Reading Kojin Karatani’s The Structure of World History

Readers of this blog are invited to join me and my good friend Gabriel Tupinambá for a facilitated reading group on one of the most important Marxist philosophers of our time, Kojin Karatani and his work The Structure of World History: From Modes of Production to Modes of Exchange. This reading group will include six …

On Kołakowski and the Neoplatonic Pre-History of Marxism

With increasing interest in new forms of Marxism, the philosophical origins of Marx’s thought have been a topic of important debate with many studies locating Marx’s early thought in Christian theology. The early Marx often reads like a quasi-theologian when he discusses ideas of universality and the emancipation of the proletariat. But does Marx’s early …

Why Do the Masses Posses Reason?

The figure of the masses in protest takes on a near mystical and highly rational logic in post-Leninist thought during the twentieth century. For example, one of the things that Althusser abandoned in his theory of overdetermination was that the general contradiction between forces of production and relations of production--embodied in the antagonistic relation between the two …

Sohn-Rethel’s Necessary False Consciousness and Marxist Epistemology

In the closing chapter of Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s masterpiece, Intellectual and Manual Labor, he invokes the concept of “necessary false consciousness.” This is a type of false consciousness that is not merely faulty consciousness, rather, necessary false consciousness is a type of false consciousness that is logically correct. It is what he calls, “inherently corrigible consciousness.” …

Overcoming the Fragmentation of Struggles

Now that the idea of an international proletariat is a thing of the past, Hardt and Negri, in Empire, invoke the specter of Hegel, or begin to flirt with Hegel in order to understand global capitalism. In order to apply Hegel, Hardt and Negri argue that as a structural system, global capitalism is "good in-itself …