Derrida Marxist?

Charles Miller bautiste at
Sun Dec 13 08:59:42 PST 1998

I understand the aesthetic value. But to limit the value of the work to this aspect, intended as it is to denigrate the work's "serious" value, I wonder what the serious aspect is that you find missing from it. Is it the apparent untidiness of the work? Or is it that seeming _disassemblage_ state in which the work seems to leave the subject? In some ways, I see the work analogous to a Duchamp painting.

The work's lack of programmatic assertions also might disenchant those looking for such pronouncements. But it is exactly this type of certainty-filled pronouncements that Derrida wants to undermine. No doubt, he sees these types of statements as indicative of Marxism's failure in its spectral manifestation in various totalitarian guises.

Ultimately, Derrida is trying to deconstruct Marx in terms of a Levinasian alter-ego dialectic, where neither is subjugated and consumed by the other. I think this is where he's headed with his concentration on Marx's attack on St. Max In German Ideology_. There he shows the correspondences between Max and Marx, but also the terrible ferocity with which Marx wants to destroy his enemy--a mirror reflection, Derrida suggests.

chuck miller

Carrol Cox <cbcox at> wrote:

"Pluralism" is like mom and apple pie, it can mean anything a writer wants it to mean and therefore communicates nothing at all. As to *Spectres*, it was an absolutely beautiful book I hope to reread someday just for the pure kicks of it, but its politics were rotten with elitism and contempt for the mass of the human species. His proposed new International was just another fantasy ascribed to the ghost of Hamlet's father. Ghostly and ghastly, but still beautiful.


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