Re: new interpretations of Marx (a reply)

Just responding to David's responses. Little Foucault here, so delete at

At 12:06 PM 10/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
> >but with postone and foucault we clearly reach the safety of the other
side... the rational economic man (the laborer as well as the
capitalist)were inventions of the modern age... and with the coming of the
>neither will remain in place... for each presupposes the other... the
capitalist's and the market's functions are just taken over by the state
(in the traditional interpretation) leading to a new type of fascism--the
>state-capitalist society of the soviet union, china, etc...

I would agree in re the despair and dead-end of Adorno et al at the level
of politics. I believe it was Lukacs who referred to either their (dim)
utopianism, or the "place" they ended up in, as the Grand Hotel Abyss.
Foucault doesn't get into this position, but I'd argue that is as much the
product of his "ignorance" of the political at some large, collective
level, as his anti-utopianism.
But I'd disagree that the "other side" of F or whomever, is so safe, or
perhaps even a "place" at all. I think this "new age" may have come
indeed, but I don't think anyone understands much about either what it is,
or what is to be done.

>> Lukacs aside, Marxism cannot be made into good philosophy. It lacks an>
"existential" dimension (as in the late Foucault) and is premised upon >the
>> materialist critique of philosophy.
>>>>again i disagree, the "early" marx (to use althusser's dubious
distinction) is "existential" to a fault (perhaps)... and marx is
especially good philosophy if postone's interpretation is correct

The Marx of the 1844 MSS is indeed addressing, quite interestingly,
questions of ontology. And Marx does offer much to a *social* philosophy
or theory, of course. But there is little in there for addressing
questions of ontology at a more personal, localized level -- questions of
death, love, sex, nausee, and such. Others on this list would know more of
Foucault's use here, but I think there is more there in him than in Marx,
and it seems the direction he was heading upon his untimely death (the
latter HS volumes, care of the self, etc).

>> For the Marx of the Capitals, at
>> least, there is no Trans. standpoint. Thus Capital is >>written to, and
for, and from the standpoint of the >>proletariat.

>this is exactly the kind of contradiction that postone >criticized
horkheimer and adorno for... your second >sentence here >does state a
transcendental standpoint: >labor and the proletariat...

I still don't see how the use of the categories of class/proletariat and
labor are ipso facto transcendental.
Those concepts, like all others, do not capture or fully name their
objects, but still we find them necessary abstractions. My point was that
Marx's exhortations in the Capitals were directed to the worker, and not,
as in the 1844 MSS or the German Ideology, to the philosopher, or to
homoeconomicus, or to "the individual" of panoptic society. In other
words, where you see transcendence, I see difference here. Which is not,
of course, to imply that today's proletariat is just like the one Marx
constructed. She mostly likely wouldn't be able to read his German, or the

Daniel Vukovich
English; Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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