lunes, 14 de octubre de 2013
tales cosas jamás encontrarás en tu camino.
Comparing the idea of domination in Marx and Horkheimer/Adorno. With Horkheimer and Adorno we read, as a novelty, that progress is no more a path of continuous improvement. Far from that, they expose in their co-authored work Dialectic of Enlightenment how the Holocaust was not an isolated historical fact, but the consequence of the progress as it was understood by philosophers of Enlightenment. The context of such ideas is marked by the rise of fascism, Stalinism, the triumph of the liberal state and the mass market... and the notion that the era of Social Revolution announced by Marx is not going to take place. Both Horkheimer and Adorno are very influenced by Marx and they considered Marxists themselves, but they were critical with some points of his theories, this was particularly one of them. So, following with the contents of Dialectic of Enlightenment, the products of progress (the said rise of fascism, Stalinism, etc.) are actually new forms of domination (or in Marxist terms, «of alienation», a word they used profusely too). With Horkheimer and Adorno, domination is no more a question of strength (only), but the way state intervention has abolished the tension between «relations of production» and «material productive forces of society». Market and mass consume play a central role on this process, since they are the way the said tension is solved and the main spring for alienation. Of course domination was not a question of strength only in past times; elements of cultural domination were present always, like Church, for example. But at the end, the monopoly of weapons and strengths was at first line. In modern (or should I say post-modern?) societies, even if Power still has and makes use of the monopoly of strength, does not make neither a flagrant use nor demonstrations of such. Physical strength is in a second plane and the true force of domination rests in Cultural Domination as defined by Gramsci. Now, through mass consume and a false notion of wealth, people does not feel the State as the enemy anymore, but the protector. Plus, the idea that social classes do not exist anymore, makes unnecessary for the Power to show its physical strength (even if, of course, it has it), and impose domination in a subtler manner. Of course a book like Dialectic of Enlightenment has much more inside than the above exposed ideas, and even those can be explained with dozens of details and specifications voluntarily ignored now, for the good of clarity in this very little work of mine, but, in general terms, such conclusions are gathered in the book. So, we read two authors departing for a point plainly Marxist but actually renewing Marxism. In fact, they follow Marx almost literally for his context; the thing is that, even with a good analysis, conditions have changed, so conclusions are not valid anymore. That tension between «relations of production» and «material productive forces of society», which was the key to maintain alive (or trying to get to live) social conscious and struggle, has been solved by the system of domination now, and this is the problem about domination that Hokheimer and Adorno are trying to set out on their work. The works of Horkheimer and Adorno (not only Dialectic of Enlightenment) have been very important to renovate Marxist thinking and suggest new fields for analyses (and hence, for concentrating forces in struggle, perhaps) like mass consume (that was pointed out by Marx, but only vaguely, as an intuition, since it was not developed when he was alive, so it was not a central point in his works) and adding some elements of Nietszche, Freud and other vital thinkers to Marxist thinking. To end this article, I will state my personal opinion. I think that with the crisis we count on a new scenario from which to look at the analyses of Horkheimer/Adorno regarding to that of Marx. So, we can bring up the next question: was really abolished the tension between «relations of production» and «material productive forces of society» in modern/post-modern societies? Or was it an actual alienation, only appearance? In my opinion, relations of production are a lot more complex than they were in the age of Marx, and we can learn a lot about it reading Horkheimer/Adorno and that way enrich the works by Marx, but perhaps it turns out to be that Marxian analyses (about what could happen counting on the state of things) is not so old-fashioned to our society; perhaps it was only the screen of growth and development and, finally, perhaps Horkheimer and Adorno were not only criticizing the new forms of alienation/domination but trapped and a bit blinded by that too.