Open Marxism

ReDionysus at ReDionysus at
Wed Dec 14 02:12:53 MST 1994

I am thinking through the same questions of determination and totality at the
moment in relation to the terms performativity and praxis. I am particulatly
swayed by Lefebvre and Wallach-Bolough. The later, I believe would say that
Jameson's Althusserian structualism ends up being positivist (and even I
would argue- in Althusser (the ISA essay) subjectivist.. even as I recognize
he is trying to refute this on some level).
Two things strike me. One Jameson's diagram on p 36 of the Political Uc is
incomplete in relation to Marx's account in the Grundrisse and elsewhere- (of
productive consumption-- but it is other places as well)... the
forces/realtions of produciton return as the mode of production and thus
recirculate, exactly *through the medium* of culture, ideology, the judicial,
the political etc...
A second realization is, in Bolough's excellent account (Dialectial
Phenomenology), the "form of life" which Marx is grounded in determines his
dialectical method... capital is the condition of possibility of (historical
or) phenomenological dialectical thought. This brings back the concept of
praxis, from which point one might say that Marx is a thinker of analogical
thought constrained by capital into the simpler logic of dialectic.. which is
historically necessary.
I'm still trying to work out exaclty where that leaves me in terms of praxis
and performativity, but I'd like to get some feedback on these I think rather
contentious thoughts, as well as perhaps prod some consideration of Lefebvre?
A lot of his work has been recently translated, I'm wondering if anyone else
is working through it? I'm actually trying to cut a line across certain
arguments, including Derrida's "Signature, Event, Context" in relation to the
historical determination of signs, but I'm not sure that "acts" can be
reduced to language, and therefore their meaning, while never fixed, is not
continually defered, but rather constantly produced.... i.e. Derrida is
dispairing something which never could be in relation to truth... that is
never what truth was. It was nothing but a practice of truth. I recognize
that I could recoup this elsewhere in Derrida, perhaps those who've read
spectres can tell me if this comes up there. I am trying to point out a
misrecognition of the term production on both sides of the "crisis of
post-modern marxism" debate for focusing on texts as opposed to
performances.... hence Habermas makes what seems to be similar claims
(mistakes in my veiw) in the "outmodedness of the production principle"
chapter of PDM... and this is followed out in Habermas influenced debates
around democratic discourse and the social sphere (except Kluge & Negt
perhaps... but precisely because they attack Habermas on almost the same


Seamus Malone
Whitney ISP


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