Steiner, Brenner and Neo-Marxism: The Marcusean Component

By Adam Haig
2 January 2009

As a supporter of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) who has been following the political and philosophical charges of Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner, the author of this paper is interested in addressing their embrace of critical theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). While the said opponents of the ICFI present their ideas as Marxism and Trotskyism, their thought is more in line with the attempts of numerous middle-class intellectual radicals who have tried to innovate Marxism with cultural theory. These figures range widely from Theodor Adorno to Slavoj Zizek. The author's formal background is in literary and cultural studies, academic fields in which the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory has been influential and where it has undergone various theoretical hybridizations.

* * *

On November 9, 2008, Alex Steiner, a political opponent of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), published a public statement on his Permanent Revolution website denouncing David North's three-part series, "The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism: The Political and Intellectual Odyssey of Alex Steiner," and Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot's addendum, "Marxism and Science." These documents were written in response to earlier articles by Steiner and his political associate, Frank Brenner. Steiner charges that the North and Talbot works are "ad hominem," "dishonest," "lies," "half-truths," "a smear campaign," and "armchair psychologizing." [1]

The ICFI maintains that Steiner and Brenner, who left the Workers League (the predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party) thirty years ago, have drifted into the anti-Marxist orbit of the petty-bourgeois Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and that they cannot be regarded as Marxist-Trotskyists. This is not demonization, but a well-grounded assessment of their theoretical and political conceptions. Their polemics—e.g, "Objectivism or Marxism" (2006), Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart (2007), and "On the Vulgar Critique of Vulgar Materialism" (2008)—betray an eclectic radical intellectual tradition that is decisively non-Marxist in political and philosophical orientation.

Steiner and Brenner's perspective is an emphatic rejection of the materialist conception of history, which ascribes a decisive and determining role to objective socioeconomic processes in the development of social consciousness. Like many petty-bourgeois ex-Marxists, they are convinced that the central issues of revolutionary consciousness relate to individual psychology and sexuality. Deeply skeptical about the possibility of mass revolutionary radicalism being produced by the objective crisis of capitalist society, Steiner and Brenner argue that the revival of socialist consciousness requires the allure of Utopia. [2]

These conceptions are not original. There is too much authority invested in the academic neo-Marxist Frankfurt School, in general, and Herbert Marcuse, in particular, and too little acknowledgment of the distortive and disorienting political-philosophical trajectory and outcome of this petty-bourgeois radical intellectual tendency, as seen in such writings as Marcuse's demoralized and demoralizing Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (1955) and One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964). Steiner and Brenner, to be sure, do invoke other critical theorists, such as the psychoanalysts Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich. That, however, does not strengthen but rather weakens their case.

One of the arguments Steiner and Brenner make is that despite the incompatibilities of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory with orthodox Marxism, not everything by the critical theorists is worthless. That is beside the point. The question is whether or not Frankfurt School critical theory is Marxism. The turn to the neo-Marxist (or, perhaps more accurately, pseudo-Marxist) tradition becomes a justification for anti-Marxist revisionism when Steiner and Brenner unoriginally invoke the concept of Utopia and when they embrace Marcuse's Eros and Civilization. Fundamentally, they dismiss Leon Trotsky's important political admonishment in Results and Prospects (1906) that genuine Marxists have no business summoning Utopia.

Chapter seven, "The Prerequisites of Socialism," begins, "Marxism converted socialism into a science, but this does not prevent some ‘Marxists' from converting Marxism into a Utopia," and ends, "If socialism aimed at creating a new human nature within the limits of the old society it would be nothing more than a new edition of the moralistic utopias. Socialism does not aim at creating a socialist psychology as a pre-requisite to socialism, but at creating socialist conditions of life as a pre-requisite to socialist psychology." [3] Trotsky was well informed of the subjective idealist tendencies of his day, and his writings anticipate the psychodynamic Utopianism that Steiner and Brenner appropriate from Herbert Marcuse.

Eros and Civilization and Marcusean method

Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse is a non-empirical work in speculative "depth psychology" that has no grounding in therapy or clinical observation. Based on Sigmund Freud's tentative "metapsychology," Marcuse reasserts Freud's instinct and sex-based libido theory and conjectural notions of Eros, the death instinct and the primal father. Marcuse is not concerned with "psychoanalysis itself" nor with the "technical discipline which psychoanalysis has become," but with the "philosophy of psychoanalysis." [4]

Marcuse defends orthodox Freudianism, reinterprets Freud's pessimistic conclusions in Civilization and Its Discontents (1929) in Utopian terms, and believes that psychoanalysis is sociological in its substance and that "no new cultural or sociological orientation is needed to reveal this substance." That is an excuse for sociological ignorance. Marcuse adds, "Freud's ‘biologism' is social theory in a depth dimension."[5] These were not original views when they were published in 1955. Thirty years before Eros and Civilization, the Trotskyist critic Aleksandr Voronsky wrote an essay titled "Freudianism and Art" in which he outlined the Marxist position on the problem. Steiner and Brenner completely ignore this work in their polemics. Noteworthy is Voronsky's observation on the sociologization of Freudianism:

"As long as Freud's psychoanalysis is limited to an investigation of the psychology and even the psychopathology of individual people, examining them from the point of view of natural science, then he is, as they say, just the right man for the job. But Freudians, unfortunately, don't restrict themselves to this investigation; they try to analyze social intentions, feelings, views, ideas and images. From psychology they pass over to sociology, yet they remain on the foundation of studying man who is isolated from society. Acting in this way, the Freudians drag us backwards, in the best of cases, to the so-called abstract scientific point of view, which is salutary in biology, physiology and psychology, but justly condemned in sociology as far back as Marx. This is the usual mistake made by scientists when they pass from the field of science into the field of social science." [6]

Voronsky is talking about Freudians, and that makes Marcuse's sociologization of Freud more problematic than in the above case. Firstly, Marcuse was not a scientist, therapist or analyst, but a left-Heideggerian academic philosopher. (Marcuse studied with Heidegger from 1928 to 1933.) Secondly, the Freudian metapsychology Marcuse embraced had little relation to clinical data. Psychology links social science and natural science. Psychoanalysis, however, is not an experimental or quantitative field. As to the claims by some commentators that Eros and Civilization is a synthesis of Freud and Marx, that is not corroborated by an examination of the text, which offers no analysis of capitalism. Besides some Marxist-sounding phraseology (alienation, alienated labor, labor power, labor time, dialectic), Marcuse makes no citations of Marx, Engels, Lenin, or Trotsky. [7] He does not refer to Marxism, materialism, the materialist conception of history, materialist dialectics, scientific socialism, socialist consciousness, or, for that matter, any of the critical categories of Marxist analysis, such as surplus value. Nor does Marcuse apply objective Marxist methods of research.

Rather than seeing the state, law, and morals as historically mediated products of socioeconomic relations, and all mental and imaginative creations as (indirectly and mediately) determined by these same relations, Marcuse focuses on ideological-instinctual dynamics and structures (e.g., performance principle, pleasure principle, reality principle) and the repression of human instinctual needs and drives. On the basis of Freud's highly debatable theories of psychosexual drives and instincts, not material social life itself, Marcuse extrapolates a hypothesis of a non-repressive civilization. In Marcuse's own words: "The vision of a non-repressive culture, which we have lifted from a marginal trend in mythology and philosophy, aims at a new relation between instincts and reason." [8]

Marcuse's Utopian idealist method is contradicted by Marxist scientific materialist method. In the 1897 pamphlet The Materialist Conception of History, Georgi Plekhanov explains the basis of human needs and their satisfaction as follows:

"The methods by which social man satisfies his needs, and to a large extent these needs themselves, are determined by the nature of the implements with which he subjugates nature in one degree or another; in other words, they are determined by the state of his productive forces. Every considerable change in the state of these forces is reflected in man's social relations, and, therefore, in his economic relations, as part of these social relations. The idealists of all species and varieties held that economic relations were functions of human nature; the dialectical materialists hold that these relations are functions of the social productive forces." [9]

The Marxist approach to studying human needs in society is bound up with an analysis of the historical state of the productive forces, social relations, and economic relations. Marxism is a method of social analysis. The Marxist procedural approach, which Marcuse misses entirely, is elaborated by Trotsky in the speech "Dialectical Materialism and Science," written in 1925 when he was the chairman of the Scientific-Technical Board of Industry of the Soviet Union:

"The essence of Marxism consists in this, that it approaches society concretely, as a subject for objective research, and analyzes human history as one would a colossal laboratory record. Marxism appraises ideology as a subordinate integral element of the material social structure. Marxism examines the class structure of society as a historically conditioned form of the development of the productive forces; Marxism deduces from the productive forces of society the inter-relations between human society and surrounding nature, and these, in turn, are determined at each historical stage by man's technology, his instruments and weapons, his capacities and methods for struggle with nature. Precisely this objective approach arms Marxism with the insuperable power of historical foresight." [10]

Trotsky, who was of the opinion that psychoanalysis could be reconciled with materialism, nevertheless cautioned in his writings that psychoanalysis is a vague and unstable field that is open to fanciful and arbitrary ideas. [11] Eros and Civilization, which is uninterested in "technical" psychoanalytic practice and the socio-psychology of living people and social classes, confirms the admonishment. Marcuse's metapsychoanalytics amount to what Trotsky described as "pure psychology," that is, a belletristic parlor psychology that employs the terminology of Freud and does so more for literary adornment than for real analysis. [12]

Freudian terminology originates in Freudian methodology, and Marcuse does not depart all that significantly from Freud's ahistorical subjective idealist orientation. Freudian individual psychoanalysis was based on mechanical materialism and had no socioeconomic theory of history. That vacuum was filled with biological determinism—the unconscious, repression, sexual instincts, and life and death drives—unconnected to the historical development of the social productive forces and relations of production. Eros and Civilization likewise neglects historical materialism for psychosexual guesstimates and sociological impressionism. The work adds nothing to scientific thought or socialist theory. One should permit Marcuse to speak for himself:

* "This essay [Eros and Civilization] employs psychological categories because they have become political categories. [. . .] formerly autonomous and identifiable psychical processes are being absorbed by the function of the individual in the state—by his public existence. Psychological problems therefore turn into political problems. [. . .] The [present] era tends to be totalitarian even where it has not produced totalitarian states." [13]

* "Totalitarianism spreads over late industrial civilization wherever the interests of domination prevail upon productivity, arresting and diverting potentialities. The people have to be kept in a state of permanent mobilization, internal and external." [14]

* "The manipulation of consciousness which has occurred throughout the orbit of contemporary industrial civilization has been described in the various interpretations of totalitarian and ‘popular cultures': coordination of the private and public existence, of spontaneous and required actions. The promotion of thoughtless leisure activities, the triumph of anti-intellectual ideologies, exemplify the trend." [15]

* "With the decline in consciousness, with the control of information, with the absorption of the individual into mass communication, knowledge is administered and confined. The individual does not really know what is going on; the overpowering machine of education and entertainment unites him with all the others in a state of anaesthesia from which all detrimental ideas tend to be excluded. And since knowledge of the whole truth is hardly conducive to happiness, such general anaesthesia makes individuals happy." [16]

* "The collapse of the liberal era and of its promises, the spreading totalitarian trend and the efforts to counteract this trend, are reflected in the position of psychoanalysis." [17]

* "At the present stage, the personality tends toward a standardized reaction pattern established by the hierarchy of power and functions and by its technical, intellectual and cultural apparatus," and "the expressions of personality fit and sustain perfectly the socially desired pattern of behavior and thought. They thus tend to cancel individuality. This process, which has been completed in the ‘mass culture' of late industrial civilization, vitiates the concept of interpersonal relations [. . .]." [18]

* "In a period of totalitarianism [. . .] the individual has so entirely become the subject-object of manipulation that, for the ‘healthy and normal' person, even the idea of a distinction between being ‘for himself' and ‘for others' has become meaningless, in a period when the omnipotent apparatus punishes real non-conformity with ridicule and defeat [. . .]." [19]

The claim that "Western civilization" or "late industrial civilization" (i.e., North America and Western Europe) in the post-Second World War epoch is omnipotently totalitarian, even in the absence of totalitarian states, is a claim that has no basis in objective reality. Marcuse resorts to an a priori mental construction—a "pure ideology" in the terms of Friedrich Engels' Anti-Dühring (1878) [20]—that is not empirically validated in scientific research. Eros and Civilization, moreover, does not make a Marxist analysis of the socioeconomic situation and balance of class forces in the postwar period. The overall perspective suggests that Marcuse, who was lecturing at major American universities in the 1950s, was writing in disillusioned and disoriented response to the Cold War and the rightwing upsurge of McCarthyism, which virtually criminalized the Marxist critique of US capitalism.

The anticommunist witch hunts in the late 1940s to late 1950s, which took the name of Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, are notable for having caused widespread disorientation among intellectuals and within the left-radical social milieu. In the case of Marcuse, he resorted to the wildest idealism by hypothesizing a postwar totalitarian "Western civilization" where psychology is politics. Deeply pessimistic as this is, he claimed that it had an optimistic prognosis. But noticeably absent from Eros and Civilization is the role of Marxist political leadership and the revolutionary subject who will overthrow capitalism, namely, the international working class.

Marcuse speaks of revolutionary defeats, for example, and says, "Neither the prevailing constellation of power, nor immaturity of the productive forces, nor absence of class consciousness provides an adequate answer." [21] In his view, revolutions are passing moments of victory against a ruling group, events of "self-defeat" that unleash "guilt feelings." Consequently, "every revolution has also been a betrayed revolution." [22] There could not be a more non-Marxist statement of the problem. These abstract psychoanalytic notions lie outside the theory of the class struggle and have nothing to do with Marxism.

Should one accept Marcuse's theory of guilt feelings, the Stalinist betrayal of the Russian Revolution would be seen as a product of the post-revolutionary compunction of the Russian worker and peasant masses. Josef Stalin's inner-party coup in 1924 would not be understood as a bureaucratic reaction that resulted from the defeat of the socialist revolutions in the West, the political and moral exhaustion of the Russian masses after the Civil War and foreign intervention, the masses' unfamiliarity with state administration, and the prolonged confinement of the Russian Revolution in conditions of economic and cultural backwardness.

In a subsequent discussion on "phantasy" (imagination) and Utopia, Marcuse says, "No matter how justly and rationally the material production may be organized, it can never be a realm of freedom and gratification [. . .] It is the sphere outside labor which defines freedom and fulfillment." [23] Here, Marcuse fails to state that rational economic organization by the associated producers of the world and common ownership of the means of production are the preconditions of genuine freedom. As Marx explains in the third volume of Capital, "[T]he true realm of freedom [. . .] can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis." [24] Socialism subjects society to reason and conscious human control. Contrary to this Marxist principle are the mantras in Eros and Civilization such as the "tyranny of reason" and "libidinal rationality."

Marcuse's rejection of the working class

The 1966 "Political Preface" of Eros and Civilization crystallizes the political content of Marcuse's false conception of Western totalitarian civilization: "When, in the more or less affluent societies, productivity has a reached a level at which the masses participate in its benefits, and at which the opposition is effectively and democratically ‘contained,' then the conflict between master and slave is also effectively contained." [25] As far as Marcuse is concerned, the working masses in Western "affluent society," "advanced industrial society," "overdeveloped society," are impotent.

He proceeds to claim that the location of genuine social struggle has changed; he valorizes the "revolt of the backward countries;" and he disingenuously invokes the "Marxian concept [. . .] that only those who were free from the blessings of capitalism could possibly change it into a free society: those whose existence was the very negation of capitalist property could become the historical agents of liberation." [26] The language is intentionally vague and opens the door to non-proletarian class tendencies.

Marcuse characterizes the 1960s middle-class radical youth protests as a "[r]evolt against the false fathers, teachers, and heroes—solidarity with the wretched of the earth," but adds that since this is in the advanced Western countries, it is nothing more than an "instinctual solidarity," that "the political machine, the corporate machine, the cultural and educational machine [. . .] has become too big, its cohesion too strong, its function too efficient." [27] Radical protest, therefore, "assume[s] a childlike, ridiculous immaturity." [28]

Satisfied with neither the working class nor the radicalized middle-class youth, Marcuse poses a rhetorical question: "The body against the machine: men, women and children fighting, with the most primitive tools, the most brutal and destructive machine of all times and keeping it in check—does guerrilla warfare define the revolution of our time?" [29] He adds that historical backwardness will turn the wheel of progress, and he later says, "The spread of guerrilla warfare at the height of the technological century is a symbolic event." [30]

Eros and Civilization establishes an ideological basis for the rejection of the working class as a revolutionary force, and Marcuse's endorsement of "third-world" guerrillaism is not unrelated to his 1955 consignment of Western societies to a monolithic totalitarian civilization—at a time when the more rightly totalitarian Stalinist Soviet Union was still in existence. Writing off the workers of the advanced capitalist countries, Marcuse romanticizes "backward peoples," their poverty, and the guerrilla and terrorist tactics of petty-bourgeois nationalist movements. This is not Marxist internationalism. Marcuse, as is known, sympathized with Frantz Fanon, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara.

Steiner and Brenner have not lauded the petty-bourgeois nationalists; however, they assume a high-handed position with regard to the working class. That owes something to Marcuse's subjective idealist notion that psychology is politics and to his idea that "[t]he autonomous personality [. . .] has always been the privilege of a very few." [31] In the polemical defense of Utopia titled "To Know a Things Is to Know Its End," Brenner sets up a binary opposition of self-emancipating masses vis-à-vis society-running socialists. He also conflates the specific and technical Marxist political categories dictatorship of the proletariat (a workers' state) and socialist society (an international, non-class, non-state system). Socialism and communism are interchangeable terms that refer to the international classless society based on planned production for the satisfaction of human needs. [32]

Saying, "There is no contradiction between the masses emancipating themselves and socialists running society," Brenner adds, "[F]or a considerable period of time, the running of socialist society will be in the hands [. . .] of that section of the class (necessarily a large portion of it and hopefully a majority) whose political consciousness has been shaped by the revolutionary socialist movement." These socialist administrators, he argues, do not represent "a small clique of party bureaucrats but a broad section of workers imbued with socialist consciousness. And that very consciousness is itself the best guarantee against bureaucratization." [33] The point is reasserted in chapter eight of Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart. [34]

Firstly, it is misleading to state that consciousness is a "guarantee" against bureaucratization. Political consciousness is one of the weapons to combat bureaucracy, the roots of which are material and social, not psychological. Bureaucracy is a socioeconomic-structural question and arises from the isolation of a revolution, as was the case in the Soviet Union. Even an isolated workers' state in America can degenerate into a bureaucratic system.

Secondly, a workers' state does not entail "a large portion" of socialists (party cadres) administering society. The party is an agency of workers' power, a medium to organize on the basis of a socialist program and seize power. Political leadership does not replace the working class or make the workers' revolution. Moreover, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a dictatorship of the party. It is not a party-state. Working people of all strata, professions, political beliefs, and levels of social consciousness will enter the process of democratic self-rule and competition of their views, as the forces of production are concentrated in their hands. The party guides workers with its political experience and historical memory, but it cannot tell workers what to do. The transition from capitalism to socialism must be based on the popular will of the workers themselves in their own self-organized committees and councils. The system of workers' councils—not the party—is the ruling apparatus of the workers' state. That is how workers are organized as the ruling class.

Thirdly, if classes and states still exist under socialism, then socialism does not exist.

But all of this is unacceptable to Steiner and Brenner, since they are convinced that "Marxist leadership" and "socialist consciousness in the working class" amount to the same thing. [35] Contrary to what Steiner and Brenner assume, Lenin and Trotsky never held the view that "the dictatorship of the proletariat [. . .] was always understood to mean the dictatorship of the class conscious proletariat." [36] The workers' state is not the province of Marxist political leaders or psychologically advanced sections of the working class, but of the whole working class.

Considering Marcuse's abstract speculative method in Eros and Civilization and its anti-working class orientation, it is stunning that Steiner and Brenner accord such a methodologically flawed and politically misguided work so much guiding importance. They appeal to the authority of a pseudo-Marxist critical theorist and a non-specialist in psychoanalysis, making a case for the infusion of the Marcusean conception of Eros into the political program of the Marxist party, which will supposedly "eroticize" the social life of the working class. In Frank Brenner's unforgettable words:

"Leaving aside the feasibility (or desirability) of guaranteeing orgasm, there remains a vital point here: ending the tyranny of the genitals is as essential as ending the tyranny of economics if a genuinely human existence is to be possible. In Eros and Civilization, Marcuse would explore much the same territory, only this time incorporating the advances of Freudian psychology: his vision of a non-repressive civilization entailed a redirecting of libido to ‘eroticize normally non- and anti-erotic relationships between individuals, and between them and their environment.' In communism, eros replaces cash as the primary nexus between human beings." [37]

This is, to say the least, a total rejection of the materialist conception of history. One cannot help but wonder what practical measures would flow from Brenner's analysis. If the "tyranny of the genitals" is as great a barrier to "a genuinely human existence" as "the tyranny of economics," it would follow that the Marxist party must devote at least as much time to combating the former as to fighting the latter. What precisely would that entail? Brenner's bizarre and disoriented project flows from his elevation of Marcuse's speculative and even dubious psychoanalytic propositions above Marx's scientifically grounded analysis of capitalism and the driving forces of social development.

Psychoanalysis, even when done properly, does not explain things like the declining world position of American capitalism, the eruption of neo-colonialism and militarism, the bursting of the United States housing bubble, the subprime mortgage crisis, the problem of rising unemployment, and the global financial meltdown, all of which are the outcome of objective structural processes that operate independently of people's private parts. In another document, the title of which borrows a phrase from the Marcusean social historian Russell Jacoby, Brenner applauds the Frankfurt School for its interpretation of dialectics:

"It was the strength of the Critical Theorists that they brought dialectical analysis to bear on the subjective factor, i.e., on psychology, the culture industry, consumerism, etc. (A notable example of this is Marcuse's brilliant reading of Freud in Eros and Civilization.) Marxism in the 21st century is neither conceivable nor viable without assimilating the best insights of these thinkers. [. . .] The only way to preserve the heritage of Marxism is to renew and develop it—and that means, among other things, assimilating the insights into subjectivity that can be gained from Critical Theory." [38]

This statement is a complete repudiation of Trotskyism. To state that Marxism is not viable in the twenty first century without the insights of the Frankfurt School is another way of saying that the Marxism defended for decades by the ICFI—i.e., Trotskyism—was flawed and inadequate. If it proves nothing else, the said statement makes clear that the pretense under which Steiner and Brenner launched their attack on David North and the ICFI was politically and intellectually dishonest. Both men claimed they were defending the heritage of the ICFI against North's abandonment of Marxism and the traditions of the ICFI. But in the course of their polemics, Steiner and Brenner openly declare that this heritage is not viable. They insist that it is necessary to incorporate the petty-bourgeois Frankfurt School into the politics of the internationalist socialist movement, that is, the Trotskyist movement.

Steiner and Brenner fail to explain how the "heritage of Marxism" can be preserved by a class politics, philosophy, and ideology that is alien to it. Moreover, Steiner and Brenner mix up subjective factors and objective factors. The objective source of the subjective element, its objective components, and its dependence on socioeconomic factors are either minimized or ignored in Marcuse's Eros and Civilization. Likewise, in Steiner and Brenner's Marcusean-influenced psychodynamic Utopianism, the subjective factor is decisive. The ideal determines the material.

Subjective factors and objective factors

Following Marcuse, Brenner incorrectly identifies and confuses objective and subjective factors. The latter is not simply psychology, the culture industry, and consumerism, as Brenner defines it. The first of these is a collection of human mental states and processes. Psychology, moreover, is ultimately determined by social conditions, which are themselves determined by the state of the productive forces and social relations of production. More specifically, the psychology of the working class at any given point is a subjective factor that is conditioned by objective factors. As for the culture industry and consumerism, these arise on the basis of capitalist relations and are among the several objective factors that influence workers' social and political conceptions. Steiner and Brenner have forgotten the ABCs of Marxism.

Trotsky clearly states the distinction between subjective factors and objective factors in his 1906 Results and Prospects: "Besides the subjective factors—consciousness, preparedness and initiative, the development of which also have their own logic—the proletariat in carrying out its policy comes up against a number of objective factors such as the policy of the ruling classes and the existing state institutions (such as the army, the class schools, the State church), international relations, etc." [39]

Other writings by Trotsky throughout his career as a professional revolutionary yield several more scientific Marxist definitions of the subjective factor that are consistent with the teachings of Lenin:

* parties and their programs

* the aims, the conscious method, the party

* the conscious will of the proletarian vanguard

* the conscious vanguard of the proletariat, its party

* the party capable of leading the working class to victory

* a correct formulation of the tasks, a firm and clear leadership

* the striving to change this world

* the party, the organization of the masses, slogans

* the political culture of the proletariat

* the dynamic revolutionary will of the working class

* the traditions, the initiative, and the readiness to fight of the workers

* the proletariat's consciousness of its power and its ability to apply this power

* the revolutionary will and the revolutionary consciousness of the working class

* the working class' understanding of its position in society and the workers' own organizations

* the will, organization, and consciousness of the proletariat to carry out the revolution

The World Socialist Web Site, the online center of the International Committee of the Fourth International, has consistently defined the subjective factor in these orthodox Marxist terms. Besides the above definitions, there is also the following helpful schematic by Trotsky through which one can readily comprehend the role of the subjective factor in the actuation of the working class socialist revolution:

"Marxism teaches us that in order for the proletarian revolution to become possible there must be given, schematically speaking, three premises or conditions. The first premise is the conditions of production. Productive technique must have attained such heights as to provide economic gains from the replacement of capitalism by socialism. Secondly, there must be a class interested in effecting this change and sufficiently strong to achieve it, that is, a class numerically large enough and playing a sufficiently important role in economy to introduce this change. The reference here is, of course, to the working class. And thirdly, this class must be prepared to carry out the revolution. It must have the will to carry it out, and must be sufficiently organized and conscious to be capable of carrying it out. We pass here into the domain of the so-called subjective factors and subjective premises for the proletarian revolution. If with these three criteria—productive-technological, social-class and subjective-politicalwe approach the three spheres indicated by me, then the difference between them becomes strikingly apparent." [40]

Psychology in the more specific sense of proletarian class consciousness is a subjective factor. Marcusean Eros and Utopia are not. Steiner and Brenner make a few references to the subjective factor as the "revolutionary vanguard"; however, their neo-Marxist critical theory denatures such terms of their Marxist political content. The Frankfurt School—with its pessimistic theory of the "culture industry" (Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse)—was not a socialist workers' organization, much less a revolutionary party, but an eclectic academic leftist research institute.

Since the Frankfurt School existed above the struggles of workers, did not lead mass social movements, and does not have a history of organized opposition to Stalinism and Pabloism (pseudo-Trotskyism), the school fails as a center of Marxist political leadership, whose task is "to raise the subjective factor to the level of the objective and to bring the consciousness of the masses closer to the understanding of the historical necessity—in simpler terms, to explain to the masses their own interests, which they do not yet understand." [41]

The Marxist party is not the Frankfurt School, and Marxists are not Marcuseans. Confirming their anti-Marxism, Steiner and Brenner say things like "[David] North's attacks on ‘neo-utopianism' are part and parcel of his objectivism, of his capitulation to spontaneous consciousness. Confronting anti-utopianism is an essential part of confronting the problems of the development of political consciousness in the working class," and "anti-utopianism that is the real expression of political pessimism." [42]

There is no precedent in Marxist political practice for the infusion of Utopian ideas and impulses—to say nothing of the sexual-libidinal conception of Eros—into the working class through the agency of workers' power (i.e., the revolutionary party). That was not a fundamental political necessity of the scientific socialist program outlined in the Communist Manifesto, nor of the struggle waged by the Bolsheviks, nor of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, nor of the struggle of the Left Opposition, nor of the struggle of the Fourth International, and it is not a political necessity in the work of the ICFI.

If Steiner and Brenner do not believe that their false petty-bourgeois ideology is antithetical to Marxism, they can read, along with chapter seven of Results and Prospects, Trotsky's 1908 literary sketch "On Death and Eros," which is set in a Parisian café and whose main characters are a Marxist journalist, a professor of philology, and a shy young man. The two antagonists accuse the Marxist of denying that much of life is taken up by sex and death, and they speculate on the sexually harmonious "new man" of the future. The protagonist comes to his own defense:

"First of all, you were wrong to interrupt me. Secondly, you very unskillfully construct the man of the future in your own image. Thirdly, let me tell you frankly that I have yet to spend one sleepless night thinking of the feelings of the man of the future. Let him make his own order within himself: as for us [historical materialists], we shall be content with having left to him a good economy outside himself." [43]


"You want harmony? Whether or not you can set this longing of yours for personal harmony in a social perspective, you must admit that harmony without completeness, without retention of all that we have won through the torments of historical development, harmony attained through surgically removing all contradictions and through psychological oversimplification is absolutely unacceptable, even if it weren't a hopeless utopia. Dans le véritable amour c'est l'âme qui enveloppe le corps (in true love, it is the soul that envelops the body). On the stem of sexual love such psychological flowers have grown as we neither want nor dare give up. For otherwise what we should get would be the ‘harmony' of the cattle-yard." [44]

Self-reflective Utopias, psychological oversimplifications, and pseudo-psychoanalysis that dictate Eros, love, and sex are "absolutely unacceptable" in the political perspective, program, and principles of revolutionary Marxism (Trotskyism) and the present-day embodiment of Trotsky's Fourth International, the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Frommism is not a political alternative

Erich Fromm, a member of the Frankfurt School from 1928 to 1938 and Marcuse's intellectual rival, whom Steiner and Brenner occasionally invoke, said that Marcuse's praise of sadism as an expression of human sexual freedom, and the idea that the goal of happiness is achieved through unlimited expression of sexual instincts, betrayed his ignorance of Freud. [45] But Fromm did call Marcuse's Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory (1941) a "brilliant and profound book," a "brilliant and penetrating book," "the most important work [in the United States] which has opened up an understanding of Marx's humanism," and Fromm recommended it with Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958) to understand the philosophical basis of Marx's thought. [46]

Despite emphasizing the misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and distortions of psychoanalysis in Eros and Civilization, Fromm made the following statement in "The Alleged Radicalism of Herbert Marcuse:" "[H]is position is exactly opposite the one presented in my books, although in some respects there are affinities to the line of critical thought that I expressed not only in my early writings at the beginning of the 1930s but also in Escape from Freedom (1941) and in subsequent books." [47]

This admission of the "affinities to the line of critical thought" in Fromm's own "early writings" and "subsequent books" points to the fact that Fromm and Marcuse were not fundamentally divergent thinkers, but figures whose intellectual tendencies had parallel and converging points of development. Their differences were real, but not decisive enough to render their views philosophically and politically incompatible. Fromm may have been disowned by the family of neo-Marxism, but he was still related to it.

Fromm's revision of psychoanalysis, termed "humanist psychoanalysis" or "humanistic psychoanalysis," is not an alternative to Marcusean "left" Freudianism, nor is it is wise to adopt Fromm's socio-psychoanalytic categories in Marxist analysis for the fundamental reason that entrenched in Fromm's neo-Marxist/neo-Freudian social psychology is a theory of politics and society that is indebted to the non-Marxist theory of "state capitalism" and to the politically reformist Socialist Party of America (SPA). Fromm joined the SPA in the mid-1950s, drafted its revised program in 1960, and retained membership in the reorganized Socialist Party USA after the 1972-1973 SPA split.

Fromm rejected Lenin's position on consciousness and spontaneity; he believed Lenin had "no faith in man;" he saw the revolutionary party (contrary to the historical evidence) as an elitist organization; and he said the "destruction of Socialism" began with Lenin. [48] Making Lenin responsible for Stalin, Fromm added that Lenin "had not believed that quality of character was important for a person's function." The psychoanalyst also brushed off the dictatorship of the proletariat as "nebulous and misleading," saying the "great weakness" of Marx and Lenin was that they "had no concrete plans for a socialist or communist society." [49]

The hopeless Utopianism of Fromm is seen not only in his rejection of Marxism, but also in his rejection of the masses of workers. As far as he was concerned, the middle class was the more alienated class (psychologically speaking), workers were only "manual workers," and, as the argument goes, an ever decreasing minority of the population. [50] The essence of Fromm's so-called "humanistic socialism" is thus:

"Today [1976], the appeal of the new society goes to all who suffer alienation, who are employed, and whose property is not threatened. In other words, it concerns the majority of the population, not merely a minority. It does not threaten to take anybody's property, and as far as income is concerned, it would raise the standard of living of those who are poor. High salaries for the top executives would not have to be lowered, but if the system worked, they would not want to be symbols of time past.

"Furthermore, the ideals of the new society cross all party lines: many conservatives have not lost their ethical and religious ideals [. . .], and the same holds true of many liberals and leftists. Each political party exploits the voters by persuading them that it represents the true values of humanism. Yet behind all political parties are only two camps: those who care and those who don't care. If all those in the camp that cares could rid themselves of party clichés and realize that they have the same goals, the possibility of change would seem to be considerably greater; especially so since most citizens have become less and less interested in party loyalty and party slogans. People today are yearning for human beings who have wisdom and convictions and the courage to act according to their convictions.

"Given even these hopeful factors, however, the chances for necessary human and social changes remain slim. Our only hope lies in the energizing attraction of a new vision. To propose this or that reform that does not change the system is useless in the long run because it does not carry with it the impelling force of a strong motivation. The ‘utopian' goal is more realistic than the ‘realism' of today's leaders. The realization of the new society and new Man is possible only if the old motivations of profit and power are replaced by new ones: being, sharing, understanding; if the marketing character is replaced by the productive, loving character; if cybernetic religion is replaced by a new radical-humanistic spirit." [51]

No working class struggle, no political parties, no expropriation of the capitalist class, no abolition of the profit system—but ethical and religious ideals, wisdom, convictions, courage, hope, a new vision, a Utopian goal, a productive loving character, and a new radical-humanistic spirit. This is not scientific socialism but the superstitious belief in prayers and miracles. In a revealing display of Frommism in practice, eight years before the above-cited lines were published, Fromm supported Democrat Eugene McCarthy for the 1968 presidential nomination. A decade earlier, Fromm helped organize the liberal nuclear-pacifist pressure group SANE, now called Peace Action. McCarthy, who died in 2005 at the age of 89, played a critical role in the political crisis of 1968. Patrick Martin of the World Socialist Web Site writes:

"McCarthy was quite conscious that his overriding task was to block the development of an independent political movement against the Vietnam War that would break with the two main capitalist parties. In announcing his candidacy on November 30, 1967, he declared his intention to combat any tendency ‘to make threats of support for third parties or fourth parties or other irregular political movements.' This defense of the two-party political monopoly, at the moment of its greatest crisis in the post-World War II period, was a vital service to the American ruling elite." [52]

Fromm had no grasp of Marxism either as philosophy or politics. This is seen in the incorporation of religious mysticism into his work—particularly Talmudism and Zen Buddhism—despite his declared atheism. A neo-Marxist like Marcuse, Fromm ultimately did not understand materialist dialectics. He falsely described Marx's philosophy as "spiritual existentialism in secular language" and "prophetic messianism," and he said Marx's socialism is "the realization of the deepest religious impulses common to the great humanistic religions." [53] Marxism is a science and has nothing to do with religion and religious impulses. Frommism, in contrast, is penetrated by liberal bourgeois humanism, petty-bourgeois subjectivism, and religious ideologies.

Despite Marcuse's charge that Fromm was a conformist and revisionist, Marcuse himself does not fare well against the politics of modern Marxism (i.e., orthodox Trotskyism). He was a professorial idealist and Utopian academic leftist. Steiner and Brenner may not place as much faith in Fromm as they do in Marcuse; however, their various citations of Fromm's writings indicate philosophical affinities with certain of his perspectives. Consequently, in spite of their leanings to Marcusean psychoanalysis, Steiner and Brenner select what they want from Frommism and eclectically incorporate it into their Utopian socialist project.

Neo-Marxism and post-modern Marxism

The intellectual line of development of neo-Marxism, including its petty-bourgeois politics and non-dialectical materialism, has made it assimilable into the reactionary subjective idealist school of post-modernism, whose leading representatives include Blanchot, Baudrillard, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Levinas, and Lyotard. Critical theorists like the American academic Fredric Jameson, for example, are on the borderline between the neo-Marxists and post-modernists. Steiner and Brenner are not too far from this borderline social milieu.

"By the 1990s, critical theory had expanded in meaning from the original Frankfurt School work to represent a broader body of scholarship in post-modern, post-colonial and cultural studies. [. . .] The Frankfurt School had been transformed from a relatively obscure network of scholars to become an influential school of thought on the margins of the academy," says one commentator. [54] Neo-Marxism has turned into post-modern Marxism, or, in the more fashionable academic terminology, post-Marxism.

It is outside the scope of this essay to address post-Marxism in any detail. Suffice it to say that when Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot speak of "Steiner's light-minded approach of picking up books and ideas as and where he can," and continue, "His theories are a melange of such objets trouvés [found items]. He is always eclectic, ungrounded and erratic. His work reveals a mind in chaos. The one theme that binds it together is a constant hostility to objective thought and resistance to its liberation from the authority of dogma," [55] their characterization could as well be applied to Slavoj Zizek, a leading figure in post-Marxism.

Despite Zizek's formal criticisms of post-modernism, an article in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Zizek Studies describes him in the following terms: "Slavoj Zizek represents the new post-modernist left in all the energy and conceptual audacity of its effort to formulate strikingly new concepts and boldly go where we could not as long as our thought was hedged in by the need to preserve the guarantees. Zizek is (arguably) the most important theorist on the left today." [56] The Slovenian philosopher sits on the editorial board of the journal named after him.

Zizek, who is not unlike Steiner and Brenner in their Utopian project to synthesize Marcusean psychoanalysis and Marxism, combines Lacanian psychoanalysis and something that passes for Marxism. This eclecticism is seen in the book that launched Zizek's name, The Sublime Object of Ideology (1989), which is prefaced by the political opportunist Ernesto Laclau, co-author with Chantel Mouffe of Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985). Zizek is a haphazard and pretentious thinker, and his politics leaves much to be desired. He is not a Marxist.

This does not mean neo-Marxism and post-Marxism are synonyms. Zizek, in his rambling postface to Georg Lukacs' Tailism and the Dialectic (2002), criticizes the Frankfurt School for its tradition of "almost total absence of theoretical confrontation with Stalinism." The school maintained "the official mask of its ‘radical' leftist critique" and did not acknowledge its solidarity with liberal bourgeois democracy, as that would have deprived the critical theorists of "their ‘radical' aura." [57] But it is precisely this pseudo-Marxist aura that both the neo- and post-Marxists share.

Ironically, Steiner claims that "feelings of ‘party-patriotism' will blind many members and supporters" from seeing "the [Socialist Equality] party's abstentionism and estrangement from the working class," and that "the SEP's theoretical degeneration" has been laid bare in Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart. [58] Steiner has a very low opinion of the ability of SEP members and supporters to seriously think through theoretical, political, and historical questions.

In relation to the historical development of Marxism, it is especially important to note Steiner and Brenner's denunciations of Georgi Plekhanov, the founder of Russian Marxism. Their attack on this outstanding theoretician is another example of their contemptuous attitude toward the heritage of the Marxist movement. Steiner and Brenner would have their readers believe that their assessment of Plekhanov is in keeping with Lenin's critique of the leaders of the Second International in the aftermath of the outbreak of the first imperialist world war in 1914. Nothing could be further from the truth. Steiner and Brenner's repudiation of Plekhanov's theoretical work reproduces not the attitude of Lenin and Trotsky, but that of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals of the Frankfurt School. Notwithstanding Lenin and Trotsky's bitter opposition to Plekhanov's politics after 1914, the co-leaders of the Russian Revolution continued to view him as a great Marxist theoretician.

Steiner began his series of attacks on David North by denouncing the latter's appraisal of Plekhanov's theoretical work; however, Steiner conveniently ignores what the Bolsheviks wrote about the Russian Marxist. Steiner and Brenner say that "Plekhanov's version of the dialectic was superficial and fatally flawed," [59] and that he was a "mechanical materialist who believed in the inevitability of socialism emerging as a result of the maturation of objective conditions." [60] But Voronsky, writing in 1920, explained that "Plekhanov completely mastered both the spirit and method of Marx's teachings. Under his pen the revolutionary doctrine became animated with all its flexibility, profundity and merciless severity." [61]

Aside from the falsification of history undertaken by Steiner and Brenner, the fundamental substance of their allegations is that the ICFI has adopted Plekhanov's "objectivism" and that "dialectics is a dead letter" in the ICFI. [62] For the record, the Marxist party does not create mass working class struggles. The inevitability of revolutionary events is the outcome of the structural contradictions and crisis of capitalism.

Steiner and Brenner's criticism reproduces the basic objections of the Frankfurt School to the Marxist insistence that objective social being determines subjective social consciousness, that social revolution is the historically determined outcome of objective socioeconomic processes, and that the principal pedagogical task of the revolutionary party is to develop within the working class a scientifically grounded understanding of capitalist society and the class struggle. The attack on "objectivism"—whether of Plekhanov or, for that matter, North—is, in essence, a rejection of historical materialism.

The era of social revolution develops out of the objective situation. Through no fault of their own, workers do not spontaneously develop socialist consciousness from objective conditions. The political consciousness of workers is, however, radicalized by the force of the objective, that is, by the material and economic. As Marx said, "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness." [63] Material life has a material impact on consciousness, and thereupon arises social opposition by the workers themselves.

This has been seen, for example, in the courageous but limited struggle of the 250 laid-off workers at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, Illinois. When the company folded up, the workers occupied their factory for six days, beginning on December 5, 2008, winning wages and benefits they were legally entitled to. The mass social struggle in Greece is also testimony to the self-action of the working class. When Athens police murdered fifteen-year-old student Alexis Grigoropoulos on December 6, Greek society exploded with tens of thousands of students, youth, and workers taking to the streets nationwide in protests, strikes, and battles against armed riot police. The ongoing struggle is fundamentally underlain by deteriorating social conditions in the midst of the world financial crisis.

The Marxist party fights for an independent perspective—an understanding of the nature of the objective situation and its revolutionary implications—political authority in the international working class, and the tasks that will confront workers in the era of social revolution, in the era of the workers' self-emancipation. As a revolutionary mood begins to develop among workers, intellectuals, and youth, they will utilize internet and communication technologies to organize their struggle; they will become increasingly aware of the presence and interventions of the World Socialist Web Site and the ICFI; and they will determine on their own if the ICFI is the party and leadership that defends and serves their class interests.

In closing, the psychodynamic Utopianism of Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory has a had a profound impact on the political orientation of Alex Steiner and Frank Brenner. Both men provide sufficient indication of their departure from revolutionary Marxism and materialist dialectics into the realm of neo-Marxist subjective idealism and the post-Marxist borderline. Their assertions cannot be taken seriously on political and logical grounds. There is too much middle-class radicalism, too much impatience, too much reductio ad absurdum, and too much that is foreign to Marxism in their entire line of argumentation.


1. Alex Steiner, "Unable to Answer Our Political Criticisms: The WSWS Resorts to a Smear Campaign," Permanent Revolution, 9 November 2008.

2. Frank Brenner, "To Know a Thing Is to Know Its End: On Why Utopia Is Crucial to a Revival of Socialist Consciousness" [PDF], May 2003, Permanent Revolution.

3. Leon Trotsky, Results and Prospects, Marxists Internet Archive, 1996.

4. Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966) p. 7; italics in original.

5. Ibid., pp. 5-6.

6. Aleksandr K. Voronsky, Art as the Cognition of Life: Selected Writings, 1911-1936, trans and ed. Frederick S. Choate (Oak Park, Michigan: Mehring Books, 1998) p. 193-94.

7. Marcuse makes one passing mention of Lenin, lining him up in parentheses with Jesus, Socrates, and Giordano Bruno. See Marcuse, 1966, p. 256.

8. Marcuse, 1966, p. 197; emphasis added.

9. G. V. Plekhanov, The Materialist Conception of History, Marxists Internet Archive, 2004; italics in original.

10. Leon Trotsky, "Dialectical Materialism and Science," Marxists Internet Archive, 2006.

11. Leon Trotsky, "Communist Policy Toward Art," Marxists Internet Archive, 2007; Leon Trotsky, My Life, Marxists Internet Archive, 2007.

12. Leon Trotsky, "On the Suppressed Testament of Lenin," Marxist Internet Archive, 2007.

13. Marcuse, 1966, p. xxvii.

14. Ibid., p. 93.

15. Ibid., p. 94.

16. Ibid., p. 104.

17. Ibid., p. 238.

18. Ibid., pp. 252, 253.

19. Ibid., p. 266.

20. Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science, Marxists Internet Archive, 1996.

21. Marcuse, 1966, p. 90.

22. Ibid., p. 91.

23. Ibid., p. 156.

24. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 3, Marxists Internet Archive, 2007.

25. Ibid., p. xv.

26. Ibid., p. xvi.

27. Ibid., pp. xvi-xvii; emphasis added. See Frantz Fanon's book of the same title.

28. Ibid., p. xxi. 

29. Ibid., p. xvii.

30. Ibid., p. xix.

31. Ibid., p. 252.

32. James P. Cannon, Socialism on Trial: The Courtroom Testimony of James P. Cannon, Marxists Internet Archive, 2003.

33. Brenner, "To Know a Thing Is to Know Its End," p. 2.

34. Frank Brenner and Alex Steiner, Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart: A Reply to David North, 2007, Permanent Revolution, p. 203.

35. Frank Brenner, "On the Vulgar Critique of Vulgar Materialism," Permanent Revolution, April 2008, p. 6.

36. Frank Brenner and Alex Steiner, Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart, p. 204; italics in original.

37. Brenner, "To Know a Thing Is to Know Its End," p. 35; emphasis added.

38. Brenner, "On the Vulgar Critique of Vulgar Materialism," p. 17.

39. Trotsky, Results and Prospects.

40. Leon Trotsky, "Report on the Communist International," Marxists Internet Archive, 2002; emphasis added.

41. Leon Trotsky, "Centrist Alchemy or Marxism?" Marxists Internet Archive, 2003.

42. Frank Brenner and Alex Steiner, Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart, pp. 239, 240.

43. Leon Trotsky, Culture and Revolution in the Thought of Leon Trotsky (London: Porcupine Press, 1999) p. 57

44. Ibid., p. 62.

45. Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992) pp. 314-315, 512n24.

46. Erich Fromm, The Revision of Psychoanalysis, ed. Rainer Funk (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1992) p. 112; Erich Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1961) pp. 1n1, 74, Questia.

47. Fromm, The Revision of Psychoanalysis, p. 111; emphasis added.

48. Erich Fromm, The Sane Society, (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992) p. 238-39, 265; italics in original.

49. Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be? (New York: Bantam Books, 1988) pp. 120, 161.

50. Ibid., p. 185.

51. Ibid., p. 186; italics in original.

52. Patrick Martin, "Eugene McCarthy, Dead at 89, Played Pivotal Role in 1968 Political Crisis," 30 December 2005.

53. Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man, pp. 5, 63.

54. Neil McLaughlin, "Origin Myths in the Social Sciences: Fromm, the Frankfurt School and the Emergence of Critical Theory," Canadian Journal of Sociology 24, 1 (1999): 109-39, CJS Online.

55. Ann Talbot and Chris Talbot, "Marxism and Science: An addendum to 'The Frankfurt School vs. Marxism'," World Socialist Web Site, 28 October 2008.

56. Walter A. Davis, "A Postmodernist Response to 9-11: Slavoj Zizek, or the Jouissance of an Abstract Hegelian," International Journal of Zizek Studies 1, 0 (2007); italics in original.

57. Slavoj Zizek, Postface: Georg Lukacs as the Philosopher of Leninism, A Defence of History and Class Consciousness: Tailism and the Dialectic, by Georg Lukacs, trans. Esther Leslie (New York: Verso, 2002) pp. 157, 158.

58. Alex Steiner, "The SEP's 2008 Election Campaign," Permanent Revolution: Commentary on Issues of Marxist Theory and Practice, 22 October 2008.

59. Alex Steiner, "The Dialectical Path of Cognition and Revolutionizing Practice: A Reply to David North," 8 March 2004, Permanent Revolution, p. 9.

60. Frank Brenner and Alex Steiner, Marxism without Its Head or Its Heart, p. 64.

61. Voronsky, Art as the Cognition of Life, p. 21.

62. Frank Brenner and Alex Steiner, "Objectivism or Marxism: A Letter to the International Committee of the Fourth International," Permanent Revolution, May 2006, p. 4.

63. Karl Marx, Preface, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marxists Internet Archive, 1999.