Re: (OPE-L) Specters of Derrida

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Mon Oct 18 2004 - 01:02:17 EDT

Just to make it clear. For me Derrida is not an object of hatred. But I do
not admire him as a big thinker. He often makes difficult things less
clear, he is like a shaman, dancing and uttering words. Not  meaningless,
not without insight, and not very informative for those who are not
able/willing to get into the same kind of trance.

One example is:

where he treats a well-known problem in Marxist economics, the relationship
of value and use value. But does Derrida really add somehting? Not in IMHO.

Read Rosdolsky in Kyklos (do not have the ref. in front of me) - that's
just worlds apart. Obscurity versus the hard labour of trying to through
light on a difficult problem. Not that I cannot follow Derridas dancing,
that I cannot extract some meaning out of it.

I guess I am in sympathy with the view that Derrida tries to communicate.
But to proclaim this word-stew as the greatest thinking in our time - then
you have lost your critical sense - and started shouting about how superb
the empror is dressed.

And this example from Spectres is sympathic to Derrida, there are several
other passages that are less intelligible, where the meaning of the shamans
words do not give very much sense, even to the positively tuned reader.

Derrida - rest in peace - you were on the right side of the barricade, but
you could have served the cause of human liberation - better with being
clearer and more penetrating.

Anders Ekeland

At 14:51 14.10.2004, you wrote:
> >>>  Here is a letter to the Times about Derrida (and views of him)
>written by a number of scholars in response to the vapid obituary the
>times published.  <<<
>It is fascinating and somewhat puzzling from the standpoint of
>social psychology to ask _why_ Derrida has inspired so much
>venom and hatred from some quarters.  Part of the answer might
>have something to do with a tradition of debate on the Left
>which often rests on the manufacture and reproduction of
>straw horses (and therefore may, in part, by disingenuous)
>but I think there is also an *irrational fear* at work here.  The
>same could be said in general of many 'orthodox' Left reactions
>to post-modernism.  If it could be said then that the bourgeoisie
>is haunted by specters of Marx, it might also be claimed that
>some portions of the Left will continue to be haunted by
>specters of Derrida!  That is, when they are not otherwise
>haunted by specters of Bohm-Bawerk, von Bortkiewicz, and
>This is not to suggest that Derrida and post-modernism should
>not be subjected to critique -- and deconstruction (after all, one
>should deconstruct the deconstructors, right?) -- as Anders has
>attempted.  So my comment above is directed at the 'Old Left'
>in general rather than Anders comments specifically.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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