New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari

A new issue of the Russian journal Stasis was recently released. Its title, “For Deleuze.” The issues includes a piece by me in which I argue that the third chapter of Anti-Oedipus on philosophical anthropology is Deleuze and Guattari’s most enduring contribution to Marxism. I bookend my argument with a discussion of Marx’s mode of presentation in Capital, which I theorize through Marxist Feminism and a critique of various political positions their proponents attributed to D&G (social democrats, Braudelian markets, non-capitalism). Furthermore, I include a very substantial chart of AO that may be one of the more important contributions of the article.

Stasis is a significant venue for me. It is run by scholars at the European University, St. Petersburg, a shining star of radical theory and critique in Russia. Their radicalism has met serious state repression, such as having their teaching accreditation revoked for a time and being forced out of their facilities. In spite of this, they continue to publish pathbreaking work like Stasis. Also significant is how the journal expands on the country’s long tradition of thinking while remaining independent from a wider intellectual environment awash in scientistic positivism (both surging neo-liberal social sciences and older Soviet orthodoxy).

All issues of Stasis remain free, accessible, and bi-lingual with simultaneous English and Russian texts for every article. Their rich cross-pollination of what American scholars came to call “theory” and the post-Soviet archive is uniquely rich. For one, there is significant working reading the Russian archive back into scholarly conversations (such as so-called Western Marxism) that tended to have a one-dimensional depiction of Soviet-era thought as it was prismatically refracted through massive state propaganda. Of particular significance are pre-Stalinist materials from workers journals, speculative philosophy, and political experiments prove that the Soviets had much more to contribute than what many had been led to believe. Moreover, their scope is not merely historical but brutally contemporary. Post-Soviet reckoning with the putative constitutional republicanism of liberal capitalist democracy helps break out of the Euro-American obsession of treating their own experiments as models for the rest of the world.

My own engagement with Stasis and EUSP began with my first trip to Russia. My visit to St. Petersburg included a trip to a bookstore that boasted a wide selection of Russian translations of theory texts (not only most Deleuze, but also Eugene Thacker and other contemporary writers). Soon, we walked over to a small auditorium where the editorial committee of Stasis made presentations on their newest issue. If I recall correctly, it included Susan Buck-Morss interjecting some comments about Hegel in a conversation about Spinoza or Simondon? Regardless, there was lively debate about, plenty of back-and-forth – the deep sort of collegiality that is usually evoked only in fictional depictions of academia, no doubt a bit surprising to witness. All of it was taking place in the context of a long conference on the centennial October Revolution, headlining speakers like Jodi Dean and Slavoj Zizek. My own talk was initially dedicated to this theme, which is the subject of the issue prior to “For Deleuze.”

For astute readers, this issue’s original framing through its CFP for contribution on “Deleuze and Marx” will be apparent. Deleuze’s own commitment to Marx never seemed to waver, even as many of his generation seemed to give up. Famously, he claimed that his last was going to be The Grandeur of Marx. As none of it ever materialized, it has proved fruitful material for speculative projects that look imagine what the parting gift from Deleuze to our world would have looked like. But there are plenty who choose to pick-and-choose with Deleuze (and Guattari), with Marxism nearly always the first thing on the chopping block. The common thread of all of the contributors is a reinvigoration of the Marxist problematics underlying Deleuze and Guattari’s thought: a transcendental empiricist contribution to historical materialism, libidinal economy, their critique of political economy, political materialism, and more.

Significant work on Marx and Deleuze has preceded the issue, of course. The Deleuze and Guattari Studies journal and its associated books, experimental online projects like rhizome and Culture Machine, and numerous Deleuzian subfields like Affect Studies are important touchstones. For me, this issue’s direct predecessor is New Formations 68 on Deleuzian Politics, an issue in an independent bookstore near the University of New Mexico while visiting political friends during a summer early in my graduate education. The roundtable alone had me buzzing for days. My hope is that the impressive array of articles in this issue of Stasis have the same effect on others.

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