Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."





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Sunday, August 25, 2019

THE 1619 PROJECT


I have now read 72 pages of the 85 pages of text of The New York Times1619 PROJECT, which appeared a week ago as the Sunday Magazine Section, and I want to respond to TheDudeDiogenes’ request for my evaluation of it.  I hope everyone reads what I say here carefully, because I suspect no matter what I do, a good many people will misunderstand me.

What do I think of the text?  I think it is terrific.  It is very well done, very powerful, very much up on the latest scholarship, and of course beautifully produced.  I don’t agree that it provides ideological cover for capitalism, which anyway has no need for such cover, so far as I can see, inasmuch as no one currently on the political scene, not even Bernie, poses the slightest threat to capitalism.

Indeed, the text is an enormously skillful and effective popular rendition of several generations of revisionist American historiography, the authors of which have been devoted to telling the American story in the most honest, confrontational, accurate, and racially sensitive manner possible.  It is vastly better than any of the American History textbooks I have seen, and would serve well as an assignment in high school and college American History courses.

Its only fault is that it is the wrong story.  I am not going to say here what the right story is, because I wrote a book about that subject, and although virtually no one has read my book, I am enough of an author and not propagandist to let that book stand as my say on the subject.

4 comments:

Tom Cathcart said...

I read the book, but I’ll be damned if I can remember why it’s the wrong story. Hints?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I will post an explanation tomorrow

TheDudeDiogenes said...

I maybe should have just re-posted a comment I made on a different site, which I think was clearer and more precise.

It's not the 1619 series PER SE, but the decision to publish such a series NOW, that makes me think that it is carrying water for the corporate wing of the DNC.

The Times could have decided to publish a series about the devastation that neoliberalism has wrought across the country over the past 30 years, for example; but that wouldn't serve the interests of the 1% - who want a divided, atomised public, not a united, solidaristic one - nearly as much.

This tweet from a co-host of the "What is Left?" podcast makes my point in a much more pithy manner:

"2016 Trump: make America great again

2016 Hillary: America is already great

2020 Democrats: Amerikkka has never been great

What could possibly go wrong?"

Brian said...

Just a reminder that some of your readers are still awaiting your explanation of why the 1619 Project is telling "the wrong story." I say this seriously, not snarkily--would really love to hear your thoughts.