On the notion of the political in postmarxist theory.

Seminars

04.12.2014
Speculative materialism in queer-feminist perspective
Emerging life and syntheses of matter and time

14.06.2013
Aesthetic existence and the ontologisation of poverty
Whatever life

20.04.2013
The practise of doing nothing 

Unemployed positivity

04.11.2012
Miguel Abensour as reader of Spinoza
Spinoza, Marx, Moses Hess

05.10.2012
Agamben and Nancy as readers of Spinoza
Leaving Immanence?

06.06.2012
Feminist readings of Spinoza
Becoming woman?

03.05.2012
Deleuze on Spinoza's theory of affects 

From the ontological to the affective

04.04.2012
Spinoza with Deleuze
The underground current of the philosophy of immanence

07.03.2012
Macherey's Spinoza
Ontology of multiplicity or materialist dialectic?

08.02.2012
Althusser's concept of immanent causality 
- Seminar
Marx with Spinoza

08.12.2011
Exhausting politics 

Being out of class (Deleuze)

01.11.2011
What is an inoperativity that consists in contemplating one's own potentiality to act?
The messianic class

29.06.2011
Sharing the inappropriable
The retreating class

26.05.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class II

07.04.2011
The political capacity of the proletariat
The subtractive class

03.03.2011
Disrupting the logic of division
The supplementary class

04.02.2011
The antinomies of proletarian politics
The paradoxical class

02.12.2010
Nancy and Lacoue-Labarthe on political difference
Retreating the political

08.11.2010
Lars T. Lih as Reader of Lenin
What Is to be Done? and Bolshevism

03.10.2010
The concept of capitalism in "Anti-Oedipus"
Capitalism deterritorialized

30.06.2010
Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan
An impossible encounter I

28.05.2010
An impossible encounter: Deleuze, Guattari and Lacan
Preparatory Meeting

27.05.2010
Micropolitics in "A thousand plateaus"
Molecular Politics I

07.04.2010
On affectivity and potentiality
Spinoza with Deleuze

04.03.2010
Nietzsche with Deleuze
The negative in the positive

04.02.2010
The notion of becoming in Deleuze and Guattari
Becoming

04.11.2009
On Esposito's concept of bio/politics
Biopotentiality

08.10.2009
Reading Althusser

07.10.2009
Rancière's farewell to Althusserian Marxism
La leçon d'Althusser

06.10.2009
Debating Althusser's philosophy of the encounter
What is aleatory materialism?

03.09.2009
Negri on materialism
Kairos, Alma Venus, Multitudo

02.09.2009
Tronti and Cacciari's concept of the political
The autonomy of the political

17.06.2009
"From Capital-Labor to Capital-Life" by M. Lazzarato
Invention

20.05.2009
Reading Simondon
Individuation

09.04.2009
Nancy on the singularity of death
Excess

11.03.2009
Agamben and Deleuze on pure immanence
Immanence

11.03.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory meeting

11.03.2009
Workshop: becoming-major, becoming-minor
Preparatory meeting

07.02.2009
Foucault with Deleuze
The force of the outside II

06.02.2009
Superimposing diagrams: discipline and governmentality
The force of the outside

06.02.2009
Encountering Althusser
Preparatory Meeting

05.12.2008
Reading Jacques Rancière's "Dis-agreement"
Marx's Metapolitics

04.11.2008
Reading Balibar's "The Vacillation of Ideology in Marxism"
The non-totalizable complexity of the historical process

05.10.2008
Reading Jacques Derrida's "Specters of Marx"
Deconstructing Value Theory

11.09.2008
Reading Moishe Postone's "Time, Labor and Social Domination"
Value and Capitalist Capacities

01.07.2008
Debating "The mirror of production" by Jean Baudrillard
Marx with Bataille

06.06.2008
The coming communities of commons

05.06.2008
Feminist comments on the relation between politics and labor
The arcane of reproduction

09.05.2008
Rancière on the inactuality of communism and the intelligence of the unqualified

07.05.2008
Virno on Marx's "Fragments on machines"
Notes on the general intellect

04.04.2008
Virno on the concept of bio-politics in Postoperaism
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy? II

03.04.2008
Jason Read on abstract and living labor
What is living and what is dead in Marx's philosophy?

07.03.2008
Reading Negri's "Twenty Theses on Marx"
The autonomy of living labor

08.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker II

07.02.2008
Class composition in Italian autonomist Marxism
The emergence of the socialised worker

07.12.2007
On Badiou's concept of truth procedure
Assigning a measure to the excessive power of the state

09.11.2007
Reading Jacques Ranciere's "Ten theses on politics"
The supplementary part that disconnects the people from itself

04.10.2007
Deleuze and Guattari on the concept of minoritarian struggle
Micropolitics

07.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class II

06.09.2007
On class composition and radical negativity
Domestic work and class struggle within the class

02.07.2007
From class to minority
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism III

01.07.2007
On the concept of the concrete universal
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism II

30.06.2007
On Marx and Foucault
The relationship of Marxism and Post-Structuralism

30.05.2007
Dictatorship of the proletariat and council movement
The Soviet experience II

29.05.2007
Rosa Luxemburg on the Russian Revolution
The Soviet experience

06.04.2007
Negri on Lenin
Democracy beyond law II

05.04.2007
Lenin's concept of the dictatorship of protetariat
Democracy beyond law

09.03.2007
Benjamin's concept of mysthic and divine violence
To bring about the real state of exception II

08.03.2007
Agamben's reading of Benjamin
To bring about the real state of exception

09.02.2007
Agamben's sovereign theoretical turn in thinking potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality II

08.02.2007
Agamben's theory of autonomous potentiality
Potentiality of impotentiality

Rancière's farewell to Althusserian Marxism
La leçon d'Althusser

At the second seminar meeting on Althusser's legacy, we will discuss the penultimate chapter, A discourse in its place, of Rancière's 1974 book on Althusserian Marxism which Emiliano Battista is translating right now. In this chapter Rancière comments on Althusser's idea of the "class struggle in theory". It is essentially a long and brutal attack on the pretensions of the Parisian Marxist intelligentsia and of the little mandarins of knowledge at the post-May universities of the Vincennes type to being militant while transfering the authority from the master who is supposed to know to the knowledge itself.

The focus of the argument is on the ways in which Althusser proceeds by effacing the site of his discourse, or, better said, the lines that distinguish his discourse (learned, scholarly, academic, PCF bound) and the discourse of the masses. After 1968, Rancière states, it made no sense for any marxist discourse any more to continue to found itself in the principle of its own inner coherence containing in itself the rules of its verification, while rejecting to analyse the relationship between marxist knowledge and proletarian power, and the ways in which a certain type of knowledge is bound to a certain type of discipline of the academic institution or the Party. Rancière poses the question in how far Althusser both adopts this critique and neutralizes it by subsuming it to the practice of philosophy. Annulling the power of the multiple forms of militant struggles that have emerged during the 1960s turns out to be the effaced theoretical function of Althusser's self-criticism of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The text starts by diagnosing how Althusser's critique of Stalinism, his anti-productivism and his Maoism are the very positions through which he supports the Party by deviating from its program, giving the Party a radicalism, the Party permanently negates, and the text ends by showing the deadlock gauche prolétarienne was trapped in: 

"There was, however, this idea, which, through May, we inherited from the Cultural Revolution: to abolish the division of labor that separated intellectual from manual labor. Gauche prolétarienne, in particular, undertook to carry out this project. But the abstraction of this project only yields a simple negation. The death of the book is declared, and with it the futility of those struggles that remain closed within bourgeois intellectual apparatuses; intellectuals must either become manual workers or professional revolutionaries. They decide to become proletarians. [...] What we witness then is a reversal, in which the uprising of one class is transformed into the uprising of another class, and in which intellecutals speak in the name of the proletarian. The mechanism of representation is restored, and reduplicated at the level of the relations between organizational powers."

The politico-theoretical perspective Rancière advocates in this text is the multiplication of anticapitalist struggles that has taken place in the 1960s, with which the locations, strategies, and questions, from which one sets out to fight, are equally multiplied. For Rancière, the occupation of the LIP factory by the workers in Besancon in 1973 is paradigmatic for a newly emerging political form of struggle in which the militants themselves offer a coherent disourse about their practises.

With a bit of effort, we can see some of these arguments as foreshadowing Rancière's more recent work.

Emiliano has proposed to read this chapter together with Rancière's brief text "From one month of May to another" that he has written for a Brazilian newspaper in 2002.

- introduced by Emiliano Battista

Rancière: Althusser's Lesson, London and New York, Continuum (forthcoming, 2011) originally published in France as La leçon d'Althusser, Gallimard, 1974

For more information on gauche prolétarienne see
http://www.marxists.org/history/france/post-1968/gauche-proletarienne/introduction.htm