cop shows and postmodernism redux

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Feb 23 06:37:20 PST 1999

>>> Catherine Driscoll <cdriscol at> 02/23/99 07:56AM
>The only reason I pay attention to Hegel is because of Engels and Marx.
Those who refer to Hegel but seem to forget Marxism.... I don't get it. Why is it that a lot of these Derrida types seem to contradict classical Marxism ?

Well I would want to avoid the label 'Derrida types' because I think there's quite a bit of variation within people influenced by and even identifying with deconstruction. There's a long debate about relations between deconstruction and Marxism. I'm happy to discuss it if you want. I'm not exactly sure if there are writers or texts you're referring to at present, but I gather it's just a sense you have of deconstruction??

But... perhaps you should tell me why you think 'classical Marxism' should never be contradicted? I wouldn't like to hold any discourse to be that inviolate. ___________

Charles: Yes, thanks again. I'm willing to read some of it, but I haven't read much deconstruction because I have to prioritize what I read , and the deconstructionists I have heard of haven't demonstrated any reason to read them. I haven't seen any evidence that it is a revolutionary theory.

"Inviolate" is, of course, your word, as is the phrase "never contradicted." For Marxists, obviously, Marxism is substantially correct. There are lots of contradictions and critiques of Marxism in the world of books, because the bourgeoisie, of course, are against Marxism, and the bourgeois control most publication of books. So, the question is why is it that in contradicting Marxism deconstructionism is not doing the work of the bourgeoisie ? I have no reason to think of Derrida or any of the others as doing anything for the working class or other oppressed and exploited classes. What is the evidence of what deconstructionism has done for oppressed and exploited classes ? My standpoint is not that classical Marxism can "never be contradicted". My standpoint is that those contradicting it must meet the very high standard of demonstrating that their theory is a better theory for revolution than Marxism. From what I have seen of deconstruction , it does not meet this standard. Do you have any arguments that it does ? How is deconstructionism more revolutionary than Marxism-Leninism? You choose the texts. If you make a prima facie case for their effective revolutionism, I'll study it.

Charles Brown

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