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Marxism: Critique, Science, Praxis

hizkia yosie polimpung

Critique contra criticism

(on Contribution to the Critique of Hegels Philosophy of Right, 1843)

Young Hegelians: kritik transendensi

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature [...] It is the opium of the people. (244) Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, Max Stirner Critique of religion as the the opium of the people, as merely criticism

Criticism: Critique of religion (or ideology) as opiate, becomes the opiate itself.

Critique of opium, becomes the opium of critique.


Further critique of Young Hegelians in German Ideology (1976 [1846]) Ludwig von Feuerbach: raw materialism void of political economy Bruno Bauer: mystification of critique; illusion of the unity of thought and reality Max Stirner: illusion of self-autonomy; naive anarchy Moses Hess & Karl Grun: abstract humanism void of material basis We must go beyond romanticization, culturalization (social construction), personalization, moralization.


Walter Benjamins Left-Wing Melancholy (1931)

Casting blame Self-victimismrather than victor. (Injury, as for Wendy Brown, became the requirement for criticism) Self-claim of power Self-glorification via negativa (cf. Wendy Brown, Resisting Left Melancholy, 1999)

Towards a Marxian critique

"The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion." "To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. Thus the criticism of heaven turns into the criticism of earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics. Marx brings forth the importance of materialist critique of political economy which conditions the idologico-religious edifice. That is, the social relations of productionto be defined as relations of ownership (of means of production) and thus class relations

[Supp.] Schema of labor origin of commodity (simplified)

Scientific Marxism

The imperative of inquiry into the nature of the social relations of productions The question of objectivity

Not of free value, but that of a state outside of human correlatesthought, language, aspiration, judgement. A kind of internal logic which governs the smoothfunctioning of things. Of manifestation or impartation or crystalization (Marx) or sublimation (Zizek) of social relations of production Science to discover the objective law ordering the material world Cf. Althusserian epistemological break (and NOT rupture) Centrality of method: dialectical-materialist, historicalmaterialist.

The question of materiality

Marxian Science:

Marxian Praxis

Occurs in dialectical sense Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary practice. [Lenin, as quoted by Althusser] Revolutionary theory can effectively address only questions that are raised in the course of practical struggles, and in turn this theorizing can be articulated only through its creative implementation on the practical field. [Michael Hardt, intensifying Althusser] Theory is a field of revolutionary praxis! (otherwise, only intellectual masturbations)

Singularity Historicality Universality Specificity .... Specific: material, objective, concrete Singular: essence, meaning Historical: Spatio-Temporal Context/Variant Universal: the causa-prima; metaphysics

Notes on metaphysics of commodity

A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. So far as it is a use-value, there is nothing mysterious about it, [...] But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness
(Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, trans. B. Fowkes (NY: Penguin Books, 1976), p. 163; my emphasis)

Marx and the contemporary


Diamat & Histomat method to capture the specificity of contemporary capitalism Locate the current crisis of capitalism in the logic of capital accumulation itself Centrality of concrete field research in struggle

Suggestion for next discussion


of valorization and exchange Capitalist regime of accumulation (from primitive, to capitalist, to flexible, to financial) Evolution and/or variation of capitalist mode of production over time