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RETHINKING MARXISM Volume 10, Number 2 (Summer, 1998)
In this issue we begin with an important contribution to the ongoing discussion within the pages of RM concerning the relationship between art and capitalism. Here, Mike Sell focuses his attention on the particular, ambivalent role played by the Happenings of the 1960s and compares them (along with the events sponsored by the Fluxus group) to the quite different artistic and political strategies of Guy Debords Situationist International. Not only does Sell deconstruct the binary terms conventionally used to describe the opposition/complicity of avant-garde artistic production and capitalist commodification, but he also invites contemporary artists and cultural critics to acknowledge the enduring legacy of, and to study carefully the issues left hanging by, the "performances" of the past . . . Martin Morriss view is that the "socialness" of commodity exchange is the singular basis for a Marxist conception of reification and, ultimately, for the "real abstraction" of capitalist society captured by Marxian value theory. He then uses this as the springboard for a critique of the theory of reification (as well as the general theory of society) put forward by Jürgen Habermas. According to Morris, Habermas severs the connection between reification and the social act of exchangeby prioritizing language and communication in a theory of intersubjective consciousnessand thereby fails to recognize the relationship between reification and class domination within capitalist society . . . For JoAnn Pavletich, emotions are not natural and universal but, instead, have their own discontinuous social history. Her essay begins the task of producing such a history by examining the relationship between the rise of a culture of restricted affectthe containment of emotional expressivity accompanied by the search for intense experiencesin the United States and the emergence of new forms of corporate culture and state control in the early twentieth century. For Pavletich, the "retreat to emotional inexpressivity" (which, in her view, persists to this day) can be explained as the product of, on the one hand, attempts by the dominant class to homogenize and corporatize U.S. culture and, on the other, attempts by middle-class women, the working class, and people of color to change the power dynamics inherent in that culture . . . What is the appropriate basis for a Marxist critique of capitalist injustice: a labor theory of exploitation or a labor theory of property? Can there be any overlap between Marxian and Austrian (or, for that matter, between Hayekian-socialist and Hayekian-liberal) conceptions of socialism? Rob Garnett was generous enough to organize an unprecedented exchange among Stephen Cullenberg, David L. Prychitko, Peter Boettke, and Theodore Burczak to discuss these and related questions initially posed by Burczak in his essay "Socialism after Hayek" (RM 9) . . . Not surprisingly, the film 12 Monkeys, with its temporal disjunctions and epistemological ruptures, has lent itself to a series of quintessentially postmodern readings. In the first Remarx essay, Matthew Ruben challenges what he considers to be the limitations of such readings. His alternative approach "situates" the film (and the postmodern experience more generally) in the uneven development of urban political economy, thereby uncovering the concrete conditions within which 12 Monkeys was produced but which it desperately seeks to erase . . . The lives of Marxist thinkers and activists around the world are also often erased. Carles Muntaner and Francisco Fernandez Buey take up one such life, that of Manuel Sacristan, the Spanish Marxist who devoted much of his energy to the struggle against the Franco regime and who, in addition, left behind a rich and prodigious body of Marxist scholarship . . . Is The End of Work an optimistic manifesto for the emergence of a new "social economy" or does it merely provide a grim vision of a coming world of unprecedented economic dislocation? Sean Flaherty finds much to admire in Jeremy Rifkins book but, absent an analysis of the political conditions that can generate a more profound social transformation, holds out little hope that the postcapitalist "third sector" envisioned by Rifkin is anything other than a chimera.
As always, we invite readers to send us their comments and ideas. We welcome correspondence on past articles as well as suggestions for future projects.
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