Mourn, Then Organize Again
Left Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/09/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21693
Book review of Enzo Traverso's Left Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory.
Traverso dedicates a chapter to what he calls "post-colonial melancholia," which takes two forms: (1) disenchantment with failed decolonization efforts and (2) disillusionment with the missed encounter between Marxism and anti-colonialism. He examines closely Marx's writings, noting his initial tendency towards Eurocentricity, which by the 1860s developed into a more global perspective.
During the 20th century, Marxism's history was inseparable from national liberation movements, even if the Western Marxists (Lukacs, the Frankfurt School) ignored colonized people's struggles. In my opinion, this limitation is undeniable, but I do not think it has engendered a "leftist melancholia" contrary to the "post-colonial melancholia" -- of which Traverso speaks very little -- which has weighed heavily on a generation of anti-colonialist militants.