I’ve always meant to read Castoriadis, but never gotten around to it. For one thing he was a huge influence on other people I read and take from (Solidarity UK, CLR James, Facing Reality, Glaberman, etc). He also came to reject Marxism, and takes lots of heat from it from orthodox marxists, which to me says there could be something to him, like my friends from Faridabad Majdoor Samachar. Castoriadis came to ideas that seem obvious to many of us now, but were from Mars 30 years ago. The division between workers and management, autogestion, the notion of revolution as autonomy of society as a whole, rejection of ideas about the economy/superstructure, determinism, party dictatorship, etc.

Now I’ve discovered that Castoriadis presents a new theory of consciousness that abandoned the traditional marxist notions of false consciousness. I can’t find any of his writings I can quote (they’re in book form or on google books), however he rejects the seperation between theory and practice, and the idea that ideas are exclusively the products of economic classes. Castoriadis sought to refound our ideas about consciousness (though it seems like he only touches on this in his broader discussions of economic and social agency) on active rationality of people who come to ideas from any number of routes, and who are capable of transformation through active engagement in autonomous struggle and self-reflection. I have to do further research into his works to draw any conclusions.

I’ve also discovered Zero Work/Midnight Notes partly came to their understanding of the problems with traditional marxist economics and the role of self-organization in history via Castoriadis. See this link.


Rawick: Facing Reality

I just found out about Rawick, a member of Facing Reality and theorist of working class self-organization and black liberation struggles. Here  he discusses worker self activity in struggle, and the problem it posed for the traditional leftist ideas about struggle. I had never heard of any of the lesser players in Facing Reality so included him as a historical point for those interested in that.