We were unable to load Disqus. If you are a moderator please see our troubleshooting guide.

GavinoV • 5 years ago

"Recuperating"?? Seriously? I believe the word desired is "Rehabilitating". And the author "is a doctoral candidate in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts"? If so, (and assuming he was allowed to vet the editing), we are in trouble...

Ronald Carson • 5 years ago

One of Marcuse's premises was that capitalism had proved to be a more or less perpetual engine of mass prosperity, possessing a degree of stability that rendered obsolete any concerns about the material well-being of workers.

Thus, sexuality and psychology in general--with a purely psychological and philosophical definition of alienation--became the sphere of "revolutionary" thought. The thing to fight was not a class system that ground people into the dirt physically, but something more abstruse that rendered "man" one-dimensional and harmed the human spirit but did not much threaten the body, at least not with outright starvation, overwork, disease, and direct physical and mental abuse.

Subsequent events have proved Marcuse wrong about this. Since 2008 at least, it has become obvious that something far closer to classical Marxism has been right all along.

The only people who now deny this are liars or fools who are currying favor with the establishment, tenured professors with a vested interest in outmoded forms of radicalism or neoliberalism, and the victims of faltering insight and delusion who just don't get reality.

The entire Frankfurt School, as well as the clownish edifice of antiscientific French modernism, which for a time displaced it, are now proved to be either simply outmoded or at best of marginal value. If that means that we must once again deal with the sort of pretentious frauds who say that "the dialectic" exists in nature and is the key to all knowledge, it's a small price to pay for a welcome return to practicality in the political-economic sphere, which in the long run is all there is.

It may be that exploration of Gramscian "hegemony" remains of value--Gramsci was after all a revolutionary Marxist--but the Marcusean synthesis has become--and remains--as quaintly antique and beside the point as pyschedelic face-paint, the songs of Bob Dylan, Flower Power, and the journalism of Norman Mailer.

It is simply a cloak for petty-bourgeois transcendentalism, with its self-righteous insistence on self-cultivation at the expense of everything else.

janmbt • 5 years ago

Why would people think dependency on government is slavery and dependency on an employer isn't?
I think people have been brainwashed to the point of thinking being brainwashed is the same as independent and free. We're talking about the right wing party that believes in enriching large corporations at the expense of the poor, widening the gap between the wealthiest and the least wealthy of our citizens, controlling the reproductive systems of women, eliminating regulations that protect the planet, discriminating against any ethnic group they don't like, making health insurance a luxury only available to those who can afford it, and wanting to turn our country into a theocracy --yes that party......

Giacomofrugoli • 5 years ago

Great comments, but I doubt that many will be able to endure reading the entirety of the elitist intellectualism of this over-long article in order to read them.

James Anderson • 5 years ago

Great comments. Quick notes: I'm an indebted grad student from a rural town in a Midwestern public university who argues for workers' control and cites examples of workers taking over a workplace and running it horizontally in the article I wrote above.

Worker recuperation -- the epitome of elitist intellectualism, I know!

Non-hierarchical social relations -- what intellectual hogwash!

Pointing out the horrors of neoliberalism -- how haughty!

Funny how your shifting focus away from the content of the article also shifts focus away from the points made in the essay about not accepting the exploitative relations of capitalism.

So who is really advancing an elitist position?

Sorry if you had trouble following though.

You can't always condense frameworks for understanding the world and ideas about how to change it into a 140-character tweet, or whatever.

I can help you work through some of the text later, if you'd like. Let me know!

Thanks,
James A.

ikallicrates • 5 years ago

Excellent article. Only in this anti-intellectual country would intellectualism be considered elitist.

Jeff Sluka • 5 years ago

That's a good point ikallicrates. But on the other hand, I think Giacomofrugoli does also have a valid point if s/he means by "elitism" something like "understandable or accessible by only a few rather than many." If this style of writing is not "elitist" it is certainly "arcane" in the sense of understood by only a few. While I can understand and learn from the argument being made by James Anderson because I have a PhD in a social science, it would be entirely fair to say that not 1 in a 1,000 Americans in general would have the vocabulary to understand it. So on that level Mr Anderson is writing for the few, not the many. At this juncture in history, we need academics who write in a style for the many, not the few. This is the 'politics of engagement' which many social scientists are now trying to turn towards. This is not meant as a criticism of James Anderson or Henry Giroux or any other intellectual analyst, but it is important that these ideas should be presented in an "accessible" format so that many can read them and have their thinking stimulated and their 'consciousness' raised. We need to write more like C. Wright Mills, and you may recall his critique of "grand theory."

ikallicrates • 5 years ago

There’s a difference between a vocabulary that’s ‘intellectual’
and one that‘s merely jargon laden. Every field has its specialized vocabulary, but as you yourself showed, by citing Mills, an expert doesn’t have to rely on jargon to say something intelligent. In fact if an expert can only explain his ideas by resorting to jargon, I assume he doesn’t understand them all that well himself.

I don’t have a PhD in social science, but I am fairly well
educated – more importantly, I am old enough to have been educated before the school system ‘dumbed down’ – so reading anything more intellectually challenging than an issue of USA Today doesn’t give me a headache, as it does most people. Anderson does use the vocabulary of his discipline, but less so than most people do, so reading him is not a problem for me. In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

In an ideal world, everyone would receive an education that included the critical skills that enable them to follow, if not participate in, an intellectual discussion. Knowing that they have an audience of educated intelligent laypeople would make experts more likely to write for that audience in words they can understand, rather than only for others in their field in jargon only they can understand.