Monday, August 13, 2007

Dept. of Dead French Memoirists

"...and posterity will consider as a myth what we ourselves can only look back on as a dream."

Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, Memoirs

1 comment:

Hayes said...

this quote reminded me of Benjamin...oh, and guess what he dedicated an entire section of his konvolutes in the Arcades Project to Saint-Simon as well as railroads...a quote from konvolut U..."'Saint-Simon lingers over the history of the fiftenth-eighteenth centuries, and gives to the social classes of this period a more concrete and specifically economic description. Hence, it is this part of Saint-Simon's system that is of greatest importance for the genesis of the theory of class struggle, and that exercises the strongest influence on its subsequent development....Although, for later periods, Saint-Simon emphasizes the economic moment in his characterization of classes and the causes of their growth and decline...,in order to be consistent he would have had to see, in this economic activity, the true roots of the social classes as well. Had he taken this step, he would inevitably have attained to a materialist conception of history. But Saint-Simon never took this step, and his general conception remains idealist....The second point that is so surprising in Sain-Simon's class theory, in view of its discrepency with the actual relations among the classes of the period, is the representation of the class of industrialists as homogeneous....The manifestly essential diferences that exist between proletarians and entrepeneurs are for him external, and their antagonaism is grounded in mutual misunderstanding:the interests of the directors of industrial enterprise, in reality, coincide with the interests of the masses....This entirely unfounded assertion resolves for Saint-Simon the very real social contradiction, salvaging the unity of the industrial class and, with it, the perspective on a peaceful building-up of the new social system.' V. Volgin, {Uber die historische Stellung Saint-Simons,} in Marx-Engels Archiv, ed. D Rjazanov vol. 1 (Frankfurt am Main <1928>), pp. 97-99. [U5, 2]"

thanks for the quote Rodney!