post-Marxism


post-Marxism
  ---- by Stuart Sim
  Post-Marxism can be interpreted in two main ways: either as a rejection of Marxism as a body of thought, or as a continuation of that tradition in terms of its spirit rather than its letter. Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe are the most influential figures in the latter category, as expressed most forcefully in their book Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985), whereas Baudrillard, along with such contemporaries as Jean-François Lyotard and Michel Foucault, fits into the former. In Laclau and Mouffe's (1985) reading, it was to be construed as the difference between being 'post-Marxist' and 'post-Marxist'. Laclau and Mouffe argued that Marxist thought had attempted to cover up the failure of its predictions, most importantly that capitalism would ultimately collapse under the weight of its internal contradictions, by the use of the concept of hegemony. Consistent recourse to that concept constituted a denial of Marxism's theoretical deficiencies for Laclau and Mouffe, and led them to press for a less dogmatic interpretation of Marx's work. For French thinkers of Baudrillard's generation, however, the critical event in their development of a post-Marxist outlook was 1968 and the événements in Paris. A generation of intellectuals who had been very sympathetic to Marxism, which had a high profile in French public life, were to turn against it in the aftermath of the événements, angered at what they took to be an act of betrayal by the French Communist Party in siding with the government against the combined forces of the strikers and students. Thereafter we are to note a definite drift away from official Marxism by intellectuals on the Left.
  Baudrillard launches a sustained attack on Marxism in The Mirror of Production (1975 [1973]), criticising in particular its obsession with exerting control over Nature, as well as with production: 'A specter haunts the revolutionary imagination: the phantom of production' (MP, 17). Marxism is held to be locked into the ideals of modernity, viewing Nature purely as a resource to be drawn into the production process, on the grounds that increased production will enable communism to outstrip capitalism. Baudrillard dismisses that assumption, complaining that 'the concept of production is never questioned' by Marxist theorists, and arguing that 'it will never radically overcome the influence of political economy . . . Can the quantitative development of productive forces lead to a revolution of social relations? Revolutionary hope is based "objectively" and hopelessly on this claim' (MP, 59-60). Production has become an end in itself, subordinating humankind to its dictates, and it cannot be seen as an agent of liberation. It is an argument against the totalising thrust of Marxist thought, exemplified by the communist system then in operation in the Soviet bloc and China, and Baudrillard's critique reflects a more general unease on this issue among the French Left post-1968 - Deleuze and Guattari and Lyotard are making very similar noises in Anti-Oedipus (1983) and Libidinal Economy (1993) respectively. It might be fairer to call such thinkers anti- rather than post-Marxist, and that was a criticism that did come to be made of the postMarxist movement in general by classical Marxists.
  Baudrillard regards Marxism as being in thrall to political economy, leading to a false interpretation of history: 'Marxism is the projection of the class struggle and the mode of production onto all previous history; it is the vision of a future "freedom" based on the conscious domination of nature. These are extrapolations of the economic' (MP, 67). Like all totalising belief systems Marxism is trying to erase difference, and Baudrillard's postmodern orientation comes through strongly at this point, the cultivation of difference being an abiding concern of the burgeoning postmodernistpoststructuralist movement of the time. Baudrillard may have rejected the label of postmodernist, but his defence of difference and critique of totalising thought in general aligns him with that movement in its broad sense.
  Marxism is rejected as a revolutionary force by Baudrillard, for whom it is a mirror image of capitalism rather than the ideological opposite it purports to be. Baudrillard is also critical of Marx's concept of value, arguing that the distinction he makes between use value and exchange value is largely illusory (SED, CPS). In the uncompromising quality of his critique of Marx Baudrillard reveals himself to be, in Laclau and Mouffe's terms of reference, very much a post-Marxist, who believes the theory is now irrelevant to our lives.
  Passwords
   § may 1968
   § mirror
   § postmodernism / postmodernity
   § production

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Post-Marxism — has two related but different uses. Post marxism can be used to refer to the situation in Eastern Europe and the ex Soviet republics after the fall of the Soviet Union, or it can be used to represent the theoretical work of philosophers and… …   Wikipedia

  • Post-postmodernism — is a term applied to a wide ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture which are emerging from and reacting to postmodernism. Contents 1 Periodization 2 Definitions …   Wikipedia

  • Marxism — Part of a series on Marxism …   Wikipedia

  • Marxism (Philosophies of) — Philosophies of Marxism Lenin, Lukács, Gramsci, Althusser Michael Kelly INTRODUCTION Marxist philosophy can be seen as a struggle with Hegel or a struggle with capitalism, that is, as an intellectual or a political movement. Neither of these… …   History of philosophy

  • Marxism —    Debates on Marxist theory and practice are carried out in academic journals such as New Left Review and in the pages of magazines such as Socialist Worker and Marxism Today, as well as in the many political organizations influenced by Marxist… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • Marxism and religion — Part of a series on Marxism …   Wikipedia

  • Post-structuralism — encompasses the intellectual developments of continental philosophers and critical theorists who wrote with tendencies of twentieth century French philosophy. The prefix post refers to the fact that many contributors, such as Jacques Derrida,… …   Wikipedia

  • Marxism and Freedom: From 1776 Until Today — is a 1958 book by the philosopher and activist Raya Dunayevskaya, the first volume of her Trilogy of Revolution . Published in 1958, this is the first expression in book form of Raya Dunayevskaya s Marxist Humanism. A central theme of Marxism and …   Wikipedia

  • Post-Zionism — refers to the opinions of some Israeli, diaspora Jews and others, particularly in academia, that Zionism has fulfilled its ideological mission with the creation of modern State of Israel in 1948 and that Zionist ideology should therefore be… …   Wikipedia

  • Post-Fordism — is the name given to the dominant system of economic production, consumption and associated socio economic phenomena, in most industrialized countries since the late 20th century. It is contrasted with Fordism, the system formulated in Henry Ford …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.