Spinoza (was Negri & Savage Anomaly)

Ryan Daum karlp at burn.ucsd.edu
Sat Apr 15 18:45:12 MDT 1995


Woo-Hoo!  Spinoza, Marx, and Poetry!  Finally a topic I can have fun with!

First an introduction.  I'm a undergraduate (majoring philosophy) at the
University of Alberta, Canada (well, not quite yet, but that's
complicated.)  I am a member of Socialist Challenge, the Canadian section
of the Fourth International, so my knowledge of marxism comes through
that environment (and my own reading) rather than through academia.  So,
I'm rough on the edges: for me, Marxism is, really, a theory of practice
-- besides, it impresses the girls.

Anyways, I'm also a Spinoza fan, so this interests me.  I am interested
in Negri and the autonomists, and am currently reading "Marx Beyond Marx"
(or, attempting to read) and was intrigued by the rather atypical
language he uses.  He speaks a lot about composition and collision of
bodies, in what seemed to me (from my own readings) a Spinozist manner.
Suprise, suprise when I read here that Negri wrote a book on Spinoza.  I
will have to dig this up.  I have mainly read Deleuze's work on Spinoza,
which is okay, but very "eclectic" I guess.

 On Sat, 15 Apr 1995, Ralph Dumain wrote:

> working on a long poem combining the philosophies of Baruch
> Spinoza and John Lee Hooker, and I had come to an impasse.  I
> needed some fresh input to clarify my thinking on the subject and
> I was too busy and too lazy to bone up on the original.

Interesting.  Have you read "A" by Louis Zukofsky?  (Or, rather, read
sections of it?)  He is a big fan of both Spinoza and Marx, and makes
references to them throughout his huge epic written over a period of 40
years.

> Let me dedicate this e-pistle to dear Baruch (the blessed one).
> Today is the first full day of Passover and Jesus is dead (yay!)
> so let me pay homage to the god-intoxicated atheist.  Since I
> can't be on Broadway today to prostrate myself before Zaybar's or
> stand in line forever at H&H Bagels, I raise my male member in
> solidarity with my departed comrade Baruch.  O Negri why hast thou
> forsaken me?

I really think from what I've read of Negri that although he is difficult
to read, there is a lot of really great stuff in what he says.  I think
maybe it is worth plowing one's way through him.  It's a different (and I
think infinitely more practical for activists) reading of Marx.  Not
having read The Savage Anomaly, I can't comment on that, but I can
imagine the magic.

Note also that Althusser also considered himself a Spinozist and insisted
that his major categories come from re-reading Marx through Spinoza,
instead of Hegel.

karlp at burn.ucsd.edu (Ryan Daum)	"In so far as people live under the guidance
                                 of reason, thus far only they always
(403) 488-0093                   necessarily agree in nature." -- Spinoza




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