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Who is a ‘real’ Marxist today?

7:00pm, Thursday 26 February 2009, Contact for more information.

Not so much aiming to provide a final answer but to raise a series of provocative questions; he will ask if Marxism today is reduced to a method of political economy, cultural critique, a philosophy of complaint; is it now just a paradigm of economism, productionism; is it still, in other words, a revolutionary philosophy in the absence of a really existing revolutionary movement? He will argue that we should not look for any final answer to this conundrum, but acknowledge that Marx-ism should be divorced from its supposed determinate content, excepting that which constitutes its original event in world history. Alongside its twin event of Hegelian philosophy, we should rather conceive Marx-ism as the orientation of subjects in revolutionary movements to the event of Marx: conceiving society as totality and enacting torsion in the social fabric towards the production of equality. He will propose that the gap between the passage from Marx-ist *analysis* of social conditions to the Marx-ist *response* of how to realise antagonism, is what constitutes Marx-ism as the ever-changing, chameleon-like horizon of radical thought. In the absence of this irresolvable tension at the heart of Marx-ism - *its irrational kernel* - he will propose that ‘bad faith’ inevitably creeps into Marx-ist thinking that loses fidelity to the original event of Marx. As such, and in an analysis that draws upon thinkers from Hans-Georg Gadamer to Vladimir Lenin, we can understand the bizarre spectre of Marx-ists who entered the “tourniquet” of Marx-ism on the left and spin out on the right.


Nathan Coombs, DPhil candidate in political philosophy at Royal Holloway

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