November’s entry in the VCS Chair Readings series

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Art education, General VCS Info, Other | No Comments

This month’s entry in the VCS Chair Readings series features a selection from the current issue of Radical Philosophy Review. Here are Department Chair Tom Huhn’s comments on this piece:

Milton Fisk’s essay, “In Defense of Marxism,” suggests how a renewed form of socialism might be just what is called for in the situation we now find ourselves in. Fisk compellingly explains how the very viability of societies around the globe is threatened by a host of factors, many of which can be traced back to the socially destructive tendencies of capitalism. Fisk thus re-presents a Marxism aimed not at any form of social utopia, but instead at the modest but crucial goal of restoring the viability of social life. I recommend Fisk’s very sobering case for the renewal of socialism, which, as he suggests, might well be primarily concerned with the conservative aspiration of maintaining some semblance of a humane social life for all people.

The article’s online abstract provides the following additional information from author Milton Fisk:

After an extended period in which Marxism received relatively little attention, many of its tenets are now playing a more important role within the left. This essay argues for the relevance today of a number of Marx’s major themes. The Marx I offer here is a conservative Marx. I base this view on his insistence that socialism is needed not to makes us perfect but to save society, in a general sense, from the threats of destruction that it encounters under capitalism. His criticism of utopianism requires that change be anchored in steps humanity has prepared itself to take, rather than in steps that it has no reason to believe will be effective. The importance of class has survived attacks on it as a relic of industrialism and the dominance of the male proletariat. But the working class is more extensive than it ever was. It now encompasses diverse races, genders, and cultures in what can become a front against capitalism. Finally, Marx’s politics posits an inversion of the power relation in capitalist society with capitalism’s subordination of citizens to the state. The global ferment against the failures of capitalism opens new possibilities for the growth of anti-capitalist currents.

You can download the full article in PDF format at this link.

Visual & Critical Studies