Dialectics are all too rare to be found in The Nation, with its frequent prognostications about catastrophic election cycles. This lack was all to evident in Susie Linfield’s poorly executed essay on Fred Halliday. He is repeatedly described as possessing a “dialectical” mind, but she confidently quotes him as having claimed that communism’s “failure was necessary, not contingent.” That’s fatalism. (Linfield herself refers to the “fatal flaws of communism”). Dialectical thinking emphasizes that human thought and activity are conditioned by their unique historical moment; it also, necessarily, emphasizes the shaping of history (including our centuries-old communist history) by human beings—especially by those self-organized against the class system.
Carl G. Martin
Jan 2 2013 - 11:46am