The Crisis of Socialism: Chapter 5 of Explaining Postmodernism

ep_50x78At the Explaining Postmodernism page, Chapter Five of my book is now available online. The chapter traces the evolution of socialism from classical Marxism in the mid-nineteenth century through the post-World War II crisis of socialism that helped set the stage for postmodernism.

Here are the chapter’s sections and page numbers:

Chapter Five: The Crisis of Socialism [pdf]

Marx and waiting for Godot 135
Three failed predictions 136
Socialism needs an aristocracy: Lenin, Mao, and the lesson
of the German Social Democrats 138
Good news for socialism: depression and war 141
Bad news: liberal capitalism rebounds 143
Worse news: Khrushchev’s revelations and Hungary 146
Responding to the crisis: change socialism’s ethical standard 150
From need to equality 151
From Wealth is good to Wealth is bad 153
Responding to the crisis: change socialism’s epistemology 156
Marcuse and the Frankfurt School: Marx plus Freud,
or oppression plus repression 159
The rise and fall of Left terrorism 167
From the collapse of the New Left to postmodernism 171

[This excerpt is from Stephen Hicks’s Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy Publishing, 2004, 2011). The full book is available in hardcover or e-book at Amazon. See also the Explaining Postmodernism page. Related: Professor Hicks’s lectures on Philosophy of Education at YouTube via these playlists.]

One thought on “The Crisis of Socialism: Chapter 5 of Explaining Postmodernism

  • September 22, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Not all leftists went towards postmodernism. A considerable number have turned to environmentalism. The left-wing hatred of capitalism remained even after the collapse of the Soviet Union made it clear that socialism doesn’t work.

    For starters, there is the famous concession article by Robert Heilbroner in the New Yorker magazine where he concedes that socialism doesn’t work. But he adds that capitalism destroys the environment.

    Then there is the resignation of Van Jones, Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar.” He was a leader of STORM, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement. He explicitly is using environmentalism to create a left-wing revolution.

    Do a google search for environmentalism+”social justice” and see what comes up. There are links to dozens of left-wing sites. Here’s one from “The Nation.”

    “Environmentalism With a Social Conscience”

    By Joliange Wright

    November 7, 2007

    “The face of the environmental movement is changing. No longer strictly the domain of nature enthusiasts, a new socially conscious environmentalism is becoming mainstream…

    “Van Jones, founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, calls this “social uplift environmentalism.” To counteract what he perceives as twenty years of racial segregation in the environmental movement, Jones said he envisions a world in which “a green wave lifts all boats.” His organization’s Green for All campaign aims to secure $1 billion in funding for “green-collar” job training across the country. Weatherizing buildings, harvesting solar power and constructing wind farms are jobs that can’t be outsourced overseas. Training a green-collar workforce can help lift people out of poverty while improving the ecology of our cities.”

    Yes, that’s the same Van Jones who resigned from the Obama administration.

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