- Posted October 13, 2012 by
Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Counter Culture or Scientific Socialism – In Defense of Piyaseeli against Amarakeerthi
The Lecture was titled “Counter Culture or Scientific Socialism” and was delivered in Singhalese by Comrade Panini Wijesiriwardane, a Central Committee Member of the SEP. The primary aim of the lecture, it was explained, was to make substantial corrections to the views expressed by Liyanage Amarakeerthi, a literary critic and senior lecturer of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka on September 3, 2012 which lecture was published on this iReport.
The introductory speech was made my Comrade Vilani Peiris.
Beginning his speech Panini explained that his speech aimed at defending the legendary contribution of Piyaseeli as a longtime Trotskyist revolutionary. He stated that his speech specially aimed at pointing out the falsehood of issues raised by Amarakeerthi in his lecture which was based on postmodern theoretical tendencies. Especially, he stated that, Amarakeerthi tried to distort concepts developed by Piyaseeli and wrongfully tried to describe Piyaseeli as a post-Marxist or a postmodernist or a representative of counter culture.
Around the world the Universities and the academia are plagued by various pseudo-left tendencies which are counter-revolutionary, anti-Marxist, idealist, regressive and irrational and against which the International Committee of the Fourth International(ICFI) is waging an international offensive, the instant speech being part thereof.
These regressive political theories have their roots in the Frankfurt School, in postmodernism, structuralism and post structuralism, the advocates of which include Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Foucault, Derrida, Leotard and Lacan and also neo-anarchists and theoretical tendencies linked to identity politics. All these tendencies have in common the characteristic that they all reject the historical revolutionary role of the working class and Marxism itself.
Panini referred to several books by Liyanage Amarakeerthi, including “Amuthu Kathawa”, and explained that Amarakeerthi has his background in the above quagmire and politically he is a representative of post-structuralism. The basic postulate of postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-Marxism is the rejection of the objective socio-economic continuum as the determining factor of the development of social consciousness. Contrastingly a basic theory of Marxism is that the economic conditions are the determining factor of social consciousness. Another characteristic of these theoretical pseudo-left tendencies is their pessimism and doubt about the fact that the objective crisis of the capitalist system drives the masses into radical revolutionary struggles. They express their pessimism over the possibility of a socialist revolution and that working class can be led to such a struggle.
The regressive postmodern theoretical tendency grew up under objective conditions of the fall of USSR in 1991 and the so-called victorious reinstitution of capitalism as the only alternative. The disappointed and hopeless petty-bourgeoisie theoreticians and academics developed these theoretical views of a new world outlook. All aforesaid theoretical tendencies in common outright rejected the historical gains of the mankind and especially they rejected the objective knowledge of the history. They also reject an objective reality and further reject that an objective knowledge can be acquired of reality.
Liyanage Amarakeerthi’s Guru, as he himself confesses, is Harold Bloom who specifically rejects politics in the field in literary criticism. Bloom advocates that in determining and evaluating the historical position and meaning of a work of art the class position of the same and the practical significance thereof are not factors to be considered. This way he rejects the class determining factor in literary criticism and therefore no Marxist approach is suitable. Amarakeerthi’s approach has no difference.
Panini went on to quote several paragraphs of Amarakeerthi’s texts and pointed out idealist anti-Marxist viewpoints in his books. Amarakeerthi expresses that the two world wars was a result of intelligent reawakening and the development of science and technology and rejects to recognize the deep down roots therein in contradictions in the economic conditions of the global capitalist system based on private property ownership and nation state system.
Other than quoting from texts of Piyaseeli he quoted from Trotsky, “Culture and Socialism” and Plekanov’s “On the Role of the Individual in History”. He also referred to Saul Newman’s “Unstable Universalities”.
Panini explained that Amarakeethi has based his theoretical formulations in George Lucas who rejects economic determinism of the society and advocates concept of Totality. The society is not to be seen vertically but horizontally, which Panini explained is complete rejection of Marxist theory of economic base and the superstructure, the art being included therein.
During the question and answer session Panini explained the distortion made by Amarakeerthi on the concept of “spirit/ego - අධ්යාත්මය” which Piyaseeli referred to in her writings.
An illuminating lecture to be heard. Posted here is the audio of Panini’s complete lecture.