(OPE-L) Re: the death of Jacques Derrida

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Mon Oct 11 2004 - 11:36:11 EDT

------------------- Original Message ---------------------------- Subject: y
From:    "antonio callari" <antonio.callari@fandm.edu>
Date:    Mon, October 11, 2004

The idea I remember the most immediately from Specters of Marx is,  almost
present in the title as compellingly as a specter can be to  those who
would accept specters, is the idea of Marx as the Specter  to bourgeois
society. I think that's quite a powerful image--beyond  the analytical
details about Capital (which I don't recall off-hand).  But Derrida's
meaning for (and contribution to) Marx/ism, I think,  goes beyond this
evocation of an "image"  and is invested with the  full force of his
philosophical approach--which  I believe we will  live as a legacy. I
think that Derrida may indeed be the philosopher  of Marx of our times,
and not the destroyer of Marx/ism that many  critics of deconstruction
fear. In my view, Derrida's contribution  was to develop the instincts and
practices of reading out of
"system." All of the interventions of his that I have read ask the  reader
to see that which lives outside of systems as they are given:  to see that
which system would silence, to give scope to a vision of  a life (of
ideas, philosophically, but of life in general) moved by  prerogatives
other than those of a given system, to enable the
experience (philosophical and, thence, political) of a different
system, with different priorities, values, energies, agents, urges,  etc.
etc.  This is Marx: or this is the development of a
philosophical approach that matches Marx's critical urges and that  covers
and comforts the whole point and structure of Capital.

Traditional philosophers (who like systems) did not much like
Derrida. He jabbed their totalitarian confidences. They wanted to  defend
"meaning" as it is/has-been constituted. He wanted to create  the
philosophical space (and capabilities) to create 'different'
meanings, and in the process to liberate that which had been
oppressed within the existing. He wanted to do this as a general
philosophical point: not to create one other system. one other
meaning, but as an affirmation of the idea that life is about
creating, continuously and forever, not an abiding of that which has
already been created.  Marx too wanted nothing other than a way of
organizing life (and hence also ideas) in a way that "freed" humans  from
the tyranny of the given.  Marx and Derrida are brothers in
deconstruction (there is quite a bit of deconstruction in Marx's
reading of the works of political economists): keepers of the "trace"  of
human freedom.

In mourning,


>It might be a good time to ask: to what extent has Derrida
>influenced Marxian political economy?
>Steve C used to teach Derrida in a graduate course on
>"Re-Valuing Marx, Representing Capitalism."  Maybe he
>still does.  In any event, maybe we should have a
>dialogue about something that was a focal point of
>that course: namely, the connections that could be made
>betwen Marx's _Capital_ and Derrida's _Spectres of Marx_?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Antonio Callari
POST MAIL:      Department of Economics
                 Franklin and Marshall College
                 Lancaster PA 17604-3003
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