Allow me a long quotation from Negri’s engagement with Derrida’s Specters of Marx.  Here Negri argues that while in Derrida there is a critique of capitalism (“specter of capitalism”) the “specter of communism” is indetectable.
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A brief digression in closing. I don’t feel that the critique of political economy developed in the register of deconstruction is enought to describe the complexity of spectral production that could be traced in Marx, in his work, in his actions and in his heritage. More specifically, it seems to me that if the specter of capitalism is substantially present in Derrida’s book (and with that the more recent developments in the capitalist dominion), the ‘specter of communism’, on the other hand, is harder to identify, if not undetectable.If Derrida sharpens the ‘arms of criticism’ with great zeal and intelligence, the other spectrology nevertheless goes by the wayside, the one organized through a ‘criticism of arms’. Communism’s ghost is not only the product of a critique; it is also, and above all, a passion, destructive of the world of capital and constructive of freedom, ‘the real movement that destroys the present state of thing’. But permit me to give an example here. In Alexis de Tocqueville’s Recollections, we’re told of a day in June 1848. We’re in a lovely apartment on the left bank, seventh arrondissement, at dinner-time. The Tocqueville family is reunited.  Nevertheless, in the calm of the evening, the cannonade fired by the bourgeoisie against the rebellion rioting workers resounds suddenly—distant noises from the right bank. The diners shiver, their faces darken.  But a smile escapes a young waitress who serves  their table and has just arrived from the Faubourg Saint Antoine.  She’s immediately fired. Isn’t the true specter of communism perhaps there in that smile? The one that frightened the Tsar, the pope…and the Lord of Tocqueville? Isn’t a glimmer of joy there, making for the specter of liberation?
Antonio Negri, “The Specter’s Smile” 1999, p. 15.
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Perhaps #OWS is at that stage where it is becoming to appear as that “spectral smile” of the young waitress in the eyes of the Bloombergs of this world.

COMMENTS / 2 COMMENTS

very good point!.. thanks -negri, and st. ymM.

kara added these pithy words on Nov 15 11 at 2:39 am

That’s an absolutely gorgeous metaphor. I didn’t expect that from Negri.

I feel I should note that I wrote a ‘tribute’ to Surplus Thought here awhile ago, when I was convinced that ST was inactive. It’s quite simple, and doesn’t begin to express my admiration and gratitude for each of your entries (all of which I read before writing my ‘tribute’). I may seem overly effusive, but this was the first blog I ever came across that combined theory with economics, and it galvanized my own desire to mix the two.

I just thought you ought to know: the work of you and your coauthors is still appreciated.

Graham added these pithy words on Nov 26 11 at 9:38 am

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“…distant noises from the right bank.”

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