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Ishay Landa

20th-century European Fascism is conventionally described by both historians and political scientists as a fierce assault on liberal politics, culture and economics. Departing from such typical analysis, this book highlights the long overlooked critical affinities between liberal tradition and fascism. Far from being the antithesis of liberalism, fascism, both in its ideology and its practice, was substantially, if dialectically, indebted to liberalism, particularly to its economic variant. Fascism ought to be seen centrally as an effort to unknot the longue durée tangle of the liberal order, as it finally collided, head on, with mass democracy. This brilliantly provocative thesis is sustained through innovative and incisive readings of seminal political thinkers, from Locke and Burke, to Proudhon, Bagehot, Sorel and Schmitt.
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The Negation of Abnegation

Marx on Consumption

Ishay Landa

Abstract

This essay revisits Karl Marx’s understanding of consumption, in an effort to rescue it from the overshadowing legacy of critical theory which has construed Marx as inveighing against false needs. It is argued that Marx regarded the expansion of needs entailed by capitalism in a generally favourable way, but saw capitalism as a system yoking use-value to the imperatives of profit accumulation, hence limiting and subjugating the consumption of the masses. While Marx’s position was radically different from conventional anti-consumerism it is equally incompatible with complacent affirmations of ‘the consumer society’ in that Marx at all times aimed at a revolutionary change which will transform consumption both quantitatively and qualitatively. Marx’s views are first discussed as expressed in the perennially-cited text, the 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. The second part moves on to examine the further evolution of Marx’s ideas as found in later texts, particularly the Grundrisse.