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Showing posts from February 14, 2010

Revolution as method

In my post a few days ago, I proposed one way of looking at the ideology critique that runs through Marx’s writings – namely, in terms of a synchronic and diachronic grid. At the center of the grid, at the defining source of the synchronic and the diachronic, is an impossible present – which, from the Derridian perspective, joins – and logically can’t join – the synchronic and the diachronic, the modern and the historical. To my mind, this point is defined by revolution. Revolution here is the ground of the possibility of Marx’s own writing – his own thought, his own liberation. Marx is a unique social theorist in as much as his understanding of modernity, while it uses the apparatus of the positivist truth procedure and even offers predictions, such as those having to do with the crises of capitalism, does not stand or fall with the truth procedure, but with this revolutionary moment. Marx recognizes that the political economists are playing a kind of fixed game by presenting us wit

As poor as a machine: from the economic philosophical manuscripts

“And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”. “Während die Teilung der Arbeit die produktive Kraft der Arbeit, den Reichtum und die Verfeinerung der Gesellschaft erhöht, verarmt sie den Arbeiter bis zur Maschine. Während die Arbeit die Häufung der Kapitalien und damit den zunehmenden Wohlstand der Gesellschaft hervorruft, macht sie den Arbeiter immer abhängiger vom Kapitalisten, bringt ihn in eine größere Konkurrenz, treibt ihn in die Hetzjagd der Überproduktion, der eine ebensolche Erschlaffung folgt.”- Marx “While the division of labor increases the productive power of labor, and the wealth and refinement of society, it leads to the impoverishment of the laborer until he sinks to the level of the machine. While labor incites the accumulation of capitals and thus the increasing well being of society, it makes the laborer ever more dependent on the capitalist, thrusts him into a greater competition, dr

The fabulous freaks are leaving town

The fabulous freaks are leaving town The concept of ideology in Marx must be located on two axes. Diachronically, ideology substitutes the individual for the work of the system. This gesture is present not only in the Enlightenment Robinson myth, which gives us the origin of society in the story of some one individual, but also in the attribution of systematic effects to the ideas of some individual. In reality, those ideas are grounded in the possibilities opened up by some specific historical situation. Marx happily would say the same thing about his own work, which he consciously places in relation to his education, his experience in a Germany emerging from the old order and plunging, inconsistently, into the capitalist order, the social advances produced by the French Revolution, etc. This is, by the way, Marx’s supremely irreligious gesture – although as a romantic writer he adopts a prophetic tone, he characteristically disclaims the prophetic relationship to the world. Synchroni


Many of LI's readers may recoil our friend and foil, Paul Craddick. Paul's been rather out of the blogging scene, but he sent me an email alerting me to a group he and his wife have formed, Cantrip. Go to Myspace and check them out! And then inundate EMI with letters and phonecalls demanding that these two get a ten year contract.