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5.0 out of 5 stars Derrida never claimed to be a Marxist,-what's the fuss?, 2 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Ghostly Demarcations: On Jacques Derrida's "Spectres of Marx" (Paperback)
Fred Engels said once that each generation of philosophers try arduously to soar higher in the sky than the previous, and here although one can see the value in the Left engaging with such a formidable thinker as Derrida, I would think the Left had better things to do,like the set of probelmatics concerning the globalization/exploitation of international labour,the eroding of the democratic state,the banality of neo-liberalism and its future. Perhaps the ultimate question here is what value emits itself after we read the various brilliant but ultimately marginal excursions/commentary into Derrida's work "Spectres of Marx". Derrida never claimed to be a Marxist and it is self-evident that he is merely attempting to arrest Marxism as countless others have, expunging it away,diluting its content from the level of intellectual discourse it rightly deserves. Derrida's body of work takened wholly refuses the content of such an arduous task ,being continually directly referred backwards to Heidegger and an affinity of the durational frame of the past reprisals into "what was" rather than what can be. Jameson's piece from a few years ago is the most comprehensive here, for he is always an excellent assembler of varigated,yet focused tracking like with a conceptual microscope the intellectual history of Derrida's thought. But Derrida's response to Jameson's response where Jameson's had erroneous placed the aesthetic in the field of play is a good example of indulgent useless bickering. Of course Derrida denies that the aesthetic is an integral component of his thought although he depends upon it continuously for his performative acts at creating new jargons,the conceptual 'writing' freedoms and cross genres (is this literature,a lecture- sketch, or philosophy, or art??) and incessant cross and inter-breeding of thoughts,fragments of excerpts, half-references to the Western panoply of thought from Freud,Heidegger etc. I think that is the ultimate problem with Derrida,he cannot convincingly deny any perspective,(although he has say obviously the opposite in interviews) in that his work seems to ascribe to conceptual indulgences and playfullness. Eagleton is also brilliant here and takes the more New Left perspective,which is old now, which still has vibrant points which again ultimately ponders the relationship of Marxism to various other ideological departures as deconstruction,Messianism and post-structuralism.I think ultimately we are barking up the wrong tree here for ultimately the lens which Derrida looks through(his body of thought) is so far removed from the problematics which Marxism(defined here in it's widest liberal sense) has developed throughout its long and tortured history,that again there are indeed larger dimensions to pursue.
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