Shortly before his death, Georg Lukács wrote a brief and elliptical autobiographical sketch. Unable to expand further in writing, he reflected on the events of his life in two long interviews, recorded in 1969 and 1971, with István Eörsi and Erzsébet Vezérs. These documents were collected and assembled as Record of a Life, published by Verso in a translation by Rodney Livingstone in 1983.
In the excerpt below, Lukács discusses his experiences during the years of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic, for which he served as the People's Commissar for Education and Culture.
On June 5, Pablo Iglesias hosted Perry Anderson on the interview show Otra Vuelta de Tuerka. Reversing the usual format of the show, Anderson posed questions to the host on the "specificity of Spain as a country, as a political culture, and as a situation today."
Capital could not just abolish the gains of the postwar period. It was necessary to preserve social peace. The "trick" in the 1970s consisted of using inflation to defuse the emerging conflict between labour and capital over redistribution. The money machine was used to compensate for the loss of income which resulted from the reduction in capital’s contribution to the welfare state… Evidently, that could not last. So from the late 1970s inflation was replaced with public debt, and states borrowed (rather than tax) in order to be able to keep up the level of services. Then, in the 1990s, when states began to worry about the growing weight of debt servicing as part of their budgets, and reduced their spending (and thus social services) we took recourse to private debt. In other words, we made it easier than ever for households to take on debt so that they could preserve their purchasing power, which was being cut back by these budget consolidation measures. And that led us to the 2008 catastrophe.
The fact that Macron adopts this position is a reflex, it is not something he has thought about doing. Everyone is the child of their own time and the circles they move in. That is the cost of his youth: for this generation has known nothing other than the hegemony of American visuals, an unconscious domination that has become like second nature. And the Finance Inspectorate, or banking is also a mental ecosystem in which the United States, the parent company, takes the code name "globalisation."
Macron is the name of a crisis of any politics that purports to "represent" political orientations in an electoral space. That clearly owes to the fact that the earthly disappearance of the communist hypothesis and its parties has little by little made the truth about parliamentarism apparent: namely, that ultimately it only "represents" small nuances in the dominant consensus around neoliberal capitalism — and not any alternative strategy. The far Right, in the brutal style of Donald Trump or the renovated Pétainism of Marine Le Pen, profits from this situation, since although it stands totally within that consensus it is alone in giving off the appearance of being on the outside.