Le site Bellaciao: coloré, multiple, ou le meilleur cotoie fort heureusement le pire, mélangé, bizarre, picabien et dadaîste, explorant toutes sortes de registres et de régimes rhétoriques, drole et polémiqueur, surréaliste: rencontre d'un parapluie et d'une machine à coudre sur une table de dissection, têtes de Lénine sur le clavier d'un piano Steinway ou Bosendorfer...
FR
ES
Senal en Vivo
VIDEO
RADIO
FRIENDS SITES
with Bellaciao
Bellaciao hosted by
To rebel is right, to disobey is a duty, to act is necessary !
Bellaciao  mobile version   |   Home  |   About us   |   Donation  |   Links  |   Contact  |   Search
WOID #XIII-2. Review: Beginning of the End for the End of the Beginning?

by : Hoipolloi Cassidy
Monday April 25, 2005 - 02:50

Perry Anderson, "Dégringolade." London Review of Books, September 2, 2004 http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n17/ande01.html

Perry Anderson, "Union Sucrée." London Review of Books, September 23, 2004 http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n18/ande01.html

Perry Anderson, La pensée tiède. Un regard critique sur la pensée française, with a response by Pierre Nora. Paris: Seuil, 2005 Symposium: "The End of French History? Perry Anderson Dissects ’Neo-Liberal’ France" With Michael Christofferson, Eric Fassin, Patrick Fridenson, Arthur Goldhammer, Dick Howard, Joan Scott, Johanna Siméant and Perry Anderson Friday, April 22 2005, 10:00-7:30 Institute of French Studies, NYU, New York City.

The not-so-great French historian Augustin Cochin once wrote that reading about the French Revolution was like watching a man shadow-dueling: you saw the man’s reactions but you never saw what he was reacting to. I got a similar impression from a day-long conference, April 22, at NYU, centered around the Marxist scholar Perry Anderson and his recent, two-part article about the role of intellectuals in neo-liberal France.

The irony (which Anderson exploits fully), is that the main architect of neo-liberal thought in the ’seventies and ’eighties, Francois Furet, built his arguments around Cochin’s. Furet started out as a Marxist historian of the French Revolution before turning professional pundit and writing a classic, brilliant attack on Marxist interpretations of the French Revolution which he parlayed into an attack on Marxism, on Revolution itself, then on the very concept that revolutionary change was possible, viable, or even probable. 

Anderson’s article describes how Furet, along with Pierre Nora, the editor of a hugely successful series on the "Places of Memory" in French History, set up the usual networks of friends and loyalists in the French press, the universities and the publishing houses, with an overwhelming message of class solidarity and cooperation - meaning, of course, co-optation. And if this sounds like a nefarious plot, well, what alternatives could a critic offer in response? That Furet, Nora, and all of their friends in power reflected the prevailing social dynamics, or perhaps (eek, eek!) the social tensions created within relations of production by the shifting forces of production? 

Neo-liberals (in Anderson’s telling) were hoist by their own pet theory; as to Anderson’s article, it’s gained a lot of traction in the past few weeks, as it became obvious that the French people are increasingly fed up with the neo-liberal, Social-Democratic, wish-wash-Green social pact imposed upon them - tired, that is, of the whole neo-liberal, parasitic, political class. How fed up they are we’ll soon find out, when the results of the referendum that was supposed to usher in a neo-liberal Europe come in, on May 29. Right now the new European Constitution, or rather, its French backers, seems to be facing an overwhelming vote of no-confidence. Anderson was not offering a new theory, he was more like a doctor prodding for pain, and getting plenty of it. 

There was pain to be shared at the NYU symposium, where a series of scholars, right and left, French and American, took turns at Anderson. But turns at what? It was so much shadow-boxing with a theory unmentioned until the last sentence of Anderson’s concluding remarks. The theory was Marxism and the elephant in the room was Class Conflict. Arthur Goldhammer, a translator out of Harvard, offered up a panglossian defense of that most panglossian of movements, French neo-liberalism, balancing existential pessimism about the evils of society with pink promises of class cohesion - it was a like watching Fritz Lang’s version of Metropolis. From the other side, Patrick Fridenson, a labor historian, inadvertently reminded us that French trade unions, too, were all too happy to play the game of class cohesion after 1968, in a speech laced with a good deal of workman’s-cap posturing. It was like watching Jack Lang’s version of Metropolis.

Aside from Fridenson’s sniping at Anderson’s facts, neither Goldhammer nor Fridenson addressed the question of the actual role of intellectuals like Furet and Nora in the neo-liberal hegemon, because both were invested in discrediting the idea of hegemony itself. That task fell to Michael Christofferson. Christofferson’s argument was tightly reasoned: he brought the question back to a conspiracy. To what extent, he asked, were left-wing intellectuals responsible for their own failure in the ’seventies? It was a fruitful question because it opened up the "conspiracy theory" to a wider, circumstantial reading of the role of Furet and others in French social and cultural life; more fruitful, though, if Christofferson’s point of departure had not been the politically charged characterization of French liberal thought as "anti-authoritarian," meaning "anti-Soviet," meaning "red-baiting." Anderson later pointed out that leftists did not merely question the Authoritarian State but the Authoritarian Corporation as well.

The Rodney King role went to Dick Howard, of Stony Brook, who tried to save the baby of teleology with the bathwater of liberalism (or is it the other way around?), proposing a utopian narrative of social progress but a "democratic" one and (presumably) not a violent one. From your lips to Marx’s ear, Professor, but that does not resolve the present problems cutting across all classes in French society: problems that are to all appearances insoluble without a reordering of class relations, which reordering has been known to lead to violence on occasion. And violence, as Lenin said, is not a sausage you can chose, hot or cold, at the deli-counter of History. 

Fruitful models for social change: Joan Scott (of Princeton) deadlocked with Anderson over the question of minorities and minority women, suggesting that the traditional Marxist approach to class left it powerless in front of demands by (or for) French Muslim women to cover their heads in the classroom. Anderson’s answer was predictable and unsatisfactory - though I believe there is an answer. 

What historians of the French Revolution have learned from Furet is that it’s the conception of class, not class itself, that needs to be rewritten. Class is a dynamic concept, constantly changing under pressures of culture and conflict. Gender and class analysis come together more and more as forms of alterity, and the study of alterity is the study of ongoing cultural formations, not essences, as Anderson and Scott seem to secretly still believe. And there is nothing, by the way, to say this particular approach is new to the French revolutionary tradition - hey, doesn’t the Jacobin Constitution of 1793 guarantee the right to cross-dress?

The symposium closed with an hour-long defense by Anderson, bringing the issue back to where it once belonged: not what the role was, but what the role of intellectuals like himself should be. And what is that? A few months back I had a long conversation with a very depressed French teenager - forgive the redundancy. We talked about the years leading up to ’68, about a constant, vicious repressiveness that no one dared to name. I was struck by the amount she understood about this - far more, I think, than most of the participants at the seminar in New York City. I told her (she had never heard) about the massacre of peaceful demonstrators at Métro Charonne in 1962, an event that marked my generation forever. Not all Places of Memory are in the books.

WOID: a journal of visual language http://theorangepress.com



Leave a comment
Print this article





Public Apology to Women of the World from The American Republic (Hypatia of Alex
Monday 31 - 15:21
by Willam Morgan
YES, THERE WILL BE ELECTION FRAUD, AND ON A GRAND SCALE
Sunday 23 - 18:32
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Hillary Clinton will be first female President 2017
Monday 10 - 17:21
by Willam Morgan
Police Shootings: Law, Policy, and Accountability
Thursday 6 - 14:22
by William John Cox
AMERICA DESERVES BETTER, BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE WORLD DESERVES BETTER
Thursday 29 - 18:02
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Back to School for Fascist Dupont-Aignan
Thursday 15 - 11:32
by Nouveau Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes
The Presidency: Character Matters
Friday 9 - 15:06
by William John Cox
WHY HILLARY IS THE PERFECT PERSON TO SECURE OBAMA’S LEGACY
Tuesday 30 - 18:08
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Remake of Ben Hur in 2020 planned by new motion picture studio
Friday 26 - 15:50
by Wallace
THE CASE FOR DONALD TRUMP
Monday 22 - 19:32
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES IS DEAD
Thursday 11 - 06:42
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
DONALD TRUMP AND THE GENIUS OF IDIOCY
Friday 5 - 00:47
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
FOOLING MOST OF THE PEOPLE MOST OF THE TIME IS WHAT AMERICAN POLITICS ARE ABOUT,
Friday 29 - 18:13
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
A message of your fellow striking workers from France
Tuesday 12 - 20:49
by Info’Com-CGT
The Right to Vote, Effectively
Friday 8 - 22:20
by William John Cox
Fourth of July Lies
Sunday 3 - 19:41
by June C. Terpstra
Who Should Make Political Policy, the People or the Politicians?
Friday 24 - 15:14
by William John Cox
Hollow Women of the Hegemon Part II: Atrocity Enabling Harpies
Tuesday 21 - 18:49
by Dr. June Terpstra
The American Republic Manifestum book is being made into a Movie
Saturday 11 - 15:54
by William Morgan
Write-in Voting and Political Protest
Wednesday 1 - 15:05
by William John Cox
Yves Bouvier art battle plays out in online and social media arena
Tuesday 31 - 21:12
by Dean Bagley
Damaged Candidate Clinton Can’t Call Out Trump
Friday 27 - 13:53
by Daniel Patrick Welch
PLEDGE OF THE NEW REPUBLICAN PARTY
Tuesday 24 - 21:53
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
LET TEXAS SECEDE
Thursday 19 - 00:53
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
LAS TRES ERRES A LA ENÉSIMA POTENCIA.-
Monday 16 - 15:35
by FREDDY SUBDIAGA
DEMAGOGIA POPULISTA...
Monday 16 - 15:26
by FREDDY SUBDIAGA
Oligarchs Won’t Let You Vote Their Wars Away
Wednesday 11 - 20:24
by Daniel Patrick Welch
AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL: JOHN KERRY - FROM HIS REMARKABLE RECENT COMMENCEMENT ADDR
Monday 9 - 20:40
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support the American Republic Manifestum
Monday 9 - 16:37
by William Morgan
Transformation: A Student-Led Mass Political Movement
Monday 25 - 19:28
by William John Cox
Algerian Feminists react to ’Hijab Day’ in Paris 2016
Monday 25 - 01:13
THE ILLUSION OF RIGHTS
Friday 22 - 18:45
by JOHN CHUCKMAN
US is real superpredator pretending to be victim
Monday 18 - 22:23
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Gaiacomm International has accidently created a fusion reaction/ignition.
Sunday 17 - 17:01
by William Morgan
Clinton’s Campaign Continues to Highlight Horrible Hillary
Saturday 9 - 00:57
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Armoiries racistes à Harvard : Plaidoyer pour la réflexion socio-historique
Thursday 7 - 18:56
by Samuel Beaudoin Guzzo
THANK YOU MISSISSIPPI FOR YOUR HATE
Wednesday 6 - 02:02
by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
The PKK in Iraq: “We are ready to fight ISIS everywhere in the world”
Monday 4 - 14:33
by InfoAut
Clinton Crashes and Burns, Sanders Will Win (But hold off on the applause)
Friday 1 - 22:33
by Daniel Patrick Welch
Confirming Supreme Court Justices and Electing Presidents
Friday 1 - 20:59
by William John Cox

home | webmaster



Follow-up of the site's activity
RSS Bellaciao En


rss FR / rss IT / rss ES



Bellaciao hosted by DRI

It is the responsibility of the intellectual to speak the truth and to expose lies. Noam Chomsky
Facebook Twitter Google+
DAZIBAO
I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name
Thursday 10 March
©Olivier Jobard/Myop I, European citizen, won’t let refugees be rejected in my name THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM IS A RIGHT In the phrase « right to asylum », every word matters. Under the law, every person who is persecuted because of his or her political opinions or because of his or her identity, every person that is endangered by violence, war or misery has a RIGHT to seek asylum in another country The aim of this petition is to collect (...)
read more...
Neo-Nazis and far-right protesters in Ukraine 3 live-stream
Friday 24 January
2 comments
The far-right in Ukraine are acting as the vanguard of a protest movement that is being reported as pro-democracy. The situation on the ground is not as simple as pro-EU and trade versus pro-Putin and Russian hegemony in the region. When US Senator John McCain dined with Ukraine’s opposition leaders in December, he shared a table and later a stage with the leader of the extreme far-right Svoboda party Oleh Tyahnybok. This is Oleh Tyahnybok, he has claimed a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" (...)
read more...
Hugo Chavez is dead (video live)
Wednesday 6 March
by : Collective BELLACIAO
1 comment
President Hugo Chavez companeros venezueliano died after a long battle with cancer.
read more...
International initiative to stop the war in Syria Yes to democracy, no to foreign intervention!
Thursday 13 December
Your support here: http://www.peaceinsyria.org/support.php We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of highranking personalities and public figures to go to Syria in order to (...)
read more...
THE KU KLUX KLAN ONCE AGAIN CONTROLS INDIANA
Monday 12 November
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
7 comments
At first glance, the results of America’s 2012 election appear to be a triumph for social, racial, and economic justice and progress in the United States: California voters passed a proposition requiring the rich to shoulder their fair share of the tax burden; Two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the recreational use of marijuana, while Massachusetts approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes; Washington and two other states, Maine and Maryland, legalized same-sex (...)
read more...
I’VE DECIDED TO "WASTE" MY VOTE
Sunday 28 October
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
In a 2004 episode of Comedy Central’s animated series South Park, an election was held to determine whether the new mascot for the town’s elementary school would be a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich.” Confronted with these two equally unpalatable choices, one child, Stan Marsh, refused to vote at all, which resulted in his ostracization and subsequent banishment from the town. Although this satirical vulgarity was intended as a commentary on the two (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART IV
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART III If there is one major inconsistency in life, it is that young people who know little more than family, friends and school are suddenly, at the age of eighteen, supposed to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, because of their limited life experiences, the illusions they have about certain occupations do not always comport to the realities. I discovered this the first time I went to college. About a year into my studies, I (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART III
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART II PART IV Disillusioned with the machinations of so-called “traditional” colleges, I became an adjunct instructor at several “for-profit” colleges. Thanks largely to the power and pervasiveness of the Internet, “for-profit” colleges (hereinafter for-profits) have become a growing phenomenon in America. They have also been the subject of much political debate and the focus of a Frontline special entitled College Inc. Unlike traditional (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART II
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART I PART III PART IV Several years ago, a young lady came into the college where I was teaching to inquire about a full-time instructor’s position in the sociology department. She was advised that only adjunct positions were available. Her response was, “No thanks. Once an adjunct, always an adjunct.” Her words still echo in my mind. Even as colleges and universities raise their tuition costs, they are relying more and more on adjunct instructors. Adjuncts are (...)
read more...
HIGHER EDUCATION IN AMERICA: DREAM OR NIGHTMARE? PART I
Friday 28 September
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
PART II PART III PART IV When The Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution over two hundred years ago, Americans were blessed with many rights considered to be “fundamental.” One conspicuously missing, however, was the right to an education. This was not surprising given the tenor of the times. America was primarily an agrarian culture, and education, especially higher education, was viewed as a privilege reserved for the children of the rich and (...)
read more...
ONE SOLITARY LIFE, PART TWO
Monday 30 July
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
3 comments
If there is one universal question that haunts all human beings at some point in their lives, it is, “Why do we die?” Death, after all, is the great illogic. It ultimately claims all, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the small, the good and the evil. Death also has the capability to make most human pursuits—such as the quest for wealth, fame and power—vacuous and fleeting. Given this reality, I have often wondered why so many people are still willing to (...)
read more...
HOW MUCH CORRUPTION CAN DEMOCRACY ENDURE?
Thursday 28 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
6 comments
How much corruption can a “democracy” endure before it ceases to be a democracy? If five venal, mendacious, duplicitous, amoral, biased and (dare I say it) satanic Supreme Court “justices”—John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy—have their way, America will soon find out. In several previous articles for Pravda.Ru, I have consistently warned how the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is one of the (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS, PART TWO
Tuesday 12 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
1 comment
Imagine, if you will, that the United States government passes a law banning advertisers from sponsoring commercials on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show or Rupert Murdoch’s Fox (Faux) “News” Network. On one hand, there would be two decided advantages to this ban: The National IQ would undoubtedly increase several percentage points, and manipulative pseudo-journalists would no longer be able to appeal to the basest instincts in human nature for ratings and profit while (...)
read more...
DEMOCRACY IN THE HANDS OF IDIOTS
Thursday 7 June
by : David R. Hoffman, Pravda.Ru Legal Editor
4 comments
LIVE, from the State that brought you Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin voters now proudly present, fresh from his recall election victory, Governor Scott Walker! At first glance, it is almost unfathomable that anyone with a modicum of intelligence would have voted to retain Scott Walker as Wisconsin’s governor. This, after all, is a man who openly declared he is trying to destroy the rights of workers through a “divide and conquer” strategy; who received 61% of the (...)
read more...
PEOPLE WITHOUT SOULS
Tuesday 13 March
by : David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru
2 comments
A question I’ve frequently been asked since I began writing for Pravda.Ru in 2003 is, “Why did you become disillusioned with the practice of law?” This question is understandable, particularly since, in most people’s minds, being an attorney is synonymous with wealth and political power. I’ve always been reluctant to answer this question for fear it will discourage conscientious and ethical people from pursuing careers in the legal profession—a (...)
read more...