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. Continue reading “New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari”

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Last week, I completed the draft for a new book tentatively titled “Imperceptibility: The Politics of the Unseen.” This is the first time in years that I’ve been able to take a step back. My immediate world has calmed after having been a sea of shifting sand for the many years I was searching for a permanent post. It has also been a very prolific time for my writing, which I have not consistently reported. From now on, I will be announcing here recent publication and presentations.

My ability to complete the manuscript is the result of a realization: that my previous project “Escape,” is actually two different constellations of ideas. They are not inconsistent, which is to say, they share common notions that do not conflict. But there are two core insights that each result in their own concept. I found myself struggling to unify them under a single title, a single argument, a single phrase, a single breath. Once I separated them, both began to flourish.

The first concept: that a distinctive feature of our current cycle of struggle is an anti-politics that refuses to pose demands, wants nothing to do with consciousness raising, and rejects collaboration of any kind. Even more interesting it tends to emphasize engagement instead of reverting to escapism, radical passivity, or pure silence. Once refocusing the project on this insight, I was able to write a new introduction and the book immediately took shape.

The second concept: combining insights across all of the major fields of structuralism to reconstruct an aesthetic theory of power centered on the state. After writing significant sections including comparative mythology in the Greeks and Romans, an anthropology of the hunt, an analysis of fishing nets, sociological analysis of sacrifice, an anthropology of bondage, aesthetic criticism of the Roman games, a personal history of Columbus’s violence, a visual analysis of Louis XIV’s great spectacles, and a history of the early European police, I knew that the project had a different trajectory.