Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Money Wisdom #372

"First sketched in 1923, [A Tour of German Inflation] condensed Benjamin's reactions to the economic misery of the time, and the degradation of social and personal experience that accompanied it. The material crisis of the German intelligentsia evoked here was to be one of the most constant themes of this journalistic interventions, recurring again and again in his book reviews of the later twenties. The political conclusions he drew from it were now intransigently radical. Where he had written with contemplative resignation in the early draft of 1923: 'But no-one may ever make peace with poverty when it falls like a gigantic shadow upon his countrymen and his house. Then he must be alert to every humiliation done to him and so discipline himself so that his suffering becomes no longer the downhill road of hate but the rising path of prayer', he now reversed the terms of the same passage, to read: 'so discipline himself so that his suffering no longer becomes the downhill road of grief, but the rising path of revolt'. The change can stand as the motto of his political radicalization."

Publisher's Note in Walter Benjamin One Way Street (Verso Edition) (1997) p.34

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