Advertisement

Socialism’s Multitude: Tillich’s The Socialist Decision and Resisting the US Imperial

  • Mark Lewis Taylor
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)

Abstract

We live, still, in the long aftermath of World War II (WWII), a nearly 70-year period beginning with the emergence of the United States of America as a hegemonic power after WWII. From this vantage point, the United States claimed and guarded the US dollar as global exchange currency, fought and endured “the Cold War,” and, with the fall of the Soviet Union and East European state socialism, rose to a sole superpower from the 1990s onward. It has instigated and fought hot wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as sponsoring “low intensity” conflict globally. All the while, it has claimed that its wars and economic power plays were essential to a globalization project, one usually unfolded under the banner of “development.”1 Today, US global sovereignty remains uncertain and in flux, with some sensing its demise as an imperial force, and others arguing for its reinvention and continued power. I will explore this debate briefly, and note also how the toll that US imperial presumption and policy have extracted from humanity and nature is now haunting even its own power, perhaps even subverting it. This may be both crisis and opportunity for overcoming the imperial United States.

Keywords

Socialist Decision Critical Ideal Historical Reality Solitary Confinement Socialist Principle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    I have made arguments for the claims of this opening paragraph elsewhere. Here, I cite, on the post-World War II period as US-dominated globalization of development, Walter D. Mignolo, Global Designs/Local Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); on the sleight-of-hand represented by globalization’s “development” projects,Google Scholar
  2. Arturo Escobar, Encountering Development: On the Making and Unmaking of the Third World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011); on the issue of US dollar diplomacy and its imperialism, The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013); on the United States as imperial power, West Point scholar Andrew J. Bacevich’s book is still helpful, American Empire: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  3. On Vietnam’s relation to US imperial designs and geopolitics see William Spanos, America’s Shadow: Anatomy of Empire (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000); and on Korea and the US imperial, both Bruce Cummings and Jodi Kim are essential, respectively, The Korean War: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2011), and The End of Empire: Asian American Critique and the Cold War (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    My own approach to a contemporary political theology can be found in Mark Lewis Taylor, The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011).Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    One of the best one-volume analyses (800 pages) of this period, focused on the Weimar Republic, is Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg, eds., The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Cited in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), 277,Google Scholar
  7. from Saskia Sassen, Territory, Authority, Rights (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Mark Lewis Taylor, Religion, Politics and the Christian Right: Post-9111 Powers and American Empire (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005), 13–14.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994).Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” 1940. In Illuminations: Essays and Reflections ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), 262–263.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004).Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    Avery Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 17, 21, 195.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Several meanings of Das Prinzip are intimated in Tillich’s early 1921 essay, “Basic Principles of Religious Socialism.” In Political Expectation, ed. James Luther Adams (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 58–88.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Jean-Luc Nancy, Hegel: The Restlessness of the Negative (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    Paul Tillich, A Complete History of Christian Thought, 1 vols., ed. Carl Braaten (New York: Harper & Row, 1967, 141. This publication is based on the second edition of Tillich’s 1956 lectures on history of Christian thought.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    Enrique Dussel, Ethics of Liberation in the Age of Globalization and Exclusion, trans. Eduard Mendieta, CamiloPerez Bastillo, Yolanda Angulo, and Nelson Maldonado-Torres (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), 219–220. The concept is difficult, but the gesture here is toward a materiality—a “reality” —that is not a naïve uncritical realism, but is affirmed as preceding both thought and being. See especially Dussel, page 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 31.
    Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), 62–63, 102–103. Tillich had earlier characterized this movement around the popular poet, George, as abounding in “priestly spirit” but lacking universality, a “prophetic spirit for all” (Tillich, Religious Situation, 65–66.Google Scholar
  18. 35.
    Richard Slotkin, Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998) 654.Google Scholar
  19. 36.
    On the notion of American exceptionalism, see Reader’s Companion to American History, ed. Eric Fonerand John A. Garraty, s.v. “Manifest Destiny” (Boston Houghton Mifflin, 1991, 697–698, and Eldon Kenworthy, America! Américas: Myth in the Making of U.S. Policy toward Latin America (Universtiy Park: Pennsylvania University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  20. 37.
    Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 145.Google Scholar
  21. 39.
    On the striking sense in which Bush was indeed seen as such a leader, see Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush (New York: Viking, 2004), 224.Google Scholar
  22. 40.
    Esther Kaplan, With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy and Democracy in Gorge W. Bush’s White House (New York: New Press, 2004).Google Scholar
  23. 53.
    William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New edition with afterword by author (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), 189–190.Google Scholar
  24. 54.
    Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1993), 11 and 314 n20.Google Scholar
  25. 57.
    On this notion, see Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death:A Comparative Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985),Google Scholar
  26. and as applied to US mass incarceration and solitary confinement, see Lisa Guenther, Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 68.
    See Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Foreword by Robin D. G. Kelley with a New Preface by the Author (Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  28. For Tillich’s view of racial struggle, see Grace Cali, Paul Tillich First-Hand: A Memoir of the Harvard Years (Chicago: Exploration Press, 1995), 136–137.Google Scholar
  29. 80.
    See Sheldon S. Wolin, “Inverted Totalitarianism,” and “Postmodern Democracy: Virtual or Fugitive,” and other essays in his Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 581–606. Also, Sheldon Wolin, “Inverted Totalitarianism,” The Nation magazine, May 19, 2003, and in Sheldon S. Wolin, Democracy Inc.: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 211–237.Google Scholar
  30. 83.
    See, for instance, Gerard Casey, libertarian Anarchy: Against the State (London: Continuum, 2012); Iraq Veterans Against the War. http://www.ivaw.org/Google Scholar
  31. 85.
    Diane M. Nelson, A Finger in the Wound: Body Politics in Quincentennial Guatemala (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 347.Google Scholar
  32. 86.
    Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. French 1961, trans. Richard Philcox (New York: Grove Press, 2004), 159.Google Scholar
  33. 90.
    Alex Callinicos, “Toni Negri in Perspective.” In Debating Empire, ed. Gopal Baladrishnan (New York: Verso Books, 2003), 127–133.Google Scholar
  34. 95.
    Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Study and Black Study (New York: Autonomedia, 2013), esp. 22–43.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Russell Re Manning 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Lewis Taylor

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations