Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 26, 2020

A Strictly Personal Looking Past The Pandemic

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 12:09 am

via A Strictly Personal Looking Past The Pandemic


  1. Thanks to you for the assistance here: The ‘Marxism’ of Tony Greenstein and Heinrich Blücher
    Tony Greenstein claims I am not a Marxist; “for the past five years SF had harboured within it a key individual – Ian Donovan himself – who is “in lockstep” with Gilad Atzmon, whom he describes as a “left Mussolini-Strasserite fascist” what kind of Trotskyist or Marxist organisation is it which harboured within it a neo-Nazi and one whom, until very recently, GD himself gave uncritical support to?”
    Ian Donovan agrees with Tony Greenstein that Atzmon is not a fascist and that it is wrong to criticise Nietzsche, Heidegger or Arendt too severely. Yet he cannot make any comment on the split in the CPGB but there is no doubt to whom he is giving assistance. On November 5 2019 Tony Greenstein replied to my letters on Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger: [vi] [vii]
    “When Gerry says, “That Zionist-Nazi relationship ideologically survived the war and the holocaust for Arendt and other Zionists”, this is spoken out of sheer ignorance. There is not a word of truth in it. Yes, indeed, there was a love affair between Heidegger and Arendt and it was resumed after the war. What are we to make of it? I suspect very little politically. I can only repeat that human personal relationships aren’t always logical extensions of our political beliefs. Sometimes opposites attract. Gerry is nothing if not a banal reductionist. Arendt also married Heinrich Blücher, a Marxist, yet she never claimed to be a Marxist.” [viii]
    Tony just can’t figure what attracted the Jew Arendt to the Nazi Heidegger; the opposites attracted, ‘there’s nought as queer as folks’ will just have to do.
    And what kind of a Marxist was Heinrich Blücher when he was married to Hannah Arendt? For the answer we are indebted to Louis Proyect, the ‘Unrepentant Marxist’ (with whom I have many and deep differences on other issues over the years), who writes:
    “Emblematic of that fact (that McCarthyism had ended by 1961) was the key role assigned to ex-OSS agent Heinrich Blücher [xii], whose mandatory Common Course lectures at Bard (college) were basically meant to indoctrinate students against Marxism … Blücher’s lectures were steeped very heavily in the existentialist tradition, the postmodernism of its day. Because the USA was a much more reactionary place in 1961, there was very little need for anti-Communist professors to even pay lip-service to Marx. Blücher basically regarded Marxism and fascism on the same level, as demented “essentialist” systems that would destroy individualism and freedom. The three key figures in this ideological offensive were Hannah Arendt, who was married to Blücher, Daniel Bell and Albert Camus.
    “Their arguments were heavily influenced by Heidegger and his prime influence, Nietzsche. Heidegger had been Arendt’s guru and lover. Arendt, who repudiated his anti-Semitism while never really disavowing the Nietzschean roots of the philosophy that had made collaboration with Hitler possible, was the towering figure in early 1960s liberal anti-Communist consensus.
    “In essence, 1950s existentialism and 1980s postmodernism can be explained as a rear guard action by Western intellectuals in imperialist nations to discredit the sole political force capable of eliminating the material basis for their privileges. As such, it is a reactionary ideology … Instead of “grand narratives” being the enemy, the 1950s thinkers railed against what they described as absolutist and essentialist tendencies in Western thought. Plato was identified as the father of this illegitimate child, but Hegel was really the arch-enemy. Hegel was blamed for Marx, who inspired Stalin to create a runaway, monstrous system. Nietzsche had his wrist slapped from time to time, but more often than not existentialist anti-Communists explained Nazism away as a mutant strain rather than the culmination of ideological currents in German society. Of course, neither Nazi Germany nor Stalin’s Russia could be blamed on 19th century existentialist thinkers or ideas of any sort, but on the contradictions of the capitalist system itself.” [xiii]
    Partisan Review evolved under the influence of Blücher and his wife Arendt in 1936-7 from being a CPUSA Stalinist journal to supporting US imperialism and was then secretly funded by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to do so. The OSS was the US wartime spy network which became the CIA post-war.
    This in line with my own understanding shown in my debates with Tony Greenstein in the letter pages of the Weekly Worker. So, we have the answer to our question of what kind of a Marxist Blücher was. He was a Marxist like Tony Greenstein is, i.e. not a Marxist at all.


    Comment by socialistfight — March 26, 2020 @ 5:19 am

  2. Thanks for the ping, Louis, much appreciated.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — March 26, 2020 @ 5:55 am

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