Contents of spoon-archives/seminar-14.archive/spinoza-marx_1995/spinoza.hol

(c) Gene Holland DRAFT: do not cite ask for more details _RETHINKING THE POLITICAL WITHIN MARXISM: SPINOZA VS HEGEL_ (1) Though perhaps best known to English-speaking readers for his trenchant interventions in literary-critical theory, some of Macherey's most important subsequent work has been in the field of political philosophy, in an attempt to rethink the political within Marxism. For Macherey (and many others), the impetus to reevaluate Marxism arose in response to a number of post-war developments, in the fields of politics and academics alike: the decline of the French working class as a "class-conscious" political actor, and of the @Parti Communiste Fran‡ais@ as its "revolutionary" vanguard, in Fifth Republic politics and society; but also the demise of Soviet and Chinese Communisms as viable or attractive Marx-inspired regimes; and within academics, the growing dissatisfaction with certain Hegelian elements of Marxism, in historiography as well as in philosophy itself. (2)Interpretations of the great Revolution of 1789 served as a lightening-rod for much of the historians' dissatisfaction, as revisionist scholars challenged the Marxist notion that 1798 was a "bourgeois" revolution which could serve as a model for a "proletarian" revolution to come. {cite Furet, Comminel} The issue was not so much the *results* of 1789 -- which undeniably shifted the balance of power away from the aristocracy and eventually led to the installation of bourgeois rule (albeit some 60 year later) -- as the role of the bourgeoisie *as a class* in prosecuting it. There is an important sense in which the French bourgeoisie *did not make* the Revolution: it was "started" largely by the aristocracy and "finished" in a way by the people of Paris; and the important roles played by numerous members of the French bourgeosie arguably do not add up to the actions of a class actively pursuing its economic interests by political means. In one version of a "materialist" philosophy of history, transposing the Hegelian master-slave dialectic from interpersonal into social terms made social classes (rather than "Absolute Spirit") the subjects of history; but they remained *subjects*: groups each conceived on the model of a single subject -- and yet comprised of many individual subjects -- acting (consciously or not) in pursuit of "its" class interests. The problem, in short, was how to square the actual diversity of motives and actions of particular French merchants, lawyers, and statesmen with the unifying notion of the bourgeoisie *as a class* acting as a (singular) political agent in the historical field (rather than as a personification of capital in the economic field, where class definitions and functions seem *relatively* unproblematic). (3)Whence the import of Althusser's preemptive move: to declare history to be a "process without a subject," and thus drive a wedge between "messy" narrative accounts of concrete actors' roles in historical process, on one hand, and "rigorous" definitions of class functions within the mode of production, on the other. One of the several important effects of Althusser's efforts within philosophy to discredit Hegelian "expressive causality," then, was to "solve" the problem of class agency in historiography by declaring it moot: Marxism was not a historicism (the other major aim being to undermine PCF Stalinism, cf Fred). As in so many facets of his attack on Hegel, Althusser drew here on the philosophy of Spinoza (cf his _El‚ments d'auto-critique_, pp.65-83), who distinguished the humanly inexhaustible infinity of causal relations underlying historical process from the "clear and distinct" ideas humans can produce regarding the laws and mechanisms of that process. For Hegel, whose starting point is Nothingness, the real is the rational and the rational is the real, and a seamless, definitive account of the historical process is therefore possible; for Spinoza, by contrast, whose starting point is Nature or Substance, real and rational comprise two distinct levels of apprehension: on one level, the inexhaustibly rich yet ineluctably opaque world that we inhabit; on a second level, the best understanding of that world human reasoning can provide, but only by taking a necessary distance from the first. It is this Spinozan distinction between two categorically different kinds of thought that underlies the science-ideology dyad so central to Althusserian thought. (4)Macherey developed the implications of this dyad for literary studies in his well-known _Theory of Literary Production_ (1966). But in his next major work, _Hegel ou Spinoza_ (1979), he returns to the source of that distinction, and examines the issues at stake in choosing between Spinoza and Hegel. Althusser had already (in _El‚ments d'auto-critique_) quickly outlined some of the benefits of Spinozan materialism to the project of freeing Marxism from Hegelian idealism: a conception of ideology as a "materialism of the imaginary" and of science as basically mathematical (derived from the first two of Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge); a model of non-transcendent causality whereby the ("absent") cause is immanent in its effects (which Althusser regretted calling "structural" causality); and a view of human action and history that was anti-subjective and resolutely non- teleological. Against the backdrop of Althusser's work (cited p.11), but without considering Marx or Marxism, Macherey sets out in _Hegel ou Spinoza_ to explain why Spinoza represents the "true alternative to Hegelian philosophy" (13). (5)Before entering into the details of Macherey's comparison, we should be clear what the thrust of his major claim is, especially since its implications for a non-Hegelian Marxism are not spelled out. The key assertion is that "Spinoza... refutes Hegel, objectively" (13). Macherey insists that Spinoza and Hegel addressed many of the same problems, but solved them in very different, not to say diametrically opposed, ways. Hegel well understood that Spinoza was a strong precursor, but *had to * *misread him*, Macherey suggests, in order to maintain his subjective idealism and integrate Spinoza into his evolutionist view of the history of philosophy, whereby any predecessor had to be found inferior in some way [see pp.11-13, 90-94, 107, 137-42, 157, 258]. Hegel's defensive misreading of Spinoza thus takes on "the value of a symptom" (12), in that it constructs "Spinoza" as deficient because Hegel's own teleological-subjective-idealist premises prevented him from seeing his precusor's non-finalistic, anti-subjective materialism. So by examining how and why Hegel's reading of Spinoza goes wrong, Macherey not only restores to the history of philosophy (and, I would want to add, to Marxism) what is valuable in Spinoza as an alternative to Hegel, but also *shows* that Hegel's history of philosophy *and therefore Hegel's *philosophy of history* are wrong: Spinoza represents not a moment that could be simply cancelled-retained-surpassed (@aufgehoben@) by the march of philosophical progress, but a *road not taken*, an objectively pre-existing perspective in philosophy that *gets suppressed* with the (perhaps temporary, certainly local) triumph of Hegelianism and idealism in Western philosophy (including much Marxism). {ftnt SJ Gould's corrective to teleologism in evolutionary theory} Macherey's reading is thus classic Althusserian ideology-critique: not an assertion that Hegel happened to get Spinoza wrong, but a demonstration that, given his premises and project, Hegel *had to* get Spinoza wrong, *in a specific way* and for specific reasons. (6)In contrast with (and defense of) his own position, then, Hegel construes Spinoza's philosophy as positivistic and static, entirely lacking that essential, dynamizing feature of his own system: negativity. In the Hegelian dialectic, negativity is what enables Spirit, from the starting-point of Nothingness, to posit itself as substance (the initial negation), then recuperate itself as Spirit (the negation of the negation) in a (the) historical process that leads ultimately to the reconciliation- reintegration of substance in Absolute Spirit at the end of history. The charges against such a view, especially within Marxism, are well-known: idealism, in that its starting-point, ending-point, and main actor are all Spirit or Mind; transcendental subjectivism, in that this historicl agent, Absolute Spirit, is a subject that transcends any and all concrete subjects and indeed history itself; teleologism, in that the end of history is guaranteed by the dialectial process of negation of negation, so that even errors and mishaps eventually contribute to the realization of Absolute Spirit through history. And yet much of what passes as "Marxist" philosophy of history -- including much (though not all) of Marx's own -- simply translates or inverts Hegelian *idealism* into a "materialism" that nonetheless *retains* the transcendental subjectivism and the teleologism: classes act as transcendental subjects in the historical "dialectic" of class struggle, which will according to necessary laws produce a classless society with the collapse of capitalism at the end of history. This grand eschatalogical narrative, as I have already suggested, no longer inspires total confidence, even among Marxists. Rather than rehearse the well- known critiques, Macherey's study proposes Spinoza as "the true alternative to Hegel" and, if only by implication, to Hegelian Marxism. (7)To be true alternatives, however, Spinoza and Hegel must have something in common: as Macherey shows, the basic principle they share is that thought and matter are "ultimately" identical. But the forms of this "ultimate identity" are very different. In place of Hegel's idealism, which submits matter to thought via the negation of the negation, Spinoza offers a position which (as Macherey notes), is certainly anti-idealist, if not actually materialist. Rather than elevate thought over matter (or matter over thought, as in a simple "materialist" inversion of idealism), Spinoza considers thought and matter to be absolutely *co-equal*: Thought and Extension are different but not opposed ("non opposita sed diversa") modes of Substance. And as modes of the *same* unique Substance, their identity is given -- whereas for Hegel, the identity of Spirit and matter is only achieved at the end of history. Even more important: for Spinoza, Thought is a property of Substance, not of a subject; in place of Hegel's transcendental subjectivism, Spinoza offers a kind of immanent objectivism, for which no negativity and no contradiction are possible or necessary. (The success of Cartesian geometry and Spinoza's own practice as an optician no doubt contributed considerably to his conviction that the universe is knowable in its own terms, that it has mathematical "Thought" as one of its innate properties.) The Spinozan universe, then, is objectively knowable; knowability is one of its inherent features. (8)But whether such objective knowability is ever subjectively realized in human thinking is a very different question, for Spinoza: it depends on humans overcoming the subjective limitations of "first-level thought" through critical reflection, thereby enabling "second-level thought" to approximate more closely the "objective" Thought inherent in Substance itself. The development of adequate ideas does not follow automatically from the march of Spirit and the ruse of reason, but depends on humans' ability to distance themselves from the distortions of subject-centered thinking, which Spinoza calls "imagination" (and Althusser, "ideology"). This ability varies (socially, politically, historically), and is *in no way* guaranteed to increase through history. So in place of Hegel's teleologism, Spinoza offers only the *possibility* that humans will forgo the illusions of subject-centered imagination and develop more adequate knowledge. (9)Finally -- and this is where Spinoza's materialism comes into play -- the prime measure of such adequacy is not some ultimate reconciliation of Spirit and matter, but rather the degree to which human potential (@potentia@) is realized and increased. Humankind is a determinate mode of objective Substance just like everything else in Nature, and as such it tends (according to the principle Spinoza calls "conatus" - striving) to develop its potential to the utmost. What distinguishes humans is that, by acting in the mode of Thought as well as Extension, they are able to understand, submit to, participate in, and thereby *develop* the forces of Nature, of which they nonetheless remain a part. (This insistence on the *situatedness* of humankind in and as part of Nature is what endears Spinoza to modern-day environmentalists, along with his critique of and "monist" alternative to Cartesian subject-object dualism.) Unlike imagination, adequate thinking furthers human-natural development rather than hindering it. (10)Spinoza's own practice of "second-level" critical reflection targeted religion as the dominant mode of "imaginary" thinking; yet his assessment of it is historical rather than strictly epistemological. The Judeo-Christian tradition whose history he was among the first to study from a secular perspective was not simply *wrong*: it served certain purposes for a certain group at the time of its development; but by Spinoza's own time, it had long out-lived its usefulness and now acted as a hindrance to the development of human-natural forces (@potentia@), especially in its opposition to the natural sciences. We might today, in a similar vein, claim that the ideology and practices of possessive individualism associated with the capitalist market may for a time have increased the human-natural potential, but that they have by our time become a hindrance and even a threat to the continuing development of that potential. (11)It may now be possible to discern the kind of "materialist dialectic" that Macherey hints at (without developing) in the conclusion of _Hegel ou Spinoza_, which closes with the question of "what distinguishes an idealist dialectic from a materialist dialectic" (259): "Reading Spinoza after, but not according to, Hegel enables us to pose the question of a non-hegelian dialectic... [even though] it does not in and of itself enable us to answer it" (260). A materialist dialectic derived from Spinoza would bear strong resemblances to one of the philsosophies of history found in Marx himself {ref. article laying out four of them; but also discuss question of "influence" of Spinoza on Marx, citing _Cahiers Spinoza_ articles and Negri's _Marx Beyond Marx_}: the one positing a dialectic of forces and relations of production *instead of* class struggle as the "motor of history" {ftnt: not an epistemological "break," which is still too teleological, but coexistence and tension between two (or more) models of history within the Marxian corpus -- incumbent on Marxists to decide which (or which combination or derivative) is most adequate}. This is perhaps the least Hegelian of Marx's philosophies of history, inasmuch as it eschews the transcendental subjectivism and the teleologism of the class struggle model. For it is not a matter here of a contradiction between antithetical class-subjects necessarily leading to the synthesis of classless society, but of a tension between two ensembles -- forces and relations of production -- which not only are not subjectivities themselves, but also cut across class boundaries altogether {ftnt: forces of production include the labor power of "the proletariat", but also technology and organization provided by "the bourgeoisie" (not to mention the resources and forces of nature); the relations of production include the relations between the classes, to be sure, but also cultural or ideological elements common to both workers and capitalists, e.g. possessive individualism, asceticism}. (12)Yet this Marxian model, considered from the perspective of Spinozan materialism, still contains residual elements of transcendental subjectivism and teleologism: teleologism inasmuch as stagnant production relations *necessarily* come into conflict at some point with productive forces that *nevertheless continue *to develop*, thereby eventually causing a revolutionary explosion which eliminates the old relations and replaces them with ones better able to continue developing the productive forces; and a certain subjectivism inasmuch as the development of these *human-centered* productive forces, with "species-being" as transcendental subject, is still considered the *motor* of history (though not necessarily its @telos@, which is rather the realization of human freedom presumed to *depend on* the development of productive forces -- by now a rather dubious or at least outmoded assumption {cf Marcuse, among others}). Spinozan materialism would eliminate these residuals in two ways. (13)First of all, for Spinoza the "productive forces" at issue in history are not exclusively or primarily those of humankind, but those of Nature as a whole, of which humankind is of course an integral part, but only a part. Spinoza thus offers a kind of anti-humanism (perhaps even more thorough-going than Althusser's own) that would impel Marxism to eschew "productivism" (i.e., the exclusive focus on *marketable* productive forces) and consider humankind (as Marx himself often does) a *part* of Nature rather than, in Hegelian fashion, as its Master. (14)Secondly, and especially with "productive forces" understood in this way to mean those of Nature broadly construed (i.e. including but not limited to humankind), Spinozan materialism would completely remove the inevitability of revolution and the progressivism of historical process itself, for there is *no * *guarantee* for Spinoza that human thought will continually or even consistently achieve the objectivity required to help rather than hinder the development of productive forces. There is no guarantee, in other words, that developing marketable productive forces will *necessarily* break the shackles of stagnant production relations, nor even that productive forces in the broad sense will *keep developing* continuously. What if, on the contrary, stagnant production relations become so entrenched as to prevent revolution altogether, and even to cause the productive forces to *diminish* instead of continue developing? Isn't this in fact already the case? {ftnt: Negri/Virilio: 1917/1929 as crucial turning-point, where crisis leads not to the overthrow of capital liberating its productive potential but to the self-destruction of that potential, ultimately in the form of permanent war instead of consumer leisure and luxury.} For Marxism, a rigorously non-teleological philosophy of history would have to face the possibility (the contemporary reality?) that, on balance, current production relations promote the *destruction* rather than the development of productive forces -- whether these are construed narrowly, as in classical Marxism (in which case that destruction targets the productive potential of human labor, and takes the all-too prevalent forms of genocide, malnutrition, sexism and racism, under- and unemployment, stunted intellectual growth through inadequate education, etc.), or more broadly, as in Spinozan materialism (in which case we are talking about the productive potential of Nature, and the equally- prevalent pattern of world-wide ecocide: environmental degradation, habitat loss, species depletion, etc.). {ftnt: genocide as perhaps an extreme example of the destruction of productive forces narrowly construed; but consider also how chronic impoverishment saps to the abilities (labor-power) of its victims, especially in the Third World; and how chronic pollution saps the health (and hence the labor-power) of the working population, especially in the industrialized world [ref. _Nation_ article].} * * * * (15)These are just a few of the implications of making a choice between Hegel and Spinoza, for which Macherey's important study laid much of the groundwork. Then, two years after his _Hegel ou _Spinoza_ appeared, the Italian legal and political philosopher Antonio Negri published a very different kind of book on Spinoza, _L'anomalia salvaggia. Saggio su potere e potenza in Baruch _ _Spinoza_ (1981). Where Macherey offered a purely philosophical, "internal" reading of Spinoza (along with Hegel), Negri (while favorably citing Macherey on several occasions) situated Spinoza and the evolution of his philosophy in the context of 17th- century Dutch society, and made the relevance of Spinozan materialism to contemporary Marxism an explicit theme. Testimony to the book's importance, a French translation (_L'anomalie _ _sauvage: Puissance et pouvoir chez Spinoza_ [1982]) immediately appeared, with no fewer than three prefaces: one by Macherey himself, the other two by the equally prominent French Spinoza scholars, Gilles Deleuze and Alexandre Matheron. In his short preface, Macherey is content to emphasize and praise the way Negri brings the thought of Spinoza "back to life" in connection with current political concerns, reserving for the very end a brief but pointed question regarding whether Negri's reading might still be too teleological. But in a longer essay published later that year ("De la m‚diation … la constitution: description d'un parcours sp‚culatif," _Cahiers Spinoza_ no.4 [Hiver 1982-83] pp.9-37), Macherey examines Negri's interpretation of Spinoza in greater detail, and returns to the question of its residual Hegelianism. (16)The key to Negri's ground-breaking reading is the distinction he draws in Spinoza between an inferior, early pantheism (which he considers utopian and neo-platonic) and a more mature materialism that Negri takes as a precursor to Marx's own. Controversy and difficulties arise with this reading because the dividing line separating what Negri calls the first and second "foundations" of Spinoza's thought runs straight down the middle of his major work, the _Ethics_. While it is true that Spinoza did interrupt the composition of the _Ethics_, and drafted a _Theologico-Political Treatise_ before returning to revise and complete his @magnum opus@, it is far from clear from the finished text exactly how much and how thoroughly the "earlier version" was revised. Negri makes an already difficult philological problem even worse, Macherey argues, by *dramatizing* the evolution of Spinoza's thought in order to establish a clear *historical* break between an eminently disposable "first" Spinoza and an absolutely indispensable "second" one. {ftnt Negri:Spinoza = Althusser:Marx} (17)Negri's dramatization strikes Macherey as too Hegelian, ironically enough -- given that Negri wants to claim Spinoza as a true materialist and eradicate Hegelian dialectics from Marxism. Not only is Negri's before/after narrative account of the two "foundations" suspect for Macherey, but even more so is his claim that it was "internal contradictions" in the first foundation that impelled Spinoza beyond them and into the second foundation (in a classic dialectical progression). Macherey feels Negri is on far firmer ground when he cites "external," historical circumstances instead of internal contradiction as the reason for the evolution of Spinoza's thought; and it is surely one of the unique strengths of Negri's reading that he situates Spinoza's thought so carefully in the context of the potentially democratic social relations of early Dutch capitalism: warding off the very real threat of encroaching state absolutism was a major impetus for Spinoza's explicitly political writings and, arguably but not obviously, for his revision of the _Ethics_, as well. And yet, even if one wanted to eliminate Hegelian contradiction *from * *accounts of historical process *-- as Macherey clearly does -- couldn't the notion of contradiction retain some validity *in * *accounts of philosophical thought* and the impetus for its revision? Granted, it may finally be more convincing (especially given the available textual evidence) to speak of a *tension*, rather than an absolute break, between two "foundations" in Spinoza (especially in the _Ethics_ itself), but couldn't the development of the second be attributed (at least in part) to the recognition of contradictions in the first, particularly if such recognition were spurred (as Negri's contextual account suggests it was) by dramatic historical events? (18)In any case, Macherey accuses Negri of residual Hegelianism in this first instance largely because he retains a narrative account which includes the notion of contradiction at the level of thought. The second instance he diagnoses is somewhat more technical and certainly more far-reaching in its assessment of Negri's stance. It has to do with the role in Spinoza's thought of the notion of attributes (to which Macherey had himself devoted considerable attention in his own book, pp.95-136), regarding which Negri makes the same misinterpretation that Hegel had, according to Macherey. For both, attributes supposedly functioned as intermediaries between pure Substance and its modes, making them available to consciousness; for Hegel, then, Spinozan attributes represented a primitive and insufficient dialectic; for Negri, they were already *too* dialectical and would be abandoned by Spinoza himself in the "second foundation". Negri's misreading of Spinozan attributes thus plays a crucial role in his Hegelian dramatization of the evolution of Spinoza's thought. But the ramifications go further, according to Macherey. By refusing attributes their *constitutive* function within an *identity* (rather than a dialectic) of Substance and its modes, Negri splits the Spinozan perspective in two: into a purely intellectual, ascetic project (corresponding to the first foundation) on one hand, and a materialist project (corresponding to the second foundation) on the other -- *whose realization *would be deferred*, pending the development of productive forces, until the present of Negri's writing. (19)In thus claiming Spinoza as an "anomaly" whose "philosophy of crisis" at the dawn of modern market society would only really bear fruit centuries later at the twilight of modern market society, i.e. in the present-day capitalist crisis, Negri indulges in the kind of @a posteriori@ Hegelian teleologism both he and Macherey are interested in eliminating from Marxian thought. According to this version of a Marxist philosophy of history, true democratic freedom becomes possible *when and only *when sufficient development of productive forces* finally releases humankind from the grip of dire necessity. We have had to wait so long since Spinoza first put true democracy on the modern agenda, but now, at last, the moment has (perhaps) arrived... There are two problems with this ascetic teleology. For one thing, there can be no assurance for Spinoza that accomplishment of the "materialist" half of the ethical project would in itself necessarily procure the accomplishment (viz. the dissolution) of the "ascetic" half, no assurance that the ascetic personality will "wither away" of its own accord in order to partake of what Negri calls the "pleasure of the world": as noted above, humankind has only the possibility, not the guarantee, of attaining ideas adequate to true Thought and thus realizing freedom. {ftnt R. Debray} (Hence the importance of Deleuze and Guattari's project in the _Anti-Oedipus_: they insist, from a Spinozan-materialist perspective, on diagnosing *both* the ascetic personality *and* capitalist surplus-repression simultaneously, *without* giving causal priority to either.) But perhaps more important, Spinozan materialism (@pace@ Negri) rules out any such "dialectic" between "materialist" and "ascetic" projects: the productive forces of Substance (including human productive forces) are at any given moment always precisely equal to themselves and to the amount of freedom effectively realized (though they also always contain further potential). There never is, never has been, any negativity within Substance; it is always full of productive force, even over-full with purely positive potential to develop. (20)Which is not to say that the potential of Substance is always everywhere realized, nor that whatever degrees of realization it does attain are ever simple or harmonious. On the contrary, Spinoza acknowledged that the development of Substance entailed increasing complexity, turbulence and conflict; on Negri's reading, nothing brought this home to Spinoza more than the emergence in 17th-century Dutch society of market capitalism, which pitted individuals against one another to a degree the corporate order of feudalism never had, thereby threatening the very fabric of social order. Negri refers to this development as the market-induced "crisis" of modern society, to which Spinoza alone, in his view, gave an adequate response. And Macherey, despite the charge of residual Hegelianism, clearly appreciates the way Negri has pinpointed the political relevance of Spinoza today. Once again, Macherey's own strategy of presentation entails showing what Spinoza shares with Hegel and the tradition of modern European political thought, in order then to highlight what sets him radically apart. {ref Chicago SID essay} And here, too, it turns out (on Macherey's reading) that Spinoza resembles Hegel in crucial respects more than either Hobbes or Rousseau, even while remaining a virulent critic of and viable alternative to the dominant tradition they comprise. As Michael Hardt (Negri's American translator) also insists, what sets Spinoza apart is an original, materialist conception of the political relation between "force" and "power" (@potentia@ and @potestas@) {ref his transpref and M. Gueroult}, between the *basis* of political power in effectively combined human activity and its mediated *expression* in political institutions and command. This bears examination in further detail. (21)Like the others, Spinoza wanted to settle the question of the basis of human society, given that its feudal-corporatist basis had been thrown into crisis by the emergence of the market and the ideology of "possessive individualism." But he *refused* to consider that basis as somehow separate from human society itself -- either in the form of "natural rights" pre-existing, and then supposedly safeguarded by, the foundation of political society, as per the social contract theories of Hobbes and Rousseau; or in the form of transcendent Spirit and the ruse of reason, which merely use human societies to realize their own ends, as per Hegel. In contrast to Rousseau and Hobbes, humankind's natural state for Spinoza is neither un-mitigated war (Hobbes) nor solitary purity (Rousseau) but always already political: human beings always live socially, and that sociality is antagonistic except to the extent that humans realize (i.e. recognize *and* actualize) the superior force of individuals combined in cooperative groups relative to that of isolated individuals and those combined in uncooperative ones {cite game- theory article} -- that is to say, human society is inherently and, as it were, aboriginally political. Indeed, Spinoza is most unlike Rousseau, as Macherey points out, in that he insists that the individual does not exist per se, but only as an abstraction from the group(s) of which it is a part: as Macherey puts it, "individuals exist and become conscious of themselves only on the basis of reciprocal relations established between themselves and others, which cause them to communicate [with one another] in the first place" (SID, p.343). So for Spinoza, as for Hegel, the political precedes the personal, and thus cannot be conceived on the model of a voluntary contract among pre-existing individuals. (22)But whereas for Hegel, the political has *a* history -- the History of subjective Spirit realizing itself objectively through peoples and the State, for Spinoza the political exists immanently *in* history -- which is conceived as the (non- teleological) ensemble of realizations of natural-human potential. And whereas for Hegel, the supra-personal political instance is the transcendental subjectivity of Spirit, for Spinoza, it is simply natural force augmented by the equally natural but historically contingent combination of individuals in groups. Such combination produces a potentially infinite variety of socio-political forms in history, but always stems from the basic nature of human passion to knit interpersonal relations and form groups. Humans thus don't (have to) "give over" their natural rights to sovereign Power in order to safeguard their private interests and found political society: their intepersonal relations were already political to begin with, and their political force depends on how well -- how extensively, intensely, and harmoniously -- those passionate relations are composed. This rejection of social contract eliminates any need for transcendent authority (@potestas@), and instead grounds politics immanently (non-dialectically) in the force of the group (@potentia multitudine@). {ftnt examples of force/power: soccer vs football, jazz vs symphony} There can therefore be no justification or motive for submitting to external command or the mediation of the State, inasmuch as human relations grounded in passion inevitably take immediate political forms, without requiring those passions to be contractually sublimated into the interests of citizenship in the State. And at the same time, of course, Spinoza's non-teleological view of history disallows any Hegelian "ruse of reason" outwitting human motives and guaranteeing that political forms as manifestations of objective Spirit will improve; on the contrary, politics for Spinoza is a field of passion more than reason, and it is incumbent on reason to understand and try to make the most of natural-human passions in improving political organization, rather than dominate or supress them. * * * * (23)Such a realignment of the relations between reason and the passions, humankind and nature has a certain postmodern ring to it, no doubt; but even before the recent Franco-Italian "rediscovery" of Spinoza {cite works}, his thought found echoes in other political thinkers in the French tradition, notably the early 19th-century utopian-socialist, Charles Fourier, and the 20th-century Marxist sociologist, Henri Lefebvre. Like Spinoza (though it is unlikely his homespun education included the Dutch philosopher), Fourier believed that the human passions formed the core of any political arrangement, and that they could be fine- tuned so as to enhance the productivity and joys of human existence. But what makes Fourier read like a caricature of Spinozan thought is the detailed -- even mathematical! -- blue- print the French utopian constructed to map out the precise ways the human passions should be combined to produce the most harmonious result. Spinoza himself (in addition to rejecting Fourier's patent, 19th-century teleologism) would have been more content to let a harmonious pattern of organization emerge from continual critique of existing arrangements; hence the profound open-endedness of his thought, highlighted by Negri and Macherey alike. (24)In one important sense, Lefebvre's appreciation of the haphazard quality of the innumerable interpersonal encounters typical of modern city life comes closer to Spinozan thought: Lefebvre and Spinoza both value density and complexity in spontaneous interpersonal relations as a measure of the development of human potential. And yet Lefebvre's view is still too ascetic and teleological to be thoroughly Spinozan: city life and the great Festivals it would make possible are certainly unmediated expressions of group force (@potentia multitudine@), but they represent for Lefebvre the culmination of a necessary previous stage of development: his "urban revolution" presupposes industrialization. This is Lefebvre's updated version of the Marxian philosophy of history examined above, according to which a period of human abnegation devoted to the development of marketable productive forces is/was required in order to make the realization of freedom possible. It comes as no surprise, then, given the asceticism inherent in such a view, that Lefebvre makes no mention of the productive forces of *nature* in this "postindustrial" stage of human development, whereas Spinoza insists always on relating the development of human productive force to what Bataille in _La Part maudite_ calls the biosphere {ref Bataille, _PM_ p.69}. Indeed, few French thinkers of the 20th century have stressed as rigorously as Bataille the importance of situating human endeavor (and especially economics) in the broader context of the superabundant forces of nature, as Spinoza did -- even if the political implications of such a move in Bataille are not entirely clear (beyond his pointed and persuasive rejection of the ideology of utilitarianism). (25)The political implications of Macherey's discussions of Spinoza are somewhat clearer, if not always spelled out in his own, more philosophically-minded writings: comparing Spinoza with the bourgeois tradition culminating in Hegel suggests the possibility of an anti-Hegelian, perhaps even a "non- dialectical," Marxist politics. A Spinoza-inspired politics would be non-dialectical in several related senses. {ftnt the several other senses of "dialectical" that could be retained} It would for one thing repudiate the dialectical opposition of subject and object, according to which human freedom is (to be) wrested from nature through the ascetic development of marketable productive force at the expense of the productive force and human enjoyment of nature (including our own "human nature"). Instead, the struggle for freedom would be situated within and as part of the development of nature, rather than as its conquest and mastery; as Macherey puts it (in unfortunately masculinst terms), liberation is not a manipulation of reality by a subject who would situate himself somehow outside of the arrangement he imposes on it: [liberation] is the expression, the exertion of the ontological force that constitutes the subject himself, not as an independent individual, but as the [most] versatile element of the collective system within whose network of interrelations his action is inscribed. And of course for Spinoza (whose view of freedom Macherey is summarizing here), the "collective system" in which all human action takes place is comprised not of human society alone, but of the biosphere as a whole. (26) A Spinozan-Marxist politics would, for another thing, eschew mediation, the dialectical synthesis/resolution of conflicts or differences on a higher plane -- such as the State or the Party, which tend to re-impose the "higher plane" as self- interested domination over the parties in conflict or difference, as Power (@potestas@) over force (@potentia@). Instead, political organization would focus on "the multitiude," working from the grass-roots outward (rather than "up"), making horizontal connections with other grass-roots groups rather than forming hierarchical pyramids; these are already the strategies of "autogestion" and "micropolitics" in France, "autonomia" in Italy (of which Negri was a prominent spokesperson and theoretician), "direct," "radical," or participatory democracy and coalition politics in the United States -- all of which are profoundly suspicious and critical of "representative" politics in both its institutional and theoretical forms, and construe the State as itself a terrain of immanent struggle among, rather than the transcendent, synthetic mediation of, conflicting social forces. (27)Finally and most importantly, a Spinozan-Marxist politics would reject all forms of teleologism. For there can be no guarantee -- Hegelian or Hegelian-Marxist -- that "history" is "on our side," that the development of Spirit or of marketable productive forces will necessarily (or even probably) lead to the realization of human freedom. Instead, political struggle would have to asssume the -- far greater -- burden of realizing freedom immediately, everywhere and for everybody, with whatever level of productive force is available (a stance that does not, of course, preclude augmenting human-natural productive force as *part* of the struggle, as long as the former remained subordinate to the latter). We would have to relinquish the complacent, even mystical, Hegelian faith that "history always progresss, even if on its bad side," that is, by means of disasters rather than accomplishments -- disasters which by dialectical sleight of hand (negation of the negation, ruse of reason) will someday turn out to have been beneficial in the long run. (At the rate we are going, humanity simply *doesn't have* a "long run" in which to redeem the disasters spawned by capitalism's exclusive focus on marketable productive force: in such a long run, which is becoming shorter by the day, *we would all be dead*.) In the final analysis, what is Hegel-inspired "dialectical" history applied to capitalism, if not the 19th-century myth of progress with the naive optimism replaced by a lofty, tragic sensibility willing to sacrifice the present to its eventual redemption in an indefinite (and increasingly unlikely) future? (28)History thus shorn of Hegelian-dialectical teleologism would not, however, be bereft of any shape or direction whatsoever. The (non-dialectical?) laws of capitalist development diagnosed by Marx still apply: the tendency of capital to accumulate and concentrate, of the rate of profit to fall, of the market to expand geographically (as well as intensify psychologically), of commodity-production (and -consumption) to subsume greater and greater expanses of social life, of economic growth to entail periodic crises of over-production/under-consumption, and so on. Capitalism as a mode of production, that is to say, remains profoundly *contradictory*, in these and other ways {ftnt instrumental vs emancipatory rationality, etc.}, and these contradictions (or at least some of them) constitute indeed the *motor of history*; but they are no longer to be construed as *dialectical* contradictions, destined for synthesis/resolution at some shining moment in the future. Capitalism develops contradictorily, to be sure, but without any negativity: both its tendencies and its counter-tendencies are actual forces, locked in an antagonism of which only the entirely positive relations of force, and not some negation of the negation, will determine the outcome. History is in this light *not* the "history of class struggle" (as Marx once said); nor is it the dialectic of forces and relations of production (as he is also known to have suggested) -- because nothing except the magical thinking of teleologism can assure us that either of these two will ever come into decisive (i.e. revolutionary) contradiction leading dialectically to resolution. For a Spinoza-inspired Marxism, history is merely the history of capitalism as a mode of production; and its motor, for better and for worse, is the on- going self-expansion of capital itself: history *without* a subject, whether a class subject (the proletariat) or a transcendental one (species-being). (29)In addition to contributing to the intellectual viability of Marxism, abandoning the last vestiges of teleologism might well make Marxists seem less remote from other activists, for we would no longer be able to justify tolerating non-capitalist crimes against humanity in the name of some inevitable progress toward world communism as the *eventual* and *complete* negation of capitalism's negation of all humanity: for Spinozan Marxists, the only certifiable historical tendency is for capitalism to expand and intensify (with all the contradictions that entails); and it is up to us, the multitude -- without the confident crutch of "inevitable," much less the complacent, tragic sense of "dialectical," historical "progress" -- to see that is doesn't go unchallenged, by insisting first and foremost on the realization for all of whatever degree of freedom the already-given level of productive force makes possible. We would become less forgiving of any and all iniquity ... and thereby belie any and all charges of complicity.

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