With the death of Julius Nyerere, the world has lost one of the foremost proponents of African Socialism. Nyerere’s humanist vision known as UJAMAA influenced several generations of Africans as well as many throughout the world concerned with African liberation.
The death of Cornelius Castoriadis in December 1997 evoked respectful front-page coverage in France’s leading newspapers. Writing in Le Monde (30 Dec. 1997), the well-known sociologist Edgar Morin eulogized his friend, singling out Castoriadis’s concept of autonomy, in which the latter stressed moments in history when society carved out autonomy from the state. For Castoriadis, [...]
- Published in Studies in East European Thought, 50: 1-28, 1998 – PDF - Published in Chinese in World Philosophy, No. 3 (2012), trans. by Jin Shou-tie – PDF
When Lawrence Krader published his historic transcription of Marx’s Ethnological Notebooks 25 years ago, a new window was opened into Marx’s thought. What in published form had become 250 pages of notes by Marx on Lewis Henry Morgan and other anthropologists which he had compiled in his last years, 1880-81, showed us as never before a Marx concerned as much with gender relations and with non-Western societies such as India, pre-Colombian Mexico, and the Australian aborigines, as well as ancient Ireland, as he was with the emancipation of the industrial proletariat.
As I write these lines, it is 80 years since the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 began to undermine liberalism’s modernist faith in unilinear progress toward the well-being of all. Established Marxism, itself influenced philosophically by neo-Kantian and positivist evolutionary schemata, was almost as unprepared for the resurgence of violence and destruction in the heart of the world’s most “advanced” and democratic capitalist societies. In what was to become the first major crisis of Marxism, the Second International split apart, as fine words about internationalism receded in the face of national chauvinism. As is well known, a small minority, among them Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Leon Trotsky, and V. I. Lenin, resolutely opposed the war and called for a continuation of proletarian internationalism. One member of that minority, Lenin, went a step further. He took the opportunity of his wartime exile in Switzerland to rethink his fundamental premises by a return to what Marx (1976 , 744) had referred to in Capital as “the Hegelian ‘contradiction,’ which is the source of all dialectics.”
Ever since he stunned an international Marx conference in Riverside, California last year with his call for a return to Marx, something which also marked a major “turn” in his thought, Jacques Derrida’s book The Specters of Marx has been eagerly awaited by a broad spectrum of the intellectual Left. The book is in fact a much-expanded version of that April 1993 lecture.