David Graeber responded on twitter to the critical review I posted yesterday. From his responses it seems that not only is he hostile to criticism, but he is annoyingly self righteous about it. He combines these appealing qualities with a skewed view of Marxism.
Take for instance the following self righteous statement to one of his followers about his noble attempt to engage with Marxism:
Honestly I’m v sad. I really wanted to engage with Marxist thought & threw out ideas to do so. Reviewers ignore them & just repeat orthodoxy
What a noble champ.
But then let us compare Graeber’s view of Marxism with what he terms the ‘orthodox’ views held by Ingo Stützle. In Graeber’s view:
class consists of REAL social rels not ideologicl fantasies-no matter how important those are on social reproduction.
in short what you call “forms” I think largely = ideological illusion, obscuring the empirical reality of class.”
Whereas for Stützle:
the forms (!), that domitate a society – this is my most important point – and it’s obious the moot point, too.
Thus Graeber seems to have an inverted notion of Marxist orthodoxy. In his view Stützle is guilty of Marxist ‘orthodoxy.’ While Graeber’s vulgar and orthodox notions of what constitutes Marxism–class and false consciousness– consist in some sort of cutting edge incisiveness the orthodoxy don’t dare touch. The problem is that Graeber’s conception of Marxism can be easily transhistoricized to any sort of class society, while Stützle’s Marxism aims to engage with what is socially specific about capitalism. It is surely the later, not the former, that can provide us with an understand of how debt is constituted and functions in capitalist reproduction.