Re: Foucault and the Proletariat (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 08 Dec 94 13:04:00 PST
From: Riley, Dylan (G) SOCIO <riley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: foucault-approval@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Foucault and the Proletariat

Of course I (Dylan) never suggested that Foucault was a Marxist, although he
was member of the PCF and his politics were formed in the conjunture of '68
and the sino-soviet split as was true of all the new philosophers. What I
want to point out is that the current anti-marxist backlash, which finds
theoretical nourishment from foucault among others, is the result of a
specific historical conjunture. It is not that I claim that Foucault is a
marxist, it is that I claim that his work can be understood within marxism.
Furthermore as parts of Discipline and Punish clearly indicate he shares a
strong theoretical affinity with marxist positions. Particular the concept
of the mode of production is reproduced in different ways as mode of penalty
mode of discourse etc. It seems to me that much of Foucault's work is
concerned with establishing the objective conditions under which particular
types of thought become possible. Althusser, a theorist often incorrectly
characterized as an orthodox Marxist, is also very similar to Foucault. The
concepts of displacement and conjuncture are similar in both thinkers. In
the American context it seems these affinites are often misunderstood.
Marxism constitutes the specific theoretical predecessor of postmodern though
which cannot be understood without explicit reference to this tradition. The
complete lack of a sophistacted American Marxist culture has led to an
exageration of Foucault's theoretical originality in this country. As if
Lukacs did not already understand that truth is subjective and created!!!
This is all I was trying to draw attention to.

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