History as creation - Cornelius Castoriadis

The black horse of famine

Castoriadis examines the interrelation between religious, Hegelian and Marxist philosophies of history, arguing that a true appreciation of human agency and historical empowerment is in fact incompatible with such theories.

This is the English language translation of 'Marxisme et Theorie Revolutionnaire' written by Cornelius Castoriadis (Paul Cardan). The original French text appeared between 1961 and 1964 in issues 36-40 of the now defunct journal Socialisme ou Barbarie. It was first published in 'Solidarity for Workers' Power' in 1966 (vol. IV, no.3) under the title ‘The fate of Marxism’, and later as Solidarity pamphlet 54 'History as Creation'. The latter edition is included below in its full form, including the introduction written by the London section of Solidarity, pictures depicting religious millenarianism, and full footnotes. It has been digitised so that the text is searchable.

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Nate
Jun 13 2010 04:33

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  • Either the materialist conception of history is true, therefore defining what is to be done, and what the workers do is of value only inasmuch as they conform to what the theory says they ought to do … or [their activity] is a creative historical factor.

    Cornelius Castoriadis

Comments

Steven.
Nov 3 2013 23:13

Just stumbled across this, I assume this must be the Cornelius Castoriadis text, History as creation, which was published as Solidarity pamphlet 54. Can anyone confirm this? If so, was there any additional stuff in the Solidarity pamphlet?

lurdan
Nov 5 2013 15:04

Yes this is the main text of Solidarity pamphlet 54. It's missing Solidarity's introduction, the text of the footnotes (at any rate they are not visible) and a note making clear which part of Castoriadis' lengthy text this was. (I'm afraid the introduction above is not quite correct about this).

The pamphlet also included eight rather attractive prints from a Victorian religious tract which the pamphlet dedicates to "those who today, choosing different but equally sacred texts to study, claim likewise to have grasped the mechanics and laws 'determining' history". Personally I thought these pictures were more interesting than the text smile

I can update this to add the missing parts if no-one else wants to but I'm fully tied up and can't do anything for a week or so.

Steven.
Nov 5 2013 16:24
lurdan wrote:
Yes this is the main text of Solidarity pamphlet 54. It's missing Solidarity's introduction, the text of the footnotes (at any rate they are not visible) and a note making clear which part of Castoriadis' lengthy text this was. (I'm afraid the introduction above is not quite correct about this).

The pamphlet also included eight rather attractive prints from a Victorian religious tract which the pamphlet dedicates to "those who today, choosing different but equally sacred texts to study, claim likewise to have grasped the mechanics and laws 'determining' history". Personally I thought these pictures were more interesting than the text smile

I can update this to add the missing parts if no-one else wants to but I'm fully tied up and can't do anything for a week or so.

great, thanks. Leo Marinus on here has scanned a copy of this, so the PDF should be attached shortly. I will see if he can OCR the footnotes and introduction

lurdan
Nov 5 2013 18:13

Cool. Let me know if he can't.

To make the origins clearer : After the 1963 split, which left the group around Castoriadis in charge of the journal 'Socialisme ou Barbarie', he produced a long text 'Marxisme et Theorie Revolutionnaire', the first five parts of which were published in the last five issues (Nos. 36-40 1964-65) . When the journal ceased publication in 1967 the rest of the text remained unpublished.

Solidarity translated sections of what had been published - mostly from the first two parts in SouB 36 and 37. (In what follows references to parts are to the parts as published in SouB) :

A translation of a section of the first part in 1966 as 'The Fate of Marxism', first in Solidarity for Social Revolution 4:3, then subsequently reprinted as a pamphlet by Clydeside Solidarity.

A partial translation of the rest of the first and the second parts in 1971 as Solidarity (London) pamphlet 38 'History and Revolution'.

A translation of a small section of the third part 'Pourquoi je suis révolutionnaire', in 1977 as 'Listen, Psychiatrist' in Solidarity for Workers Power 8:7

A partial translation of more of the second part in 1978 as Solidarity (London) pamphlet 54 'History as Creation'.

Some years later Castoriadis revised the whole text in light of the developments in his thinking on psychoanalysis, language and philosophy. This version was published in 1975 as 'L'Institution imaginaire de la société'. An English translation of this was published in 1987 as 'The Imaginary Institution of Society'. A couple of versions of this translation are available at Scribd - for example here.

The parts translated by Solidarity all come from the first quarter of this final version.

Steven.
Nov 5 2013 19:27

ah simple!…

If you get a chance feel free to put the translation from scribd up in the library as well.

backspace
Dec 9 2013 14:49

Hey, so i've scanned my copy, and OCR'ed it so that the text is searchable. It includes the millenarian religious iconography, which is indeed fascinating.

I've yet to convert it all to libcom bbcode/html format, which i'd like to do at some point, although someone else is always welcome to do it for me wink

I've submitted the PDF within a series of changes to this page, along with a temporary removal of the existing text (in the suggestion that it would be best to copy the text from the PDF, and re do this entire page rather than try and weld bits and pieces from my digitisation on, which could become quite messy. the PDF also shows all the emphases on certain words that this version is lacking).