marxism, Gramsci, Certeau

Jonathan P. Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Mon Sep 12 11:09:19 MDT 1994

Just to clarify for a moment:

On Mon, 12 Sep 1994, Philip Goldstein wrote:

> 	Jon Beasley-Murray chastizes the (American) left because it does
> not believe in revolution anymore -- no outside to oppression either. Is
> revolution really a matter of faith? and Marxism, obligated to provide
> hope?

i.  I don't think I was "chastizing"--more observing.  Again, if you
compare, feminism of the 70s believed much more fervently in an outside
to patriarchy than it (and I know this homologization is a problem) does

ii. My national
observations (US "vs" Britain) were more about the general political
environment.  I do think it makes a big difference to be in a country
where there is a party with a (more or less) viable chance of political
power is called "Labour" and has a (fairly) unashamed *socialist*
tradition behind it.  This is more an observation about the public sphere
than about the left or even the left intelligentsia.

iii. I think someone should try to provide hope.  In the past, it has
often been the Left.

> What about alternative theories? Gramsci's war of position I take
> to be an alternative to traditional theories of revolution, and Laclau
> and Mouffe -- two Brits -- deny that there is an outside or alternative
> to capitalism. Is this fragmentation or genuine theoretical differences?

As I've said before, I think the Gramscian influence (and, *pace* Andy
for a moment, this was first taken up in the UK, especially by the
Birmingham School) is an attempt to provide (or make?) a theoretical
difference in the face of political fragmentation.  So it's both.

Other alternatives?  Looking for fissures, spaces within but not
dialectically related to power and the state--cf. de Certeau or Bey, for
example.  Sometimes, all too often, this could be as much of a cop-out as
Gramscianism, however.

> Philip Goldstein

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at


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