Article on Lefebvre and Fetishistic concrete abstraction

Been working on an article on Lefebvre along the lines that follows:

Well this is what I’ve been spending July on:

While Henri Lefebvre has long been seen as ‘the ‘reign[ing] prophet of alienation’ in Western Marxism,  a number of exemplary recent works have provided a more in depth investigation of Lefebvre’s interpretation of Marx, with especial focus on the Lefebvre’s concept of abstract space. While these works indicate the importance the idea of ‘concrete abstraction’ had through out Lefebvre’s work, they do not consider its development and thus refrain from focusing on it as it pertains to his theory of fetishistic social domination as a whole. I do so in the following where I argue that Lefebvre’s idea of ‘concrete’ abstraction consisted in his non-systematic interpretation of  Marx’s critique of political economy  as a theory of social constitution  and fetishistic supraindividual social domination that inverts to dominate, but not entirely determine social life , which provided the basis for a number of Lefebvre’s different attempts to supplement and extend Marx by embodying this conception of domination in lived experience. This article thus aims to build on these recent works by demonstrating the importance this conception of fetishistic concrete abstraction holds through the different iterations of Lefebvre’s theory of domination and in so doing align Lefebvre’s Marxian social theory with a number of recent works on theories of abstract domination in Marx, Adorno, and  Sohn-Rethel.”

Still looking for the right journal to submit it to.

Posted in Lefebvre | Leave a comment

Backhaus Translation Fund

New site for a long overdue effort to translate Backhaus’s seminal work on value-form theory.

Posted in Backhaus | Leave a comment

On the possibility that the revolution that will end capitalism might fail to usher in communism

Originally posted on communists in situ:


Marcel Stoetzler, Bangor University, UK

The optimism of the left repeats the insidious bourgeois superstition that one should not talk of the devil but look on the bright side.

(Adorno, 1978: 114)1


In this paper I will try to get to grips with my partial reservations about John Holloway’s conception of revolution in Change the World without Taking Power and Crack Capitalism, which concern two problems. First, the interstitial revolution will not necessarily end capitalism, as capitalism will not simply die from the fact that communism peacefully, cunningly, like a cancer, grows and grows and grows in capitalism’s interstices: I suggest that capitalism will die because of the decay of capitalism, not the growth of communism, and that these two processes are neither the same nor related in any linear manner. Second, there are anti-capitalist screams and cracks that are not at all, and cannot even…

View original 6,765 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Process of Domination, the article

I finished my final edits yesterday on an article for a new journal called Black Box, which PM Press will be putting out. The article is adapted from a talk I gave last year at the Institute for the Humanities, which I posted on this blog. In the final edition of the article — which like the talk tries to introduce a general audience to Alfred Schmidt, Backhaus, Reichelt and Bonefeld, show how they drew on and enhanced elements of Adorno’s thought, and draw on their work to analyze Canada’s economic policy — the editor wisely excised some of the longer quotes and technical discussion I added, because they rightly thought they would be too much for a general audience. Nonetheless, since I imagine people who read this blog would appreciate the more technical quotes, I have uploaded it. (blackboxfinaledit)

Posted in Adorno, Backhaus, Bonefeld, natural history, State theory | Leave a comment

Video accompaniment to History and Obstinacy

The Alexander Kluge Archive has a number of videos that present “points of entry” to History and Obstinacy. They even have English subtitles.

Posted in Kluge and Negt | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fetishism and natural history

The latest iteration of an article I have been developing in light of Marx’s monetary theory of value and the relation between his use of fetishism, natural history and primitive accumulation:

This article posits a new interpretation of how Marx utilizes Charles de Brosses’s theory of fetishism. In contrast to accounts, like Keston Sunderland’s, that focus on the parallels between Marx and de Brosseses’ accounts of fetishized consciousness, I focus on how Marx employs de Brosses’s description of the “fetish object” in his account of money — as a thing that possesses “fetish-characteristic” properties. By aligning this aspect of Marx’s theory of money with his account of natural history, I show, that like the fetish object, money’s “social power” consists in the ability to protect people from the misfortunes generated by the “natural laws” of capitalism. This leads me to conclude that Marx deployed de Brosses’s theory in a far more pronounced way than has been recognized. For while de Brosses held that fetishism could be overcome by enlightened thought, Marx is pointing out that capitalism compels us to act in ways to acquire money and to treat it as inherently valuable — even if we know if it Is inherently worthless – to protect us from the ‘primitive’ society we have collectively created.

Posted in fetish character of money, Marx | Leave a comment

State Violence, State Control

I am dedicating this week to putting the final edits on an article based on my talk about critical theory and the domination of nature, posted here last summer. The article also draws on my article on the state in Viewpoint, State Violence, State Control: Marxist State Theory and the Critique of Political Economy. Long overdue in linking it, do have a gander if you fancy.

Posted in State theory | Leave a comment