Download A Society Adrift: Interviews and Debates, 1974-1997 by Cornelius Castoriadis PDF

By Cornelius Castoriadis

This posthumous number of interviews and coffee papers given by means of Castoriadis among 1974 and 1997 is a full of life, direct advent to the taking into consideration a author who by no means deserted his substantially serious stance. It offers a transparent, convenient rsum of his political principles, previous to their instances and profoundly correct to present day world.For this political philosopher and longtime militant (co-founder with Claude Lefort of the innovative team Socialisme ou Barbarie), economist, psychoanalyst, and thinker, never-ending interrogations-how to appreciate the area and existence in society-were intertwined along with his personal existence and combats.An very important bankruptcy discusses the background of Socialisme ou Barbarie(1949-1967); in it, Castoriadis offers the perspectives he defended, in that staff, on a few matters: a critique of Marxism and of the Soviet Union, the bureaucratization of society and of the staff' flow, and the primacy of person and collective autonomy. one other bankruptcy offers the concept that, vital to his pondering, of imaginary significationsas what make a society cohere.Castoriadis consistently returns to the query of democracy because the never-finished, planned construction through the folk of societal associations, reading its prior and its destiny within the Western international. He scathingly criticizes representativedemocracy and develops a notion of direct democracy extending to all spheres of social existence. He wonders in regards to the possibilities of reaching freedom and autonomy-those requirements of real democracy-in an international of unending, meaningless accumulation of fabric items, the place the mechanisms for governing society have disintegrated, the connection with nature is decreased to at least one of damaging domination, and, chiefly, the inhabitants has withdrawn from the general public sphere: an international ruled by way of spare time activities and lobbies-a society adrift.

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But that’s logically arbitrary and false in reality. For the sake of convenience and as a first approximation, we can hypothesize that the worker’s standard of living remains constant if we are talking about the situation of the economy over a very short period. That’s absolutely impossible over one or two centuries—which is what Marxist theory of the capitalist economy is talking about. Now there has clearly been a considerable modification (a rise) in the actual standard of living of the working class over the last one hundred and fifty years.

Starting in early 1959, we published a mimeographed monthly called Pouvoir ouvrier. Half of it was given over to a column called ‘‘Workers speak out,’’ where we published everything we received. But it’s a huge job to really give workers the possibility of speaking out. It’s not enough to ‘‘give’’ it to them; they have to actually take it. It’s not because you get Why I Am No Longer a Marxist 21 people together and tell them, ‘‘You’re free to talk and to say whatever you like; there’s no taboo here, no authority, nothing that is judged trivial or unimportant a priori’’ that they actually speak.

And with what consequences? Let’s go on now to what I have called Marx’s elimination of the technology factor. Of course, Marx had a deep perception of the constant, repeated upheaval of the capitalist society and economy introduced by the evolution of technology; he has given consummate, incomparable socialhistorical analyses of it. But when constructing his economic system, it’s as if he forgot all that. The implicit postulate, barring which everything in Capital would be meaningless, is that technical progress exists (otherwise there would be no increase in the productivity of labor), but that technical progress is represented by a continuous variable.

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