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

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

‘God is the immanent, not the transitive cause of all things’
Spinoza: Ethics, E1p18

‘Nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow.’ 
E1p36

In this seminar on post-Marxist readings of Spinoza, we are going to reconstruct the radically conflictual lines of a spinozist thinking of immanence starting from Althusser's endeavor to analyse the reproduction of the capitalist mode of production in differential terms. Structural or metonymical causality has been the concept - the latter one initially coined by Jacques Alain Miller - Althusser took up in the 1960s, in order to make reproduction the primary question of a critique of political economy. Reproduction is thought by him in form of a multitude of mechanisms that mutually shift themselves in their effects being in the last instance determind by the economic relationality itself. 

Spinoza occupies a divine position in Althusser’s endeavor to write a philosophy for Marx, to write what Marx never managed to write himself – a presentation of the nexus of concepts by which the critique of political economy can be summarized philosophically. Key is here that in the French epistemological tradition that Althusser follows – Bachelard, Cavaillès, Koyré, Canguilhem – science does not proceed progressively, in a continous evolution to ever increasing accumulation in cognition, but discontinuously by epistemological ruptures or epistemological breaks as Althusser prefers to say. Hence, with Bachelard Althusser defines the practice of science to be an active separation from the metaphorical answers, missing questions and imprecise concepts found in anterior approaches. Philosophy according to Bachelard retroactively thinks what science does.

In Althusser’s search of the composition of concepts by which the scientific practise in Capital can be conceptually systematized, Spinoza is the decisive chessman. The detour through Spinoza is made by Althusser to elucidate the detour Marx made through Hegel. Althusser’s hypothesis is the following: what Marx got from Hegel is the idea of a process without subject and end, which in its authentic sense has been constituted by Marx himself through abandoning Hegel’s subjectification of the process. For Althusser Hegel idealised processuality by making the process itself the subject of its own movement, mediating the passage of spirit though concrete objectivity to the immediate self-presentation of the absolute. Spinoza is the figure Althusser uses to prove that the proximity of Marx to Hegel is a proximity that separates. It’s Spinoza – Althusser claims – who formulates a model of immanent causality that deconstructs Hegel’s idealisation of the process avant la lettre. In other words, Spinoza occupies the site of the epistemological break itself. According to Althusser, Spinoza’s position is the distance taken to separate Marx both from Feuerbach and Hegel, i.e. from his own early writings. Spinoza can be put in this key position, as he gave to Marxism a materialist formula of immanent causality.

Our first session will be devoted to the quasi-Hegelian or quasi-totalising elements in Althusser's reading of Spinoza in the 1960s, in particular regarding the concepts of the complex structured whole, the determination in the last instance and the idea of an overdetermined contradiction that interiorises its conditions of existence. Both, Jean Hyppolite and Pierre Macherey discussed this problem with Althusser in the 1960s.

— Louis Althusser (1965, 1968): Reading Capital (end of chapter II. 8 The relations of production; II. 9 Marx's immense theoretical revolution), London: New Left Books (NLB), 1970, pp. 174-182; 182-193

— Louis Althusser: Is it simple to be a Marxist in philosophy? (chapter: The ‘last instance ...’), pp. 175-187
— Étienne Balibar (1965, 1968): Reading Capital (chapter III.2 The Elements of the Structure and their History), pp. 225-253

— Louis Althusser (1974): Elements of self-criticism (chapter 3, 4: Structuralism, On Spinoza), in Essays of self-criticism, London: 1976, pp. 126-142

Further references:

— Eugene Holland: Spinoza and Marx, in Cultural Logic, Volume 2, No 1, Fall 1998


— Louis Althusser: Spinoza. The only materialist tradition, in: Warren Montag/ Ted Stolze, The new Spinoza, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 3-19


— Warren Montag: Introduction, in: Pierre Macherey: In a materialist way. Selected essays, London, New York: Verso, 1998, pp. 6-9


— Jean Hyppolite: Studies on Marx and Hegel. Preface to the English Edition, New York: Basic Books 1969, viii
— André Tosel: Du matérialisme de Spinoza (chapter: Spinoza dans la crise du Marxisme. Le neo-spinozisme de Louis Althusser), Éditions Kimé, Paris 1994, pp. 204-210