[Marxism] Eisenstein and Trotsky: The Platonic Revolution Betrayed

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Thu Feb 5 13:22:11 MST 2004

> Message: 9
> Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 13:07:42 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Query on Trotsky and the DP
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> 	<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Message-ID: <4022866E.1080406 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1939/1939-cri.htm
Frankly, this Uniform Resource Indicator is occasion enough to speak on
the ambiguity of Trotsky's contribution to the worker's movement and
left-wing politics generally.  What is being undone at the present time is
the memory of Trotsky as definitive of the Left Opposition, and as I am
confident that the overall analysis will eventually be quite unfavorable I
am going to attempt to say some things in favor of Trotsky's practice.  I
have spoken of Austro-Marxism here before, and as today many people have
very little information about the character of that or other left
intellectual movements of the past let me say that Trotsky is actually
quite a fine exemplar of that tendency: namely, a partisan of science
rather than "philosophy of praxis".

At one point in the texts available at MIA, Trotsky speaks of "Right
leavening" for "Left" positions -- and this is really not so inaccurate,
but still rather unfair and to my mind extremely questionable given the
almost timeless good (political) sense that emanates from the texts of the
German and Italian Communists: and frankly, all four pages of Bordiga's
"System of Communist Representation" (also available on MIA) are worth
more than Trotsky's seriously blase analyses of the crippling of the
Soviets in terms of a serious science of politics (that is, one which
deals frankly with the *discursive* character of libertarianisms all
prefixes) and Rosa Luxemburg's writing were doing a better job of carrying
on *Class Struggles in France* than our putative Montagnard.  Now, did
Trotsky arrange for more to occur during his lifetime than Bordiga?  Oh,
yes, but the downside to even the reorganization of the Red Army is rather
obvious and I suspect the question of whether figures like Trotsky and
Bukharin, who were done wrong by the Stalinist regime, contributed
mightily to its character could be on some minds at present.

However, in light of recent discussions of cinema here I would like to ask
a different question: to what extent is the logic of Trotsky's practice
parallel to the "visual signature" of Eisenstein?  Eisenstein is of course
acclaimed as perhaps-the-first *auteur*, imposing a highbrow logic on the
cinematic image: but perhaps the first imperative of the "production
values" associated with film is to abandon exactly those concerns which
have motivated political liberalism in modernity.  Thusly, I wonder
whether Trotsky's "internationalbolshevism" (in the above article
contrasted as sharply as is possible with the concrete practice, that is
lived experience, of American Communists) amounts to something like
dancing to a tune called out by Nietzsche and other uh, "partisans of
modernity": Marinetti etc etc -- and for me, the proof of this is the
plausibility of a *Wirkungsgeschichte* linking I.F. Stone to Heidegger on
the topic of the Platonic theory of truth (world-historical variant).  How
any of this should make us tolerant wet bullyboys feel is unclear (note:
the title of this post has also occurred to me as one for an essay on
Heidegger), but perhaps Trotsky's views deserve to be "assimilated" to the
intellectual category of "observations on modernity" rather than
understood as the aforementioned standard of revolutionary purity
(honestly, rather useless for concrete social struggle).


More information about the Marxism mailing list