it grew in size to perhaps more than 250,000 members, and it operated as a democratic political party, under a strong authoritative leadership.  Lenin was at the helm, but he was flanked at the apex by a group of leaders, below whom were influential networks of lower cadres who participated actively in policy making.

Lewin goes on to describe a series of major transformations, first, during the Civil War, then during the NEP period, and so on, until the Communist Party bore no resemblance to its pre-revolutionary and Civil War era self.  The triumph of Stalinism in fact represented the triumph of the ancien regime, a triumph finalized in the purges of the 1930s, through which the entire pre-revolutionary and revolutionary era leadership was exterminated.  --see p. 62 "old guard despaired"

It is common nowadays within the world of popular punditry to talk about how Stalinism was the logical outcome of Marxism and Socialism.  This is not only a profound error.  It is a reflection, ironically enough, of the same forces of primitive reaction in the West (and esp in usa) that made Stalinism possible.  One has only to consider the political geneology of anti-Communism in the United States, its character as a mode of politically motivated demonization, and its social roots in the most provincial, reactionary, and violent parts of American society.  A consequence of this was the adaptation by liberal society to the terror symbolized by McCarthyism, an adaptation that took the form of a desperate embrace of anti-comunism, as if that would shield them from the fundamentally anti-cosmopolitan crusade of the Right.  (See Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense.)
A reassertion of the concept of Western Marxism is now in order, even though tht conc
Moshe Lewin had emphasiszed the break with the European founders of russian marxism that the post-rev CP represnted.  Also the infsion of the party with archaic lments so tht Stalnims became the reemergence of an agrarian bururecratic state.

In this page I begin with th eexistntial rality of the CPUSA, its context and "allies" as ell as its inner being.  When cpusa is taken in thcontext of the KE in ND, and that in its historical context of amerian progrssivism

and when the preculiar insignificance of Stalinims in this larger context is realized, what merges is an Americanocentric view in which the hsitrical trjectory of the enlghtenment evol ves into progrssivism and that into the new deal.

Of coure, it is necessary to decompose the vague notion of Progrsisivsm into its core urban scientic current, o the one hand, and the more provncial protstnt elements of progrssivism on the other.  We are burdened with a term--progressivism--that hindrs rather than aids analhsis.  Otis L. Graham, An Encore for Reform: The Old Progressives and the New Deal (Oxford University Press, 1967)

what is missing from Graham's analyisis is the KE.  KE as emergent phenomoenon, wth its business context; ERC
By the 1930s the CP was only the left wing of American Progresivism; its stalinization a superficial trait--a removable singularity.
I have been composing a kind of counterpoint* on the concept of class, shifting between the terms bourgeois and capitalist (and relegating the term proletarian culture to the dustheap of history).  In this regard I have relied on Terry Pickard's Hegel: A Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and Shlomo Avineri's Hegel's Theory of the Modern State(Cambridge University Press, 1972).  Bourgeois is a fundamentally non-economic term (with economic implications, though), referring, in the language of complexity theory, to the emergence of Mind qua formal operational praxis, without which capitalism would be impossible (except perhaps an exceedingly primitive version).  This use of bourgeois is consistent with Hegel's concept of Bildung, and can encompass a variety of occupations and "class" locations.  Thus, "Peterson [Precision Spring], one of the big shots of the Spring Manufacturers Association, . .  an advanced sort of fellow," is both bourgeois in this Hegelian sense and a capitalist.

Capitalist does not refer to Bildung, and denotes merely class location.  Bourgeois has cultural, cognitive-developmental, and psychological aspects, and refers to Being in an intrinsic sense.  Capitalist refers only to economic role, and is silent on the question of Being.  (See Moretti, above)

Thus, the newly emergent barons of Wall Street are capitalist but not bourgeois.  Elsewhere I suggest

are in conceptualization and in actuality more primitive, and cannot exist independently of bourgeois qua emergent praxis of Mind.  The latter also implies culture and increasingly the state.  (This is consistent with Polanyi, The Great Transformation.)

This is why I insist that, in terms of modern and advanced capitalism, it is the Taylor Society (to which I now turn), and not some mindless greedy motherfucker opposed to science and civilization, that exemplifies modern capitalism.  Or, in another context, consider the minutes from the executive board meeting re Murray Body in 1939:  GOP ideologues would represent what in these minutes are referred to as sweatshops as true capitalism while the advanced high tech educated producer, Peterson, would be seen as some kind of commie symp.

*1.  Glenn Gould - Bach - BWV 891 - Fugue
  2.  Mozart, Fugue for Two Pianos in C minor K. 426
  3. Beethoven - Große Fuge B-Dur Op. 133 - Alban Berg Quartett
  4. J.S. Bach - Fugue G-minor "Little", BWV 578 (Helmut Walcha)
Bourgeois, Bildung, Capitalist

ss

It is my assertion that the bourgeois transformation of Being is the decisive break with our primate inheritance, the liberation of the social (to an unfortunately limited degree) from our deeply rooted barbarism, our primate inheritance.  One must consider: the rise of enlightenment involved at its most profound an utter rejection of all the hierarchical claptrap of that represent the barely sublimated primate patterns of dominance and deference (Mazur, Biosociology of Dominance and Deference, Mayer, Persistence).

Max Weber and Immanuel Kant on being bourgeois (bougeois qua being): a specific kind of transformation of psychic energies and structures

(When the other side of our primate inheritance--empathy (de Waal)--becomes politicized, it becomes solidarity. And when empathy fuses with reason it becomes . . .  socialism.)

What I am doing here is taking the primatologists seriously in analyzing modern society.  I am also taking Vygotksy et al seriously in asking whether there is a bourgeois cognitive as well as characterological aspect.  The question of the becoming of the bourgeois as a type of character (here I am taking off from Reich's character analysis, althbough in a very different ultimate sense.  For reich charcter was a clinical charaterization of perosnality; I am not ttempitng to link bourgeois with any type of clinical characterization, but I am attempting to deepen the concept to indlucde a developmental and transformtive lement that functons on the ame level as reich's concept of charger: the deep strucutres of being that make posible the develpmnt of autonomy,s elfi-disicplne, and congite developmnt. (see Moretti)

And especially if you take Cash (proto-Dorian conven tion) seriously, and Mayer, the qustion of becoming bourgeois, in the congtext of primate studies, is actually unavoidable.

Consider the usual kind of hsiory writing, in which what is presupposed is an interst-driven indiviudal living in the originalc creation of God--the free market.  Or consier resent and mech of def in rlation to the wah a good textbook trats the ame manifestioants of being and beocming: as issuees evalued b individuals in terms of interests and values--ridiculous!  Once Karen Barad has crept into your cognitivde proces and reeset your parameters, this is simply unaceptible--it's stupid.  Or consider cog dev in this context.  A whole domain of being and bcoming opens up.

Because of my knowledge of CP, and of labor movement, I was faced with the exitential and phenomenological force of that experience, which was immune to the presussres of society, and had to face the rality of bourgeois being in the working class.
Bildung (The Taylor Society)



In this panel I continue the discussion of the progressive mentalité, this time in regard to the cognitive dimension--the enlightenement dimension--of the progressive capitalism of the New Deal era, as embodied in the Taylor Society.

Capitalism builds on two fundamentally opposed processes: organization and discipline, and appetite and desire.  The former, organization and discipline, is the more widely applied conceptual framework.  On the other hand, appetite and desire are simply taken for granted as the good, and the former is judged in terms of how well it serves the latter.

The cognitive dimension of capital as such is not appreciated.  Capital is thought of in terms of property, individual greed, and profit.  I propose that capital also be thought of as an active force that is cognitive-organizational, from the small shopkeeper to the major science-based multinational organization.  The calculating, planning, organizing mind, as individual and as aggregation of individuals, is at the core of capital as activity.  Conversely, the market wherein desire is stimulated and gratified and stimulated again is the antithesis of this inner, cognitive-organizational dynamic of capitalism.

The excerpt above and to the right from Lenin's Better Fewer, But Better is striking.  On the one hand, it is an expression of respect for bourgeois culture (something that is not found in today's Republican Party--in fact bougeois culture* is demonized by today's GOP), in opposition to the notion of "proletarian" culture (whatever that could possibly mean).  On the other hand, it gives us a deep insight ito the social basis of the kind of bureaucratic barbarism that was coming to dominate the Soviet state, and would soon be known as Stalinism.

*Peter M. Jones, Industrial Enlightenment: Science, Technology and Culture in Birmingham and the West Midlands 1760-1820 (Manchester University Press, 2009)

But Lenin's insight goes far beyond the immediate situation that gave rise to it.  Most of this web site is devoted to understanding today's right wing.  Elsewhere I have written (in ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense) that Marx was wrong: the emergence on a mass scale of the class-contextualized rational individual not only failed to occur.  Instead the very antithesis of rationality, ressentiment, became the mass culture of our time.  While Stalinism and Fascism (and the American Right wing) are opposites not twins on the level of ideology and socio-political historical origins, what they do have in common is their dependence on the fundamental cultural ontology of our time, ressentiment.

This concern with the cognitive dimension of capitalist development emerged in my own work when I encountered the Keynsian elite in the New Deal state.  In the 1970s, in an attempt to debunk certain naíve notions that the New Deal was a largely middle class phenomenon at the top (the administrative elite of the New Deal state apparatus, as construed by Schlessinger and Leuchtenberg), I came across the papers of Morris L. Cooke, Governor Roosevelt's key advisor in matters related to power production; and, after the innauguration  of FDR in 1933, a member of his Administration.  In a sense I made my point (see KE in New Deal state).  But this huge collection documented an inner intellectual life of the New Deal administrative elite that was absolutely stunning.  I spent a month in the FDR library in Hyde Park, returning home to Detroit with more than a dozen bankers boxes of materials.*  One can get a sense of this intellectual

*I have just come across this dissertation by Carlos E Pabon, University of Massachusetts - Amherst "Regulating capitalism: The Taylor Society and political economy in the interwar period"(abstrtact).

dynamism of this network by reading the issues of the Bulletin of the Taylor Society.  Loius D. Brandeis played a critical role in the formation of the Taylor Society in the course of the Eastern Rate Case (1910); his letters are available in Harold Urofsky, ed., Letters of Louis D. Brandeis (State University of New York Press,  1971).  See also Alon Gal, Brandeis of Boston (Harvard University Press, 1980).  The business milieu of modern Progressivism is indicated by the members of the Chicago Shippers Association who were interested parties in the Eastern Rate Case (Progressivism to New Deal).

The Taylor Society was the zone of systems synthesis of mass, modern, and advanced capitalism, the locus of the emergent functions of the 'welfare state."  The force-field of input output relations out of which the Keynesian elite emerged is suggested by the membership list (when interpreted in the context of the origins and history of the Taylor Society and its milieu).  Advanced capitalism can be viewed as a phase in the unfolding of complexity.  Its cosmopolitan, technocratic orientation lends itself easily to demonization from the right.  Ironically, a cult of the primitive values of a nostalgically remembered golden age of small business becomes in the public sphere true capitalism, while advanced capitalism's systems approach and its concern with human capital formation is demonized [see Zombie Economics].  This is one of the great weaknesses of the American system of power when compared with the advanced capitalist nations of Europe. Advanced capitalism is politically weak in the United States, undermined by an alliance of small business, evangelicals, provincial elites, and rentier industries (energy, insurance, securities bloc) and now a new and entirely predatory form of finance (vampire capitalism)--and it shows, especially in the area of the develoment of human capital (see the Psychometric Data, Assessing the Rhetoric of Educational Reform, and Developmental Divergence (Cognitive Development in History).  Human capital development in the twenty first century means achieving formal-operational competence among an expanding proportion of the citizenry.  

Thus the modern state of the twenty first century--committed to the broad development of human capital within a political framework misleadingly referred to as the welfare state--is virtually non-existent in the United States. (American Exceptionalism: the Psychometric Data)

Ironically, the United States, which once led the world in the theory and practice of advanced capitalism (see Noda, Nobuo, 1893-, How Japan absorbed American management methods. [Tokyo] Asian Productivity Organization [pref. 1969]) is now the locus of its demonization and destruction.

On the other hand, in Finland . . .
Taylor Society I: Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State
xx
Taylor Society II: Member Firms, 1927
ts

The Taylor Society III: Non-Mfg Organizations, 1927
ts3
Source: "Membership List, May 1927," in the Morris L. Cooke Papers, box 66, FDR Library
The point of all this--linking Mozart, Lenin, the CP of the New Deal era, and the Taylor Society--is to demonstrate the enormous breadth of the force field of the Enlightenment as cognitive-developmental process at the center of the making of modernity.  Conversely, one can recognize that it was modernity itself that the right demonized.  Indeed, the entire range of right-wing issues in the Twentieth and on into the Twenty First Century involves the mobiliation of the forces of ressentiment in a series of holy crusades against various demons (anti-communism is properly called a witch-hunt), combined with a defense of a mythic form of property, the latter being conceived of in its most primitive and developmentally reactionary form.  This is little more than an expression of the shibbleths of provincial protestantism dressed up as economic theory.  One has truly failed to grasp the deep pathology of our times if one takes this primitive form of cognitive activity at face value.  And liberalism as feeble remants of the enlightenment dynamic enacts its bancruptcy everytime it accepts as valid the demonic constructions of reactionary political elites (e.g., Obama's birth certificate) and seeks to answer rather than decode them.

This successful destruction of the left in the post-war years beginning with McCarthyism meant the undermining of the forces of cognitive development so vital to the strength of nations in the twenty first century.  

The purpose of the above is to demonstrate not only the enduring but the central significance of cognitive development in the making of modern--bourgeois and capitalist--society, and to delineate some of the major components--the major developmental trajectories--of this process.

The discussion of the popular enlightenment and the elite enlightenment (TS) puts intopisa perpsective Figure 1.  An esential element in the making of a cognitively advanced population is a powerful enlightenment ethos rooted in cuture, modern institutions, politics and the state.

from Sahlberg, "A Model Lesson: Finland Shows Us What Equal Opportunity Looks Like", American Educator  |  SPRING 2012)

 Importing a specific aspect of Finland’s education system, whether it is curricula, teacher training, special education, or school leadership, is probably of little value to those aiming to improve their own education systems. The Finnish welfare system guarantees all children the safety, health, nutrition, and moral support that they need to learn well in school. One lesson from Finland is, therefore, that successful change and good educational performance often require improvements in social, employment, and economic sectors. As described by theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman, separate elements of a complex system rarely function adequately in isolation from their original system in a new environment.


The Communist Party was an integral part of this broad, multi-dimensional enlightenment ethos, as was the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State.  Anyone reading this knows that anything that smacked of modernity was smeared with the epithet communist.  

I do not know to what extent this miltidimensional enlightenment continued in the nations of western Europe.  Certainly it seems to have weakened.  But in the United States it has been virtually destroyed, as the current state of public media, politics, and education will testify.  All the huffing and puffing about our educational crisis is itself not merely a symptom of that decline; it is also an active force driving that decline even further (Watch CNN and MSNBC to see what I mean).  One can say with confidence that the socio-cultural-political forces key to the creation of modern minds, having developed over two and a half centuries, can hardly be recovered by some blue ribbon committee, the posturing of a Bill Gates, the demonization of teachers' unions, the implementing of a punitive regime of testing, and the predation of financial entrepreneurs in education.  For the United states, the enormous success of reaction in breaking the backbone of the enlightement as a cultural force has just begun to be felt.  Figure 1 is prelude, a lagging indicator, of cognitive decline.  What has been set in motion by the forces of reaction has an unstoppable momentum. One can see that for decades down the road the United States will continue to decline.  Charles Murray's sequel to The Bell Curve (Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010) applies his racist methdology to the white working class, ignoring all of modern social science, focusing instead on the moral failings of non-elites whites.  While taking note of the growth of narcissism among poor whites, he views it not as a major cultural trajectory of modern capitalism (see Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture), but as the moral failings of a newly designated underclass.  (see comment in WSJ article above by Jim Capatelli)

cooke
Morris L. Cooke, Technical Consultant to Mr. Sidney Hillman and Chairman of the Shipbuilding Stabilization Committee.  CREATED/PUBLISHED:[between 1940 and 1946]  More info.  One of my uncles, who worked with John L. Lewis in UMW District 50 in New Jersey at that time, may have actually met Cooke at a meeting in Washington DC.  He was not sure, but thought he might have.




The purpose of the above is to demonstrate not only the enduring but the central significance of cognitive development in the making of modern--bourgeois and capitalist--society, and to delineate some of the major components--the major developmental tradectories--of this process.

But this is only one of three major forces in the shaping of modern minds.  Bildung is fundamentally undermined not only by ressentiment, but also by the massive cultivation of desire and the proliferation of a culture of narcissism by all the institutions connected with mass marketing, from the corporations that produce and sell crap to the media that advertise crap to the politicians and academics who celebrate the accumulation of crap.

In addition, we must pay heed to the primatologists and acknowledges that there may be deep structures in our lineage--of empathy and solidarity, as de Waal argues, and of aggression and hierarchy.  This is the fourth force that must be added to ressentiment, desire, and Bildung, if we are to understand our history (the minimum programme), or perhaps even change it (a more satisfactory programme).

The objection to the public sector and to planning, based on the experience of Stalinism, is at best the reflection of a primitive stage of cognitive development embodied in the kind of myths of the givens that Karen Barad and others have so ably critiqued: presuppositions rooted in a primitive protestant culture which includes a Cartesian dualism, and the assumption of the a-priori ontological truth of greed and individualism and materialism.  In opposition to the blind acceptance of these assumptions I propose that the community of thinkers that this site assembles cross the boundaries that contain them and set about creating a new kind of public sphere.

What I am confident that I have demonstrated is that the human developmental process, in all its complexity, is far more important than ideology.  Advanced humans could dominate state power and wield it in the spirit of freedom and individual development (Hegel's hope).  Humans such as we have now can barely read and write, although they know how to howl (on cue) about the government intruding into their sacred barbarian existence of an imagined  primitive individualism (even as they dance to the tune of a vast marketing apparatus and Fox News).

The upshot of all this is that it is not our ideologies or our institutions that are problematic.  It is in the domain of becoming wherein that which we call human unfolds.  "Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Overman -- a rope over an abyss."  While the overman is problematic, the animal and the abyss are not.  Before the age of insurgent ressentiment (Fascism and today's GOP) and now financialization, one could be naively optimistic.  If one wishes still to cling to hope one can turn to Hegel.  But in so doing one will have to come to grips with his concept of Bildung, a concept more relevant today than it was in his own time.

Hegel, better than Marx or Lenin, grasped the fundamental fact that it was man himself that was at issue, unlike liberal devotees of enlightenment rationality:

Some of my own boundary crossing has been done with trepidation.  I am ill at ease in applying developmental psychology and primatology to decoding the semiosphere, not because this is not a vital task that must be performed: I am sure of that.  But I am not the one to do so; I am simply too poorly educated in these areas (and it shows in the pages devoted to doing so).  Weak as my knowedge of mathematics is, it is sufficient to enable me to see things historical in ways more powerful that would othewise be possible (see semiotic regimes for an example of the power of even a rudimentary understanding of modern mathematics, where even the most superficial acquaintance with group theory yields wonderful ways of seeing the stuff of history).

I am much more at ease in dealing with modern American history, and with philosophy.

This entire site is unoriginal: it is an assemblage of what Mind (in the spirit of Cassirer's formulation) has accompished (I am an assembly worker).  All I am doing in this site is to bring that work to bear on the problem of the present as history.  My only claim is that, freed of the burdens of career, rooted in the popular enlightenment of the twentieth century, and embedded, in adult life, in a variety of social contexts none of which was academic, I had other options and opportunities that I could, and indeed had to, pursue.

kandinsky1

This Page Ends Here (for now).  Below are fragments that will be reassigned at some time in the future.  This is a rhizome, where loose ends and new growth can be indistinguishable.
Re. Arno J. Mayer's Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War.

Blurb from Amazon.com: "In this classic work which analyzes the context in which thirty years of war and revolution wracked the European continent, the great historian Arno Mayer emphasizes the backwardness of the European economies and their political subjugation by aristocratic elites and their allies."

from Arno J. Mayer, The Persistence Of The Old Regime : Europe To The Great War (Pantheon Books, 1981)

Scholars of all ideological persuasions have downgraded the importance of preindustrial economic interests, prebourgeois elites, predemocratic authority systerms, premodernist artistic idioms, and 'archaic' mentalities.  They have done so by treating them as expiring remnants, not to say relics, in rapdily modernizing civil and politial societies. They have vastly overdrawn the decline of land, noble and peasant; the contraction of traditional manufacturing and trade, provincial burghers, and artisanal workers; the derogation of kings, public service nobilities, and upper chambers; the weakening of organized religion; and the atrophy of classsical high culture.   p. 5

As for the class formations of this precorporate entrepreneurial capitalism, the owners of small workshops were the backbone of the indepenedent lower middle class.  In turn, proprietors of medium-sized as well as larger plants, especially in textiles and food processing, constituted a bourgeoisie that was predominantly provincial rather than national and cosmopolitan. This bourgeoisie, including commercial and private bankers, acted less as a socal class with a comprehesive political and cultural project than as an interest and pressure group in pursuit of economic goals.  (20)

Mayer critiques Marxist (and liberal) assumptions of a triumphal modernism, pointing out that the world of capital is really a world of a multitude of capital formations, from the petty to the local provincial to the regional and national provincial (the backing of Taft vs. Eisenhower in the GOP fight of 1952 for the Party's presidential nomination).  Elsewhere on this site I will discuss present-day capital formations, using resources available over the Internet.  The point here is to point out the grave weakness in Arno's analysis when he turns to an explanation of why the masses fell for the Aristocratic claptrap of the ancien regime.  Ressentiment . . . is an attempt t such an explanation

One must add that the new financial forces on Wall Street represent a profound break with the capitalism of the 1850s to the 1970s.  (see Financialization, Wikipedia) While the economic side of this process is far beyond my competence (but thank the gods for Wikipedia!), the question of the persistence of archaic structures in putatvely modern social formations is more pressing than ever.  The kind of obsession with ostentation and power that dominates the new predatory financial sector is characteristic of barbarism not capitalism.  Michael Lind makes the point that much of the industry of the American South is really dominated by the old aristocratic families whose barbarian ethos persists.  (This is what the southern Progressives were up against.)

(See Michael Lynd, Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics, Basic Books, 2002

Arno leaves out two fundamental characteristics of the human-primate in modern societies.  The first, ressentiment, is the better known, and I have nothing to add to work of my predecessors.  The second, is the implications of Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees, by Richard W. Wrangham and Michael L. Wilson (in www.academia.edu)
The upshot of all this is that it is not our ideologies or our institutions that are problematic.  It is in the domain of becoming wherein that which we call human unfolds.  "Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Overman -- a rope over an abyss."  While the overman is problematic, the animal and the abyss are not.  Before the age of insurgent ressentiment (Fascism and todays GOP) and now financialization, one could be naively optimistic.  If one wishes still to cling to hope one can turn to Hegel.  But in so doing one will have to come to grips with his concept of Bildung, a concept more relevant today than it was in his own time.

Hegel, better than Marx of Lenin, grasped the fundamental fact that it was man himself that was at issue, unlike liberal devotees of enlightenment rationality:



(indeed, this entire site is unoriginal: it is an essemblage of what Mind (in the spirit of Cassirer's formulation) has accompished.  All I am doing in this site is to bring that work to bear on the problem of the present as history.  My only claim is that, freed of the burdens of career, rooted  in the popular enlightenment of the twentieth century, and embedded, in adult life, in a variety of social contexts none of which was academic, I had other options and opportunities that I could, and indeed had to, pursue)



Thus, the professor of physics and the capitalist entrepreneur have much more in common than one might imagine--both are fundametnally cognitive activities, even if the mythology of today's capitalist ideology downplays cognition and exalts greed, desire and the mere possession of property.

***A fundamental difference between the defacto praxes of the two parties (this was first pointed out to me by Franz Schurmann in The logic of world power) is that the GOP is the party of the protection of already existing property (especially securities, hence the expression securities bloc, which I first heard decades ago from a Canadian historian) while the Dems are the party of market expansion.  Protection of already existing property and creation of newer forms of capital are antithetical strategic orientations.  This can be clearly seen in some of the letters of Louis D. Brandeis (esp. re Coal fields in Alaska; also Charles Francis Adams Jr.'s comments on railroad rates; also in the testimony before the ICC)
 



  
from Lionel B. Steiman, Paths to Genocide: Antisemitism in Western History (Macmillan Press, 1998), p. 93-95


The roots of the Enlightenment lay in the new mathematics, astronomy, and physics advanced by Kepler, Galileo, and Newton; the heliocentric universe posited erlier by Nicholas Copernicus; and the inductive method of scientific investigation developed earlier still by Sir Francis Bacon.  Galileo conclusively demonstated the heliocentric cosmology, and Newton discovered the physical laws that governed the universe.  Their astronomy and physics remained uncontested until the twentieth century.  The motto of René Descartes--'I think, therefore I am' (cogito ergo sum) together with Isaac Newton's law of gravity, came to epitomize the daring rationalism and universal certainties of the Scientic Revolution.  As this epoch dawned into the Enlightenment, Alexander Pope epitomized the evolving sequence in verse:

Nature and nature's Law lay hid in night:
God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.

In 1697 Pierre Bayle published his Critical and Philosophical Dictionary, which summarized the scientific advances made during the two preceding centuries and applied common sense--which the Enlightenment called 'critical reason'--to a wide range of traditional beliefs.  This began the dissemination to a wider public of ideas hitherto restricted to the learned.  It also commenced a process of popularization, which extended the application of the newly revealed principles of science in all areas of social, political, ethical, and cultural concern.  In magazines, learned societies, and informal discussion groups, the philosophes turned the light of reason on every traditional belief and practice.  They subjected to rational criticism every aspect of society, and they offered a revolutionary vision of the purpose of political life.  The traditional view was that the state existed solely to restrain people from doing evil; the philosophes argued that it exists to ensure that its citizens can fulfill their human potential. . . .

The Enlightenment transformed the conception of human nature which until then had been the foundation of Western civilization.  According to the Christian doctrine of orginal sin, human beings were by their very nature inclined to do evil.  In the view of St Augustine, which dominated Western political thought until the later Middle Ages, the sole purpose and only justification of the state was to deter people from following their naturally evil inclinations.  But the Enlightenment rejected the idea of human nature as essentially sinful, seeing it instead as essentially rational and posssessed of the ability to choose between good and evil.  How human beings exercised that ability depended on the environment in which they lived. The purpose of the state, and of politics in this view, was to promote an environment that would maximize the good that people would seek to accomplish. . . .

Not only were people born without sin; they were born with rights.  The idea of 'natiural rights' was a key element in the Enlightenment's conception of human nature. . . .

Christian dogma had divded humanity into two groups, that of the saved and that of the damned; those who accepted Christ and those who closed their hearts to Him; those who were of the Lord and those who served Satan. . . .

The Enlightenment rejected this dreadful pessimism and offered instead the optimistic conception of a universal rational faculty as the definition of common humanity. . . .

The Enlightenment view of human nature--that we are not born in sin but possess from birth both a rational understanding and a capacity for good--had revolutionary implications.  The traditional Christian view was that by their very nature, human beings were sinful: if left to follow their natural inclinations, they would do evil.  The Enlightenment did not deny the existence of all manner of evils but denied that these were a consequence of human nature.  It held that people are by nature reasonable and capable of good but had been corrupted by their institutions and environment.  Its rationalism assumed the universal existence of human reason and applied the criterion of social utility to all institutions, policies, and actions.  Transform or abolish corrupt institutions, improve the human environment, and human behavior would likewise improve.  Human beings were by nature rational and therefore capable of creating a rational and humane socal order.


 



New York City: Communist secretaries in major local unions

District Council 65, Wholesale, Retail and Department Store Clerks (Mae)
Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (Irene)
Transport Workers Union (Mrs. Sussman)
Hospital Workers Union (Fran)
Amalgamated Clothing Workers (Hilly)

National Guardian: fundraisers in my home

Aaron D. Purcell, White collar radicals : TVA's Knoxville Fifteen, the New Deal, and the McCarthy era (University of Tennessee Press, 2009)
But there is more than ressentiment undermining the hopes of the enlightenment.  Ressentiment is a reaction to the emergence of post-hunter gatherer forms of power.  As such, it is an effect of the civilizing process.  Even worse, from the standpoint of the fundamental illusion of the enlightenment thinkers (see Rosa Luemburg, right), is the persistence of archaic formations that predate the emergence of homo sapiens, and even homo erectus.  In Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees, by Richard W. Wrangham and Michael L. Wilson (in www.academia.edu), one gets a glimpse into certain primal formations at the heart of today's rightwing political performativities.  Consider these videos (also found in Ressent and MD):

Video: Black Man Verbally Attacked during Mosque Protests

Tea Partiers Mock And Scorn Apparent Parkinson's Victim

I am obviously, in some respects, out on a limb here.  But let us be clear at this point what is established by today's intellectual workers in Primate studies.  First, Franz de Waal et. al. have persuaded us that there is a profound continuity betweeen primate group life and the group life of contemporary humans.  It is possible that the use to which I am putting this work goes contrary to de Waal's work on the origins of empathy and cooperation.  For I am trying to understand today's rightwing political behavior at a rank-and-file level, which is fundamentally barbaric--that  is, hostile in the extreme to empathy and cooperation, and imbued instead with a spirit of violence that is everywhere to be seen.  Look again at (+death videos GOP)

Gingrich Slams Juan Williams in Racial Exchange, newsmax.com, 1-17-12

Republican Woman Thanks Newt For Putting Juan Williams In His "Place", Uploaded by hennehn on Jan 18, 2012

The violence is sublimated into the ritualistic language of racism--but that is he essence of racism.

But de Waal is writing of our primate relatives in their "natural" state; Nietzsche writes of what happens to the primate homo sapeins when subjugated to the forces of civilization (ie, power and the state).  So I don't think that I am in conflict with de Waal's work on this score.  (If I find out that I am, I will revise this line of thought.  The whole point of this website can be summed up as the physics of Very Massive Objects--works that represent the current state of the art in various fields, such as Blanning's work on early modern Europe and Asbridge's work on the First Crusade and Edsall's work on contemporary U.S. politics, and Richard W. Wrangham and Michael L. Wilson . . . )
Sonia Sotomayer and Bildung