Essays after the Collapse of Communism
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 6: Marx, Postmodernism and Self-Management: Reply to Abell
6. Marx, postmodernism and selfmanagement: reply to Abell* I used the word ‘post-modern’ once in Marxism and Workers’ SelfManagement. The Essential Tension (Prychitko, 1991), in the Introduction. What a mistake. I hadn’t realized it was open season, and that I’d possibly catch the attention of trigger-happy anti-postmodernists. Peter Abell (1995) is skeptical of postmodernism, and he seems on the prowl, at least in this review, to expose the follies of post-modern philosophy as related to self-management, his area of expertise. He seizes on that one word, also notes my ‘ﬂirtation with a number of post-something or others’ (1995, p.342) (I used the words ‘post-Marxist’ and ‘post-industrial’ once each), and unfortunately charges after the wrong animal. Having only been grazed, I’d like to respond to Abell so that this doesn’t become a real nuisance. INTERPRETING MARX: FROM MODERN AND POST-MODERN TO UNITY AND TENSION The ﬁrst sentence of Abell’s review reads: ‘the time has come for a postmodern interpretation of Marx, one that helps explain the limits to his rational humanism’ (1995, p.341). This is supposed to be a quotation from my book, but I myself wrote: ‘The time has come for a post-modern interpretation of Marx, one that helps explain the limits to his radical humanism’ (Prychitko, 1991, xiii). The emphasis was in the original passage. So was the word ‘radical’ (not ‘rational’). Abell casts me as some kind of postmodernist and antirationalist, but he makes two mistakes here: he misquotes and misrepresents me. Although I might now be charged...
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