I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.
I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".
Perhaps, Badiou’s matrix of four basic responses to an Event (the faithful subject; the reactive subject; the obscure subject; resurrection) should be complicated a little bit, so that there are six responses:
1. The responses to the Freud-Event were: (1) fidelity (Lacan); (2) reactive normalization, re-integration into the predominant field (ego-psychology, ‘dynamic psychotherapy’); (3) outright denial (cognitivism); (4) obscurantist mystification in a pseudo-Event (Jung); (5) total enforcing (Reich, Freudo-Marxism); (6) resurrection of the ‘eternal’ Freud’s message in ‘returns to Freud.’
2. The responses to a love-Event are: (1) fidelity; (2) normalization, re-integration (marriage); (3) outright rejection of the evental status (libertinage, the transformation of the Event into sexual adventure); (4) thorough rejection of sexual love (abstinence); (5) obscurantist suicidal mortal passion a la Tristan; (6) resurrected love (re-encounter).
3. The responses to the Marxism-Event are: (1) fidelity (Communism, Leninism); (2) reactive re-integration (Social Democracy); (3) outright denial of the evental status (liberalism, Furet); (4) catastrophic total counter-attack in the guise of a pseudo-Event (Fascism); (5) total enforcing of the Event, which ends up in an ‘obscure disaster’ (Stalinism, Khmer Rouge); (6) renewal of Marxism (Lenin, Mao…).
Slavoj Zizek, “On Alain Badiou and Logiques du mondes”
(this is a really great essay BTW, highly recommended — available here)
Karl Marx (via heteroglossia)
This piece by Michel Feher in Public Culture is one of the most compelling/interesting/exciting things I’ve read gesturing towards a Leftist “art of governance”/rethinking the terms of resistance re: neoliberalism, etc. This is a free excerpt online, but if you have journal access through your university, there’s a link at the bottom for the full text. It sums up a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately, some of which I’ve mentioned on here about how I think the Left needs to start thinking about practices that work within a neoliberal framework instead of just denouncing the “evils of neoliberalism.”
Sounds kind of like a Zizekian “work within the system to destroy the system” sort of approach, from what I can tell. I’ll have to read the rest at a later date though.
(Also makes me think more about the whole ‘limits of critique’ thing I’ve been on lately.)
And there was one from his wife, Jenny, that said she would “lay down [her] head as a sacrifice to [her] naughty boy…”
I don’t know why, but I find that to be the funniest line in regards to Marx.
sterwood replied to your post: Ok, so honest question - (even though I obviously…The way I see it, it doesn’t really matter. Heidegger was a Nazi, but what matters is how we use the ideas that he left us, not how he did. Same thing here. No one, no matter how brilliant, can escape all the cultural moors they’re born into.
Yeah, that’s precisely the point I was trying to make (although I take exception with Heidegger and I do see resounding similarities with what I see are the implicit points in his philosophical anthropology/pastoralism and Nazi ideology) that it may just be something where we say, “this person was taking part in a cultural ideology and they should be held responsible for that, but this doesn’t mean that they are the same as a Nazi” (which is also why I find Heidegger an exception to this).
No, I agree. I just mean that you shouldn’t discount Heidegger wholesale because of his Nazi status (obviously, but the fact seems to need repeating in this discussion). There’s still valuable gold in that polluted mine. Same with Marx.
Besides, the critique - that Marx has anti-Semitic roots because of that piece - is boring. And why engage in boring theory? If you could show that Marx’s theories are somehow inherently tied in with the logic of anti-Semitism, then that would at least be somewhat interesting.
It’s like when we critique libertarianism for being racist: the claim isn’t that one piece of libertarian thought is racist, or that a specific ‘pro-libertarian’ piece of legislation is, but that the structural logic underpinning Libertarianism is racist. That is, you can’t consistently be a libertarian and not be racist.
For Marx, it’s the opposite issue: all you can do is point to individual articles and bills and say “that piece is racist” or “that one Marxist was racist”, but I don’t think it would be intellectually honest to claim that Marxism as such is racist.
Also, as a side note, I think I’d claim similar things for Heidegger as well. I don’t think his theoretical edifice has too much to do, explicitly, with his Nazism. At least nothing I’ve seen on the issue has been very convincing. I really hope that doesn’t make me some closet Nazi or something though :(
Aaron Leonard: You write, “Capital is not a book about politics, and not even a book about labour: it is a book about unemployment.” Could you talk about why you think that is true?
Frederic Jameson: I know this is probably surprising for people who always think of Marx in political terms, but there is really very little mention of any political action in Capital. There is certainly the implication of the kind of society that could come out of capitalism and also of the contradictions that could lead to the end of capitalism and I am not saying that Marx was not political or didn’t constantly think of political strategies, but Capital is not a book about that. It is a book about this infernal machine that is capitalism.
It is a book about unemployment in the sense that the absolute general law of capitalism, as he enunciates it, is to increase productivity — as a result, as he writes, “The relative mass of the industrial reserve army [the unemployed] increases therefore with the potential energy of wealth.” I think this corresponds very much to what is happening in the present. I heard the most revealing thing recently from a venture capitalist, obviously annoyed by the constant talk of both Republicans and Democrats about supporting business so it can ‘create jobs.’
He said look, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I wanted to increase my payroll because I think it’s good for the American economy.” This is a pretty direct way of saying business does not exist to create jobs; it is there to make money. That is exactly what Marx lays out in Capital. There is no direct connection between productivity and creating jobs.
This was not so clear as long as Keynesian economics were being applied in certain countries — Keynes understood there had to be workers with enough money to buy all these goods being produced. Since Reagan and Thatcher, however, we get something more like the fundamental logic of capital Marx described. It is not just job flight to other countries; this is part of a worldwide process.
You want to bring factories back to the United States but on the other hand you want them to be productive? Well that means more and more automation and less and less workers, it is obvious. So I think there really is a profound contradiction between employment and what the system does. In that sense it seems to me, a political demand of the kind that there used for full employment is a demand for something the system can’t possibly provide.
(Jameson showing how [unfettered] capitalism and job creation don’t go hand in hand - in fact, they might be opposed).