File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 7

Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2001 19:51:34 +0100
Subject: Re: marxist grand narrative - the return?


On a personal note I have always seen where you are coming from on these issues
- but given that the reason for the success of the shift to the right in the
european social-political arena was founded on the right occupying the
intellectual high ground during the late 70s and 80s I believe it is essential
that all areas are considered as sites of struggle. (utopian and foolish as this
may seem).

> Philosophers do their thing,   I think most teach to earn a living, but not
> many are activists, perhaps do not have an activist personality. Rorty wrote
> a book about his early years.  He was, if I remember his correctly, brought
> up in an activist household, decades ago when Democrats were liberals.

It is always worth remembering the political trajectory that Lyotard and the
generation of intellectuals that Lyotard was part of took. In Lyotard's case the
movement from political militancy towards what appears to be a gradual social
and political pessimism... Very few philosophers worth anything are actually
locked into ivory towers...

> On TV, Hardt described the book as a "Communist Book"  He is philosophizing.
> Others have called it a new "manifesto".  He is more modest. Someone else
> may come along eventually with plans, propose action.

Within the text itself action is understood as happening already and could be
understood as defined by the social and political activity that surrounds us
continuously... Programs and plans of actions are not the sort of thing one
discusses in the mass media (who said that?) though the furoure that surrounds
the empire book in the USA at the moment reminds me of the stories that
surrounded the initial publishing of Foucaults 'The order of things' - 100,000
copies sold in the first week in Paris - I always wanted to know how many were

But the phenomena is interesting because it has taken since (july 2000 when i
bought it) to the present for the explosion of interest to take place - I
believe it may be because the text is being used to explain the
anti-globalisation movements and such movements cannot be explained by right
wing theorisations of the events.




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