The Marxian Interpretation Of History

Marx’s interpretation of history constitutes an integral part of Marxian doctrine. It was his intent to peer into the future and to determine what historical fate was in store for the capitalist system. Only by understand­ing the forces that had caused historical events could the forces that would cause future events be envisioned. For this reason Marx sought the ulti­mate or basic causes of historical events.

To seek out the creative forces in history was somewhat more novel and daring in Marx’s day than it is now, when so many historians are vitally interested in studying the causes of historical events. Marx at­tempted to do something neither historians nor economists had done. His­torians had recorded events and economists had explained causes of eco­nomic events in specific historical settings without analyzing the creation of those settings. Lenin has summarized as follows the questions Marx felt had to be answered:

People make their own history; but what determines their motives, that is the motives of people in the mass; what gives rise to the clash of conflicting ideas and endeavors; what is the sum total of all of these clashes among the whole mass of human societies; what are the ob­jective conditions for the production of the material means of life that form the basis of all the historical activity of man; what is the law of the development of these conditions?

If history may be presumed to have a significant economic slant, it might be supposed that the economists would have sought out the laws of historical development, particularly in the field of economic phenom­ena. Marx found this not to be the case. He expressed this deficiency in “The Poverty of Philosophy” when he wrote: “Economists explain how production takes place in the above-mentioned relations, but what they do not explain is how the relations themselves are produced, that is, the his­torical movement which gave them birth.”

Read the rest of this entry »


The Contemporary Misadventures of Critical Thinking


Jacques Rancière

March 7, 2008 CCFI Noted Scholars Lecture Series

Jacques Rancière is the Emeritus Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Paris VIII where he taught from 1969 to 2000. He continues to teach, as a visiting professor, in a number of Universities, including Rutgers, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Berkeley. His work has been translated into 14 languages, and has been subject to numerous special issues, symposia and critical commentaries. His latest titles to appear in English translation are: Disagreement, Politics, and Philosophy (1998), Short Voyages to the Land of the People (2003), The Philosopher and his Poor (2004), The Flesh of Words (2004), The Politics of Aesthetics (2005), Film Fables (2006), and The Hatred of Democracy (2007).

The Contemporary Misadventures of Critical Thinking Introduction 1

The Contemporary Misadventures of Critical Thinking Introduction 2

The Contemporary Misadventures of Critical Thinking Video

Questions & Discussion Video

The Contemporary Misadventures of Critical Thinking Podcast

La Filosofía como Repetición Creativa. Alain Badiou

Podría decirse que un autor es aquel sujeto que asume su implicación en un acto creativo. El objeto allí producido puede ser artístico, filosófico, de diferentes órdenes culturales. Su énfasis racional, afectivo, de pensamiento no lo hace ajeno allí al cuerpo. Por eso el filósofo puede no escaparse, su argumentación tiene una sede, un límite, tanto como ramas, derivas, conexiones, campos de intercambio y debate en ideas. Es, finalmente, una manera para abordar cosas y semblantes en movimientos y bucles de la vida de nuestra humanidad.

Deberé empezar refiriéndome a uno de mis maestros, el gran filósofo marxista, Louis Althusser. Para Althusser, el nacimiento del marxismo no fue una cosa simple. Estuvo compuesto por dos revoluciones, dos acontecimientos intelectuales principales. Primero, uno científico. Este acontecimiento fue la creación por parte de Marx de una ciencia de la historia, cuyo nombre es “materialismo histórico”. El segundo acontecimiento fue de naturaleza filosófica. Se trató de la creación, a cargo de Marx y otros, de una nueva tendencia, cuyo nombre es “materialismo dialéctico”. Podemos decir que se requiere de una nueva filosofía para clarificar y asistir el nacimiento de una nueva ciencia. La filosofía de Platón fue requerida, asimismo, por el comienzo de las matemáticas, o la filosofía de Kant por la física newtoniana. Después de todo no hay dificultad en todo esto. En este marco es posible decir dos cosas sobre el desarrollo de la filosofía.

Alain BadiouEste desarrollo dependió de nuevos hechos en algunos campos que no poseen una naturaleza filosófica inmediata. Particularmente, de hechos en el campo de la ciencia. Como las matemáticas para Platón, Descartes o Leibniz, la física para Kant, Whitehead o Popper, la historia para Hegel o Marx, la biología para Nietzsche, Bergson o Deleuze.

Por lo que a mí respecta, estoy bastante de acuerdo en que la filosofía depende de algunos campos no filosóficos. Y he llamado a estos campos las “condiciones” de la filosofía. Simplemente querría decir que no limito las condiciones de la filosofía al progreso de la ciencia. Propongo un conjunto más grande de condiciones, bajo cuatro tipos posibles: ciencia, pero también, política, arte y amor. Así que mi propio trabajo depende, por ejemplo, de un nuevo concepto matemático del infinito, pero al mismo tiempo de nuevas formas de la política revolucionaria, de los grandes poemas de Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Pessoa, Madelstam o Wallace Stevens, de la prosa de Samuel Beckett, de las nuevas maneras del amor que han emergido en el contexto del psicoanálisis y la completa transformación de todas las cuestiones en relación con la sexuación y el género.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alain Badiou- Is the Word Communism Doomed Forever?

A Lacanian Ink Event, Miguel Abreu Gallery 11/08

Artwork or not work? – Why art is sacred and the key to sociability

Erik Empson
Egon Schiele: “The work of art is sacred, too.”

E.F Schumacher: “…there can be nothing sacred in something that has a price.”

The awe which may have once greeted any one excellent work of art, is today more likely to be generated by the price it fetched when sold than anything to do with the work’s visual affect. How do we account for this apparent reversal?

Art, because of its uniqueness, and because it is the result of irreducible, complex human labour, never fitted into the Marxian conception of value and work – based as it was on factory production and its particular type of discipline. But in escaping that dreary paradigm, artists themselves have long struggled over the problem of authenticity and the commodity form and in so doing sought to challenge the separation between art and life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Interview Immanuel Wallerstein


Interview {Immanuel Wallerstein}W. European Universalism: The Rhetoric of Power.
… another.  Interview with Immanuel Wallerstein: The Inevitable Decline of the American Empire

Sep 24 2007

Raúl Zibechi

In the course of his visit to the Southern Cone of South America, the American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein spoke on one of his favorite subjects: the end of the United States’ hegemony—which, he believes, will be definitive within the next decade. But he also let it be known that in the course of the next two or three decades we will be living in a post-capitalist world that could either be much better, or worse, than the present one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Davis interview

Against the grain

Will the current economic meltdown, and worker reaction to it, be a reenactment of the Great Depression? Could the politics of racist resentment on the US-Mexico border explode into (more) violence? Are global elites truly motivated to combat climate change? Mike Davis, author of In Praise of Barbarians, tackles these and other issues.

Mike Davis, “Can Obama See the Grand Canyon? On Presidential Blindness and Economic Catastrophe” TomDispatch

Mike Davis, “Living On the Ice Shelf: Humanity’s Meltdown” TomDispatch

Daniel García Andújar: Apprehension of the Postcapital Archive Reality

Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart
December 13 + 14, 2008, each day: 12 – 6 pm
Workshop (english)
Registration till Monday, December 1, 2008

The aim of the workshop is to facilitate reflection on the structures of the “archive culture” process. We will delve into the methods of exploring and reinterpreting the archive along with the possibilities these present, intervening artistically using various methods. We are also going to test new public participation models of understanding and working with the archive. This process takes shape as a platform, understood as a cooperative space, enabling the work done to be shared through workshops, actions, and other instruments, opening up a vast range of possibilities for collective intervention and participation. During the workshop period, forms of creative, critical, and subversive handlings of media and new technologies, in both theory and practice, shall be developed. The focus of the workshop thereby additionally lies in the specific information and archive situation of our society. The project furthermore offers an opportunity to examine strategies of “artist practice in the Postcapital Archive”—a new public space having long been influenced by new information and communications technologies.

for two days including lunch and drinks
25 Euro / 16 Euro reduced / Members 10 Euro

Censorship in Art?

New Mechanisms and Strategies

December 5 + 6, 2008

A conference by Akademie Schloss Solitude, Hospitalhof Stuttgart and Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Hospitalhof (December 5, 2008)

Professor Michael Germann, Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Graf

Württembergischer Kunstverein (December 6, 2008)

Corinne Diserens, Iris Dressler, Nikolai B. Forstbauer, Prof. Klaus Staeck, Christoph Tannert

Friday, December 5, 2008

Venue: Hospitalhof Stuttgart

5 pm

Read the rest of this entry »

Postcapital: Lecture series, Workshops, Film program

December 2008 – January 2009

program_en.doc 119 K

program_en.pdf 192 K

December 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008, 7 pm
Lecture (english)
Keiko Sei | Border Crossings

Saturday, December 6, 2008, 2 – 8 pm
Parallel event / Conference (english/german)
Censorship in Art?
Corinne Diserens, Iris Dressler, Nikolai B. Forstbauer, Klaus Staeck, Christoph Tannert

In co-operation with Akademie Schloss Solitude and Hospitalhof Stuttgart

December 13 – 14, 2008, each day 12 – 6 pm
Workshop (english)
Daniel García Andújar (Technologies To The People) | Apprehension of the Postcapital Archive Reality
Registration till Monday, December 1, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 7 pm
Lecture (german)
Helmut Draxler | Capital and Postcapital Art

Thursday, December 18, 2008, 7 pm
Lecture (german)
Linda Hentschel | Jeopardized Perception or Perceiving the Jeopardized?
War, Violence, and Relations of Visuality since 9/11

Read the rest of this entry »