THE HUMAN FACE OF NECESSARY DISCIPLINE (4,400 words, 2020)

Abstract:  Review article of J. Dean, Comrade.

Keywords: Jodi Dean, comrade, communism, communist party, discipline, messianism, cognition, exempla

First published as “Jodi Dean’s Comrade” (review article) in Socialism & Democracy no. 83 (July 2020):  www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080 08854300 .2020.1805263 

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THUS SPAKE THE BITTER MUSE (2,250 words, 2009)

Abstract: Long poem in the denunciatory style of the Tanakh prophets, somewhat Hellenised. Repeated line and conclusion: “Do not profit by the blood of your fellows”. 

Keywords: Muse, Mammon, justice, death

First published in Socialism & Democracy no. 83 (July 2020): www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08854300.2020.1805255

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ILLUMINATING FREEDOM AND KNOWLEDGE IN KAPITAL (3,500 words, 2015)

Abstract: To understand some central presuppositions of Marx’s, such as knowledge and freedom, within an anti-scientistic and anti-bourgeois horizon, central elements within Leibniz and Spinosa are discussed, with a glance at Hegel. Capital turns out to be an anti-Leibnizian monad, while Das Kapital is undergirded by a Spinozist value-political treatise.

Keywords: epistemology, politics, freedom, Marx, Leibniz, Spinoza, First published in International Critical Thought 11.1 (2021): 120–129.

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ON BRECHT’S “THE MANIFESTO”: COMMENTS FOR READERS IN ENGLISH (9,100 words, 2015)

Part 1 is the translation by D. Suvin of a putative poem by Brecht Das Manifest (The Manifesto) pieced together from his various versions from 1944 on. 

Part 2 is a comment article that discusses Brecht’s intention in 1944-45 to versify The Communist Manifesto in Lucretian hexameters in order to to renew its propagandistic efficacy, i.e. with the ambition to be to Marx what Lucretius was to Epicure. This assumed, that the How and the What cannot in a work of poetry (Marx’s prose or Brecht’s verse) be truly separated. The relationship of poetry to doctrine or didacticism is probed on this example, the horizon of which is that of verse narration as cognition. Further, the relation of poetry to history is adumbrated: both to the history of poetry and to the insights gained on the Left since 1848. Primarily, the updating factors in a theory of economic crises and some lessons of Leninism, with the overriding importance of destructive global wars added as Brecht’s own innovation.  Brecht’s unfinished but substantive and powerful poem remains a cognitive reshaping by “a poet in the style of Marx”.

Keywords: Marx, communism, Brecht, poetry, didactic poetry, poetry and history, war

First published as “Bertolt Brecht: The Manifesto” [transl.] and “On Brecht’s The Manifesto: Comments for Readers in English.” Socialism and Democracy 16.1 (2002): 1-31, http://sdonline.org/31/the-manifesto/ and http://sdonline.org/31/on-brechts-the-manifesto-comments-for-readers-in-english1/ (2nd item in different German version as “Brechts Gedichtfassung des Kommunistischen Manifests,” transl. S. Regler, Das Argument no. 282 (2009): 607-15, http://www.linksnet.de/files/pdf/DA282_suvin.pdf) 

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WORDS AND LESIONS (16,800 words, 2018)

Abstract: The essay is divided into 2 parts. Part 1, For a Rectification of “Violence”, discusses within a “political epistemology of inflicted lesion” first the denotation and yardsticks of violence, then systemic or “structural” violence, and finally argues for counter-violence as self-defence when necessary. Part 2, On the “1968 Moment”: Characteristics of Violence, the Defeat, and the Cost, is historical, it deals with the “1968 Moment”: its violence, defeat, and the cost, as exemplified in the long “Sanrizuka struggle” of farmers helped by students against the expropriation for a larger Tokyo airport. It then compares the Japanese characteristics to those of the French May ’68. It concludes that the main historical achievement of the youth movement came about in the USA, where it contributed to ending the US intervention in Vietnam. As concerns all other major collective and radical aims and instances, the movement failed, and the causes are briefly indicated. A long note gives data about civilians killed by State vs. “group” terrorism ca. 1965-2004. 

Keywords: 1968, epistemology, youth revolt, Japan, France, violence

First published as „Words and Lesions: Epistemological Reflections on Violence, the 1968 Moment, and Revolution (with Particular Reference To Japan).“ Critical Q 62.1 (2020): 83-122. 

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THE COGNITIVE COMMODITY: FICTIONAL DISCOURSE AS NOVELTY AND CIRCULATION (1986, 7,150 words)

Anthropology of creativity in capitalism on the traces of Marx and Benjamin. Fashion, market, sensationalism; the press, selling writing, novelty in detail and repetition of type; gambling, financial speculaion, the sanctified commodity (Brecht)

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ORWELL AND 1984 TODAY: GENIUS AND TUNNEL VISION (2019, 14500 words)

Orwell, as he himself said, came from a lower, professional service fraction of the English and imperial ruling class that was “simultaneously dominator and dominated” (R. Williams), so that a combination of State and monopoly power became his major nightmare. His horizon was as of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 a revolutionary socialism committed to freedom and equality, opposed both to Labourite social-democracy and to Stalinist pseudo-communism.
I concentrate on 1984, drawing on narratology (its agential system, spacetime descriptions, and composition — “the Winston story,” the “Goldstein excerpts,” and the Appendix on Newspeak) and historical lessons. I conclude that 1984 has an interesting but limited “Tory anarchist” stance and horizon: being revolted against the rulers but not believing the revolt can succeed (in direct polemic with the Communist Manifesto). In Orwell‘s view there are “three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle and the Low,” but the mindless and passive Low reduce this to the Middle against the High, or intellect and impotence vs. cynical power. No economics entails here no class struggle and a fair amount of misogyny. Orwell‘s textural skill was penetrating, but his thematics very limited. Still, he was one of the first to notice the long-duration slide of politics toward fascism is, even if he drew a wrong consequence from it, as evident in his early conflation of Stalinism and Nazism into the untenable “totalitarianism.” 1984 remains a concerned, appealing, and in some ways useful text that lacks wisdom.

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WE HAD A CLASSIC: Notes Defining Predrag Matvejević (2020, 10700 words)

Japanese Slavic and East European Studies Vol.40. , 2020

A unit in 2 parts:

1/ A necrological look back at PM’s writings and how I encountered them as old friend, with stress on those written after the fall of SFR Yugoslavia, about the “ex” world and what values remain (as in Mediterranean Breviary, The Other Venice, and Daily Bread);

2/ review of a booklet by Tommaso di Francesco, Breviario jugoslavo, 2018, of interviews with PM on ex-Yugoslav affairs curing 20’ years, the main point being that the sins of successors much surpass those of SFR Yugoslavia

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USES OF MARX: THE IMPLICIT OF THE MANIFESTED (OR, DEMYSTIFICATION AND CRITIQUE) (2016, 19500 words)

This integral version was first published in Rab-Rab [Helsinki] no. 3 (2016): 35-72., 2016

A smaller paper on the Communist Manifesto was first written by MA + DS in French and English and redone much later by DS only. It is divided into: 1. The Figuration of Demystification, which deals with imagery and metaphors, and results in an underlying englobing image that is also a concept, that of the Naked Truth; 2. [Marx’s] Oscillation and Its Limits: Demystifying Scientism and Anti-Essentialism; 3. A brief conclusion reveals that if we cannot accept the deterministic Marx, we cannot do without his horizon.

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TWO INTERVENTIONS ON BODIES (1989, 7,800 words)

Discourses about the body are followed through Bakhtin, Hobbes, Freud, and Foucault to an updating of Marxism, arguing against bourgeois individualism that subject is a limit-zone of collective bodies. A viable materialist but dialectical theory of the body, and consequently a viable theory of the subject, still seems lacking.  Appended is an unpublished response to papers in a colloquium on Bodies.

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