Post-Marxism without apologies?

Kenny Mostern kennym at uclink2.berkeley.edu
Mon Jan 30 11:06:05 MST 1995


Jon Beasley Murray--

I just wanted to say that I agree with much of you post.  The one thing that
I think was concretely wrong in what you
said, and can't be overstated in the U.S. (a location which neither
Laclau nor Mouffe comes from or has worked for an extended period), is
that no, there has never been serious marxism in the U.S. academy, and
no, people in the U.S. who call themselves postmarxist have rarely if
ever come to grips with any version of marxism at all.  The particular
and bewildering misuses of Laclau and Mouffe (who, for all I dislike
about them, were in fact writing a book about "socialist strategy"!) in
the academy here can largely be traced to the fact that the book's
readers rarely had the neither an interest or a knowledge of the source
material on which the book was based.  Which is why, for example, the
name "Gramsci" (like also the name "Bakhtin") has come to mean any and
every patronizing liberal thought any U.S. academic has for something,
regardless of the content of the notebooks.  No, there is no post-Marxism
in the U.S., and though I am not Leninist (certainly in the party
structure sense) and I believe that such things as cultures and psyches
have to be analyzed as modes of material production in themselves, not as
derivative of the economy, I remain a marxist while and until I believe
that the material conditions for any kind of post-marxism in the U.S.
have been reached.  Indeed--I've barely begun studying Marx.

Kenny Mostern
UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Graduate Group

Against:  racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, militarism
For:  the truth--and the funk!

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