Actually, Levi was missing…

At least in my RSS feed. Clicking around this morning, for some reason a bunch of his posts that I missed suddenly showed up. I thought he had taken a respite from blogging. In any case, a belated response to Levi’s post about “democracy” and French Marxism. He argues that “democracy” is used as a synonym for neoliberalism, but I would actually say this is less the case in French Marxism that other variants. Certainly, the 1940s-1960s era of French Marxism was anathema, largely, to the rhetoric of democracy, given the bi-polar world, but this changed quite a bit after the events of 1968: one can see this, for example, in the change from Althusser to his students in terms of their rhetoric. (On this matter, of course, Rancière is notable.)

One reason why I think the language of democracy finds a better home in the French tradition is the republicanism of the French constitution, and thus “democracy” doesn’t simply stand (though it sometimes does) for the ideology that lets the colonizing West do what it does, but also for “what is not assimilable to the old-guard French state” and so it does seem to me to be a word that is used strategically by the left, though more by supposed “anarchist” leftists. This is why Rancière could write Hatred of Democracy, which sets out to record the anti-democratic thinking of much of the elite opinion of the French new left. (Or I guess, the now rather old new left, or new new left of the 70s.)

But obviously, if Levi is going, as he does, to suggest that Marxism and democracy go together, well then I welcome him to the post-healthcare-law United States, which will tell him soon just how “democratic” our new Marxist overlords are…