Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Sat Apr 15 11:17:03 MDT 1995

Ralph Dumain complained about Negri's incomprehensibility, and Jon
Beasley-Murray defended him, pointing to an Italian tradition.

I'm reading Marx Beyond Marx right now, which seems to have its interesting
moments, but is basically written in that same Franco-Italian style, the
one that says I'm smarter than you so fuck you if you can't understand
this. Or you can pretend to understand it, mimic the style, and impress
your friends.

It's amazing to read the long Grundrisse passages that Negri quoted -
they're difficult at times, but only because the ideas are difficult. The
"style" itself, if such a thing can ever be separated from content, is
engaging and eloquent, never obscure. I sometimes suspect that the French &
Italians are jealous of the genuine profundity of the Germans, and ape the
obscurity as the marker of difficulty.

Murray mentions Harry Cleaver. Cleaver, however, writes comprehensible
English. Gramsci in translation is comprehensible too. The style of Negri &
Derrida deserve a harsh passage through the dialectical machinery.



Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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