Towards a Politics of Truth

Chuck Grimes cgrimes at
Tue Aug 22 12:18:05 PDT 2000

Zizek, Jameson, Negri, looks like fun. And for the Zizek fans, the new Verso book of Lukacs response to orthodox marxist critics of History and Class Consciousness has some concluding words from him.

Michael Pugliese ------------

Well, it will be a great conference. But there are enough people on Lbo to run our own. Anybody up for it?

The initial statement in `Towards a politics of truth: the retrieval of Lenin' is supposed to start things off.

So, let's start. We've got all the bases represented here and with a little a concentration, I am pretty sure Lbo list members can do just as good a job as the big names. We might even do better since we've got some of the alternatives not mentioned in the guest list.

Okay. First, off, I want to go after the idea in the title. The idea that there is or should be a politics of Truth. This is precisely the kind of idea that shares with Nature, History and Market, the potential to evolve directly into yet another totalitarian eclipse and therefore is part of what we are (or I am) struggling against. The logic of capital and markets as the total or end determination of society is exactly this sort of truth.

So, I don't want a politics of truth, but of politics of practical judgments, concretely determined assessments, and socially negotiated understandings, arguments, and agreements---with more argument in there than anything else. There might not be an once of logical truth in the whole mess.

I also want to go after the idea that Marx should be tossed out under the excuse that he was too specifically grounded in his own times and struggles and that in order to universalize his ideas, we need some secondary and more logically constructed format. This is exactly the kind of process that lead to the gulag. The whole reason that Marx is still such a force, is because he was so well grounded in his own time and place and provided insight into what it meant to think and act in the social, political and economically constructed world.

Of the other luminaries, Freud and Jesus, they shared a similar quality of thinking and acting directly upon some given struggle. But in their cases, the struggles were not explicitly restricted to the concrete world, so I am less interested in them. I am definitely not interested in following the secondary, institutionalizing, authoritarian machinations of Paul (jerk of jerks) or the bizarre, labyrinthian inversions and abstractions of Lacan, or of the militaristic and dictatorial commands of Lenin. If I wanted to live any of those kinds of punishments, I could always die in the Matrix hell of neoliberal Kapital.

So, my first proposal is that the anarchist movements speak up. A forum arranged around some of the great authoritarians of history and talk of Truth with a capital tee, all claiming to speak for the Left, should be enough.

Chuck Grimes

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