Are you now or have you ever been a bourgeois philosopher?

Are you now or have you ever been a bourgeois philosopher? Michael Wayne, Red Kant: Aesthetics, Marxism and the Third Critique, Bloomsbury, London, 2014. 226 pp., £65.00 hb., 978 1 47251 134 8. This book intends to proffer a Marxist or, more specifically, ‘anti-bourgeois’ reading of Kant’s critical project and the third Critique in particular, and […]

A is for apocalypse

A is for apocalypseDavid J. Blacker, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame, Zero Books, Winchester and Washington DC, 2013. 319 pp., £15.99 pb., 978 1 78099 578 6. Amidst the recent flood of lachrymose reports on the neoliberal assault upon education, this book stands out for its unflinching survey of the extent […]

184 Reviews

REViEWS The cunning of capital explained? Neil Davidson, How Revolutionary Were the Bourgeois Revolutions?, Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2012, xxi + 812 pp., £22.99 pb., 978 1 60846 067 0. In ‘The Notion of Bourgeois Revolution’ (1976) Perry Anderson wrote: ‘Among the concepts traditionally associated with historical materialism, few have been so problematic and contested as that […]

A differing shade of green

Adrian Parr, The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics, Columbia University Press, New York, 2013. 224 pp., £20.50 hb., 978 0 23115 828 2. This book is a welcome addition to the spate of recent books on the ecological and resource calamities currently facing the planet. Unlike so many others – one thinks in […]

Truly Liberating

Yotam feldman Dialectics of liberationKevin B. Anderson and Russell Rockwell, eds, The Dunayevskaya–Marcuse–Fromm Correspondence, 1954–1978: Dialogues on Hegel, Marx and Critical Theory, Lexington Books, Lanham MD and Plymouth, 2012, 269 pp., £49.95 hb., £21.95 pb., 978 0 73916 835 6 hb., 978 0 73916 836 3 pb. Raya Dunayevskaya died in 1987 aged 77, but […]

Inside the factory, and out

Fredric Jameson, Representing ‘Capital’: A Reading of Volume One, Verso, London and New York, 2011. 158pp., £14.99 hb., 978 1 84467 454 1. John Kraniauskas Fredric Jameson’s latest book, published hot on the heels of a monograph on Hegel’s Phenomenology (The Hegel Variations, 2010) and a large collection of essays on the dialectic (Valences of […]

Lenin and Gandhi

Lenin and Gandhi A missed encounter? Étienne balibar The theme I shall address today has all the trappings of an academic exercise.* Still, I would like to attempt to show how it intersects with several major historical, epistemological and ultimately political questions. As a basis for the discussion, I will posit that Lenin and Gandhi […]

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 […]

Why Keynes was wrong

Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right, Yale University Press, New Haven CT, 2011. 258 pp., £16.99 hb., 978 0 30016 943 0. Paul Mattick, Business As Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism, Reaktion Books, London, 2011. 126 pp. £12.95 pb., 978 1 86189 801 2. Stephen Harper In 2008, as journalists and pundits struggled to account for […]

David Macey, 1949-2011

Obituary Biographer of the French intellectual Left David Macey, 1949–2011 David Macey died from complications of lung cancer on 7 October. He embodied the paradox of being a fine public intellectual while remaining an intensely private person. He was one of the best intellectual historians of his generation and added appreciably to scholarly knowledge, yet […]

Walter Benjamin and surrealism

Waiter Benjamin and surrealism The story of a revolutionary spell Michael Lowy ‘Fascination’ is the only term that does justice to the intensity of the feelings Waiter Benjamin experienced when he discovered surrealism in 1926-27. His very efforts to escape the spell of the movement founded by Andre Breton and his friends are an expression […]

Friend or enemy? Reading Schmitt politically

Friend or enemy? Reading Schmitt politically Mark Neocleous The debates concerning a ‘crisis’ in social theory in recent years have been partly generated by those socialists for whom old certainties now appear naive and the theoretical foundations of a socialist approach to history and society obliterated. In this context some have looked to new approaches […]

The limits of hauntology

SYMPOSIUM Spectres of Derrida The limits of hauntology G hosts are not renowned for their sense of humour. As Charles Lamb (he of the undeconstructed tales from Shakespeare) put it; ‘Can a ghost laugh, or shake his gaunt sides, when you are pleasant with him?’ But the ghost ofthe theorist of farcical returns might well […]

Marx the uncanny? Ghosts and their relation to the mode of production

Where Marx is closest to the spirit of deconstruction is, arguably, in these formulaic gestures towards a society that had so far transcended existing actuality that its conditions of realization could no longer be conceptualized. Marx is spectral Marx in his refusal to envision communism in his envisaging of it, in his anti-utopian utopianism. Now, […]

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 […]

In partial praise of a positivist

In partial praise of a positivist The work of Otto Neurath John O’Neill There is a tradition in socialist writing of rediscovering neglected socialist thinkers and showing how the recovery of their memory can contribute to the solution of contemporary problems in socialist theory and practice. This paper belongs to this genre of rediscovery. The […]

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 […]

Olympus Mislaid?

Olympus Mislaid? A Profile of Perry Anderson Gregory Elliott At the very outset of his story, Berlin seems to have mislaid Mount Olympus. Perry Anderson ‘The Pluralism of Isaiah Berlin’ (1990) In the Foreword to A Zone of Engagement Anderson notes the discontinuity between its first three chapters, classified as ‘intra-mural surveys within the intellectual […]

‘The world spirit on the fins of a rocket’

‘The world spirit on the fins of a rocket’ Adorno’s critique of progress Michael Lowy and Eleni Varikas The ideology of progress, born (in its modern guise) during the Enlightenment, finds its culminating philosophical expression in Hegel’s conception of history. Here, everything that happens marks a further step in mankind’s march towards freedom: watching Napoleon […]

Value, Rationality and the Environment

Val ue, Rationality and the Environment Andrew Collier Today most people on the Left are aware that ecological damage, and the threat of ecological disaster, are among the foremost contradictions of capitalism, second only to the impoverishment of the Third World. In addition to ecology in the strict sense, the damage done to the material […]