Stop ? Machine ? Which machine ? The machine of the State ? Of war ? Of capitalist exploitation ? Of production?

Marx may have been an apocalyptic thinker (communism’s salvation, the proletariat messiah), but he was also a positivist. He believed in positive science (in the positive nature of science), in progress, in the forward motion of the class struggle’s piston, and in the impending outcome of the world-historical drama. His doctrine is constructed according to the models of natural science; social laws in it apply with physical rigour.

By the 1930s, this belief was already bursting at the seams. The scientific nature of scientific knowledge, its “objectivity” were called into question: Einstein’s theory of relativity, Bohr’s complementarity, Schrödinger’s wave equations, the Heisenberg principle, the “linguistic turn” in philosophy, the discovery of the Indian potlatch, which eroded economic determinism and so forth and so on. In parallel: the aesthetization of politics in the age of technical innovation, the rise of fascism, the conciliatory politics of social democracy, the “unconscious” bourgeois consciousness of the working class, easily satisfied by piece-meat thrown to them by the powers-that-be, propertied, even ready to become entrepreneurial, and finally, the tyranny of bureaucracy, as the “grassroots” worker’s movement was smashed at the heart of the Revolution, back in the USSR.