In this 2007 essay, Robert Kurz examines the question of theory and practice from the perspective of the “categorical” “critique of value-dissociation”, with extensive discussions of Marx, Engels, Bloch, Adorno, Horkheimer, Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault, Debord, Negri, and Holloway, and concludes, in the face of the prevalent urge for immediate “action” and the equally widespread denigration of theory, that “critical theory must consciously maintain a distance from all existing praxis”.
In this 2010 interview, Robert Kurz discusses Marx’s theory of crisis, the theories of “collapse” advocated by a minority of Marxists (Luxemburg, Grossman, Mattick) in the early 1900s, the implications of the “third industrial revolution of microelectronics” for capitalist accumulation, Moishe Postone’s analysis of the crisis of abstract labor, “anti-industrialism” and the anti-growth movement (Décroissants), and the meaning of “labor” as a historical and economic concept that must be transcended and replaced by “conscious social planning” and a “broad diversification of industrial production and services, implemented in accordance with purely qualitative criteria”.
In this 2006 interview, Robert Kurz offers a succinct definition the “radical critique of value”, and discusses the nature of the commodity and markets, the “ontologization of value”, abstract labor, the unsavory side of Enlightenment ideology, “the liberation of the abstract individual” as a result of the current global crisis, the “double Marx”, fetishism, Anselm Jappe’s book The Adventures of the Commodity, the continuing relevance of Guy Debord’s concept of the spectacle, and other topics, in an interview for a Brazilian online publication.
In this 1952 article from the “On the Thread of Time” series, on the eve of a split in the Internationalist Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga sets forth his refutations (“theses”) of the innovators who stray from the correct doctrine of Marxism with their “dangerous improvisations” (“counter-theses”) in the fields of history, economics and philosophy—modestly claiming that his arguments might be rendered more “clear and convincing” if one were to devote “seven years” of “study and activity”, “seven hours a week”, to the task—with an ample selection of provocative epigrammatic comments on such topics as World Wars Two and Three, communism, bureaucracy, totalitarianism, ideology, etc.
An introduction to the Marxian approach to science and ideology.
This essay was inspired, on the one hand, by the growing interest in Marxism along with the proportional ignorance of the real nature of the movement; and on the other by the scarcity of accurate, relatively approachable, and contemporary introductions to the subject. It is written with the intended audience of any intelligent and curious reader, and I have attempted to avoid technical language and jargon as much as possible. The piece is meant to present not only the essential content of Historical Materialism, but indicate to what extent the theory is still useful to us today, as a resource for anyone seeking to understand Marx’s contribution to science and the revolutionary movement.