shamshow

I just received the latest issue (134) of Radical Philosophy. Though there is doubtless much else in this issue that’s worth reading, let me point you to David Murray and Mark Neocleous’s reaction to the news that Karl Marx was voted the greatest philosopher of all time. This is how their piece ends:

Marx did not win this poll at all. It was won by “Marx.” It was a shadow Marx, a spectral Marx, who was voted the Greatest Philosopher of All Time. The Marx who won this poll was an alternate being, a spectral being which exists in the ideological world, a figure in the phantasmagoria constructed by those who benefit most from having others buy this particular icon. “Marx” won, and so Marx–and Marxism–lost. Far from celebrating this as a victory, then, and enjoying the furious protestations of the conservative press, we should actually see it as a defeat. There must always be the shamshow of opposition, of a criticism that never takes to arms. (60; emphasis in original)

Of course it’s true that on the other hand, by way of Derrida, we might consider that Marx (and Marxism) has always been spectral, and that this is in part his (its) power. But still.

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