Celebrate good type

Back in August, my review for a new work of criticism by Barbara Foley went live on Full Stop Magazine.

It’s a celebratory review, as it was an exciting book to read. I could have found more faults—maybe I should have? I had differences with some of the Marxist formulations on capitalism, but they seemed to pedantic for a literary review. I mentioned Foley’s previous work, but I did not mention her politics, like her work with the Progressive Labor Party. That is, while I celebrated her push-back against idealist forms of politics and criticism, I did not emphasize that they generally come from a mechanical-leaning materialism, one that leads to class reductionism (though I do not think that is the case in this text).

Ultimately, however, I think it works out. The nature of polemic involves bending the stick too far the other way in the effort to correct a deviation. It is as Engels said in an important letter from September 1890:

Marx and I are ourselves partly to blame for the fact that the younger people sometimes lay more stress on the economic side than is due to it. We had to emphasize the main principle vis-à-vis our adversaries, who denied it, and we had not always the time, the place or the opportunity to give their due to the other elements involved in the interaction.

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