英报:为什么马克思主义又再复兴?Why Marxism is on the rise again?

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2012年07月09日   中文来源: 新华国际      英文来源:英国《卫报》  作者:

【英国《卫报》7月4日文章】题:为什么马克思主义再次兴起? (作者该报专栏作家斯图尔特·杰弗里斯)

原文提要在全球各地,资本主义都陷入危机———但替代选择究竟是什么?噢,某位19世纪的德国哲学家的遐想如何呢?没错,卡尔·马克思现在属于主流———天晓得到何时才是尽头。

 

Why Marxism is on the rise again


Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” (The best-selling book of all time, incidentally, is the Bible – it only feels like it’s 50 Shades of Grey.)

Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China’s) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.

The irony is scarcely wasted on leading Marxist thinkers. “The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist party that gives de-localised capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organisation,” says Jacques Rancière, the French marxist thinker and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. “Happily, it is possible to hope for a world less absurd and more just than today’s.”

That hope, perhaps, explains another improbable truth of our economically catastrophic times – the revival in interest in Marx and Marxist thought. Sales of Das Kapital, Marx’s masterpiece of political economy, have soared ever since 2008, as have those of The Communist Manifesto and the Grundrisse (or, to give it its English title, Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy). Their sales rose as British workers bailed out the banks to keep the degraded system going and the snouts of the rich firmly in their troughs while the rest of us struggle in debt, job insecurity or worse. There’s even a Chinese theatre director called He Nian who capitalised on Das Kapital’s renaissance to create an all-singing, all-dancing musical.

And in perhaps the most lovely reversal of the luxuriantly bearded revolutionary theorist’s fortunes, Karl Marx was recently chosen from a list of 10 contenders to appear on a new issue of MasterCard by customers of German bank Sparkasse in Chemnitz. In communist East Germany from 1953 to 1990, Chemnitz was known as Karl Marx Stadt. Clearly, more than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former East Germany hasn’t airbrushed its Marxist past. In 2008, Reuters reports, a survey of east Germans found 52% believed the free-market economy was “unsuitable” and 43% said they wanted socialism back. Karl Marx may be dead and buried in Highgate cemetery, but he’s alive and well among credit-hungry Germans. Would Marx have appreciated the irony of his image being deployed on a card to get Germans deeper in debt? You’d think.

Later this week in London, several thousand people will attend Marxism 2012, a five-day festival organised by the Socialist Workers’ Party. It’s an annual event, but what strikes organiser Joseph Choonara is how, in recent years, many more of its attendees are young. “The revival of interest in Marxism, especially for young people comes because it provides tools for analysing capitalism, and especially capitalist crises such as the one we’re in now,” Choonara says.

There has been a glut of books trumpeting Marxism’s relevance. English literature professor Terry Eagleton last year published a book called Why Marx Was Right. French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou published a little red book called The Communist Hypothesis with a red star on the cover (very Mao, very now) in which he rallied the faithful to usher in the third era of the communist idea (the previous two having gone from the establishment of the French Republic in 1792 to the massacre of the Paris communards in 1871, and from 1917 to the collapse of Mao’s Cultural Revolution in 1976). Isn’t this all a delusion?

Aren’t Marx’s venerable ideas as useful to us as the hand loom would be to shoring up Apple’s reputation for innovation? Isn’t the dream of socialist revolution and communist society an irrelevance in 2012? After all, I suggest to Rancière, the bourgeoisie has failed to produce its own gravediggers. Rancière refuses to be downbeat: “The bourgeoisie has learned to make the exploited pay for its crisis and to use them to disarm its adversaries. But we must not reverse the idea of historical necessity and conclude that the current situation is eternal. The gravediggers are still here, in the form of workers in precarious conditions like the over-exploited workers of factories in the far east. And today’s popular movements – Greece or elsewhere – also indicate that there’s a new will not to let our governments and our bankers inflict their crisis on the people.”

That, at least, is the perspective of a seventysomething Marxist professor. What about younger people of a Marxist temper? I ask Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal, a 22 year-old English and drama student at Goldsmiths College, London, who has just finished her BA course in English and Drama, why she considers Marxist thought still relevant. “The point is that younger people weren’t around when Thatcher was in power or when Marxism was associated with the Soviet Union,” she says. “We tend to see it more as a way of understanding what we’re going through now. Think of what’s happening in Egypt. When Mubarak fell it was so inspiring. It broke so many stereotypes – democracy wasn’t supposed to be something that people would fight for in the Muslim world. It vindicates revolution as a process, not as an event. So there was a revolution in Egypt, and a counter-revolution and a counter-counter revolution. What we learned from it was the importance of organisation.”

This, surely is the key to understanding Marxism’s renaissance in the west: for younger people, it is untainted by association with Stalinist gulags. For younger people too, Francis Fukuyama’s triumphalism in his 1992 book The End of History – in which capitalism seemed incontrovertible, its overthrow impossible to imagine – exercises less of a choke-hold on their imaginations than it does on those of their elders.

Blackwell-Pal will be speaking Thursday on Che Guevara and the Cuban revolution at the Marxism festival. “It’s going to be the first time I’ll have spoken on Marxism,” she says nervously. But what’s the point thinking about Guevara and Castro in this day and age? Surely violent socialist revolution is irrelevant to workers’ struggles today? “Not at all!” she replies. “What’s happening in Britain is quite interesting. We have a very, very weak government mired in in-fighting. I think if we can really organise we can oust them.” Could Britain have its Tahrir Square, its equivalent to Castro’s 26th of July Movement? Let a young woman dream. After last year’s riots and today with most of Britain alienated from the rich men in its government’s cabinet, only a fool would rule it out.

For a different perspective I catch up with Owen Jones, 27-year-old poster boy of the new left and author of the bestselling politics book of 2011, Chavs: the Demonisation of the Working Class. He’s on the train to Brighton to address the Unite conference. “There isn’t going to be a bloody revolution in Britain, but there is hope for a society by working people and for working people,” he counsels.

Indeed, he says, in the 1860s the later Marx imagined such a post-capitalist society as being won by means other than violent revolution. “He did look at expanding the suffrage and other peaceful means of achieving socialist society. Today not even the Trotskyist left call for armed revolution. The radical left would say that the break with capitalism could only be achieved by democracy and organisation of working people to establish and hold on to that just society against forces that would destroy it.”

Jones recalls that his father, a Militant supporter in the 1970s, held to the entryist idea of ensuring the election of a Labour government and then organising working people to make sure that government delivered. “I think that’s the model,” he says. How very un-New Labour. That said, after we talk, Jones texts me to make it clear he’s not a Militant supporter or Trotskyist. Rather, he wants a Labour government in power that will pursue a radical political programme. He has in mind the words of Labour’s February 1974 election manifesto which expressed the intention to “Bring about a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families”. Let a young man dream.

What’s striking about Jones’s literary success is that it’s premised on the revival of interest in class politics, that foundation stone of Marx and Engels’s analysis of industrial society. “If I had written it four years earlier it would have been dismissed as a 1960s concept of class,” says Jones. “But class is back in our reality because the economic crisis affects people in different ways and because the Coalition mantra that ‘We’re all in this together’ is offensive and ludicrous. It’s impossible to argue now as was argued in the 1990s that we’re all middle class. This government’s reforms are class-based. VAT rises affect working people disproportionately, for instance.

“It’s an open class war,” he says. “Working-class people are going to be worse off in 2016 than they were at the start of the century. But you’re accused of being a class warrior if you stand up for 30% of the population who suffers this way.”

This chimes with something Rancière told me. The professor argued that “one thing about Marxist thought that remains solid is class struggle. The disappearance of our factories, that’s to say de-industrialisation of our countries and the outsourcing of industrial work to the countries where labour is less expensive and more docile, what else is this other than an act in the class struggle by the ruling bourgeoisie?”

There’s another reason why Marxism has something to teach us as we struggle through economic depression, other than its analysis of class struggle. It is in its analysis of economic crisis. In his formidable new tome Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, Slavoj Žižek tries to apply Marxist thought on economic crises to what we’re enduring right now. Žižek considers the fundamental class antagonism to be between “use value” and “exchange value”.

What’s the difference between the two? Each commodity has a use value, he explains, measured by its usefulness in satisfying needs and wants. The exchange value of a commodity, by contrast, is traditionally measured by the amount of labour that goes into making it. Under current capitalism, Žižek argues, exchange value becomes autonomous. “It is transformed into a spectre of self-propelling capital which uses the productive capacities and needs of actual people only as its temporary disposable embodiment. Marx derived his notion of economic crisis from this very gap: a crisis occurs when reality catches up with the illusory self-generating mirage of money begetting more money – this speculative madness cannot go on indefinitely, it has to explode in even more serious crises. The ultimate root of the crisis for Marx is the gap between use and exchange value: the logic of exchange-value follows its own path, its own made dance, irrespective of the real needs of real people.”

In such uneasy times, who better to read than the greatest catastrophist theoriser of human history, Karl Marx? And yet the renaissance of interest in Marxism has been pigeonholed as an apologia for Stalinist totalitarianism. In a recent blog on “the new communism” for the journal World Affairs, Alan Johnson, professor of democratic theory and practice at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, wrote: “A worldview recently the source of immense suffering and misery, and responsible for more deaths than fascism and Nazism, is mounting a comeback; a new form of leftwing totalitarianism that enjoys intellectual celebrity but aspires to political power.

“The New Communism matters not because of its intellectual merits but because it may yet influence layers of young Europeans in the context of an exhausted social democracy, austerity and a self-loathing intellectual culture,” wrote Johnson. “Tempting as it is, we can’t afford to just shake our heads and pass on by.”

That’s the fear: that these nasty old left farts such as Žižek, Badiou, Rancière and Eagleton will corrupt the minds of innocent youth. But does reading Marx and Engels’s critique of capitalism mean that you thereby take on a worldview responsible for more deaths than the Nazis? Surely there is no straight line from The Communist Manifesto to the gulags, and no reason why young lefties need uncritically to adopt Badiou at his most chilling. In his introduction to a new edition of The Communist Manifesto, Professor Eric Hobsbawm suggests that Marx was right to argue that the “contradictions of a market system based on no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’, a system of exploitation and of ‘endless accumulation’ can never be overcome: that at some point in a series of transformations and restructurings the development of this essentially destabilising system will lead to a state of affairs that can no longer be described as capitalism”.

That is post-capitalist society as dreamed of by Marxists. But what would it be like? “It is extremely unlikely that such a ‘post-capitalist society’ would respond to the traditional models of socialism and still less to the ‘really existing’ socialisms of the Soviet era,” argues Hobsbawm, adding that it will, however, necessarily involve a shift from private appropriation to social management on a global scale. “What forms it might take and how far it would embody the humanist values of Marx’s and Engels’s communism, would depend on the political action through which this change came about.”

This is surely Marxism at its most liberating, suggesting that our futures depend on us and our readiness for struggle. Or as Marx and Engels put it at the end of The Communist Manifesto: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

为什么马克思主义又再复兴?


 马克思主义“时来运转”

人们重新对马克思和马克思主义思想感兴趣。马克思最杰出的政治经济学著作《资本论》的销量自2008年以来一直激增,《共产党宣言》和《政治经济学批判大纲》也是如此。它们的销量增加正值英国工人救助银行,以使这个衰败的体系保持运转,让富人安享优裕的生活,却让我们大家债台高筑,工作朝不保夕,或者境况更为糟糕。

卡尔·马克思这位留着漂亮胡须的革命理论家的也许是最惹人喜爱的时来运转是,他最近被开姆尼茨的德国储蓄银行的顾客从一份10位竞争者的名单中选中,出现在新发行的万事达信用卡上面。从1953年到1990年,在共产党统治下的东德,开姆尼茨叫做马克思城。显然,在柏林墙倒塌之后二十多年,前东德并没有将自己过去的马克思主义历史用喷枪喷掉。路透社报道说,2008年,对东德人进行的一项民调显示,52%的人认为自由市场经济是“不适宜的”,43%的人说,他们想要恢复社会主义。虽然卡尔·马克思已经死去并葬在海格特公墓,但在渴望获得信贷的德国人当中,他却活着,而且活得很好。自己的图像被用在一张让德国人进一步深陷债务的信用卡上,对于这件具有讽刺意味的事情,马克思若在世,他会表示感谢吗?

本周晚些时候在伦敦,数千人将参加社会主义工人党组织的为期5天的狂欢节“马克思主义2012”。虽然这项活动每年都举办,但让组织者约瑟夫·楚纳拉感到吃惊的是,近年来,参与者当中的年轻人大量增加。楚纳拉说:“尤其是对年轻人来说,对马克思主义的兴趣的复兴之所以到来,是因为它提供了分析资本主义,尤其是像我们目前陷入的这种资本主义危机的工具。”

    对年轻一代更具吸引力

鼓吹马克思主义作用的书籍一直过剩。英国文学教授特里·伊格尔顿去年出版了一本名为《马克思为什么是对的》的书。法国哲学家阿兰·巴迪乌出版了一本名叫《共产主义猜想》的小红书,封面上有一颗红星。在书中,他把忠诚者纠集起来,以开创共产主义思想的第三个时代。这一切难道说不是一种谬论吗?

难道说马克思可敬的思想对我们的有用程度不就像把手织机用于支撑苹果电脑公司在创新方面的声誉吗?2012年,社会主义革命和共产主义社会的梦想难道不是不相干的吗?毕竟,我对法国马克思主义思想家雅克·朗西埃说,资产阶级未能培养出自己的掘墓人。朗西埃拒绝悲观:“资产阶级已经学会让被剥削阶级为其危机买单,并利用他们来解除自己敌人的武装。但是,对于历史必然性思想,我们千万不要反其道而行之,以致断定目前的情况是永恒的。掘墓人依然存在,其形式就是生活朝不保夕的工人,比如远东的遭到过度剥削的工厂工人。而今天流行的运动———希腊等国———也表明,存在着一种新的愿望,就是不要让我们的政府和银行家给人民造成危机。”

最起码,这就是一位耄耋之年的马克思主义教授的看法。那么抱有马克思主义情怀的比较年轻的人们又如何呢?贾斯温德·布莱克韦尔-帕尔是伦敦戈德史密斯学院的一名22岁的主修英语和戏剧的学生。她刚刚完成学业。我问她,为何她认为马克思主义思想仍然合时宜?她说:“要点在于,撒切尔当政,或马克思主义与苏联扯在一起的时候,年轻一代还没有出生。我们倾向于较多地视之为认识我们正在经历的过程的一种途径。想想埃及正在发生的事情。穆巴拉克倒台是那么振奋人心。这打破了许多成见,比如在穆斯林世界,民主不应成为人们为之奋斗的东西等。这证明了革命作为一个过程而非一起事件的正当性。因此,埃及发生了革命、反革命和反反革命。我们从中领教的是组织工作的重要性。”

可以肯定,这就是了解马克思主义在西方的复兴的关键:对年轻一代来说,它并没有因与斯大林的劳改营纠缠在一起而被玷污。此外对年轻一代而言,弗朗西斯·福山在其1992年的著作《历史的终结》———

在其中,资本主义似乎无可争议,推翻它是不可想象的———中的得胜情绪对他们的想象力并不像对老一辈那样产生窒息作用。

 设想后资本主义社会

布莱克韦尔-帕尔周四将在马克思主义狂欢节上就切·格瓦拉和古巴革命问题发表演讲。她忐忑不安地说:“这将是我第一次就马克思主义发表演讲。”但是,在当今时代,思考格瓦拉和卡斯特罗有何意义?可以肯定,对今天的工人斗争来说,社会主义暴力革命是不相干的,对吗?她答道:“根本不是这样!英国正在发生的事情相当有趣。我们有一个很弱、很弱的政府陷入内讧的泥潭。我想,只要我们能够真正组织起来,就能把他们赶下台。”英国能有自己的解放广场、自己相当于卡斯特罗的“7·26运动”的东西吗?让一个年轻女子去梦想吧。经过去年的骚乱,鉴于今天大多数英国人都与政府内阁中的富人疏远,只有蠢材才会排除这种可能性。

为了得到不同的见解,我找到了欧文·琼斯。他现年27岁,是新左派的招贴画男孩,著有2011年的政治畅销书《工人阶级的妖魔化》。他在开往布莱顿的火车上,前去参加团结会议。他指出:“虽然英国不会有流血的革命,但一个劳动人民当家作主和为劳动人民服务的社会是有希望的。”

他说,实际上,19世纪60年代,晚年的马克思设想了这种后资本主义的社会,认为它可以通过除了暴力革命以外的手段来实现。“他的确考虑了扩大选举权等建立社会主义社会的和平手段。今天,就连托洛茨基主义左派也不要求进行武装革命。激进的左派会说,与资本主义的决裂只能通过民主,以及组织劳动人民建立和维护对抗破坏性力量的公正社会来实现。”

琼斯回忆说,他的父亲———20世纪70年代的一位好斗的支持者———持有相信打入内部解决问题的意见,主张确保工党政府当选,然后组织劳动人民来保障政府兑现诺言。他说:“我认为这就是所应采取的模式。”多么缺乏新工党色彩啊。尽管如此,交谈之后,琼斯给我发短信,说明他不是好斗的支持者或托派。他想让一届实行激进的政治纲领的工党政府上台。他所设想的是工党1974年2月的选举宣言的措辞。这项宣言表达了“实现力量与财富的对比朝着有利于劳动人民及其家人方向的根本性的和不可逆转的转变”的意图。且让一个年轻小伙去梦想吧。

    阶级斗争观点有现实意义

至于琼斯这本书的成功,值得注意的是,它的前提是人们重新对阶级斗争产生了兴趣,这是马克思和恩格斯对工业社会分析的基石。琼斯说:“这本书要是在四年前写的,就会被人们斥之为上世纪60年代的阶级概念。但是,阶级又回到我们的现实当中,因为这场经济危机对人们产生了不同的影响,还因为联合政府的箴言“我们都相聚于此”令人作呕、荒唐可笑。现在不可能像上世纪90年代那样坚持认为我们都是中产阶级。本届政府的改革以阶级为基础。比如,增值税对劳动人民产生的影响过大。

他说:“这是一场公开的阶级斗争。工人阶级在2016年的日子将不如本世纪初。但是,如果你支持在这方面蒙受苦难的30%民众,你就会被指责为阶级斗士。”

这与朗西埃告诉我的事情如出一辙。这位教授认为:“关于马克思主义思想,一个仍然站得住脚的观点是阶级斗争。我们的工厂消失了,也就是说,我们国家出现了非工业化,工厂的工作外包给了劳动力比较便宜并且比较温顺的国家,除了资产阶级统治者在阶级斗争中的举动,还有什么呢?”

正当我们艰难地渡过经济衰退的时候,马克思主义除了对阶级斗争的分析以外还对我们有一些教导,那就是对经济危机的分析。斯洛文尼亚哲学家斯拉沃伊·日热克在他的新著《少于虚无:黑格尔和辩证唯物主义的阴影》中试图将马克思主义关于经济危机的思想用于我们现在经历的危机中。日热克认为,根本的阶级对抗是在“使用价值”和“交换价值”之间。

两者之间的区别何在?他解释说,每一种商品都有使用价值,这是按照其满足需要和需求的用途衡量的。形成鲜明对照的是,一种商品的交换价值历来根据生产时使用的劳动力衡量。日热克认为,在当前的资本主义制度下,交换价值变成自主价值。

他说:“马克思从这种差距中得出其经济危机的概念:当现实与钱生钱的自生幻觉一致时,就发生了危机———这种投机性疯狂不能无限期地延续,它不得不在更加严重的危机中爆炸。马克思认为,这种危机的最终根源是使用价值和交换价值之间的差距:交换价值的逻辑遵循自己的道路,即自己造成的跳跃,不管人的真正需要如何。”

  新共产主义事关重要

兰开郡埃奇·希尔大学民主理论与实践教授艾伦·约翰逊最近在为《世界事务》杂志写的一篇关于“新共产主义”的博文中说:“最近,一种引起巨大的苦难和痛苦、造成的死亡人数超过法西斯主义和纳粹主义的世界观正在卷土重来;这是一种新形式的左翼极权主义,在知识界享有盛名,但是追求政治权力。”

约翰逊写道:“新共产主义事关重要,不是因为它受到知识界欢迎,而是因为它可能在社会民主精疲力竭、财政紧缩和知识界自我厌恶的背景下影响到不同层次的欧洲青年。尽管它有吸引力,但是我们不能显得无奈,听之任之。”

他说:“这是我们担心的事情:日热克、巴迪乌、朗西埃和伊格尔顿等下贱的老左派会腐蚀无辜年轻人的思想。但是,阅读马克思和恩格斯对资本主义的评论意味着你会因此采取比纳粹造成的死亡还多的世界观吗?《共产党宣言》和苏联当年的劳改营没有直接的联系,青年左派也没有理由不加鉴别地采纳巴迪乌的令人胆寒的观点。埃里克·霍布斯鲍姆教授在新版《共产党宣言》的序言中说,马克思的这个观点是正确的:他认为,“不是基于人与人之间的关系,而是基于赤裸裸的自身利益、残酷无情的‘现金支付’的市场体系的矛盾,也就是剥削和‘无休止积累’的体系的矛盾,可能永远无法解决。在某个时候,在一系列的变革和结构改革中,这种基本上不稳定的体系的发展将导致一种再也不能被称为资本主义的情况。”

这就是马克思主义者梦想的后资本主义社会。但是,它将是什么样子呢?霍布斯鲍姆认为,这样的“后资本主义社会”对传统社会主义模式作出反应的可能性极小,对苏联时代“确实存在的”社会主义作出反应的可能性更小。他接着说,然而,它必定会涉及从私人占有向全球范围的社会管理的转变。他说:“这种转变将采取什么形式以及它将在多大程度上体现马克思和恩格斯的共产主义的人文价值,将取决于带来这种转变的政治行动。”

这肯定是最能让人获得自由的马克思主义观点,表明我们的未来将取决于我们自己和我们的斗争准备,或者正如马克思和恩格斯在《共产党宣言》的末尾所说的那样:“让统治阶级在共产主义革命面前发抖吧。无产者在这个革命中失去的只是锁链。他们获得的将是整个世界。”

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