Friday, January 25, 2008

Europe's Permanent Revolution

John Laughland discusses the "primacy of change," which is the philosophical heart of revolutionary ideology.
However, there is a deeper sense in which Europe’s permanent institutional revolution is being deliberately carried over by old Marxists into Europe’s political reality, and it is a sense which comes from the very heart of darkness of Marxism-Leninism. For various authors – Edgar Morin, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri, among others – Europe is desirable precisely because it is “polymorphic” and “multifunctional," because it has no centre and no summit, because nothing is fixed and everything in a state of flux. This idea has been expressed as “multilevel constritutionalism” by Giuliano Amato, the former Italian Prime Minister who helped draw up the now defunct constitution, and as “a post-Hobbesian order” by Philippe Schmitter, a professor at the European University Institute in Florence.

This is nothing but the Marxist-Leninist dialectic in new guise. As Solzhenitsyn wrote in his 1973 Letter to the Leaders of the Soviet Union, the key fact about communism is not the dictatorship of the proletariat or even state ownership of the means of production but instead ideology. And that ideology, according to the great Yugoslav onetime Communist, Milovan Djilas, as well as to the great French anti-Communist historian of thought, Alain Besançon, is the dialectic: the belief in the primacy of change, in the fact that nothing is fixed, and in the idea that one thing and its opposite can both be true. Just as Engels drew on Darwin in the Dialectics of Nature to argue that in nature, “nothing remains what, where and as it was, but everything moves, changes, comes into being and passes out of existence” and that therefore one could never say that everything is what it is and not another thing (the cardinal rule of Aristotelian logic).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is so true! Marxism is still alive under a new disguise! And people from Eastern Europe are thrown from one social experiment into another. I hope that more people will read this article. Thanks for posting it.

A Woman from Eastern Europe