The ‘Dialectics of Liberation’ in Herbert Marcuse and Joseph Gabel: Beyond One-Dimensionality and the Reification of Time.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:50
Oral Presentation
Terry MALEY, York University, Canada
In this paper I want to show the liberatory affinities between the dialectical thinking of Critical Theorist Herbert Marcuse and the forgotten French Marxist critical theorist Joseph Gabel. Both thinkers view of the ‘dialectics of liberation’ have roots in their implicit dialogue with Lukacs’ notion of reification and the spatialization of temporality under capitalism – for Marcuse the world of one-dimensional thought. Marcuse’s dialectical/critical thinking tries to re-connect and transform the ‘fragments’ of experience, the personal catastrophe of subjectivity defined by instrumental/colonial ‘reason’ under capitalism, into a multi-dimensional subjectivity. Joseph Gabel, who was trained as both a psychiatrist and a Marxist social/critical theorist, drew on Lukacs, Mannheim, and the psychiatrists Mikowski and Binswanger to draw parallels between the reified or frozen, a-historical temporality of those suffering from schizophrenia, and political ideologies - both racist and capitalist - that reflected a deranged and reified view of the world. Gabel had discussed the deterioration of lived experience in the reified world. This is what we are experiencing now in the Trumpist phase of the neoliberal era. In the paper I look at how Gabel’s work compliments Marcuse’s dialectical thinking and how both contribute to the transformation of an alienated, one-dimensional subjectivity into a multi-dimensional subject still struggling to emerge, in the social movements and elsewhere, from amidst the socio-psychic devastation of the reified, one-dimensional world of neoliberal capitalism.