You are on page 1of 33

Socialism and Democracy

ISSN: 0885-4300 (Print) 1745-2635 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/csad20

Book reviews

Alan Milchman , Joseph L. Walsh , Fred Evans , Randy Martin , Frank


Rosengarten , Felipe Pimentel , Gilbert Schrank , Richard Stauffer & Peter T.
Manicas

To cite this article: Alan Milchman , Joseph L. Walsh , Fred Evans , Randy Martin , Frank
Rosengarten , Felipe Pimentel , Gilbert Schrank , Richard Stauffer & Peter T. Manicas (1987) Book
reviews, Socialism and Democracy, 3:1, 169-200, DOI: 10.1080/08854308908427980

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/08854308908427980

Published online: 13 Dec 2007.

Submit your article to this journal

Article views: 10

View related articles

Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at


http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=csad20
Book Reviews

Ernst Bloch, THE PRINCIPLE OF HOPE (Cambridge, Massachusetts:


The M I T Press, 198$).
Ernst Bloch, NATURAL LAW AND HUMAN DIGNITY (Cambridge, Massa-
chusetts: the MIT Press, 1986).

The translation of the three massive volumes of Ernst Bloch's The Prin-
ciple of Hope, and its "appendix" on natural law, finally makes accessible
to English speaking readers the theories of a philosopher closely as-
sociated with the pivotal figures in the development of the Hegelianized
Marxism that intellectually dominated the late 1960's and the 1970's.
Bloch and Georg Lukacs were youthful philosophical friends in Ger-
many during their formative years just before and during World War I.
Some of Lukacs' most important theoretical debates, over History And
Class Consciousness in the 1920's and the expressionism debate of the
1930's, involved Bloch. In Weimar Germany, Bloch was an important
influence on Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno, who had re-
placed Lukacs as his closest philosophical partners. Herbert Marcuse
acknowledged the profound impact that Bloch's writings had on him
during the 192 O's.
However, if Bloch were simply one of the founding figures of what
Merleau-Ponty termed "Western Marxism," the translation of his work
would hardly constitute the major intellectual event that it is, coming at
a time when that tradition has largely exhausted itself theoretically.
Today, key figures from within the tradition of Hegelianized Marxism
have either completely rejected Marxism (e.g. Lesek Kolakowski) or
turned sharply away from Hegel and Marx in "new" directions (e.g.
Habermas' turn to Mead, Durkheim and Parsons). What makes Bloch
so important is that his work constitutes a thoroughgoing critique of the
very problematic of "Western Marxism," but one made in the name of a
renaissance of Marxism. In fact, Bloch's Marxism, his "open system," is a
refutation of the two basic paradigms that have shaped Marxist dis-
course since the 1920's. A brief—and unavoidably schematic—
presentation of these two paradigms is necessary to constitute a

169
170 Socialism and Democracy

backdrop against which the truly revolutionary character of Bloch's


development of Marxism can be seen.
The two dominant paradigms which have claimed the mantle of
Marxism are Dialectical-Materialism (Diamat), which is the state or-
thodoxy in the East, and the several varieties of "Western Marxism,"
which have their point of departure in Lukacs' History And Class Con-
sciousness. The basic tenets of Diamat are: the existence of a universal set
of supra-historical categories applicable to both nature and society; a
copy theory of reflection, which effectively reduces human conscious-
ness to an epiphenomenon; a crude economic determinism which sees
historical development in terms of "regular laws," just as purportedly
occurs in nature, thereby minimizing the subjective factor and making
of socialism an objective necessity. The hallmarks of Diamat are thus an
overarching naturalism, scientism and occlusion of the human subject,
which are also features of certain Western variants of this doctrine, e.g.
Althusser, Delia Volpe/Colletti.
"Western Marxism," in contrast, emphasizes the praxis of the
human subject as constitutive of reality, tends to reject the existence of
objective laws in history, and rejects the existence of a dialectic in
nature on the grounds that the dialectic is a subject-object relationship,
while there can be no "subject" in nature. The hallmarks of "Western
Marxism" are thus the limitation of Marxism to the social realm alone,
an overextension of the auronomy of the conscious subject in history
and a pronounced tendency towards voluntarism. Despite different
emphases, these tenets are found in Lukaçs' History And Class Conscious-
ness, in Gramsci, in the Frankfurt School, in the Yugoslav Praxis group,
in Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason, etc.
What makes the Blochian philosophy unique is that it constitutes a
third way between Diamat and "Western Marxism," in which the
dialectical interdependence of objective and subjective factors is articu-
lated. Its foundation is a Marxist ontology, based on the autonomy and
priority of being, existence, vis-à-vis consciousness. Bloch's insistence
on the primacy of ontology over epistemology is a new departure in the
history of Marxism in the twentieth century. Both "Western Marxism"
and Diamat (with its definition of matter in terms of epistemological
realism in Lenin's Materialism AndEtnpiriocriticism), like the mainstream
of Western philosophy since Kant, have been preoccupied with epis-
temological questions. Bloch's materialist ontology, however, is no re-
turn to the metaphysical traditions of the past, which were based on a
static ontology. Bloch's "open system" is an explicit and trenchant rejec-
Book Reviews 171

tion of all static conceptions which envisage a fixed and finished content
for the world. Indeed, Bloch insists that the breakthrough made by
Marx is precisely the comprehension of all existence (natural and social)
as process. Bloch's Principle Of Hope has as its basis an "ontology of
not-yet-being," the foundation of which is the primacy of the modal
category of "possibility" over "actuality." It is the fundamental role
given to the category of possibility which marks Bloch's philosophy as a
radical break with the whole Western philosophical tradition, and
which constitutes the ontological basis for socialism, for the break-
through to what has never-yet-existed in history.
In opposition to the rejection of a dialectic in nature characteristic of
"Western Marxism," Bloch puts forward a hylozoic conception of na-
ture, reworking the Renaissance concept of natura naturans into his own
concept of a hypothetical "subject" of nature. On this basis, he argues
that activity, development and possibility belong not only to the human
subject, but to nature as well. As a result, Bloch insists that the world
process (nature and society) constitutes a totality, thereby breaking with
the dualism which has dominated Western philosophy since Descartes
and Kant and which, in the form of a split between the natural and the
social sciences, was bequeathed to Western Marxism by neo-Kantian-
ism and the Lebensphilospbie of Dilthey. This Blochian conception of a
dialectical world process encompassing nature and society has its basis
in Marx' and Engels' assertion that "we know only a single science, the
science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it
into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are
however, inseparable." (The German Ideology) Bloch's conception of a
world process, however, recognizes the specificities of the human and
the natural project as well as their interdependence, and thus rejects the
homogenization of nature and society brought about by Diamat.
Moreover, the Blochian concept of a qualitative—and not just quantita-
tive—nature, worked out in The Principle Of Hope, is a repudiation of the
mechanistic materialism found in Diamat.
In keeping with this conception of a world process, Bloch's Principle
Of Hope moves between the articulation of a Marxist philosophy of
nature and the presentation of a rigorous Marxist philosophical an-
thropology, both grounded in the basic categories of his ontology.
One of the most important elements of Bloch's Marxist theory ar-
ticulated in the pages of The Principle Of Hope is the concept of anticipat-
ory consciousness, which is one of the bases of his philosophical an-
thropology. Bloch begins with the recognition of the fact that mental
172 Socialism and Democracy

life is not limited to the conscious realm. However, in contrast to what


slips below the threshold of consciousness, Bloch excavates the opposite
realm, that of the preconscious, "where something not previously con-
scious dawns." (p. 115) Bloch elucidates "the preconscious of what is to
come, the psychological birthplace of the New," (p. 116) what he terms
the "not-yet-conscious," the psychological complement to not-yet-
being. Here is the source of man's creativity, his productivity, the
psychological basis of laboring man understood in Marxist fashion as
ultimately the producer of his world.
Bloch's theory of the not-yet-conscious is the basis for the extensive
treatment of the varied manifestations of anticipatory consciousness
that occupies a central place in The Principle Of Hope. Bloch constructs a
veritable encyclopedia of man's hopes for a better life manifested in
everything from daydreams, to the social and political utopias, and
culminating in the great works of art, in religion* and philosophy,
which contain a "preappearance" of the goal towards which the human
species tends: "the humanization of nature and the naturalization of
man," in the words of the young Marx. Bloch's analysis of man's cul-
tural artifacts, of ideology, is based on the understanding that ideology
is integrally linked to the mode of production and to the class structure
of the society out of which it emerges. However, his analysis of ideology
is not exhausted by demonstrating its embeddedness in the material
conditions in which it arises. Bloch also shows that ideology can contain
a "utopian surplus" which outlives the particular socio-economic condi-
tions and configuration of class interests that shaped it, a foreshadowing
of the future which is already latent in the world process at a determi-
nant stage, and which constitutes a heritage for socialism itself.
Bloch's Natural Law And Human Dignity provides an excellent exam-
ple of this unique combination of Ideologiekritik and the rescue of the
Utopian surplus which socialism must inherit. Bloch shows that the
Thomistic relative natural law of the Middle Ages was the ideological
prop of the feudal order; with its basic premise of the sinful nature of a
fallen humanity, "it endorsed authority and its sword." (p. 26) Bloch's
treatment of Luther's conception of natural law brilliantly demonstrates
its inextricable link to the bloody struggle waged by the Princes against
the incipient bourgeois revolution and the peasant revolts of sixteenth

* Bloch's treatment of religion is based on a distinction between the hope man-


ifested principally in the prophetic and heterodox currents of religion, and the
dogmas of established churches which serve to justify an exploitative order.
Book Reviews 173

century Germany. In response to the peasant revolt led by Thomas


Munzer, Luther championed the forces of feudal order with a doctrine
of natural law whose essence was, according to Bloch: "The stronger the
state is, the better it is." (p. 31) The classic natural law of the seven-
teenth and eighteenth centuries, with its basis in contract, its defense of
private property and its restriction of equality to the political realm
(where it remained purely formal), was, for Bloch, the perfect ideologi-
cal expression of the rising bourgeoisie and of the new capitalist order.
However, Bloch does not stop at revealing the class basis of the ideology
of natural law through its successive permutations, but proceeds to
unearth the Utopian surplus which is also contained in it. Thus, he links
the ancient Stoic doctrine of the equality and unity of all people to the
goal of any real struggle for socialism; and he argues that the "genuine
intention" of classic natural law, human dignity and human rights,
constitutes an indispensable heritage for socialism, which complements
the cultural surplus of the social utopias: "Social Utopian thought di-
rected its efforts toward human happiness, natural law was directed
toward human dignity. Social utopias depicted relations in which toil
and burden ceased, natural law constructed relations in which degrada-
tion and insult ceased." (p. xxix) For Bloch it is the development of the
objective material conditions for socialism, and the proletariat as the
"exploding factor," which will actualize the hope manifested in the
social utopias and in natural law. The importance of the heritage of
natural law for socialist theory is clearly brought out in Bloch's denun-
ciation of the apotheosis of the state in Stalinist Russia. He insists that
this mortal danger, which was already evident before Stalin gained
undisputed power, can only be averted by the defense of subjective
right, the right of the citizen against the state, in the period of transition
to communism.
Ernst Bloch is frequently criticized, even by those sympathetic to
his philosophical project, for neglecting the real social and political
structures of the contemporary world, of failing to articulate a concrete
social theory. In fact, a careful reading of both these works under review
will yield essential elements for a social and political theory of late
capitalism. One of the burning questions for socialists today is the fate
of bourgeois democracy in an epoch characterized by a pervasive socio-
economic crisis. Is the bourgeois democratic state a bulwark against
fascism and similar reactionary tendencies, behind which socialists can
seek shelter, or is it a mere facade, a screen behind which the reality of
state totalitariansim is already ensconced, and which can open the way
174 Socialism and Democracy

to more naked forms of state terror as the needs of capitalism in crisis


demand? The bulk of those on the left today resolutely opt for the
former position: one thinks for example of figures like Jürgen Haber-
mas, Agnes Heller and Anthony Giddens. In Natural Law And Human
Dignity, Ernst Bloch, on the other hand, maintains that the bourgeois
constitutional state is preeminently a class state; one which in the
twilight of the bourgeois epoch, in a period of acute crisis, has fascism
as its permanent disposition. Far from serving as a rampart against
fascism and state totalitarianism, in the midst of a social crisis "the
formal constitutional state reveals its other nature, by which it can turn
into fascism at any moment." (p. 137)
While Bloch was certainly haunted by the experience of Hitler, his
social theory incorporates the phenomenon of fascism under what he
sees as a universal tendency to "state capitalism" in the present epoch.
In chapter 42 of The Principle Of Hope, Bloch outlines a theory of state
capitalism which he already sees as latent in monopoly capitalism. As
the insoluble contradictions of capitalism reach the breaking point and
result in a permanent crisis, if the revolutionary proletariat fails to
overthrow the system a nationalization of the means of production
"from above" occurs. "A capitalist collective arises, composed of the
greatest robbers in industry and distribution, from the high civil and
above all military bureaucracy." (p. 901) The actual path to state
capitalism can proceed via fascism, Social Democratic "reformism" or
American style "democracy." In each case its end result, despite differ-
ences in form, is a permanent war economy and the enslavement of the
masses. "State capitalism . . . combines full, indeed sharpened exploi-
tation with the most drastic changes in previous private industry; all
this with an illusion of collectivism. This illusion can even mean that
the capitalist economy controlled from above claims to be socialist."
(p. 900)
While Bloch, still under the spell of the October revolution excepted
Stalinist Russia from this categorization, the very logic of his analysis
compels us to recognize that the victory of Stalin can only be under-
stood as the triumph of state capitalism. Indeed, after his flight from
East Germany in 1961, Bloch's evaluation of Stalinism tended precisely
in this direction. In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Czecho-
slovakia in 1968, Bloch gave his final verdict on the Russian experience:
"genuine socialism has not yet existed, it has not yet begun"; lest there
be any ambiguity here, Bloch castigated Stalinism as "state absolutism"
and the "degenerate non-fulfillment of socialism." If Bloch was never
Book Reviews 175

able to take the final step and explicitly condemn the Stalinist regimes
as capitalist, socialists today must display no such hesitation.
In the midst of the carnage of World War I, Rosa Luxemburg posed
the stark alternative which faced humanity: socialism or barbarism.
The bloody history of our century led Ernst Bloch to restate this alter-
native at the level of his social theory. However, Bloch also transposed
the alternative of socialism or barbarism onto the level of the world
process itself. According to Bloch, the "world experiment" can end
either in "All" or "Nothing," in the creation of a true "Home" for man
or in the extinction of the human species. Faced with the spectre of
ecological disaster and nuclear holocaust endemic to late capitalism, this
apocalyptic vision of Ernst Bloch coincides with the cold, hard realism
which is one of the components of Marxism. What the Blochian
philosophy can also provide access to is the warm stream of Marxism:
the burning image of the goal of the humanizaiton of nature and the
naturalization of man, no longer an abstract utopia, but in Bloch's terms
an "objective—real possibility" which the struggle of suffering human-
ity can today bring about.

Alan Milchman
Queens College, C.U.N.Y.

Steven Lukes, MARXISM AND MORALITY (New York: Oxford University


Press, 1985).

This book is the latest in a series of attempts to evaluate Marx according


to the criteria of Anglo-American human rights political philosophy. It
is a new and forceful statement of an old theme: Marx's rejection of
morality in the present in order to achieve a future unalienated society
renders him a dangerous guide to gaining and exercising power in pur-
suit ofthat goal. Lukes seeks to discover what Marxism has to say about
"such central questions" as "What is justice? By what principles do
people have rights? By what general principles shall wealth be distri-
buted? What counts as legitimate self-interest and self-development?
What are legitimate means to desired ends?" His general conclusion is
that Marx's admittedly powerful vision of human emancipation is "an
ill-defined" and "indefensible social and political goal" because of its
"systematic blindness" to those questions. For Lukes a moral vacuum
results from Marx's treating all formulations of morality as ideology and
putting off consideration of such questions until the revolutionary fu-
176 Socialism and Democracy

ture when their answers shall presumably be obvious and self-evident.


Lukes repeatedly blames the violence and repression associated with
subsequent Marxist regimes virtually entirely on Marx's view of moral-
ity which he says "absolved Marxists engaged in revolutionary struggles
from political responsibility." He briefly considers the views of Trotsky,
Luxemburg, Kautsky, Lukacs, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty on the
means/ends question and concludes that what he calls "the Marxist
tradition" is as a whole totally flawed on these matters.
In examining Marx's views on justice or the morality of capitalism,
Lukes does offer an interesting commentary on the recent debate among
philosophers, launched by Allen Wood, which appears to lead to the
conclusion that Marx held contradictory views about the justice of
capitalism. Wood was correct, Lukes says, in arguing that Marx thought
the capitalist system "just," but only in the purely formal sense of
postulating an equal exchange between laborer and employer as its
ideal. In fact, Lukes adds, following Nancy Holstrom, Marx thought
that this was a coerced exchange in practice and therefore unjust even
according to capitalist assumptions. Lukes, relying on Richard Miller,
adds that the distinctiveness of Marx's view lay in his radical criticism
not only of "the norms and perspective" justifying capitalism, but also
of the critical perspective which characterizes it as unjust. In other
words, Marx criticizes both concepts of justice and injustice from a
perspective beyond justice, viz., that of "communism's" higher phase.
It is on this point, however, of the perspective from which Marx
criticizes both the defense and the attacks on capitalist concepts of
justice, that Lukes goes wrong. He clearly grasps the centrality in Marx
of the critique of bourgeois morality and his insistence that before the
revolution has taken place it is impossible to prescribe the structures by
which a free people shall finally live. But Lukes studiously refuses to
take a position on whether Marx is correct on this crucial question i.e.,
whether Marx's approach is "as a whole either well-founded or essen-
tially true." Even more significantly Lukes refuses to take up a position
of his own on how "the philosophy of Recht " which he repeatedly
contrasts favorably to Marxism, can serve as an adequate way of re-
sponding to these same questions of justice and equality (especially
when the totality of its record in Latin-America and Asia as well as
Europe and the U.S. is taken into account).
Lukes insists that it is essential for revolutionary movements "both
to specify possible futures as closely as possible, indicating which are
more or less probable, and to set out the grounds for supporting one of
them by showing how it would realize values that would justify that
Book Reviews 177

support." This is a reasonable assertion and a legitimate demand to


make of Marxists provided it is properly formulated. Marxism's
strength for dealing with the serious problems which Lukes raises,
however, does not lie in speculating about possible, post-revolutionary
futures, but in understanding the forces making that revolution and
shaping its outcome. In Marx and Engels the future elimination of the
wage labor system is always kept clearly in mind as the final, if distant,
revolutionary goal. But for them increasing and strengthening the re-
volutionary movement in the present is always the focus of pre-
revolutionary action.
Marx and Engels clearly recognized that it was the size and strength
of the proletarian movement, as well as the depth of bourgeois resis-
tance, that would determine the amount and severity of the possible
violence and repression that would be needed to overcome it. For Marx
and Engels the actual number of persons killed and imprisoned and the
extent of political freedom allowed would be decided in the last analysis
not by the clarity of the moral principles previously arrived at, but by
what the victorious proletarian movement judged would be necessary
for it to maintain power against threatening counter-revolution.
In making such judgments, there would be great chances for error
and misjudgment of course, particularly if proletarian forces were
thrust into power before their size was sufficient to defeat counter-
revolution with minimal violence and repression. Events in the twen-
tieth century have made clear how harmful are the consequences of
mistaken judgments in these matters, not only for the innocent persons
so often involved, but also for achieving the revolutionary goals them-
selves. Marxists have the obligation, it would seem, to reflect continu-
ally on the various relationships inherent in any revolutionary situation
between movement building, progressive measures, possible provoca-
tions and intransigent resistance. Such a responsibility arises not in
response to an abstract morality removed from the situation, but out of
awareness that strengthening and expanding the movement supporting
revolution is at one and the same time the best means for diminishing
the need for repression as well as for developing the compliance to
govern effectively for revolutionary ends. It also follows that such reflec-
tion today would incorporate greatly increased awareness about the
effects of a crude economism on the rapidity with which a society can
be brought to accept revolutionary transformation.
There are occasional glimpses in Lukes of how Marxism could be
further developed along these lines. Marx and Engels assumed, Lukes
says, "that questions about the shape of future institutions and social
178 Socialism and Democracy

arrangements would be faced and solved by the ascendant majority


class." But Lukes fails to see that Marx and Engels also assumed that
subsequent decisions in these matters of post-revolutionary repression
and freedom would be shaped by the depth and tone of the struggle
needed to gain power. It follows that a Marxist revolutionary movement
has the responsibility to prepare itself for that struggle by considering
how its various decisions would determine the character of that struggle.
But Lukes does not appear to believe that responsible revolutionaries are
capable of using their intelligence to arrive at humane decisions in these
matters without previous instruction in "the philosophy of Recht." He
therefore gratuitously postulates the inevitability of moral inadequacy
in these situations among Marxists.
At one point, Lukes does appear to realize that the horrors in the
Soviet Union following the Bolshevik revolution cannot be reduced to
the absence of moral pronouncements in Marx. He agrees with Cham-
berlain who says, "no government could have survived in Russia in
those years without the use of terrorism," thus indicating the impact of
counter-revolution on the shape of Bolshevik practice. But Lukes then
adds immediately that the Bolsheviks' measures went "very far beyond
what this minimal case would allow." He does so, however, without in
any way indicating on what basis and by what principles he would
determine maximal from minimal terrorist measures—in other words,
he ignores the real stuff of revolutionary moral decisions.
It would be legitimate for Lukes to contend that Marxists have the
responsibility to prepare themselves for decisions of this kind better
than they have done in the past and to be more self-conscious about the
criteria they are using to arrive at such decisions. On the other hand, it
is also reasonable to demand of Marxism's critics like Lukes that they
enter the world of real history and demonstrate the moral criteria they
would use in fighting counter-revolution and the decades of continued
inadequate diet, health care and education that its victory represents.
Judging by what is found here, that discussion has yet to begin.

Joseph L. Walsh
Stockton State College

Nancy S. Love, MARX, NIETZSCHE, AND MODERNITY (New York:


Columbia University Press, 1986).

During the first half of this century, thinkers such as Wilhelm Reich,
Herbert Marcuse, and Norman O. Brown felt that an amalgam of the
Book Reviews 179

thought of Marx and Freud was required in order to critically under-


stand and overcome the oppressive aspects of modernity. More recently,
many social critics have been seeking to fulfill this same aim through a
synthesis of Marx and Nietzsche. In her book, Marx, Nietzsche, and
Modernity, Nancy Love argues that any such synthesis is an impossible
enterprise. She also attempts to show that Nietzsche and Marx provide
the reasons why the other cannot criticze modern society adequately or
suggest an acceptable alternative to it.
Love treats her theme in a comprehensive, thorough, and well-
documented manner. Some of the major points of contrast between
Marx and Nietzsche that she examines are their conceptions of history,
modernity, human nature, science, society, politics, production, and
play. Love also briefly but succinctly relates her theme and critical
findings to major figures and positions within contemporary philosophy
and political thought, such as Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Deleuze,
and the Frankfurt School. Her work will therefore be of interest to
those who are concerned with the current debate between Habermas
and the French "neo-Nietzschean" left (although Love does not directly
deal with a leading figure in this debate, Jean-François Lyotard).
In the last chapter of her book, Love states that she has "not
criticized any specific attempt to combine Marx and Nietzsche, but
rather [has] tried to demonstrate the contradictions between their
perspectives," and adds that "the synthesizers should shoulder the bur-
den of proof and show how they avoid or resolve these contradictions"
(p. 201). Love then summarizes her discussion of these contradictions by
constructing what she refers to as the "ideal type" of the Marx-
Nietzsche "synthesizers" and demonstrating how this ideal synthesizer
self-destructs because of these contradictions.
In her construction of the ideal synthesizer, Love groups what she
feels are the major contradictions between Marx and Nietzsche into
three categories: modern ideology, politics, and economics. In review-
ing Love's explication of the contradictions in each of these categories, I
will also suggest that she sees them as contradictions between Marx and
Nietzsche only because she overlooks other possible ways of reading
Nietzsche and because she seems to equate the notion of "synthesis"
with a mere addition of parts rather than with a creative tension be-
tween "voices" or tendencies.
In chapter four of her book, "Science versus Skepticism: Ideology
and Illusion," Love describes how Marx and Nietzsche explain
bourgeois ideology from contrasting viewpoints. Whereas Marx argues
that bourgeois ideology functions as a means to promote the interests of
180 Socialism and Democracy

those who control the means of production, Nietzsche holds that it is


the will-to-power of a group that needs "ascetic ideals" in order to
bolster an otherwise "sick existence" (pp. 120-121). Because Marx
affirms a "scientific truth" that reveals bourgeois ideology to be false,
that is, not representative of universal human interests (species-being)
and that promotes collective action against class domination, and be-
cause Nietzsche views both truth and the "herd" as ascetic ideals of the
bourgeoisie, Love concludes that the synthesizers condemn themselves
as bourgeois for opposite reasons at once (p. 134; p. 139; p. 201). For a
Marxist, it is bourgeois to deny scientific truth (the scientific truth of
socialism) and to value the individual over society; for a Nietzschean, it
is "ascetic psychology" to need an absolute truth in order to justify
existence and a "herd" in order to find solace from the existential de-
mands placed upon individual existence.
Although Love is correct in stating that Nietzsche rejects "totaliz-
ing" notions of truth and rationality, such as the telos or dialectical
unfolding of a Hegelian spirit, this does not entail that Nietzsche en-
dorses the skepticism (bourgeois or otherwise) that Love attributes to
him. Nietzsche affirms that we can have more or less advantageous
perspectives on our surroundings, that is, perspectives which serve to
promote or "increase" the form of life of which they are an integral part.
Such forms of life may involve an implicit affirmation of life and its
vicissitudes, or exist as a mere "against" something else—as "ressenti-
ment'' or a "reactive" force. Nietzsche's notion of "will-to-power" ap-
pears to be the dynamic relationship between these two tendencies, and
not a power that underlies them in any sense.1 Thus Nietzsche could
consistently accept the truth of historical materialism and scientific
socialism—it is a perspective both congruent with and advantageous for
the development of at least one group, the proletariat, and perhaps for
the entire society—and also distinguish between "herd mentality" and a
revolutionary proletariat. All that Nietzsche requires is that such a
truth not be expanded beyond the group that it "morphologizes" (not be
made "absolute"), and that the revolutionary force is an affirmation of
life (of its provocativity and diversity) rather than the mere negation of
bourgeois power (just as Marx distinguishes between "crude com-
munism" and "true communism," between the "universalization of pri-
vate property" and the realization of "species being"). If Marxism pro-
vides us with a "vertical" or historical view of human existence,
Nietzsche provides us with critical tools for evaluating that existence
"horizontally," that is, at any given moment in its "unfolding."
Book Reviews 181

In chapter five, "Socialism versus Individualism: Liberal Democ-


racy as Oppression," Love describes Nietzsche as advocating that a
"new aristocracy" should overcome the limitations of bourgeois society.
In contrast to Marxist activists, these individual aristocrats would "go
beyond" society rather than remain part of it and expend their energy
tending the "sick herd." In dealing with this opposition, Love also
presents an interesting account of how Marx and Nietzsche interpret
the origin and nature of the state.
Love says that these contradictory views of modern politics, like the
contradictions involved in the treatment of bourgeois ideology, will de-
stroy the idealized synthesizers from within. As Nietzscheans, the
synthesizers must condemn the "herd psychology" of the proletariat
that will constitute the basis for socialism, and, as Marxists, they must
condemn Nietzsche's individualism as bourgeois, even so radical a
bourgeois notion as "aristocratic individualism." Once again, however,
Nietzsche only condemns those forms of socialism that embody "ressen-
timent" and ascetic ideals. Although Nietzsche criticizes the socialism
(and all other social-political movements) of his day as nihilistic, this
does not preclude the possibility of a socialism that intrinsically affirms
the diversity and fecundity of life. Moreover, Nietzsche does not think
so much in terms of individuals ("free spirits" or otherwise) as he does
value codes—his aim is to advance the inversion of ascetic or reactive
codes into active ones, that is, to transform a "negative" (nihilistic)
society or will-to-power, characterized by ressentiment, into an affirma-
tive one. Nor does he speak much or so seriously of aristocrats establish-
ing a higher life through the domination of "lower orders"; rather, he
emphasizes that the tendency to depreciate life should be subordinate to
the desire for self-overcoming, to the celebration of life.
In chapter 6, "Production Versus Play: Capitalism as Self-Denial,"
Love examines the contradictions between Marx and Nietzsche within
the category of modern economy. According to Love, the ideal synthe-
sizers, as Marxists, must "idealize production as man's life activity" (p.
202), but, as Nietzscheans, they must criticize such a notion as part of
"herd psychology" and eulogize "play" instead (p. 173). Whereas Marx
sees labor, "once freed from the capitalist division of labor and capitalist
class relations," as "self-realization" rather than "self-sacrifice" (p. 191),
Nietzsche sees production sui generis as self-sacrifice. Once again, how-
ever, Nietzsche criticizes labor when it is equivalent to the "Protestant
work ethic" or obsessive, escapist work (as indicated in the passages
which Love cites from Nietzsche on pages 177-178), but not necessarily
182 Socialism and Democracy

production itself. Nietzsche is advocating only that the activity of pro-


ducing should not be turned into an obsession or an "ascetic ideal."
Insofar as Marxism does idealize human nature in terms of production,
and thereby excludes, for example, political encounter and play as
equally definitive of persons, then Marxism may indeed carry some of
the seeds of the bourgeois ascetic ideals that both Marx and Nietzsche
criticize. In this case, Nietzsche might be viewed not as contradicting
Marx, but as preventing Marxism from falling into the ideology that
both Marx and Nietzsche want to overcome.2
Although Love presents a well-documented, helpful, and com-
prehensive picture of the "contradictions" between Marx and Nietzsche
with respect to modern ideology, politics, and economics, and attempts
to show how an "idealized synthesizer" self-destructs from these con-
tradictions, she overlooks other, equally (some would say, more,) plausi-
ble, ways of construing Nietzsche's notions of "truth," "will-to'power,"
"individual," and "play." While these notions are in creative tension
with Marx's notions of "scientific truth," "species being," "socialism,"
and "production," the two sets of terms do not contradict one another.
If one allows that a single political-philosophical voice can be composed
of two voices that stand in a creative tension with one another, and
which serve to correct the "excesses" of each other, then a "synthesis" of
this type seems both plausible and desirable. 3

1. Love tends to view Nietzsche's notion of the "will-to-power" and (early?)


Marx's notion of "species being" as equally the bases of teleological views of
history (pp. 110-111). But the will-to-power is often taken (correctly I think) as
the dynamic relation between "ascending" and "descending" tendencies or
forces (and either one may dominate or appropriate the other for its own aggran-
dizement) rather than as an "unfolding" power or unfolding "species being." In
this sense Foucault, at least in his later work, is very close to Nietzsche. Al-
though Nietzsche does not deny that purposeful (teleological) actions take
place, or even that history may at times approximate a teleological unfolding, he
does view as "nihilistic" the habit of positing a teleological goal or idealized view
of humanity as the justification for human existence and history.
2. In places, Love states that Nietzsche advocates capitalism as a means of
allowing a superior type of person the leisure time for play (pp. 186-187). Love
only thinly, and I think inadequately, documents this claim. Although
Nietzsche often speaks about one class dominating another in order to realize a
higher form of existence (or an ascetic one), he does not see this as ideal or even a
necessary part of human existence. He does, however, appear to hold that there
will always be conflict between the tendency to affirm life and the tendency to
Book Reviews 183

deny it. All Nietzsche's talk about groups dominating one another may be taken
as "images" to elucidate this more profound opposition, and to correctly charac-
terize the class manner in which this opposition has been embodied in most of
human history up to the present day.

3. R. Hinton Thomas, in his Nietzsche in German Politics and Society, 1890-1918,


has thoroughly documented that the German socialists of this period were
generally favorable to Nietzsche's thought and incorporated much of it into their
political and social outlook. Thomas points out that many of these socialists
were sympathetic to Nietzsche's critical remarks concerning the massive and
impersonal nature of society that seemed to grow with the rapidly advancing
industrializaton of Germany and Europe, and that many socialists also saw
Nietzsche as a corrective against the possible tendency of socialism itself to
subordinate all diversity to strict ideology and the collective (pp. 2—4).
Fred Evans
S.U.N.Y., Stony Brook

Michael E. Brown, THE PRODUCTION OF SOCIETY—A MARXIAN FOUNDA-


TION FOR SOCIAL THEORY (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield,
1986).
It has become fashionable in Marxist discussions since the mid-sixties to
speak of a split between an "early" and a "late" or "mature" Karl Marx.
The former inspires a critical and humanist project and the latter a
structural and scientific one. While not necessarily succumbing to this
dualist genealogy, Marxist analyses of culture and political economy
appear distanced by no less serious a rift. These divergent analyses
should not be considered simply as over-specializations which lose the
totalizing theoretical power to be found in Marx. In some cases, the
bifurcation between culture and political economy has moved writers
away from their concern with Marxism as has occurred with much
critical theory, or has threatened to absorb them into the purely
methodological rigors of the academy, a temptation for much analytic
Marxism. While both of these tendencies have produced works of con-
siderable force they have rarely been works directed at or engaging the
premises of the other. Hence, a perhaps dubious distinction in Marx is
employed to maintain a specious and unproductive division within
Marxism.
It is not that all rifts in Marxist theory must be healed to produce
some unified practice. Theory's relation to practice is neither causal nor
singular. But work that understands the philosophical rigor of critical
and cultural theory, and methodological sophistication of analytic and
184 Socialism and Democracy

political economic approaches acts to transform what was a rift into a


theoretical field of its own, and serves to re-engage divergent perspec-
tives in a problematic of common concern. Michael E. Brown's, The
Production of Society: A Marxian Foundation for Social Theory constitutes
just such an effort.
The Production of Society accomplishes this by expanding the canon of
political economy from Volume One to the three volumes of Capital,
shifting the focus of the theory of value from a conception of labor as
class to an understanding of labor as the society of producers, the social
principle that constitutes capitalism and the lone perspective from
which capitalism can be understood. This textual maneuver allows
Brown to avoid confining labor to an occupational definition that would
render Capital merely an account of nineteenth century industrial
capitalism and instead to see labor as a developing unity that makes
history possible: "Marxism is the theory of Capitalism from the
standpoint of those who make it work but do not receive its rewards. It
is sociological to the extent to which it establishes this standpoint as that
of society itself, thereby redefining "work" as collective rather than
individual action and "rewards" as collective resource rather than com-
petitive gain (p. 12).
The move from the sociologization of political economy to the
politicization of discourse analysis proceeds by placing the non-Marxist
critical theories of Erving Goffman and Harold Garfinkel into the his-
torically specific context of capitalism. Here, "the creativity of daily life
requires an ease of interaction, a secured sense of continuity and famil-
iarity, that is not possible in the midst of the contradictions of capitalist
production and the abstractions of its market" (p. 102). While this ten-
dency toward the commodification of all human expression is "virtual
but never actual," it is, at the same time, undercut by the unique,
non-repeatable reception of the forces of "false consciousness" within
each moment of daily life. Hence, the interactionist and ethnomethodo-
logical approaches provide an account of the occlusion of class con-
sciousness and the reproduction of its possibility in each conversation or
exchange.
Yet this assertion of possibility within cultural acts of individuals
seems to stray from Brown's initiating project of moving beyond a
framework of "individual action." Set within capitalist relations,
Goffman's individual actors are alienated from one another and under
obligation to stigmatize to survive. "Goffman foregrounds the mutual
surveillance and vigilance of people awaiting judgement at every turn.
Book Reviews 185

People enter social settings uneasily, aware that anything they do can be
labelled and as such might be made socially significant and subject to
interpretation based on information over which they have no clear con-
trol . . . As a result, their orientations to social life are tactical, their
manipulations desperate: they must conceal what they can or be seen as
bearing what may be a 'shameful defect,' or 'stigma,' that would if
disclosed be grounds for their rejection." (p. 116)
In the penultimate chapter on class consciousness, where we might
expect to find the social principle of the society of producers set into a
politics, we are left with critical theories that explain conditions of
domination that result in isolating and competitive individuation with-
out addressing the conditions of collective resistance to that domination.
In this regard, historicizing Goffman and Garfinkel cannot substitute
for an elaboration of the pregnant "society of the producers." Behind
this absence, it would seem, lies a shift in Brown's analytic strategy.
What begins as a problem of totalization (the conditions for realizing an
implicit unity) in the application of value to an historical principle of
labor, shifts to a problem of generalization of individual acts into a
political mobilization. It would seem however that the first eight chap-
ters of the book provide a critique of the prospects of precisely such an
approach. Although Brown subtly and successfully argues against the
premise that such acts could be produced by any psychological process
(conceived of as the agency of autonomous individuals)—they occur in
settings which are always instances of a collectivity—it remains un-
clear, even conceptually, how such moments display evidence of a unify-
ing political mobilization.
What is etched, suggestively and provocatively, at the book's close
however, is a methodological critique that pushes beyond the schisms
and impasses of current Marxisms. The resistance of Marxism and the
academy to the critical insights of ethnomethodology appears
symptomatic of broader impediments to their revision. Marxism's ac-
cessibility to other critical theories is contingent upon the recognition of
the multiple voicings or polyphony to be found in Marx's own work. To
accept the disciplinarization of Marxism implied in the sociology of
tenure and promotion is to risk a curtailment of a dialogue necessary to
the growth of theory and of practice. Conversely, Brown points out that
Marxism has had to be careful of its own success in the academy.
Conventional sociology's borrowing of the categories of consciousness
from Marxism, both elevates the latter to a new paradigm and threatens
to assimilate the Marxist critique.
186 Socialism and Democracy

The Marxian reading of ethnomethodology that Brown constructs


points beyond this problem. It offers a series of stirring conceptual
maneuvers that escape the empiricism courted by a mainstream Marx-
ism or a cynicism evoked by a Marxless critical theory. 'Ethno' resusci-
tates the reflexive, historical dimension of class consciousness essential
to a politics. Consciousness cannot be viewed psychologically as a
threshold of intelligence that requires elevation of the working class to
some minimal level of theory or enlightenment. Nor is class an empiri-
cal category; the question of consciousness is how capitalism is validated
in everyday life, not some a priori definition of what individuals would
have to do or say to oppose capitalist relations. This does not erase the
utility of empirical work but conditions its practice. "Empirical re-
search, organized by topic and conducted by any method whatsoever,
may find its way into the critique of capital, but only if there has been a
prior determination of what might make it significant" (p. 128). The
findings of that research are themselves models for human behavior,
that is, they are themselves a form of theory.
Any intellectual project must specify its grounds and premises.
Similarly, no conception of politics can presume to prescribe or predis-
pose humans to their range of activities. Rather, human agency has a
reflexive aspect, it requires learning or reproduction. This problematic,
nonrepeatable and local display of everyday life experience already con-
stitutes a resistance and places consciousness within the collectively
produced setting. Marxian theory's recognition and continued articula-
tion of such possibilities require an openness to the type of insight that
ethnomethodology could provide. The Production of Society is itself a
model of this openness even when the pressures placed upon delimiting
a politics might demand a more programmatic conceptual construction
of the society of producers. Perhaps Brown's resistance to this call
indicates a form of patience necessary to bring those aspects of Marxism
set adrift from one another back into dialogue.
If Brown does not succeed in unearthing the missing volumes of
Capital, this hardly diminishes the significance of his project. His is a
work brimming with moments that leave no reader unaffected. The
Production of Society, with its numerous lists of concepts and conditions
for the analysis of contemporary capitalism that seem to request ela-
boration and interconnection, is a bold and important investigation. It
returns to the center of Marxist inquiry the vision of a dynamic between
theory and practice that must be lived in everyday life. Brown's work
Book Reviews 187

must be taken as a kind of primer to a philosophical political economy


that would betoken a major revision in social theory.

Randy Martin
Rhodes College

William DiFazio, LONGSHOREMEN—COMMUNITY AND RESISTANCE ON


THE BROOKLYN WATERFRONT, introduction by Stanley Aronowitz (South
Hadley: Bergin & Garvey, 1985).

This book is an ethnographic case study of 35 Brooklyn dock workers,


mainly of Italian descent, who belong to a group of approximately 1,000
to 1,200 men who are today enjoying the fruits of a Guaranteed Annual
Income (GAI). The GAI was won by the International Longshoremen's
Association in the mid-1960's as part of a deal with the shipping com-
panies, which had begun to automate the docks through containeriza-
tion, and were willing to exchange income guarantees for the workers'
compliance with technological innovations and consequent radical re-
ductions in the size of the workforce on the waterfront.
In his introduction, Stanley Aronowitz discusses the events and
trends in American labor history over the past three decades that form
the background of DiFazio's study. H e describes the widespread auto-
mation, disinvestment, and plant closures that have led to the displace-
ment and unemployment of millions of American workers, and looks at
the ways in which unions have sought to cope with employer assaults.
He also raises the question, which is dealt with at length by DiFazio, of
whether work is necessary to human identity and happiness, and opines
that when the full impact of computerization is felt in the clerical sector
of industry, "We will be able to understand the problem of time (experi-
enced by longshoremen) not as extrinsic but as prefigurative of what a
large section of adults will face in the future." (p. xxiii)
DiFazio comes to grips with the problems facing a particular group
of American workers in order to clarify the larger issues involved in the
current transformation of the American economy. To this end, in the
concluding section of his book, he makes some concrete proposals for a
"new liberation" from capitalist domination. His proposals are drawn
from various contemporary social and political theorists, e.g. Henri
Lefebvre, André Gorz, Herbert Marcuse, Aronowitz, Sartre and
Poulantzas, the emancipatory aspects of whose thought is briefly and
188 Socialism and Democracy

cogently summarized in the last of the book's seven chapters. In this


chapter DiFazio tries to integrate the vicissitudes of the Brooklyn
longshoremen on GAI within the struggle for a democratic, pluralist,
autonomous, self-managed, community-based movement through
which the shrinking numbers of industrial workers might join forces
with other sectors of contemporary society to create a real alternative to
"the iron law of oligarchy" that continues to characterize established
forms of institutionalized power of all types.
In effect, the proposals outlined by DiFazio have a familiar ring;
they are rooted in the libertarian anarchist theory of anti-statist, freely
self-governed networks of workers elaborated in the 19th century by
such thinkers as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin, and
continued in this century by their disciples and epigones. DiFazio ar-
gues for a vigorous interaction between informal communitarian associa-
tions and organizational structures (unions, political parties, state agen-
cies) to produce democratic and pluralist institutional forms. Like many
social thinkers today, and for good reason, he is opposed to all centrali-
zation of power, and wants to put an end to the reproduction of human
relationships marked by subordination and hierarchy. Nevertheless, it
seems to me that, in developing his arguments for a grassroots struggle
against capitalism and for a more just and equitable social order (he
stops short of calling it socialism), DiFazio does not seem to have any
feel for the empowering, enabling function of organizational structures.
His vision of emancipation rests almost entirely on a model of social
interaction in which human beings move about spontaneously, without
the need for interpretation, teaching, guidance, yes, even strong leader-
ship. Marx is present in the book, but the spirit of Lenin has been
exorcised. Indeed, how would Lenin be relevant to a movement that
relies on individuals who will coalesce and strive together basically
without the need for direction? In such a movement, the people will
know "what is to be done" without benefit of norms and guidelines
brought from the outside to the workers. DiFazio rejects au-
thoritarianism, but in so doing he also seems to repudiate the principles
of authority and leadership, which is quite another matter.
Readers will derive much benefit from the introductory and con-
cluding chapters. They review in an intelligent fashion the ideas of
social thinkers whom DiFazio engages in debate (Daniel Bell, Althus-
ser, Braverman, Habermas) or whom, as already indicated, he regards
as having contributed to the liberatory project he outlines. But it would
be grossly misleading to suggest that DiFazio's book stands or falls on
Book Reviews 189

the strength of its pages devoted to a workable political program for late
20th century America. The fundamental and really original contribu-
tion of the book is to be found in the five chapters, based in great part on
skillful interviewing and field work, in which DiFazio conveys the lived
and felt daily experience of 35 high seniority dockworkers on GAI.
DiFazio's findings belie the conventional wisdom of many social
scientists and psychologists concerning the baneful effects of too much
unstructured free time. The book is positively subversive with respect
to the American work ethic. Not only have his tough-talking, fun-loving
subjects not fallen victim to sloth and a loss of identity, but on the
contrary, they have in a sense found themselves through activities that
have brought them a whole new set of rewards. DiFazio makes it clear
that once these men came to realize that automation meant the loss of
solidarity and interdependence that had formerly characterized their
lives as part of a gang of longshoremen, they became unwilling to work
for work's sake, or to enrich the shipowners at their own expense. He
maintains that, as "practical Marxists," these men understood from
their own lived experience what surplus value, exploitation and class
struggle were all about, and refused to accept anything short of the
formula "either work or guaranteed income." Moreover, once the GAI
fight was won (which DiFazio thinks was the result more of workers'
action than of union bargaining or company largesse), the men who are
at center stage in this study discovered that they were capable of becom-
ing involved in family life and community service. They added these
significant realms of activity to their traditional pasttimes such as card-
playing, gambling, socializing and joke-telling.
DiFazio believes that GAI enhanced these men's ability to enjoy life;
it helped them to reconstitute that "community" of interests and shared
values which they had formerly associated only with the work process
itself. In sum, DiFazio's dockworkers learned to thumb their nose at the
work ethic and to relate in a new manner to their neighborhoods, the
schools their children or grandchildren were attending, their homelife.
At the hiring hall, where they must report every morning in order to be
eligible for GAI, they continue to banter, to exchange gossip and news,
to comment disdainfully about the inequities of society, just as they had
always done. The difference lies in their attitudes and self-image, which
no longer depend on the shipping companies, the waterfront commis-
sion, their superiors at the workplace, and the union. They have turned
their backs on Lefebvre's "bureaucratic society of controlled consump-
tion." To an extent, at least, they are masters of their own lives, and
190 Socialism and Democracy

dispose of their time as they see fit, once they "badge out" each morning
from the hiring hall and are free to spend the day as they wish, or as
family and community concerns may determine. In this sense, they
have won a victory of sorts, even if provisional, in the current struggle
for time, which Aronowitz calls "the contested terrain of our age."
DiFazio has written a challenging, unorthodox book. His portrait of
Brooklyn dockworkers is a welcome addition to the literature of social
analysis that thinkers on the American Left have been producing with
impressive consistency since the breakthroughs of the 1960's. Whether
he succeeds in establishing a real linkage between the world of the GAI
dockworkers and the larger socio-political arena of contemporary
America is open to question, as I have tried to suggest above. There is
something appealing in the idea that ordinary workers, without any
evident sources of inspiration and guidance other than their own experi-
ence, can become integral and equal partners in a project of general
emancipation from capitalist domination. Yet I suspect that outside
forces influenced and mediated that experience to a larger degree than
DiFazio would allow. In fact, he alludes now and then to "radicals" in
the ranks of these workers (they are always called "radicals," never
socialists or communists), to a "leftist" newspaper of mysterious origin
called Dockers News, and to the workers' "practical Marxism," (which
implies that Marxism, even if indirectly, has something to do with their
world view), but insists always on the primacy of the workers' subjec-
tive experience and perceptions in shaping their lives. Whatever the case
may be, this is a book that Americans interested in the socialism-
democracy question ought to read. It is a book that lets workers speak
for themselves, and relates what they have to say to the issues that
confront this country at a decisive turning point in its history.

Frank Rosengarten
Queens College, C.U.N.Y.

Adam Przeworski and John Sprague, PAPER STONES, A HISTORY OF ELEC-


TORAL SOCIALISM (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).

This is a book about two subjects. On the one hand, it deals with the
relation between the socialist parties and the organization or disorgani-
zation of the workers as a class; on the other, with the relation between
the electoral participation of these parties, and how their historical pos-
sibilities have been conditioned by the strategies pursued once certain
political and sociological preferences were decided. According to the
Book Reviews 191

logic underlying the book's argument, once these organizations entered


electoral competition, the nature of the electoral system within demo-
cratic capitalist societies structured their future choices.
The book is built upon a central thesis: individuals' voting behaviour
is an effect of the activities and strategies of the political parties. In
other words, "the relative salience of class as a determinant of individual
voting behaviour is a cumulative consequence of the strategies pursued
by political parties of the left."
From the outset the authors clearly establish the relation between
parties and class formation. Those familiar with Przeworski's ideas will
remember that, for him, the organization of politics in terms of class is
the result of specific policies and socio-political choices made by the
working class organizations, principally left-wing parties and trade un-
ions. The division of society into classes, or the existence of an objective
class structure, although a condition, does not necessarily result in the
organization of politics in terms of class. For Przeworski and Sprague,
as for Laclau and Mouffe, to become social actors, classes have to be
formed "discursively" and politically as constituted collectives-in-
struggle, or in the different theoretical tradition represented by Ales-
sandro Pizzorno, in terms of a particular independent collective iden-
tity. Furthermore, other kinds of divisions and identities (race, nation,
religion) can be more determinant, class only playing a secondary role
in the organization of politics in many capitalist societies.
The book's principal arguments are based upon the comparative
statistical analysis of how the class structures of a number of West
European capitalist countries are related to the electoral strategies of the
left since the working class parties were politically incorporated into
bourgeois society at the beginning of the century. The authors want to
provide convincing responses to several interrelated theoretical prob-
lems, the first being how the logic of electoral politics based on par-
liamentary representation and majority rule undermines the political
chances of the socialist movement that is "forced" by the pressure
created after the enfranchisement of the working class to participate in
democratic politics. As stated by the authors:

Participation in electoral politics is necessary if the movement for


socialism is to find mass support among workers, yet this participation
appears to obstruct the attainment of final goals (p. 18).

This was one of the historical dilemmas of the socialist movement at


the beginning of the century. Once the choice was made to participate,
192 Socialism and Democracy

the next series of choices had to be made within the logic already
established after the first decision was taken. Another dilemma is: why
did the socialist parties, originally working class organizations in a strict
sense, become people's parties after diluting their class appeal and seek-
ing the electoral support of the middle classes? But the really basic
question, as the book wishes to demonstrate, is how and why left-wing
parties have sought a necessary trade-off between the support of work-
ers and the potential middle class voters, depending on the constraints
imposed by the class structures and their internal and external political
environments. The basic assumption is that like other parties the
socialists, as rational political actors, want to win elections too. To do so
they need to find enough electoral support among the available pool of
voters in every new election.
Historically these parties have had to decide whether to pursue a
supra-class electoral strategy or to opt for a primary "class-only" one.
The historical evidence indicates that they had to make one or the other
of these strategical choices, or one after the other, or to find some middle
ground between both. As with other choices previously made, the pos-
sibilities and structure of preferences that these parties encountered in
each electoral campaign were the outcome of strategies they had
adopted in the past. The authors point out that:

. . . during each election party leaders face a choice of strategies. The


extreme directions they can opt for are the pure supraclass and pure
class-only strategies. These are the strategies that would, respectively,
lead the party to recruit all the allies or all the workers in a perfectly
noncompetitive environment. Each strategic choice affects the sub-
sequent shares of the vote the party obtains from workers, from non-
workers, and the electorate as a whole. The difference between the
shares resulting from pursuing pure strategies is the range of choice that
a party faces when it decides which course of action to adopt (p. 106).

Within this electoral logic the question of class organization becomes


part of the model. By appealing to the "masses" or to the "people"
rather than to the workers as a class, the socialist parties undermine the
organization of the class as such.
The logic of the explanatory model employed in the analysis of the
data is based upon one basic assumption: there is always a trade-off
between the electoral support to be gained from the middle class and the
support socialist parties are able to obtain from the workers. The sup-
posed rational choice faced by the socialist parties is how to find the
Book Reviews 193

optimal point in terms of the maximization of their vote possibilities.


But as Przeworski and Sprague have indicated, this is not always the
case.
There are historical examples where the socialist parties could have
done much better in terms of maximizing their share of the general vote
by following a supraclass strategy but were constrained not to do so by
internal and external factors. The example given to sustain the argu-
ment, (at least in theory, according to the mathematical models
employed in the book), are the Scandinavian countries where the
socialist parties could pursue an electoral strategy oriented toward the
conquest of the middle class vote without losing too much support
among the workers. The reason is that there the trade unions play an
important role in organizing workers and the parties could have diluted
their class appeal without politically disorganizing the workers as a
class. But they didn't. The social democratic parties of this region did
not pursue a pure supraclass strategy because they were constrained by
the same trade unions not to follow such a strategy:

Thus the issue is not whether leaders of electoral parties seek to


maximize the vote or follow ideologies. Leaders of electoral parties
prefer to win more votes rather than fewer; this we do not doubt. The
question is under what constraints they maximize votes, and the issue
may be at most whether there is any room for choice left after all the
contraints are considered (p. 119-20).

Another central question addressed by the book is: why did the
socialist vote stagnate after an initial burst of growth? The most obvious
answer is that the workers never became a majority and the choices
available to the socialist parties were constrained by the class structure.
This was the historical context in which a trade-off had to be sought
between support from the workers and support expected from non-
workers. Put in simpler terms, the problem was how to win support of
non workers without losing too much support from workers.
After analysing the historical patterns of class voting, Przeworski
and Sprague argue that: "Survey studies confirm the prediction that
those countries which experienced a milder trade-off among workers are
the countries where more workers vote socialist and left (p. 161)." Logi-
cally speaking this means that the socialist parties cannot follow a pure
supraclass electoral strategy without, after a certain point, irremediably
undermining their electoral success among workers. In any case, their
electoral possibilities being limited, the socialist parties have been as
194 Socialism and Democracy

successful as possible in terms of winning the electoral support of the


workers. They have been capable of mobilizing the working class, since
they represent the workers' interests. What they couldn't claim was the
ability to win the support of all the workers and their allies simultane-
ously. As this book demonstrates, the nature of modern capitalist demo-
cratic societies makes such an electoral success impossible:

Yet regardless of their strategies, left-wing political parties were un-


likely to win an overwhelming majority of votes. Their prospects were
limited by the fact that they compete in societies in which there exist
real conflicts of interests and values. Whether parties deliberately re-
strict their appeal to specific groups or attempt to conquer the entire
electorate, their opportunities are limited by the heterogeneity of de-
veloped capitalist societies. In a heterogenous society, no party can win
the support of everyone without losing the support of someone, because
some other party will put in the wedge. Thus no political party can win
elections overwhelmingly in a way that could be taken as a clear man-
date (p. 183).

Paper Stones is an important book that deserves to be read by


everyone interested in the possibilities of radical transformation present
within democratic capitalist society. Even if some of its principal
themes overlap with Przewroski's previous work, Capitalism and Social
Democracy, in this book the reader can find more empirical evidence on
which his previous ideas can be tested. Furthermore, the relevance of
the questions discussed, the problem of class formation, the politics of
alliances, and the nature of electoral socialism, are still leading issues
today.
The book's most important political message is that "elections are not
a vehicle for radical transformations. They are inherently conservative precisely
because they are representative, representative of interests and values in a
heterogeneous society. " This is a point of view that the reader must con-
sider in reference to another basic presupposition. In modern capitalist
society there is no alternative for a mass socialist movement to participa-
tion in democratic bourgeois politics. Hence, by keeping in mind the
limits and constraints of our political choices we are in a better position
to understand the realm of our historical possibilities.

Felipe Pimentel
Graduate School, C.U.N.Y.
Book Reviews 195

Noam Chomsky, TURNING THE TIDE: U.S. INTERVENTION IN CENTRAL


AMERICA AND THE STRUGGLE FOR PEACE (Boston: South End Press, 1985).

Reading Noam Chomsky is never a comforting experience. However,


Turning the Tide is more unsettling than most of Chomsky's other en-
deavors. The majority of Americans accept an image of the United
States as an open, benign and relatively liberal society. They therefore
should be distressed and disturbed when Chomsky summons both evi-
dence and analysis to picture a U.S. foreign policy that of necessity
promotes tyranny, terror and political powerlessness for most citizens of
the Third World. Nor will this book be an easy read for those who do
accept Chomsky's basic premises. The author's relentless logic, his
nearly unique ability to unmask concealed realities, and his uncom-
promising passion, all work to dissolve our torpor and move us to ac-
tivism in order to undo present realities.
The primary focus of Turning the Tide is U.S. policy in Central
America and the Caribbean, a region that has most consistently felt the
impact of decisions made in Washington or New York. Just as one can
learn much about the U.S.S.R. by studying Eastern Europe, Ameri-
cans must look south of their borders to learn about the character of
their society. Unlike many scholars, Chomsky makes no effort to cos-
meticize his sentiments, temper his descriptive language or assume pro-
tective coloration suitable for the Age of Reagan. As the present Iran/
contra crisis of the Administration unfolds, I suspect that other jour-
nalists and scholars will feel comfortable with many of the truths
Chomsky presents.
Chomsky clearly does not see Central America as the cause of the
regional crisis. Instead, he chooses to focus his analytical powers on the
decision-makers in Washington. He demonstrates, as does Walter
LaFeber, Richard Allen White and others, that present U.S. policy in
the region has a long and troubled history. What is new is not the
nature, but the intensity, or the present level of involvement. The
United States has demonstrated a tendency toward military intervention
and hegemonic control over the destiny of these small republics, to
'protect' them from evil foreign influence, whether that influence were
British, Mexican, German or Cubo-Soviet. U.S. policy is historically-
based, consistent, and not at all the product of random accident, inad-
vertence or miscalculation. Instead, Chomsky maintains that "a close
analysis of policy will generally unearth a structure of rational calcula-
196 Socialism and Democracy

tion based on perceived interests at its core. . ." Paramount among these
interests is the need to subordinate certain key geographical areas to the
requirements of the U.S. economy. Thus, private interests, presented
as national security necessities, are defended by an ideological system
unparallelled in its sophistication and pervasiveness.
The real danger to 'perceived' U.S. interests in much of the world,
in Chomsky's view, is not Soviet influence but independent economic
development, organized around the satisfaction of domestic needs. In
promoting agro-export economies and multi-national corporate penetra-
tion, the U.S. must seek to forestall any truly meaningful regional
planning. Chomsky identifies as the "invariant core" of U.S. policy the
"Fifth Freedom," i.e. the "freedom to rob and exploit," the ultimate
goal of which is to "maintain the disparity." This ugly reality is pre-
sented to Americans in such a way that it is masked by "idealistic
slogans trumpeted by the media, the schools, the government and most
scholarship." Thus, in order to disguise support for oligarchic and
military power as the pursuit of democracy, national security managers
must ritualistically invoke the Soviet menace in the minds of the U.S.
population. Unfortunately, this is not impossible since we are a people
indoctrinated with over forty years of Cold War imagery. Thus, moral
casuistry becomes a key weapon, as buzz words such as 'democracy' and
'freedom' vie in a global contest with their antithesis, 'Soviet expansion-
sim' and 'terrorism.' Very little of this official vision stands up under
close critical scrutiny.
The author is particularly astute in his analysis of the role played by
the U.S. press in Reagan's Central American policy. Certain formulae
are strictly adhered to. For example, it is de rigeur to disguise the U.S.
role in social manipulation, to eliminate the complicity of the Salvado-
ran government in death squad activities, to reduce the numbers of
Salvadoran dead by a factor of 100, to place all horrendous events in the
near past, to neglect coverage of the air war in El Salvador, to ignore the
carnage in Guatemala, which is the region's analog to Nazi Germany, to
freely cite Sandinista press censorship and human rights violations,
while ignoring the fact that the grievants would have fared infinitely
worse in neighboring countries, etc. In short, Chomsky has shown that
the U.S. government has succeeded in setting the framework for de-
bate, forcing those who oppose its policies to systematically and tedi-
ously refute its spurious allegations. This is unfortunate, for Chomsky
notes that "repeated charges that receive wide publicity create a lasting
Book Reviews 197

image, even if they are disproven point by point in critical analysis that
may subsequently be noted on the back pages."
Present events demonstrate that Chomsky is right on target in his
understanding of the complicity and bovine cowardice of the press. As
Reagan's policy appears to collapse of its own weight, and as élite
consensus disintegrates, the U.S. press now contains torrents of revela-
tions about the quasi-secret role of the National Security Council, Is-
rael's aid to the Contra forces, private funding for the Contras, etc.
However, Chomsky, writing in 1985, was well aware that "U.S. aid to
Israel, diverted to Central America, can thus serve to bypass congres-
sional restrictions." Nor did Chomsky find it difficult to discover the
fact that "when direct C.I. A. supervision of the U.S. proxy army was
terminated by Congress, the Reagan Administration secretly trans-
ferred control to the National Security Council," and that the govern-
ment officer in charge was Lt. Colonel Oliver North. The list of open
secrets that the U.S. press is sitting on is seemingly endless.
Reagan's policy makers are relentless in characterizing Nicaragua as
a 'commie slave state' that exists in sharp contrast to the 'new democ-
racies' of El Salvador, Honduras and, most recently, Guatemala.
Chomsky reveals this to be a fraud, particularly with respect to El
Salvador. However, I do wish he had pursued his analysis further and
included the sorry example of Honduras. In the minds of most Ameri-
cans, elections are tantamount to democracy. However, all political
theories of which I am aware assert that democracy is not viable unless
there is a significant measure of popular control over the local institu-
tions of daily life. Yet as early as 1980, under President Carter, popular
organizations were targeted and destroyed in El Salvador. Union or-
ganizers, peasant cooperative leaders, and refugees described to me the
period 1980-1982 as "years of open terror." With the 1980 assassination
of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the brutal closing of the National Uni-
versity, the destruction of the independent media, the military occupa-
tion of the Archdiocese headquarters, and the smashing of the popular
organizations by the unleashed death squads, the threat of democracy
in El Salvador was sufficiently remote to contemplate elections. In 1982,
the U.S. press loudly proclaimed the success of electoral democracy in
El Salvador. Chomsky makes good use of Edward Herman's astute
study contrasting the New York Times' coverage of the 1984 Salvadoran
and Nicaraguan national elections. The picture that emerges is one of
"media servility to state power."
198 Socialism and Democracy

Chomsky doubts that the U.S. will exercise the military invasion
option against Nicaragua (and El Salvador). He senses a clear élite and
popular resistance to such folly, combined with a recognition that the
task would not be completed in a long weekend, remote from press
coverage. Yet the Contra war, the Honduran war games, and the im-
plied threat, all combine to serve a clear purpose. The social, material,
and educational gains of the Nicaraguan Revolution have been halted
and even reversed, and the dream is tarnished more each day. Chomsky
notes that in Chile the social experiment may have been destroyed but
the dream still lives on. Therefore, in Nicaragua, the pressure must be
maintained "until the errant society cracks under the strain and its
people recognize that in the shadow of the enforcer, there can be no
escaping the miseries of traditional life." A high U.S. official in Man-
agua offered me the analogy of Angola, where U.S. and South African
material support of UNITA has prevented consolidation of the Revolu-
tion. After all, the real threat of the Nicaraguan Revolution is the threat
of a good example.
It is clear that Chomsky accepts the basic premise of what has come
to be known as dependency theory, with its corollary that "the guiding
concern of U.S. foreign policy is the climate for U.S. business opera-
tions." For much of the Third World, this means low wages, no inde-
pendent labor unions, authoritarian governments and, above all, no
social reforms. The U.S. is thus committed to a pattern of economic
growth that impoverishes the bulk of the world's population. Though
Chomsky cites the excellent studies by Lars Schoultz, Michael Klare
and Cynthia Arnson which support this argument, he condemns main-
stream U.S. social science for giving low priority to studies that equate
U.S. policy and Third World poverty and lack of representative democ-
racy. Even scholars, who should know better, succumb to a "touching
faith in American innocence and benevolence."
Had I not made a personal visit to several Central American coun-
tries in 1985 as a member of a faculty human rights delegation and
personally witnessed conditions described by this book, I am certain
that I would have resisted many aspects of Chomsky's argument. So
much of the experience of the Third World is filtered out by the daily
routines of American life. Unfortunately, my memory of my meetings
with Central American politicians, scholars, church leaders, refugees,
human rights activists and U.S. embassy personnel has sharpened my
awareness, but it has also made reading this book doubly painful. If I
am describing the loss of a certain innocence, so be it.
Turning the Tide is far from perfect. The book is repetitious, overly
Book Reviews 199

tendentious, too replete with numbing particulars, and badly in need of


further editing. The absence of detailed maps is inexcusable. It is in-
deed a pity that the book was not made more accessible to an under-
graduate audience. Finally, the last two chapters of the book, dealing
with the challenges of the global arms race, while instructive, are a
rehash of arguments Chomsky has made elsewhere. These deficiencies
aside, Noam Chomsky presents us with one of the most challenging and
alarming studies of U.S. foreign policy in motion. This book should be
read, studied, and taken to heart.

Gilbert Schrank
Nassau Community College

John Gerassi, THE PREMATURE ANTIFASCISTS: NORTH AMERICAN VOLUN-


TEERS IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, 1936-1939: AN ORAL HISTORY (New
York and Westport, CT: Praeger, 1986).

The New York Times, exhibiting its customary editorial wisdom, re-
cently had on one page a report of Volunteers recently returning to
Spain to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Spanish Civil War
and along side it, a report from Latin America in which it employed,
uncritically, the President's expression, 'freedom fighters,' in reference
to the Fascistic counter-revolutionaries of Nicaragua. Indeed, it is strik-
ing that several generations of Americans have been denied even the
sketchiest memory of the Spanish Civil War, despite the fact that it was
absolutely critical as regards the disaster of Fascism in our century, and
despite the fact that of the 400,000 to 600,000 non-Spanish who fought
in that war, there are Americans and Canadians who are today not only
very much alive, but who are active politically—living reminders of a
monumental struggle, conveniently forgotten.
It is hardly possible for any one book to treat all the significant
aspects of the Spanish Civil War, to detail what the struggle was about
or the despicable role played by the United States government through-
out its duration, to show how US policies were woven into the fabric of
political life in America, to display what motivated these thousands of
volunteers, to say who they were, how well they fought and what they
believed. But Gerassi's effort must be considered a thorough success. In
our view, it is an enormously powerful book in what it documents and
the lessons about politics that come through. It should be required
reading in any American politics course.
Gerassi's idea was simple enough. He would try to track down all
200 Socialism and Democracy

the living members of the US Lincoln Brigade and Canadian


Mackenzie-Papineau volunteers, conduct long interviews, then try to
have the story told in their words. In addition, then, to selecting and
assembling from among the literally hundreds of pages of transcripts,
Gerassi has written an introductory chapter which does a superb job of
providing a setting for the narratives which follow. To be sure, an oral
history has its pitfalls; one must e.g., earn the confidence of those being
interviewed, ask the right questions, and maintain a critical eye regard-
ing what is said. Gerassi was diligent; while there will be room for
discussion on significant themes, for example, the role and relation of
the CP in the lives of these heroes, what emerges is a living story of real
people in real circumstances, making choices from alternatives which
they did not choose. Indeed, who among us is as moral or as wise as
these brave men and women? As Gerassi remarks in concluding, the
majority of Americans, indeed of people everywhere, are silent when
they should speak. The people m Premature Antifascists, "valiant if ordi-
nary men and women, always knew that such silence kills. They have
spoken, and spoken well."

Richard Stauffer, University of Hawaii


Peter T. Manicas, Queens College CUNY