Marxism in a Lost Century: A Biography of Paul Mattick (Historical Materialism)

Marxism in a Lost Century: A Biography of Paul Mattick (Historical Materialism)

Language: English

Pages: 342

ISBN: 1608465535

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Marxism in a Lost Century retells the history of the radical left during the twentieth century through the words and deeds of Paul Mattick. An adolescent during the German revolutions that followed World War I, he was also a recent émigré to the United States during the 1930s Great Depression, when the unemployed groups in which he participated were among the most dynamic manifestations of social unrest. Three biographical themes receive special attention—the self-taught nature of left-wing activity, Mattick’s experiences with publishing, and the nexus of men, politics, and friendship. Mattick found a wide audience during the 1960s because of his emphasis on the economy’s dysfunctional aspects and his advocacy of workplace councils—a popularity mirrored in the cyclical nature of the global economy.













dramatic, with a real flair for stylish clothing. Mattick was deeply enthralled. Seven years his senior, she was also very worldly: ‘for me sex was as natural as taking a bath or going for a walk with a loved one. I never knew remorse, or had hang-ups about my virginity or purity—I became the most delightful partner to all the men who loved me 36  Mattick’s colleagues included Franz Seiwert, chair of the city’s aaue, and Heinrich Hoerle, among others. Everett 1990; Bohnen 1976; Bohnen 1978;

received but did not make copies of those he wrote.5 Reading this one-sided correspondence is akin to viewing a half-empty refrigerator while in the throes of hunger. With each return visit, the odds and ends of edible items somehow appear increasingly savoury and usable. Nonetheless, if not for the letters collected by others, Mattick’s voice would be entirely absent. During the 1930s, Mattick belonged to a second generation of council communists who were more interested than their predecessors

on a chain gang, Mattick told the officers that he needed the bathroom. At the gas station, he locked himself inside and refused to come out. The station attendant took pity and intimidated the police by telling them that a warrant was needed for an arrest. When they left to obtain one, the attendant helped Mattick arrange a ride with the next customer.63 That autumn, Mattick spent several months in New York, where he had gone in search of work.64 Now that he was unemployed, trips away from

League focused on the relief station (welfare office) as the basic unit of organisation—the functional equivalent of a workplace. This was where the unemployed gathered, where it was possible to speak with them about social and economic conditions, and where one could discuss possible next steps that they might take collectively. The Socialists and Communists, on the other hand, organised the unemployed into neighbourhood councils; in other words, their model was political rather than economic in

posture: Karl Korsch to Mattick, 1 January 1939 (Gesamtausgabe). 28  Anton Pannekoek to Mattick, 14 June 1935 (iish: Pannekoek). International Council Correspondence 143 when Mattick claimed that funds were suddenly lacking.29 None of this, however, permanently damaged their relationship. Pannekoek was one of the few authors to appear in icc during all of 1936. Even when Mattick received promises regarding submissions to icc, a long and arduous process was often involved. Mattick began a

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