In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

144 the minnesota review of the clash of social forces in Poland seems in retrospect virtually to have prophesied the immensely chaotic, complex, yet hopeful course of events in Poland from August 1980 to the day of this writing. Where Bahro, for all his brilliance, sincerity, and commitment, has clung to those elements of classical Marxism which are most perniciously elitist and crippling , Singer has based his report on Marxism's primary insight: that the division of labor is the key to all social relationships and meanings in any social formation. Where Bahro places his bet on those technocrats and functionaries of good heart and true faith, while dismissing the hopelessly "subaltern" consciousness of the producers, Singer assesses the self-interest, ideology, and poUtical tendency of those very same technocrats and functionaries and finds them, from the point of view of working-class interests, necessarily inadequate . Where Bahro calls for a League-of-Communists brain to take command of the social body, Singer analyses the delicate, exemplary contacts and joint work between Solidarity workers and KOR intellectuals — work which was, long before August 1980, controlled by the workers and framed to their needs and demands. For Western Marxist intellectuals, the stakes are clear. Which Marxism wiU we now choose? The one which is in our own best interests, the obscure and difficult dogma of the vanguard, the one Party, and the single Hegelian story of what happened and how it all works out, the story only we are smart enough to master, revise, and retell? Or the other, which demands that it is we and not the producers who must learn to understand, we who must learn from working people what their struggles are, and join them when and where they arise, in the midst of a world crisis of domination and legitimation in which we may all yet disappear? Short of engagement in political action and struggle itself, I can hardly think of how the choice could be put before us more starkly than in the contrast between these two important books.FREDPFEIL NOTES lNew Left Review 120 (March/April 1980): 2. 2From Stalinism to Eurocommunism (London: New Left Books, 1978), p. 100. 3RudolfBahro: CriticalResponses, ed. Ulf Wolter (White Plains, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1980), p. 25. 4"Beyond Actually Existing Socialism," in Problems in Materialism and Culture (London: New Left Books, 1980), p. 253. 5See Andrew Arato and Mihaly Vajda, "The Limits to the Leninist Opposition: Reply to David Bathrick," New German Critique 19 (Winter 1980): 167-175, and Ivan Szelenyi, "Whose Alternative?" New German Critique 20 (Spring/Summer 1980): 117-134. '"Consciousness in Command," Socialist Review 57 (May/June 1981): 128-149. 7See note 3, above. 'Williams, op. cit., p. 273. 'Bahro's book appeared in the GDR in autumn 1977; in July 1978, he was convicted of treason in a secret trial, and given an eight year prison sentence. Thanks to a widespread campaign of publicity and petition by leading European intellectuals, he was released and exiled in the fall of 1979, since which time he has worked with an environmental anti-nuclear party, the "Greens," in West Germany. 10Socialist Construction and Marxist Theory: Bolshevism and Its Critique (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1981). Christa Wolf, A Model Childhood, trans. Ursule Molinaro and Hedwig Rappolt. Farrar, Straus, Giroux: New York, 1980. 406 pp. $17.50. Christa Wolf, The Quest for Christa T, trans. Christopher Middleton. Farrar, Straus, Giroux: New York, 1970. 227 pp. $5.95. Arguably the most important contemporary East German writer to have reached the West so far, Christa Wolf was born in 1929 in a seven-hundred-year-old Prussian town named Landsberg, which now lies in West Poland and is called Grozow Wielkopolski. She fled from Landsberg in January 1945, when she was sixteen. In 1971 she visited the town with her husband, her brother, and her sixteen-year-old daughter. None of the four knew a 145 reviews word of Polish, and the mother's attempts to make her sulky daughter Lenka understand or take any interest in Hitlerian Landsberg failed miserably. For even if Lenka has also grown up under a German-speaking conformist system, she comprehends only...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 144-147
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.