A Deep Plough
Unscrambling Major Post-Marxist Texts from Adorno to Žižek
This book is the second volume of the two volume book written by Zhang Yibing; the first volume includes classical Western Marxism texts, and this second includes what he calls “post-Marxian” texts.
The post-Marxian philosophy boasts of its historical transcendence over the basic framework of Marxism, which is not different from the post-modern Marxism in terms of historical ontology: they are built on the transcendence of the modern by the post-modern. The post-Marxian philosophers believe that the foundation of social history, on which Marxism is built, will be inevitably reduced to the residue of history. An entirely new social civilization is supposed to come up with a heterogeneous reality for this radical criticism. Therefore, most of the post-Marxian thinkers criticize Marx from a certain perspective while constructing their own critical platform, for example, Baudrillard, with his Mirror of Production and For a Critique of the Political Economy of Sign published in the 1970s. As a student of Lefebvre, Baudrillard is also influenced by Roland Barthes and Guy Debord in The Society of the Spectacle, Debord rewrites the beginning of Marx’s Capital, in which “an immense accumulation of spectacle” replaces Marx’s “immense accumulation of commodities.” From The Society of the Spectacle to The Consumer Society, the commodity exchange of Marx is turned into the exchange of signs. The mirror of production on which Marx relies is broken while the fantasy of post-modern media becomes the real ruler in today’s capitalist society. In addition, Baudrillard declares the death of modernity and industry (the mode of material production), which also accounts for his refutations of Marxism. The latest events include Mark Poster’s replacement of Marx’s mode of production with his mode of information and Zizek’s adoption of the Lacanian symptoms in place of Marx’s material relations. In general, the post-Marxian philosophy attempts to stride beyond the old Marxist domain, which is a significant heterogeneity in theory.
Publication date: 2011
Page extent: 544