Some Notes on Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx (1993)



  • …specter: “A specter is haunting Europe –the specter of communism.”
  • …the experience of Marxism, the quasi-paternal figure of Marx, the way it fought in us with other filiations, the reading of texts and the interpretation of a world in which the Marxist inheritance was –and still remain, and so it will remain –absolutely and thoroughly determinate…We all live in a world, some world say a culture, that still bears, at an incalculable depth, the mark of this inheritance, whether in a directly visible fashion or not.
  • One can sense a coming fashion or stylishness…in the culture and more precisely in the university.
  • [Marx, Marxism] ought to figure within our great canon of Western political philosophy.
  • …when a new world disorder is attempting to install its neo-capitalism and neo-liberalism, no disavowal has managed to rid itself of all of Marx’s ghosts. Hegemony still organizes the repression and thus the confirmation of a haunting. Haunting belongs to the structure of hegemony.
  • Today, almost a century and a half later, there are many who, throughout the world, seem just as worried by the specter of communism, just as convinced that what one is dealing with there is only a specter without body, without present reality, without actuality or effectivity, but this time it is supposed to be a past specter.
  • ….specter is the future, it is always to come, it presents itself only as that which could come or come back; in the future…we hear everywhere today, it must not re-incarnate itself; it must not be allowed to come back since it is past.
  • The plagues of the “new world order.
  • To continue to take inspiration from a certain spirit of Marxism would be to keep faith with what has always made of Marxism in principle and first of all a radical critique, namely a procedure ready to undertake its self-critique. This critique wants itself to be in principle and explicitly open to its own transformation, re-evaluation, self-interpretation.

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