(OPE-L) Derrida on Althusser

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Fri Nov 12 2004 - 13:19:04 EST

> I don't have my own copy of this book. But I think this interview is
> in the Althusserian Legacy, ed. Michael Sprinker and E.Ann Kaplan.


Thanks.  You pointed me in the right direction:

This review gives the citation and it comes from an article/
interview called "Politics and Friendship."  Regarding Althusserian
Marxists, Derrida commented:

"there was, let's say, a sort of theoretical intimidation: to formulate
questions in style that appeared, shall we say, phenomenological,
transcendental or ontological was immediately considered
suspicious, backward, idealistic, even reactionary."

McHoul summarizes Derrida as saying "In particular Derrida
argues that Althusser's critique of historicism moves on too
quickly, refusing to engage with 'the history of the meaning of
being of which Heidegger speaks' (193) and this, Derrida goes
on, is the ultimate reason why Marxism in France was
washed up by the early 1970s -- too simplistic a theory of being,
hence too simplistic a conception of science and what would
constitute 'real' politics.  Particularly shaky was its party
manifestation -- the PCF.  'The two alternatives were: either it
hardened and lost out or else it softened and blended with the
Socialist Party and there would be no more need for it.' (211)".

Derrida also commented: "Marxist discourse at the time, including
its Althusserian branch, was incapable of analysing the socio-political-
economic reality of that time and regulating its practice based on
that analysis."  [More can be found at the above site.]

Are these fair criticisms by Derrida of  Althusser and Althusserians?

In solidarity, Jerry

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