Contenu du sommaire : Histoire et luttes de classes

Revue Actuel Marx Mir@bel
Numéro no 58, octobre 2015
Titre du numéro Histoire et luttes de classes
Texte intégral en ligne Accessible sur l'internet
  • Présentation - p. 7-11 accès libre
  • Dossier : Histoire et luttes de classes

    • Marx, le marxisme et le « père de la lutte des classes », Augustin Thierry - Jean-Numa Ducange p. 12-27 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Marx, marxism and Augustin Thierry, “the father of class struggle”
      Marx's debt to the liberal historians of the 19th century, in particular to Augustin Thierry, has long been a key formula in the “materialist conception of history”, through which to explain the crucial function of the concept of “class struggle”. The present article offers a reconsideration of this presumption, by way of a consideration of various sources (including some little-known notes by Marx, published by the MEGA). The analysis addresses both the question of what Marx actually read and drew upon in Augustin Thierry, in particular his Essay on the History of the Formation and the Progress of the Third Estate, and the way that Marxism constructed a positive reference to Augustin Thierry (in particular through the mediation of Plekhanov), consequently evading certain intuitions of Marx. In its conclusion, the article reconsiders some of the tensions which a historical analysis in terms of class struggle gives rise to, between the focalization on the short time of the revolutionary moment (1789, 1848) and the integration of a detailed, longue durée analysis of social classes (in particular for the medieval era and the Ancien Régime).
    • La lutte de classes et les dépossédés - Bryan D. Palmer, Jean-Michel Buée p. 28-45 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Class struggle and the dispossessed
      How do we conceive of class and class struggle ? Orthodox Marxism has often been represented as understanding class as a relationship to production, a conceptualization reinforcing a sense of class struggle where the accent is placed on the conflictual relations within the workplace. Overt capitallabour conflict at the point of production does indeed constitute class struggle, but neither class nor class struggle can be reduced in Marxist terms to strikes, lockouts, and the like. Rather, as Marx's writings suggest, the origins of class formation lie in dispossession, and it is as the dispossessed that workers, waged and wageless, have routinely resisted both the exploitation and the oppression that is fundamental to capitalism's project. This project, in which accumulation through dispossession is driven by periodic crises, necessarily involves destruction and creates not only vast wealth but vast destitution. The working class is made as a productive force, divorced from ownership of the means of production, but it is also made amidst persistent crises, which lead to unemployment, the precariousness of labour, and the existence of reserve armies of labour. A comprehension of the origins of class in dispossession thus widens our understanding of class struggles, which take place at the point of production but which also develop in all manner of other ways, including struggles around space, against the state, and in the reproductive realm.
    • Le MIR, la révolution et ses classes sociales dans le Chili des années 1960 - Eugénia Palieraki p. 46-60 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      MIR, the revolution and its social classes in Chile in the 1960s
      This paper focuses on the years preceding Salvador Allende's Popular Unity in Chile (1970-1973) and, more precisely, on the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). Since 1969, this Marxist revolutionary group had actively participated in the class struggle in Chile. However its political and social activism was not oriented towards the working class, but instead towards marginalized social sectors (inhabitants of informal settlements and landless rural workers). The paper thus seeks to elucidate the process which led the MIR to invest social sectors that should have been considered as “unorthodox,” from a Marxist organization's point of view. More generally, the analysis of a political experience taking place in a country where the working class was not as coherent or as massive as it was in 20th Century Western Europe and the United States aims at “deprovincializing” history and at using the concepts of “class” and “class struggle” in a manner which distances them from their potentially economicist and sociologizing implications.
    • Réflexions sur la formation de la classe ouvrière, le passé et le présent - Geoff Eley, Jean-Michel Buée p. 61-75 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Some remarks on the formation of the working-class: the past and the present
      Partly in response to fundamental changes which have occurred in the social relations of actually existing capitalism, and to the concomitant political upheavals, partly as a result of the related debates and transformations in social and cultural theory, several social historians of the 1970s and 1980s began to rethink their ideas about class. Having previously made a powerful contribution to the history of working-class formation, the historians in question began to advocate the necessity of a decisive break with Marxist and other materialist sociologies, by way of a turn to various forms of cultural and linguistic analysis (“the discursive approach to history”). By the end of the 1990s, forms of consensus had coalesced around this so-called cultural turn, stressing the complex and contingent relationship between a society's forms of collective agency and identification (such as “class”) and its structural circumstances and characteristics (such as the organization of work and the distribution of inequality). During the first two-thirds of the 20th century, distinctive political traditions of the Left had developed around the given processes of capital development and their associated social histories, acquiring strong and long-lasting shape after 1945. Since the 1970s however, as capitalist restructuring under neoliberal auspices inexorably remade the social worlds of class, those earlier patterns of politics also ceased to work. In the light of the fundamentally different patterns of working-class formation, the terms of Left political practice consequently need to be radically rethought.
    • Révolution française et grammaire de la lutte de classes. Marx, Gramsci, Wittgenstein - Jacques Guilhaumou p. 76-92 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      The French Revolution and the grammar of class-struggle: Marx, Gramsci, Wittgenstein
      The aim of this article is to analyze, by way of a linguistic connection between Marx, Gramsci and Wittgenstein, the possibility of a grammar of “class struggle” that is immanent to the action of the French Revolution. The French Revolutionary historiography has never been able to provide a grammatical explanation of the “real linguistic transactions” (Wittgenstein) between agents. Our discursive study thus focuses first on the various linguistic forms of individual identities, as certified in the grammar of the first person, the “I”, within the field of “political engagements”. Then, from the catchwords of the revolutionary movement in 1793, the author seeks to explore collective identity, through a grammar of negation and coordination as translated into the dialectical propositions of class struggle.
    • Le « mouvement ouvrier » en questions - Deborah Cohen, Michèle Riot-Sarcey p. 93-103 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Some questions about the « the labour movement »
      In this interview M. Riot-Sarcey returns to a number of marginalized figures in labour history. Against the domination of the form of the party, as established since the end of the 19th century, which discounts the hypothesis of the proletariat's ability to liberate itself, the author re-emphasises here the vitality of the forms of worker self-organization that had preceded the hegemony of the party, in particular after 1848 and the disillusionment of the labour movement regarding the republic. These autonomous worker organizations constituted the site for the exercise of a collective liberty, the modality of which was a fraternity, that is, a form of mutual assistance coupled with the acknowledgement of a plurality of capacities. In the face of the entrenchment of naturalized categories, M. Riot-Sarcey's intention here is to explore a series of dissonant voices, in particular those of rebel women who seized on the opportunity of the revolution in order to destabilize established norms. Against the imposition of a consensual version of the political discourse (Republic, Fraternity) the author invites us to reactivate the repressed potentialities of these terms. She envisages her work as a historian as a reactivation of those past experiences which have been marginalized by the party through the naturalization of categories and the imposition of a consensual reading. This marginalized memory is a resource for present-day struggles.
  • Interventions

    • Retour sur le marxisme et le darwinisme - Lilian Truchon p. 104-117 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Marxism and Darwinism: a reconsideration
      As a thinker whose work proposes the recovery in Darwin of an innovative anthropology, which no specialist scholar has consistently refuted or has exposed as amounting to a forced or willful interpretation, Patrick Tort can enable us to arrive at a valid assessment of Darwin's discourse on man and on civilization. In this regard, he underlines the unquestionably dialectical character of the passage from “nature” to “culture” in the project. As a consequence of their ignorance of this innovation, Marx, and those who came after him, equated Darwinism with a Malthusian ideology and a doctrine of social selection, a position which Darwin precisely did not adopt, in his explanation of the origin and transformation of civilization, without however having to break with his selective biology. In the history of Marxism, the consequence of this epistemological faux-pas has been the interminable reiteration of “monist” problems in pursuit of a dialectical conceptualization of the links and the distinctions to be teased out between nature and civilization, materialism and morality. With a view to reestablishing a fruitful theoretical dialogue between the heritage of Marx and that of Darwin, a detour by way of Kant and his categorical moral imperative is certainly not desirable. The path leading to an overcoming of the contradictions is rather to be located by way of Marxism's acknowledgement of the notion of “reversive continuity”, thus enabling us to conceptualize, in a unitary mode and from the perspective of materialism, the paradox of the extinction of struggle, within the horizon of the struggle of which nature constitutes the field of experimentation.
    • Marx et l'élaboration du concept de nature dans la philosophie de Merleau-Ponty - Claire Dodeman p. 118-129 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Marx and the elaboration of the concept of nature in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty
      This paper aims at exploring the field of relations between Merleau-Ponty and Marx. Re-reading the unpublished texts from the 1940s and 1950s, the intention is to demonstrate that Merleau-Ponty uses The Economic and Philosophic Manuscript of 1844 not only in a political way, but also in a philosophical way. In an original interpretive approach concerning the question of Nature, the paper seeks to demonstrate that this conception suggests that Marx takes on a new place in the development leading from a phenomenology of perception to an ontology of Nature, particularly in the lectures at the College de France in 1956. At the end of this paper, the emphasis is placed on Merleau-Ponty's attempt to build a new philosophy of action and History, based upon this analysis of Nature.
    • Bourdieu face au marxisme althussérien : la question de l'état - Julien Pallotta p. 130-143 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Bourdieu's engagement with Althusserian marxism: the question of the state
      The article proposes to reexamine Bourdieu's relationship with Marxism, and more particularly with Althusserian Marxism. It is suggested here that Althusser may have functioned as a foil for Bourdieu, especially because of the similarities between the Althusserian theory of ideological power and Bourdieu's theory of symbolic power. The theory of the State is probably the most appropriate ground on which to compare the two thinkers. The recent publication of Bourdieu's lectures on the State allows one to see how he elaborated within his own historical sociology a theory of the State which is a response to Marxism : by responding to the Marxist critique of Hegel, Bourdieu seeks to show that the dominant, since they invoke the universal in order to legitimize their domination, can be only partially successful in doing so. Bourdieu ends up by conceding to Marxism that the universal makes significant progress only within the terms of the self-interested understanding of the universal which is proper to the dominant.
    • Certains étaient-ils plus égaux que d'autres ? II - formes d'exploitation sous le communisme primitif - Christophe Darmangeat p. 144-158 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Were some more equal than others? II- Forms of exploitation under primitive communism
      Following on from our earlier contribution (Actuel Marx no57), the present article tries to determine the presence of phenomena of exploitation within the subset of societies without classes, societies devoid therefore of the subsequent socioeconomic inequalities, and which we often qualify by the term “primitive communism”. The inquiry turns out to have a problematic nature, insofar as the testimonies available are often contradictory, while the objective elements of inquiry remain rare. The conclusion arrived at here is that if exploitation could not be totally absent in these societies, its magnitude remained a very limited one, especially if we relate it to the, sometimes very explicit forms of domination which these societies experienced. This manifest paradox must doubtless be interpreted as being characteristic of such wealthless societies.
    • Pour une histoire populaire de la psychanalyse. De quoi Ernest Jones est-il le nom ? - Florent Gabarron-Garcia p. 159-171 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      For a popular history of psychoanalysis. Of what is Ernest Jones the name?
      A number of textbooks in the field of psychoanalysis go so far as to suggest that Freud would have been astonished by the implications of the French psychoanalytic movement in the “1968 moment”. The position today dominant in the psychoanalytic mainstream is that in the aftermath of those years when the movement had drifted astray, psychiatry and psychoanalysis eventually attained their “age of reason”. In parallel, this doxa foregrounds what is a rather singular historiography concerning the relations between analysts and the military institution in the interwar years. Didn't Freud, after all, discover the death-bearing repetition complex through the problem of war trauma ? And if this is the case, then what is termed the « Freudian indifferentiation » could be coupled with what is qualified as the « Freudian pessimism », object of an interminable and predictable commentary in contemporary psychoanalysis. The consequences are the relegation and marginalization of a number of other crucial facts, which together sketch the contours of an entirely different history. The issue of such a popular history of psychoanalysis, and of the factors leading to its being forgotten by the doxa of the 1980s, is addressed in the present article.
  • En débat

    • Pourquoi la philosophie sociale ? - Catherine Colliot-Thélene, Franck Fischbach p. 172-189 accès libre avec résumé en anglais

      Why social philosophy? A debate
      A number of authors now invoke the opposition between political philosophy and social philosophy, whether to account for the specific nature of Marx's relation to philosophy or to reactualize the project of a critical theory of society. What, the article asks, is the meaning of this distinction ? Can it fulfill the requisite conditions that will enable philosophers to address in a pertinent manner the social and political challenges of our time ? These are the questions addressed here by Catherine Colliot-Thélène, whose fear is that the distinction in question may lose sight of the crucial question of power, and by Franck Fischbach, who emphasizes the materialist orientation of an approach that seeks to address the political from the perspective of the social.
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