OpenSentence Type Foundry typefoundry at
Fri Nov 14 18:23:39 MST 2003

> ------------------------------
> Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 22:30:00 +0100
> From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <bendien at>
> Subject: Castoriadis
> Good to remember Castoriadis (who died in 1997, for those who don't know),
> but frankly you are remembering him poorly.  You make him sound like he had
> a Paul de Man makeover upon arriving in France, when in reality like Xenakis
> he was heavily involved in the Greek civil war; and unlike Xenakis he was a
> member of the Trotskyists, and made both Stalinist and fascist death lists.
> I did know that. Thank goodness, I was able to escape from a military war
> personally, unlike my parents, I suppose this does warp my viewpoint a bit.

Yes, it does, because concentration-camp survivors don't think like that.  I
once processed a questionnaire filled out by a German Jewish couple for a
Holocaust class-action lawsuit, and they wrote in the comments section that
they didn't want any money: "Die Kueche hat fuer uns gekocht"; and one of my
family members spent four years starving in a Japanese POW camp but glad he
didn't have to go anywhere while he did it.  His brother, my grandfather the
decorated WWII veteran, was pissed off about everything, and refused to join
the American Legion; but you can get the wrong idea from that kind of thing
without perspective.  Really, I will not be charged for butchness and I will
not be charged for the Western Theater of a half-century ago (and I get
charged for that other side here, which is bass-ackwards, all the freaking
time -- it's a topic to avoid when appropriate, let's break camp).  My point
was only that Castoriadis was a politically committed intellectual in full,
and this deserves to be mentioned.

> Secondly, although I am fascinated but not surprised to learn Ornette
> Coleman is an admirer of Castoriadis, I expect this is due to CLR James and
> Castoriadis' connections to the funny-but-not-ha-ha-funny Johnson-Forest
> Tendency; their pamphlet *The American Worker*, which really counts as the
> first appearance of worker "dictation" in left *theoretical* discourse, was
> reprinted by Socialism ou Barbarie.
> Yep.

Well, the tendentious get beat on a lot here too.

> In some ways I am less critical of the USSR than Castoriadis was, I see more
> positive achievements, but basically, I think that the people who live there
> are the best judge on it, not me, my viewpoints don't matter so much, it's
> what they think about it that matters. I don't like the "globalisation"
> concept very much, because the majority of the world's peoples are excluded
> from that.

I can relate, I don't have very sophisticated views about that.

Jeff Rubard

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