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Red rhetorics : polemics and the Marx-machine 2003

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RED RHETORICS: POLITICS, POLEMICS AND THE MARX-MACHINE by CHARLES A N D R E W B A R B O U R B.A. , Mount Alison University, 1994 M.A. , The University of New Brunswick, 1996 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Individual Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A September 2003 © Charles Andrew Barbour, 2003 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of nglw.d^l UirsLy.p»"wt| C**d**<- V^)^^ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) 11 ABSTRACT The recent past has witnessed an explosion of interest in politics, in republican traditions, and in what many have dubbed "the political." This return to politics and to theories of ideology has, however, generally been conducted, not only in the absence of, but often in direct opposition to any extensive reconsideration of Karl Marx. Marx is treated as the chief example of a line of thought that denies the specificity of the political, that reduces it to more fundamental social or material conditions, and that treats politics, ideology and rhetoric as means to an end, not ends in themselves. Building on Marx's early texts, and especially on his forgotten polemics with Bruno Bauer and Max Stimer, I argue that, in fact, Marx still has a great deal to offer theories of the political, and that his work represents both an affirmation of the political freedoms associated with the res publica or "open space" of discourse and struggle, and a powerful critique of the limitations of those freedoms - an analysis, that is to say, of those places where social conditions render political freedoms void of significant content. Reawakening Marx's texts and the promise of justice that they announce in a post-Marxist conjuncture will, however, require that" they be approached in a new fashion. I propose reading Marx, not as the author of a single, monolithic system known as Marxism, but as a politically engaged, rhetorically gifted, but also fragmentary and ambiguous writer. Marx's texts do not constitute a single, coherent body of work. Nor, however, is his career shorn in half by a definitive epistemological break. Rather, the massive collection of documents retroactively labeled "Marx" constitute an overdetermined assemblage of cracks and fissures, gaps and breaks, skips and relays - what I call a Marx-machine. i i i T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i List of Abbreviations v Acknowledgements vi Dedication vii INTRODUCTION: LEIPZIG COUNCILS 1 PART ONE: RED RHETORICS 20 CHAPTER 1: THE P O L E M I C A L M A T R I X 21 The New Republicans 21 Marx in Res Publico 54 Philopolemology / Marx and the Law 88 The Demolition of Substance 103 The Ego and Its Other 131 iv PART TWO: THE MARX-MACHINE 152 CHAPTER 2: ALLEGORIES OF WRITING 153 The Reading Lesson 153 The Marx-Machine 176 Mechanomimesis / Copying Machines 190 Proper Names 209 Aesthetic Dimensions 226 Ghosts in the Machine 236 CHAPTER 3: THE FRACTURED ESSENCE 249 Historical Materialisms 249 The Impure Form 272 The Visible God 288 CONCLUSION: EXISTENTIAL REPUBLICS 305 WORKS CITED 323 V LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS Citations from Marx's work are followed by abbreviated references to their source. When the collected or selected works are used, the text indicates the specific work in question. C Capital. Vol. 1, A Critique of Political Economy. Trans. Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. New York: Modem Library. CW Karl Marx and Frederick Engels Collected Works. New York: International Publishers. Citations give volume and page number: (CW3: 229). G Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Rough Draft). Trans. Martin Nicolaus. New York: Vintage Books. GI The German Ideology. Trans. Clemens Dutt, W. Lough and C. P. Macgill. London: Lawrence and Wishart. MEGA Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe. Berlin: Dietz Verlag. Citations give division, volume, and page number: (MEGA IV: 3, 399). SW Karl Marx: Selected Works. Ed. David McLellan. Oxford: Oxford UP. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi The most sincere acknowledgement and gratitude goes to my research supervisor, Dr. Steven Taubeneck, whose guidance and support throughout the course of my degree has been incalculable. The current study would never have been possible without, among many other things, his encouraging direction and rigorous commentary. Other members of my advisory committee - Drs. Kevin McNeilly and Thomas M. Kemple - have also contributed immeasurably to this project. In particular, Dr. Kemple's book Reading Marx Writing: Melodrama, the Market, and the "Grundrisse" has proven decisive. My work would have been unthinkable if it were not for the existence of the Individual Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program (IISGP), the inspiration of its members, and particularly the tireless efforts of its now former chair, Dr. Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe. The Department of English at the University of British Columbia has also generously supported this project for many years. Finally, I must mention my good friends and fellow founders of the Ephemeral Theory Collective, Richard Ingram, Joy James, and Jim Overboe. vii FOR L Y N N Introduction: Leipzig Councils 1 The summer of 1845 was, as radicals like to say, a "hot" one in the Saxon city of Leipzig. In the wake of the Napoleonic wars, and the subsequent dissemination of republican ideas throughout Europe, Saxony had become an increasingly liberal state - establishing a constitution and a parliament, encouraging trade and commerce, and nourishing a moderate, literate civil society. From 1841 onward, however, the new Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV and his reactionary, conservative regime sought to exert their influence in neighboring Saxony - to halt and even roll back the reforms of the Saxon liberals, for fear that they might spread into Prussia and throughout the German empires. By the summer of 1845, a loose cluster of political antagonisms within Saxony had taken shape around the so-called Deutschkatholizismus or "German Catholic" movement. Led by the charismatic, recently defrocked priest Johannes Ronge, this group called for a "new reformation" in southern Germany and for the creation of a specifically German Catholic Church with no ties to Rome or to the Papacy. It also demanded a government based on popular sovereignty, equality for women, and official recognition of human rights. Largely due to the interference of the Prussian king in Saxon affairs, the movement was harassed by government authorities, especially by agents of the monarchy. The issue came to a head in the streets of Leipzig on August 12, 1845. On that day, the city was to welcome the arrival of its Crown Prince Johann with a military parade and attendant ceremonies. A large crowd of demonstrators gathered to renounce Saxony's capitulation to Prussian interests, and to oppose the ongoing rollback of liberal reforms. Such protests were as choreographed then as they are now. Tensions mounted, and battle lines were 2 drawn. But the day would not end, as it so often does in these situations, with a merely symbolic display of force. On the Prince's orders, the military surrounded the crowd, blocked them within the confines of a small hotel gateway, and proceeded to open fire. The Leipzig Massacre was to be one of the most bloody and controversial events of the Vormdrz - the period of German history "before March," or before the March riots that signaled the beginning of the 1848 revolution in Germany. In an article published in the Chartist paper The Northern Star on September 13, 1845, a young Friedrich Engels described the atrocity for a British audience. "This massacre," he wrote: is by far the most villainous act of scoundrelism that military despotism ever devised in this country. When the people were shouting "Ronge forever! down with Popery!" Prince John of Saxony [...] ordered the battalion of rifles, called in by the authorities, to divide into several detachments and to block up the passages to the hotel in which his literary "royal highness" had taken up his quarters. The soldiers obeyed, and pressed the people by enclosing them in a narrow circle, and advancing upon them into the gateway of the hotel; and from this unavoidable entering of the people into the sacred gateway of the royal residence, brought on by the military acting under Prince John's orders; from this very circumstance the pretext was taken to fire on the people [...] Nor is this all; the people were taken between the several detachments, and the plan of his royal highness was executed by a crossfire upon the defenseless masses; wherever they turned they met with a repeated volley from the rifles, and had not the soldiers, more humane than Prince John, fired mostly over the heads of the people, the slaughter would have been terrible (CW A, 645-6). 3 The event was tragic but not atypical of the reactionary politics and state sanctioned violence that eventually sparked the revolutions of 1848. Ironically, it was in Saxony, the most liberal of Germany's principalities, that state power manifested itself in this most brutal fashion. In his article for The Northern Star, Engels seizes on the contradiction, proclaiming that "[t]he Saxons must see, now, that they are under the same military rule as all other Germans, and that, with all their constitution, liberal laws, liberal censorship, and liberal king's speeches, martial law is the only one that has any practical existence in their country" (646). Here political liberalism has done little or nothing to prevent the most severe forms of social repression. Thus, Engels concludes, it is to the radical workers movement, and especially to the movement initiated by the Silesian weavers' strikes in June of 1844, that the Saxon people must now turn. In one sense, the Leipzig Massacre is but a horrific footnote in the long, often significantly more horrific history of struggles for justice and democracy. One could compare it to any number of similar events of varying scale and intensity - events that occur, not only in the past, but today as well, doubtless even as I write these words. In another sense, however, the Leipzig Massacre has a crucial if all but forgotten place in the history of social and political struggles, and in the theory of those struggles. For it had a direct bearing on the development of the concept of "ideology" as it was first discussed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology. What is now called The German Ideology is actually a manuscript that Marx and Engels worked on between 1845 and 1847, but never published in their lifetimes. The text, first released in the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe or collected works in 1932, is usually reduced by readers, editors, and commentators alike to its opening chapter, which editors call "Feuerbach." Originally 4 intended as an introduction to the rest of the work, this brief chapter is thought by most Marx scholars to be crucial, as it is said to represent Marx's first systematic exposition of the so-called science or method of "historical materialism." In fact, the vast majority of the manuscript, over four hundred of the printed work's six hundred pages, is taken up with an extensive polemic against the left or young Hegelian philosophers Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner - a polemic Marx and Engels call "Das Leipziger KonziV The reference to the city of Leipzig in this title has at least two connotations. First, it recalls the fact that, in order to elude the Prussian censors, the young Hegelians published much of their work in Leipzig, primarily with a bookseller named Otto Wigand. Second, by invoking the place at which Martin Luther faced the second of his three trials for heresy in 1519, it covertly mocks what Marx and Engels take to be the residual theological elements of young Hegelian discourse, or the sense in which their speculative philosophizing is no less empty and ineffectual than the theology they claim to have negated, transcended, or destroyed. Thus it comes as little surprise to find that "The Leipzig Council" is framed as a parody of an ecclesiastical legal proceeding, with Feuerbach, Bauer, Stirner and others being portrayed as advocates who plead "the cause of the Most High, alias the Absolute" (GI96) - arguing the case of a new, purely theoretical reformation, even while, just under their noses, the streets rage with pitched battles between demonstrators and soldiers. The events that occurred in Leipzig during the hot summer of 1845 might also explain, or help explain, the otherwise ambiguous opening sentences of "The Leipzig Council." Significantly, had Marx and Engels stuck with their original plan, and not dramatically redrafted the text at least three times over the course of three years, the opening sentences of "The Leipzig Council" might well have been those of The German 5 Ideology as well. Referring to a journal (published by Wigand) in which the young Hegelians had recently engaged in a series of polemical exchanges, Marx and Engels write: [i]n the third volume of the Wigand'schen Vierteljahrsschrift for 1845 the battle of the Huns, prophetically portrayed by Kaulbach, actually happens; The spirits of the slain, whose fury is not appeased even in death, raise a hue and cry, which sounds like the thunder of battles and war-cries, the clatter of swords, shields and iron wagons. But it is not a battle over earthly things [irdische Dinge]. The holy war [heilige Kreig] is being waged, not over protective tariffs, the Constitution, potato blight, banking affairs and railways, but in the name of the most sacred interests of the spirit [die heiligsten Interessen des Geistes], in the name of "Substance," "Self- consciousness," "Criticism," the "Unique" and the "True Man" (96). "The Battle of the Huns" or "Hunnenschlacht" refers to a mural completed by Karl von Kaulbach in 1837. The work, which adorns the staircase of the Berlin Museum, represents a battle between the Huns and the Romans that took place at Chalon in 451 CE. In it, two exhausted armies struggle on the ground, while in the sky above the ghosts of the slain form two far more colossal throngs of spiritual warriors, and prepare to clash once again. At the painting's center is an empty horizon that separates the people below from the spirits above - as though the connection between the two were forever in sight but forever retreating. On one level at least, "The Battle of the Huns" is an allegory for the spiritual struggle between modem Germany and classical antiquity, or Germany's effort to understand itself here in relation to, there as distinct from, the classics. It evokes the debate that took place in nineteenth century Germany between the ancients and the modems - the confrontation (both sides of which are articulated so powerfully in Marx's writing) 6 between those who sought to recapture the harmony and balance of the classical world, and those who embraced modernity in all its fragmentary contradictions. In the opening scene of "The Leipzig Council," however, Marx and Engels use Kaulbach's mural for rather different purposes. For them, it becomes a parody of the young Hegelian philosophers, who seem to do battle in the clouds of speculation, oblivious to the very real struggles still being waged, perhaps forever being waged, on the ground below. The standard interpretations of The Germany Ideology - virtually without exception based on the "Feuerbach" chapter alone - are well established and well known. For all their many differences, most schools of Marx scholarship agree that The German Ideology is a pivotal text. Whether it is characterized as a definitive epistemological break with earlier projects or as a realization of nascent intentions, The German Ideology is said to represent the moment when Marx first outlines his science or his method of historical materialism. For Marxists, it is in this text that Marx first clarifies the all important links between the history of productive forces, the division of labour, the function of ruling ideas or ideologies, the operation of class struggle, and so forth. It is also here that Marx first explains in detail his unique methodology, maintaining that, pace Hegel and the young Hegelians, he will seek to understand human history through a material analysis of conditions of existence and not a philosophical treatment of the progress of Spirit or of the speculative Idea. "Life [Leben] is not determined [bestimmt] by consciousness [Bewusstseiri]," Marx writes in one of many familiar turns of phrase that multiply throughout The German Ideology, and that together constitute the framework for so much of what would later become Marxist science and Marxist method, "but consciousness by life. In the first method of approach [Betrachturigsweise] the starting point is consciousness 7 taken as the living individual; in the second method, which conforms to real life [dem wirklichen Leben entsprechenden], it is the real living individuals themselves, and consciousness is considered solely as their consciousness [ihr Bewusstseiri\" (38). Here, then, is the small irony I propose to highlight from the outset. While it is widely recognized that, in The German Ideology, Marx claims ideas cannot be treated in abstraction, but must be understood in relation to the specific social and political contexts (and especially the struggles) through which they emerged and took shape, it is nonetheless commonplace to pay little or no attention to the specific struggles and disputes, conflicts and antagonisms that lead to the creation of The German Ideology itself. Composed as a polemic, or rather a cluster of polemics responding to still other polemics, The German Ideology is a fundamentally antagonistic text - one that, through a kind of mise en abyme, both describes and performs, explains and enacts, the fundamentally antagonistic status of all social relations. For one thing (and this deceptively simple point often gets erased in secondary commentary) the bulk of the work is not written by Marx, but by Marx and Engels. An extraordinarily complex system of inscriptions and marginalia, annotations and corrections, the manuscript of The German Ideology bears the mark of countless discussions and tensions between these two authors, and remains difficult to piece together to this day. The arrangement of the some seventy manuscript pages that make up the introduction or the "Feuerbach" chapter alone has been cause for a long and as yet unresolved debate among bibliographers. After a series of redrafts, Marx and Engels left The German Ideology incomplete and unpublished in the spring of 1847. As its authors envisioned it, however, the finished work would have consisted of two volumes - one on the Young Hegelians, which was to be entitled 8 "Critique of Modern German Philosophy According to its Representatives Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer and Stirner," and a second one on a group of philosophers whom Marx and Engels dubbed the True Socialists, and which was to be called "Critique of German Socialism According to its Various Prophets." In the extant manuscript, the vast majority of the first volume is taken up by the two chapters of "The Leipzig Council," polemics against Bruno Bauer and Max Stimer respectively. The second volume, which consists of a series of critical reviews of books and essays by figures such as Karl Grtin and Georg Kuhlmann, also bears the title "True Socialism." Only three of its projected five chapters were ever written - one, it appears, by Moses Hess, which was subsequently edited and recopied by Joseph Weydemeyer. The portion of the text now called "Feuerbach" - a name Engels gave it while digging through Marx's literary estate in 1883 - was to serve as an extended introduction to the rest of the work. Thus, had it been published in Marx's and Engels's lifetimes, The German Ideology would have consisted of an "Introduction," a large volume on the young Hegelians centered around "The Leipzig Council," and a large volume on "True Socialism." Almost without exception, and not without the help of an extremely invasive reconstruction of the manuscript by its Communist editors, Marx scholars generally ignore the two larger volumes, and focus their attention on the introduction. As a result, the polemical, rhetorical, and ironic contexts of Marx's and Engels's utterances have gone virtually unnoticed, in favor of the hypothesis that the work's scientific intent is contained within its introductory remarks. Stripped from its polemical and rhetorical frameworks, and reduced to its introductory remarks, The German Ideology loses much of its complexity and nearly all of its humor and vitality. It becomes, in other words, a scientific or methodological treatise, 9 and not a specific intervention into a specific (and specifically political) debate. The most striking example of misreading occurs when the work's brief "Preface" is taken to reflect Marx's and Engels's own intent, and not to parody those being attacked. "Hitherto men have constantly made up for themselves false conceptions [falsche Vorstellungen] about themselves, about what they are and what they ought to be," Marx and Engels write in what is now a familiar passage: They have arranged their relationships according to their ideas [Vorstellungen] of God, of normal man, etc. The phantoms of their brains have got out of their hands. They, the creators, have bowed down before their creations. Let us liberate them from the chimeras, the ideas, the dogmas, the imaginary beings [eingebildeten Weseri], under the yoke of which they are pining away. Let us revolt against the rule of thought. Let us teach men, says one, to exchange these imaginations for thoughts which correspond to the essence of man; says the second, to take up a critical attitude to them; says the third, to knock them out of their heads; and - existing reality will collapse (GI23). Read in the context of a polemic against young Hegelianism, it is clear that this passage, the entire first paragraph of The German Ideology, is thoroughly parodic. It is not Marx and Engels who think men have hitherto arranged their lives according to false representations (falsche Vorstellungen) and imaginary beings (eingebildeten Wesen), but Feuerbach, Bauer, and Stirner. It is they, the young Hegelians, who believe they can escape history's false representations by revealing the truth of the human essence, by submitting such ideas to theoretical critique, or by knocking them out of their heads. That is to say, it is Marx's and Engels's enemies who wish to "revolt against the rule of thought," not Marx 10 and Engels themselves. Indeed, the second paragraph of The German Ideology makes it perfectly clear that Marx and Engels reject the "innocent and childlike fantasies" of those who believe that their will alone might force history to end and reality to collapse. For the authors of The German Ideology, history has not hitherto consisted of false representations that, through a speculative and apocalyptic fiat, contemporary philosophers can finally expose as the realm of chimeras and imaginary beings. On the contrary, for Marx and Engels, history is the history of material processes. What the young Hegelians call false representations, spirits and dogmas of the past, Marx and Engels understand to be effective forces - powerful ideas buttressed by concrete apparatuses. Thus The German Ideology does not, as the standard reading suggests, invert young Hegelian idealism and replace it with Marxist materialism. Rather, from the very first sentence, it argues that everything the young Hegelians call false or imaginary (the church, the state, the courts, the schools, and so forth), is in fact a very real articulation of power - in a word, an ideology. At least part of the reason Marx and Engels could not find a publisher for The German Ideology is the fact that, even by the time they began working on it, much of the material they wanted to discuss was anachronistic and out of date. Indeed, by beginning with polemics between the young Hegelians, Marx and Engels were already engaging in something of a postmortem and dissection. Probably by 1845, and definitely by 1847, the loosely associated young Hegelian movement (or, as some called it at the time, "party") had more or less disbanded - its most politically effective journals shut down by the external pressure of the censors, and its membership fragmented by continuous internal squabbling. The publishers originally slated to release The German Ideology, namely Julius Meyer and Rudolph Rempel of Westphalia, might have been more interested in the 11 second volume's commentary on the True Socialists (especially Moses Hess and Karl Griin), who were on the ascendancy at the time, in many ways taking the place of the young Hegelians as the preeminent radical party or literary group of the German speaking world. But once it became clear that Marx and Engels intended to attack True Socialism no less vehemently than they had young Hegelianism, Meyer and Rempel, who were advocates of the former, promptly backed out of the project. After making a few more failed efforts to have the manuscript published, Marx and Engels "abandoned" their polemic, as Marx would recall a decade later in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, to "the gnawing criticism of the mice" (SW 390). And yet, like a repressed memory, this "abandoned" manuscript, its imagery and its ideas, would return again and again throughout Marx's career and, more insistently still, throughout the history of Marxism, where it would take up a central position in the Marxist vulgate. In a certain sense, even after abandoning the manuscript to the gnawing criticism of the mice, Marx spent the rest of his career writing and continuously rewriting The German Ideology, as if it were a nightmare from which he could not awake. Tucked away for decades, this gnawed manuscript gnawed at him. While he liked to believe that he had rejected his "erstwhile philosophical conscience," the problems introduced in his unfinished collaboration with Engels, and their various confrontations with the young Hegelians, provided much of the scaffolding for Marx's lifelong investigation of political economy. It is not incidental that, in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, while quickly glossing the trajectory of his own career, Marx himself refers to writing The German Ideology as a process of "self-clarification [Selbstverstaendigung]" (SW390). Not only the theories, but also the language of The German Ideology lingered in Marx's mind, 12 burrowing its way into future texts. The rhetoric of the assault on Bauer and Stirner, crowded as it is with images of ghosts, magicians, chants, haunts, hunts, and holy wars, gets resurrected, for instance, in the famous opening scenes of the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels portray Communism as a frightful specter that stalks about Europe, and its enemies as conducting a holy hunt against it. A much condensed version of the attack on the true socialists, especially Marx's and Engels's former collaborator Moses Hess, returns in the Communist Manifesto as well, where these "German literati" are accused of cladding themselves in a "robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric" (SW 242). Marx, if it was he and not Engels who wrote the words, could have been more politic, seeing as how his own style is, as often as not, obscured by speculative mustiness and embroidered with rhetorical flourish. But this is exactly what interests me about The German Ideology, and about Marx's writing in general. This writer who is known as a scientist to many, a dogmatist to others, is known as a writer only to a very few. To what extent, one wonders, did Marx think of himself as a writer, or as someone whose public persona was being actively, and often ironically, constructed through his texts? To what extent did Marx see himself as someone whose language had to persuade others, or to convince an audience, regardless of scientific accuracy? Treating Marx as a writer is not a question of reducing or bracketing off the political force of his work. On the contrary, if one wishes to find democratic and republican threads running through Marx's text, then it is precisely his rhetoric and his style to which one should attend, for, since ancient times and as Marx well knew, rhetoric and republicanism are inexorably linked, and entail a certain articulation of aesthetics and politics - where 13 political authority is granted to those whose language convinces the citizens, and thus, to use J.L. Austin's terms, has the illocutionary force of a successful speech act. In the introductory remarks to his doctoral dissertation, "On the Difference between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature," Marx notes that, because "an old and entrenched prejudice," indeed "a prejudice as old as the history of philosophy" itself, seeks to "identify Democritean and Epicurean physics," he will be forced to engage in what he calls "microscopic examinations" of the ancient texts - "because," as Marx puts it, "the differences are so concealed that they can be discovered, as it were, only with a microscope" (CW 1, 36). Like the young Marx, my intention is also, through microscopic examinations of Marx's literary remains or Nachlass, to reveal heretofore concealed differences - differences between and within Marx's various texts, between Marx and his collaborators, between Marx and his interlocutors, and perhaps most importantly between Marx, his editors, and his readers. At the same time, one all but forgotten text - "The Leipzig Council" - operates here as another kind of lens, perhaps even a camera obscura, through which I will read the rest of Marx's work. How is Marx's career refracted and rearranged when we centralize not the recognized and canonical works, but a prolix, overwhelming, deliberately elliptical and unruly text like "The Leipzig Council?" Who are the now nearly forgotten figures Marx and Engels choose to discuss at such length (not only Feuerbach and Hegel, but also Bauer, Stimer, Grtin, Kuhlmann, and so on), and how do Marx and Engels use and abuse their cherished concepts and terms? How have the editorial and interpretive histories of The German Ideology conspired to exclude "The Leipzig Council" and more rhetorical texts like it from Marx's body of work, and from so- called "serious" considerations of his political theory and practice? How has this kind of 14 exclusion shaped the broader reception and understanding of Marx, and how might a reconsideration of the Nachlass destabilize our understanding of the ideas most commonly associated with his proper name? What, for instance, are the implications of these textual upheavals for the theory of historical materialism? Finally, but most urgently, does a "microscopic examination" of such questions in any way inform or speak to contemporary debates over culture and politics in a post-Marxist world? The current study is broken down into three chapters, each of which approaches Marx's work from a slightly different perspective, while at all times keeping in play a reading of "The Leipzig Council." My first chapter, "The Polemical Matrix," begins with a survey of post-Marxist political theory, or what I call the new republicanism, and proceeds to reassess Marx's approach to the political, with special emphasis on his confrontations and polemical exchanges with the Vormarz republicans Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner. One aim in this first chapter is to show that, despite what his texts occasionally proclaim in their logic, according to what they perform in their rhetoric, Marx's work prior to 1848 is decidedly democratic and republican. More accurately, in all of his work, Marx is constantly testing the limits of democratic republicanism, seeking to enlist republican ideals in the project of building the kind of social conditions that would make true political freedom and equality possible. Marx endeavors, not to close off, but to expand and to democratize the open space or res publico of republican freedom - the stage, or what Claude Lefort characterizes as the mise en scene, on which a plurality of ideological struggles might be articulated and played out. Marx's commitment to free political debate will only be recognized, however, if readers take seriously those texts in which Marx engages in such debate - specifically, in this case at 15 least, "The Leipzig Council." Consequently, the second chapter of my work, "Allegories of Writing," consists of a close literary (hermeneutic and deconstructive) reading of "The Leipzig Council." In particular, I emphasize what Marx and Engels have to say about reading and writing, or the manner in which "The Leipzig Council" constitutes an extended commentary on reading and writing practices - what Paul de Man, in the title of his best known work, helpfully dubs an "allegory of reading." Following this line of thought, I maintain that Marx's own texts need not be treated as a complete and internally coherent "body of work," as the hermeneutic metaphor has it, but can also be read as a mechanical assemblage of external references and citations, tools and components - an assemblage I call "the Marx-machine." With the figure of the Marx-machine in place, I return to Marx's texts, and to the texts Marx read, highlighting spots where they not only speak of machines but also operate as machines. My final chapter, "The Fractured Essence," recalls the concept or the theory of historical materialism in light of this new approach to Marx's texts. Historical materialism, I suggest, is neither a science nor a method, but, if anything, a theoretical problem - an irresolvable puzzle or aporia. If the first chapter of my work is primarily concerned with politics and the second with literature or aesthetics, the final chapter is largely philosophical. More than anything else, I call in this work for a different kind of reading, not only of Marx's texts, but of texts, culture, politics, and social relations in general. The idea is not to return to the animating spirit, the hidden truth, or the forgotten intention concealed somewhere within Marx's body of work, but to put the Marx-machine to work - to assemble a number of the massive and, finally, overwhelming collection of tools and components that make up Marx's texts in a new fashion, and thus to see if it can be used 16 for new purposes. Francis Wheen begins his recent, very successful biography of Marx with the claim that, after generations of either hagiography or demonization, "[i]t is time to strip away the mythology and try to rediscover Karl Marx the man" (1999, 1). Wheen's image is revealing, but in a sense this demythologizing revelation of "the man" is what every previous reading of Marx, indeed every hermeneutic reading as such, has sought to achieve. I propose something else entirely. It is not Marx the man, or the autonomous and unified subject who is first in charge of all his faculties and then proceeds to negotiate the world around him, that interests me, but Marx the body and Marx the machine, or Marx the embodied machine. Marx the man is dead. What remains is a colossal relays system of manuscripts and notes, letters and fragments - a textual system so gigantic and unruly that, even after generations of labour and massive expenditures of resources, the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe, or the so aptly nicknamed "MEGA" project, remains incomplete to this day. In the simplest sense, when I write here of the Marx-machine, I am referring to this textual system - an incomplete assemblage that can always be taken apart, arranged otherwise, attached to different texts, and rewritten in countless, perhaps infinitely new fashions. Mine, then, is an attempt, not to make sense of Marx or somehow to resurrect "the man" from the Nachlass, but still further to incomplete Marx, and to affirm the sense in which every interpretation of his work will only make the task of interpretation still more incomplete, and thus that much more urgent and necessary. This approach to reading Marx is indebted to Jacques Derrida, and a great deal of what I claim in the current project is an elaboration of Derrida's provocative essay on Marx. That said, I take as much, perhaps more inspiration here from Martin Heidegger, one of Derrida's great teachers as well. Throughout his work, perhaps nowhere more explicitly 17 than in The German Ideology, Marx investigated the relationship between consciousness and being. Nor was he, despite a long history of misreading that starts with the aging Engels, merely concerned with reversing or opposing an "idealist" model, or subordinating consciousness to being. Rather, it is the reciprocal entwinement of conscious-being (Bewusstseiri) and being (Sein) that concerns Marx. It is impossible today to read the passages in Marx's text where he comments on ontology without taking into consideration Heidegger's complete reformulation of the question of Being, and his destruction of ontology and the history of western metaphysics on the basis thereof. In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels introduce the notion that the foundation of human existence, its fundamental ontological ingredient, is neither the individual nor the collective (the distinction over which the young Hegelians argue), but what they call the social relation (Verhdltnis). That is to say, according to Marx and Engels, before there is any identity, any subjectivity, whether particular or universal, an ego or a people, there is a relation, or more accurately a network of relations that remains irreducible and inexhaustible. It is this intersubjective matrix or "ensemble of social relations" (SW 157) that Marx occasionally attempts to signify with the term species-being or Gattungswesen, which he borrows from Feuerbach. Heidegger makes an analogous point when, in Being and Time, he maintains that human existence or Dasein never takes the form of a unified and self-contained subject, but is always already in the world, thrown into relations with others, with its physical environment, with history, and perhaps most enigmatically of all with its uncertain future, or that which remains yet to come - especially its finitude or its death. While Marxists are loath to appreciate such connections between Heidegger and Marx, I take them to be of central importance. Just beneath all of the claims I make here, then, one 18 might read a reflection on Heidegger, and especially on Heideggerean temporality - as though, like the medieval monks who, in the words of the Communist Manifesto, "wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written" (241), the current study of Marx were written atop another one on Heidegger. In his extremely influential reconstruction of Marx's career, Louis Althusser suggests that, along with the "Theses on Feuerbach," The German Ideology represents an "epistemological break" (1969, 32) in Marx's work - the moment when Marx rejects the humanism and essentialism of the young Hegelians, Ludwig Feuerbach in particular, and begins to construct his own unique, mature science of the social relation. In keeping with Althusser's theory of the "symptomatic reading," the figure of the Marx-machine suggests that Marx's literary remains do not form a unified body of work, but consist of different components. However, pace Althusser, neither is Marx's career shorn in two by a single, definitive, irreversible break. Rather, the Marx-machine is made up of countless fissures and cracks, lacuna and gaps, skips and jumps, relays and returns, each of which opens up the possibility of different assemblages and different interpretations. That is to say, there is a sense in which, once liberated from the orthodoxy of official Marxism, the Marx-machine itself becomes a kind of open space, res publicus, or mise en scene in which countless polemical struggles and alternative scripts play themselves out. At the same time, throughout the course of my dissertation, I am attempting to break with Althusser, whose approach to Marx's text I, like many still (whether they know it or not), once took to be virtually axiomatic. The success of this break is uncertain, and doubtless not for me to judge. But the tension brings to the fore what, for want of a better term, 19 might be called the thesis, or at any rate the dominant theme, of my work. To treat Marx's texts as a mechanical assemblage, as I do here, to repudiate the orthodox reading of them and propose instead a plurality of other readings, is also to perform or enact a certain understanding of justice or of a just community. As Marx often suggests, but perhaps nowhere more explicitly than in The German Ideology, justice is not a determined "state of affairs [Zustand]" (GI 47). It cannot be contained in declarations, charters, reports, laws, statements of principle or hermeneutic protocols (although, to be sure, it cannot be divorced from such things either). Rather, justice is an active, immanent, material process that is forever incomplete, and that operates by continuously incompleting itself - by creating new tasks, liberating new potentials, and introducing new possibilities, in the name of a promised future that forever remains yet to come. 20 Part One: Red Rhetorics Until now the philosophers have had the solution of all riddles lying on their lecterns, and the stupid exotic world only had to open its mouth for the ready-roasted pigeons of absolute knowledge to fly into its mouth. Philosophy has become secularized, and the striking proof thereof is that the philosophical consciousness itself has been pulled into the torment of struggle not only externally but also internally. If the construction and preparation of the future is not our business, then it is the more certain what we have to consummate - I mean the ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless also in the sense that criticism does not fear its results, and even less so a struggle with the existing power. Karl Marx to Arnold Ruge, September 1843 21 Chapter 1: The Polemical Matrix The New Republicans Cultural criticism has, in recent years, witnessed a widespread return to theories of politics and ideology. Once associated with a relatively naive understanding of Enlightenment reason, and believed to rely on easily deconstructed distinctions between consciousness and being, thought and life, representation and reality, the concept of "ideology" has been resurrected lately alongside the phenomena that Chantal Mouffe has dubbed "the return of the political," or what a whole host of others have referred to as "rethinking," "reworking," and "retreating" the political. This attempt to bring ideology back, and once again to think through the question of the political, comes in the wake of a longstanding rejection of such categories among postmodern thinkers - a rejection, in fact, of systematic knowledge as such. To pursue a critique of ideology, the argument went, was to assume from the outset a position of objective exteriority vis-a-vis society in general. It was to assume that one could separate one's own interests and commitments from those of the structures being analyzed. It was to reserve for oneself the capacity and the right to distinguish between illusion and reality, true and false. In brief, it was to fall prey to what the chief postmodern theorist, Jean-Francois Lyotard, called "the phantasy of a non-alienated region" (1993 [1974], 107). For many postmodern thinkers, the term "ideology" was deemed all but meaningless unless opposed to some more fundamental, objective or scientific truth. As their great teacher Nietzsche had shown them, belief in truth is but the most deceptive chimera of all - a manifestation of the weak, nihilistic 22 denial of life itself. It was precisely such oppositions between illusion and reality, the postmodern argument concluded, that had generated the overarching "master narratives" of the west, and buttressed the Enlightenment reason that had destroyed, or at any rate greatly suppressed, local, situated, culturally specific knowledge - the kind of knowledge Lyotard associated with "narrative competency" as opposed to logical or "scientific accuracy" (1984 [1979], 18). From this perspective, only a complete rejection of the Enlightenment project and a radical transformation of knowledge and its legitmation could address the complexities of the postmodern world. The recent renewal of interest in ideology and politics attempts to absorb some of these criticisms, while at the same time pointing to the limitations and failures of the postmodern approach. In particular, it sets the groundwork for a repoliticization of cultural theory following the collapse of Marxism, and the near total disappearance of references to Marx among Western intellectuals. Thus it comes as little surprise, perhaps, that the new political thinkers have sought to reconstruct the concept of ideology, not along with, but almost in spite of Marx. Depending on one's perspective, Marx conceived of ideology either as something false or as something real - either as a false illusion concealing the material conditions of existence, or as the concrete expression of class interests and economic relations. Either way, he would seem to have treated ideology in particular and politics in general as derivative or secondary superstructures. It was Marx, ostensibly, who made it possible to reduce politics and ideology, through a series of critical and scientific protocols, to economics, or to more fundamental material conditions. Against such claims, and inspired by republican traditions, the most recent generation of political philosophers tend to champion rather than condemn political 23 rhetoric and ideological antagonisms. More often than not in direct opposition to the Marxist tradition, they construct politics as something else entirely - not as a derivative function, but as an irreducible condition of human existence. For those committed to the "return of the political," politics and ideology are neither distorted representations nor concrete expressions of a subject that precedes them. They are, instead, prior conditions of any subject's being in the world. Not surprisingly, then, while it occasionally claims to be inspired by a certain spirit or specter of Marx, the renewal of theories of ideology and the concomitant return of the political in recent years has rarely involved any extensive reassessment of Marx's work. On the contrary, among the new political philosophers, or the cadre of new republican theorists who have sought to circumvent the postmodern impasse, Marx is generally rejected as the chief exemplar of the tradition that denied the irreducibility or the specificity of the political. While he was certainly aware of, and even engaged in, ideological struggles and debates, the new republicans contend, Marx ultimately portrayed such things as manifestations of a more fundamental social contradiction - a contradiction that, once resolved, would eliminate the need for politics altogether, and result in the infamous "withering away of the state." In this reading, Marx's thought is inherently anti-democratic. That is to say, Marx denies the real effectiveness of political debate and ideological struggles, ultimately portraying such things either as pure fantasy, an alibi for dominant power relations, or as the refracted image of class interests. For Marx, many of the new republicans suggest, society can be rationally administered if and only if political antagonisms are eliminated altogether. Thus it is assumed that a relatively direct line connects Marx's theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat with the 24 totalitarian regimes that laid claim to his name in the twentieth century. In an effort to liberate humanity from what he saw as the contingency and accident of politics, the argument goes, Marx effectively justified the suppression of the res publica - the agora, forum, or open space that, since ancient times, has been associated with political discussion between the free citizens of a republic, and with the active creation of consensus through continuous democratic debate. Like their ancient counterparts, the new republicans maintain that, in order to protect the res publica, indeed in order to protect freedom as such, it is necessary not only to accept but also to foster the very contingency and accident that, at long last, Marx and his ilk wish to overcome. But is this a valid characterization of Marx's thought? Is Marx not being used here as a rather convenient illustration of a position that he never held, and that, in fact, very few have ever held? Might the current return to ideology, and the related effort to repoliticize social relations after the closure of the postmodern caesura, not benefit from a reassessment of Marx - more precisely still, a reassessment of the specific text in which Marx first introduced his theory of ideology, namely The German Ideology1? Is there perhaps, within the folds and margins of his text, another Marx, one who not only informs, but even speaks directly to the contemporary, so-called "post-Marxist" conjuncture? What I am calling the new republicanism is closely allied with the politics of deconstruction, and has roots in post-Marxist social theory, particularly but not exclusively as that theory developed among European intellectuals following the events of May 1968. I am suggesting that, since some formulation of Marxism (orthodox or humanist, existential or structural, autonomous or social democratic) ceased to be an absolutely justified point of departure for left wing intellectuals, republicanism has 25 become the dominant political philosophy. Attempts to rethink the problem of the social bond have, whether they are explicit about it or not, been attempts to revive republican traditions - where politics and political antagonism are seen not as an instrumental means to apolitical ends, nor as ideological chimeras concealing material reality, but as ends in themselves, and fundamental conditions of our being in the world. Very broadly, all forms of republicanism suggest that the identity of the political community is artificially rather than naturally determined. The social bond is formal or symbolic, not substantial or necessary. That is to say, the republican community has no determined essence and no common substance. Rather, its unity must be created, fabricated, or, in the precise political sense of the term, "constituted" via thoroughly contingent and ungrounded acts - be they revolutions, elections, or legislative and juridical decisions. For that same reason, the identity of the republican community is such that it can always be recreated differently in the future. It is never finished or complete, but open to interminable alteration. Now, the radical contingency of the political act, and especially the act of constituting a state, is crucial to the republican conception of democracy. Against all efforts to reduce politics to ostensibly more fundamental terms, be they material conditions of existence, class interests, or divinely ordained rights and privileges, republican theory suggests that the uncertainty and the contingency of politics comprise necessary conditions of democracy. In other words, from a republican perspective, democracy requires a plurality of different political subjects engage in ongoing and strictly interminable struggles for power or hegemony, and that no single subject (no - monarch, no party, no class) be seen to represent the interests of the community as a 26 whole, or possess a natural right to power. While authority rests with the will of the people rather than that of a monarch or emperor, "the people" does not refer to a substantial reality. There is, in other words, no natural sociality. Rather, as Rousseau first spells out in his article for Diderot's Encyclopedia on "Political Economy" (a pivotal text in the history of republican thought), the volonte generate or "general will" of the people must not only be represented by some institutional authority, but also artificially constructed through the collective deliberation and direct, active participation of the citizens (1992 [1754], 142-3). In Rousseau's terms, society itself presupposes an absolute and irreparable break with humanity's original state of nature. Similarly, from the moment that society displaces nature, the unified, natural human being is irreparably split into a private homme and a public citoyen. Thus the social bond or the social contract can only exist as a kind of "second nature," a civil or political order that humans must invent. In the republican tradition, therefore, society is something that a community of citizens must actively create and, through their actions, repeatedly recreate. According to the standard reading, Marx either did not recognize or did not sufficiently address the contingent status of social relations. He sought instead a science of those relations, and attempted to bind them to a determined ontology of historical class struggle and relations of production. As Claude Lefort, the chief proponent of what I am calling the new republicanism, argues in his groundbreaking work on post-Marxist social democracy, while Marx witnessed the emergence of a plurality of new, democratic political struggles in the wake of the French Revolution, he invariably attributed those struggles and antagonisms to a deeper, as yet unresolved social contradiction - one that could be systematically examined and overcome through the analysis of political 27 economy. Thus Marx, for all his erudition, could never account for the phenomenon that Lefort calls "the new symbolic constitution of the social" (1988, 18), or the manner in which, following the French Revolution, the social bond is no longer distorted by, but instead articulated through, symbolic discourses - and especially through political antagonisms and debates. Marx took political representation to be an ideological chimera that concealed the real relations of production. As a result, Marxist politics could only come into existence as an effort to destroy the political, or to eliminate the specters of representation as such, and thereby reveal the truth of the human community. But in a democracy, Lefort maintains, "neither the state, the people nor the nation represent substantial entities," rather "[t]heir representation in itself, in its dependence upon political discourse and upon sociological and historical elaboration, is always bound up with ideological debate" (18). Prior to the revolutions of the eighteenth century, power was represented by the monarch, who was quite literally the head of state or of the social body. In a democracy "[t]he locus of power is an empty place, it cannot be occupied - it is such that no group and no individual can be consubstantial with it - and it cannot be represented." Every claim on power is provisional, subject to contestation and regular scrutiny. Democracy necessitates what Lefort calls "the institutionalization of conflict" (17) - the creation of an institutional framework, mise en scene, or stage on which social struggles get enacted. "The erection of a political stage on which competition can take place," Lefort argues, "shows that division is, in a general way, constitutive of the general unity of society" (18). Paradoxically, the community is held together by being repeatedly torn asunder. Its unity is a function of division. It is founded on interminable ideological struggles and political debates - contingent, and therefore contestable, speech acts. 2 8 While his position is decidedly more radical than Lefort's, and is even articulated in opposition to Lefort's "contractualism" and "institutionalism," the Italian anarchist Antonio Negri's recent work nonetheless relies on a similar appeal to republican concepts and traditions. Drawing on an unorthodox reading of Spinoza's Political Treatise, which he takes to be the foundational text of modern democratic thought, Negri distinguishes between the "constituent power" (potenza) of the multitude and the "constituted power" ipotere) of the state or the law. Every manifestation of the latter, Negri maintains, is initially justified, and for that reason both conditioned and threatened, by the former. That is to say, every law and every sovereign are threatened by the overwhelming and finally uncontrollable power that established their authority in the first place. Unlike state power, or the power of contracts and institutions, the constituent power of the multitude has no limit. It is "a force that bursts apart, breaks, interrupts, unhinges any preexisting equilibrium and any possible continuity" (1999, 11). The power of the multitude or multitudo (an organized revolutionary subject that Negri and Spinoza believe they can distinguish from the vulgus, or the unfocused mob) is expressed in that moment of creative and thoroughly unjustified violence that founds the republican state - the moment of violence that founds law as such. As Negri puts it, "[t]he radical quality of the constituent principle is absolute. It comes from the void and constitutes everything" (16). It is the only natural right - the absolute right to break out of all established systems of right and convention, or to break all social contracts. Negri, then, agrees with Lefort's notion that the democratic republican community has no justifiable origin - that a certain groundlessness constitutes the necessary condition of democratic freedom. He agrees with the republican principle that 29 signifiers such as "the state," "the people," "the nation," and so forth, represent scenes of continuous ideological debate and discord, not substantive entities. But rather than defending the established institutions of representative democracy (what Lefort calls the "political stage" or mise en scene) as the symbolic limit within which such antagonism must by played out, Negri seeks to liberate the antagonism from all limits. What Negri refers to as "absolute democracy" or "absolute process" would be a state in which the potential (which, significantly, is another possible translation of the Latin potenza) of the multitude gets realized or rendered fully actual - when the multitude, both "collective and non-teleological" (28), actualizes its potential beyond all institutions and contracts, all laws and limitations. According to Negri, an absolute democracy would liberate constituent power without, as has occurred following all past revolutions, codifying it once more in the form of constituted power or sovereignty. While his theory is complex, Negri's political agenda is not difficult to discern. For him, a radically Jacobin subject - one characterized by the rights to assembly and resistance, by continuous democratic invention through free and open debate, and by popular armament - would fulfill the promise of a line of revolutionary republican thought that runs from Machiavelli and Spinoza, through Marx and Lenin, to Deleuze and Foucault. The recent work of political philosopher Jacques Ranciere might be located, as it were, "in between" Lefort's institutionalism and Negri's Jacobinism. Like Lefort and Negri, Ranciere is one of a small handful of intellectuals who managed to weather the postmodern storm without losing all faith in politics, or the power of collective action. Indeed, Ranciere starts out vehemently against what he sees as a postmodern consensus, and especially Lyotard's rather sanguine and, in his opinion, basically apolitical portrait 30 of a world in which "[n]o one, not even the least powerful among us, is entirely powerless over the messages that traverse and position him at the post of sender, addressee, or referent" (Lyotard 1984, 15). Relying on a reading of Aristotle's Politics, Ranciere contends that, in the western tradition, "[p]olitics is not a function of the fact that it is useful to assemble, nor of the fact that assemblies are held for the sake of good management and common business." Rather "it is a function of the fact that a wrong exists, an injustice that needs to be addressed" (1995, 97). That is to say, according to Ranciere, politics exists not in order to administer social relations in a rational or efficient manner but because society is founded on an irreducible and inescapable injustice (adikori) or wrong (blaberori). This wrong, while it must be constantly addressed, is never finally redressed. As a result, politics is essentially polemical. It is characterized by discord and division, struggle and debate. As Ranciere puts it, "[fjhe political wrong does not get righted. It is addressed as something irreconcilable within a community that is always unstable and heterogeneous" (103). This fundamental, irreducible wrong generates a plurality of new social movements and thus continuous social change. Ranciere is arguing here against the kind of postmodernism that celebrates abstract principles of difference and diversity without allowing for, and even in lieu of, concrete expressions of conflict and grievance. He is arguing against all theories of discourse ethics and consensus that fail to account for the basically polemical or antagonistic character of political relations - all efforts to posit "consensus" as an impossible but nonetheless regulative ideal in the Kantian sense. From Ranciere's perspective, the community without antagonism or strife is not just apolitical, it is anti- democratic. "Democracy," Ranciere proclaims in a crucial passage, one that resonates 31 with a great many of the new republican arguments, "is the community of sharing in both senses of the term: a membership in a single world which can only occur in conflict" (49). Democracy is in this sense a process more than it is a state. It is, still more accurately, a polemical process - one that is driven by discord and strife. Thus, for Ranciere at least, democracy "does not simply exist because the law declares individuals equal and the collectivity master of itself." On the contrary, it "requires the force of the demos which is neither a sum of social partners nor a gathering together of differences, but quite the opposite - the power to undo all partnerships, gatherings and ordinations" (32). Like Negri, Ranciere is sure to distinguish the politically organized demos from the ocholos or the unfocused mob. For him, in a paradoxical fashion, the demos unites the democratic community by dividing it. The demos refers to any effective and concrete political articulation of the formal wrong that conditions every democratic community. Another important effort to radicalize republican traditions and to rethink the concept of the political in a post-Marxist context has been undertaken by Giorgio Agamben. A former student of Martin Heidegger and acolyte of the situationist theorist Guy Debord, Agamben's more recent works revolve around the thesis that democratic politics can no longer be contained within the confines of the nation state. The experiences of totalitarianism, of so-called ethnic conflict, and especially of concentration camps, reveal that the terms traditionally associated with the nation state - the people, general will, popular sovereignty, and so forth - are devoid of content. They have become floating signifiers available to any political project, no matter how reprehensible or destructive. Agamben therefore maintains that moving beyond the nation state, opening up a new politics of and for the future, will require a complete transformation of 32 the meaning of politics itself - reformulating the res publica, not as a means to an end, but as "a sphere of pure means" or "means without end" (2000, 118). Here Agamben, like Ranciere, draws heavily on Aristotle, especially on Aristotle's distinction in the Ethics between production and action, poiesis and praxis. "[Production [poiesis]" Aristotle maintains in a crucial passage, "has an end other than itself, but action [praxis] does not: good action is itself an end" (1140b). If poiesis suggests fulfilling some instrumental purpose, following a set design or a determined plan, praxis implies something else entirely - namely pure potentiality without actuality, pure means without end, pure process. For Agamben, both ethics and politics rely on this experience of a potential that never exhausts itself in the actual, and that forever remains potential or yet to come. Politics is not the liberation of a fixed human essence, but the articulation of infinite human potential. "There is in effect something humans are and have to be," Agamben writes, "but this is not an essence nor properly a thing: It is the simple fact of one's own existence as possibility or potentiality" (1993, 43). And if the individual is such a "potentiality," Agamben argues, so too is the community. That is to say, the human community is always in the process of coming, always arriving from the future, without ever being realized in the here and now. As a result, every community is characterized by what Agamben calls a "fundamental biopolitical fracture" (2000, 33). This fracture or "split" can never be repaired. It is an irreducible condition of all contemporary social relations. Because of it, every representation of "the community," or of a particular people's unity, is an artificial construct. And as a construct, it can always be challenged, dismantled, and rebuilt anew. 33 As with the other new republicans I have been discussing, while his theory is rather complex, at least one of the political stakes of Agamben's work is surprisingly straight-forward. For Agamben, only i f it is recognized that social relations are thoroughly artificial and contingent can one even begin to address the contemporary experience of global deterritorialization - especially the experience of the refugee. With the death or the closure of the nation state, Agamben argues, the coordinates of all previous theory and practice shift as well. As a young Karl Marx discusses in his essay "On the Jewish Question," traditional republican politics involves a tension between the (ideal) "rights of man" and the (material) "rights of the citizen." Put very briefly, i f the rights of man are universal but empty, the rights of the citizen are exclusive but concrete. The right to liberty, for instance, is not quite the same thing as the right to an education, to health care, or to a decent standard of living. While the former can be said to be granted every individual by virtue of their birth, the latter require some specific institutional articulation, and perhaps some recognized authority - a state, for instance, that collects taxes, builds schools, hires nurses, redistributes wealth, and so forth. Thus, in classical political theory at least, the rights of the citizen limit the rights of man. Now, according to Agamben, today's politics must move beyond the man-citizen binary of traditional politics. In a radically deterritorialized world, where neither humanity nor nationality represents essential identities, both the human being and the citizen get displaced by the refugee. Though states unquestionably still exist, today the borders that define them have become, in Agamben's words, "perforated and topologically deformed" (2000, 26). Now the refugee or the nomad, and not the human being or the citizen, is the paradigmatic political subject, and the rights of refugees the paradigmatic struggle. 34 Struggles for human and civil rights will and even must continue. But they will always remain haunted and conditioned by the refugee - the human who is not quite a citizen, the citizen who is not quite a human. Many of the republican principles developed by thinkers like Lefort, Negri, Ranciere, and Agamben are derived from themes first articulated by Jacques Derrida, and by the philosophy of deconstruction. Derrida has often mistakenly been characterized as apolitical, even nihilistic. It has also been rather hastily suggested that Derrida's thought only recently underwent a decisive political or ethical turn. But as early as 1976, in his albeit lesser known essay "Declarations of Independence," Derrida can already be found supporting republican principles, and commenting on the formal or symbolic status of the law, particularly of the constitution, within a republican democracy. In "Declarations of Independence," a homage to the American constitution delivered as a lecture on the year of its bicentennial, Derrida argues that there is an intimate association between writing and republicanism. The republic, he insists, is founded on a "right to writing" - a right simultaneously claimed and asserted in the act of writing a constitution. Taking the opening words of the American Declaration of Independence as his point of departure, Derrida maintains that all such declarations and constitutions can be read as speech acts, in that they consist of a performative apres coup - a moment of "fabulous" or "fictional [fabuleuse] retroactivity" (1984, 22). The declaration "we the people," for example, retroactively produces or creates that which, in another sense, it simply describes. In principle, the people of the United States of America do not exist, they possess no common substance or general will , prior to the moment when, through a contingent act of literature, the Declaration of Independence names them. Thus the Declaration of 35 Independence is a document that first calls "the people" into being by feigning to speak on their behalf. In this sense, the authority of the republican state - its right to declare itself independent, and to enact and enforce laws - is based on what Derrida calls the "undecidability of a performative and constative statement" (20). It rests, in other words, on the undecidable relationship between the accuracy and the effectivity of its claim. The statement "we the people" is only accurate if it represents the people. But it is only effective - it only creates a new and independent state - if it also invents them. In a curious, even impossible manner, the representation must simultaneously represent and invent its object. According to Derrida, it cannot do both, any yet it must do both. And this irresolvable puzzle or aporia is at the foundation of the republican community. The literary slight of hand performed by the Declaration of Independence is related to what, in his later and better known essay on "The Force of Law," Derrida calls the "mystical foundation of authority" (1992, 3). Every law, Derrida argues there, is founded on a moment of original violence - a manifestation of what continental legal theorists such as Negri call "constituent power." But in order to maintain its authority, and particularly in order to legitimize its own use of violence or force, the law must also obscure its violent, heterogeneous or polemical origin. It must appear to be the product, not of contingency and strife, but of a natural, rational, or at-any rate undeniable origin - "a foundation destined from the start to be repeated, conserved, reinstituted" (55). In this sense, and as legal positivists argue, Derrida would appear to believe that there is no natural law or natural right. Rather the law consists of the totality of enforceable declarations. Law is the product, not of nature, but of juridical fiat. But at the same time, Derrida suggests, it is precisely the contingency and groundlessness of the law that leaves 36 it susceptible to alteration - to continuous reformulation and interpretation. Because it is groundless, the law is in a curious sense conditioned by an unknown future, or what forever remains "yet to come." It is this potential for altering and interpreting the law, this opening of the law onto an unknown and unknowable future, which Derrida associates with justice. As he reiterates in Specters of Marx, Derrida wants to oppose law or droit to justice, and to insist upon "the undeconstructibility of a certain idea of justice" (1994, 90). For Derrida, while the law can always be submitted to deconstruction, undermined and even completely reworked for a myriad of different purposes, the potential to engage in such a practice (which is to say, justice) cannot. In his most recent work on monolingualism and hospitality, Derrida has sought to clarify his suggestion that there exists a link, even a necessary link, between literature and republicanism, the "right to writing" and democratic freedoms. His argument relies on what he characterizes as a certain proximity between language and law. Monolingualism, mastery over a particular language, is for Derrida what marks one as a member of a particular community, and thus what guarantees one the rights and privileges associated with such membership. In republican terms, monolingualism is the mark of citizenship. It is also, Derrida argues, impossible, as all language contains within itself the potential for error and for difference. To know how to pronounce a word, for instance, is also to recognize that word's mispronunciation, and therefore to speak more than "one" language - to be polylingual. Thus there is a sense in which to be monolingual, to be a member of a specific community, is also to recognize certain differences, and even to recognize such differences a priori. And indeed, Derrida points out, almost all monolingual communities institute some law or some mechanism for recognizing the rights of foreigners - be they 37 refugees or immigrants, travelers or diplomats. Now, what interests Derrida is not a simple opposition between monolingual homogeneity and polylingual heterogeneity. He is not merely celebrating some indefinite cosmopolitan Utopia or liberal pluralism. What would such a Utopia consist of if not a new monolingual order? Instead, Derrida wants to focus on those differences that both exist within a given monolingual order and exceed its established structures of recognition - the differences that overwhelm the limits of what Derrida calls "hospitality by right," or hospitality afforded to the foreigner one knows, and demand instead "hospitality without reserve" or "absolute hospitality" (2000, 25). Unlike the former, the latter requires that a space remain open for the arrival of absolute difference - the advent of she pr he who remains radically other, who cannot be comprehended by established norms, and who has no rights as such. It is this openness - this potential to demand that which exceeds the rights of both citizen and foreigner, to create representations that seems utterly fantastic and even impossible, in short to say anything - that Derrida associates with literature. According to Derrida, literature keeps open a space within the monolingual order, not only for those it recognizes (those it must recognize as a condition of its own internal coherence), but also for those it cannot possibly recognize in advance. Literature opens up the space of infinite alterity. The exact political implications of this line of thought remain decidedly uncertain, and debates over whether Derrida's ideas have any specific institutional articulation are ongoing. In his book on Marx, Derrida pays his respects to Marxism, and calls rather enigmatically for a "new International" - one which, more than a little unhelpfully, he insists must remain "without status, without title, without name, barely public even if not clandestine [...] without party, without country, without national community [...] without 38 co-citizenship [and] without common belonging to a class" [1994, 85]). Of course, political organization requires a slightly more affirmative doctrine. At the same time, at least one consequence of Derrida's approach seems relatively clear. In a republic, or in what might be called a deconstructive republic, "the people" does not designate a static substance possessing a unified will that political institutions then endeavor properly to represent. Indeed no single subject can claim finally to represent the people. Instead, there is an ongoing, interminable political debate that effectively creates, and repeatedly recreates, just what the inscription "we the people" will have meant. To remain open to the advent of difference, the unpredictable arrival of an impossible future, the republic must keep its own limits in question. The use of the future anterior ("will have meant") is more than a little significant here. In Derridian terms, "the people" or the community is never fully self-present. The speech act "we the people" is never, as it were, fulfilled. Rather it is temporally dislocated, interminably deferred. Because it is an act of literature, "the people" remains permanently non-identical with itself. Insofar as it is an effect of writing, of text, or of representation in the broadest possible sense, the deconstructive republic or "democracy to come" is liberated from all fixed conceptions of who constitutes the people and how the community is to be organized. "The people" becomes a performative fiction, a fabulous fable that must be invented and continuously reinvented anew. Perhaps the most controversial expression of the new republicanism to date, or at least the one that has caused the most consternation among Marxists, is found in the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Their explicitly post-Marxist (but nonetheless post-Marxist) theory of radical democracy attempts to reinvent socialist strategy without 39 relying on such familiar Marxist postulates as the centrality of class struggles, the objectivity of social relations, or the distinction between superstructure and base. Rejecting what they see as Marxism's various "essentialist" conceptions of political identity, and especially its effort to bind political identity to class identity, Laclau and Mouffe introduce (or more accurately reintroduce) two terms - antagonism and hegemony. All social relations, they argue, are structured by an irreducible "antagonism" - a fundamental gap or lack that forms the limit of the social, that can be neither represented nor exhausted, and that ceaselessly generates new struggles and new subjects. Unlike the contradiction, and even the overdetermined contradiction, of traditional Marxist theory, this antagonism is a condition and not a function of society. It is, like Ranciere's "wrong," constantly addressed but never finally or completely redressed. More contentiously, and for related reasons, Laclau and Mouffe insist that there is no necessary relationship between a subject's social position, or their relative location within established social hierarchies, and their political identity. Significantly radicalizing the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe maintain that any link between the social and the political must be forged artificially (which is also to say democratically), through the articulation of a persuasive, "hegemonic" discourse. Indeed, according to Laclau and Mouffe, politics only begins to be a problem, it only emerges as a real consideration, when the relationship between the social and the political is recognized as artificial and uncertain. To think the political is thus to embrace contingency. From this radical democratic perspective, orthodox Marxism or Marxist-Leninism made the error of assuming that a single subject, a single class and its self-appointed vanguard, could represent society as a whole. Communist states were not perversions of 40 Marxist theory, but destined by that theory to deteriorate into totalitarianism and single party dictatorships. A radical democracy, on the other hand, is characterized by a continuous, or at least periodic, struggle over which particular subject will provisionally represent society as a whole. Here the structure of representation can never be circumvented or overcome, as "society," or that which all subjects endeavor to represent, does not in fact exist. Society, or the cohesive, homogenous, fully sutured or incorporated community of individuals, remains what Laclau and Mouffe call an "impossible object" (1985, 112). It is something every political subject necessarily desires, and every political subject necessarily fails, to become. Given these principles of antagonism and hegemony, Laclau and Mouffe conclude, socialists should abandon all manifestations of the Marxist claim that the Party might represent the objective interests of the working class, and that, if only in a hypothetical last instance that never arrives, the working class transparently represents humanity as a whole. Instead, socialists should take up the strategic task of constructing political discourses that bring together otherwise unrelated social struggles into chains of "equivalence" (127) - the task of creating entirely provisional, but at the same time effective, hegemonic articulations. That such new republican ideas contravene some of the most basic premises of Marxist thought is not difficult to see. The Marxist or "materialist" critique claims to reach beyond the contingency of politics, and to ground its analysis of ideology in some kind of terra firma - what, throughout The German Ideology, Marx and Engels quite simply refer to as "real life [wirklichen Leben]." But in the republican model politics, and particularly political antagonism and ideological discord, are not merely the distorted representations of a prior social content. Political discourses (ideologies and 41 superstructures) cannot be reduced to material structures or infrastructures that ostensibly precede them. On the contrary, from the republican perspective, political rhetoric has the very real power to constitute social relations, even to declare the existence of new states and invent "the people." Phillippe Lacoue-Labarthe's and Jean-Luc Nancy's distinction between "politics" and "the political" (1997, 108) relies on a similar line of thought. This now well known distinction is closely related to Heidegger's separation, in Being and Time, of the "ontic" from the "ontological" (1962, 31). Just as, for Heidegger, no systematic explication of ontic beings, no matter how exhaustive, can resolve the ontological question of Being, or the question of existence as such, so too can no specific politics ever exhaust the potential of the political. There will always be some politics, which is to say some struggle and discord. Playing on the double meaning of the French term portage, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy suggest that the democratic community "shares" what "divides" it - that, paradoxically, it is held together by that which continually tears it apart. This notion that there will always be some politics, or that "the political" remains irreducible, would appear banal, i f it were not for the fact that it seriously challenges, and offers an alternative to, the instrumental and expressivist understandings of politics favored not only by Marxism but by most western political theory. Again it is to Heideggerean principles, and especially Heidegger's attack on the concept of subjectivity, that most of the new republicans turn. For them, politics cannot be understood as an ontic "instrument" used by a subject to achieve essentially apolitical ends. Nor does a political ideology simply "express" the interests or the will of a subject that precedes it. It cannot be characterized as the instrument or the expression of a social 42 class, for instance. Rather, the political is an ontological condition of every subject's being in the world. That is to say, the political, as an existential mode of Being, is a prior condition, and not an ancillary function, of all social relations. The subject, be it a class subject or otherwise, first emerges in the world, and constantly changes in the world, as an effect of politics and of ideology. Thus there can be no question of getting around or beyond the symbols and rhetoric that make up ideological discourses, or of reducing such things to a more fundamental ground, subjectum, or base, because who "we" are, as both individuals and collectives, consists of nothing other than those symbols and that rhetoric. As a result, the identity of every "we" remains open to interminable contestation and debate. To be "in the world" in the Heideggerean sense is to be a product of that which only appears to be one's expressions or instruments - to be spoken, for example, by the very languages one speaks. Given his political affiliations, the invocation of Heidegger alone might be enough to indicate that republicanism is by no means axiomatically democratic. Republicanism merely insists upon the specificity of the political, or what the political theorist Carl Schmitt calls "the concept of the political." Far more so than Heidegger, with whom he corresponded and whose political declarations he undoubtedly influenced, Schmitt was deeply implicated in the Nazi regime, which his work was explicitly intended to bolster and support. And yet, as Chantal Mouffe and others have pointed out, for everything contemptible about his own politics, Schmitt does comprehend something essential about the political, and identifies a major oversight in the western tradition. In particular, Schmitt notes how the study of politics has generally been seen as a detour en route to some other study. In both Marxist and liberal traditions, politics has been 43 characterized as a corrupt or derivative representation of some more fundamental reality - be it what Marxists call relations of production or what liberals call the rights of man. As a result, Schmitt complains, politics itself is overlooked. It gets systematically reduced to what are essentially apolitical categories - sociological, economic, ethical, aesthetic, psychological, and so forth. In order to study politics itself, or politics as such, Schmitt argues, one must realize that, apart from "the moral, aesthetic and economic, the political has its own criteria" (1996 [1933], 25). And in particular, for Schmitt politics is essentially polemical. It generates social divisions and inscribes boundaries between the subject and the other. In this sense "the specific political distinction to which all political actions and motives can be reduced [...] is that between friend and enemy" (26). Political identity can only be established by distinguishing between friends and enemies, or those citizens who will receive rights and privileges within a state and those non-citizens who will not. For Schmitt politics is both irreducible and irreducibly divisive. As a result, "[a] globe in which the possibility of war is utterly eliminated, a completely pacified globe would be a world without the distinction between friend and enemy and hence a world without politics" (35). Schmitt criticizes both the liberal notion of the universal rights of man and the Marxist theory of international socialism or the universal working class by maintaining that, because politics is essentially polemical, because it involves a decision that separates friends from enemies, there can be no politics of humanity as a whole. Political factionalism is a necessary feature of human sociality, and attempts to overcome it, or to submerge differences under a universal rubric, are invariably tyrannical. In a more democratic tradition, the idea that Marx's thought undermines the specificity of the political is perhaps most convincingly discussed by Hannah Arendt, 44 who seeks from a civic republican perspective to criticize both Marxist and fascist totalitarianism. According to her, Marxism represents the height of the western philosophical tradition's "instrumentalization of politics" - the general tendency, from the time of Plato's Republic onwards, for philosophers to treat politics as a technique or a craft, and thus a means to an end not an end in itself. Arendt argues that Marx mistakenly replaces political praxis, which is a kind of acting, with economic production or poiesis, which is a kind of making. He thereby reinforces, and even in a sense realizes or completes, philosophy's routine "substitution of making for acting and [its] concomitant degradation of politics into a means to obtain an allegedly 'higher' end" (1974, 229). At stake in this gesture, Arendt maintains, is nothing abstract, but freedom itself - indeed, freedom in its most concrete sense. Everything depends here on the manner in which, again, the philosophical tradition has misrepresented freedom. From Augustine to Kant, philosophers have tended to configure freedom as something internal, and particularly as an attribute of the will. Philosophical freedom is autonomy, self-legislation, or the will's capacity on the one hand to exercise control over the excesses of the body or desire, and on the other to escape or transcend the social body or the body politic. As in the liberal tradition, Arendt points out, philosophical freedom is associated with "the rights of privacy and the right to freedom from politics" (1968, 149). Indeed, Arendt goes so far as to claim that "the entire modern age has separated freedom from politics" (150). But in ancient Greece, she proposes, freedom was understood to be something external, and to connote the free citizen's right to engage in intercourse with others. Originally freedom was a function, not of the subject's private will, but of the citizen's liberty "to get away from home, to go out into the world and meet other people in word and deed." Thus it 45 necessitated the creation of "a common public space" and "a politically organized world" (148). That is to say, in ancient times, freedom was associated with the right to be political - to speak and to act in the open space of the agora. Now in this case the accuracy of Arendt's historical claim is probably of less importance than the theoretical point or the concept she is attempting to disclose. Whether or not citizens of the Greek polls enjoyed the liberties Arendt describes (which polls and at what time, one wonders), the notion that freedom is not something internal, not a possession of the will, but something that can only be exercised in a community and through relations with others is crucial. In the republican tradition that Arendt defends, the res publica, the open space of association and interaction, is not simply a place where citizens are free to represent their interests, nor is it a place where business is administered in an orderly manner. It is, instead, a space that allows for the creation of new subjects - the active production of new interests and new ideals through the utterance of great words and the performance of great deeds. That is to say, in the res publica, subjects are first constituted and continuously altered through their relations with others - particularly but not exclusively through political debate, rhetorical persuasion, and the act of taking decisions. To attempt to reduce this activity to mere making, to treat it as an instrumental means to an end, is to threaten or even to destroy an essential part of what it means to be human - an essential component of what Arendt calls the human condition. It is to risk transforming the zoon politikon into an organa empsycha, the political animal into a tool with a mind, the citizen into a slave. In Arendt's reading, by rooting the human community in labour as opposed to politics, Marx replaced the open space of free relations with the enclosed confines of purely instrumental tasks. He 46 conjured up the specter of the "republic of work" - a world where freedom involved laboring, not engaging in political debate. As a direct consequence of this reduction of the political, official Marxism liberated no one and enslaved all. There is, then, within the republican tradition, and among those thinkers who have attempted to outline the implications of the politics of deconstruction, a very powerful critique of Marx and Marxism - an attack on the basic assumption that ideology and politics, with all of their attendant contingencies and insufficiencies, can ultimately be explained through the analysis of political economy, or in some fashion reduced to more fundamental sociological or material terms. In Specters of Marx, Derrida refers to this assumption as Marx's "ontological treatment of the spectrality of the ghost" (1994, 91). The claim relies on Derrida's distinction between the spirit and the specter, or Geist and Gespenst - a distinction that Derrida believes Marx overlooked. Spirit refers to a transcendental category that both exceeds and comprehends existence as such; It is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, justifying any claim without itself requiring justification. Anyone committed to Enlightenment must submit every manifestation of such a spirit to ruthless critique, and show how at every turn spirit is invoked to make mundane, alterable power structures and social relations appear eternal, immutable, or divine. But if spirit is the external authority invoked to reinforce existing social relations, the specter is the insufficiency, the uncertainty, or the undecidable absence or alterity that conditions every social relation - the irreducible lack or gap that renders those relations forever ungrounded and thus forever open to contestation and change. According to Derrida, all of the atrocities attributable to Marxism can be traced back to Marx's inability to see that the specter, unlike spirit, is a condition of our being in the world - his 47 desire to "bind" the specter, "after so many hesitations, through so many tensions and contradictions, to an ontology" (89). In order to avoid the errors of Marxism, Derrida suggests, one would have to replace Marx's ontology with a far less certain, indeed fundamentally uncertain and undecidable, "hauntology" (10). This explains why, particularly in his more political works, Derrida is so insistent on the figure of the specter. Democracy is for him necessarily haunted by what remains unknown or what remains other - especially that which is still off in the future and yet to come. It is, to use Derrida's terms, a "democracy to come" (65). At the same time, Derrida refuses to renounce "a certain spirit of Marxism" and openly calls for "a critical, selective, and filtering reaffirmation" (92) of Marx's thought. How, then, might such a reaffirmation proceed in a post-Marxist conjuncture, especially given the force and the scope of the new republican discourse just outlined? The first thing to point out is that, throughout his life and especially during the Vormarz period, Marx had an extremely ambiguous relationship with republican political theory. As evidenced by his doctoral dissertation and his essays for the Rheinische Zeitung, Marx's earliest forays into political philosophy were deeply influenced by Bruno Bauer, who was at the time one of Germany's most outspoken republicans. The young Marx also read and annotated the works of Rousseau, Machiavelli, and other republican theorists. In 1843, when increased government censorship resulted in the collapse of the Rheinische Zeitung, Marx broke with Bauer, moved to Paris, and began his brief but important collaboration with Arnold Ruge - the political journal called the Deutsch- franzosische Jahrbiicher. But this break with Bauer only represented Marx's desire to engage in more directly political or practical activities, and not to be limited to what 48 Bauer called "pure theory." Marx would soon break with Ruge as well, this time over the so-called "social question" - the question of what, if anything, should be done about the pauperization of working people that seemed indissociable from the liberalization of civil society and the elimination of the feudal system of corporations and estates. Ruge believed this problem would have to be addressed by political means, or a political as opposed to a social revolution, and thus cautioned against those who, like Marx, supported social movements such as the Silisian weaver's strikes of 1844. In terms of his relationship with republicanism, Marx's break with Ruge, carried out in the pages of the journal Vorwdrts shortly after the release of the one and, as it turned out, only issue of the Deutsch-franzdsische Jahrbiicher, is probably as important as his better known breaks with either Bauer or, a little later, with Feuerbach. For it is at this point that Marx begins to question the limitations of the public sphere, and to attempt to explain political motivation or political interests in what appear to be apolitical terms. That is to say, in his argument with Ruge, Marx begins to question the specificity of the political - the hallmark of civic republicanism. At the same time, republican ideas remain central to Marx's thinking through his conversion to communism and to the cause of the proletariat, his brief association and subsequent break with the philosophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, his discovery and working out of the materialist concept of history in his polemics with the young Hegelians, his establishment of the Communist League and collaboration with Engels on the Communist Manifesto, and his direct involvement, via the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, in the revolutionary struggles of 1848. That is to say, a republican thread runs throughout all of his early texts, and it is only after the failure of the 1848 revolutions that Marx begins to 49 think in terms of the dictatorship of the proletariat rather than the creation of an open space or res publica of political debate. Prior to 1848, Marx is entirely committed to the principle that a free society is one founded on open debate within a public sphere. His aim is primarily to expand the public sphere - to explode the limits that bourgeois states place oh public debate, and to demand the social conditions that would allow larger elements of society to engage in such debates. Particularly after his break with Ruge, Marx called for social as opposed to merely political revolution, not because he saw the social as the submerged truth of the political, but because he came to understand the acknowledged political institutions often exist to foreclose and not to occasion ideological antagonism and public debate. Thus for Marx it was a question, not merely of rejecting, but of constantly testing the limits of republican freedom. For him, freedom would require not only the existence of an open space or res publica, but also the right to call into question who has access to that space (who is recognized as a citizen), and what its boundaries are (how the line between private and public gets drawn). At least part of the reason why these more political and republican elements of Marx's thought have not been highlighted in the secondary literature has to do with the organization, distribution, and parceling out of Marx's text by Marxist editors - a procedure that was first undertaken by Engels, especially in a series of pamphlets he wrote towards the end of his life and after Marx's death. It is not only a question of the editorial reconstruction of Marx's text, however, but also one of the kind of reading that Marx scholars have sanctioned and pursued. In particular, commentators invariably compose Marx's work as a system (whether a science or a method) that might be extracted from the texts in question and applied universally. As a result, the more 50 rhetorical, performative, or active aspects of Marx's writing go unnoticed. The best although by no means unique example of this procedure is found in Louis Althusser's famous reconstruction of Marx's career. As is well known, Althusser posited an "epistemological break" separating Marx's youthful, ideological commitment to the humanist concept of essence (which he is said to have borrowed from Hegel and, more importantly, from Feuerbach), and his mature, utterly unique and even world historical science of the social relation (1969, 32). While it has faced ridicule among humanist Marxists, the theory of the epistemological break still has many adherents, including Althusser's former student Etienne Balibar, whose recent book on Marx goes so far as to call it "undeniable" (1995, 6). When Althusser first proposed it, of course, the theory of the break was intended to intervene in a very particular conjuncture - to ensure, in the early 1960s and amidst the apparent stagnation of the workers' movement in the industrialized world, that Marxism was not reduced to a subset of humanism, but remained a science of revolution. But the effects, or perhaps certain side-effects, of the theory of the break (effects which I will argue remain very influential, perhaps most of all among those who are unaware of its influence, and can be discerned wherever contemporary theorists and intellectuals attack "essentialism"), remain to be examined. Althusser wants Marx's early humanist works to be read with some measure of suspicion, downplaying the concept of alienation and focusing instead on the latent philosophical "problematic" (the cluster of unspoken questions) that informs Capital. In between Marx's youthful and his mature texts are what Althusser calls the "Works of the Break" themselves, namely the "Theses on Feuerbach" and The German Ideology. In terms of understanding how Marxism has policed the kinds of readings of Marx that get 51 sanctioned, and in doing so overlooked Marx's contribution to republican political theory, Althusser's passing comments on these two texts are very telling. Against those who might be inclined to read them too closely, Althusser counsels caution when approaching the Works of the Break, because, he writes, "to believe we can get all Marx's philosophy directly from the polemical formulations of a work that joins the battle on the enemy's terrain, i.e., the terrain of philosophical ideology, is to deceive ourselves as to the laws of ideological struggle." It is to overlook what Althusser calls "the necessary distinction between the philosophical ideology in which this ideological struggle is fought, and the Theory or Marxist philosophy which appears on the stage to give battle there." That is to say, for Althusser and those who follow him, the Works of the Break are ambiguous and therefore suspicious precisely because they are rhetorical and polemical. "To concentrate on the Works of the Break," Althusser concludes, "is in practice to fall into the 'oversight' of not seeing that place we are given to read Marx's philosophy in person is par excellence his masterpiece, Capital" (1970, 31). To avoid such an "oversight," Althusser and his students undertake an "in person" reading, or what they call a "symptomatic reading," of Marx in Reading Capital. Very few if any today would be convinced of Althusser's effort to distinguish between philosophical ideologies on the one hand and Marxist philosophy or Theory on the other. Obviously Althusser's attempt to separate the myriad of political ideologies (such as humanism) from Marxism as the solitary and world historical science of ideology is more than a little outmoded. But more interesting perhaps is Althusser' own rhetoric, and especially his suggestion that it is possible to distinguish between Marx as he appears "on stage," where he also engages in battles with others, and Marx as he exists 52 backstage or "in person." Everything about the new republican theories just discussed argues that this is precisely the distinction republicanism rejects - that the republican subject first emerges on stage, as it were, or in the midst of what Claude Lefort calls a mise en scene, and defines itself there through its relations, especially its polemical or antagonistic relations, with others. To exclude the polemical formulations of Marx's work on the grounds that they are polemical is thus to foreclose the opportunity for a political reading from the outset. It is to fail to acknowledge the sense in which Marx's texts seek not only to describe social reality, but also to perform political tasks. It is, finally, to isolate Marx's work from the (to use Althusser's locution, "overdetermined") ensemble of social relations that first constitute it and bring it forth. It is not to Marx's intentions, then, or to the original but concealed idea animating his work, to which one must return, but to the complex and overdetermined network of relations that break up his work - fragment, destabilize, and rupture not only the work itself, but perhaps even more importantly all predetermined assumptions about that work. If there is to be what Derrida dubs "a critical, selective, and filtering reaffirmation" (1994, 92) of Marx's thought, it will have to begin by rejecting both the hermeneutic assumption that all of Marx's work speak from a single, unified intention, one that is in the process of unfolding or realizing itself throughout Marx's entire body of work, and Althusser's notion that Marx's career is shorn in half by a colossal, definitive epistemological break, or a single point of no return beyond which Marx never for an instant revives his commitment to theoretical humanism or philosophical essentialism. Neither model is able even to begin to represent the complexity of a text that here breaks away, there circles back on itself, here introduces something new, there recalls earlier 53 formulations, here attacks an opponents position, there occupies that same position, and so on. N o r is either the hermeneutic or the Althusserean approach equipped to address the fact that Marx 's work is not composed in a vacuum, but in response to and in conflict with other texts - the extent to Which Marx 's writing is composed of intertextual references and insubjective relations. The alternative therefore is to conceive of Marx 's texts, neither as a unified body of work nor as a structure shorn in two by a single break, but as a composite apparatus of fissures and cuts, skips and jumps, gaps and breaks - an infinitely complex relays system of adjustable components that I propose to call the Marx-machine. Lost here is any residual hope that Marx 's work somehow represents a wqrjd hjstpricaj moment, a complete rppture with the past. Gained is something significantly more useful - an assemblage of rhetorical tools and ideological weapons that can be mobilized in any number of new struggles for any number of new purposes. 54 Marx in Res Publica When brought to trial in Germany on charges of inciting rebellion during the revolution of 1848, Marx spoke in his own defense. "What took place here," he said, "was not a political conflict between two parties within the framework of one society, but a conflict between two societies, a social conflict, which assumed a political form" (SW 274). The republican criticism of Marx has always been just this - that he treats politics as an empty, formal reflection of social antagonisms, and thus, as Hannah Arendt puts it, he has no concept of political community, no understanding of the res publica or the open space in which citizens are free to meet, to interact, and to perform great deeds and speak great words. And yet, Marx spoke these words in a courtroom, where he was defending himself as the editor of one of the most important political journals of the 1848 revolutionary cycle, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung — nothing if not an active member of a political community. Marx also, it should be noted, spoke these words as a nomad of sorts - someone who had been denied his Prussian citizenship, and who lived most of his adult life in exile. Thus Marx had a profound sense of both the necessity and the limitations of republican freedoms. In his work, he endeavored simultaneously to affirm political freedoms and to exposed their social limits - to expose, that is to say, the social inequalities and structural exclusions that threaten to render citizenship in a republic void of meaningful content, and that prevent great numbers, indeed the greatest number of individuals from playing any significant part in the political life of the state. For Marx, republican and democratic freedom could only mean the freedom to critique, and thereby perpetually to transform, the limits of the res publica. Marx believed citizenship was not 55 a static category, but the object of a struggle. In this new republican era, it is no less necessary to attend to and to expose those places where the concepts of the specificity of the political and the res publica are employed not to encourage but to regulate political activity, not to promote but to constrain debate. Jt is not, as Hannah Arendt and her many contemporary followers claim, that Marx has no concept of political community, or that he denies the reality and the effectivity of the res publica. It is rather that he has an active, dynamic concept of the political community. Democracy is either in a process of continuous alteration, creating new ways of addressing new social conditions and ever emerging political antagonisms, or it atrophies and dies away. In a collection of notes he took on Hegel's Philosophy of Right during the summer of 1843, Marx attacks the German Rechtstaat as a "democracy of unfreedom," where the active participation of citizens in governance gets reduced to occasional elections and where the state exists largely to defend the rights of property owners. Idealizing the world of classical antiquity, Marx contrasts this dilapidated, modem model of the state with the beautiful image of the Greek polls in which, he maintains, "the res publica was the real private concern, the real content of the citizen" (CW 3, 32). If Marx held to a theory of human nature, a debatable point to say the least, it was not that of the human being as a labouring animal, or an organa empsyche destined forever to toil in slavery, but Aristotle's definition of the human as zoon politikon - a political animal, or one that can only define itself through its relations with others. Marx's attack on the political institutions of his time was conducted with this concept of the zoon politikon in mind. He criticized them, not because they were merely political, empty chimeras that obscured a deeper, more profound social reality, but because they had been established to protect 56 certain social relations, especially economic ones, from political scrutiny - to construct a particular, historically relative and therefore alterable collection of social relations as natural, apolitical, private, and thus immune to anything like democratic change. For Marx, especially the young Marx, the goal was to expose the social character of these ostensibly private relations, to reveal that they are not private but public affairs, and thereby to politicize and to democratize ever greater tracts of civil society. That is to say, Marx did not claim that politics is a false reflection of social conditions, but sought a politics that could articulate or effectively mobilize in favor of those places that social antagonisms exceeded the bounds of the established political order. For Marx, politics can only begin on the borders and the margins of the political. Some of the first articles written by the young Marx for the Rheinische Zeitung were defenses of free speech and the freedom of the press. Indeed, in his early work, Marx equated emancipation with free political discourse and the right to criticize all manifestations of authority. By the time he began his career as a journalist in 1842, the governments of most German states, under either the directive or the external pressure of Friedrich Wilhelm IV s regime in Prussia, were engaged in concerted efforts to quell the rise of republican sentiment among German intellectuals through media censorship. But the spread of republican ideas following the Napoleonic Wars made such a practice difficult, for the moneyed middle classes financially supported the radical presses, seeing their interests as more or less identical with the interests of free speech. At this point in his life, Marx was still very much an acolyte and a supporter of Bruno Bauer, who, in the early 1840s, had emerged as one of Germany's most outspoken republican theorists and the recognized leader of the young or left Hegelians. With Bauer, Marx believed in the 57 imminent triumph of secular reason and Wissenschaft over the theological consciousness of the past. For the young Hegelians, a loose collection of radical journalists and disenfranchised intellectuals, the Prussian authority's crackdown on dissent only served as a definite sign of the impending, final battle between philosophy and religion, republicanism and monarchy - a battle that, given history's rationality, these followers of Hegel adamantly believed only one side could possibly win. In his editorials for the Rheinische Zeitung, Marx not only called for the creation of a res publico or an open space of free debate, he also saw the journals for which he and his colleagues worked as components of such a res publico. Like Rousseau, Marx believed that that republican governance involved the active participation of all citizens in the creation and perpetual recreation of the social bond - that a free society could only be the invention of free public discourse. Marx sought, therefore, not to reduce the political to the social, or to treat politics as a derivative epiphenomenon of sociological phenomena, but to expand the republican notion of public debate and the res publico to greater tracts of civil society, and to open up public discourse on as many topics as possible - in short, to politicize social relations. In the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, published in 1859, Marx began the tradition of projecting his mature theory back onto his earlier work, a procedure that would be systematized after Marx's death by Engels. Recalling some notes he took on Hegel's Philosophy of Right in the summer of 1843, Marx maintains that "[m]y investigation led to the result that legal relations as well as forms of state are to be grasped neither from themselves nor from the so-called general development of the human mind, but rather had their roots in the material conditions of life." According to 58 Marx, this is the work in which he first made the all important discovery that "the anatomy of civil society is to be sought in political economy" (SW 389). A little later in the 1859 "Preface," Marx lets slip the following, perhaps more interesting insight: "Just as our opinion of an individual is not based on what he thinks of himself, so can we not judge [a] period of transformation by its own consciousness" (390). If we focus on its vehicle rather than its tenor, the metaphor might be considered a clue as to how to read the "Preface" itself, as Marx's "opinion" of his own earlier work is more than a little misleading. In fact, Marx's "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right does not suggest that legal relations and forms of state have their foundation in the material conditions of existence, nor does it point towards an anatomy of political economy. Its dominant theme concerns the specificity of the political. Following rather closely the democratic theory of Arnold Ruge, Marx attacks Hegel for treating politics as "a parentheses within logic" (CW 3, 18), or subordinating political questions to philosophical ones. According to Marx, Hegel's "[philosophical work does not consist in embodying thinking in political definitions, but in evaporating existing political definitions into abstract thought" (17). As a result, Hegel is able to make it appear as though the genuine source of political authority is the monarchy, the bureaucracy, and the assembly, but not, as Marx firmly believes at this time, the people. The conclusion of Marx's "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" if a loosely organized notebook can be said to have such a thing, is not that political superstructures rest atop an economic base, but that authority should be derived from the active, democratic participation of all citizens in the political process, especially via the vote. There is no attempt here to prove that the anatomy of civil society is found in political economy. There is, however, a plea for universal suffrage. 59 Thus on close analysis a fissure or a gap can be seen to emerge between the Marx who wrote the "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" and the Marx who commented on that work some fifteen years later in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy. As Marx hints in the latter work, our opinion of him cannot be based on what he thinks of himself, or his own retroactive construction of his career. If I write here of the Marx-machine rather than Marx's body of work, it is because I believe that, today and in the current conjuncture, it is most productive to approach "Marx" as a composite assemblage of such ruptures and gaps, oversights and lacunae - little cracks and breaks that, in many ways, the "Preface" to the Critique of Political Economy and other works like it attempt to spackle over or snap shut. When Marx's text is treated in this fashion, it becomes, not a science or a methodology, but a kind of res publicus in which a multitude of different voices confront one another in an ongoing political debate - a republican text. Nor is it only Marx's voice heard here. The Althusserean theory of Marx's epistemological break with the young Hegelians, Feuerbach in particular, needs to be rendered more complex, nuanced, and fragmented. Marx did not only break with Feuerbach. In the early stages of his career, he also connected himself with and / or broke away from Bruno Bauer, Arnold Ruge, Moses Hess, Karl Griin, Max Stimer, and countless others. With Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the machine in mind, it might be said that each of these links and breaks represents a different kind of assemblage, allows for different flows, joint works, and modes of production. "[MJachines work," Deleuze and Guattari write, "only when they break down, and by continually breaking down" (1983, 8). If it is to "work," then, or if it is to be put to work, precisely what needs to be addressed in the Marx-machine is the places where it comes apart, and thus where it 60 can be conjoined with other texts or assembled otherwise. Where do Marx's writings, or in Derrida's terms the specters of Marx, return to destabilize the assumptions that are routinely made about Marx today, in an ostensibly post-Marxist conjuncture? Marxist editors and commentators compiled Marx's texts as though they represented the continuous development and steady maturation of orthodox Communist theory. Lost in this approach are all the little cuts and fractures that make up the Marx- machine. Aside from Althusser's theory of the epistemological break, which focuses on Marx's rejection of Feuerbach's concept of essence, there are numerous ways of mapping the topography of Marx's early career, many of which are more germane to contemporary political debates. Early in his career Marx connects with Bruno Bauer on the topic of secular republicanism and freedom of speech, but then, in "On the Jewish Question," breaks with him over the question of political pluralism. Around the same time, Marx and Arnold Ruge begin a very productive conversation over the concept or the specificity of the political, only later to disagree over the so-called social question, and over the effectivity of spontaneous and violent social protests as opposed to politically organized forms of mobilization. Along with these smaller breaks, and in terms of his political thought and activity, I would like to suggest a three part division to Marx's early career - a liberal republican phase (1841 to 1843), a radical democratic phase (1843 to 1850), and finally a recognizably "Marxist" phase (1850 to 1852). The first includes the texts Marx wrote while under the influence of Bruno Bauer - from his doctoral dissertation on the relationship between critical individualism and ancient Greek atomism to his essays for the Rheinische Zeitung. The second, radical democratic component of the Marx-machine begins with his work on Hegel's Philosophy of Right and his correspondence and 61 collaboration with Arnold Ruge. It lasts through his discovery of class struggle and historical materialism, and does not come to a close until the end of the 1848 revolutions and Marx's exile to London. During this period, even as he links political activity to social antagonisms, Marx prioritizes questions of political strategy and tactics, and believes in the productive, effective force of democratic interventions. The final stage, from 1850 to 1852, represents Marx's response to the failure of 1848, which he reads in many ways as a failure of the political. This is the period during which he begins to link political revolution directly to economic crises, to insist upon the independence of the working class movement, and to develop his theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Marx's first important work is his doctoral dissertation, completed in 1841. At the center of this impressive study, entitled On the Difference Between Democritean and Epicurean Philosophies of Nature, is Marx's defense of the much maligned Epicurean theory of the "declination" or "swerving" of the atom away from its downward trajectory. Very briefly, Democritus and Epicurus are among the first materialists. They conceive of material reality in atomistic terms. According to Democritus, the world of appearances and change is but a reflection or an emanation (what he calls eidold) of a more substantial, infinite and immutable reality made up of atoms (atoma) falling downward in a void. To this theory, Epicurus added the principle that, on occasion and without cause, one of the atoms would swerve, thereby coming into contact with other atoms. The concept of the "declination," parenklisis, or what the great Epicurean poet Lucretius would translate into Latin as clinamen, performed the double service of explaining change and allowing for the existence of a kind of free will or accident in what otherwise appeared to be a very deterministic natural order. Defending this principle against a long 62 tradition of critics, from Cicero to Pierre Bayle, Marx suggests that it also explains Epicurean ethics or the Epicurean principle that the individual "swerves" away from determinate relations. That is to say, the theory of the declination of the atom explains why the Epicurean subject seeks to define its own existence and personal happiness (ataraxy) independent of either natural or social obligation. On the basis of the Epicurean philosophy of nature, Marx argues for the liberty of what he calls "subjective consciousness," or the enlightened individual's capacity to transcend (swerve away from) all external determination, and thereby enter into truly free relations with others. As Marx puts it, both humans and atoms "meet only by virtue of their declination from the straight line" (CW 1, 52). At the same time, Marx notes, the freedom of the Epicurean individual needs to be located in a cultural context - it needs to be more Hegelian, less Kantian freedom. "Abstract individuality is freedom from being," Marx writes, "not freedom in being. It cannot shine in the light of being" (62). Thus, for Marx, the Epicurean theory of the declination of the atom supported the concept of individual liberty. Within the philosophical tradition, it represents a privileged metaphor for the liberal idea that each individual human possesses the potential to become free, or to escape the bonds of both convention and desire, and to enter into free relations with other liberated individuals. It would be difficult to overlook the extent to which Marx's doctoral dissertation is intended to please Bruno Bauer, with whom Marx studied at the University of Berlin, and who Marx hoped would be able to secure him a position in the German academy. By 1841, Bauer was a young, outspoken, and already very prolific Hegelian theologian, now working at the University of Bonn. He was known for his attacks on David Strauss's Life of Jesus, in which he claimed that the gospels were not the mythological expression of a 63 particular community's essence, but the creation of individual, self conscious writers. Throughout all his work, Bauer championed the concept of the individual self consciousness, which he took to represent the pinnacle of the Hegelian system and therefore history itself. In Hegelian terms, Bauer privileged subjective self consciousness over the common substance of the community. Marx's hopes of an academic career were dashed when, in 1842, Bauer was purged from the university at the order of Johann Eichorn, the culture minister in Friedrich Wilhelm IV's regime, for espousing atheism. And indeed, as a theologian, Bauer's aim was to prove that the truth of Christianity was coextensive with the truth of Hegelian philosophy, and thus with the truth of history itself - that it was a rational as opposed to a revealed truth. The Pietist theologians and philosophers favored by Friedrich Wilhelm IV's regime instantly recognized this doctrine as submerged atheism, and saw it as a threat to the monarchical, theological state. And as soon as his academic career ended, Bauer gleefully confirmed everyone's suspicions, becoming one of the most adamant proponents of secular republicanism in Vormarz Germany. He also continued to espouse Hegelian principles, albeit in a somewhat heterodox form, insisting that the history of spirit was the history of ideas, and that revolutionary change would therefore be instigated by a thoroughgoing theoretical critique of the monarchical and theological state. However else Marx's dissertation might be interpreted, it is not an accident that his defense of Epicurus falls directly "in line" with the rational individualism and humane liberalism advocated by Bauer. Regardless of the radical topic of his dissertation, Marx, clearly aware of academic protocol, does not "swerve" too far from his teacher. 64 While it excluded the possibility of his ever having an academic career, the mounting conservatism of Friedrich Wilhelm IV's regime in the early 1840s did not immediately dissuade Marx's youthful enthusiasm. The conviction among the young Hegelians that, if not political power, then the rational design of history itself was on their side is palpable in most of their early writings. Throughout 1842 and until April of 1843 Marx developed his liberal republican position in the articles he wrote for the Rheinische Zeitung, first as a contributor and then as an editor. Marx's hope, indeed his conviction, was that a consistent, rational if also ruthless theoretical critique of existing institutions might peacefully bring about a liberal republican state within Germany. He was more or less committed to what, in a letter to him, Bruno Bauer called "the terrorism of pure theory" (Bauer to Marx, 28 March 1841). The free press was to be the primary vehicle for this enlightened revolution, as it not only promoted culture and educated the people, but also, as Marx put it at the time, "transform[ed] material struggle into an ideological struggle, the struggle of flesh and blood into a struggle of minds, the struggle of need, desire, empiricism into a struggle of theory, of reason, of form" (CW 1, 292). A similar privileging of theory and of ideas can be found in the first article Marx wrote as editor of the Rheinische Zeitung. "Communism and the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung" is a defense of Marx's paper against the accusation that, by publishing the work of the messianic socialist Wilhelm Weitling, it had promoted communism. Marx makes it clear that his paper does not support communism, but that a "thoroughgoing criticism" of communist theory will be necessary to forestall communism in practice. The "real danger" of communism, Marx maintains, "lies not in practical attempts, but in the theoretical elaboration of communist ideas," for while the former "can be answered by 65 cannon as soon as they become dangerous" (220), ideas on the other hand are "chains from which one cannot free oneself without a broken heart" and "demons which human beings can vanquish only by submitting to them" (221). For Marx, it is only in an open debate that such theoretical "chains" will be broken and "demons" exorcised. Therefore the real danger is not communism but censorship. Even as the Rheinische Zeitung faced increased censorship, Marx consistently professed his belief in the prospect of a liberal state, one based on principles of rational order and natural law. While it was certainly to the left of center, the position Marx develops in the Rheinische Zeitung is far from radical by contemporary standards. Indeed, it is far from radical according to the standards of its own time, always attempting to mediate between proto-anarchists and militant communists on the one hand and liberal democrats on the other. At the end of the day when the paper went to press, Marx's explicit position was more or less in keeping with the liberal politics the Rheinische Zeitung''s readers and financial backers. The mission of the Rheinische Zeitung was to defend liberal reforms from Friedrich Wilhelm IV's reactionary assault on them, and to "strive for a completely new form of state corresponding to a more profound, more thoroughly educated and freer popular consciousness" (265). This agenda is clearly expressed in Marx's articles "On the Commissions of the Estates in Prussia," which argue against Friedrich Wilhelm IV's reestablishment of an estates-based assembly and in favor of a more liberal, republican constitution. "[W]e demand only that the Prussian state not break off its real state of life at a sphere which should be the conscious flowering of this state of life," Marx proclaims, "we demand only the consistent and comprehensive implementation of the fundamental institutions of Prussia, we demand that the real 66 organic life of the state should not be suddenly abandoned in order to sink back into unreal, mechanical, subordinated, non-state spheres of life." That is to say, Marx and the Rheinische Zeitung demand that the Prussian state not regress to the feudal model, but be allowed to develop into a republican state, and that "the state should not dissolve itself in carrying out the act that should be the supreme act of its internal unification" (297). Needless to say, the demands of Marx and his fellow young Hegelian journalists went unheeded, and after Prussian officials banned its distribution in the winter of 1842, making it impossible for it to reach most of its readers, the Rheinische Zeitung was forced to halt publication in March of 1843. It was in part the failure of Hegelian logic, or the failure of the real world peacefully to adopt the progressive conclusions of that logic, that transformed Marx from a liberal republican into a radical democrat - someone committed, not only to the rational or theoretical critique of the monarchical and Christian state, but also to active participation in effective social movements that could challenge the existing order on a number of practical and theoretical fronts. In the midst of the collapse of the Rheinische Zeitung, Marx made plans with Arnold Ruge to publish a German language journal out of Paris entitled the Deutsch-franzdsische Jahrbucher. The journal, which lasted exactly one issue, and this period in Marx's life, though brief, would nonetheless prove decisive for the development of his political ideas and for his understanding of the political as such. The period coincided with a split within the young Hegelian movement between the followers of Bauer, who took up residence in Berlin and called themselves Die Freien or the Free Ones, and the followers of Ruge, whose approach was far more strategic. Die Freien, including Max Stirner, remained committed to the idea that a purely theoretical 67 critique of existing ideas, and especially of Christianity, would lead to revolutionary upheaval. On the other hand, Marx's and Ruge's Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher were explicitly intended to combine German theory with French practice, and to militate in favor of democracy. "[T]here is nothing to stop us," Marx wrote in an open letter published in the journal, "from making a critique of politics the starting-point of our critique, from taking part in party politics and so identifying ourselves with real battles." Against the ideal of theoretical "purity" espoused by the followers of Bauer, Marx states that "[w]e do not set ourselves opposite the world, saying: 'Here is the truth, kneel down here!' It is out of the world's own principles that we develop for it new principles" (SW 37). The idea, then, was that revolution could only be advanced through direct engagement in existing political struggles, and not through the abstract, theoretical criticism of religion. As Marx put it in a private letter to Ruge, this time explicitly attacking Die Freien, "religion should be criticized in the framework of criticism of political conditions rather than that political conditions should be criticized in the framework of religion" since "religion is itself without content," and will spontaneously collapse with "the abolition of the distorted [political] reality" on which it is based (Marx to Ruge, 30 November 1842). Before they began making plans for their collaboration, Marx and Ruge corresponded extensively. They started by discussing Ruge's Anekdota zur neuesten deutschen Philosophie und Publicistik, an almanac of essays censored in Germany that Ruge was to publish in Switzerland. Marx first wrote of submitting two articles to the project. One was to be an aesthetic "Treatise on Christian Art" (niore accurately a parody of Christian art, following the model of Bauer's parody of Christianity in his The 68 Trumpet of the Last Judgment), the second a political essay criticizing Hegel's theory of the state. Neither article remains. In fact, it is likely that Marx never wrote either of them, but was stringing Ruge along. Of the second, however, Marx did note that "[t]he central point is the struggle against constitutional monarchy as a hybrid which from beginning to end contradicts and abolishes itself." Until Hegel's theory is repudiated, Marx concludes, "[r]es publica is quite untranslatable into German" (Marx to Ruge, 5 March 1842). Before moving to Paris to begin work on the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher, Marx spent the summer of 1843 with his fiance Jenny in the village of Kreuznach. There, on his honeymoon, he began the process of researching the essay he had promised to send Ruge more than a year earlier. Marx read and annotated extensive passages from Hegel's Philosophy of Right. The result was the manuscript Marx's editors called the "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right," Marx's first extensive attempt to think through the question of the political mise en scene or the institutional apparatus of the state. Marx begins by agreeing with Hegel in two respects. First, he approves of Hegel's organic as opposed to mechanical conception of society - his portrait of society as an integrated totality. Second, Marx notes how Hegel correctly understood the manner in which, in the modern era, a separation emerges between state and civil society - one that did not exist in the medieval world, where the political and the social orders were integrated through hierarchically organized corporations and guilds. Hegel's error, according to Marx, is his attempt to resolve the contradiction between these two points (society as an integrated organism versus society as divided into state and civil society) in a purely abstract, philosophical fashion. Thus the ideal abstraction of the monarchy, and not the concrete reality of the people, becomes the foundation of political authority. 69 Marx's "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" is a partial, exploratory, and disjointed text, and it is interesting for those reasons. It also represents the beginning of Marx's radical democratic phase. Marx does not provide a systematic analysis of society, nor does he attempt to represent the state as an indirect expression of productive forces or instrument of class interests. Engels was the first to outline that Marxist theory of the state, particularly in his study of The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State, where he treats the state as the product of "irreconcilable antagonisms" concomitant with the invention of property, and as an inherently oppressive institution that has the function of keeping class struggle "within the bounds of 'order'" (1946 [1883], 166). In contrast to the classically Marxist models of the state and of state power, Marx's notes on Hegel's Philosophy of Right are a rather fragmented attempt to come to terms with certain fragments from Hegel's text - specifically paragraphs 261 to 313 of The Philosophy of Right, which deal primarily with the structure of the state. After breaking human society in general down into the family, civil society, and the state, Hegel proceeds to break the state down into three sections as well, namely the monarchy, the executive or bureaucracy, and the assembly. Following Aristotle, his greatest teacher, Hegel wants to view the state, indeed political life in general, not as an instrumental means to an end, but as an end in itself. Unlike civil society, which Hegel treats as the realm of private commerce and property, the state is the realm of pure altruism, in which each individual recognizes her or his belonging to a unified and harmonious community - what Hegel calls "absolute ethical life" or absolute Sittlichkeit. For his part, Marx is unconvinced by the hypothesis of the existing monarchical state as an absolute community. Thus he calls each component of the Hegelian state into question in turn, showing the monarchy, the 70 bureaucracy, and the assembly to be incapable of producing the universal harmony Hegel is after. Instead, Marx argues, the monarchical state represents the particular interests of particular social groups, not as Hegel imagines the universal interests of the community as a whole. "The state is an abstraction," Marx writes in response to Hegel's claim that sovereignty belongs to the state. "The people alone is what is concrete" (CW 3, 28). The "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" is, in this sense, a call for popular sovereignty. It is important to be clear that the radical democratic position Marx takes up in his analysis of Hegel's work on the state conceives of "the people," not as a static substance or an essence, but as a dynamic, changing entity - one that, in the Heideggerean sense, exists in the world. Nor is Marx calling for a direct democracy void of all mechanisms of political representation or institutional mediation. Instead, he wants those institutional mechanisms to be the free creation of the people, of the citizens of a republic, and to be open to alteration as the people themselves change over time. "Democracy," Marx writes, "is the solved riddle of all constitutions. Here not merely implicitly and in essence but existing in reality, the human being, the actual people, are established as the people's own work. The constitution appears what it is, the free product of man" (29). The key to this liberation of the "actual people" as Marx calls them is free elections. "Civi l society has really raised itself to abstraction from itself, to political being as its true, general, essential mode of being only in elections unlimited both in respect of the franchise and the right to be elected" (121). Contrary to what he recollects fifteen years later in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, Marx is arguing, then, not that political superstructures rest atop an economic base, nor that the truth of the state is to be found in the anatomy of political economy, but that politics must be liberated as a process, and as 71 a continuously unfolding process, through which the citizens of a republic, meaning all of the people, represent, actualize, and in doing so perpetually change themselves and their existence. Against Hegel's static model of the Rechtstaat, in which the structure of the monarchy, the bureaucracy, and the estates assembly appear frozen in time, Marx argues that the state, its various institutions, and even its constitution cannot be abstracted from this continual process of democratic self-determination. In a republic, Marx suggests, political institutions are never immune from the changing will of the people, or from the constituent power that first establishes their legitimacy. The democratic political process must take presidence over all state institutions. Thus it is precisely the specificity, and not the reducibility, of the political that concerns Marx. Just prior to leaving for his honeymoon in Kreuznach, Marx wrote to Ruge once again, this time to praise him on the success of the Anekdota. The letter is interesting for two reasons. First, Marx mentions Feuerbach's "Provisional Theses for the Reformation of Philosophy," which Ruge had published in the Anekdota, and which begin with the classically Feuerbachian claim that "[t]he secret of theology is anthropology" (1983 [1843], 156). In response, Marx writes "Feuerbach's aphorisms seem to me incorrect only in one respect, that he refers too much to nature and too little to politics" (Marx to Ruge, 13 March 1843). While working on the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher, Marx would write a number of rather sycophantic letters to Feuerbach, trying to draw him into more political debates, and to show him the political implications of his own thought. The extent to which Marx was seeking to persuade Feuerbach and to construct a kind of hegemony among contemporary theorists in such letters should not be overlooked, nor should Feuerbach's influence on Marx (especially his "method" of inverting the subject 72 and the predicate of Hegelian claims) be overestimated. From Feuerbach, Marx borrowed the concept of the Gattungswesen. But in Marx's hands it became something very different - not a static substance, but, as Marx puts it in the sixth of his "Theses on Feuerbach," a perpetually changing "ensemble of social relations" (SW 157). The second interesting thing about Marx's letter to Ruge is a comment he makes on the so-called "Jewish question," a matter that would soon become the topic of perhaps his most important political essay. "I have just been visited by the chief of the Jewish community here," Marx writes, "who has asked me for a petition for the Jews to the Provincial Assembly, and I am willing to do it." Then, referring to Bruno Bauer's recent pamphlet on Die Judenfrage, in which Bauer had argued against Jewish emancipation on the grounds that all such particularistic struggles only detracted from the larger project of human emancipation, Marx writes "[hjowever much I dislike the Jewish faith, Bauer's view seems to me too abstract. The thing is to make as many breaches as possible in the Christian state and to smuggle in as much as we can of what is rational" (Marx to Ruge, 13 March 1843). If Bauer places his hope in the tactics of pure theory and rejects the struggles of particular groups, Marx sees the democratic value of a multitude of subjects struggling to emancipate themselves. Marx's attack on Bauer, then, is motivated by a commitment to political pluralism. Marx published two essays in the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher - "On the Jewish Question," which is an extended review of Bauer's Die Judenfrage, and "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," which introduces the concept of class and class struggle into Marx's work for the first time. These two essays are exemplary pieces of radical democratic political theory, and they need to be read and 73 understood independently of the orthodox Marxist position that (perhaps) Marx himself and (certainly) Engels would develop later in their careers. They also address topics germane to contemporary, post-Marxist debates over what I have been calling the new republicans. The first of these two essays, "On the Jewish Question," is particularly important for its analysis of the concept of rights, and thus for the theory of the juridical as such. The second is significant for its introduction, without naming it, of the concept of hegemony, and thus as a theory of political representation - one that will be developed considerably in The German Ideology. A great deal has been said about Marx's break with Feuerbach, but in terms of his specifically political thought, his break with Bauer is just as significant. Both of the essays Marx wrote for Deutsch-franzdsische Jahrbiicher publicly announce that break, though the first one, obviously, more explicitly than the second. In his Die Judenfrage, Bauer argues that the struggle to emancipate the Jewish people within Germany can only forestall the more important struggle to emancipate humanity. For Bauer, any particularistic identity that mediates between the individual self consciousness and the community or humanity as a whole, especially religious identity, is a relic of the past - something that theory, criticism, indeed history itself has already overcome. "The will of history is evolution, new forms, progress, change," Bauer proclaims. "[T]he Jews want to stay forever where they are" (1983 [1843], 190). If Bauer believes that the demands and interests of particular groups damage the larger project of human emancipation, Marx maintains that human emancipation can only be brought about through particular demands and particular struggles. More accurately, Marx understands that politics is essentially polemical, that it requires confrontations between 74 different groups, and that, strictly speaking, there can be no politics of the isolated individual and no politics of humanity as a whole. Marxism always had trouble with the concept of rights, and tended to construct them, indeed to construct the juridical or law as such, as an indirect expression of class interests. For the young Marx, though, matters are significantly more complex. Building on themes introduced by Bauer, and drawing as well on his own recent study of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, "On the Jewish Question" explains that the political revolutions of the eighteenth century effectively "abolished the political character of civil society" by abolishing the "estates, corporations, guilds [and] privileges of the feudal order" (SW 55). In a sense, political relations were lifted up out of the social order - given abstract or "allegorical" form in the democratic state. At the same time, civil society was transformed into a collection of isolated, atomic individuals. Through a close reading of France's revolutionary constitutions, Marx shows how, during the course of the revolution, the droits du citoyen, of those concrete rights one could claim as the citizen of a particular state, get displaced and finally overtaken by the droits du I'homme, or the natural rights that one is said to possess as an isolated individual. According to Marx, this means that the rights one can claim as a member of a particular community, and for which the community as a whole is responsible, disappear. They are replaced with rights one has as an egoistic individual, which are ultimately indistinguishable from property rights. As a result, Marx concludes, "citizenship, the political community, is degraded [...] to a mere means for the preservation of the so-called rights of man" and "the sphere in which man behaves as a communal being is degraded below the sphere in which man behaves as a partial being" (54). Thus mere "political emancipation," while absolutely 75 necessary in order to dislodge the feudal order, or the order in which all social relations are determined via hierarchically structured corporations and guilds, is also incomplete. Full "human emancipation," Marx suggests, will require a democratic repoliticization of civil society - a repoliticization of the realm that the modem theory of natural rights exists to defend as private and apolitical. Such a repoliticization can only happen if people claim rights as citizens, or as members of a community, and not exclusively as individuals, or as owners of property. In particular, it will require a constitution in which citizenship involves the right of each individual to play a part in the collective deliberations and arguments that define the community. Marx's second essay for the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher is "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction." Here for the very first time Marx introduces the category of social class, referring to the proletariat as "a class with radical chains" and one "that has a universal character because of its universal suffering" (SW 72). It is also the one work in which Marx makes extensive use of the famous "theory / practice" distinction - doubtless because he and Ruge had agreed that the Deutsch- franzosische Jahrbucher were to endeavor to articulate German theory with French practice. The essay is a highly situated piece of political strategy, not a work of political economy (much less historical prediction). Nor is this fact surprising, given that, when he wrote "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction" Marx had not yet encountered Friedrich Engels's work on political economy, which would first draw his attention to the subject. Basically, in this essay, Marx claims that a German revolution is possible so long as the well established theoretical critique of religion combines its efforts with the emerging class struggle of the proletariat. While a great deal has been 76 said about Marx's discovery of Feuerbach around this time, and Feuerbach's "inversion" of subject and predicate, the philosophical method Marx employs in "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction" is of less interest than the considerable rhetorical flair he displays there. Rhetorically speaking, Marx articulates theory and practice through copious use of the figure of the chiasmus, as if laying one across the other in the form of a cross. Thus he maintains that "[t]he demand to give up the illusions about [people's] condition is a demand to give up a condition that requires illusion" (64). Revolution requires, not only the theoretical adventures of the Freien, but both theory and practice, both philosophy and politics, as "[t]he weapon of criticism cannot [...] supplant the criticism of weapons" (69). In the last analysis, Marx announces in one final chiasmus, "[p]hilosophy cannot realize itself without transcending the proletariat, [and] the proletariat cannot transcend itself without realizing philosophy" (73). In the little gospel narrative Marx tells, the messianic mission of the proletariat is guaranteed by their suffering, and the more absolute the latter the more certain the former. The overtly rhetorical packaging of these claims is perhaps as important as the point Marx is hoping to make. Indeed, in "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction" Marx is not only attempting to describe historical phenomena but to perform a political or a rhetorical task - to convince his colleagues in Germany to throw their theoretical powers behind the cause of the proletariat. And the text of Marx's essay explains in no uncertain terms why he thinks it is necessary to engage in such activity - why it would be necessary for him to represent the cause of the proletariat as if its interests were the universal interests of humanity as a whole. According to Marx, who was at the time engaged in a protracted study of the history of the French Revolution, 77 every revolution necessitates that "a particular class undertakes the general emancipation of society from its particular position," and that "one class" is seen to "stand in for the whole of society." For this to occur, Marx continues: the deficiency of all society must be inversely concentrated in another class; a particular class must be a class that rouses universal scandal and incorporates all limitations; a particular social sphere must be regarded as the notorious crime of the whole society, so that the liberation of this sphere appears as the universal self liberation. So that one class par excellence may appear as the class of liberation, another class must inversely be the manifest class of oppression (71). This same theory of political struggles would be repeated and dubbed "hegemony" in Marx's and Engels's The German Ideology, written over the next couple of years. And it is important to keep in mind that Marx's work both describes and enacts this process - that even as he is explaining the general operation of hegemonic politics, wherein the interests of a particular class stand in for the interests of humanity as a whole, he is also advancing a particular hegemonic project. The relationship between the two elements of Marx's writing - the descriptive and the performative - is at best undecidable. At this point in his work, did Marx really believe that the interests of the proletariat coincided with the universal interests of humanity? Or were Marx's own texts intended to represent proletarian interests as if 'they were the interests of humanity? Is "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction" a description of historical phenomena or is it a revolutionary performance? The release and instantaneous collapse of the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher was accompanied by yet another break in Marx's career - his break with Arnold Ruge. 78 The debate between the two men played itself out in the pages of the radical journal Vorwarts, where Marx and Ruge clashed over the significance of the Silesian weavers' strikes that had erupted in the summer of 1844. The first significant proletarian uprising in modem Germany, these strikes represented a violent reaction against the exploitation and poverty that liberalized economies were beginning to inflict on the German working classes. Ruge argued that the Silesian strikes would have no meaningful effects, as such social movements were not connected with an organized political agenda capable of taking control of the state, and they had no concrete political demands. In his response to Ruge's article, entitled "Critical Marginal Notes on the Article 'The King of Prussia and Social Reform,'" Marx defended the weavers and rejected Ruge's effort to distinguish in a dramatic fashion between the social and the political. Indeed, as Marx's article points out, it was Ruge who insisted that the uprising of the proletariat would be unsuccessful because "industry in Germany is not yet so developed as in England," where Chartists had made some modest gains. Marx, however, suggested that theorists of revolution leam from those who were actively making it, something that requires a combination of what he calls "some scientific insight and some love of mankind" (CW 3, 190). The ethical presupposition of Marx's position (one that never goes away) is thus quite clearly indicated in his break with Ruge. So too is the subtlety of Marx's strategy - one that did not proscribe the course of historical events, but recognized their contingency and sought to respond to them in an effective fashion. Exactly what interested Marx during his radical democratic phase was the articulation of social and political demands, and the manner in which the construction of hegemony relied on such an articulation. The eruption of the Silesian weavers' strikes was indicative of one of those sites where social 79 antagonisms overwhelmed the confines of the political institutions and mechanisms designed to address them. And, indeed, the strikes put the so-called "social question," or the question of how to deal with the pauperization of workers that seemed concomitant with the liberalization of civil society, on the map of German politics. This year in Marx's career is, of course, the decisive one from an orthodox perspective. It is at this point that, under the influence of Engels, Marx takes up his studies of political economy - a study that leads very rapidly to the materialist conception of history first outlined in The German Ideology. In terms of his analysis of political strategy, however, not a great deal changes in the so-called Works of the Break. Marx certainly links the emergence of political revolution and class struggle to the historical development of productive forces. In doing so, it might seem that Marx reverts to the economic determinist position that he had attacked only a year earlier in his break with Ruge. However, in The German Ideology Marx and Engels make it very clear that, by linking political to economic development, they are not proscribing the trajectory of history, but offering a theoretical framework within which revolutionary strategy might be constructed. Historical materialism, as it would later be dubbed, is not a determinate science but a kind of working hypothesis. More accurately still, in The German Ideology it is used as a polemical weapon for fighting both the young Hegelians and the true socialists - for attacking, that is to say, their overly theoretical or moralistic approaches to history and to revolutionary change. Like "Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction," it is a performative as much as it is a descriptive text, and what Marx and Engels are attempting to do in it should not be divorced from the phenomena they are seeking to describe. Here, as elsewhere in Marx's early work, the two maintain 80 that revolutionaries should take their cue from actual social antagonisms, or those places where social antagonisms burst out of the established political form and thus require new political articulations. Thus Marx and Engels insist that "[c]ommunism is not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things" (GI47). This approach is entirely in keeping with the radical democratic politics in which Marx engaged both before and after The German Ideology. Between 1844 and 1847 Marx worked on three extensive polemical texts, the first two with Engels, the third alone and in French. The Holy Family continued Marx's assault on Bruno Bauer and his followers, who Marx and Engels labeled the "Critical Critics." In this work, the influence of Feuerbach is palpable - not his method of inverting subject and predicate, but his concept of the human essence as sensuous Gattungswesen or species being. The German Ideology continued the assault on the circle around Bauer, this time focusing on Max Stirner and incorporating a critique of Stirner's half baked understanding of political economy. It also included an attack on the true socialists, who, according to Marx and Engels, managed to turn revolutionary French political theory into a collection of vapid moral platitudes. This work represents the beginning of Marx's break with Karl Grtin, a friend from his school days and acolyte of Feuerbach, and Moses Hess, whose work had, only a short time earlier and as evidenced in the acknowledgment it receives in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, been almost as influential as Engels's had in turning Marx towards the study of political economy and the critique of capitalism. The final extended polemical work was Marx's Poverty of Philosophy, an attack on Pierre Joseph Proudhon, whose limited 81 understanding of economics and whose influence among socialists Marx would endeavor to assuage for the rest of his life. While these texts, especially the latter two, are often represented as the groundwork of the science of historical materialism, their performative or active element needs to be bome in mind as well. Marx's polemics, simply by virtue of the fact that they are polemics, presuppose the existence of an open space or res publica of discourse and debate. As I will analyze with respect to the forgotten portion of The German Ideology below, the deeply rhetorical and literary construction of the polemical texts suggests that Marx was not only well aware of, but actively embraced the symbolic character of political debate - the sense in which it is not reducible to positive facts or the proofs of instrumental and scientific rationality, but invokes a complex life world of cultural references, persuasive arguments, and recognized conventions. If the theatre of political discussion is not overtly thematized in these works, it is everywhere enacted. Unfortunately, those performative elements of Marx's writing are the first ones to be ignored by commentators (as less than serious) and marginalized or excised by editors (as unimportant). Obviously this creates a problem for readers looking to interpret Marx's and Engels's approach to the res publica. Perhaps the best example of Marx and Engels writing in the performative is also their most famous collaboration, the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto is an intensely situated document - an active text the purpose of which was first to unite under the banner of Communism a complex assemblage of progressive social and political struggles emerging throughout Europe during the 1840s. It probably should be read in this context - as Marx's and Engels's effort to hold together a particular collection of social agents and not as a universal blueprint for state reformation. It is 82 intended to achieve specific goals in a certain, very specific situation, and not to describe historical necessity. The image of an impending, polarized class struggle, with the proletariat and the bourgeoisie pitted against one another like two spectral armies, constitutes a symbolic effort to forge hegemonic links between a variety of otherwise unrelated political subjects, not an apocalyptic prophesy. The extent to which Marx was aware of the fantastic and rhetorical elements of the Communist Manifesto is evidenced by the far more strategic and partial approach he took during the ensuing revolutionary period. With the outbreak of revolutions across Europe in 1848, Marx moved first to Paris, and then, after things began to heat up in Germany, to Cologne. There he established the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, which quickly became one of a handful of important political journals circulating in Germany during the revolutionary years, with distribution reaching five thousand or more. Simply bypassing the most radical demands voiced in the Communist Manifesto, the editorial policy of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung was decidedly modest. Marx divided his energy between pushing radical democrats and bourgeois republicans who lead the revolution towards the left and attempting to reign in the more enthusiastic members of the Communist League, many of whom believed that the time was ripe for a full proletarian revolution and an immediate transition to socialism. Against the latter, Marx consistently maintained that the workers would have to stagger their demands, wait for the development of favorable social conditions, and in the meantime fight alongside their future enemies. For a brief period in the summer of 1848, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung distinguished itself as a radical voice by its enthusiastic support for the failed "June Days" insurrection that erupted in the streets of Paris on June 23, 1848. While moderate 83 commentators renounced the violence, viewing it as a threat to the newly established National Assembly and thus to the French republic, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung hailed it as the harbinger of an impending social revolution. Indeed, for Marx and Engels, the June insurrection represented the legitimate continuation of the revolution that had begun in France in February of 1848 - the heir, that is to say, to the constituent power of the multitude, or the revolutionary spirit that the National Assembly sought to quell with an appeal to "order." In his article on "The June Revolution," Marx discussed his conception of a radical democracy, and of the relationship between the social and the political. "The best form of state," he wrote, "is that in which the social contradictions are not blunted, not arbitrarily - that is merely artificially, and therefore only seemingly - kept down." Instead, Marx continued, "[t]he best form of state is that in which these contradictions reach a stage of open struggle in the course of which they get resolved" (CW1, 149). As always, then, Marx took his cue from social antagonisms that exceeded the bounds of the recognized political institutions and forms. The ideal political form was, paradoxically, one in which the force of social struggles had the potential to break every established form, and not simply replace the content. The position taken by the Neue Rheinische Zeitung on the June Days insurrection proved extremely controversial, and it lost the paper many of its more moderate backers. The liberal Kolnische Zeitung, chief rival to Marx's paper, took the occasion to renounce Marx as a proponent of a "Red Republic" - a charge that Engels met with two more extended defenses of the revolutionaries, namely "The Kolnische Zeitung on the June Revolution" and "The June Revolution (The Course of the Paris Uprising)." After the heady days of June, however, the Neue Rheinische 84 Zeitung turned its attention to less sensational concerns, and focused on defending the democratic gains of the revolution in Germany. As the revolution continued, the purpose of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (significantly subtitled Organ der Democratic) became to prove that "a constitutional monarchy is impossible in Germany, and that the only alternatives are either a feudal absolutist counter-revolution or a social republican revolution" (SW 272). While distancing himself from the "Utopian demand" that an "indivisible German republic" might be proclaimed immediately, Marx nonetheless urged the radical democratic elements of the Frarikfurt Assembly "not to confuse the starting point of the struggle and the revolutionary movement with its goal" (271). It was only after the failures of 1848, when hegemony was established by the monarchical counterrevolution, that Marx began to think and the write in terms of an independent workers' party and the need for a "dictatorship of the proletariat" or a political subject that would wield power at the exclusion of all others. Marx's Neue Rheinische Zeitung was banned in May of 1849, and Marx fled first to Paris and then to London. He tried to continue leading the Cologne faction of the Communist League from exile, briefly flirting with conspiratorial politics. Thus in an important "Address to the Communist League" written in March of 1850, Marx insists that "[t]he relation of the revolutionary workers' party to the petit-bourgeois is this: it marches together with them against the faction which it aims at overthrowing, it opposes them in everything whereby they seek to consolidate their position in their own interests" (SW 279). To justify this new emphasis on autonomy and militancy, Marx recalls how, after the March riots of 1848, the bourgeoisie seized state power and turned it against the proletariat. The next time, Marx proclaims, things will be different. "Instead 85 of once again stooping to serve as the applauding chorus of the bourgeois democrats," he writes, "the workers, and above all the League, must exert themselves to establish an independent, secret, and public organization of workers' parties alongside the official democrats" (281). Many years later, this call would lead to the creation of the First International. Marx's experiment with conspiratorial politics came to an abrupt end in May of 1851, when the Cologne wing of the Communist League was arrested en bloc. The Cologne Communists did not come to trial until 1852, when Marx threw much of his energy into working on their defense. But by that time the fate of the 1848 revolutionary cycle in Europe had already been sealed by the, in Marx's opinion, farcical coup d'etat that restored Louis Napoleon to power in December 1851. Marx's final resignation, as well as the final stage discussed above (1850 through 1852), can be traced in the last section of his Class Wars in France (actually a series of essays Engels collected together and published as a single book in 1895), and in his 1852 pamphlet on The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. In those works, requiems for a failed revolution, Marx criticizes the few remaining militants who continued to hold out hope in conspiratorial politics (The Great Men of Exile, as he would call them in still another pamphlet), and argues that any further revolutionary activity will first require the emergence of a new economic crisis. This explains why, for the next decade or more, Marx would devote the majority of his time to the detailed study of economics in the reading room of the British Museum. But The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Boneparte also bears within it the lessons of Marx's experiences during 1848. In particular, it introduces a complex theory of the relationship between class and state - not the monolithic approach found towards 86 the end of the "Feuerbach" section of The German Ideology and in The Communist Manifesto, where political power is identical with class power, and political struggles are characterized as struggles between classes, but a far more stratified model in which political power is held by a multitude of class interests, with one faction being dominant. So, even as, in the 1850 to 1852 period, Marx introduces the theories of working class independence and the dictatorship of the proletariat, he at the same time provides his readers with a more sophisticated approach to the concept of hegemony and to politics as the articulation of a plurality of otherwise unrelated subjects. His analysis is still a class analysis, but it is not a reductive class analysis. While Marx did introduce many of the terms and concepts latter associated with orthodox Marxism following the failure of 1848, this does not suggest that Marx himself became an orthodox Marxist in the process. Doubtless following 1848 the questions of political strategy that interested the younger Marx take a back seat to the protracted study of economics that would eventually lead to Capital. And doubtless Marx's highly rhetorical style - his intervention into the res publico - is tempered, or reserved for particular works instead of allowed free reign. But if Marx began to work with the model of the economic base underlying the political and juridical superstructures, and determining them in the last instance, his analysis of economics did not supplant the ethico-political dimension of his thought. Rather, like Smith or Ricardo or any of the other classical political economists he studied so closely, Marx believed that the connection between political economy and ethics was axiomatic. Smith for instance assumed at every stage in his work that there existed a relationship between market capitalism, individual liberty, and the development of moral sentiment - that is to say, of 87 values. For his part, Marx did not believe that there was no connection, or that ethics was but an ideological smokescreen for economics. Rather, he thought that the ethical conclusions of the classical political ecpnomisfs were monstrously incorrect - that the market capitalism of the nineteenth century did not jpad to individual liberty and moral sentiment, but to mass slavery and rampant egojsm. In political terms, Marx believed that the errors of capitalism could only be addressed, by an expansion of the res publica or the sphere of public deliberation and debate into the epqpqmy - |he democratization of economic relations and of civil society. And it is this (finally interminable) process of developing and expanding the democratic project that a contemporary reader of Marx might be inclined to associate with the term praxis. 88 Philopolemology / Marx and the Law It is perhaps not an accident that "The Leipzig Council" begins with two images of strife and antagonism - first, with a reference to Kaulbach's "Battle of the Huns," a mural in which two spiritual armies clash in the sky high above another, more mundane battlefield, and then with a parody of an ecclesiastical legal proceeding, where the young Hegelians are portrayed as both prosecutors and defendants in a theological debate. Indeed, all of the polemical essays Marx worked on between 1844 and 1847 presuppose that a certain antagonism conditions free social relations - that freedom requires the preservation or the cultivation of an open space of struggle and discord. The polemical wars that raged among Marx's contemporaries during the Vormarz years, their various breaks with one another and their struggles with the censors, could all be read in this context - as attempts to carve out a free space of both collective deliberation and public debate. However, as suggested in his articles for the Deutsch-franzosische Jahrbucher, Marx more than any of his contemporaries understood the close association between politics and conflict, or the sense in which there can be no politics of the isolated individual (Bauer, Stirner) and no politics of humanity as a whole (Feuerbach, Hess), as politics requires struggles between opposing social groups - what Marx came to characterize as class struggles. For Marx, political freedom is not simply a matter of rational deliberation within a recognized institutional context. It requires the possibility of struggles as well, even struggles that overwhelm or break established norms and the parameters of rational debate. Perhaps the most significant development in recent Marx scholarship has been the reassessment of the debt Marx owes to Aristotle, and especially 89 to Aristotle's concept of "citizenship" - the notion, developed in the Ethics and the Politics, that belonging to a political community or polis means possessing the right to engage in the political discourses that actively define that same community. For Aristotle, the foundation of the polis is friendship or philia - a mutual recognition among citizens that exceeds the bounds of commerce and exchange, and that remains irreducible to the achievement of instrumental ends, but is an end in itself. But is there not a sense in which such friendship must also be open to the possibility of its other, and to the potential for discord and strife? What would a free community look like without the minimal possibility of, or the slightest opening for, the worst struggle, the most ruthless antagonism, the greatest hostility? Is not polemos, as much as philia, a condition of just social relations, and of a free republican democracy? Such questions might be opened up by way of a consideration of George E. McCarthy's recent addition to the literature on Marx and Aristotle, and particularly the unspoken consensus between McCarthy and Jiirgen Habermas, whose concept of Diskursethik - the ideal speech situation as a regulative ideal in the Kantian sense - McCarthy wishes to critique. For all their differences, neither McCarthy nor Habermas pay much attention to the polemical condition of social relations. Thus neither of them can account for the interplay of polemos and philia, struggle and love, in Marx's text. Following Arendt's theory of civic republicanism, Habermas claims that Marx confuses political action with mechanical or instrumental making - praxis with poiesis. Praxis, Habermas suggests, involves both economic activity or work and symbolic action or discourse - both the "real processes of life" and, as Habermas puts it, the "transcendental conditions of the constitution of life worlds" (1971, 30). In rejecting the symbolic world 90 and privileging work, Habermas continues, Marx also expels the realm of collective deliberation and reflective knowledge (Reflexionswissen), which is the condition of ethical discussion, and favors instead instrumental rationality or productive knowledge (Produktionwisseri). Against this approach to Marx's text, McCarthy argues that Habermas has misunderstood Marx's debt to Aristotle. McCarthy mounts a very strong argument for the case that, in Marx, praxis is not a mere skill or a kind of instrumental rationality set off against the symbolic life world, but, along with theory, a mode of what Aristotle calls phronesis or practical knowledge. As practical knowledge, theory arid praxis together allow citizens of a democracy to engage in collective deliberation within specific historical and material contexts. Indeed, McCarthy proposes, it is Habermas and not Marx who remains incapable of engaging with the symbolic life world, for he assumes that the life world is transcendental, or at least that it is governed and regulated by a universal ideal in the Kantian sense, whereas Marx, who follows Hegel and not Kant in this instance, assumes that the symbolic life world is always specific, situated, located in a particular context and lived in by particular subjects. "[B]y replacing Marx's dialectic and social theory with Kantian logic and a theory of knowledge," McCarthy contends, "Habermas has reduced the public sphere and political discourse to pure transcendental and epistemological categories" (1990, 290). If Habermas wants a world in which consensus is an (always retreating but nonetheless unified and transcendental) ideal, Marx understands consensus to be a worldly, mundane process - one in which dialectical mediation is never finished, not even in a regulative last instance that in fact never arrives. 91 The debate between McCarthy and Habermas might therefore be read as an updated version of the now familiar opposition of Kantian Moralitdt and Hegelian Sittlichkeit - the "moral duty" of the transcendental subject versus the "social ethics," the customs and norms, of the particular historical community. Do human rights, for instance, begin with the individual, the liberty and autonomy of the subject, or must all rights be constructed in accordance with the customs of a particular community, within which the subject must find her or his freedom? However, this struggle between liberalism and communitarianism does not touch upon Marx's most significant political insight, the one that made him not only a democrat but a radical democrat, namely the urgency of struggle itself - antagonism between different political subjects, which in Marx's case meant class subjects. Neither side of the liberal-communitarian debate can account for the sense in which both individuals and communities come to define themselves only through antagonistic relations with others, or the sense in which there is always already some relation and some other. Without reverting to the kind of Manichean dualism and apocalyptic battles announced in texts like The German Ideology and the Communist Manifesto (and I have already explained why I believe these to be symbolic efforts on the part of Marx and Engels, or attempts to construct hegemony by representing one class as if it were the universal class and another as i f it were the universal oppressor), it is necessary to keep in mind that, for Marx, the republican open space or res publica of free, democratic discourse must always hold out the possibility of discord, and even the possibility (I stress the possibility) of political struggles that completely reformulate the boundaries of the res publica itself - revolutionary struggles. In analyzing the particular debate that has reemerged in recent years between liberals and 92 communitarians, it would be necessary to consider the more fundamental, irreducible antagonism that conditions every such debate, but that itself is never overcome through consensus - the polemos that is, no less than philia, a condition, and not simply a function, of every subject's being in the world. That is to say, it would be necessary to acknowledge the productive or constituent power of social and political struggles - the sense in which they not only divide but also, and in doing so, create social space. In recent years, the most extensive analysis of antagonistic relations has been provided by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Following but radicalizing Althusser's theory of the overdetermination of the social formation, Laclau and Mouffe oppose the concept of antagonism to that of contradiction. If a contradiction takes place between two essentially determined or fully defined subject positions, and if it is something destined to be overcome whether through the negation of one side or the synthesis of the two, antagonism designates an ongoing process through which a multitude of different subjects come to be defined and continuously redefined. That is to say, from Laclau and Mouffe's perspective, subject positions are first established through struggles with others. They cannot be understood independently of those struggles. Thus unlike the contradiction, antagonistic relations "arise not from full totalities, but from the impossibility of their constitution" (1985, 125). Polemical struggles occur, and inevitably occur, because all subject positions are partial and limited, because none has the capacity properly to represent society as such and none is fully defined in and of itself. Now, Laclau and Mouffe believe that the fundamentally antagonistic status of all social relations, or the irreducibility of the antagonism, is something that Marxism had to learn over a long and often terrible history - a history during which belief in a more 93 fundamental if as yet unrealized consensus resulted paradoxically enough in the most severe restrictions on political freedoms and even a stagnation of political debate. But matters are somewhat different in Marx's own texts, where Marx's positions are constantly being defined and redefined through Marx's polemical relations with others. What is interesting, then, is the manner in which the performative elements of Marx's text in many ways outlive the descriptive powers of Marxist science. As an example of the process of antagonism today, consider the many, overdetermined political discourses that get defined in terms of struggles for "rights." Following a particularly instrumentalist reading of Marx, orthodox Marxism generally took rights to be the ideological weapon of bourgeois class interests. As a result, Marxism could develop no positive theory of rights - indeed, no positive theory of the juridical as such. Like politics in general, rights existed only as an illusion to be destroyed. In his recent book on Marx, Etienne Balibar has suggested a somewhat different approach. Rights discourse, he argues, might "be seen both as the language by which exploitation is masked, and as that in which the class struggle of the exploited finds expression." In this sense, "rather than a truth or an illusion" rights constitute "the object of a struggle" (1995, 75). Human rights are not "natural rights," as the liberal tradition suggests - the rights that, in his essay "On the Jewish Question," Marx so convincingly exposes as thinly veiled property rights, and therefore not "natural" at all, but the product of very particular historical conditions and social relations. On the other hand, neither are rights the derivative expressions or instruments of class interests, or of the interests of class subjects that precede them. Instead, the phrase "human rights" denotes an object, or better a discursive process, through which a variety of different subjects do battle, and through 94 which they define and constantly redefine themselves. Thus there is a sense in which the struggle for rights precedes the possession of rights. A subject does not first possess a right that an authority might then be called upon to recognize. But neither are rights only those granted by the authorities. Instead, and as Balibar suggests, rights are first created in the process of struggling for them. Rights exist, in other words, to the extent that they have actual, concrete articulations - to the extent that they are demanded, fought for, and exercised in human practices. Thus it might be said that the specific content of "human rights" is neither universal nor immutable, but necessarily changes through different struggles and in different contexts, even as the abstract concept of human rights as such remains. In his work on the political forms of modernity, Claude Lefort comes very close to this understanding of rights when he maintains that they "are not simply the object of a declaration," but "it is their essence to be declared" (1986, 257). In Lefort's terms, "their formulation contains the demand for their reformulation" (258). What the declaration of rights indicates cannot be divorced from the act of declaring - the indication cannot be separated from the expression. Put differently, the subject that possesses a right cannot be divorced from the subject who declares it, and in declaring it reformulates it anew. This approach to rights is, of course, very different from the classical liberal model, wherein "natural right" refers to that which precedes all political relations, and that which political institutions are invented either to limit (as in the case of Hobbes, who sees natural rights and the state of nature as the war of all against all), or to defend (as in the case of Locke, who understands natural rights and the state of nature to involve the ownership of property). In the liberal tradition, such "natural rights" are directly opposed to the artificial world of social and political relations. They are the natural possession of 95 individual subjects before they enter into social contracts. Now, in general, there exist two schools of thought that challenge the principle of natural rights - positivism and historicism. Positivists insist that value does not pertain to the natural world, only fact. Historicists argue that value is utterly contingent on social and historical conditions, or that it is a social construct. Because of his appeals to both science and history, and his frequent dismissals, in "On the Jewish Question" and elsewhere, of "the so-called rights of man," it is easy, perhaps, to assume that Marx is either a positivist or a historicist. Thus orthodox Marxists, for example, attempt to administer civil society as a collection of positive facts, a sphere in which only scientific, not ethical or moral, principles obtain. Because rights are but an empty ideological expression of the more fundamental, material interests of the bourgeois class, upon seizing power the representatives of the working class can do away with rights altogether - do away, as it turns out, with the juridical dimension and due process as such. On the other hand, many inspired by Marxism take a radically social constructivist view, arguing that all values, all conceptions of right, are the product of particular, discrete, and finally incomparable historical contexts. Thus postmodern theorists have often maintained, or been accused of maintaining, that there are no universal values, and that each social and historical context, each manifestation of "situated knowledge," must be treated independently of all others. However, none of these theories - not the modern natural right theorists, not orthodox Marxist positivists, and not the postmodern historicists - quite captures Marx's approach. To understand Marx on this score, it would be necessary to reach back beyond the modern tradition to more antique sources. 96 Aside from the modem one there is another theory of natural right or natural law, namely the ancient one associated with Aristotle. For Aristotle, humans are neither warlike (Hobbes) nor acquisitive (Locke) but social. They are zoon politikon. Thus from an Aristotelian perspective, the rights of a free person are "natural," not to the extent that they precede "artificial" political relations, but precisely to the extent that it is "natural" for free humans to engage in political relations with others - to take part in the deliberations that will define the polis. Marx's conception of politics begins with this Aristotelian insight, developed most extensively in the third book of his Politics. Unlike some of his more polished treatises, Aristotle's Politics is a rather disjointed text - exploratory, tentative, and multifarious i f not contradictory. The uncertain structure of the text might be seen to challenge its central assumption, namely that politics constitutes a single object that can be studied according to the Aristotelian method of analysis and classification. Aristotle does posit the existence of the political, its specificity and irreducibility. But he is also wary of defining it too rigidly, doubtless because it is, for him, the decisive feature of human existence, and human existence is inherently complex. That is to say, the Politics, like other Aristotelian treatises on human society, stresses the impossibility of scientific knowledge or episteme when it comes to questions of human activity and social relations. A comprehensive social science is impossible, Aristotle maintains time and again, because the human world is fraught with contingency, thereby defying the kind of systematization, empiricization, and analysis found in Aristotle's studies of nature. Thus the Politics steadfastly refuses to assign a purely instrumental function to politics, viewing it instead as an end in itself - an activity that has its own virtue, and that cannot be understood simply as a mechanism for facilitating efficient 97 economic or juridical relations. In an important passage, then, Aristotle argues that "a city is not an association for residence on a common site, or for the sake of preventing mutual injustice and easing exchange." Rather "[w]hat constitutes a city [polis] is an association of households and clans in a good life, for the sake of attaining a perfect and self- sufficing [autarchic] existence." And "[t]his sort of thing is the business of friendship [philia], for the pursuit of a common social life is friendship" (1280b). The polis, and by extension each human being's natural sociality, is founded therefore on friendship or philia. And friendship is a unique kind of relation, as it is not, like facilitating economic exchange or settling grievances, a means to an end, but an end in itself. Friendship is the condition of the good life and of happiness. "It is therefore for the sake of actions valuable in themselves," Aristotle concludes, "and not for the sake of social life, that political associations must be considered to exist" (1281a). Thus, to the extent that they are founded on friendship, political associations exist for specifically political purposes. They cannot be explained or exhausted in apolitical terms. Marx agrees with this Aristotelian concept of natural right, natural friendship, and natural sociality or zoon politikon. He like many of his contemporaries accepts Hegel's effort, especially in the wake of Kant, to reinvent the ancient notion that freedom and individuality can only exist in specific social contexts, and that they cannot be possessions of isolated individuals but have to be realized and enacted in the world. And he approves of the Aristotelian principle that the democratic community is the product of collective deliberation among citizens or friends. But Marx is also keenly aware of the limits placed on such creative deliberations by Aristotle and others who follow him - the fact, for instance, that Aristotle believes political activity cannot alter the natural relation 98 between the master and the slave, or that, even i f democratically elected, the poor should not be allowed to expropriate the property of the wealthy. Thus Aristotle's concept of the political community as one based on friendship or philia also involves the exclusion or the erasure of certain points of antagonism. From a modern perspective at any rate, Aristotle's political community would seem to be bounded by a collection of only partially submerged laws (presented as inexorable laws of nature) that no political activity should be allowed to overcome, and no political deliberations should be allowed to transgress. The philia of the Aristotelian community is therefore conditioned by a polemos, or by antagonisms that it cannot contain, that threaten to overwhelm it, and that must be quelled via an appeal to a law that exceeds that of the political community itself. Thus Aristotle, after explaining how slaves are necessary because the natural construction of their bodies allows them and not others the perform certain (menial) tasks, claims that, even i f "every instrument could accomplish its own work," and the shuttle could weave and the plectrum play the lyre without human hands, slaves would still be needed, as domestic service and civilized life demands them (1253b). This is precisely the kind of law - the fetishistic presentation of a particular, historically located and alterable social relation as though it were a natural relation - that Marx seeks at every stage to delimit and demystify. These are the laws that philia, always limited, cannot challenge, and that polemos, always at the limit, does. Thus from a Marxian perspective, the democratic community must affirm both the bond of friendship and the possibility of the struggle, both philia and polemos. It must remain vigilant with respect to that which exceeds friendship, or that which, in being excluded from the domain of friends, first makes that domain possible or intelligible - its constituent exclusion. 99 If Marx's work harbored a theory of natural law, albeit one that is almost diametrically opposed to the liberal tradition, official Marxism categorically denied the natural law tradition, both ancient and modern. It treated law as the indirect expression of class interests. It might initially seem that the Marxist approach to law has very little purchase on contemporary social relations in the west, and certainly the notion of reducing law to class interests seems less than feasible today. However, as Alan Hunt and Gary Wickham have convincingly shown, traces of the Marxist tendency to reduce the law to other, ostensibly more fundamental categories and terms can still be found in the work of a decidedly post-Marxist thinker like Michel Foucault. While he is one of the great critics of Marxist reductionism and its repressive, monolithic, state-based conception of power, Foucault still engages in what Hunt and Wickham call an "expulsion of law" (1994, 55). That is to say, in Foucault as in most Marxist theory before him (theory Foucault believed he was overturning), the law is not a constituent or productive force. It is not something that creates social space or constitutes new social identities. Instead, the law, or what Foucault calls the juridico-discursive, is "a mechanism that is ineffectual and epiphenomenal, confined mainly to providing legitimations for the disciplinary technologies and normalizing practices established by other mechanisms" (57). Thus in Foucault, the law is characterized as an instrumental means to an end. Insofar as they hold to this instrumental understanding of the law, neither Marxism nor post-Marxism can develop any positive theory of rights. They must instead conceive of rights discourse as purely ideological - which is to say, false. As a result, and in a fashion that the young Marx would have found defeatist, rights discourse and the entire field of the law is foreclosed as a space of meaningful political intervention 100 from the outset, as it is assumed that such things merely reflect deeper, more profound structures and forces. At the same time, in the margins of Marxist discourse, a more subtle, complex approach to legal theory can be discerned. Two thinkers in particular deserve mention - the Soviet legal theorist Evgeny Pashukanis, who was murdered during the Stalinist purges, and the structural Marxist Nicos Poulantzas, one of Althusser's students. In his Law and Marxism: A General Theory, Pashukanis argues that the law is not natural, but neither is it an indirect reflection of class interests. Instead, law is an effective and productive social force - one that actively constitutes individuals as legal subjects. Thus for Pashukanis law is "a social relation in the [same] sense in which Marx called capital a social relation" (1989 [1924], 74). Capitalist economics operates by fetishizing or reifying the commodity - mysteriously making it appear to possess a natural value that exists apart from the social relations that go into producing it. Similarly, bourgeois law operates by fetishizing the subject, or making it appear that the individual, and especially the individual's will , exists independent of her or his relations with others. As a result, a single, reified construction of the subject is allowed to stand in for the many different kinds of individuals that actually exist. " A l l concrete particularities which distinguish one representative of the genus homo sapiens from another dissolve into the abstraction of man in general, man as a legal subject" (113). While his work is not without residual commitments to the instrumental conception of law, Pashukanis performed the crucial task of showing how, from within a Marxist perspective, law could be seen as a productive social relation - one that constitutes individuals as subjects. Developing a similar line of thought, but writing much later and under the influence of Althusser's 101 theory of the "specific effectivity" of the superstructures, Poulantzas claims that "law is a constitutive element of the socio-political field" (1978, 83). That is to say, for Poulantzas, law is a condition as much as it is a function of social and political relations. To borrow Kafka's terms, one is a subject "before" (in front of) the law, but not "before" (prior to) the law. For Poulantzas, the point is not to return to the liberal concept of natural law, but to reconstruct law as a public sphere, or an open space of discussion and debate. In this sense, it becomes a kind of res publica. Founded on no prior structure, neither natural rights nor class interests, the law becomes a collection of ongoing discourses and arguments - symbolic acts that continuously transform social reality. If rights are the object of a struggle, and the juridical is an open space in which struggles might take place, then so too is citizenship the object of a struggle, and the political community - the republic - built upon a foundationless, perpetually shifting terrain. If the citizen can be said to have a duty, it is not to submit to some established conception of what the community is, or to defend some established ideal of the nation, but actively to engage in the debates that are destined to alter what it means to be a citizen, and thereby to redefine the community anew. Carl Schmitt argues that, at root, politics involves a decision between friends and enemies - the arbitrary, forceful establishment and subsequent policing of borders, the drawing of a line separating inside from outside, us from them. The community of friendship is thus conditioned from the very beginning by a moment of unjustified violence, a polemos that silently threatens the community it first established. This same polemos that separates friend from enemy can be recalled to justify the greatest evils - all forms of racisms and apartheids, hatred and xenophobia. At the same time it represents the possibility of the smallest alteration to the 102 community of friends, the smallest exposure to the other and to the unknown, and thus the smallest hope for change and for difference in the future. Polemos then conditions philia, no less than philia conditions polemos. The possibility of political struggle is that of freedom as well. It is at one and the same time the condition for the possibility and the condition for the impossibility of the community. For his part, Marx would be a meager revolutionary i f he merely sought consensus among the community of friends - i f he did not seek to give political form to the antagonisms that emerge on the borders between friends and enemies. He would also, and at the same time, be a meager ethicist. For the possibility of difference is also the possibility of relation - of accepting the slightest responsibility, of exercising the slightest freedom. 103 The Demolition of Substance Modern political theory has always been troubled by the question of the relationship, not only between the individual and the community, but also between the individual self and the social self, the private self and the public self, or what Rousseau calls homme and citoyen. Is the connection between human and citizen determined by some structure or some ontology that might be scientifically analyzed and exhaustively explained? Or is it arbitrary, uncertain, and void of determinate meaning - the function, for instance, of decisions that are themselves grounded in nothing at all, but taken during a moment of madness? Is the bond between homme and citoyen necessary or contingent, natural or artificial, substantial or formal? These questions are, of course, not really questions but puzzles or aporia. In the political life of a democracy, they are not meant to be resolved, but perpetually worked through, argued about, and struggled over. In The Inclusion of the Other, Jiirgen Habermas captures the problem quite well. There he posits a distinction between conservatives, who tend to call for civic responsibility and the total participation of all citizens in the public life of the community, and liberals, who find freedom instead in individual rights, and in a private realm of conscience that cannot be reduced to established institutions and social conventions. Given this framework, Marx might initially i f unexpectedly be classed among the conservatives. Marx accepts the Aristotelian definition of the human as zoon politikon, or an active citizen of a polis. And it is precisely this conception of the human as "naturally" social that modern liberal political theory (especially Hobbes and Locke) begins by rejecting, seeing it as a justification for the thoroughly integrated social and political hierarchies, or the 104 corporations and estates, of the medieval order. At the same time, Marx understands the Aristotelian conception of the zoon politikon to be a condition not only of human sociality but of individuality as well. That is to say, according to Marx, i f humans are zoon politikon, this is so, not because they have no individual existence, but because they first come to "individuate" themselves within society, and through their relations with others (G 84). Thus for Marx the question of whether the individual or the community, the private or the public self, "comes first" cannot really be answered. Prior to all such categories, Marx suggests, prior to both the individual and the community, both the homme and the citoyen, there is a relation (Verhdltnis). More accurately, and as Marx puts it in the sixth of his "Theses on Feuerbach," there is an "ensemble of social relations" (SW 157). And i f an ensemble of relations can be said to precede every identity, be it individual or collective, then by definition no identity is stable or self- contained, as from the very beginning and without exception every identity exists in relation to some alterity, some externality, some "other." Since the time of Althusser's intervention in the 1960s, Marx scholarship has witnessed a protracted debate over the concept of essence. Is Marx's career shorn in half by an epistemological break with this concept? Is there a moment when Marx rejects the ideological language of the human essence - of alienation and estrangement - and begins to pursue a science of the social relation? Or does Marx continue to rely on the concept of essence throughout his career, in his mature work on political economy no less than in his youthful work on philosophy? However this debate might be resolved (and as I argue in the final chapter of the current study, the real question is how Marx's concept of essence develops and changes, not whether he maintains it or breaks with it), it is clear that 105 Althusser's attack on "essentialism" has significantly outlived Althusser's particular version of structural Marxism. Contemporary cultural and political theory is more or less unanimous when it comes to the critique of essentialism, and whether they know it or not all of those who follow this critique owe a debt to Althusser, and to Althusser's extremely influential reconstruction of Marx's career around the theme of the epistemological break. For Althusser, the decisive point in Marx's texts is the sixth of the "Theses on Feuerbach," where the "human essence," or a kind of abstraction that exists within each individual, an infinite and therefore infinitely divisible substance, is said to be replaced with the concrete "social relation." In fact, in the "Theses on Feuerbach," Marx does not oppose the human essence and the social relation. Rather, altering Feuerbach's static understanding of the Gattungswesen or the sensuous species being of humanity, Marx redefines the "human essence" in terms of an "ensemble of social relations" (SW157). In other words, for Marx, the human essence is not a determinate, universal and unchanging substance from which all particular identities originate and to which they are all destined to return. On the contrary, it refers to an ensemble of relations - one might even, borrowing the terminology that Althusser borrowed from Freud, say an "overdetermined" ensemble - that precedes, conditions, and even retroactively produces that which it appears to relate. Thus there is a sense in which the relation creates the relatum. And from the time of the "Theses on Feuerbach" forward, wherever Marx employs the language of essence and of Gattungswesen he also invokes this logic (or this teleologic) of retroaction, where effects precede causes and the future conditions the present. In part because of Althusser's bifurcation of Marx's career into a youthful "ideological" period and a mature "scientific" one, Marx's and Engels's various 106 interventions into the polemical exchanges the raged among the young Hegelians during the Vormdrz, and particularly their attacks on Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner, have been more or less ignored by Marx scholars and commentators. The complexity of the Hegelian terminology, the assumption that Marx and Engels transcended that terminology (what, in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, Marx calls their "erstwhile philosophical conscience"), the employment of deeply rhetorical and ironic language, the colossal number of literary and cultural references, and the historical specificity of those references have all contributed to the general sense that, with the exception of a few choice passages, works like The Holy Family and The German Ideology are of little or no significance to the Marxian legacy. And yet, for precisely the same reasons, these polemical works have more to say now and in a post-Marxist context than ever before. Althusser's claim that, in or about 1845, Marx breaks with the humanist concept of essence, especially as it is found in Feuerbach's philosophy, overlooks the fact that, during the Vormdrz, the young Hegelians spent much of their energy arguing over, precisely, the concept of essence. Indeed, Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner explicitly attacked Feuerbach's theory of the Gattugnswesen, largely because they saw it as a dangerous reduction of the complexity and the contingency of human existence, one might even say the "overdetermination" of human existence, to a single, determinate substance - one that threatened to subsume difference, individuality, and creativity under a single rubric. That is to say, during the Vormdrz period, it was not Marx and Engels but Bauer and Stirner who mounted the most consistent attack on the humanist concept of essence. Marx and Engels on the other hand defended the concept of essence. But they did so by altering it - reworking it, not as a static and universal substance, as in 107 Feuerbach's philosophy, but as a historical and dynamic form, as Aristotle and Hegel had taught. While they have been ignored for generations, Marx's and Engels's efforts to redefine the concept of essence throughout their polemics with Bauer and Stirner - their efforts to conceive of the human essence in terms of "an ensemble of social relations" - have a direct bearing on contemporary debates over political identity, philosophical essentialism, and the deconstruction of substance. Indeed, in their discussions of the concept of essence, the young Hegelians were interested in precisely the same questions that continue to vex contemporary political theory - the relationship between the individual and the collective, and between the private self and the public self, or between citoyen and homme. Reawakening these long forgotten debates between the young or left Hegelians is not, therefore, a strictly hermeneutic project. The polemics among the leading intellectuals of the Vormdrz have a direct bearing on current debates over liberalism and cornmunitarianism, essentialism and social constructionism, and linguistic or semiotic versus ontological understandings of identity and subjectivity, to mention but a few. In particular, a close analysis of the young Marx's readings of his contemporaries, one that seeks not only to confirm Marx's so-called "mature" position but also to locate productive fissures and gaps in his texts, might be seen to inform the recent effort to rethink the problem of universality, hegemony, and political solidarity in the wake of the postmodern age of fragmentation, diffusion, and disintegration. Without calling for a return to easy, substantialist understandings of political identity, where categories like "social class" are treated as absolute givens that do not need to be assembled through political discourses, how might the debates among the young Hegelians during the 108 Vormdrz inform a more complex, variegated, piecemeal but still effective conception of solidarity in a post-Marxist conjuncture? For some time now Marx's polemics with Bauer and Stimer have been treated as transitional works - of interest only to the extent that they point forwards to his more serious studies of political economy or backward to his youthful flirtations with Hegelian philosophy. Indeed, among nearly all Marx scholars, the polemical and rhetorical aspects of the "Theses on Feuerbach" and The German Ideology - what Althusser dubbed the "Works of the Break" - have been completely obscured by Marx's celebrated "discovery" of the science of historical materialism. This is not to suggest that historical materialism needs to be abandoned. But perhaps it is time to apply other, heterodox understandings of the phrase "historical materialism," among them that of Walter Benjamin, to Marx's own text. For Benjamin, the Marxian insight makes it possible to interpret an apparently degraded period or genre (Baroque parody, for instance), not merely as a transitional stage, but on its own terms and in its own contexts. Here a "materialist" reading of history cuts into and disrupts the recognized patterns and narratives used to justify the present, or to construct the here and now as inevitable, natural, or rational. It attends to that which has been, not so much excluded and silenced, as blunted and constrained - excesses that have been forced to conform to the dominant understandings of the past. While Benjamin never made this point, the very text in which the concept of "historical materialism" first makes its appearance has become an example of precisely this process. That is to say, The German Ideology, a work of incredible rhetorical and intertextual excess, has been extracted from its contexts, reduced to a few passages, and rendered as a justification for Marxist science. 109 In order to understand the polemics that raged among the left Hegelians during the Vormdrz it is important to back up, not just to Hegel or classical German idealism, but to the Sturm und Drang movement, to the reaction in Germany against the expansion of the French Enlightenment during the later half of the eighteenth century, and to the work of Johann Gottfried Herder in particular. The peculiar fascination with history that overtook Germany during the nineteenth century - and in many ways the history of "history" as such - begins with Herder. Herder can certainly be classed among the first to take a "materialist" approach to history, and to link historical research to the unfolding of something like a human "essence." He was also, as Charles Taylor has pointed out, a leading figure in linguistic studies, and played a central role in the development of the "expressivist" model of language - what Taylor calls the "anthropology of expression" (1975, 15), or the idea that language does not only designate objects in a world external to it, but also expresses the internal world of individual and collective subjects. It is no exaggeration to say that, along with Vico, Herder more or less invented cultural studies, and established most of the still extant protocols of hermeneutics. Vico introduced the notion that human cultures follow coherent pattens over long periods of time - much longer than the lives or the memories of individuals could explain. To this insight, Heder added the ideas that particular cultures represent the culmination of particular histories, that human societies are located in material contexts, and that each specific people's historical or material experience gets expressed through its culture (Bildung), and more specifically through its language. Herder and the Sturmer und Drdnger introduced Europe to the notion that cultural difference is significant. Against the dominant trend of their age, they argued that the universal and a priori reason privileged by the French 110 philosophes could not explain the complexity of human existence, and even threatened to reduce that complexity to crudely scientific terms. Thus Herder and his contemporaries effectively reclaimed the language of "essence," and especially of "spirit" or Geist, that had been jettisoned by early Enlightenment thinkers as so much scholastic chicanery and mystification. Prior to the seventeenth century, intellectuals tended to accept the Aristotelian notion that humans are motivated by an internal soul, psyche, or spirit - that a spirit inhabits the body, and provides it with teleological direction. This idea was thoroughly discredited by the empirical sciences of the Enlightenment, especially by the science of anatomy. But the Sturmer und Drdnger suggested that, i f the human spirit could not be empirically verified, i f it did not inhabit the individual body in the here and now, it could nonetheless be seen to emerge, develop, and transform itself in cultural life worlds, over time, and through history. This idea that the human spirit or essence is historical and cultural, and that it cannot be reduced to strictly scientific terms, or to the terms of the natural sciences, was extremely important for Hegel, and via Hegel for Marx as well. It also led to the creation of the hermeneutic Geisteswissenschaften - the protocols that still distinguish cultural studies from the natural sciences. While they also on occasion struggled against it, the young Marx and his colleagues within the left Hegelian movement were very much products of the humanist tradition that Herder and a handful of others - Schiller, Goethe, Humboldt, and so forth - had inaugurated in Germany a few generations earlier. Marx's training in particular was in the classics, as evidenced by his doctoral dissertation on Epicurus and Democritus, and the theological debates that set up the framework for the left and young Hegelian movements were really only slightly veiled struggles between secular humanist and more I l l orthodox religious outlooks. It is important to be clear that Herder and the Sturmer und Dranger did not reject Enlightenment, even though many of their ideas (especially their latent nationalism) would be picked up and transformed by more Romantic thinkers during the nineteenth century. They sought instead to humanize the Enlightenment, and to carve out and preserve a space for intellectual and cultural labors that could not be immediately translated into what Horkheimer and Adomo call the "instrumental rationality" of Enlightenment science. While he and, much more so, Engels employed the language of science on occasion, Marx and his contemporaries took for granted the general contexts of humanist scholarship and learning, as is evidenced by the copious references to humanist traditions in all of their texts. Althusser's theory of the epistemological break tends to tear Marx out of these contexts, and to conceive of his work as almost magically unique - the messianic revelation of the good news. That the break is said to occur in The German Ideology, a work that is largely about the importance of locating ideas in specific historical and material contexts, only serves to muddy the waters still further. Indeed, there is nothing especially unique about The German Ideology. A l l of its major claims - the theory of material and economic history, of alienation and the division of labor, of the relationship between ideas and practices, and so forth - can be found in the work of others. Like much of Marx's and Engels's work, the manuscript consists of extended citations followed by elaborate commentaries - hermeneutic explications of the ideas of others. It is not so much a self-contained body of work as it is an assemblage, a relays system of references, or what, following Deleuze and Guattari, I am inclined to call a machine. 112 Owing to the influence of figures like Herder and to the dominance of historical studies in Germany in the nineteenth century, it is not difficult to find German economists in the 1840s developing the idea, completely independent of Marx, that political economy is not a set of abstract or universal principles, as suggested by the Manchester liberals, but must be studied in historical terms and in relation to specific cultural contexts. Indeed, from the 1840s through to the 1890s, one of the dominant schools of economic theory in Germany was the so-called "historical school," represented by figures such as Bruno Hildebrand, Karl Knies, and perhaps most importantly Wilhelm Roscher. Against the liberal principle that all economic relations are reducible to rational, autonomous, property owning individuals, these thinkers maintained that economics is a historical and a cultural phenomena - that one could only understand the massive changes in economic life going on during the nineteenth century i f one first knew something about economic history. While they were not revolutionaries, the members of the historical school were interested in addressing what was at the time referred to as the "social question," or the pauperization of the working classes and traditional craftspeople that seemed to be concomitant with the liberalization of economic life and the mechanization of production. To this end, Roscher and his colleagues sought to develop historical methodologies that could uncover the laws of economic change. Perhaps because he was not a professional academic, Marx's approach to political economy is significantly less nomological or law oriented than that of the historical school. In fact, what distinguishes Marx's work from Roscher's, for instance, is not the pretension towards science (they both have that) but Marx's distinctly literary style. Marx's texts are assembled out of references to a large cross section of human culture - to literature and 113 art, history and politics, painting and folklore, and so forth. Nor does it make sense simply to ignore this aspect of Marx's work, despite a very long tradition of Marxist commentary that suggests otherwise. To the extent that he takes human culture in the broadest possible sense seriously, Marx's work is perhaps closer to "spirit" of the Sturmer und Drdnger than the standard historians of nineteenth century Germany. If, in the academy and in official culture, the insights of the humanist thinkers of the eighteenth century were rendered systematic, and thereby turned into a new kind of instrumental rationality (the staid academic historicism that Nietzsche would so powerfully attack, especially in his essay on "The Use and Abuse of History for Life"), in Marx's text they remain connected to cultural studies, and to the idea that culture cannot be reduced to the terms of the natural sciences. Shortly after Marx's death in 1883, and after rereading the first, unfinished chapter of The German Ideology manuscript, Engels wrote Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy. There he proposes that, in a moment of inspiration captured in the "Theses on Feuerbach," Marx "inverted" the idealist philosophy of his age, replacing it with a scientific historical materialism. Ludwig Feuerbach is also the text in which Engels first published a slightly edited version of Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach" - a few brief notes that Marx jotted down in the spring of 1845 in the form of Feuerbach's own "Provisional Theses for the Reformation of Philosophy." While the narrative told in Engels's little pamphlet has proven extremely influential, and has been established as not just the dominant but almost the exclusive interpretation of the young Marx, it is more than a little reductive. Long before Marx wrote his "Theses on Feuerbach," Herder and most of the German historians who 114 followed him were quite explicitly "materialists." According to Herder, theory is always already "buried" in practice - "Gedanke liegt in der Empfindung. Theorie in der Praxis begraben" (1892 [1778], 261). Similarly, every idea originates as a kind of "analogy" for the material world - "was wir wissen, wissen nur aus Analogic" (170). The notion that ideas are not transcendental but buried in practices and in the material world put Herder in direct confrontation with the preeminent philosopher of his day - his onetime teacher Immanuel Kant. The system set out in the Critique of Pure Reason rested on the hypothesis of what Kant called "synthetic a priori" judgments. Similarly, the Critique of Practical Reason sought to establish the individual's absolute or categorical moral duty. If Kant wanted judgments that could be universalized and held by all rational subjects, Herder insisted on the location of ideas within particular cultural contexts. For Herder, reason was not a set of abstract principles but something that could only emerge over time and through conflict. As one commentator puts it, for Herder "history and social development must not be thought of as a smooth advance towards absolute or unchanging goals, but rather as a struggle towards ever emerging ends" (Barnard 1965, 134). The social, political, and cultural institutions of each particular people were understood by Herder to be expressions, externalizations, or actualizations of that people's essence - expressive creations that also reflexively altered and built that essence. Herder referred to this conflicted, elaborate, disjointed process as Humanitdt - the "humanization" of social relations. Through it the nation state (Rechtstaat), or the institutions of the contemporary political order, would be replaced by the culture state (Kulturstaaf), or a more organic, less formalized and mechanical social bond. 115 The concept of the human essence introduced by Herder and the Sturmer und Drdnger was picked up and considerably developed by Hegel, especially in the early part of his career when he worked at Jena. Thus Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, easily his most influential work among the young Hegelians (so called, not because they themselves were young, but because they privileged the work of the young, revolutionary Hegel over that of the old apologist for the Prussian state), constructed history as an elaborate dialectic between "subject," or the self-conscious individual, and "substance," or the network of conventions and institutions (the state, the church, culture, language) that expressed the essence of the community. The debate among Hegel's followers after his death in 1832 was not so much between right wing and left wing thinkers, or conservatives and liberals, as it was between those who prioritized the collective substance of the community, or the established customs and norms that defined the social bond (what, in his political writings, Hegel called Sittlichkeif), and those who believed instead that Hegel's system and thus history itself culminated in the triumph of the self- conscious individual over all such limits and constraints. It is at this point in the history of ideas that Bruno Bauer intervenes with such force and authority. While his work has since been overshadowed by Marx's various polemics against it, during the Vormdrz Bauer was widely recognized as the era's most gifted, i f also most unconventional and heterodox Hegelian intellectual. Bauer's early career can be broken down into three relatively distinct phases - the years between 1836 and 1841, during which he was an up and coming Hegelian theologian interested in Biblical hermeneutics, those from 1841 to 1843, when he openly broke with Christianity, lost his position in the academy, and reinvented himself as a republican revolutionary and secular humanist, and finally the 116 years following 1843, when he moved to Berlin and became the leader of the radical, quasi-anarchist group die Freien. Bauer scholars continue to debate the significance of these changes in direction, but throughout all of them Bauer remained thoroughly committed to a single concept, that of "self-consciousness," and to the systematic demolition of its dialectical opposite, namely "substance." Thus already in his first theological studies - a series of criticisms of David Strauss's controversial Life of Jesus - Bauer endeavors to prove that the history of religion, and especially the Christian revelation, represents the emergence and growth of self-consciousness, or the triumph of the free individual over the constraints of the social collective. In terms of the history of the young or left Hegelian movement, the significance of Bauer's criticisms of Strauss cannot easily be overestimated. Though it was couched in deeply theological language, the debate hinged on the relationship between the individual and the collective, or subject and substance. Effectively and put very briefly, Strauss became infamous for applying what Taylor calls the "anthropology of expression," not just to any cultural product (as a whole army of folklorists and historians were doing at the time), but to the Bible. Prior to Strauss, Biblical hermeneuts argued over whether the Bible was a historically accurate document, or whether it was a work of divine inspiration, making questions of its historical accuracy irrelevant. Strauss set this whole debate aside, and treated the gospels instead as though they were myths - the mythical expressions of early Christian communities. Following the work of his teacher Ferdinand Christian Baur, Strauss argued that the "mythi" that make up the gospels were not the creation of individual authors who had personally known Christ, but the culmination of inordinately complex social and historical processes - the work, not so much of authors 117 as of what Michel Foucault (who owes a great deal more to historians like Strauss than is commonly recognized) would call an "author function." Thus according to Strauss "the mythus is founded not upon any individual conception, but upon the more elevated and general conception of a whole people (or a whole religious community)" (1902 [1835], 82). That is to say, for Strauss, "it is not [...] to be imagined that any one individual seated himself at a table to invent [the gospel myths] out of his own head, and write them down, as he would a poem." Rather, "these narratives like all other legends were fashioned by degrees, by steps which can no longer be traced; gradually accruing consistency, and at length received a fixed form in our written gospels" (58). In this sense, the gospels expressed the essence, or the collective experience and imagination, of a whole community. And it was this communitarian understanding of the gospel narratives that Bauer took issue with in his initial critiques of Strauss, published between 1836 and 1838 in the influential Jahrbucher fur wissenschaftliche Kritik. For Bauer, the gospels most emphatically were written by people who sat down at desks to produce works of art. They were the creation of individual writers who expressed, not the essence of the community, but their own individual genius. Indeed, according to Bauer, the Christian revelation itself, or the embodiment of a divine God in the individual human Jesus Christ, celebrated precisely the creativity of human individuals - the manner in which individuals can break away from established social conventions, as Christ had broken with Jewish law, and freely create their own lives. In claiming that the gospels were socialized texts, or the product of social conventions or a common substance, Strauss eliminated from them that which made the Christian religion unique. 118 Bauer continued to argue this line in a group of theological treatises he wrote as a young professor - namely Die Religion des Alten Testaments, published in 1838, and Der Dr. Hengstenberg and Kritik der evangelishen Geschichte des Johannes, which were released in 1839. In these works, Bauer criticized both liberal and orthodox theologians for failing to appreciate the philosophical, as opposed to merely historical or mythological, significance of Christianity. For Bauer, Christianity was about the synthesis of the human and the divine in the individual self-consciousness of Jesus Christ. Thus theology confirmed Hegelian philosophy, which Bauer believed also culminated in the ascension of the creative individual. The creativity of the individual gospel writers reflected the same process. So too, in fact, did Bauer's own creativity as a writer and a critic. This position would be systematically set out in what is perhaps Bauer's most important work, the Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker or critique of the synoptic gospels. That this book has yet to be translated into English is something of an anomaly, so important was it for the development of not only Bauer's ideas but those of his entire generation, Marx and Engels included. It was first published in two volumes between 1841 and 1842 by the Leipzig bookseller Otto Wigand. It was also the work that garnered Bauer his expulsion from the German academy, and that made him something of a celebrity among the liberal intellectuals of the Vormdrz. In it, Bauer argues that the authors of the synoptic gospels - Mathew, Mark, and Luke - were writers with no direct knowledge of the events they recounted, and who based their stories on a mixture of tradition and imagination. In this sense, Bauer concludes, they effectively fulfilled the philosophical truth of the Christian revelation to the extent that, in writing the gospels, they freely expressed their own emancipated self-consciousnesses. Similarly, in writing 119 his critique of the synoptic gospels, Bauer himself freely expressed his self- consciousness. He broke with the established conventions, or the institutions said to make up the "substance" of the theological community, and freely created a work of art. Thus in the Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker itself, subject finally triumphs over substance, and philosophical Wissenschaft over theological myth. Here the internal contradictions that drive the Hegelian dialectic are put to work. In finally severing his own ties to the Christian notion of divine revelation, in negating and transcending religion as such, Bauer himself realized the philosophical truth of Christianity. Though the series of moves Bauer made in his theological works were extraordinarily clever, they were not especially appreciated by the new, decidedly Pietist, and decidedly orthodox regime of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. For the Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker, Bauer was labeled an atheist and unceremoniously relieved of his position at the University of Bonn. Around the same time, he wrote another, equally important work - an elaborate parody entitled The Trumpet of the Last Judgment Against Hegel the Atheist and Antichrist: An Ultimatum. Published under a pseudonym, and written satirically from the perspective of an orthodox critic of the young Hegelians, Bauer's Trumpet stands as one of the great literary achievements of the Vormdrz, not only because of its brilliantly heterodox reading of Hegel, but also for its formal innovations and rhetorical style. In effect, Bauer praises his colleagues with faint damnation - calling the young Hegelians "the most consistent and unrestrained revolutionaries" (1989 [1841], 126), or militant terrorists whose "highest goal" is the "overthrow of the established order" (128). Under the veil of his orthodox persona, Bauer endeavors systematically to prove that the young Hegelians are the true heirs to Hegel, 120 and that, unbeknownst to his more conservative readers, Hegel was not an apologist for the Prussian monarchy or an advocate of Christianity, but an atheist, a republican, a Jacobin, and a revolutionary. Through a close reading of the master's texts, Bauer argues that, for Hegel, self-consciousness is not a moment in the development of substance rather substance is a moment in the development of self-consciousness. At the pinnacle of history and as the culmination of the dialectic, the individual subject negates and transcends the universal or the common substance of the community. Here as elsewhere in Bauer's work religion operates as the exemplary expression of the common substance that must be demolished, and that, in order to liberate itself, the individual self-conscious must escape. Bauer pays particular attention to the theological debate between Hegel and Friedrich Schleiermacher, father of modern liberal theology. He spends a great deal of time explaining Hegel's attack on Schleiermacher's notion of Gefuhlstheologie or the "theology of feeling." Schleiermacher argued that faith is individual, and that it rests, not on some external, objective being that can be verified or denied, but on the individual subject's internal sense or feeling of absolute dependence. Against this position, Hegel insisted that faith relies on an external substance - not a finite individual, but an infinite deity. Conservative theologians clung to this argument as proof of Hegel's orthodoxy. But Bauer contended that, in Hegel's system, the theory of the external, infinite deity or divine substance was only introduced so as to prove that the truly self-conscious subject overcomes it as well, and in doing so realizes its own infinite nature. That is to say, the divine substance is but "a moment within the movement in which finite consciousness resigns its own finiteness" (111). And the "conclusion of this movement," Bauer maintains, "is not Substance but self-consciousness, which really posits itself as the 121 infinite and takes up the Universality of Substance in its own essence" (112). The conclusion, that is to say, is the emancipated individual. Even as, beneath the veil of parody, it glorifies the power of the human imagination, or the individual human liberated from all external constraints, Bauer's Trumpet is intended to be the creation of such an imagination. It performs what it describes. The genre of parody alone suggests that, in writing, Bauer is free to give himself his own identity, and to recreate himself as he chooses. In its original form, the text is also awash in typographical innovations - with arrows and circles humorously emphasizing particular words, and marginalia extending commentary in exorbitant trajectories. There is, therefore, an intimate connection between the freedom of writing and political freedom in general. For Bauer, the creative act, the individual's declaration of great words and performance of great deeds, is indissociable from human emancipation. Thus Bauer triumphantly declares that "only the Ego is Substance, it is the A l l " (112). For the same reason, the heavily rhetorical, even bombastic tone of Bauer's Trumpet cannot be overlooked. The style contains as much of the work's meaning as does its logic. And it was the style of Bauer's Trumpet that would influence the young Hegelians, especially Marx and Engels, and especially in their polemics against Bauer himself - namely The Holy Family and The German Ideology. Consider a passage in which Bauer's persona ridicules center and right Hegelians for ignorantly believing that Hegel's philosophy could result in anything other than atheism and revolution. "[D]o not come to us only with your talk of the Absolute Spirit or the overlapping Subjectivity, and call upon the often misused words of your master - that Substance is taken to be Subject," he indignantly proclaims: 122 Oh you short-sighted imposters! Did your master then say that Substance was a definite, a unique subject? Has he said it to be the Prime Subject, the Prime individual who has created heaven and earth? Did you not notice the soul murdering Father had merely said, and set forth in his system, that Substance was generally only to be taken as a category of subjectivity? - i.e., its inner process would lead it to the point where it would draw itself out of its black abyss and take its dark and dreadful obscurity into the light-point of subjectivity? Could this Substance, i f it would bring its Infinite Kingdom into consciousness, be satisfied with but One Subject? One is not enough! Infinity spews forth only out of the chalice of the Whole Kingdom of Spirit. It must bestow itself upon many, infinitely many subjects, and give itself over to finiteness so therewith it can display its inner treasure. Many a finite spirit must be crushed and pressed, a world of spirits must bring themselves to sacrifice, i f substance would become subject (108). The apocalyptic tone of Bauer's language would become typical of the radical philosophy of the Vormdrz, as would the genre of parody. The language of young Hegelian texts, those of Marx and Engels included, was always suffused in irony, always double voiced or written with two hands. Through the rhetoric, however, Bauer's point is that Hegel's philosophy, and by extension history itself, culminates, not in the subordination of individual subjects to a collective substance or the triumph of a single, Absolute Spirit, but in the fragmentation of spirit into an infinite and infinitely multiplying number of self-conscious individuals or unique egos. 123 The same heroic individualism at the center of Bauer's theological and philosophical works can be found in the more explicitly political theory that he began to develop after his expulsion from the academy, and especially in his attacks on Feuerbach's concept of the Gattungswesen. Like many contemporary post-Marxist thinkers, Bauer is quite explicitly an anti-essentialist, and his criticisms of socialism are directly parallel to those found among the postmodern thinkers I have dubbed the new republicans. After moving to Berlin and becoming leader of die Freien, Bauer and his followers set up the journal Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, in which he published his important article on "Die Gattung und die Masse" or "The Genus and the Crowd" - a systematic repudiation of socialist politics and of the humanist concept of essence. Bauer's politics are thoroughly republican, meaning that the social bond is for him formal as opposed to substantive. That is to say, the "community" is not an absolute given or a static substance, but something that free individuals or republican citizens must create and perpetually recreate through their self-conscious acts - and especially through what Bauer calls "critique." The republican community is free precisely to the extent that its citizens possess the right and the power to invent that community's limits out of the void. Thus for Bauer, Feuerbach's theory of the species-being or Gattungswesen represents but one more iteration of substance - one more universal category that effectively subsumes the individual self-consciousness under some external determination and constraint. It will not allow for the advancement of individual freedom, but can only lead to the violent imposition of a single order, a single Gattung, on all individuals. Thus in the socialist model, Bauer contends, "the human essence is for man a power which he may not and cannot submit at all to the critique." It is "an infinity which he does not possess and 124 which possesses him" (1983 [1844], 201). The followers of Feuerbach, including at this point Marx and Engels, naively promulgate "a society which neither has nor makes [its own] essence, but rather, is purely and solely constituted by it" (203). In such a state, freedom, and especially the freedom of individuals to submit all models of the community and all universal ideals to perpetual critique, would have to be suppressed. Here "[t]he unity of society is troubled no more, since in it there will be but one dogma, and this dogma as the expression of the entire truth - rules all brothers the same way" (201). Every theory of the human essence, every attempt to unify humanity with a common substance, amounts then to an erasure of difference, and can only result in the oppressive destruction of individual freedoms. In retrospect, the prescience with which Bauer predicted the trajectory of socialist politics is more than a little astonishing. Already during the Vormdrz period Bauer understood how, in his own words, "[fjhe crowd of free brothers can only assure its freedom and equality through a state which also abolished freedom in the smallest thing" (204). Feuerbach's concept of the Gattungswesen not only failed to relinquish the theory of substance, it also effectively obliterated the contingent, purely formal foundation of human communities. It made the human community appear to be something natural, even sensuous, and not the artificial creation of individual citizens. Thus in seeking to unify the human community it denied humans the power to create that community through their words and deeds. It denied, in other words, the basis of republican freedom. In a letter from the summer of 1844, Marx informed Feuerbach of Bauer's attack on his concept of essence, and of Bauer's journal in general. Referring to Bauer's Allgemeine Literatur- Zeitung, Marx tells Feuerbach of how "[fjhere is much unspoken polemic against you in 125 it," and goes on to say that "I intend to publish a small brochure against this aberration of your criticism" - a text that would balloon into The Holy Family, anything but a "small brochure." In the same letter, Marx provides his own gloss of Feuerbach's concept of the Gattungswesen, one that seems designed to rebuff Bauer's criticism. He defines it as "[t]he unity of man with man, which is also rooted in actual differences among men" (Marx to Feuerbach, 11 August 1844). Thus from Marx's perspective Gattungswesen comprehends both the community and the individual, both unity and difference. But it seems as though Bauer's criticism of the Feuerbachian concept of essence required of Marx a more extensive response, as by the time he worked on The German Ideology less than a year later, his understanding of essence had shifted dramatically. The human essence is no longer a static substance, as it is for Feuerbach, but instead a dynamic, changing, reflexively altering form. There Marx and Engels attack any theory that "takes refuge in a double perception, a profane one which sees only the 'flatly obvious' and a higher, philosophical, one which perceives the 'true essence' of things" (GI 57). An essence is no longer something opposed to appearances, or a substance in which a cluster of qualities inhere. It is, instead, an immanent form that actualizes itself through appearances, through history, and in the material world. It has a kind of regulating effect on human actions and decisions, locating them within a particular social and historical context, even while it is reflexively altered by those actions and decisions. In his letter to Feuerbach, Marx is still willing to call Bauer "my friend of many years," even though he qualifies the statement by noting how they are "now somewhat estranged" (Marx to Feuerbach, 11 August 1844). Their friendship, and Bauer's influence on the young Marx, form crucial components of the Marx-machine. In particular, they 126 help explain how Marx negotiated the problem of the relationship between the individual and the community, private and public life, homme and citoyen. The dominant reading of Bauer, still heavily influenced by Marx's polemics against him, suggests he was, in Karl Lowith's terms, a "critical nihilist" - someone who "devoted himself to a permanent criticism the 'purity' of which did not permit a practical application" (1964, 106). Similarly, and in a more recent study, Harold Mah has characterized Bauer as a heroic individualist who negotiates the "verkehrte Welt" of Vormdrz Germany by reserving for himself "the pure, knowing gaze of a detached Olympian reason" (1987, 85). Against this tradition, however, Douglas Moggach has sought to reposition Bauer as a "civic humanist" - a republican political thinker who "proscribes that the general interest must emerge from the conscious strivings of individuals" and that "the voluntary and constant reproduction of the community is the political function of citizenship" (2000, 61). This new interpretation of Bauer might also be seen to cast new light on Marx's criticisms of him in "On the Jewish Question," The Holy Family, and The German Ideology. It is not only Bauer the idealist whom Marx and Engels attack. It is also Bauer the individualist and the republican. Thus i f Bauer comes out against Jewish demands for emancipation within Germany because he believes that individuals should have no particularistic ties or collective identities (especially not religious ones) save that of humanity as a whole, Marx has a more pragmatic and more pluralistic approach to politics. That is to say, Marx believes that the project of human emancipation can only be furthered through the struggles of particular groups. Unlike Bauer, Marx is a radical democrat, in that he begins his analysis of politics with real social antagonisms, and then endeavors through his practice to articulate those otherwise diffuse and unrelated antagonisms into effective 127 political forces. Through the course of his exchanges with his contemporaries, Marx comes to believe that the dominant social antagonism, the struggle around which all others tend to coalesce, is class struggle. Unless it is coupled with an effective struggle to produce the social conditions that would make the right to participate in debates that define the corrimunity possible for all, the republican ideal of "citizenship" is insufficient. For Marx, it is not only a question of citizens having the right perpetually to redefine the limits of the community. It must also be possible to redefine what a citizen is, what rights they can access, and who gets counted among their numbers. If there is one element of Bauer's text that calls, even today, for some response from socialists, it is his attack on the concept of essence or the metaphysics of substance - the idea that communities do not exist as absolute givens, but must be actively created or called into being, and therefore have a formal as opposed to a substantial identity. For Bauer as for other republican theorists, it is not that there exists no community, but rather the community is understood to be the retroactive effect of a creative act that names or "constitutes" it - a speech act that, because contingent, formal, or grounded in no necessary substance, can always be repealed, altered, and transformed in the future. If, in The German Ideology, Marx breaks with a certain, very static understanding of the human essence, i f he begins instead to conceive of essence as a dynamic and historical form, something which is reflexively altered by its various discrete expressions, this is at least in part a response to Bauer's critique of essentialism. The problem Bauer points to in Feuerbach's concept of Gattungswesen is closely related to contemporary, post- Marxist and new republican critiques of Marx and Marxism. To posit a human essence in the Feuerbachian sense - a common substance of which all individuals partake, and that 128 is infinite and therefore infinitely divisible - is to deny the possibility that, as engaged citizens of a republic, individuals might actively and imaginatively create that which binds "the people" together. It is to overlook what Althusser calls the "specific effectivity" and "relative autonomy" (1969, 111) of the superstructures, or their capacity, not only passively to represent, but actively to change social conditions. For Marx and Engels, however, i f the community does not exist as an absolute given, neither does the individual. Individuals and communities, or both individual and collective identity, can only be understood as products of an ensemble of social relations - a differential matrix that precedes and conditions every identity, and that makes the experience of identity possible. Thus it is not surprising that, in his "Theses on Feuerbach," Marx redefines the concept of essence, not as "an abstraction inherent in each individual," or an infinite and therefore infinitely divisible substance, but as an "ensemble of social relations" (SW 157). Political identity, indeed identity as such, whether it is collective or individual, is always underwritten, as it were, by social relations. More accurately, identity is always a formal, partial articulation of the ensemble of social relations - a provisional effort to represent certain relations as if they constituted a definite or internally coherent subject. That is to say, as Bauer argues, collective identity is not a given, but the product of particular human practices. It is something that, through their actions, humans must create and perpetually recreate. Perhaps Marx and Engels did not pay enough attention to the manner in which the dynamic movement of social relations, and the concomitant emergence of ever new social antagonisms, always returns, i f only at long last, to overwhelm every set identity and every established norm - the sense in which no representation of the ensemble will 129 ever be adequate or final, and every representation will be subject to contestation and critique. More accurately, Marx and Engels would begin to deal with this question when, towards the end of the "Feuerbach" chapter of The German Ideology, they introduced the theory of hegemony - the idea that each political subject or social class engaged in revolution is compelled to represent its particular interests as (/"they were the interests of humanity as a whole. "Each new class which puts itself in the pace of the ruling one before it," Marx and Engels write, "is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form." In other words, each new class must endeavor "to give its ideas the form of universality" (GI 61-2). Now when, on the exact same page of the text, Marx and Engels claim that the working class or the proletariat is in fact a universal class, that its interests really are the interests of humanity, and that "the rule of a certain class [...] comes to a natural end [...] as soon as class rule in general ceases to be the form in which society is organized" (62), the text seems to open up the possibility of a number of different readings. One of them is, of course, that Marx and Engels are simply saying what they believe - that the triumph of the working class will inevitably put an end to class rule and to social antagonism as such. Another, however, is that they are practicing what they preach - that, as political activists committed to advancing certain struggles in a radical democratic context, they are endeavoring to represent the particular interests of the working class as if they were the universal interests of humanity as a whole. Why not read these passages, not as ontological descriptions of historical necessity, but as performative speech acts, or as attempts to create a hegemonic discourse? Indeed, Marx and Engels themselves have just finished arguing that, in order to engage in revolutionary 130 politics, one would be "compelled" to perform such conjuring tricks. In The German Ideology as in all of their political texts, Marx and Engels are not only describing a political subject that exists as an absolute given. They are calling that subject into being, constituting it out of diffuse social antagonisms, and thus, in an attempt to articulate a hegemonic discourse, creating it. 131 The Ego and Its Other While the theory of hegemony has become very well disseminated, and is the one element of Marx's work that continues to have great influence in post-Marxist circles, it is not especially well known that Marx and Engels first constructed that theory in the midst of their critique of Max Stirner, and as part of the extensive, all but forgotten "Leipzig Council" section of The German Ideology. The passage on hegemony in The German Ideology comes from a digression Marx and Engels wrote while polemicizing against Stirner's The Ego and His Own. Only in a later draft did Marx and Engels relocate it, along with a second digression on the real basis of ideology, towards the end of the chapter now known as "Feuerbach." Originally, the definition of hegemony formed part of a section of "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" entitled "Hierarchy." And this original context, while it does not exhaust the meaning of the text, is nonetheless significant. For, against Stirner's rather cavalier rejection of all ideas and all abstractions as empty and spectral, Marx and Engels want to explain the specific effectivity of ideas - the manner in which certain ideas articulate concrete practices, and carry with them the very real institutional authority of, for example, the church, the state, the bureaucracy, the military, and so forth. According to Marx and Engels, whether or not, in the pages of his book, Stirner declares his liberation from ideas and abstractions, the institutional power articulated by certain ideas, in short the power of ideology, remains firmly in place. Thus Marx and Engels are interested in the interaction between, for example, political ideas and social conditions, or the reciprocal determination of ideologies and social relations. This is a process that Stirner, in simply denying the reality of ideas and abstractions, 132 cannot hope to influence in any meaningful way. The concept of hegemony, indeed Marx's and Engels's entire discussion of the problem of ideology, needs to be understood, then, in relation to the extended, prolix and unruly polemic against Stimer in "The Leipzig Council." In fact, and as only a few commentators have ever noted, everything in The German Ideology, all of the passages that have over the years become synonymous with the science of historical materialism, emerge in the midst of a work that is almost entirely dedicated to an attack on Stimer. As Nicholas Lobkowicz points out in one of the few extant discussions of the issue, "no one ever seems to have suspected that there might be a close relationship between Marx's concern about Stimer's position, and the emergence of his own 'historical materialism'" (1969, 71). Perhaps even more importantly, Marx's theory of the social relation is first established and discussed within a particular, ultimately overdetermined, and deeply polemical ensemble of social relations. And those relations - between Marx and Engels, Bauer and Stirner, Feuerbach and Griin, and so forth - are themselves symbolically articulated in particular texts. Although it is contrary to the orthodox reading of the work, which follows the older Engels in treating it as a simple inversion or opposition of idealism and materialism, Marx's and Engels's polemic against Stimer is very much about the specific effectivity of ideas, of ideologies, and of what would later be dubbed superstructures. Though it arrived on the scene somewhat late, in the final month of 1844, in the context of young Hegelian polemics Stimer's The Ego and Its Own was groundbreaking nonetheless. It represented a serious challenge to anyone, like Marx and Engels, who relied on a theory of the human essence. Indeed, it represented a serious challenge to anyone who believed in community or collective identity as such. Stimer's work, which 133 builds on and develops the anarchistic elements of Bauer's individualism, has all the characteristics of typically young Hegelian discourse. It is sprawling and apocalyptic, narrating the entire history of humanity (twice) and representing itself, or its own publication, as the cataclysmic overturning of that history. The arrogant tone of the text reinforces its dominant concept - der Einzige, or what is very usefully translated into English as "the ego." At least part of what is stake in both Stirner's The Ego and Its Own and Marx's and Engels's overwhelming response to it in "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is, precisely, the ego. Or rather, what is at stake in both texts is the relationship between the ego and its other - Stirner insisting on the priority of the former, and Marx and Engels the much more enigmatic priority of the latter. Derrida makes this point in Specters of Marx, where he reserves a special place for a close reading of "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max." Following the tradition of excising Engels's name, he argues that Marx rebukes Stirner so excessively, that he pursues him at such great length, to the point where his polemic is nearly as extensive as that which it feigns to be dismissing, because Stirner resembles him too closely. When reading Stirner's hunt for specters in The Ego and Its Own, Marx comes face to face with what Derrida calls "a brother, a double, thus a diabolical image" bf himself (1994, 139). In the race to collect in one book all the forms of illusion and fantasy that have befuddled humanity throughout history, Derrida suggests, Stirner beat Marx to the chase. In effect, Stirner "poached the specters of Marx" (140). Thus, in Derrida's reading, Stirner's book on the ego bruised Marx's ego. Marx's ego is so hurt that he must spend nearly four hundred pages denying Stirner's claim - denying, that is to say, the reality of the ego. "Why this hunt for ghosts," Derrida asks. "What is the reason for Marx's rage?" Because, he replies, when reading 134 The Ego and His Own, when confronted with his strange, diabolical brother, "Marx scares himself [se fait peur], he himself pursues [il s'acharne lui-meme] relentlessly someone who almost resembles him to the point that we could mistake one for the other [...] A kind of ghost of himself. Whom he would like to distance, distinguish: to oppose" (139). Thus Marx could go on chasing Stirner forever, as he might just as well be chasing his own shadow. Derrida's reading of "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is very creative, and it uncovers material that has too often gone ignored by commentators. It is not, however, Marx who chases Stirner, but Marx and Engels. The distinction is significant, especially given that the debate is over the relationship between the individual ego, or what translators have dubbed the "unique ego" (der Einzige) and the social relation. As a collaborative text, The German Ideology is the product of a social relation. Indeed it is the unfinished product of a social relation - one that is not entirely pacific or harmonious. Thus into the debate between Marx and Engels on one hand and Stirner on the other must be inserted various confrontations and struggles between Marx and Engels themselves. Derrida, like almost all others before him, simply overlooks the whole problem of the relationship between Marx and Engels - of how they were involved in a process of constructing themselves and constructing one another through their collaborations, and how editors have since attempted to smooth over the differences and present their texts, The German Ideology in particular, as though they contained a singular, animating intention, one associated with the science of historical materialism. I will take up these problems at length in the next chapter of my dissertation. What is interesting here is the extent to which The German Ideology - an unfinished and unpublished manuscript - was 135 itself and from the very beginning a kind of res publicus or open space of discussion and debate between a variety of different subjects, friends and enemies, and not the expression of a unified intention or a coherent ego. Indeed, to the extent that it remains open to interpretation, The German Ideology also remains a textual res publicus or a socialized text - a rhetorical assemblage that can be taken apart and reassembled in countless different fashions. To publish, to write, perhaps to use language at all, is already to presuppose some other - a reader, a recipient, and thus a kind of double. In "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," this phenomenon - what we might call the discourse effect - forms a central component of Marx's and Engels's polemic against Stimer. For as soon as he publishes his ideas, as soon as he addresses himself to another, as soon, that is to say, as he engages language in any fashion, Stimer has already relinquished the unique ego, and admitted that the ego is only defined in relation to another, and to that which it is not. This is the contradiction, or rather the aporia, that Marx and Engels both tease Stimer with and tease out in their collaborative reading of Stimer's book. Far and away Stimer's most important theoretical work, The Ego and Its Own consists of a sustained assault on all abstraction, and especially on Feuerbach's concept of the human essence or Gattungswesen. This perhaps explains why Marx and Engels dealt with it in such detail. Any universal ideal said to transcend the isolated ego, any category intended to comprehend two or more individuals, is characterized by Stirner as a manifestation of the Holy, no less spectral or ephemeral than divine spirits and theological speculation. According to Stimer, "[m]an has not really vanquished Shamanism and its spooks until he possesses the strength to lay aside not only belief in 136 ghosts and spirits [Geisterglauben] but also belief in the spirit [Geistesglauben]" (1995 [1844], 66). But Stirner is not only out to get Feuerbach. He wants to negate and transcend all philosophy hitherto, including that of all the left Hegelians. Ridiculing its political (Arnold Ruge), socialist (Moses Hess), and humane (Bruno Bauer) modes, Stimer equates left Hegelianism with liberalism, and liberalism with a kind of secularized religion. "[Liberalism is a religion," he vehemently insists, "because it separates my essence from me and sets it above me, because it exalts 'man' to the same extent as other religion does God or idol, because it makes what is mine into something otherworldly" or because "it makes some of what is mine, out of my qualities and my property, something alien - namely, an 'essence'" (158). Against such alienation from oneself, Stimer argues that all relations with others, no matter how altruistic they may appear, are in fact reducible to the ego's desire. "I do not want the liberty of men, nor their equality; I want only my power over them. I want to make them my property, material for enjoyment'" (281). As Nietzsche, who was so suitably bom the same year that The Ego and Its Own was first published (1844), reiterates a generation latter, denial of this desire to dominate or this will to power is ultimately denial of life itself - sheer nihilism. But " i f I no longer serve any idea, any 'higher essence,'" Stimer concludes rather triumphantly, "then it is clear that I no longer serve any man either, but - under all circumstances - myself (318). Once the ego comes to understand that it possesses its own ideas as it possesses property, once it is subject to no external determination, no universal ideals, and no human essence, its emancipation is complete. And given this philosophy, it is hardly surprising that, other than The Ego and Its Own, Stimer's only major contribution to German letters and ideas are his translations of Adam Smith. 137 In Lobkowicz's estimation, Stirner took the left Hegelian critique of abstraction as far as it could go. He reduced all social relations to "the naked individual se l f and "denounced not only a certain type of ideal, but all ideals whatsoever" (1969, 85). After Stirner, holding to any ideal, admitting that communities are united in any fashion, that there is anything like a human essence or common substance, was tantamount to regressing to a religious position. If he wished to remain a communist, Marx could not help but respond to this provocation. And according to Lobkowicz, Marx's response was not especially inspired - although it would have grave and long lasting effects. Following Stirner's attack on all ideals, Lobkowicz maintains, "Marx simply translated his ideal into laws of history" (90). Thus in The German Ideology Marx's ideal image of what the human community ought to become gets magically transformed into a science of what it will become. The same conjuring trick is said to produce a tension between Marx's theory and his practice. "On the one hand," Lobkowicz writes, "[Marx] translates all his ideals into historical necessities; on the other he wants to remain a critic and a voice for revolutionary action" (94). But why engage in political action i f the course of history is thoroughly determined? Indeed, why even write a polemical refutation of Stirner? These kinds of questions have dogged Marxism since its inception, and the history of Marxist thought provides more than enough examples of attempts to find a solution - Lenin's and Gramsci's work being but the two most notable. But, directly contrary to what Lobkowicz maintains, the question might already be answered in The German Ideology itself. Indeed, read closely, The German Ideology might be nothing other than an extended effort to address precisely this question - not a deterministic science of history, but an elaborate meditation on political strategy, and on the specific effectivity of 138 political ideas, ideals, and rhetoric. Faced with Stirner's systematic repudiation of all ideals, Marx and Engels do not transform their ideals into a science. Rather they set out to show the manner in which ideas or what today we would call "ideologies" effectively articulate real life social relations and concrete political institutions. More precisely, Marx and Engels set out to prove that the phenomena that Stimer calls the "unique ego" (der Einzige) and its "property" (Eigenthum) are social constructs, and that they have no consistency, no value, no meaning whatsoever outside of or beyond the very social relations, discourses, and institutions that Stimer, for his part, proclaims false, and wishes to have done with. However, Marx and Engels explain, simply declaring such ideals and institutions "false" liberates one from exactly nothing. It provides no concrete freedom whatsoever. Indeed, it effectively isolates one from all of the collective structures (including language) that make any struggle for liberation possible in the first place. "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" endeavors to prove that what Stimer calls the ego and property are not irreducible elements of human existence but, no less than Feuerbach's "Man," the product of specific, historically located social relations. Moreover, though Stimer rails against morality, he at all time relies on an implicit deontological claim. Stimer argues that humanist essentialism does nothing to change the content of Christian morality, but simply transposes it from the divine to the human world, rendering it all the more material and therefore all the more oppressive. "If one finds man's chief requirement in piety," Stimer claims, "then there arises religious clericalism; i f one sees it in morality [Sittlichkeit], then moral clericalism [sitrfichche Pfaffentum] raises its head" (1995 [1844], 72). Now this use of the term Sittlichkeit when discussing "morality" throughout The Ego and Its Own is far from incidental. In "On the 139 Scientific Ways of Treating Natural Law" Hegel makes a distinction between Sittlichkeit and Moralitdt. This distinction remains central throughout Hegel's political work, including his Philosophy of Right. In Hegel, Sittlichkeit refers to the recognized, established, institutionalized customs and ethos of a particular community, while Moralitdt connotes the categorical moral duty of the Kantian subject - a universal duty that must originate with the autonomous will of the individual. Stirner is well aware of the association between sittlich and cultural difference, and like Hegel (though for the exact opposite purposes) he deliberately plays on the word's ambiguous meaning. "To act according to the custom [Sitte] and habit of one's country," Stirner sarcastically declares, "is to be moral [sittlich] there" (65). What Stirner dislikes about Sittlichkeit is precisely the manner in which it locates the subject in a particular community, making the unique ego's actions contingent in some fashion upon established norms and communitarian principles. But, as Marx and Engels point out in "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," in rejecting Sittlichkeit, Stirner inadvertently, perhaps even inevitably retreats to a Kantian position. Thus while Stirner claims to have rejected morality tout court, his writing and his rhetoric are nonetheless riddled with categorical imperatives - absolute assertions as to what one "ought" to do. As Marx and Engels note, "[wjhenever difficulties arise, Saint Sancho hacks his way through them by means of a categorical imperative: 'turn yourself to account,' 'recognize yourself,' 'let each become an all powerful Ego,' etc" (GI316). Thus it would seem that Stirner's renunciation Sittlichkeit and valorization of the autonomous will itself relies on a moral principle. In the place of the concrete institutions that articulate Sittlichkeit, which Stirner simply proclaims to be false specters, and then denies out of hand, the ego is left with the Moralitdt of the 140 abstract Kantian will . And in this sense, for all Stirner's bluster, the egoist or der Einzige is not liberated from a single concrete institution, but only saddled with the categorical duty to be an egoist. A somewhat more generous reading of The Ego and Its Own has been proposed by the preeminent scholar of left Hegelianism, Lawrence Stepelevich - especially in his essays "Max Stimer and Ludwig Feuerbach" and "Max Stimer as Hegelian." The first of these essays claims that, in arguing for "the actual dependency of all normative and regulative concepts, such as God, man, mankind, state, society, or law, upon the willful determinations of the singular ego," The Ego and Its Own represents the most radical break with the dominant intellectual trends of its time (1979, 457). More ambitiously, Stepelevich's second essay claims that Stirner's philosophy represents "the ultimate consequence of Hegelianism," that he is "the perfected Hegelian," even "the completed Hegel" (1985, 602, 604). In other words, according to Stepelevich, by rejecting the abstract communitarian ideals of his fellow left Hegelians, and by positing a unique ego fully in change of its own property, Stimer in fact remains true to Hegel - true, that is to say, to the real Hegel, who most have mistakenly treated as a communitarian, but who is in fact more on the order of a libertarian. Taking as his point of departure the conclusion of The Phenomenology of Spirit, Stepelevich argues that "the ego [der Einzige]" is Hegel's pure subjectivity - a "creative nothingness," as Stimer calls it, void of all external determination. On the other side of the equation, "property [Eigentum]" is Hegel's pure objectivity - the concrete expression of the pure subject's freedom. With Stirner's ego, Stepelevich maintains, "the negative aspect of reason is no longer required, for there is no longer a cognitive need for self-criticism" (608). The dialectic, the 141 progressive development of spirit through negation and transcendence, comes to an end. At the same time, the ego is not solipsistic because, in Stepelevich's words, "[t]he actual being, i.e. the 'objectivity' of the unique ego, is found in property" (611). Here Marx's analysis of property as a form of alienation (Entfremdung) is rejected out of hand. Instead, property is understood (in what, according to Stepelevich, are properly Hegelian terms) as the genuine expression (Entausserung) of the ego's individuality. For Marx, private property can only exist insofar as it can be exchanged. One only owns property to the extent that one possesses something of value to someone else - something "vendible [Verschacherbares]" (GI 247). For Stirner, on the other hand, it is the relationship between the ego and its property, the act of will appropriating material, that first "renders both subject and thing intelligible" (Stepelevich 1985, 612). That is to say, for Stirner, nothing can have any meaning (for me) except insofar as it is (my) property. Though he does not put it in these terms, Stepelevich's argument turns on the idea that The Ego and Its Own is a performative text - that it is, to use Paul de Man's definition of mise en abyme, "an example of what it states" (1986, 86). Stirner seeks to annihilate "the false belief that one's ideas are not one's own possessions, but have an objectivity and substantiality apart from the knowing ego" (Stepelevich 1985, 613). And his ideas, the ideas expressed in The Ego and Its Own, are an illustration of this principle. Stirner "introduces into the philosophical literature a new term intended to convey a note of radical exclusiveness, a term that would lie outside all classification: 'Der Einzige'" (607). A "unique ego [...] being beyond the forms of consciousness that set definitions, is undefinable" (609). Thus the very word Einzige is an expression (Entausserung) of Stirner's unique ego. It is his property, his Eigentum, his own. However, i f it is the case 142 that Stepelevich has correctly identified what Stirner "intended to convey," then for that very same reason, what Stimer intended to convey cannot be true. For i f der Einzige is a "new term," i f it has meaning only because Stimer "owns" it, then its original intention is foreclosed to readers from the outset. It is utterly unique for and to Stimer. Anticipating Ludwig Wittgenstein's critique of the theory of private languages, Marx and Engels make the same point about all of Stirner's words. Calling Stimer by one of the (significantly multiple) nicknames they invent for him, Marx and Engels write: [t]he second rock against which Saint Sancho, on reflecting a little, was inevitably bound to shipwreck, is his own assertion that every individual is totally distinct from every other, is unique. Since every individual is altogether different from any other, it is by no mean necessary that what is foreign, holy, for one individual should be so for another individual; it even cannot be so. And the common name used, such as State, religion, morality, etc., should not mislead us, for these names are only abstractions from the actual attitude of separate individuals, and these objects, in consequence of the totally different attitude towards them of the unique individuals, become for each of the latter unique objects, hence totally different objects, which have only their name in common. Consequently, Saint Sancho could have at most said: for me, Saint Sancho, the State, religion, etc., are the Alien, the Holy. Instead of this he has to make them the absolute Holy, the Holy for all individuals - how else could he have fabricated his constructed Ego, his egoist in agreement with himself, etc., how else could he have written his whole "Book?" (G7307). 143 That is to say, i f ideas did not have some "substantiality" (or, more accurately, some "exchangeability," some vendibility, some value) apart from the knowing ego, i f signs did not first accrue their meaning by being exchanged with others, then there could be no communication whatsoever, indeed no language as such. In this sense, The Ego and Its Own relies on a performative contradiction. Stimer cannot both mean what he says and say what he means. Indeed, to open one's mouth or inscribe a mark at all is already to have submitted to language, and thus to a world of relations with others - a world completely haunted by the specters and abstractions Stimer so desperately wishes to exorcize. Stimer says he does not believe in such things, but in fact he must believe in them. How else could he have written his whole book? If not the property of a unique ego, then what is an idea, what is a sign? Baroque, teeming with references to external sources, and intricately self-reflexive, "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is also a performative text. Its rhetoric here reinforces, there defies, its logic. The central motif of Marx's and Engels's polemic is repetition - the point being that the ego itself is not unique as Stimer insists, but the effect of always prior social relations, and thus a kind of repetition. The very text of "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is a repetition, a section by section parody of The Ego and Its Own. The genre of parody alone suggests that what Stimer calls "unique" can in fact be copied. It can be reworked and redistributed in distinct contexts, producing meanings that the author could not possibly have intended. Moreover, this parody of Stimer is itself based on another parody in turn - namely Cervantes's great comic novel Don Quixote, a book that is all about the manner in which two very different friends, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, slowly become copies of one another. And Marx and Engels are sure to point out 144 that, in this retelling of the story, Stirner is akin to Sancho Panza, having his head stuffed full of idealist nonsense by the Don Quixotes of the world (GI 266). Indeed, Marx and Engels go to exorbitant lengths to show that Stirner's version of history, far from being unique, is but a poor copy of Hegel's. Stirner is a "'clumbsy' copier of Hegel" (180). He is both a truant schoolboy who relies on a Hegelian "crib" (174) and a pedantic teacher and dogmatist who seeks to educate his students through rote repetition (169). Here the language of pedagogy reminds the reader that the one who calls himself "Max Stirner" is in fact not Max Stirner, but a "parochial Berlin school-master" (285) named Johann Kaspar Schmidt. That is to say, no matter what he might claim, "Max Stirner" is not unique, but a replication, a repetition, or a discursive supplement for someone else - some other. Stirner's school motto should, Marx and Engels quip, read "Repetitio est mater studiorum" - repetition is the mother of learning (198). The fact that the author(s) of The German Ideology is / are also copies of one another only reinforces the point further - the ego is always already split off from itself, (dis)located over there and on the side of the other. As all of this repetition implies, language is not, as a nominalist like Stirner believes, a collection of false "common names" that refer only to abstract classes of things and true "proper names" that refer to discrete, unique objects. Rather, it is something more on the order of an infinitely complex network of iterations and citations - a system of repeated signifiers that remain irreducible to an original referent or intention. And whether or not its authors claim this to be the case, "The Leipzig Council III. - Saint Max" shows it to be the case. The conception of discourse and writing enacted in "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is, therefore, closely related to what Derrida says in his early work, especially 145 in his seminal essay "Signature Event Context," about citation and iteration. It is not so much that, for Marx and Engels, language is what Stepelevich calls a "substance." Rather it is a dynamic ensemble of relations or, to use one of Marx's and Engels's favorite words, "exchange [Verkehr]." At the very least, "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" contains in its margins and folds a highly sophisticated theory of discourse, and of language as public action - one that is related to J.L. Austin's theory of speech acts. Pace the logical positivism of his time, Austin argues that certain utterances do not describe an external reality, but of themselves perform tasks. Austin is especially interested in legal discourse - the kind of speech acts that pass judgments, bind contracts, constitute states, enact laws, and so forth. These utterances, Austin maintains, are effective, successful, or what he likes to call "happy" because they possess "illocutionary force." That is to say, they are effective because they are uttered in certain, generally recognized contexts - or because, before the words are uttered, there already exists "an accepted conventional procedure having a certain conventional effect" and this procedure includes "the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances" (1962, 26). Thus Austin links the fulfillment of the speech act, or the fulfillment of its author's intention, to the social context in which the act is uttered - what he calls the "total speech act." This, however, means that the speech act is only effective i f it is a citation or a repetition of a previous act - one that has been successful in the past, and that is recognized as effective within particular contexts. As a result, no speech act is utterly original, or reducible to the animating intention of an individual - what Stimer would call der Einzige. Rather, as Derrida argues in "Signature Event Context," every speech act is "secondary, inscribed, 146 and supplementary" (1988, 3). It is the product of social conditions, or rather social relations, that exceed its intention and that provide it with its force. In "Signature Event Context," Derrida extends this theory of the speech act as a citation or what he calls "iteration" to all language and all signs. What he calls the "law of iterability" has at least two possible consequences. On the one hand, it may be the case that all speech acts are structurally determined - that, because they require the prior establishment of a recognized social context, recognized rituals and conventions, no speech act is original. On the other hand, it could just as well be the case that, as pretty much the entire philosophical tradition suggests, from Plato through to Austin himself, every repetition increases the potential for error, for corruption, and thus for difference. Thus the very thing that makes a speech act effective, or that allows it to fulfill the intentions of its author, namely iteration, is also what threatens to distort those intentions, or transform them into something unknown. It is this double move that interests Derrida most - the relationship between repetition and difference, iteration and alteration. "Every sign," he writes, "linguistic or nonlinguistic, spoken or written [...], in a small or large unit, can be cited, put between quotation marks; in doing so, it can break with every given context, engendering an infinity of new contexts in a manner which is absolutely illimitable" (12). This is exactly the principle that Marx's and Engels's parody of Max Stirner's The Ego and Its Own relies on at every turn. Because he announces himself in language and in a published book, Stirner is not unique, but secondary, supplementary, inscribed within discursive and therefore collective contexts. Even his declared name - Max Stirner - is already a corrupted repetition, a double or iteration, in that it is a pseudonym for Johann Kaspar Schmidt. Playing on this original repetition, and showing 147 that in principle it can be extended in an infinite fashion, Marx and Engels pile up nicknames and sobriquets for Stimer, calling him Saint Max, Saint Jacob, Sancho Panza, Saint Sancho, Jacques le bonhomme, and "Stimer." And the use of polyonomasia, borrowed in this case from Cervantes's Don Quixote, where the hero's real name is never revealed, but has been forgotten from the very outset, is not incidental, as it highlights the sense in which every individual, every unique ego, is divided off from itself and constructed amidst an ensemble of relations with others - the sense in which being split in two is the condition, not only of writing and publishing, but of discourse, of language, and of symbolic relations as such. It is possible, then, to read "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," not only as a polemical exercise, but also as a very complicated theory of language, of the operation of speech acts and the specific effectivity of ideas or ideologies. Thus there is a sense in which, when he writes that, upon reading Stirner's The Ego and His Own, Marx "scares himself," or comes face to face with a "diabolical image" of himself, Derrida is also describing his own experience of reading Marx - or rather, Marx and Engels. To what extent does Marx or Marx's text represent a kind of diabolical image of Derrida's? To what extent does Marxism constitute a diabolical image of deconstruction? When Derrida claims that Stimer "poaches the specters of Marx" and that Marx "scares himself when reading The Ego and Its Own, he fails to mention that he, Derrida, has borrowed or poached both of these images of hunting and haunting from "The Leipzig Council" itself, where they have borrowed them from others in turn. Thus Marx and Engels write of how "Sancho poaches [Jagdfrevei] snipe existing only in the mind" (GI 470). They also recall how, upon first encountering another human being, Stirner's unique ego is "seized with 148 immediate 'horror' - 'he is terrified of himself [er erschrickt von sich selbst],' he sees in every man a 'frightful specter [grausigen Spuk],' a 'sinister specter [unheimlichen Spuk],' in which something 'stalks [umgehty" (167). This language of hunting and haunting that permeates "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" would be incidental, i f it were not for the fact that it reemerges once again in the opening scenes of the Communist Manifesto - a work that was not "abandoned to the gnawing criticism of the mice," not by a long shot. Now Derrida's reading of the Communist Manifesto hinges on the single word, "manifesto," which he interprets as a dangerous attempt to make manifest or render fully present the specter - to provide a determinate ontology of the ghost. And this is fundamentally Derrida's criticism of Marx - that, while he invoked them for rhetorical purposes, he did not really like specters and ghosts, that he was committed to the metaphysics of presence, or to the manifestation of pure presence. But one could just as well read the word "manifesto" in the title of the Communist Manifesto in the precise etymological sense of the word, as an attempt to strike a blow (manus I festus) - not, that is to say, an effort to describe social reality in some exhaustive fashion, but a performative speech act, or a highly provisional attempt to constitute a particular political agent capable of addressing a particular political context. If, in Specters of Marx, Derrida both apes and criticizes Marx's texts, and especially Marx's rhetoric, this only points to the problem that is operative throughout Derrida's essay - namely Derrida's desire simultaneously to associate himself with and to distance himself from Marx. This approach to the text might help explain what is really most intriguing about Derrida's book on Marx - not his reading of Marx per se, but the manner in which he frames that reading with an extended reflection on Hamlet. Off the top, this reference 149 invokes the irreducibly theatrical character of politics, or the sense in which politics takes place, as it were, on a stage - what Claude Lefort calls a mise en scene. Following Lefort, most post-Marxist and new republican thinkers claim that Marx gravely misunderstood this staging of the political, and sought to reduce the open space or res publicus of political discourse (one aspect of what Derrida Calls the specter) to a determinate social ontology. Throughout this chapter of my dissertation, I have attempted to prove otherwise - that Marx was actively engaged with the political, and was as committed as any of his contemporaries to republican conceptions of political freedom, open discourse or conflict, and continuous transformative debate. The Hamlet reference also provides Derrida with the "time is out of joint" citation, which he spins out into an extended reflection (a very Hamlet-like reflection) on Heideggerean temporality and the Greek conception of justice as dike or jointure. But Derrida's use of Hamlet as a leitmotif has another, less explicit implication as well. Albeit in an indirect fashion, it "stages," as it were, the relationship between Derrida and Marx, deconstruction and Marxism. Or rather, through the Hamlet reference, Derrida stages one interpretation of that often puzzled over relationship. For, in the traditional reading at any rate, Hamlet is a play about a once heroic, but now slain and usurped king, or more accurately the ghost of that king, and his bookish, melancholic, indecisive son - a prince who is sworn to avenge his father's death, but who gets bogged down instead in perpetual deferral, endless delay, and uncertain ontological questioning ("to be or not to be"). Who is the king in this scenario i f not the young Marx - author of a social movement that, for better and for worse, sometimes for the very worst, dominated an entire century of human history, and of a dream or a promise that was so violently 150 usurped? And who is the indecisive prince i f not the aging Derrida - someone with many friends among the scholars, but who has always been accused of lacking political effectiveness, and who, even in The Specters of Marx, seems to prefer philosophical speculation and endless pondering of questions of the sort "what is x" to decisive political action? Thus indirectly, passively even, Derrida would seem in the margins of his text to be acknowledging the standard Marxist critique of deconstruction - the claim that it is, or that it always runs the risk of becoming, ineffective, academic, and incapable of operating in "the world." Derrida will insist otherwise of course - that there is always something at stake in deconstruction, that it is always a kind of intervention, and that its consequences are as real as the nose on the end of your face. That particular debate aside, it is interesting to note how infrequently the Marxist critique of Derrida and of deconstruction is based on a reading of Marx - how frequently, that is to say, a reified system labeled "Marx," a network of received categories and terms, takes the place of the overwhelming assemblage of texts and documents, manuscripts and traces that, for us today, "is" Marx. Perhaps, then, it is not a question of distinguishing between text and world, the semiotic and the phenomenal, the virtual or imaginative and the real or the practical, but of treating the text as a machine - as a productive, i f also composite and fragmented structure that works not only to interpret the world, nor simply to represent it, but also and at the same time to effect it, to articulate it otherwise, in a word, to change it. 151 Part Two: The Marx-Machine In doing this, I acquired the habit of making excerpts from all the books I read - such as Lessing's Laokoon, Solger's Erwin, Winckelmarm's history of art, Luden's German history - and to jot down reflections on the side. At the same time, I translated Tacitus' Germania and Ovid's Libri Tristium, and began on my own, that is, out of grammars, to study English and Italian, in which I have not yet accomplished anything. I also read Klein's criminal law and his Annals, and all the latest works of literature, the latter on the side however [...] I had read fragments of Hegel's philosophy, the grotesque, rocklike melody of which did not appeal to me [...] From grief over Jenny's illness and my fruitless intellectual labours, from a consuming anger over having to make an idol of a view I hated, I fell sick, as I have already told you, dear Father. My health restored, I burned all my poems and sketches for short novels, etc., labouring under the illusion that I could abandon them altogether - of which there is as yet no evidence. Karl Marx to Heinrich Marx, 10 November 1837 152 153 Chapter 2: Allegories of Writing The Reading Lesson Taking up the vast majority of The German Ideology, "The Leipzig Council" is a colossal polemical assault on the left Hegelian philosophers Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner. Throughout the history of Marx scholarship its two chapters - a short one on Bauer called "Saint Bruno" and a considerably longer one on Stirner called "Saint Max" - have been routinely denigrated and ignored by commentators, and even completely excised from the work by editors. With only a small handful of exceptions, it has been all but universally accepted that the primary intention or message of The German Ideology is contained within the opening chapter entitled "Feuerbach," and that the polemics found in "The Leipzig Council," not to mention the incomplete second book "True Socialism," constitute at best a historical curiosity, at worst so much irrelevant rhetorical embellishment, excess and waste. Even before the work was posthumously released in 1932 as the fifth volume of the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe, Marx's official biographer Franz Mehring had set the tone for subsequent commentaries when he characterized it as a "discursive super-polemic" and an utterly unnecessary exercise in "purely intellectual gymnastics" (1966 [1918], 111). The judgment would be echoed by, among others, Isaiah Berlin, who refers to "The Leipzig Council" as a "confused, verbose and ponderous work" (1963, 123), and by the editor of Marx's Selected Writings in English David McLennan, who calls it an "extremely tedious" text consisting primarily of "acres of diatribe" (1979, 159). More recently, and in an otherwise very illuminating book on left 154 Hegelianism, Daniel Brudney has called "The Leipzig Council" a "staggeringly crude" polemic full of "endless tirades against figures remembered only because Marx and Engels wasted vitriol on them" (1998, 268). Even Etienne Balibar, who in other contexts cannot say enough good things about the open and uncertain status of Marx's writing, has chimed in, describing Marx's debate with Stimer as an "inconclusive" example of "verbal jousting" clouded almost to the point of opacity by its reliance on "typically 'ironic' argumentation" (1995, 35). Now the fact that these renunciations of "The Leipzig Council," not to mention many more like them, seem to operate by replicating the polemical hyperbole they claim to condemn should not be overlooked. It suggests that the stain of rhetoric will leave its mark even and perhaps especially there where one endeavors to expunge it. Nor should it be ignored that, by bracketing this work off as "crude" or "inconclusive," one is also spared the trouble of having to read it. Echoing what Paul de Man once said of Rousseau scholarship, it would seem that, in Marx studies, "[fjhe more ambivalent the original utterance, the more uniform and universal the pattern of consistent error in the followers and commentators" (1983, 111). But instead of attempting to eliminate the ambivalence of so many of Marx's and Engels's utterances, I would like to highlight and even privilege it. For it is precisely in such ambivalence, in the uncertain excesses of his work, that contemporary theorists might find another Marx, one who continues to speak to the post-Marxist world. The standard "uniform" and "universal" interpretation of The German Ideology was in fact inaugurated by Friedrich Engels himself, but only many years after having collaborated on it with Marx. In 1883, the year of Marx's death, Engels appears to have reread the first part of the manuscript. He then inscribed the words "I. Feuerbach. 155 Opposition of the materialist and idealist outlooks" on the final page of the first chapter (CW 5, 588) - providing that chapter with the title it still has, and the text as a whole with a dominant, all but intractable interpretation. It is difficult to underestimate the significance of Engels's apparently innocent bibliographical gesture. To this day, the conviction that, in The German Ideology, Marx and Engels "oppose" their materialist outlook to the idealist position of the young Hegelians, or that they "invert" the young Hegelian fascination with abstraction and replace it with the study of real life, remains firmly in place. So too does the notion that The German Ideology represents the moment of a decisive "break" in Marx's career and, more magnanimously still, in the entire history of western thought - the moment when Marx heroically rejects philosophy, leaves ideology behind, and begins to construct a genuine science of social relations. That such claims are generally based on the most cursory analysis of the text, let alone the various polemical contexts into which it was intended to intervene, has rarely stopped them from being repeated. Thus one can still find an internationally respected and renowned cultural theorist such as Slavoj Zizek dismissing the whole text offhand with the parenthetical words "is not the entire German Ideology based on the opposition of the ideological chimera and the study of 'actual life?'" (1999, 72). Now Zizek must know that the rhetorical question is a dangerous strategy, as it runs the risk of someone responding to it, and responding, moreover, incorrectly. And, indeed, in this case the answer to the question is most emphatically "no." In fact, i f anything, Marx's and Engels's systematic assault on their left or young Hegelian contemporaries criticizes them for relying on precisely such an opposition - for dividing the world up into essence and appearance, reality and fiction, or the empty chimeras of politics and the fundamental truth of human 156 existence. At stake in The German Ideology is precisely the complex, dialectical interplay between ideas or consciousness (Bewusst-sein) and being (Sein). "Consciousness [das Bewusstsein]," Marx and Engels insists, "can never be anything else than conscious existence [das bewusste Sein], and the existence of men is their actual life-processes" (GI 37). But because the standard, uniform and universal reading is not confirmed by such complications, they tend to get swept aside or simply ignored. While Marx mentions the work in the "Preface" to his Critique of Political Economy, describing it as the point at which he and Engels "settle accounts with [their] erstwhile philosophical conscience" and in doing so achieve a kind of "self-clarification [SelbstverstaendigungY (SW 390), the full significance of The German Ideology as a turning point in Marx's career would only be recognized (or rather announced) in the 1930s, after the Soviets had gained control of the Marx archive and began producing the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe or so-called MEGA. Only then would it be realized (or, again, announced) that the brief introductory chapter Engels had retroactively named "Feuerbach" in fact represents the first systematic exposition of the science of historical materialism. Thus, working under the direct supervision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and in conjunction with the Institute of Marxism- Leninism in Germany, the editors of MEGA (notably Victor Andoratskij) introduced The German Ideology to the world by claiming that "Feuerbach" constitutes "die erste systematische Darlegung ihrer historisch-philosophischen Auffassung der okonomischen Entwicklungs-Geschichte der Menschen" (MEGA I: 5, x). From this moment forward, when commentators and scholars spoke of The German Ideology they almost invariably meant its opening chapter. The rest of the manuscript, two large octavo volumes that take 157 up over six hundred pages in print, has been conveniently relegated to the dust-bin of history - "abandoned," in Marx's own prophetic words, "to the gnawing criticism of the mice" (SW 390). In the English speaking world, while a partial version of the text, edited by Roy Pascal and published by Lawrence and Wishart, was available as early as 1938, it did not include "The Leipzig Council," only "Feuerbach" and "True Socialism." It was 1965 before a complete translation was released by Progress Publishers, and a decade latter still before a scholarly edition came out as volume five of the Collected Works. The complexity of what has happened to the text of The German Ideology since its initial publication in 1932 is surpassed only by that of what happened to the manuscript before that date. First, it had at least three authors, possibly four - Marx, Engels, Moses Hess, and perhaps Joseph Weydemeyer as well. Indeed, chapter five of book two, entitled '"Doctor Kuhlman of Holstein' or The Prophesies of True Socialism," appears to have been written by Hess, copied out by Weydemeyer, and finally edited by Marx and Engels. In all of these hands, the manuscript went through a number of drafts, with the introductory chapter now called "Feuerbach" only emerging in the last one, and having been left incomplete by its authors. In the earlier drafts, Feuerbach, Bauer, and Stirner were all dealt with simultaneously. Later Marx and Engels excised the sections on Bauer and Stirner, turned them into separate chapters, and developed what was left into the first half of "Feuerbach." The second half of "Feuerbach," which deals with hegemony and with the relationship between the ruling ideas and modes of exchange, was originally two separate digressions written as part of the attack on Stirner. In the final draft, these passages were moved to their current position. This explains, perhaps, why the comments on hegemony in the second half of "Feuerbach" seem so much more 158 sophisticated and complex than the potted history of the division of labour and speculations on the origin of consciousness in material practice found in the first half. If the first half of "Feuerbach" represents the beginning of Marx's and Engels's work on this project, the second half represents its culmination. While the editors of MEGA and of the Collected Works indicate this breach in the text by interjecting a section break, other editions, including the Progress Publisher edition and McLennan's Selected Works, swallow it up in a single section, making it appear as though the text and therefore the argument were perfectly seamless. Marx and Engels worked on the manuscript from April 1845 until April 1847, engaging in significant modifications and amendments right up until the end. Indeed, nothing like a "complete" version of the manuscript exists. Marx and Engels left the project in medias res, as it were, after realizing that no publisher was interested in releasing it. In his correspondence, Marx tends to suggest that his polemic against the left Hegelians and the true socialists never saw the light of day because it was too radical. Thus in a letter to Pavel Annenkov sent in the winter of 1846, Marx complains about his inability to find a publisher for his "criticism of German philosophers and socialists," writing "[y]ou would never believe the difficulties that such a publication encounters in Germany, on the one hand from the police, and on the other from the booksellers, who are themselves the interested representatives of all the tendencies which I am attacking" (Marx to Annenkov, 28 Devember 1846). While there is doubtless much validity to Marx's complaint, at least part of the reason for this lack of interest among publishers must have been that The German Ideology was such an untimely, almost anachronistic text. As a political movement, left Hegelianism had more or less disappeared by 1846. Its 159 journals were all shut down by the censors and its key figures had all repudiated former ties with one another. Because the work was written by a variety of different authors, and because the original publishers (the Westphalian businessmen Julius Meyer and Rudolph Rempel) backed out of the project after realizing that the second book on "True Socialism" was directed against their allies, portions of the manuscripts seem to have been scattered throughout Europe, certain pages having been uncovered for the first time as late as the 1960s. Only a single chapter of what is now The German Ideology appeared in Marx's or Engels's lifetimes - namely chapter four of book two, which consists of a review of Karl Griin's 1845 work Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien, and which was published in the journal Das Westphalische Dampjboot in August and September of 1847. The one chapter of The German Ideology Marx and Engels saw published during their lifetime is remarkable for its innovative comparison of Griin's ideas with those of the French socialist Etienne Cabet. The comparison comes to a head a section entitled "The 'Limitations of Papa Cabet' and Herr Griin." The so-called "True Socialists," Griin included, basically believed that their work represented the philosophical (which is to say, German) "truth" of French socialist practice, and that French practice, with all its violence and messiness, all its crass practicality, had to be negated and transcended by German theory. In an effort to restore the force of French socialism, "The 'Limitations of Papa Cabet' and Herr Griin" (which as probably written, or at least very heavily edited, by Joseph Weydemeyer) sets Griin's and Cabet's words side by side in parallel columns. The typographical technique, not by any means the most radical textual innovation used by left Hegelian writers during the Vormdrz, reveals the astonishing similarity between 160 the basely practical French socialist and his "true" philosophical German counterpart. That is to say, it reveals the fact that Grun did not philosophically transcend Cabet, but merely purloined the latter's philosophy and stripped it of its effective practical expression. Thus, whoever might have written it, the one section of The German Ideology to see publication while Marx was alive dealt explicitly with the complex problem of authorship and ownership, intention and iteration, originality and "truth" - the same problems, that is to say, which any rigorous reading of the manuscript called The German Ideology must address as well. Even i f the extraordinarily complicated question of who authored The German Ideology, or whose intentions it ostensibly coveys, gets provisionally reduced to the relationship between Marx and Engels, matters become only marginally less Byzantine. While there is a tendency among commentators to let Marx's name stand in for both Marx and Engels, i f only to avoid copious verbiage, it is far from certain that Marx was the primary author of The German Ideology. Much of the manuscript is in Engels's hand, with marginal commentary and amendments in Marx's. Given that the prose style is distinctly Marx's, cluttered as it is with often irritatingly clever literary and cultural references, it seems very likely that Marx dictated while Engels wrote. Particularly in the case of "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," which deals with Stirner's The Ego and Its Own in such excruciating detail, one can imagine a scene in which Marx stood reading an opponent's text and commenting on it aloud, while Engels sat busily scribbling those comments into the manuscript. Here Marx becomes a performer, and The German Ideology an almost theatrical text. But this image of Marx and Engels working in tandem (which is also in part a scene of domination and submission) by no means ensures us of 161 the authenticity of Marx's voice, nor does it get us all that much closer to his original intent. It only reconstructs the problem as one of the relationship between Marx and Engels - these two lifelong friends who also, it should not be forgotten, possessed dramatically different understandings of and approaches to the world. The collaboration between Marx and Engels, with its only slightly occluded homoerotic elements (The German Ideology is, it should be pointed out, littered with dirty jokes and sexual innuendos, most of them calling into question the virility of its victims), is all the more incredible given that the two had only met a year earlier. The suggestion that Engels was somehow instantly aware of Marx's luminous brilliance and superior intelligence is less than convincing - although the idea that he quickly recognized Marx's superior arrogance and fragile ego is slightly more convincing. Regardless, i f it is the case that Marx's voice is mediated by Engels's pen, then it is impossible to imagine that the latter had no influence, or that it did not frequently struggle with (and frequently win struggles with) the former. What intentions did Marx wish to convey? What intentions did Engels? What did the two of them wish to say together, and what did one of them wish to keep silent? How might (unresolved, overdetermined) struggles between Marx and Engels be constituent of their polemics against others? How was Engels engaged in a process of constructing "Marx," not only following Marx's death in his role as keeper of the Marx archive, but also during Marx's life in his role as scribe? Was Marx, perhaps, engaged in a similar process vis-a-vis Engels? While the editors and scholars associated with MEGA were rather traditional German hermeneuts, working under Soviet supervision and before the theoretical revolution in literary studies, after thirty years of deconstruction, it is difficult to imagine 162 anyone today accepting in an unproblematic fashion the idea that Engels's inscriptions transparently represent Marx's intentions. What would a new edition of Die deutsche Ideologie, one that sought to take into account some of these complications, even look like? Do we in the west yet possess the hermeneutic protocols and bibliographical techniques necessary to explain such complex intersubjective and collaborative processes? How would one represent the striated, three dimensional space of the text - the axes of 1) narrative and argument, 2) drafting and rearrangement of the manuscript, and 3) multiple authorship? As it turns out, the Japanese Marx scholar Wataru Hiromatsu has tried to create such a document in his 1974 edition of the "Feuerbach" chapter. In the original German language, and including commentary in Japanese, Hiromatsu's edition uses various typographical techniques and footnote apparatuses to indicate the three aforementioned textual axes of the manuscript. However, while Hiromatsu's is an incredible bibliographical and editorial accomplishment, it still does not solve the problem of establishing intentionality. Indeed, it might be said to add to the text still another author, namely Hiromatsu himself. As Terrell Carver points out in his consideration of Hiromatsu's work, the "degree of collaboration" between Marx and Engels suggests that, despite Hiromatsu's labours, "[i]deas cannot be ascribed to one author or another, as they may have been held independently before composition, they may have arisen in mutual exchange, or they may have been adopted by one or the other on reading their separate contributions as the progressed" (1998, 105). Moreover, and like almost everyone before him, Hiromatsu deals only with the "Feuerbach" chapter, and fails to situate it in the context either of The German Ideology as a whole or of the polemics with Bauer and Stimer. In the case of The German Ideology at any rate, it 163 would seem that the more sophisticated or complex editorial techniques become, the more impossible becomes the hermeneutic fantasy of reconstructing an author's animating intention or original message. About a year after making what appears to have been one more effort to have it published in the summer of 1846 (Marx to Leske, 1 August 1846), Marx finally did abandon The German Ideology to "the gnawing criticism of the mice." Nor was this claim merely a figure of speech. While it sat among Marx's papers mice bored holes through the manuscript, causing quite a bit of damage, and saddling Marx's editors with the unenviable task of reconstructing portions of the text that only hungry rodents had properly digested. Much latter, after the death of Marx's daughter Jenny, the ethical Marxist and German Social Democrat Eduard Bernstein would gain control of the Marx archive. He did not immediately recognize the significance of the opening "Feuerbach" chapter, although he did allow portions of "The Leipzig Council" to be published in 1903 and 1904. Bernstein also, as the communist editors of both MEGA and the English Collected Works are sure to note, crossed out sections of the text, leaving it still more illegible than before. Always aware of the political implications of their work, Marx's communist editors take the opportunity to intervene in the struggle between their Party and the German Social Democrats, swiping at Bernstein and ascribing all sorts of nefarious motives to his failure to publish the text in its entirety. It is, they suggest, certainly suspicious that a Social Democrat, a self-described "revisionist" committed to ethical and evolutionary Marxism, would fail to release the one work in which Marx so clearly outlines his scientific and revolutionary approach. However, one might reply, it is equally suspicious of Marx's communist editors to take this excessive, overwhelming 164 text, and to position it as, in their own words, "a comprehensive exposition of the materialist conception of history," or a Marxist science that can be reconstructed "in accordance with the intentions of Marx and Engels" (CW 5, 588-9). Without denying the great accomplishments of Marx's official editors, both German and English, the claim that the "intentions" of The German Ideology can be reduced to the introductory chapter, and even further to a signal phrase (namely "historical materialism," a phrase that is found neither in that chapter nor in any of Marx's writing), is questionable to say the least. Indeed, it is hard to imagine anyone believing that this morass of citations arid references, inscriptions and erasures, consultations and collaborations, speculations and hypotheses, might contain even a coherent thesis or consistent argument, let alone a singular, tremendously unique and world historical scientific theory. And yet, with the possible exceptions of the Communist Manifesto and selected portions of the first volume of Capital, the first chapter of The German Ideology has probably been the most important reference for all of the many attempts to construct Marxism as a materialist science of social relations. What is required, then, is not a return to the text of The German Ideology in search of its true intentions, but a reevaluation of the editorial and bibliographical practices that assume such things exist in the first place (including the practices of Marx and Engels themselves). In recent years, precisely such a task has been taken up by the new bibliographers, most notably Jerome McGann. Perhaps no other text in the entire tradition better corroborates McGann's central thesis - namely that, "[a]s the process of textual transmission expands, whether vertically (over time) or horizontally (in institutional space), the signifying process of the work becomes increasingly 165 collaborative and socialized" (1991, 58). What is more, The German Ideology, and especially "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," is also explicitly about such a process of "socialization." In other words, this manuscript that has been so heavily "socialized," so widely disseminated and exchanged, worked over and manipulated by a whole host of authors and editors, also argues very explicitly that all meaning and all value are the product of social relations (Verhdltnis) and symbolic exchange (Verkehr) in the broadest possible sense - that, pace Stirner and his fellow egoists, meaning and value cannot possibly be the property (Eigenthum) of an isolated individual (der Einzige), as they require that others exist before and around me, and that I come to know who I am through my relations and exchanges with those others. That is to say, the editorial history of The German Ideology is a performative - mise en abyme, a play within the play of The German Ideology itself. It does what the text says. It constitutes a kind of collective, inter subjective and transhistorical enactment of Marx's and Engels's principle argument. The work has not only produced a variety of interpretations, and thus become the scene of countless exegetical divisions. The manuscript itself, the material object, has also been worked over by a plurality of writers, readers, and editors, and thus become, not a science of history or transparent intention, but a kind of res publicus or open space of discourse and debate, struggle and antagonism. Attempting to take these ambiguities into account, or to show the manner in which they return to destabilize every reading, every account, and every effort to, as Marx himself put when reflecting on The German Ideology, "settle accounts" (SIT 390) does not, as critics of deconstruction suggest, amount to denying the possibility of reading or of understanding what has been read. On the contrary, looking into such complexities might be the minimal condition of any reading - the minimal 166 condition, that is to say, of reading a text, as opposed to reducing it in a systematic fashion to a unified "meaning" or "intention" that ostensibly speaks through it. Partly in response to the controversy over the discovery of Paul de Man's wartime journalism, and the related rejuvenation of the so-called "Heidegger affair," the final decade of the twentieth century saw the emergence and rapid expansion of a discourse on the ethics and the politics of deconstruction. At the expense of the kind of close reading still pursued by Derrida himself, those interested in deconstruction have struggled for about a decade over the relative merits of historical versus theoretical practices. Thus figures such as Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Zizek have insisted on the necessity of theory, claiming that the imperative to historicize is itself a theoretical position (one among many). On the opposite side of the debate, people like Judith Butler and Anna Marie Smith claim that theory, and especially psychoanalytic theory, must itself be historicized - that it is not neutral, but emanates from a particular social and historical location within a very rigid power structure. The historicists call for, as Smith puts it, "concrete empirical research" (1998, 80), especially research into the history of marginalized subjects. Theorists, on the other hand, believe it is more important to construct "a theoretical horizon whose abstractions are not merely analytical but real abstractions on which the constitution of identities and political articulation depends" (Laclau 2000, 87). The difference is, in many ways, another iteration of the debate between Gramsci's absolute historicism and Althusser's theoretical practices. Regardless, the debate was perhaps most exhaustively pursued in a series of polemics exchanged between Zizek and Butler during the 1990s - beginning with Butler's very critical review of The Sublime Object of Ideology, republished in her influential Bodies that Matter, and culminating in Zizek's 167 equally critical rebuke of Butler in The Ticklish Subject. Very simply put, Zizek and Butler disagree over the status of "the Real" in Lacan's system. Zizek argues that, for Lacan, "the Real" configures the non-symbolic and pre-ideological limit of all discourse and of society in general - the impossible, unthinkable register of psychosis and absolute loss. Less interested in getting Lacan right than in appropriating his ideas for her own political project, Butler suggests that "the Real" represents a social space that remains densely inhabited by excluded or abjected "others" - marginalized groups and individuals who lead very real lives, but who have little or no access to the mechanisms of social power. If, for Butler, the aim of deconstruction is in some sense to recognize those who have been excluded (recognize them without seeking to normalize them), or to create a history for those who have been denied a voice, for Zizek it is to liberate the chaos of the Real - to allow, even i f only for a revolutionary instant, complete disorder or a world without any identity whatsoever to emerge, and in doing so to reconfigure every identity, even to think subjectivity otherwise. The latter project, Zizek well knows, is doomed. But, he maintains, freedom consists in repeatedly experiencing this very moment of doom - in experiencing the loss of one's sense that something essential has been lost, or that something true has been obscured by an illusion, and thus in glimpsing the real truth that it is nothing other than our sense of loss or of deprivation that is the illusion. These debates, convoluted and complex as they are, will not end any time soon. To them I would only add that, along with both theoretical and historical practices, it is important not to forget reading and writing, the meticulous analysis of textual detail, or what might be called textual practices. 168 Commentators have yet to point out that the polemic against Bauer and Stimer developed in "The Leipzig Council" (and thus the vast majority of The German Ideology) very explicitly addresses the question of reading and writing. Partly as a way of poking fun at Stimer, whose "real" alter ego Johann Kaspar Schmitt is a "parochial Berlin school-master," the rhetoric of pedagogy and of the schoolroom resounds throughout the text. And on one level "The Leipzig Council" is generically framed as a reading lesson. Marx and Engels impishly set out to teach the young Hegelians both the hermeneutic practice of analyzing a text line by line, from beginning to end, or in its entirety, and the deconstructive practice of undermining a text from within, or on the basis of the resources that the text itself provides. They begin by berating Bauer for his meager response to The Holy Family. They accuse Bauer of failing to read their book (failing to do his homework), and of relying instead on a single review of their book (a kind of Cole's Notes approach). " A l l his quotations," Marx and Engels point out, referring to Bauer's reply to their The Holy Family, "are quoted from passages in Das Westphdlische Damp/boot and apart from this nothing is quoted" (115). After establishing Bauer's resistance to reading or refusal to read, Marx and Engels then cite the famous passage from the "Preface" to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit - the one in which Hegel castigates modem philosophers for believing it best, in his words, "to trust common sense and, for the rest, in order to keep up with the times and advance with philosophy, to read reviews of philosophical works, perhaps even their prefaces and introductory paragraphs; for these latter [supposedly] give the principles on which everything turns" (116). In this context, the meticulously close reading of Stimer that takes up "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max," a text that has always caused perplexity among Marx commentators and 169 that most have deemed excessive and unnecessary, might begin to make some sense. If, led by Bauer, the Young Hegelians have forgotten how to read, then Marx and Engels will remind them in "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max." Thus the polemic against Stirner takes the form of an obsessively close line by line reading of The Ego and Its Own, stretching on for almost as many pages as the original text, and repeating its structure in exact detail. Here again the structure of the text reinforces the key theme of repetition - or rather, of repetition and difference, iteration and alteration. On the one hand, Marx's and Engels's text is true to Stirner's. It provides an accurate or felicitous representation of Stirner's argument. On a number of occasions it even clarifies Stirner's argument. Thus it fulfils its hermeneutic responsibilities. But on the other hand, "The Leipzig Council - III. Saint Max" is also a parody of Stirner, one that constantly turns the logic of The Ego and Its Own back on The Ego and Its Own. Thus it performs a deconstructive task. Marx and Engels write, in this sense, with two hands - indeed, including Hess, Weydemeyer, and so many others, The German Ideology is written in a multitude of hands. Understood as a reading lesson, at one and the same time serious and full of mirth, "The Leipzig Council" ceases to be a historical anomaly of interest only to those obsessed with the details of Marx's intellectual development, and becomes instead a text that reads "us," and addresses today's readers (and non-readers) of Marx directly. At the very least it points to a curious irony, one that has persisted throughout the history of Marx scholarship. For it is precisely this section of The German Ideology - this extended lesson in how to read closely and carefully, following both hermeneutic and deconstructive protocols - that students of Marx have almost all failed to read. Virtually 170 without exception Marx commentators have ignored "The Leipzig Council." Marx editors have occasionally gone so far as to excise it from the text completely. Thus even contemporary scholars read Marx and Engels without paying the slightest bit of attention to the one place where Marx and Engels themselves go out of their way to provide extensive instruction in the practice of reading. In this extremely telling sense, the resistance to reading that one finds among Marx scholars and editors grows particularly powerful when it comes to (not reading) a text in which Marx and Engels explicitly condemn the resistance to reading among the Young Hegelians - condemn, that is to say, the Young Hegelians for failing to read them. At the same time, i f Marx and Engels endeavor to teach this very serious lesson, and i f in this matter their pedagogy is more than a little heavy handed, they also and at the same time go out of their way to lampoon their opponent's pedantic style. Indeed, as suggested above, the rhetoric of pedagogy that permeates "The Leipzig Council" forms part of the parody of Johann Kaspar Schmidt - the real person behind Max Stimer who, in his real life, is a teacher at a Berlin school for girls. Thus Stimer is set up as both a teacher (of Szelgia, another pseudonymous Young Hegelian) and a student (of Hegel, whom he claims to have surpassed). More precisely, Stimer is characterized as a particularly bad teacher, because he offers instruction only through rote repetition, and as a particularly bad student because he operates by imitating or copying his teacher's work and trying to pass it off as his own. In keeping with this theme of pedagogy, Marx and Engels go so far as to deliver a mock lecture entitled "Instructions in the Rudiments of Ghost Seeing" (160) - again a parody of Stirner's work. The strategy is as clever as it is effective. Because their own pedantic tone is constructed as a parody of Stirner's, Marx and Engels never have to answer for it. Rather, 171 they can operate in a clandestine fashion, disguised at all times behind the absurdly serious tone of, as they put it, "the solemn 'Max Stirner'" (169). There is, of course, any number of reasons not to read "The Leipzig Council." It is complex, prolix, even clumsy and incomplete. It deals with more or less non-canonical figures whom few people know or care much about, and with debates that seem to be located in the distant past. It is extraordinarily ornate and rhetorical, demanding its reader possess knowledge of a whole range of arcane and elliptical topics. But through all of that complexity and prolixity, it still articulates one clear injunction - read. For the authors of The German Ideology a willingness to read, and to engage in the hard labour of reading, is a minimal condition of political discourse, whether that discourse is in search of rational consensus, or whether it is a pitched polemical battle among bitter enemies. Reading is, in the republican sense, a minimal condition of the res publicus. Of course, as seen in the previous chapter, reading this text in particular (which also means clarifying the various intellectual history and political contexts of the Vormdrz period) takes a bit of work. In a post-Marxist world, where it is no longer necessary to ascribe prophetic powers to Marx, or to view him as the herald and sole progenitor of a radically new science of society, it finally becomes possible to demystify the old story that The German Ideology breaks with or inverts idealism, and to suggest that an investigation of previously overlooked complexities can make Marx's work relevant today. But beyond the hermeneutic labour of reconstructing certain historical contexts and philosophical claims, the persistent attack on "The Leipzig Council" among Marx commentators - the refusal to see it as anything more than excessive embellishment or a wasteful squandering of intellectual reserves - is, I contend, symptomatic of a much broader repudiation of the 172 kind of discourse it represents. It is symptomatic of a very widespread and almost unavoidable desire to control, contain, and regulate this textual economy or this mode of discursive production. That is to say, "The Leipzig Council" is the target of such scorn and irritation because it represents such an excess and a surplus - a surplus production of text. What is significant about "The Leipzig Council," and what many possess a vested interest in concealing, is not that Marx and Engels invert idealism or oppose it to materialism, but that they articulate this defense of "real life" and their attack on "false consciousness" in the midst of such a densely rhetorical, ornate work - a polemic that is also a parody, and that gets assembled almost entirely out of references, not only to left Hegelian philosophy, but also to painting, theatre, and poetry, to folklore and fairy tales, to Christian hagiography and Biblical prophesy, to Shakespeare's Timon of Athens and Cervantes's Don Quixote, to traditional masques and classical music, to Hellenic Greece and modem Germany, to Aristotelian and Hegelian philosophy, and to a whole range of humanistic learning, scholarship, and culture that extends virtually ad infinitum. "The Leipzig Council" is not so much a unified intention to be recovered or received as it is a colossal mechanical assemblage of citations and allusions, allegories and images, figures and tropes - passages that lead elsewhere, outside of the text, beyond its borders, in myriad directions and toward myriad purposes. It should be made clear that by singling out "The Leipzig Council" I am not ascribing to it any unique status, but instead privileging this particular kind of text - by Marx, to be sure, but by others as well. Here is a text designed to overwhelm the reader, never allowing for a hermeneutic fusion of horizons, but relentlessly producing a kind of discursive surplus without reserve - what de Man calls "abyssal frames that engender 173 each other without end or telos" (1986, 60). Densely layered and ornate, "The Leipzig Council" can also generate a different theory of reading, and hence a different approach to itself, each time it is read. Like Joseph Sterne's Tristram Shandy and Cervantes's Don Quixote (both of which, as I have noted in passing, Marx admired greatly, and read throughout his life [Mehring 1966, 503-5]), it makes an explicit theme of its own prolixity, and of the insufficiencies that attend any practice of reading or writing. Above all else, "The Leipzig Council" is a comic text, always eliciting laughter, often very cruel and mean-spirited laughter, at the powerful and at those who unwittingly support them. Like so much of Marx's rhetoric and so many of his best works (a comprehensive study of Marx's humor, of his acerbic and stunningly accurate wit, is still waiting to be written), it endeavors to create solidarity among the weak and the suffering through its dry, droll, but also viciously humorous castigation of the powerful. But it is also a parody, and most of its cruelty comes from the well timed repetition of the enemy's own sentiments and language. In this sense, its cruelty is not really attributable to Marx alone, as it merely exposes the cruelty of those it attacks, or those who would deny the emotional complexity of both social relations and individual desire. No one who has read "The Leipzig Council" could possibly perceive Marx to be a humorless technocrat or grim social engineer. The text both describes and enacts the pleasure of excesses, the great joy of the surplus - of ornamentation and elaboration, digression and deviance. Stylistically at any rate, "The Leipzig Council" has more in common with Burton or Borges then it does with Hobbes or Locke. In the categorizing terms of art history, it is more Baroque than it is Neo-Classical or Romantic. How much more surprising, then, that after being uncovered from the Marx archives and finally published under the 174 supervision of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, this work - The German Ideology - would become the basis, not only for so many subsequent theories of ideology, but also for the so-called "science" of historical materialism. And how much more tragic that this prodigious literary text, a work that delights in excess and ornament, and that calls on its readers to do the same, would come to form the foundation for so many of the most rigid scientific and political orthodoxies to emerge in a century that will doubtless be remembered for its insatiable, destructive quest for the orthodox. The reading lesson taught in "The Leipzig Council" is pedantic, then, and even didactic. It parodies the pedantic and didactic style of its targets. But it is not dogmatic. In its rhetorical excess, its overwhelming intertextuality, and its collaborative or, to recall McGann's terms, "socialized" composition, it configures the z/wpossibility of reading as well - the sense in which every reading is partial and limited, and every text open to a plurality of interpretations. A text like "The Leipzig Council" belies all efforts to isolate the unified intention that ostensibly animates it from without and from beyond the grave. Thus it was destined to add very little, almost nothing, to the colossal project of reconstructing Marx's texts as a Marxist science. For the same reason, to focus on this text in particular, but also on Marx's writing in general (the operation of his text as opposed to what it supposedly describes or intends), is to risk or even summon the charge of "idealism." It is to risk being accused of reducing material conditions of existence, economic conditions in particular, to hermetic problems of reading and interpretation. But the surgical excision of "The Leipzig Council" from Marx's body of work performed by so many readers, commentators, and editors is precisely an economic question. It reenacts the logic of capital, and does so precisely as Marx and Engels describe that 175 logic. It involves an attempt to reign in and control what, in the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels call an "epidemic of overproduction" (SW 226). Just as capital periodically destroys its own overproduction in order to maintain price levels and secure the value of property, the elimination of "The Leipzig Council" and texts like it involves an attempt to limit and even destroy an almost mechanically produced surplus that seems to threaten the full value of his "proper" body of work. Thus the excesses of Marx's rhetoric must be eliminated so as to preserve the (falsely inflated) price of his method or his science - the textual remainder that he truly intended his followers to transform into a systematic description of social reality. But, just as, even when highly regulated, capitalist economies are characterized by serial crises, with slightly altered viral forms of the epidemic of overproduction returning at unpredictable intervals, so too does Marx's rhetoric come back in cycles and refuse to be stabilized. Like a machine his texts relentlessly manufacture new associations and articulations - new theories and practices, new heuristic possibilities and polemical weapons to be put to use in new contexts and in the inexhaustible, interminable struggle for justice. 176 The Marx-Machine In the final few pages of Allegories of Reading, Paul de Man introduces a distinction between the "text as body" and the "text as machine," one that maps onto a related methodological distinction between hermeneutics and deconstruction. At a certain point in the history of literary criticism, or in his own development as a literary critic (de Man is not clear which), "[t]he text as body, with all its implications of substitutive tropes always retracable to metaphor, is displaced by the text as machine" (1979, 298). According to de Man, the first model (the body-text) corresponds to the hermeneutic view, or the approach that understands texts as metaphorical detours en route to some determined, non-textual referent, whether it is the internal intention of the author or an external object in the world. The second model (the machine-text) corresponds to the deconstructive approach, or the approach that treats texts as a series of substitutions - not references to objects and intentions, but catachrestic chains of supplements for always already absent origins, or what Derrida dubs a "trace" (1982, 21). As de Man quips elsewhere, "the ultimate aim of the hermeneutically successful reading is to do away with reading altogether" (1986, 56) - to collapse the text, through a series of recognized protocols, into its referent, and to treat it, not on its own or as a piece of writing, but as a sign for something else. In hermeneutics, de Man insists, the text is a representation of a non-textual phenomenon. In deconstruction