No abstract is available for this content at the moment. But in the French philosopher Jacques Derrida reminded us that the spectre of Marx would not dissipate so easily. It turns out he was right. Jacques Derrida Specters of Marx The State of the Debt, the Work of .. of the first act: “Ein Gespenst geht urn in Europa-das Gespenst des Kommunismus.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Derrida, Jacques – Specters of Marx. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, ddrrida other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any derriea storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

This contagious optimism was best exemplified by the confidence and popularity of Francis Fukuyama’s claim that the end of history was at hand, that amrx future-if that word verrida still be said to have the same meaning-was to become the global triumph of free market economies.

At the same time many of us felt a vague sense of foreboding, a haunted sense that international changes of such magnitude were as likely to result, at least initially, and perhaps gespensteer a long time to come, in transformations as malign as they are benign.

And yet, it seemed to many that the collapse of gespenstef in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as democratic insurgencies in China, had created a new world order. Politicians from George Bush to Vaclav Havel had proclaimed that the ideological and political alliances which structured the global community prior to must now be rethought and restructured.

Less dramatically, but just as Significantly, the economic integration of Europe beginning inand the continued economic growth of Japan and the emergence of South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore as economic forces have all profoundly changed the international economic, social, and political landscapes.

The meaning and consequences of these changes are of vital importance to us all; no discipline or sector of culture has a monopoly on potential analyses, much less a monopoly on answers. In response to the changing social, political, philosophical, and economic dimensions of the global community, scholars and intellectuals throughout the world are rethinking the mean- ing of past verities and developing tespenster theoretical approaches.

Among the central contested issues: What remains of the socialist vision s after the “collapse” in ? Has the collapse of com- munism also spelled the death derida Marxism, and of Marx as an important philosopher and political thinker? Have we indeed reached “the end of history” as Fukuyama has argued, where pluralistic democracies and capitalist economies reign supreme?

Is the future now to be simply a choice between Scandinavian- gespebster social democracy on the one hand, and unrestrained free market capitalism on the other? Given the difficulties some democratic, free market economies are experiencing-including the plight of the homeless, the lack of adequate health care, environmental degradation, and enormous national debt burdens-what sort of model for the future do we have?

What does this imply, then, about the future structure and functioning of the global economy and life throughout our shared world? Who must ask such questions and to whom must tlley be addressed? In particular, how will intellectuals in the Marxist tradition respond, theoretically and politically, to the global transfor- mations now occurring? How has the crisis in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union affected the way intellectuals, scholars, and government officials in those countries and around derirda world reconceive their intellectual and political projects?

What is to be the status of Marxist social goals that informed so many Marxist thinkers and gespentser revolutionaries throughout the world-the egalitarian distribution of income, increased gepsenster place democracy, the end of economic explOitation and the eradication of class differences-given the current rush to vari- ous forms of capitalism in Eastern Europe, Russia, and China? Does the “end of history” also portend the end of Marxist theory?

What is living and what is dead in Marxism? In Octoberin an gespentser charged by such ques- tions, several of us began a conversation at the University of California, at Riverside’s Center for Ideas and SOCiety, about what it might be like to have a conference which would not consist of yet another autopsy administered mostly by Anglo- phone economists and policy analysts who typically were and are very far from the sites of struggle and transformation.


We wondered how our marc on location, so to speak, under- stand their circumstances, both historically and philosophically. Equally important, it seemed to us significant to provide a derriea within which one of the most famous and influential con- temporary philosophers-Jacques Derrida-could reflect on gespenstfr conference’s topic, something he had not yet been able to do in a sustained and systematic derroda in print. We thought that such a sustained reflection on Marx by Derrida would be of intrinsic as well as historical importance.

The conference itself was organized and managed by the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. His plenary address was delivered in two parts, on the evenings of April 22nd and 23rd. That lecture, “Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, derruda Work of Mourning, and the New International, is the basis of the text now before you, a text which bears the same name; and this longer version- “augmented, clarified as Derrida says-is no less marked by that occasion, setting, and interlocutors than is the original plenary address.

It would be inappropriate, indeed, impossible, to convey in summary the many specters that haunt the texts of Marx, and, through him, of Derrida. Here we would merely wish to note that in this text Derrida takes his position for a certain spirit of Marxism, that “deconstruction, if there is such a thing, always already moves within a certain spirit of Marx.

It should also be noted that, for Derrida, in speaking of a certain spirit of Marx it is not in the first place in,order to propose a scholarly, phil- osophical discourse. More precisely, it is order to submit for your discussion several hypotheses on the nature of such a responsibility.

In what way is it historical? derrkda

And what does it have to do with so many specters? Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx: The Slate of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International is intended to be in conversation with and supplemented by its companion volume of conference max, Whither Marxism? Global Crises in International Perspective. This second volume contains selected conference essays by Ashot K. Villas, and Zhang Longxi.

While some of the essays are in direct conversation with the text of Derrida, others illustrate the force of his argument, whether they intend to do so or not. Specifically and telegraphic- ally, at least four points of contact emerge from Derrida’s Gsspenster of Marx and its companion volume Whitller Marxism?

The purpose of these two volumes, Specters of Marx and Whither Marxism? The volumes raise these questions in an international and inter- gwspenster context. Their goal is not simply to produce another postmortem on Marxism, nor is it simply to defend Marxism against its critics. That lecture opened an international colloquium organized by Bernd Magnus and Stephen Cullen berg under the ambiguous title “Whither Marxism?

Notes were added later, of course. A few new develop- ments appear in square brackets. In its past as well as in its present. By diverse paths condensation, displacement, expression, or representationone derida always decipher through its singularity so many other kinds of violence going on in the world.

Editions of Specters of Marx by Jacques Derrida

At once part, cause, effect, example, what is happening there translates what takes place here, always here, wherever one is and wherever one looks, closest to home.

Infinite responsibility, therefore, no rest allowed for any form of good conscience. But one should never speak of the assassination of a man as a figure, not even an exemplary figure in the logic of an emblem, a rhetoric of the flag or of martyrdom. A man’s life, as unique as his death, will always be more than a paradigm and something other than a symbol.

Derrida, Jacques – Specters of Marx | Maryanne Moll –

And this is precisely what a proper name should always name. And yet, keeping this in mind and having recourse to a common noun, I recall that it is a communist as such, a communist as communist, whom a Polish emigrant and his accomplices, all the assassins of Chris Hani, put to death a few days ago, April 10th.

The assassins themselves proclaimed that they were out to get a communist. This popular hero of the resistance against Apartheid became dangerous and suddenly intolerable, it seems, at the moment in which, having decided to devote himself once again to a minority Communist Party riddled with contradictions, he gave up important responsibilities in the ANC and perhaps any official political or even governmental role he might one day have held in a country freed of Apartheid.


Allow me to salute the memory of Chris Hani and to dedicate this lecture to him. I would like to learn to live finally. To learn to live: To teach to live, but to whom? Will we ever know?

Will we ever know how to live and first of all what “to learn to live” means? And why “finally” By itself, out of context-but a context, always, remains open, thus fallible and insufficient-this watchword forms an almost unintelligible syntagm. Just how far can its idiom be translated moreover? I A magisterial locution, all the same–or for that very reason.

For from the lips of a master this watch word would always say something about violence. It vibrates like an arrow in the course of an irreversible and asymmetrical address, the one that goes most often from father to son, master to disciple, or master to slave “I’m going to teach you to live”.

Such an address hesti- tates, therefore: But to learn to live, to learn it from oneself and by oneself, all alone, to teach oneself to live “I would like to learn to live finally”is that not impossible for a living being?

Is it not what logic itself forbids? To live, by definition, is not something one learns. Not from oneself, it is not learned from life, taught by life.

HAU Hebbel am Ufer

Only from the other and by death. In any case from the other at the edge of life. At the internal border or the external border, it is a heterodidactics between life and death. And yet nothing is more necessary than this wisdom. It is ethics itself: And does one ever do anything else but learn to live, alone, from oneself, by oneself? This is, therefore, a strange commitment, both impossible derrifa necessary, for a living being supposed to be alive: Between life and death, then, this is indeed the place of a sententious injunction that always feigns to speak like the just.

What follows advances like an essay in the night-into the unknown of that which must remain to come-a simple attempt, therefore, narx analyze with some consistency such an exordium: If it-learning to live-remains to be done, it can happen only between life and death.

Neither in life nor in death alone. What happens between two, and between all the “two’s” one likes, such as between life and death, can only maintain itself with some ghost, can only talk with or about some ghost [s’ entretenir de quelque fantomeJ.

So it would be necessary to learn spirits. Even and especially if this, the spectral, is not. Even and especially if this, which is neither substance, nor essence, nor existence, is never present as such.

The time of the “learning to live, a time without tutelary present, would amount to this, to which the exordium is leading us: To live otherwise, and better. No, not better, but more justly But with them. No being-with the other, no socius without this with that makes being-with in general more enigmatic than ever for us.

And this being-with specters would also be, not only but also, a politics of memory, of inheritance, and of generations. If I am getting ready to speak at length about ghosts, inherit- ance, and generations, generations of ghosts, which is to say about certain others who are not present, nor presently living, either to us, in us, or outside us, it is in the name of justice.

No justice-let us not say no law and once again we are not speaking here oflaws 4-seems possible or thinkable without the principle of some responsibility, beyond all living present, within that which disjoins the living present, before the ghosts of those who are not yet born or who are already dead, be they victims of wars, political or other kinds of violence, nationalist, racist, colonialist, sexist, or other kinds of exterminations, victims of the oppres- sions of capitalist imperialism or any of the forms of totalitarian- ism.