The radical gap

Dossier BL ANQUI’ S E TERNAL GAP The radical gap A preface to Auguste Blanqui, Eternity by the Stars Jacques rancière I leaf through the programme and learn that the very stars themselves – which, I am irmly convinced, should be but rarely disturbed, and even then only for high reasons of meditative gravity … […]

Our contemporary impotence

Our contemporary impotence Alain badiou We have, in this conference, discussed all of the crucial aspects of the situation in Europe and especially in Greece. We have, of course, analysed the great historical structures at stake: the particularly aggressive global politics of contemporary capitalism, the complicit weakness of the various states, and the reactive role […]

Politics in a Tragic Key

Politics in a tragic key Alberto toscano In memory of Joel Olson (1967–2012)In the quarter-century or so since the obscure disaster of the Soviet bloc’s collapse, two words have been pinned to that of ‘communism’ with liberal abandon: ‘tragedy’ and ‘transition’. Tragedy, to signify the magnitude of suffering, but not the greatness of the enterprise; […]

Eric Hobsbawn, 1917-2012

Obituary ‘He knew everything’ Eric Hobsbawm, 1917–2012 Eric Hobsbawm often told the story of his life, saying that it offered an interesting point of view for the historian he became. He was born in 1917 in Alexandria, in an Egypt then a British protectorate, to Jewish parents. His paternal grandfather was a Polish cabinetmaker who […]

The Two Names of Communism

The two names of communism John roberts Toujours avec l’espoir de rencontrer la mer, Ils voyageaient sans pain, sans batons et sans urnes, Mordant au citron d’or de l’idéal amer. Stéphane Mallarmé, 18621The recent explosion of writing on the communist idea, ideal and ‘communization’ recovers or expands a moment in the early to mid-1980s when […]

Noam Chomsky

Interview noam chomsky Freedom and power Peter hallward I’d like to start by asking you about some of your basic philosophical principles, starting with your understanding of human freedom and creativity. In the modern European tradition I’m most familiar with, freedom is a dominant philosophical theme from Descartes through Rousseau to Kant. With Kant we […]

Aijaz Ahmad

INTERVIEW AijazAhmad Nationalism, Post-colonialism, Communism RP: Could we begin by asking you to tell us something about your background? Ahmad: I was born in India towards the end of colonial rule, so I was very much a child of nationalism. I came from a rather traditional rural family, but my father was a left-of-centre nationalist. […]

Messianic ruminations: Derrida, Stirner and Marx

mind/geist of Europe by its cultural others and inferiors. Derrida’s fascination is with Hamlet-as-geist haunted by the corporeal form of the ghost, as a trope for the irreducible spectral implication of spirit and spook. However, this Vah~ryian reading of Hamlet forecloses his distinctive relation to the premodern, conscripting his melancholic Renaissance proto-modernity into a latterday […]

Naming, myth and history

Naming, myth and history Berlin after the Wall Gordon Finlayson Whoever believe that certain things are of no concern to them frequently deceive themselves, e.g. philosophers about history. Immanuel Kant, Reflections on Logic What has happened to history since the Berlin Wall fell? If Susan Buck-Morss is to be believed, fashion parades in its ruins; […]

The tremor of reflection

The tremor of reflection Slavoj Ziiek’s Lacanian dialectics Peter Dews In memory of Hinrich Fink-Eitel (1946-1995) At first glance, the work of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek seems to offer an irresistible range of attractions for theorists wishing to engage with contemporary culture, without accepting the flimsy postmodernist doxa which is often the only available […]

Fashion in Ruins

Fashion in Ruins History after the Cold War Susan Buck-Morss On Pariser Platz at the Gate’s east side, vendors sell souvenirs of the fallen Wall and mementos of the fallen regime. To the north, above the tree-line, the German flag flies over the ruins of the Reichstag that was burned in 1933 and bombed during […]

The Cards of Confusion

The Cards of Confusion Reflections on Historical Communism and the ‘End of History’ Gregory Elliott For Tom and Martha, divisibly … it is well known that History is not a good bourgeois. Roland Barthes (1957) An anti-Communist is a cur. I couldn’t see any way out of that one, and I never will. Jean-Paul Sartre […]

István Mészéros

Marxism Today An Interview with Istvan Meszaros /stwin Meszaros left Hungary after the Soviet invasion of 1956. He recently retiredfrom a Chair in Philosophy at the University of Sussex. He established his reputation in the English-speaking world with his widely translated Marx’s Theory ofAlienation (1970), which was awarded the / saac Deutscher Memorial Prize. His […]

Proletarian Philosophy

Proletarian Philosophy: A Version of Pastoral? Jonathan Ree I write in and about an embarrassment: how should I, a philosophy teacher, respond to people who are also committed to philosophy, but cut off from official philosophical institutions? It was partly to focus my attention on this problem that I revisited a much-respected acquaintance a few […]

Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx and Negativity

Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx and Negativity Chris Arthur In 1844 a turning point occurs in Marx’s philosophical development: for the first time he makes labour the central category of his social ontology (1) position of importance it was never to lose. Productive activity, and its alienation, are thematized in that most extraordinary document containing the results […]

Utopia or Phantasy?

, UTOPIA OR PHANTASY • . A Reply 10 OlllDan on Man’s David Murray Vision of ConIlDunisID Anyone who has argued for the desirability of socialis m will be familiar with this response: There’s a lot wrong with our society, but it’s better than Russia – if that’s socialism, you can keep it. But anyway, […]

Agnes Heller

Interview agnes heller Post-Marxism and the ethics of modernity ST: Iʼd like to begin by asking you about your first encounter with philosophy. What made you decide to do philosophy and what were the practical ramifications of such a choice in the 1940s?Heller: When I started university I wanted to be a scientist and I […]

Revolutionary romanticism

The interview with Agnes Heller, ʻPost-Marxism and the Ethics of Modernityʼ (RP 94) touches on what should be a key debate among intellectuals on the Left today: does a perspective critical of the authoritarian legacy of modern revolutions spell the end of the project of political revolution, or does it on the contrary entail rethinking […]

The fate of the body politic

Whatever happened to the idea of the body politic? For those interested in social and political thought this is a pertinent question, since these fields have in recent years become saturated with discussions of the body. The loss of confidence in previously established categories has provoked a widespread return to the body as the basis […]

Formations of feminism

ʻSpot the differenceʼ is the game, whenever the subject of gender crops up. I play it myself, usually trying to combat the clichés to which it gives rise. This is the danger that stalks feminism: the threat of banality – its impact fading with repetition, its complexities and nuances submerged by anxious attachments to sexual […]