Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


← Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 4/2013

Martin Nový:
On the Reconstruction of ‘Capitalism’ in the Work of Open Marxists [603]

Nový, Martin. 2013. „K rekonstrukci „kapitalismu“ u autorů otevřeného marxismu.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 49 (4): 603-624

Abstract: Focusing on the Open Marxism school, this article explores the conceptualisation of capitalism in the work of the school’s main proponents: Werner Bonefeld, John Holloway and Richard Gunn. While it criticises Pavlinek’s initial interpretation, it argues for a reconstruction that is sensitive to Open Marxism’s crucial notion of mediation of the central capitalist abstraction, which is a self-valorising value. Mediation analysis reveals the contradictory existence of capitalist social forms and consequently has the capacity to identify the source of their internal negativity. It grasps the existence of manifold elements of the capitalist totality on a conceptually objective basis. Individual human subjects exist in and at the same moment against capitalist society; it is through them, as contradictory identities, that the class struggle is fought. Accusing Open Marxism of class reductionism is false, because such an objection fails to distinguish between formal (analytical) and determinate (dialectical) abstraction as two different tools for analysing social reality. To confuse one with the other generates conceptual chaos at the very outset of the process of understanding Marxist dialectics.

Keywords: Open Marxism, capitalism, dialectics, Marx, Adorno, critical theory, class struggle

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