Friday, July 9, 2021

Derrida / Spectres of Marx - summary

Spectres of Marx is a book by French philosopher Jacques Derrida published in 1993 . It follows a lecture given at the University of California at Riverside the same year, during a colloquium devoted to Karl Marx's thoughtentitled Whither marxism? ( Where is Marxism going? ). Jacques Derrida introduces in this book the notion of spectrality and arouses controversy among Marxist intellectualsby his method of deconstruction . The conference was dedicated to the memory of Communist Chris Hani , activist against apartheid , assassinated on April 10, 1993.

The notion of spectrality present in the title finds its origin in the first lines of the Communist Party Manifesto , where Karl Marx writes: "A specter haunts Europe - the specter of communism  ".

Derrida comments on this passage in relation to the stage of occurrence of the spectrum in Hamlet of Shakespeare . The specter which is thought of as a specter to come at the time when Marx is writing his text is thought by Derrida as a specter from the past. The notion of spectrality makes it possible to think about this identity, which Derrida calls hantology . The question is asked of the legacy of Marxism and of "the spirit of Marx" at the time of the fall of communism (Chapter 1).

Derrida criticizes Francis Fukuyama's thesis inspired by Alexandre Kojève concerning the end of history 2 and the historical proof of a supremacy of liberal democracy (chapter 2).

On the contrary, he mentions “ten plagues” of the “new world order” with a view to a “new International” (chapter 3).

Finally, he enters into a literal analysis of the texts in which the notion of spectrality appears in the philosophy of Marx himself: the Manifesto , but also The Eighteen Brumaire by Louis Napoléon Bonaparte , The German Ideology and The Capital (chapters 4 and 5).