Reading Guide to: Derrida J (1994) Specters of Marx, London: Routledge

by Dave Harris

This is Derrida's long-awaited discussion of the relevance of marxism. It was seen as the first explicit attempt to discuss Marxist politics, and thus deconstructionist politics, after Derrida's long tactical silence (see file on Fraser). I have not attempted to summarise the arguments in great detail, but have contented myself with attempting to give a gist. Of course, this is precisely what one must not do, and, indeed, cannot do, for Derrida. I have been guilty of foreclosing the beautifully deferred/differed meanings that Derrida has been so careful to establish. He wanted to playfully remind us of the connections, however unlikely at first blush, between Marx and Shakespeare. I have performed the dreaded 'cut-out' on all that, and even offered a 'commentary'. So I'll suffer if any Derridavians read this. But my guess is that none will. If they do -- hey guys, I'm a teacher...I want students to go on and read the works of yer man. They have to start somewhere -- why not here, with me?

Apart from other losses, this summary omits much of the pleasure of reading the original, especially Derrida's sense of humour and playfulness. The title refers of course to the much used metaphor of the spectre [UK spelling] or the ghostly presence which chronically haunts all texts, and which might be seen as that collection of meanings which have been repressed or denied in the final construction and attempts to fix meaning. All such attempts are in vain, despite the skill of the writer or film-maker, and repressed meanings continue to haunt the final text.

Derrida is interested in trying to see which aspects of Marx's legacy might still be useful in the 1990s. It is clear that this is to be no simple 'application' of marxism, but more a matter of recapturing a spirit or spectre. It is to be a 'spectropoetics', an examination of the ways in which Marx and marxism still haunts us, still has influence  [the 'poetics'  bit refers to the well-known 'method' of uncovering layers of meaning in events or texts, often by pursuing analogies, metaphors, allusions and other literary devices]. There are lots of parallels between this task and the exposition of meanings in the Shakespearean play Hamlet (or Timon of Athens), and this analogy is pursued [slightly too much for my taste!]: Hamlet was of course classically haunted by the ghost of his father. Pursuing these parallels will help us to uncover the spectral world of capital, and the fetishism of its mechanisms. Apart from anything else, this will help us dismiss those anti-Marxist critics who are predicting the naive and notorious 'end of history'  [such as Fukuyama specifically]. 

What we need to do is to reconsider and reassert the spirit of Marx, even if some of the concrete applications of marxism have been disastrous and dated, as in Soviet communism. This includes the need to reawaken the notion of dialectic and struggle, and even hegemony, but in a more general way, without the specific central emphasis on class. [The project seems similar to the efforts made by Deleuze and Guattari to generalise a theory of Desire from Freud, without necessarily emphasising the specific mechanisms such as the Oedipus complex. Again, Fraser's commentary explains this attempt to generalise a broad context for specific theories or events]. It is possible to split marxism like this. Indeed it was always/already split. It has been certain groups of believers who have tried to impose unities on marxism, by a process of ‘conjuration’, a word which implies both a conjuring trick, and the practice of swearing an oath together. Anti-marxists, wishing to reject the entirety of Marx's work operate with a similar conjuration.  [Derrida also comes close here to spelling out a particular role played by philosophers and universities in unifying and systematising marxism -- page 31. If only he had pursued this hint!]. 

A fairly conventional analysis of hegemony follows. There are three major apparatuses involved in the establishment of hegemony -- the media, political culture, and academics  [French academics, that is, who have always had much public influence] These three link, overlap and mix. One intellectual in particular is criticised -- Fukuyama, who tries to explain away all the bad side of capitalism as merely contingent, or 'empirical'. He has a notion of some Spirit as well, which ends with him equating the USA, or the EC, with Hegel's Universal State.  [So this is a bad use of the distinction between concrete applications and underlying Spirit, quite unlike Derrida's use of the distinction?]. 

Deconstruction is fully in the spirit of marxism. It attempts to find traces, ghosts, and uncovers undecidability. Such analysis can obviously be aimed at 'ideologems', which is clearly in the spirit of marxism. [Again, Derrida has simply identified and rejected the bits of marxism he disapproves of].

A rather standard Marxist critique of liberal capitalism follows, including criticism of the evacuation of the real public spaces by the media, who construct a new 'phantom State'. They also help to construct an equally spectral 'New International', even if only as a 'counter-conjuration'. Marxism is badly needed here, at least to explain the discrepancies between people in these new orders, and to criticise the ideal picture that is presented of liberal capitalism. We need to preserve the critical and self critical strain, even if we do need to discard concepts such as ‘mode of production, social class... the International, the dictatorship of the proletariat, a single party state and totalitarian monstrosity’  (88). Derrida also likes the ‘Messianic affirmation' of marxism  (89), including its promise to produce revolutionary action. Deconstruction can operate properly only within the space left by Marxist critique, which is both rational and universal in its appeal.

A useful discussion ensues, based on bits in Marx's 18th Brumaire... about ‘borrowed languages’ and their political role [for those who do not know this text, Marx is explaining how Napoleon III, great-nephew of the real Napoleon, came to power in 1851 by stitching together a number of statements and appeals, some evoking past images of glory and greatness, others invoking a golden age of rural peace, still others promising modernisation. These are the 'borrowed languages' in question].  Derrida says this shows how ghosts continue to haunt the living, and how difficult it is to separate the living from the spectre [invoking a new discipline wittily called 'hauntology'-- try this with a French accent]. This text also shows the power of the metaphor of the spectre, where it is central to marxist analysis.

[The main critical tactic identified in Marx's work seems rather similar to the argument in Colletti -- that philosophical abstraction can be re-embodied, when 'applied', but in a phoney and uncriticised body representing the actual existing society]. The mechanism of fetishism is taken as central for Derrida  [quite unlike the Althusserians]. A number of layers can be detected in 'reality': ideas tend be abstracted from this complex layering and then recombined in abstract thought. Marxist critique of Stirner, in the German Ideology, shows this tendency best, but Derrida suggests that this is found in all phenomenological analysis  [I think this means any analysis which operates at the merely phenomenal level, rather than the specific academic tradition].   

Phenomenal forms and phenomenal egos are still spectral, involving a falsely embodied spirit . Such spectres do still require a spirit to redeem them and reanimate them  [that is, to stop them being merely descriptive and banal?]. In Marx's case, the careful analysis of the spectral forms leads to an uncovering of the real mechanism of exchange value [hailed by many Marxists, including Engels, as the major achievement demonstrating the superiority of Marx's criticism. It still seems odd to find Derrida in this company, for some reason. 

Derrida’s own skilfully poetic re-rendering of the analysis of commodity fetishism ensues. This includes a very clever piece on how use-value and exchange value are not clearly separated but 'haunted', by culture and by each other. Derrida takes this as a classic example which has very general application, and reasserts his plea for ‘hauntology’ rather than the usually carefully separated and compartmentalised ontology. Exchange value haunts use-value, for example, by expressing repetition, exchange ability, and the loss of singularity  (161). Use-value haunts exchange value, because exchange is only possible if the commodity might be useful for others. [It is possible that Marx is being criticised himself here for offering too simple a separation, an ‘ontological’ attempt to fix and stop and separate elements that are combined in a flux, possibly for political reasons].  

The book ends with a plea for constant and endless examination of such conjurations [that is deconstruction?]. Derrida thinks it needs to be extended urgently to the whole issue of simulacra [a comment on Baudrillard?], especially media-generated ones.

This is a more extensive and detailed much later summary, inspired by the (still) strange adoption of Derrida by femininst materialist like Kirby. So --seflessly I have returned to the key text. God it is as bad as I recall. I think the original summary above was really all most of us need:

An innocent reading of this piece makes a lot of sense. It is about the difficult legacy of Marxism, a problem nearly everyone in French intellectual life had to deal with, and a few Brits as well. The problem was that the collapse of the Soviet system led to widespread scepticism about Marxism as well, and was the prelude to all sorts of attempts to make Marxism somehow relate a current identity politics, in the case of the British gramscians. In France, it led to among others Althusser, and various pro-Chinese factions, as well as residual trots. Derrida uses Blanchot on the three voices of Marx to illustrate the different possible readings — Marx as determinist/materialist, Marx as visionary and what ever the third one was. Derrida sees these different readings emerging clearly in different French translations, before he gets going and tries to link in Heidegger in the original German [I had to pass].

It dawns on him pretty swiftly that he can talk about these different readings haunting modern Marxists. The term is resonant of course with the spectre of communism in the Manifesto. As Derrida points out, that spectre is haunting Europe, but as a future possibility, as something to come, which leads him to the point that spectres occupy the past and the future, if not actually the present. He can lead into all sorts of witty stuff about the future as the past to come and all that. As a literary person, he also wants to weave in lots of Hamlet, on the rather thin grounds that Marx liked Shakespeare, although I always thought his favourite book was Tristram Shandy, and of course because of the ghost.

He gets Hamlet's bit on the time being out of joint, and speculates what it might mean, to posit a series of events that are not conjoined in the conventional way, but are still connected, this links to the points about the future and the past. This clearly implies heterogeneity — but I still think it is heterogeneous readings, based on heterogeneous signs. It is also connected to justice, a kind of applied Levinas  on responsibility to others, again obviously very important for Western Marxists living with the legacy of the terrors of the Soviet system. Eventually, justice means being open to these unconventional conjunctions.

An awful lot of this actually appears quite early on in chapter 2. This is the source of lots of the quotes spattered throughout feminist materialism about haunting, traces, heterogeneity and so on. I still think it is a very long way for an analogy to stretch from Marx's ambiguous writings to the mysterious morphology of dinoflagellates. The heterogeneity and ambiguity in Marx clearly arises from the inevitable deployment of language which itself necessarily contains traces of other meanings, in the past, and pointing towards the future. I can't see how this heterogeneity is manifested in Nature, how the dinoflagellates somehow preserve and maintain ambiguity in the same way that Marx did as a writing technique.

Off we go, without the folderol. Incidentally I think the folderol has a number of rhetorical purposes. The most obvious one is that it is an impressive display of academic capital, academic discourse at its best. Yet there are also more plainly written pieces, which often follow particularly obscure displays. I think this is working like the 'prime knowledge' of televangelists, aiming at unified subjectivity for the common man, based on common sense, but also appearing to be theologically authoritative. [I also remembered a useful study of the techniques used to involve the readers here, which includes the use of phatic appeals to common sense , what everyone knows, what can be assumed, what cannot be doubted etc.] Derrida displays his full grasp of all the doubts and unintended consequences of reviving Marxism, both political and philosophical, and does a great deal of backing and filling, back-covering, the cultivation of ambiguity and so on. Yet, he still thinks that we must tentatively revive it, or at least a version of it — he takes care to separate out his version from that of Althusser for example. If even this superbly accomplished philosopher, after acknowledging all the doubts, still opts for a version of Marxism, who are we to disagree?

Now I have reread the book, I can't help but think that Engels's analysis in his Second Preface to German Ideology is probably a better interpretation of the 'spirit' of the piece. Derrida philosophises, turning it into a historical debate in philosophy, about ontology in Marx and Stirner, with the latter remaining in Young Hegelianism, while Marx wanted to engineer a break. The break involves a turn to materialism, but while GI talks constantly of 'sensuous activity', and 'social intercourse', practicalities and the way in which social and especially economic conditions constrain human development, Derrida wants to stick with philosophy. For him, Marx's materialism is really a kind of early discussion of otherness. Derrida is not a bit interested in sensuous activity, but pursues instead various discourses at work in Marx and Engels, and reawakens a purely philosophical distinction between spirit and spectre, not the political distinction between ideas and sensuous activity. In that, he seems close to abstract idealised notions of politics and revolutions, not actually that far from Stirner (whom he admires anyway): from my limited reading of Stirner, I think his utopia of self assertive individuals is not too different from Derrida's of openness to otherness without guarantees.

The editors intro makes it clear that the context is the consequences of the 1989 Soviet collapse, and the triumph for liberalism of Fukuyama. It was time for Marxist intellectuals to take stock, especially as the so-called democracies were still experiencing crisis, so they had a conference in 1991 — ' Whither Marxism?' with a big international contribution and especially one from Derrida. No doubt it was a chance for him to demonstrate the relevance of deconstruction to politics, that it 'always already moves within a certain spirit of Marx' (x). This book is basically plenary address and a subsequent lecture [poor bloody audience]. There is a companion volume of conference papers, and there seems to be agreement that Marxism is already a plural noun, communism is not the same as Marxism, both communism and Marxism are historically contexted, but using the proper name Marx is 'entirely un-circumventable' [Althusserians always spelt it with a small letter].

Exordium [we start with pseuderie straight away]. People who want to learn to live need their request analysed [oh dear]. It involves experience, education, and a notion of taming or training. It is completely necessary. It also has an interesting contradiction that implies that the questioner is not living, 'between life and death' (xviii), that something is happening between life and death, some ghost.However spectrality is not just there, not a substance or an essence 'never present as such'. We are never directly with the ghostly other, memory and inheritance are involved. And a sense of justice, which can never be a matter of law, but involve a sense of responsibility to ghostly others, even those who are not yet born. It is a responsibility 'beyond all living present'. Spectrality is 'disjoined' to the living present, non-contemporaneous with itself. However, we have to invoke it if we're going to ask questions like where tomorrow or whither.

In a way [and if you are a French philosopher] asking about the future 'proceeds from the future' (xix) in excess of any present. It already implies an inadequate understanding of self. Justice implies carrying on beyond present life. Hence [pseud] 'a spectral moment… No longer belongs to time' [having first set up a straw man, of course — 'if one understands by [time] the linking of modalised presents (past present, actual present: "now", future present) [that is what is understood as time in ordinary consciousness] — 'what we call time'. Ghosts do not fit neatly into this time. This is a very valuable part of human experience [maybe, it is all wrapped up in lofty references to Kant and German terminology], but there are problems — for example how would people get committed to this obligation of justice if it's beyond the law and the present. The answer must invoke 'the [virtual?] life of a living being, whether one means by that natural life or the life of the spirit'. If we see justice carrying life beyond  'empirical and ontological actuality', we seem normal life and death as a matter of traces, disjoined to present identity. 'There is then some spirit. Spirit', and we must deal with them: they are more than one [which in French allows an ambiguity le plus d'un — no more one as well]' . [So spectrality means the virtual, or 'the social' if you wanted it materialised. Note that he does allow that this might be some sort of natural life, but I don't think we got outside of language yet]

Chapter 1 injunctions of Marx.
We start with the ghost seen in Hamlet to posit the idea of a spectre of Marx, similarly out of joint [equals the disjointed mentioned above and later clarified a little], still without familiar conjunctions of the kind you will find in the notion of the context. There are spectres of Marx in the plural, and we go back to the French to argue that this could be a population of ghosts but also 'less than one' person, meaning 'pure and simple dispersion' (2) [this is going to be made familiar by the argument that there are several voices in Marx]. Luckily, this population will be heterogeneous. Luckily, the Manifesto also talks of spectres haunting Europe, and it will animate his talk, just as the ghost scene opens Hamlet.

Hamlet's ghost involves waiting for the apparition, or rather a re-apparition, where the ghostly status of Hamlet's father is clarified. This introduces an historical dimension to haunting, although not in the sense of being given a precise date, located to one particular day on a calendar. It's more like being inhabited, and in the case of Europe and its spectres, we can recognise it as having a presence in the past in the various political struggles. The claim is that Shakespeare inspired 'this Marxian theatricalization' [and other ghostwriters like Valery] [there is a Blanchot quote suggesting that the great philosophers of Europe, including Marx, via Hegel and Kant could be seen as the skulls in Hamlet's hand]. Valéry and other old fashioned philosophers would refer to the spirit of man, or rather the spirit of his spirit — and minimises the contribution of Marx in his own right.

We learn that spirits can be embodied, but paradoxically as a 'becoming – body' (5), still difficult to pin down, disappearing as easily as it appears, hard to confine it to a name [very useful in the circumstances of wanting to rescue Marx]. Ordinary knowledge no longer applies ['that which one thinks one knows by the name of knowledge']. Semantics are defied as much as ontology, even psychoanalysis doesn't fit. Even when the ghost doesn't exist for us, it can still see us in 'a spectral asymmetry'. It challenges our understanding of time ['recalls us to anachrony'] [Derrida plays with the metaphor of a visor a bit — we are seen by a look that we cannot examine, a visor effect, like the way the law works — interpellation?]. Marx grasps this when he talked about the German ideology as invisible, and caitalism as non-sensuous [commodity fetishism]. Ghosts are however clearly other, not a mere image or a simulacrum.. We have no choice but to blindly submit to secrets, of origin, for example, as long as we are not witnessing an impersonation. Hamlet's ghost appears in Hamlet n armour butwe do not know if that is spectral too, just dressing. Because it protects the inner, it is not just a mask, but an insignia of power [spattered with quotes from Hamlet].

We find this single thing [spectre] actually consists of three things [very literary and reference to Hamlet, and explicable only when we consider kings as having more than one body — their physical one and what they represent].

The three things are: mourning, which is how we make the past present, 'ontologise remains' (9), and this requires us to both get to know people and also make sure they remain past; all this depends 'on the condition of language — and the voice' [NB], in particular naming things and then letting names be replaced; the need for transformative work of a particular kind — that 'supposes the spirit of the spirit' [again presumably because in order to grasp appearance and disappearance, we have to move beyond the empirical knowledge of the thing to get to its essence or spirit].

So tracing the future of Marxism involves following a ghost, also being followed by it, and being disoriented — 'the future comes back in advance' (10). This is what makes a ghost particularly effective — it manipulates repetitions and first time appearances — 'staging for the end of history. Let us call it a hauntology. This logic of haunting would not be merely larger and more powerful than an ontology… It would harbour within itself, but like circumscribed places or particular effects, eschatology and teleology themselves'. [Then and typically]: 'it would comprehend them but incomprehensibly' [meaning we have to understand differently]. We see this with the opposition between to be and not to be.

The Manifesto evokes or convokes the coming of a silent ghost on the ramparts of Europe, and this is a returning ghost, whose appearances and disappearances are beyond human control. It is difficult to make this ghost speak as always, especially if we have privileged looking as a mode of gaining knowledge. Scholars traditionally do not show interest in 'the virtual space of spectrality' (12), but commonly distinguish real and unreal, living and non-living and so on: that is central to the claim of objectivity, anything beyond should be left to fiction or literature. This problem used to be addressed by referring to the singularity of location of a scholar [Derrida says 'let's not call it a class position as one used to say long ago']. Hamlet shows the inadequacy of conventional scholarship when he asks Horatio to interrogate it — the ghost is conjured to speak [more French puns to come] as a way of domesticating the spectre. Marx might eventually appear as someone who develops a theory of talking to spirits, with general application [theory of ideology].

It is particularly urgent that we review this effort. Marx and Engels themselves knew that their approach was historically located, and that we should transform their work, especially as circumstances changed and new knowledge and politics emerged, especially globalisation and nationalism. This is how we should read Marx, rather than scholastically, especially now dogmatism is on the decline. 'There will be no future without this. Not that Marx, no future without Marx, without the memory and the inheritance of Marx: in any case of a certain Marx', because there is 'more than one of them'.

Derrida is aware that he and his generation took a particular view of Marx and Marxism and its intellectual context, including different interpretations of Marxism, especially deterministic versions. In his generation, there was opposition to Soviet Marxism, but not from a Conservative or right wing position. They were criticising Soviet Marxism long before the actual collapse of the USSR. So asking about the relevance of Marxism today is already 'an old repetition' (15): we are still waiting for the spectre. Fukuyama is only rehashing questions that were being asked in the 50s. There were already predictors of the apocalypse, already critics of 'totalitarian terror in all the eastern countries' and the bureaucratic failures. Indeed 'such was no doubt the element in which what is called deconstruction developed', especially in France. Fukuyama 'looks most often like a tiresome anachronism', and this sense is developed in 'phenomenal culture' (17), the result of the mass media: what looks like a generational revolt against Marxism is in fact one by late comers. The current predictions of the end of history clearly relate to 'the end of a certain concept of history' (17), and we should remind the latest critics of that, especially those who choose to dignify the present arrangements with abstract terms like 'Parliamentary democracy'. Blanchot had already rehearsed some of this, addressing some of his contemporaries predicting the end of philosophy with an argument that said Marx in fact had 3 voices.

Inheritances show 'radical unnecessary heterogeneity… a difference without opposition' (18). There is no dialectic, but rather a 'quasi-juxtaposition'. And inheritance is never unified. We have to filter, sift and criticise, take its readability as a problem. Otherwise 'we would be affected by it as by a cause — natural or genetic' [which makes us different from slime moulds in my view]. But choosing and deciding implies 'differing/deferring… By speaking at the same time several times — and in several voices'.  Blanchot saw the different voices arising from the different demands placed upon Marx's writing, and everything since, including the modern writer wanting to succeed in everything. Again this expression raises the problem of time with the word 'since' — 'as much in front of us as before us' (19), naming 'a future to come as much of the past' [which can be generalised to argue that with proper names, 'the proper of a proper name will always remain to come', and thus have to be disclosed rather than predicted. It can only be speech that defers, though [I think, and this is again different from slime moulds], especially if it wishes to 'affirm justly'the coming of an event.

Derrida wants to extend this to mean that 'the joining of a radically disjointed time, without certain conjunction', that is something that is unknowable and risks being wrong. Disjoint does not mean grasping connections as negations, or identifying dysfunctional connections, but the lack of 'certain joining or determinable conjunction' (20). Time itself is disarticulated. In Hamlet, there is a definite spectrality implied — 'habitation without proper inhabiting, call it a haunting, of both memory and translation', meaning that the play is not exhausted by its numerous versions in different languages.

Looking at different translations, for example we see that their differences are not just displayed at random, but depend on the existence of the spectre with its 'disparate demands, which are more than contradictory' (21). The French translations show this, falling into different types: in some, the time is out of joint refers either to time itself or to temporality, the way in which historical periods are organised, and whether we can see the world in those periods as working or not working, where it is heading, how it should run. Each translation is disadjusted when faced with 'necessarily equivocal meaning. There is also a special problem moving between languages, which, despite the skill of the translator, only points to 'the inaccessibility of the other language'. [Then a few examples of French translations are given — one refers to time being off its hinges, another to time broken down, another to the world being upside down or askew, and yet another to an age being dishonoured { a l'envers or upside down is also 'close to 'de travers', or askew}]. Some readings stress ethical and political implications, so out of joint means moral decadence, possibly even unjust, which lets Derrida into another discussion of justice. He wants to move away from the ontological, and discuss whether this adjustment is actually 'the condition of justice'. Out of joint means perverted, morally askew, and Hamlet apparently opposes the phrase to 'being right, in the right or the straight path' (23). He curses destiny that has stopped him putting things back in order and forcing him to walk a crooked path. Derrida sees this as self rebuke in the end, an ambivalence about this mission — developed with heavy textual references. It tells us about inheritance, which is also difficult to clarify because it never clearly presents itself, although we still preserve a sense of responsibility. Sometimes that leads to cursing our duty which we have inherited. Overall 'one never inherits without coming to terms with… some spectre, and therefore with more than one spectre'. That is 'the originary wrong, the birth wound' from which Hamlet suffers.

Wandering back to justice [!], the law in Hamlet's day was punitive and required punishment, even murder. Could we think of a justice system that finally established a distance with vengeance, that saw it even as foreign, perhaps even as heterogeneous? That we cannot do so shows that our own time is out of joint, still suffering from the 'originary corruption'.

Should we try to organise 'the apparently disordered plurivocity' which produces out of joint interpretations? There will always be haunting, however. Shakespeare was able, in a stroke of genius, to recognise 'the insignia trait of spirit' which helped him to authorise and make possible each one of the translations, without reducing the complexity, avoiding an adjoining leading to 'coherence, responsibility'. Adjoining itself is threatened by being out of joint, though, anachronistic. However, such threats might be necessary 'for the good, not least the just, to be announced. Is not disjuncture the very possibility of the other?' (26). So there are two disjunctures, and one of them is good, because relating to the other is 'the place for justice' [and just below he is to cite Levinas], not calculative or distributive kinds, though, not leading to punishment. We must still think of moving beyond repression, and excess that will direct us in the course of history, something that is not apparent when the time is in joint and everything runs conventionally.

[Unfortunately, at this point, we revert to Heidegger and his use of German terms relating to harmonious joining and accord, 27F. There is a Derrida game when he says that one of the words immediately suggests the absence of another — I think he's referring to rights and penalties. One of the words that Heidegger uses 'comes, if one can say that, from the future', because what it describes as not yet come about. Even more, 'the passage of this time of the present comes from the future to go toward the past, toward the going of the gone'. The discussion rambles on to whether the Greeks thought of Being pessimistically — apparently there is still the trace of something optimistic in their notion of the tragic {as we saw with Nietzsche}. In a phrase that the feminist materialists like, especially Kirby the issue is whether justice repairs injustice or re- articulates it. Much discussion of what Heidegger means ensues, including a hint that there is an 'articulation between what absents itself and what presents itself' and this is a kind of adjoining — I thought of what Bergson was saying about the way in which our grasp of the present is articulated necessarily both towards past and future. There is also a strange bit on page 30 says that the injustice of the present arises from its being out of joint necessarily, so we don't just render justice, but offer a kind of free gift, which moves the whole thing away from the necessity of vengeance, and offers a notion of justice beyond the law. Later, juncture or jointure is a kind of gift, an addition or excess, something supplementary 'but without raising the stakes' (31) — impossible for Marcel Mauss of course. It is more or less the same as 'leaving to the other what properly belongs to him or her', giving the other full presence, a gift to others who do not have it already, a 'proper jointure to the other'. Derrida says this still gives too much attention to the sign of presence, and reasserts his own view that justice in terms of relation to the other implies 'the irreducible excess of a disjointure or an an anachrony' (32) {this might be a very elliptical way of getting to the necessity of a crisis that offers a rupture with the past as in classical Marxism, one that will just not repair or reform}.].

There is always risk, but we have to actively do justice to the other. We have also pulled off another trick, relating 'deconstruction to the possibility of justice' {that is using deconstruction to identify what is out of joint before giving justice}. Giving justice to the other involves 'the singularity of the other… his or her absolute precedents or… absolute previousness' (33) which again implies an necessarily heterogeneous previous state. Again we are not talking here about simple past states, but to the coming of an event that also is linked to the future. Anyway, we can at last see a political role for deconstruction as 'the thinking of the gift and of an deconstructible justice, the undeconstructible condition of any deconstruction, to be sure, but a condition that is itself in deconstruction' [seems to have covered all the angles]. Without this massive philosophical effort, justice rests only on good conscience and a sense of duty, and this 'loses the chance of the future', of future possibilities, of the other as 'absolute and unpredictable singularity', the uniqueness of the event and the other. We can identify this in Marx's legacy, although it applies to inheriting in general.

Heidegger runs the risk of reducing justice just to the application of rules, which will inevitably offer a 'totalising horizon' (34). He is too interested in social order [maybe] and should have stressed a unique kind of difference which 'will never be assured in the One', but is found 'only in the trace of what would happen otherwise', evoking the spectre again. It is risky to make the time out of joint, and there is a possibility of evil, but without doing it 'there remains perhaps beyond good and evil, only the necessity of the worst' [I don't follow this really, except in the specifics of Marxist revolution].

Back to Marx's three voices in Blanchot, and the way these three are disparate, while still holding together. We have to preserve this disparate quality if we are to preserve 'the heterogeneity of the other' (35) and if we are to join ourselves into the work, again without any certainty or prior knowledge, meaning rejoining 'without organisation, without party, the nation, without state, without property' [Derrida wants to call this '"communism"' and 'the new International'].

Blanchot says that Marxism still leaves undetermined or undecided the questions which it is responding to, and this relative emptiness has been interpreted subsequently as humanism or historicism, or even nihilism. For Derrida, Marx has not exposed the logic of spectrality in his desire to do ontology, and this has a consequence in the dogmatic and terroristic policies adopted by so-called Marxists. We should think of it instead as 'an ethical and political imperative'.

We find this in Marx's implicit pledge or promise, appeal or political injunction, 'the originary performativity that does not conform to pre-existing conventions' (36 – 7) [and so this not like the notion of the performative in speech act theory — this one is disruptive, violent, intending to disarticulate]. This is captured by the term différance, which does not mean just deferal or lateness, but 'the precipitation of an absolute singularity' (37), differing, other, imminent, at least in the sense of offering a pledge or promise. This is implicit, preceding a decision to confirm it, it is 'by definition… impatient, uncompromising, and unconditional. No différance without alterity, no alterity without singularity, no singularity without here – now'. We have to stress this urgency in Marx, revive its political imperatives, neutralise any attempts to grasp it as a classical work [he has Althusser in mind?], as is the trend in the University, which is awash with tolerance, silencing revolt except in the form of a neutral analysis, conjuring away the dangers of Marxism, dealing with him objectively and without bias, of course, pursuing scholarly exegesis, claiming Marx was a philosopher like any other — 'the neutralising anaesthesia of a new theoreticism' (39). Instead we need to 'give priority to the political gesture', even at a scholarly colloquium.

We should not think too quickly of the immediate and the present, however, but instead focus on 'a can–be or maybe in order to remain a demand', to preserve its difference from the present and its excess. Permanent revolution implies a break with permanence and ontology [and this is the second voice in Blanchot].

It is necessary to preserve Marx's texts as 'an irreducible heterogeneity, and internal and translate ability in some way ' even if this makes it less coherent theoretically. Full recognition of the singularity of the other is necessary to open things up, and that in turn is the basis of the political injunction or promise. Blanchot was to warn especially against 'scientistic ideology' that had tried to purify Marxism. His third voice recognises that Marx is a man of science, a scholar, but insists that it also offers '"a mode of theoretical thinking that overturns the very idea of science"' (41), something that preserves the notion of constant transformation. Again this is best seen as exceeding conventional science. The examples [in Marx?] should be seen as excessive, independent from its context and from whoever gives it. In this sense, we do not have to rely on the authority of Marx in order to appreciate his inheritance, nor to suppose that there was a unified Marxism even for Marx. Blanchot says that disjunction was a difficulty for Marx especially as the components were untranslatable into each other — but for Derrida, homogeneity and translatability makes Marx's political injunction inheritance in future 'impossible' [because disjunction and heterogeneity, radical otherness and the like is necessary].

We are left with the [paradox] found in all deconstruction — we have to link an affirmation 'to the experience of the impossible' which will necessarily be experienced through 'the perhaps'. Again we must resist the temptation to see these as contradictions in the classic sense — they are multiple forms, a plurality of languages, heterogeneous, divergent.

So when Blanchot [and Marx?] predicts the end of philosophy, what he means is the renewal of the philosophical spirit, a resurrection [as against attempts to domesticate it]. Philosophers themselves have produced this '"nihilist movement in which all values are engulfed"' [I've commented that the attempt to recuperate philosophy in this way, after it ceases to have any political or social significance, means it can only play stupid games with words or other people's concepts].

 It's hard to tell the difference between renaissance and a mere ghostly reappearance, but 'this not knowing is not a lacuna' (45) — we cannot fill not knowing with knowledge. It arises from heterogeneity and this must be preserved, for the future, which will remain pure only 'on the basis of a past end', of course. We should not totalise in advance [except we have done so by stressing heterogeneity], nor entertain 'messianic extremity' especially if it replaces solid interpretive work.

There are still dominant influences on discourse today, and some of them contain Marxist ghosts — because 'hegemony still organises the repression' and thus haunting persists as a necessary accompaniment. The Manifesto does talk of a communism to come, something that could not even been named. The problem is to distinguish between the future and the coming back of a spectre. In 1848, communism to come was dreaded, and its spectral nature was a comfort, so the question of whither Marxism was an urgent one. And 'no organised political movement in the history of humanity ...[had]...presented itself as geopolitical' (47). Conservatives were sure that the spectre would never completely dominate actual reality, that there was a dividing line — and Marx himself agreed [so theoretically, the revolution was necessary], or rather one of him did. It is fashionable now to see communism still as spectral, but firmly belonging to the past, an illusion. The spectre is still a threat, but in a different way — which suggests that spectres have a history, again not a linear one obviously.

'If there is something like spectrality' we can start to doubt conventional notions of time divided between the present reality and everything that can be opposed to it — 'absence, non-presence, non-effectivity, in actuality, virtuality'. The 'spectrality effect' does not undo the split between an actual presence and some other, but political opponents have turned such separation into an axiom.

In the last century, they constructed a holy alliance to drive off the spectre — the nobility, clergy, all the powers of old Europe. Had the manifesto been in French,  Marx would have been able to have 'played on the word conjuration' to describe these activities — it has a surplus value itself, meaning both swearing together of an oath as in a conspiracy, and also 'magical incantation designed to evoke' (50), where words cause something to happen. Marx does this evocation in the Contribution to the Critique, referring to the 'bodiless body of money: not the lifeless body or the cadaver, but a life without personal life for individual property' (51), the abstract right of property, its 'phantomalization', later becoming 'a theologising fetishisation' showing the links between ideology and religion, the invisible God, a 'poetic flash'to go beyond 'bourgeois colleagues in economic theory' (52), and opposing the usual supposed rational similarity between 'the property of money and personal property'. He does things like this, including quoting Timon of Athens, to preserve 'the imprecation of the just' as always present, even in the most analytic texts, designed not to reveal the truth but provoke. [Derrida says that the full version of Timon shows very well the double meaning of swearing and conjuring and how it is connected to 'the history of venality itself' (53) how conjuring can mean feigning truth  -- baffling stuff like this: 'but if he feigns to make the other promise, it is in truth to make the other promise not to keep his promise, that is, not to promise, even as he pretends to promise: to perjure also adjure in the very moment of the oath; then following from this same logic, he begs him to spare all oaths'. This marvel leads to the idea that this socially rejected were expected to be incapable of taking an oath, prostitutes and those enslaved by gold generally. The longish selection from Timon goes on to talk about natural instincts, some oath of nature before social or legal ones, some 'constancy in perjury', but one that always gives into power and to indifference that is money — so 'nature is prostitution'].

Marx saw money as an appearance, simulacrum, or ghost, only seeming to describe actual things. The Critique says that the existence of money produces a remainder, a shadow, in a process of idealisation — the production of ghosts and illusions. One victim is the miser and hoarder mistaking the power of money as persisting even after death. En route, Derrida tells us that words like geld and geist had a common origin. Commodities metamorphosing like this can be seen as 'trans-figuring idealisation', something 'spectropoetic' (56) [again not at all like Pfisteiria picida] . Issuing money at a fixed rate is like magic that transmutes paper into gold — the state is responsible, again as an apparition doing magic, relying on haunting to conduct business, while the whole body of 'undertakers' try to make the departed disappear. The futility of the whole business is revealed in the buried treasure of the miser, who moves from concrete exchange to dream of a pure exchange, dabbling in alchemy, 'speculating on ghosts'. Exchange value is therefore 'precisely an apparition… a vision, hallucination, a properly spectral apparition'. Marx describes exchange in terms that evoke haunting and alchemy, especially in English translation.

He focuses on what distinguishes ghosts from reality and how to oppose them, to chase away spectres by means of critical analysis — but this still risks turning into a form of magic.

[Back to the wonderful French ambiguity in conjuring]. Conjuration is an alliance, attempting to overturn a power or neutralise hegemony, as when the bourgeois conspired to establish free towns. Conjuration also means exorcism, and this might include analytic procedure and rational argument, sometimes using theoretical formulae as well as magical ones. Having pronounced theoretical death, the problem then is to produce actual death, but this is masked by 'the reassuring] constative form' of some theories which become 'effectively a performative' [still in the linguistic sense I think]. This is often about self reassurance, convincing oneself that the problem hass gone. This can be so powerful there is tendency toward 'heterological  tauto -ontology' (60) in Marx, that stresses equally the relation to life and the inclusion of death [I think this is suggesting that this is a constructed other]. It can even turn into 'pretending to certify death' while hoping to encourage the actual performance of act of war. It can be an 'impotent gesticulation' or 'restless dream'.

Chapter 2 Conjuring — Marxism

[A great deal of philosophical reservation, caution and back covering both proceeds and accompanies this discussion of hegemony in Marx, working up towards arguing that the spirit of Marxism is what needs to be retained, including its messianic promise. En route, he has the nerve to criticise Fukuyama for doing exactly what he does — manipulate empirical and idealist arguments to suit his purposes]

Saying the time is out of joint might mean one time or all times, a return, all the presentation of the new. [Here's a classical bit 'in a predictive proposition that refers to time, and more precisely to the present – form of time, the grammatical present of the verb to be, in the third person indicative, seems to offer a predestined hospitality to the return of any and all spirits, a word that one needs merely to write in the plural in order to extend a welcome there to spectres. To be, and especially when one infers the infinitive "to be present" is not a mot d'esprit but le mot d'esprit, the word of the spirit, it is its first verbal body' (61 to 62).

There is a current conjuration against Marxism, implying first a conjurment of Marxism, a new mobilisation against Marxism. It is both powerful but also anxious. Marxism needs interpretation first, if it is to be rooted out in all sorts of traditions which don't look Marxist. Conjuring is also performative [based on oath taking], policing the boundary of what counts as political given the modern changes between public and private. The media necessarily are involved, and they spectralise, not claiming to do ontology but rather doing hauntology as a necessary first step [implying something negative here, the interweaving of diagnosis and values based on old fears]. Performative here means 'an interpretation that transforms the very thing it interprets' (63). Derrida does not want to offer a scholarly discourse, however but to 'submit for your discussion several hypotheses', turning on responsibility.

'No one, it seems to me, can contest the fact that a dogmatics is attempting to install its worldwide hegemony in paradoxical and suspect conditions', a 'dominant discourse' or one that is becoming dominant, turning on Marx's work and thought,  the defeat of revolutionary models, and the collapse of societies that at least tried to take on all Europe. It is jubilant and incantatory, suggesting 'the so-called triumphant phase of mourning work' (64). It is in incantatory, animistic, and it proclaims that Marxism is dead, and so capitalism is the only survivor. There is a necessary disavowal of anything dark or threatening remaining in capitalism, and a claim to be new, while actually relying on a well-established 'law of iterability' (65).

We can discuss this via certain 'received concepts': 'hegemony ("dominant discourse"); testimony ("incontestable self evidence")'.

[For hegemony] No-one would 'dream of contesting' that there are three apparatuses in our culture — formerly political, the rhetoric of the political class; mass media culture, growing 'no doubt not fortuitously' with the fall of Marxist regimes, and affecting the very concept of public space, raising all sorts of questions of links with the economy and technology, not least for Marxism.. He is going to offer 'a position taking' rather than doing the actual work here, but these points seem 'both indispensable and insufficient'. We might revert to Marx's work on the connections between technics and language, perhaps in the 'spirit of Marx', because obviously he could not speak of modern experience. There is also 'scholarly or academic culture' by bourgeois scholars in particular which gets relayed by academic press and also the media, welded together with formally political discourse through 'the same apparatuses'. Of course, these are 'doubtless complex, differential, conflictual, and over determined' but they do communicate to assure hegemony, to an unprecedented degree, via 'techno – mediatic power' (67). This both 'conditions and endangers' democracy and cannot be understood except in the way it produces 'spectral effects… Of the simulacrum, the synthetic or prosthetic image, and the virtual event, cyberspace and surveillance'. Can we apply Marx to this phenomenon -- 'yes and no'. We 'must assume the inheritance of Marxism', extracting its most living part, which itself analyses spirits and the spectral [presumably ideology]. At the same time we must transform this radically if this is to be proper inheritance — 'never a given, it is always a task'. It is transacted in a spirit of mourning [and an argument to the point just now that 'to be' involves inheritance]. This is not a matter of looking backwards. Is not just a matter of picking and choosing from some inheritance, rather, something far more general and wonderful — 'the being of what we are is first of all inheritance, whether we like it or know it or not' (68). As we bear witness to our inheritance, 'we inherit the very thing that allows us to bear witness to it' [quoting Holderlin — oh good]

Dominant discourse is a term still in the Marxist code, and it is 'problematic'. It has been accused of 'being circular or begging the question' and this 'would not be altogether wrong'. Marxist analysis [which we accept 'provisionally'] suggests that once we have decided there is a sociopolitical antagonism, 'a hegemonic force always seems to be represented by a dominant rhetoric and ideology' whatever the details of the conflict. They need be no simple opposition between dominant and dominated, nor even a final determination of the conflict, nor should force always be seen as stronger than weakness [with a Nietzschean bit about weak messianic force]. We do not even have to subscribe 'to the concept of social class' (69) — Marx does mention class in The German Ideology, but we should pursue 'a selective critique to filter the inheritance of this utterance' [others are condemned for this?] . We can have domination without insisting on a foundation in social class. We will have to suspend the base superstructure model, but luckily 'the concept of idea implies this irreducible genesis of the spectral that we are planning to re-examine here'.

However, we can stick provisionally with dominant discourse, and identify one that is diagnosing the end of Marxist traditions and Marxist societies, and indeed the whole end of history, as liberal democracy and market economies come to triumph. It is still 'secretly worried', however.

The best example is Fukuyama, which allegedly draws upon the work of Kojeve. It is not actually as bad as its mediated version, but it is still 'suspensive to the point of indecision' [as a problem of relating ideal and empirical, as we shall see]. It tries to cover all the bases, and really should 'merit very close analysis' — Derrida can only offer 'what concerns' its 'general structure'.

The book serves as a gospel, offering positive responses to an uncriticised question — whether the history of mankind will eventually lead the greater part of humanity toward liberal democracy. Fukuyama acknowledges some doubts — wars, totalitarianism and so on — but manages these in a general manoeuvre to relegate them to 'empiricity' (71) which does not 'refute the ideal orientation' of humanity towards democracy. Anything that might contradict this ideal orientation is managed away as empirical, although even then we still have to ask how this underlying telos of history actually explains current events, in particular, the collapse of dictatorships. Fukuyama sees liberal democracies everywhere coinciding with a move towards greater freedom as unambiguous good news — an 'evangelistic figure'.

These religious figures add to the importance of the rhetoric, and Christian connotations helps Fukuyama locate one of the major threats in the Middle East, where regimes offer 'the most archaic and the most modern spectral forces' (72), represented by the '"appropriation of Jerusalem"' and its tendency to spread as a crisis (73). To grasp what is going on, 'Marxism remains at once indispensable and structurally insufficient' requiring adaptation to new conditions and new articulations, the different relations between states and different forms of capital. This would again indicate 'the spirit of Marxism', replacing Marxist ontology as such, together with its claims to be doing science and critique.

Happily, even the scientific project of Marxism 'also carries with it and must carry with it, necessarily… a messianic eschatology'. This cannot simply be seen as an ideology or theology requiring demystification. Nor can we simply deconstruct it. It is common both to religion and to Marxist critique, except for content — and this is essential to the notion of the messianic, in the form of 'thinking of the other and of the event to come'. Emancipatory promise is 'irreducible to any deconstruction deconstructible as the possibility itself of deconstruction' (74), or rather, its formal structure is, which, without religion, or even without messianism leaves 'an idea of justice' which is where we get the idea of [idealised] democracy from. Marxism does not lead anywhere on its own but requires transformation and interpretation.

Back to Fukuyama and his neo-evangelism. Technology has produced limitless accumulations of wealth and homogenised human society, and conferred decisive military advantages. However, '"there is no economically necessary reason why advanced industrialisation should produce political liberty"' [he says] (75). This can be grasped only by thinking of the liberal state in Hegelian terms [Christianised] — there is to be a Christian eschatology.

Happily, this is consonant with the current Pope supporting the European Community as a Christian state. Fukuyama says that Hegel should be corrected to affirm that the universal state is to be found in post-war America or the European Community, and these are obviously to be preferred against Marxism. We have to add these notions of religion or the soul to correct materialist economism [apparently he refers to the need to consider both economics and "recognition"— some search for fulfilment/longing for equality?] Derrida says this search for fulfilment is more or less the master slave dialectic, seen as tracing some far more general trend leading towards 'the Anglo-Saxon conception of modern liberalism' rather than the 'megalothymia' of Stalin or Saddam [Wikipedia says that this is a term coined by Fukuyama and 'refers to the need to be recognised as superior to others']. Successful harmonisation of the economic and the desire to be recognised as an equal ['isothymia'] ends contradictions between economic rationality and the desire for recognition. Apparently, Kojeve already hinted at this [but Derrida wants to reinterpret him]

Generally, though Fukuyama seeks support for his argument everywhere — empirically observable prosperity, Hegel, and appeal to some inaccessible ideal. The ideal has to be supported by reference to what has actually happened, and the good news here is the death of Marxism — but actual liberal democracies are far from perfect, so advocacy here becomes a 'regulating and trans historical ideal' — 'here as an actual reality, and there as a simple ideal' (78). Events both show the realisation of the ideal and herald it. Actual events are not thought through, however.

If we revert back to the 'logic of the ghost', we can suggest an event that exceeds binary and dialectical logic, one that opposes actuality to ideality, or at least sees it is limited. Some bits of dialectical materialism did this, but it is 'demonstrate today better than ever by the fantastic, ghostly, "synthetic," "prosthetic," virtual happenings in the scientific domain' and thence into media and the public domain. All this happens too fast for conventional oppositions between act and potential.

Fukuyama is still left with his contradictions, trying to reconcile the ideal to the evidence, all the conflicts and potential conflicts associated with liberal democracy, the pauperisation of the Third World. To grasp these, 'the problematics coming from the Marxian tradition will be indispensable for a long time yet' [really weaselly]. Not Marxist dogmatics of course. Megalothymia is alive and well in capitalism. Fukuyama has to 'slip one discourse in under the other' contrasting merely phenomenal and empirical observable events with 'an ideal good news… Which is inadequate to any empiricity' (80). Indeed he even goes so far as to call his predictions 'the language of a [human]  "Nature"', definable transhistorically, revealed in a persistent ideal of liberal democracy which cannot be improved.

Derrida thinks it would be easy to show the gaps between facts and ideal, characterising all societies including Western democracies, and says this indicates 'a promise' detectable [logically entailed?] from this junctions and being out of joint, hence the need to always refer to 'a democracy to come', not just one based on projecting existing trends — which would 'retain the temporal form of the future present, other future modality of the living present' (81).

This infinite promise is 'always untenable', however because it calls for the [impossible] 'infinite respect of the singularity and infinite alterity of the other' as much as normal notions of equality between 'anonymous singularities'. This means the democratic promise, just as much as the Communist promise, must retain an 'absolutely undetermined messianic hope at its heart', an eschatology relating to singularity and alterity 'that cannot be anticipated', welcoming things that will actually be a total surprise when they arrive [a revenant -- returning from the dead?] , and which will not involve asking 'anything in return' or committing to existing social contracts and networks of rights. It is something that cannot be 'awaited as such' (82) but must remain as an empty space, and memory of the hope — 'and this is the very place of spectrality'. Against those who would say such a state is impossible, Derrida retorts 'this condition of possibility of the event is also its condition of impossibility', no more difficult to grasp than messianism without content [! No doubt philosophers will find employment constantly adjudicating events]. The very impossibility of the event somehow keeps us going — if we just looked at what was possible we might as well 'give up on both justice and the event', and just stick to economic calculation.

Fukuyama seems to have a notion of the event like this with his notion of liberalism promising to be victorious, once the ideal presents itself. It would be different from any actual empirical reality, but it will happen and it will end history. Fukuyama cites both Marx and Hegel in believing in the end of history, but chooses Hegel in a Christianised form, and also one which is 'consistent… in a naturalist tradition' (83). We have no time to do detailed analysis, but one or two sentences justify this view [where Fukuyama actually talks about trans historical standards, and 'natural criterion' based on '"man as man"', without any worries about such an abstraction, with no reference to Nietzsche or Freud let alone Marx [and others]. Fukuyama just posit a natural man, although he doesn't really discuss this concept, but claims it is based on some new non-materialist dialectic drawn from both Hegel and Kojeve. Derrida says it is just too 'inconsistent and insubstantial', an obvious montage to meet objections — 'one could almost say it responds on demand' (85) [I think most philosophers argue like this].

So why the 'amplification by the media'? Why celebrated by those who realise that there is continuing fragility and threat. The spectre Marx might be necessary here as an enemy, but this requires ignoring the potential force 'of what we will call the principle and even, still in the figure of irony, the spirit of the Marxist critique'.

This spirit is indispensable, more so than Marx's ontology or materialist system. However, this would not be to see it as a deconstruction if that means just critique, and where it means an inadequacy to take on more systematically Marxist ontology and critique [maybe — very confusing, 86].

Back to Fukuyama again. He cites the logic of empirical events whenever it is needed to rebuke 'so-called Marxist states', but empirical events are never sufficient, otherwise they would be able to contradict his promised land. It is a 'sleight of hand' shifting between history and nature, the empirical and the transcendental. It requires new thinking of the events in question, especially one which will offer 'relation to the phantomatic' [promised later — oh good]. We can at least see the book as a 'symptomatic signal' (87) making us aware of the stakes. All the actual themes like the end of history were already commonly discussed by philosophers in the 60s, and the problem is to say why the themes resurfaced in later events. Again there is no mechanical or dialectical process here, but above all we have to abandon 'a general temporality or an historical temporality made up of the successive linking up presents identical to themselves and contemporary with themselves'.

Instead we have to interrogate 'an event-ness' [sounds a bit like Badiou on how you judge what sort of event it is ]arising in a gap between the obvious collapse of totalitarian Marxist states and Fukuyama. We should not just see this as something obviously just temporal. A set of transformations were going on which exceeded both Marxist discourse and conventional liberal discourse, challenging a number of other schemas and philosophies as well. We should not just see some metaphysical end of history. Kojeve might be explored more profitably [very technical, referring to a discussion of disorientation following a trip to a remote land, and the tradition in French philosophies of 'peremptory diagnoses' (89) — it leads to a discussion of the exceptionalism of Japan, which also leads to a kind of jokey remark about the United States as reaching Marxist communism, the classic end of history. This would also involve the reduction of humans to animals. The alternative is 'Japanese post historicity' which would at least rescue humanity. Derrida says this 'extravagant description' is as much based on 'arrogant ignorance' as Fukuyama and his supporters. Kojeve apparently saw the USA {after a number of visits} as producing such abundance, that there is no longer a gap between desire and need, and therefore no mental disadjustment. There is still a gap at the moment at which the US economy flips into such animality, however, but America showed the trend]

Derrida says this has been influential among French intellectuals, but there is an ambiguity about whether events should or must occur [same word in French apparently]. In arguing that it must, Kojeve has to posit some future requirements after all, an acknowledgement of the indetermination of the future, no matter how predictable the present seems to be. Again, it shows the difference between being open to the event and to the future as some inevitably- present constant interest, if we are to assume need or desire at all. And we cannot be indifferent to content. Any project involves a necessary promise and therefore historicity, and 'it is what we are nicknaming the messianic without messianism' (92). He quotes a bit of Kojeve in support (93), and says that Fukuyama has ignored it. The right way to interpret it is that at the very moment that history is finished, or at least a 'certain determined concept of history' then, 'the historicity of history begins' [that is we can recognise it as an historical phenomenon] and there is a chance of promising something different. If the usual conception of man is finished, the pure humanity of man, man as other, can begin. There are still problems, but at least we've got away from 'the Vulgate of the capitalist paradise as end of history'.

His own deconstructive procedures question flawed concepts  of history, whether 'onto–theo' or 'archeo-teleological', whether found in Hegel or Marx. These approaches end or domesticate historicity. This led him to think of the 'opening of event-ness', and new form of historicity that would allow 'affirmative thinking of the messianic and emancipatory promise', a promise not a program or design, still upholding emancipatory desires as essential, as necessary. This will help us towards ' a repoliticisation, perhaps of another concept of the political' (94).

But this still depends on undecidability, despite terms in Marx like work or labour, and the supposed opposition to 'the spectral logic that also governs the effects of virtuality'. Deconstructive thinking goes further, beyond ontology. It shows the possibility of différance, 'ideality in the very event of presence', radical alterity and heterogeneity, disjunction. It can still explain the effects of ghosts, of ideology [actually 'ideologems'] for Marxists, especially the novel forms 'to which modern technology will have given rise'. [But, turning to his own reputation] — 'such a deconstruction has never been Marxist, no more than it has ever been non-Marxist, although it has remain faithful to a certain spirit of Marxism to at least one of its spirits for, and this can never be repeated too often, there is more than one of them and they are heterogeneous' (95).

Chapter 3 wears and tears

The world does not have a single age. Sometimes its apparent teleological order can be disrupted — the untimely. 'Everything, beginning with time, seems out of kilter, unjust, disadjusted' (96). There is no normal unfolding or development, nor just a simple crisis, certainly not an end of ideology last crisis for Marxism. Fukuyama just has not thought it through, because so many problems remain, and, overall, 'liberal democracy of the Parliamentary form has never been so much in the minority and so isolated in the world' (98), nor exhibiting so many dysfunctions. In particular there are now far more disruptive 'socio-economic mechanisms' and much more of a restricted public space thanks to media technology. [Incidentally, here, spectrality is produced by these apparatuses as they simultaneously invent and bring up to date, inaugurate and reveal, 'cause to come about and bring up to light at the same time, there where they were already there without being there']. Our very concepts of the event have changed. There have been transformations for a while, but now they are 'being amplified beyond all measure' (99) and are no longer just transformations. We are now distanced from the power of the media themselves, above all, the way they have taken over politics so that 'politicians become more and more, or even solely, characters in the media's representation'. This renders them 'structurally incompetent' if they stick to the old models — the media has stripped those of their power.

We still have wars, economic and nationalist. And in some cases 'entire regiments of ghosts have returned, armies from every age, camouflaged by the archaic symptoms of the paramilitary' (100) and distorted by information technology or surveillance.

Overall, we can see 'wearing down beyond wear'. Fukuyama's vision remains 'the most delirious of hallucinations'. We're not going to support this argument with empirical evidence, despite the 'mass of undeniable facts' available. Instead we have to interpret in a double fashion, pursuing 'concurrent readings' which we have to associate together [which is going to lead to a focus on the economy and the state]. First, 10 'plagues' can be associated with the apparent new world order:

Unemployment, now calculated following deregulation and the introduction of new technology, breaking the whole system involving employment, work and nonwork. It is '"socialised" (that is, most often disavowed)' (101), just seen as some necessary suffering. New kinds of social inactivity require a new form of politics. Homelessness, including on the international scale. Economic war 'among the countries of the European Community themselves' and between them and everyone else, which has a controlling effect on international law. The continuing contradictions of the free market, which can still not be resolved — e.g. the consequences of free movements of labour, the balance between protectionism and the global market. The foreign debt is growing with large social changes and 'geopolitical fluctuations', 'even when they appear to be dictated by the discourse of democratisation or human rights' (102). The arms industry. The spread of nuclear weapons. Inter-ethnic wars, some of them 'driven by archaic phantasm… A primitive conceptual phantasm of community, the nation state, sovereignty, borders, native soil and blood'. Archaism can have a good side, but this one employs 'ontopology' — 'an axiomatics linking indissolubly the ontological value of present-being [on]{ his brackets } to its situation, to the stable and presentable determination of a locality, the topos of territory, native soil, city, body in general' (103). This is 'arch-originary', just as archaic as the actual archaism. It is essential to current stability, 'sedentarization', but originating in 'local différance, the spacing of a displacement' [apartheid?]. All memory is rooted in the fear of displacement — space in time is also out of joint. The 'capitalist phantom states', Mafia, drug cartels, even in the East, in some places interwoven with processes of democratisation [his example is the dubious alliance between the Allies and the Sicilian Mafia]: this history is crucial in understanding modern forms of capital. Finally international law and its institutions, dogged by Europeanism, more specifically by particular nation states — again there are 'countless examples' (104) provided by the resolutions of the United Nations, for example. Again, they do preserve justice to some extent, and there is some mileage in humanitarian interventions — but we must remain on guard.

The '"New International"' refers to a profound transformation, first of international law and its concepts, going beyond sovereign states and phantom states. We do not have to buy 'the whole Marxist discourse'; we can still 'find inspiration in the Marxist "spirit"' to criticise the apparent autonomy of the juridical and demonstrate how international authorities are increasingly taken over by capital. That's why we need a new international, to expose the limits of notions of human rights still penetrated by the law of the market foreign debt, military and economic inequalities [akin to Negri and Hardt?].  Far from being some ideal of human history, modern liberal democracy is more violent and economically oppressive than ever. Nor should we just abandon 'the great emancipatory discourses' in some general celebration of the end of ideology, because there has never been such a level of subjugation and extermination, both human and animal life [which he is going to postpone for now]. The new international is based on linked 'affinity, suffering and hope', still almost secret although there are visible signs. It is not coordinated by parties or countries, but describes a 'friendship of an alliance without institution' (107). This is still inspired by 'at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism' (107) even if there is no adherence to the old Marxist Internationals or the universal dictatorship of the proletariat. Instead it is 'a kind of counter conjuration', theoretical and practical critique of modern internationalism.

If we are faithful to 'a certain spirit of Marxism' we choose a particular way to interpret the 10 plagues. Not Fukuyama and idealism: the problem is not that there is a gap between 'empirical reality and a regulating ideal'. This only preserves the ideal as something separate, whereas Marxist critique constantly reduces the gap between the ideal and the real. We will still have to develop this to grasp the new forms of powers and knowledge. The better approach is to question 'the very concept of the said ideal', based on solid analysis of the market, capital, liberal democracy, modes of representation and suffrage, the way rights work out, current notions of fraternity. This should be applied to the whole 'concept of the human (therefore of the divine and the animal)' and to an all-encompassing concept of the democratic, including 'democracy to come'. Staying faithful to 'a certain Marxist spirit' is our duty.

There are two particular reasons for this fidelity, and both are intertwined. Without this input, 'there will be no repoliticisation' (109) and we will sink back to fatalist idealism or dogmatic eschatology [before we do that, however, we have to guard our back by asserting that we mean spirits in the plural, that we need to deal with untimely spectres, and that by selecting we will also 'fatally exclude' other options. Further, 'this watch itself will engender new ghosts', for which we should be responsible, even after experiencing 'the ordeal of the undecidable'. We know this will not please anyone — 'but whoever said that someone ever had to speak, think, or write in order to please someone else' {doesn't seem very responsible or other-oriented to me}. We are not just rallying to Marxism. We are trying to be sensitive to time being out of joint. That's why critics are wrong to say that he has been too late in acknowledging Marxism — it is been revived 'just-in-time' (110), and it will lead to new conceptions of justice, irreducible to the current forms. Meanwhile 'what is certain is that I am not a Marxist, as someone said a long time ago' indeed 'who can still say "I am a Marxist"']

So we have to go to what is integral to the spirit of Marxism. First of all that is 'radical critique, namely a procedure ready to undertake its self critique'. This appears first of all as a kind of style, continuous with the 'spirit of the Enlightenment'. It should not be confused with other spirits that have led to Marxist doctrine, or to 'ontological totality' [as in diamat]. [He seems prepared to junk quite a few 'fundamental concepts of labour, mode of production, social class' not to mention political apparatuses]. We need to to pursue 'the deconstruction of Marxist ontology' (111), not just its theoretical dimension but anything that has also helped it develop concrete apparatuses and strategies. It's not just theoretical: it also contains 'experience of the impossible', 'to the coming of that which happens'. [And really bizarrely: 'certain Soviet philosophers told me in Moscow a few years ago: the best translation of perestroika was still "deconstruction"' — meaning that they hoped perestroika would become deconstruction?].

We can track down the right spirit of Marxism by seeing how Marx himself discussed 'the ghost, the concept of the ghost, the Spectre or revenant', and how it eventually came to be bound to an ontology. The spirit he likes demonstrates 'the critical idea or the questioning stance', but also 'a certain emancipatory and messianic affirmation', although one which had to be liberated from dogmatic, religious or other determinist elements. And it had to be a promise that could be kept, that would lead to action.

We must take on other interpretations of Marxism. Althusser and his associates want to strip out 'any teleology… Any messianic eschatology' (112) [Derrida wants to distinguish these 2]. There are anti-Marxist interpretations too, which give it 'the metaphysical or onto-theological content': that can always be deconstructed. Proper deconstructive thinking 'has always pointed out the irreducibility of affirmation and therefore of the promise' and the 'undeconstructibility of a certain idea of justice' [sounds conveniently arbitrary]. That requires infinite critique, based on 'an experience open to the absolute future of what is coming… a necessarily indeterminate, abstract, desert -like experience', purely formal and indeterminate. Aimed at 'exappropriation (the radical contradiction of all "capital," of all property or appropriation as well as all the concepts that depend on it, beginning with that of free subjectivity…)' It does not involve blind servitude.

The new international is still anonymous, but the responsibility toward the spirit of Marx is found at least 'within the limits of an intellectual and academic field' (113) where happily it does 'not exclude anyone', at least not any who oppose Marxist dogma, and who managed to resist without becoming reactionary or obscurantist. Their responsibility is 'that of an heir' to Marx and Marxism, whether they know it or not. They are still pursuing a singular project or promise 'which has a philosophical and scientific form'. It is not religious or mythological, nor nationalist but involves an event which is 'at once singular, total and and uneffaceable — and uneffaceable except by a denegation' [he seems to prefer that we opt instead for displacement without effacing, as the result of the traumas]. 'There is no precedent whatsoever for such an event' in the whole of human history: it claims worldwide reach and proposes whole new concepts of the human, society, economy, nation and the rest. We know that past efforts have led to disaster and 'totalitarian perversions' [which, in a bit of back covering, are traced to 'an essential logic present at the birth, of an originary disadjustment'].

All the nasty effects are 'the effect of an ontological treatment of the spectrality of the ghost', but at least the messianic promise was preserved, and we must be its heirs. This means we must also be responsible, not just reaffirm, but pursue 'a critical, selective and filtering reaffirmation' — defined as finding several spirits. Even if 'unconscious or disavowed' (115) our debt remains to Marxism.

Let's spell out deconstruction. It appeared first as a 'deconstruction of the "proper," of logocentrism, linguisticism, phonologism, the demystification or the desedimentation of the automatic hegemony of language'. We use terms like the text, the trace, ierability, supplement and so on — all forms of exappropriation. This would have been 'impossible and unthinkable in a pre-Marxist space'. Deconstruction only makes sense as 'radicalisation' which immediately puts it in the tradition of Marxism. Deconstruction helped radicalise Marxism, through notions such as 'a certain economic concept of the différantial economy and of exappropriation, or even of the gift… Work tied to différance and to the work of mourning in general'. The attempt was not entirely negative, but saw Marxist ontology as 'welded to an orthodoxy, to apparatuses and strategies' that seemed to have no future orientation. But radicalisation is always indebted to the thing it radicalises, in this case a certain spirit of Marxism — 'not the only one' (116).

We also need to problematize the notion of the state. We can't actually quantify the debt we owe to Marxism here — rather we make ourselves 'accountable by an engagement that selects, interprets and orients… in a practical and performative manner', by taking a decision in a situation that we already know is heterogeneous and contradictory [back to Hamlet on the secrets retained by his father's ghost as do all revenants who have been entombed {leading to a very bizarre bit about animals who can also return, as in the old mole}]

All questions about democracy or human rights lead only to 'formal, right thinking, and hypocritical alibis' (117) because they ignore their own '"foreign Debt"' — 'the interest of capital in general' which dominates everything, even if it appears in statist forms. To address it and its metonyms would be impossible without 'the spirit of Marxist critique'.

We also need to rethink the concept of the state, sovereignty and citizenship, again pursuing 'vigilant and systematic reference to a Marxist problematic, if not to the Marxist conclusions'. This would in particular attack 'the illusions of its legal autonomy as concerns socio-economic forms', and discuss new forms as actually a delimiting of the state as it can no longer dominate affairs [would he include the EC here I wonder?]

Chapter 4. In the Name of the Revolution: the double barricade

[This chapter addresses a number of key Marxist texts, especially the 18th Brumaire.. and the German Ideology. [GI]  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Derrida's commentary on both, and, for a break, went back and read both texts. Marxist style is just brilliant, of course, although much too sarcastic and critical for today's readers? The pieces are also highly contextualised, of course. Derrida's reading of 18th Brumaire... is very elegant and well grounded, and he drew my attention at least to the many references to ghosts, spectres, spirits and borrowed languages --butt hen this is early Marx.. But is also in complete contrast to Engels's reading in his Preface to the later edition, as I said in the preamble, highlights of which are presented below:

Marx came out with a concise, epigrammatic exposition that laid bare the whole course of French history since the February days in its inner interconnection, reduced the miracle of December 2... to a natural, necessary result of this interconnection and in so doing did not even need to treat the hero of the coup d'état otherwise than with the contempt he so well deserved. And the picture was drawn with such a master hand that every fresh disclosure since made has only provided fresh proofs of how faithfully it reflected reality. This eminent understanding of the living history of the day, this clear-sighted appreciation of events at the moment of happening, is indeed without parallel....France is the land where, more than anywhere else, the historical class struggles were each time fought out to a decision, and where, consequently, the changing political forms within which they move and in which their results are summarised have been stamped in the sharpest outlines... It was precisely Marx who had first discovered the great law of motion of history, the law according to which all historical struggles, whether they proceed in the political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological domain, are in fact only the more or less clear expression of struggles of social classes, and that the existence and thereby the collisions, too, between these classes are in turn conditioned by the degree of development of their economic position, by the mode of their production and of their exchange determined by it. This law, which has the same significance for history as the law of the transformation of energy has for natural science - this law gave him here, too, the key to an understanding of the history of the Second French Republic.[42] He put his law to the test on these historical events, and even after thirty-three years we must still say that it has stood the test brilliantly.

The piece opens with a long quote from Hugo about the events of 1848 and its aftermath, which also refers to demons and spectres, and talks about the strange cult of death that affected the revolutionaries]

There is an attempt nowadays to conjure Marxism, but in such a way that what the work says will 'remain dead' (120), but this also raises suspicion of its continued relevance. Contemporary discussion reveals 'a mode of production of the phantom', rather like mourning which also has a component to accept that the dead will not return [Moscow is the place where Marxist cadavers are kept]. We need to understand this logic and topology, and make it respond to 'the injunction of a justice' (121).

Mourning involves a classic form of work, and production in managing trauma, in this case managing the 'idealising iterability of exappropriation', [continual awareness that what exists is not the only option?] examining its 'spectral spiritualization'. This is found in all work. It takes particular significance thinking of Freud's remark about the 'traumas inflicted on human narcissism when it is thus decentred' [earlier traumas included a psychological one when the unconscious was seen to be dominant; a biological one with the success of Darwin; the Copernican revolution]. We lack an agreed name to describe the effects of Marxism, because it is a combination of 'a thought and of a labour movement', sometimes messianic or eschatological, inseparable from totalitarian responses. In some way it 'accumulates and gathers together' (122) the other traumas, also decentring the 'anthropos… the ego cogito', and all those other narcissisms: 'the explicit theme of deconstruction'. The trauma is actually denied by Marxist movements who have tried to domesticate it as their form of mourning. — But the ghost remains.

Marx is aware that ghosts actually inhabited him and he was occupied with them, although he never quite thematised their haunting qualities, which would require exposing the revenant. All the conventional managing processes would have been 'disqualified by the spectre, if there is any' [still cautious].

Marx was well aware of the spectres, which periodically appear, and also testifies to their qualities to link both past and future [in the form of a promise]. In this way '[his] communism has always been and will remain spectral… always still to come'. Capitalists think they have laid the ghost to rest, but 'a ghost never dies'. In the Manifesto, Marx 'unless it is the other one, Engels' [which screws things up a bit] refers to a spectre haunting Europe and dominating political discussions, even if it is yet to come. There is an anxious vigilance about possible images of it. 'All possible alliances' are formed to politically conjure it away — Marxism is 'convoked to be revoked' (124). There is a feeling that the spectre was always watching [to get back to the metaphor of the visor]. The spectre was still not fully grasped, only given a name — communism.

'Who could deny' that this was a holy alliance, revived in the current 'Polish bishop' who boasted of the collapse of communism in Europe. Drawing up the new alliance required 'neo-evangelism', which let in Fukuyama, despite Marxist enunciation of Hegelian versions of neo-evangelism in the critique of Stirner [GI]. The spectre had no being as such, but it haunted.

The spectre can be seen as 'the frequency of a certain visibility… of the invisible', something beyond concrete reality. We are already aware of this quality of projection by 'the theatricalisation of speech itself and the spectacularizing speculation on time' (125) [in general, or in the specific political discourses of the time?]. Before we see the spectre, we sense it is watching us, and that is what it does when it visits at first — that's the first 'event'. The frequency of visitations can increase, and take various forms, not always friendly. This is 'the social mode of haunting'. Frequency, however is a major theme in Marx.

Singular appearances include the spectre of communism to come in the Manifesto, predicting its future reality [becoming, in the future, a present reality is how he puts it]. The effort is to make it a living reality, and a universal one. It manifests in the Manifesto [witty], where Marx attempts the first link to a political structure and party to appropriate and then destroy the state and end 'the political as such' (127). This already implies that the absolute living reality and its politics already includes 'the very anessence of a ghost' [a spectral essence].

If we look at modern parties, including liberal democracies and totalitarian regimes, all rely on an 'axiomatics of the party', but the party form is now under attack, and it seems 'radically un-adapted to the new — tele–techno–media — conditions of public space, political life', so seeing a future for Marxism should now involve us in thinking about the possible end of the party and of its State. There is an ongoing 'deconstruction of the traditional concepts of State, and thus of party and labour union'. This is not exactly a withering away, but we still need Marxism to grasp what is going on in general. There have been times when parties and parliamentary structures have come under question from liberal perspectives, but 'this is no longer the case, not always the case' [we 'put [this] forward here with many precautions, both theoretical and practical', as an hypothesis]. Derrida detects an irreversible mutation in the concept of party and State.

The universal Communist International was to be the final incarnation of the spectre, but it is only called for in the Manifesto. The fear of the communist ghost was already in existence. The Party would operate 'in the performative form' of the call, first of all in the Manifesto [lots of French wit here, talking of 'parousia {2nd coming} of the manifestation of the manifest' (129). Then lots more plays like 'the self manifestation of the manifesto'{the claim that the Manifesto showed that it was time for one?}]. The Manifesto was to be published in a range of European languages: 'ghosts also speak different languages, national languages, like the money from which they are, as we shall see, inseparable']. So the ghost is being threatened with incarnation, and also being forced to 'take sides' (130), seemingly as the result of some 'absolute manifestation', moving from legend into reality [actually an intermediate stage before the impending reality]. It's particularly frightening because it is 'neither real nor legendary'. In this respect, it is like Marxism itself, something singular and performative — so [for philosophers] this leads to questions like 'what is a Marxist utterance?'

Perhaps the Marxists were also afraid of the manifestation, which might 'explain the whole totalitarian inheritance of Marx's thought', as well as the totalitarian reactions to it  -- the post-1917 Civil War which hardened Stalinism. There was also an intellectual struggle once Marxists began to talk about material actuality, which would have implications for 'the ghost in general'. Marxists were also scared, partly by the frequency of visitations they had diagnosed. Of course, Nazism also had an effect: there ensued 'a ruthless war between solidary camps that are equally terrorised by the ghost, the ghost of the other and its own ghost as the ghost of the other' (131). The holy alliance and the Communist Party unlike were 'organised by the terror of the ghost', where terror directed at the adversary also turns inward. [And then interesting bit that suggests that the very power of the promise prevented full incorporation, despite the best efforts to render it as 'a simple ideological phantasm', particularly paradoxical for Marxists who had already critiqued ideology].

Marx, as well as Stirner, had a love hate relation with the ghost, wanting to witness it but also to repel it. He 'waged a merciless battle' (132)  against the various ghosts that haunted him: 'like all obsessives, he harassed the obsession'. [The textual evidence here is the 1841 Dissertation, which I've never read — Derrida identifies in it a struggle 'against the evil of the ghost. It is the spirit against the spectre… The struggle against retrograde ghosts' (133). It was so important that the young Marx saw his analysis as proof 'that "idealism is not a fiction but a truth"'. This is not just youth or conventional language, Derrida argues, but the start of an understanding of the way ghosts operate, how they appear. We should understand the denunciation of ghosts in GI as a determined attempt to conjure them away, while recognising their power]

We find 'spectropolitics and a genealogy of ghosts' in 18th Brumaire. Here, Mark speaks of generations of ghosts, and tries to separate the good from the bad. He also implies a difference between the spirit of the revolution and its various spectres, although sometimes he tries to exploit the ambiguity for rhetorical purposes. For Derrida, Marx thinks that 'the spectre will first have been necessary' for the 'historical unfolding of spirit' (134), obviously inherited from Hegel on the repetition of history. The famous phrase about men making their own history operates within 'the condition of inheritance': 'appropriation in general' is this condition [way of relating to the other and to dead generations of others], and this extends to 'freedom, liberation, or emancipation'. This is what was meant by the phrase about dead generations weighing  like a nightmare on the brain of the living [chapter 1 of 18th Brumaire I recall], and that revolutions are haunted by the spirits of the past, forcing us to borrow within names or slogans, even costumes. This is 'positive conjuration' (135), but it always has an inherent anxiety 'in the face of the ghost' — but this 'is properly revolutionary'.

The nightmares from the past have a 'spectral density' (136) and to assess their weight is also to attempt to manage them — the living have to 'respond to the dead', to regulate obsessive haunting. Revolutionaries know that they have no 'pure identity'. Regulating the past is a problem for 'all philosophies of life'.

When more and more of the new erupts, the more the crisis develops, the more time appears out of joint, and the more we have to 'convoke the old', borrow from it. But there is a barely visible line 'between a parody and a truth', the same as between 'mechanical reproduction of the spectre and an appropriation' [for new uses]. Eventually, appropriation will necessitate a forgetting 'in order to make the spirit live in oneself' — and these are Marx's words, describing 'rights of succession' (137) [the brilliant bit about how revolutionaries have borrowed costumes from the past, even Romans, and have only developed adequate insight to novelty once they have learned to think in a new language, just as a second language speaker does]

This is inheritance, even if it ends up with revolutionary forgetting, even if it takes the form of 'pre-inheritance' [resources which one inherits to investigate inheritance]. This has to be worked through even in the form of parody, and it is specific forms ['spectres' as opposed to spirits] that have to be forgotten. However, even this forgetting should not result in the 'bourgeois platitude: life, that's all', requiring an occasional remembering to reanimate the spirit.

There are two modalities to conjure the dead in Marx, although they resemble each other and contaminate each other, and are not hard to grasp, since sometimes 'the simulacrum consists precisely in mining the Phantom or in simulating [it]' (138). [In 18th Bru, there is the marvellous section about stages of the revolution — the bourgeois version, still using Roman costumes, destroys the feudal base, but then goes on to create free competition and capitalism]. The stages are never synchronised. The Roman haunting is necessary when time is disjointed, but it is forgotten after the revolution is accomplished, a classic demonstration of 'the amnesiac order of capitalist bourgeoisie' (139), and a monarch is reinstalled.

In these passages, Marx is 'listening to a revolutionary frequency' (140), alternate conjuration and abjuration. Roman haunting helps define the scale of the tragedy, but already hides 'the mediocre content of bourgeois ambition', which, when achieved, leads to forgetting the ghost. A similar trend is found with in the English abolition of the monarchy, with Cromwell citing Hebrew prophets, and then forgetting them and turning instead to Locke. In this passage Marx is clearly distinguishing spirit and spectre, not distinguishing between rival spirits, acknowledging that the former is necessary to call up the latter. And this naturally introduced a notion of time out of joint — so the revolution was always 'fantastic and anachronistic through and through'. This still leaves the important question, for Derrida of sorting out these indissociable concepts and how they pass into each other — in the case of 1848, past revolutions were used to glorify the new struggles, magnify the task, actually develop a spirit of revolution not just re-invoke a ghost, and this will contrast with the regime of Napoleon III. Marx knows that masks are always involved, and that it is a matter of sequence — idealist appropriation first, caricature next [history repeats itself and all that].

In the future, we might be able to strip the spirit of any actual spectres altogether, and this led Marx to reject all ghosts. Farcical repetition might not occur in the future. Future revolutions must not just inherit or mourn. Instead they must draw its '"poetry"' only from the future [actual Marx word], developing new content not just new words.

Can we work this trick with Marx himself now he is dead? Marx clearly did not wish to be forgotten, in the negative sense. When he says that the dead should bury their dead, he meant that of course living mortals should bury the already dead. How much should he be forgotten? For Derrida 'he wanted first of all, it seems, to recall us to the make-oneself-fear of that fear of oneself' (143). That fear meant that the dead heroes of the past also had to be repressed to some extent, or at least the content did, and the more general 'spirit was there to protect it against itself'. So content is crucial, and it has to be appropriate, not just expressed in mere phrases. The process never ends, and so we might have revolutions within revolutions. Eventually, content might determine everything, winning out over phrases: in the past it was the other way around, but the revolution will bring real novelty, extending beyond mere political or economic activity. Time will still be out of joint this time from excessive content, an excess over any phrases. Content will not need to be restrained but will break out of all 'signs, models, eloquence, mourning' (144), with no need of any borrowings. This break is 'properly revolutionary', recognisable from excess, which means it will not be 'presently identifiable'. Any [premature] identification produces a death agony for the revolution. This is what Marx meant by social revolutions having to draw out their own poetry [and Derrida implies that this also captures the difference between poetry and more prosaic phrases]. In 18th Brumaire, M&E have a sentence about the phrase exceeding content in the past, but the content exceeding the phrase in the future [which Derrida, naturally, puts in the German page 145.] Actual consequences of such revolutionary excesses in the past have been both good and bad, however

In 18th Bru specifically, Marx introduces the possibility that the spectre itself can be parodied, first by counterrevolutionaries afraid of red spectres — 'those who inspire fear frighten themselves, they conjure the very spectre they represent'. This conjuration is one of those that turns revolutionary potential against itself. Derrida thinks this has always happened to Marxism, that any attempt to conjure the past limits the potential, especially if activity is 'dominated by a major figure'. Marx illustrates this with his history of French revolutions from 1789 through 1848, where passionate agitation gives way to Parliamentarism [there is a whole section in 18th Bru about the hilarious inversions this produces, where revolutionaries become constitutionalists and royalists support republican governments, all of it jockeying while Napoleon prepares his bid]. Marx describes this, among other ways as producing 'passions without truth; truths without passion; heroes without heroic deeds, history without events'.

Derrida says that this is to be understood as the spectre losing its body, the Communist spectre being conjured away. Marx draws upon a European tale of a man who lost his shadow — the shadow loses its body as soon as the revolution opts for social order, the spectre gets 'disincarnated' (146). This actual development is all part of its virtuality, another reason for not focusing too closely on empirical events without considering 'virtualisation'. [Derrida can then play lots of games saying that even spectres have spectres, that simulacra are simulated, that a process of 'specular reflection' (147) helps politicians address the second-order simulacra, which defers 'the encounter with a living body, with the real, living, actual event']. All the witty commentary on inversions should be seen as Marx wanting to 'denounce appearances', and includes even the recuperation of revolutions — also an image though, and partly the result of the way in which history is written [maybe — but history does understandably appear like that of course].

Marx plays with Christian terminology to refer to the dawning of the revolution in the eyes of French liberal democrats, as occurring on Sunday, resurrection, the inauguration of Eternity, as a miracle, which conjures away the opposition only in imagination. This reintroduces phantoms and already contains the seeds of the death warrant of the liberal democratic regime: all the civil law and political slogans also disappear like phantoms once Napoleon begins to operate, although ironically, universal suffrage persisted for a bit, but only in order to convey some legitimacy on the Napoleonic regime as an expression of the will of the people. All this happens 'in a blink of an eye' (149) [because those democratic slogans never had a real connection to a revolutionary body – this is the basis for S Halls critique of the new Social Democratic party in the UK that had brief success during the 80s].

Napoleon himself was only a fake magician, haunted by his far more famous namesake, able to use this in conjuration which 'makes the people disappear' [via an abstraction linking 'the people' of 1789 with the people of 1851)  Paradoxically, he did not even have a substantive [political?]  body himself, a doomed 'alienation of self' (149).

Can we detect a 'consistent and irreducible logic' [which Engels certainly thought the piece revealed]. There is rhetoric as well, designed to produce particular effects. For Derrida, images are also important, especially 'at a time when people had a taste for ghosts' rendered in a particular way. Of course there was also 'a highly differentiated, historical, tactical and strategic context', but also 'certain invariables… constancy, consistency, and coherence', present in 'discursive layers' which are stratified and which can prevent our grasping of lengthy sequences of argument. A certain 'structural heterogeneity' is at work in each of these discourses, but mentions of spectres recurs in Marx, leading Derrida to think that 'the ghost is not just one figure among others. It is perhaps the hidden figure of all figures' (150), not just a tactic or polemical flourish.

We might be able to reconstitute the 'battle plan, the spectrological map' of Marx's whole 'phantomachia', in GI, trying to sort out content and phrase, while enjoying the wit. We can see this as Marx  going on a hunt, using 'anything close at hand' — even 'harassment', especially of people like Stirner, with his proclamation that 'man' was the driver of history [after reading Thomas, I now know that this includes arguments that self-assertion is the drive to realisation of human potential, and that we should respect any political system that preserves unique or peculiar individuality. As I say in the notes on Thomas, I noticed arguments against that view really for the first time in GI]. This provokes a whole history of spirits and ghosts, some of them Hegelian  and pure, some belonging to the artificial world created to regulate humans. [In one of his pseudy asides (151), Derrida notes that 'everyone knows' that Stirner is a pseudonym in Marx, {referring to Young Hegelians in general?} and thus always appears in quote marks]. Marx notes that Stirner first sees the spirit as something other than concrete selves, and so his method involves an introduction to ghosts. [Derrida quite admires this and other bits of Stirner's work, which he commends to us — he probably would not like the 'reductionism' of the sections on language or humanity in GI?]. Marx is too quick to dismiss Stirner's enquiry into what the non-spiritual other might be, which could be seen as a hint about the whole 'abyssal question' of relation between self and other [and maybe for Derrida between actual and virtual selves?]. Marx just makes fun of it disingenuously, asking questions about what the spirit might be and how it was created, which leads Stirner to say that it is autonomous.

One rebuke of Marx is that this betrays the debt to Hegel, and how Stirner was haunted by without comprehending it. Marx is equally haunted, though, so sometimes this becomes a lesson about how to interpret Hegel. Stirner Christianises Hegel, and fails to address the processes that de-spiritualise the world, also in Hegel, and related to spiritualisation. He is still close to Hegelianism in ignoring concrete history [ 'sensuous activity', and 'division of labour', are the terms which appear frequently in GI]. He could not break with Hegel, particularly in distinguishing spirit and spectre, and his concepts still have a religious quality. Instead, we need much more empirical study on the development of Christianity, related to social development, especially relations of exchange. This is put in terms of developments being determined in GI — 'the Master word of the accusation', and something to be established empirically. Development of the spirit is not self-determination.

Marx's empiricism here is 'in fact… a law of alterity' (154), part of its 'vocation for heterology', the way in which experience is recognised as 'actual' because it encounters an other. Stirner cannot grasp such alterity, except in academic disputes. He has reduced Hegel to his shadow, offering a history of ghosts '"which only apparently are a being other of the thoughts of the Berlin professor"' [lovely stuff]. It all goes back to Hegel's own attempt [and Kant's] to see life and history as a series of 'relations of consciousness to the object', a 'phenomenologisation of the truth', meaning that truth becomes adequacy to the object, or a proper understanding of the relations with the object. Just as with the Christian Trinity, the spirit mediates between consciousness and world, a way of accomplishing 'the metamorphosis of the spiritual into the spectral' [what will be 'interpretation' for Deleuze].  Marx is really criticising the spectre but not the spirit, still believing in 'some decontaminatiing purification', not realising that spirit and spectre are interrelated. He seems to be subscribing to the view that 'iterability itself' helps us discern the difference — but this means he pays 'the price of the krinein of the critique' [Greek word literally meaning to judge or evaluate. Derrida is arguing that a necessary if unrecognised value-judgment appears in GI? The only way to make it distinguish between good and bad spirits? But this is undermined by 'iterability itself' which shows 'the ghost is always watching the spirit'?].

Chapter 5 Apparition of the Inapparent

[Still rambling on about Stirner, and eventually tangling with chapter 1 of Capital, which he says shows Marx to be a philosopher of the spectral all along, not someone who clears the decks before analysing political economy. In the process, he has to accuse Marx of imprecision in distinguishing use value and exchange value {Marx makes the mistake of calling use value 'pure'}, and so even this concept is haunted. Lots of philosophical back covering en route]

The distinction between spirits and spectre is equivocal, and also articulated in different ways. It is a major critical theme in GI. While the spectre 'participates in' the spirit (156) the difference between them tends to disappear 'in the ghost effect' (157), and its rhetorical use also diminishes. Marx's rhetoric here is based on the idea of the hunt or chase, but it runs the risk of having its own arguments turned back on itself. As a result, Marx has to be careful how he actually manipulates phantasms and simulacra. He is also keen not to appear just as a philosophical conjurer [so is Derrida, of course].

Marx accuses Stirner of a series of conjuring tricks, more than just spiritualising events as in Hegel. With Stirner it undergoes more alienation or expropriation and a simulacrum, 'namely a body'. To some extent, any indication of ghosts implies a body, but these can be more or less abstract. The danger is that once ideas or thoughts 'are detached from their substratum' we can only make them active and relevant again by giving them a body, not the one from which they really sprang but 'another artifactual body' (158), a prosthetic. This is a '"second" ghost', found in the whole figure of ideology [the discussion reminds me of Colletti saying that Hegel prematurely embodied the idea of Reason in the Prussian state]. In the critique of Sterner, this develops as 'a paradoxical law of incorporation, a 'second incarnation conferred on an initial idealisation', In the form of 'a technical body or an institutional body', something protective.

There is a further twist where the second ghost is itself transformed into an absolute ghost [generalised, abstracted]. This is a moment of hubris in Stirner [who thinks it all comes together in him?]. Marx detected 'an accumulation of ghostly layers' in Stirner's conjuring trick, producing a sense of vertigo as the result of sleight of hand. Conjuring tricks multiply and their results are subject to further conjuring. Like sleight of hand, it is designed to make a production process disppear, in a 'hyper- phenomenology' where things become 'inapparent'. Each incarnation is revealed as contradictory in appearance.

This is what Marx says against Stirner in the list of incarnations in his work [and see below; they seem designed to show the stages between god and material reality, each one being insufficient on its own and so requiring supplementary ones?]. In Marxist terms, men are identified as unique because they have been made corporeal by other spectres, absorbed in the human body [which makes the human spectral]: but of course this could be extended to include all the other bodies that inhabit the human ones '"spermatozoa"' (160), so Stirner has in effect limited the potentials of incarnation to make only humans corporeal — by a conjuring trick. Stirner sees a continuing dialectic between the ghostly and corporeal manifestations in human beings [and fulfilment appears to be the result of fully realising all the phantoms that have produced unique being]. Such fulfilment would involve a negation of spectral incorporation, as the human being takes back within itself what appeared ghostly: the process goes on in adolescence and involves becoming an adult. Marx wants to argue that the process ends with 'the body proper', grasped as personal property. Far from representing an extension of life [towards self-realisation]  it offers death: the body becomes a 'common place' (161), where thoughts are congealed and autonomous entities regulated [Maybe].

So both Stirner and Marx want to materialise the ghostly as a permanent haunting presence, and both want human life to reappropriate these spirits – both share a messianic tone to their analyses. But Stirner thinks in terms of reappropriation of normal individuals which will involve possession of the spirits, while Marx 'denounces this egological body' [bourgeois sovereign individual]  as 'the ghost of all ghosts'. This is why we have to take into account 'practical and social structures' and actual empirical histories that produced the initial ghosts instead of somehow immediately appropriating them in some act of creative ownership. Apart from anything else, such appropriation would prevent any future haunting. For Stirner, incorporation means 'phenomenological reduction of the ghost', but for Marx, it is a reduction 'to the ghost' (162) [because the bourgeois individual is a ghostly abstraction], so Stirner has subjectivised external ghosts, reduced them to conventional human subjects in capitalism.

Marx thinks that Stirner has argued that men must find themselves in the thoughts that have created them, by making them corporeal and then destroying [the autonomy of] this corporeality by subjecting them to the individual human and his goals. In effect, the world [its dominant ideas, its culture, its history] becomes personal property, with the enlightened individual at the centre of everything [and we can see that this is going to lead to apology for capitalism]. The whole argument is developed 'by simple nomination', just naming things in a consistent serial way. This gives the illusion of control, but not the actual management of historical ghosts: better instead to start with 'work, production, actualisation, techniques' (163) not philosophical naming. This is the only way to grasp the influence of spirit on flesh [the role of ideas in social life], through 'practicality'. It is not enough just to convert the ghosts into the positions of an individual, not enough to perform a phenomenological reduction like this, instead, we have to develop 'an account of reality as practical actuality'. We can't just conjure away ghostly forms [place them in a philosophical system] lurking in real powerful individuals — 'the real body remains', sometimes even more real than before. It is not enough to philosophise about 'the Fatherland' . In this way, because it ignores the '"actual relations"' which have produced it. Stirner's levels of argument running from spirit to embodiment ignores real bodies, so 'this whole history remains under the control of the paradoxes of narcissism and the work of mourning [the endless rummaging through past ideas?]' (164). The Stirner sequences start with accepting one's own body, then mourning for the ghosts which inhabit it '(ideas, objectified thoughts, and so forth)' and which have shaped it. This is narcissism rather than analytic work, for Marx, involving some hyper phantom – the ego. This avoids the issue of wanting to explore processes of 'the différance or deferral' at work in practical reality [including exploring how these ideas in objectified thoughts have produced singularities?].

At one level, Marx still seems to close to Stirner, and the whole debate invites us to decide who is best at managing ghosts. It is Marx's 'fearsome analogy' that makes the difference, based on the spectre. Both Marx and Stirner want to overcome it, to identify and manage it, without being possessed themselves [might also mean becoming mere spokespersons for Providence?] , but spectres are indiscernible, and even if we do capture it, we might still remain 'captivated by it' (165). The dispute between them looks methodological [to whom?], but it's clearly also 'ontological, ethical, political'. Both Marx and Stirner could be seen as both members of a conjuring circle, with internal disagreements, but also an awareness that a spectre is haunting Europe. [Maybe the political differences are the crucial ones because] there is a whole series of 'complicities and antagonisms among Marx, Engels, Feuerbach, Stirner, Hess, Bauer and so forth', none of them free of the 'paternal shade of Hegel'.

We can't just dismiss Stirner, and we should understand why he proposed to regulate the spectre in the way that he did. Mark says he borrowed from Hegel, which he took 'for the world itself' and which he felt he had to judge himself against — hence the personal reason for this combination of individuals and spirits in incarnation. The Stirner scheme where the ego appropriates the ghosts implies that individuals, even he himself remain haunted, that all egos are spooked [and then there is an aside about the difficulty of translating the German spukt, in a way which preserves both the impersonality and the anonymity of the spooking operation, which does not have an agent, and the figure of the spook. Properly grasped, this ambiguity implies that the spook, the ghost always returns, does spooking. Derrida says this 'mirrors the self presence of the cogito', giving that sense of subjectivity as being haunted. An aside traces that to the notion of the ego in Descartes and Kant, 167].

Stirner resembles Christ [even I noticed the similarities with Christian incarnation], and Marx says that this is to be found in Hegelianism phenomenology too. But it is a 'construction'(167) which can be deconstructed. Stirner takes this literally and identifies with Christ as a unique individual. Further deconstruction might bring out themes like food, the Last Supper, and the host, example of conjuring tricks 'that always consist in naïvely accrediting discursive powers', as an 'abuse of etymology that serves as explanation, play on homonyms, privileging of nomination, autonomous relation of language and so forth' [I thought this describes Derrida pretty well, maybe with not such political intent. I think Kirby does this too].

A methodological issue arises about how the world becomes a '"spectre of the truth'" in Marxist terms, and how people manage to transform themselves into something spectral or holy. Stirner's dialogue with Szeliga is informative here. Stirner says that it is not surprising if human bodies become nothing but a spectre if we are treating objects in general as some manifestation of truth, without considering details [Derrida says that this critique of Szeliga is similar to Marx's of Stirner], and this will reduce the whole issue of truth to a matter of the characteristics of the spectre. This is an example of Stirner's phony dialectic for Marx, a system of 'staging of positions and oppositions '. It depends on an asymmetry between ghosts and bodies at different stages, but it always implies that the spirit is the driving force — 'the ghost, always is looking at me' [a further ambiguity is revealed in note 5, where this phrase in French also means 'it is my concern']. Using the spirits to explain bodies ['seeing ghosts'] risks seeing human life as being seen by ghosts. More generally, Szeliga is but a strawman for Stirner, who does not realise that once we have admitted one spirit, we have to see the whole world as displaying proliferating spirits, 'a mob of spectres to which one can no longer even assign a point of view' [I have tried to understand this as letting in an infinite regress of levels of analysis, endless intermediaries, as well as having to admit spiritual explanations for animals and the like]. We would have to see that  '"millions of spirits speak through the mouths of people"' [Marx]. It follows that the whole world must be a phenomenal form, and that the phenomenological ego, actual individuals, can only be spectres. For Derrida, it also follows that analysis of phenomena must only be a work of mourning, associating life with death.

[In one of those regressions] 'the ghost is the phenomenon of the spirit', and here Stirner is agreeing with Szeliga  after all. Again the German term es spukt is important — something ghosts or spectres, but one can never pin down an actual subject. Instead, 'only displacements'are possible. [A quote from Marx follows implications which might be linked — if ghosts proliferate in the material world, then the world itself can only be an apparition, and spirits are everywhere, and this is no different from the narrower view of the haunted ego in Szeliga. The whole discussion reminds me of the crucial stage in the Salem witch trials when 'spectral evidence' was finally admitted to be acceptable, which led to the whole escalation of the trial]. Philosophy succeeds when it is capable of seeing spirits and ghosts in everybody!

Derrida modifies this by saying there is a difference between spectre and spirit, or rather a différance. The spectre is not just an incarnation of the spirit, but something waiting for redemption, to be claimed back by the spirit, 'the deferred spirit' (171). This is crucial and it stops simple analysis, 'all calculations, interests, and capital' — 'the ghost is just passing through'. Marx says Stirner recognises this to some extent, but represents this 'passage of the "spirits"' only by giving them names, as if they were descendants — further conjuring for Derrida, this time involving the 'magic of onomastics' [online dictionary says this means tracing the history of proper names]. By implication, 'men represent, precisely by means of new appellations, general concepts'. For Marx, this is Stirner offering family generalisations, based only on names of ghosts, and he says this is a process working 'in "the Negroid form"' [which Derrida explains this is really a reference to nocturnal obscurity. He says that this is a classic way to accuse people of 'being too generous with generality, too preoccupied with ideas', which will result in 'obscurantism or even occultism'(171 –2). Once Stirner has created so many ghosts, he has to expend a lot of energy trying to get rid of them, and it is that that is often condemned as obscurantism. Reference to Negroid forms might also hint at enslavement where concepts descend from others rather than having no autonomy or 'internal necessity'[just as in Kirby, where explanations for dinoflagellates just descend from general concepts in Derrida].

If ghosts are everywhere, how can we account for their origins? For Stirner 'the capital representation [geddit?] is the father-son relation, with general Man at the beginning, an essence or spirit which concrete actual men only represent, so they can only relate to each other 'in a ghostly fashion, as spectres' (172). Here Stirner is merely paraphrasing Hegel, Marx thinks, and he takes the piss out of the actual series [as we shall see]. The thrust of Marx's critique is to say that no matter how Stirner tries to regulate these stages and reduce them to 10 main ones, they must be innumerable, and Stirner's system is really only rhetorical, a 'means to confound the adversary' (173) [a specific one?]. The whole thing is based on a major concept which was always obscure, and the different levels are mere metonyms, designed to do without 'nominalism, conceptualism, realism'. There is a taxonomy, but this is 'at once arbitrary and impossible', because ghosts cannot be counted, they are innumerable, they proliferate with incalculable effects. At their origin lies 'a father or else it is capital', abstract bodies that are both visible and invisible, apparitions without any particular specific bodies. Stirner is driven by the desire to classify and hierarchise, and that's why tries to label the different ghostly concepts.

Marx is clearly experiencing rage at this effort, and is almost obsessed with Stirner and developing a ruthless denunciation in detail. Derrida thinks, only as 'my own feeling' which may not necessarily be present, that this shows that we all are haunted by our own ghosts, even when going on ghost hunts. Marx is afraid that Stirner resembles himself very closely, in a kind of 'diabolical image' that needs to be opposed. [amateur Freudian analysis here?] Both are, after all, obsessed with ghosts, Marx as haunted as Stirner, keen to distance himself from a person who described all this first — 'he poached the spectres of Marx' (175). Marx's attempt to dispel Stirner's ghosts is also an attempt to invite them back so they can be hunted anew, in a 'specular circle', a 'paradoxical hunt' [Derrida talks about this is a necessary relation between hunter and prey, and claims you can find it in the whole of philosophy especially ontology — partly supported by the happy coincidence of 'haunting' and 'hunting', page 176]. Both Marx and Stirner are hunters, both conjurers, both attempting to explain Christian Europe in spectral terms, and Marx 'begrudges ' Stirner doing it first.

This is typical of the ambivalence exercised towards ghosts — they have to be welcomed and then chased away, focused upon in order to exercise them, and this is what Marx and Stirner have in common. They do disagree about how the ghost takes on a body, but the resemblance persists

Marx offers 'deconstructive critiques' (176) [so he is only anticipating Derrida really] to Stirner's constructions, but these can boomerang requiring an endless pursuit, which becomes the goal in itself. Ghosts have to be chased before they can be classified. Both also know that because the living body is to be prioritised, they both need to 'wage an endless war against whatever represents it' (177), and to ward off false embodiments — 'prosthesis and delegation, repetition, différance' [the last one is interesting — both want to freeze history?]. There has to be some recognition of necessary others, however, produced by 'technical apparatus, iterability, non-uniqueness, prosthesis, synthetic image, simulacrum'. Derrida naturally argues that it all 'begins with language, before [so there is something outside?] language', which makes the struggle against illicit otherness an internal one, necessarily directed 'at once for itself and against itself' [Marx comes to realise some of the unintended consequences of his critique of capitalism?]. Marx claims superior expertise here, rebuking Stirner for just staying within idealism, words and language acts instead of looking at 'the practical structures, the solid mediations of real, "empirical" actuality'. This stays within the 'phantomality of the body' and real bodies are not dealt with. It is important to deal with 'ghostly reality' as well, however.

The anxiety appears in Marxism as 'endlessly piling on the traits, the distinctive traits and the polemical traits' [the obsessive critique of Stirner?]. This can never be definitively closed. At least he can critique Stirner, best of all in his absurd table of ghosts. Marx identifies 10 of them, and the whole of GI could be seen as 'the inexhaustible gloss on this table' (178). Marx pursues an ironic literal taxonomy and account of these ghosts. Derrida suggests a link between this table and the one used in the fantasy about living tables in Capital chapter 1 [really homonym rather than identifying theoretical continuity? --judge for yourselves below], and this helps him suggest that the analysis is really about exposing the mechanisms of fetishism. Stirner's concepts overlap and supplement each other. Derrida summarises Marx's observations:

Ghost one is the supreme being, God, and there is no need to even discuss this, or to note the need for faith to cope with the unbelievable. Ghost two is Being or essence, at a lower level. This is the common concept and the guiding thread, fusing the ontological and the theological. Ghost three is the 'vanity of the world' (179), but Stirner says little about it, and it seems to be there just to link further with the empirical. Ghost four refers to 'good and evil beings', again little discussed and there only to link with lower levels. Ghost five is [ordinary?] Being, being in a determinate form, a plural form in an entire 'realm'. Derrida notes an 'evangelical ground' in the use of that word. Ghost six is actual beings, apparently generated spontaneously from the higher levels. Ghost seven is 'the Man – God' (180), a mediating form, or hinge, the moment where the ghost is converted and articulated with the flesh, 'the becoming flesh, the privileged moment of the spectral incarnation or incorporation'. This attracts the longest commentary in both, because it is the most important for spectral analysis ['the most captivated', as with the obsession with Christ in Christianity]. This is a kind of 'absolute spectrality', something singular, but, at least in the form of Christ, also incomprehensible, causing a great deal of anguish [and then, I think, Derrida is saying it is easy to connect him with 'the "horrible being"' (181), not an individual being perhaps but the horrors of ordinary life?].  Ghost eight is 'man', so we get close to our personal existence, but also experience more fright, because this is '"unheimlich"', [usually translated as 'uncanny' or 'familiar but unsettling']  implying 'irreducible haunting or obsession'. What is familiar becomes disquieting, even the domestic or the community — it is occupied by something strange. So man in the abstract is still spectral and still inspires fear: interestingly, this produces 'the contradictions that render humanism untenable' [we can never just love mankind?]. It is a fear of oneself, and both commentators experience it, as does anyone who wants to engage in politics, defend their home or the territory.

Marx's analysis is still different from Stirner, though. They take different sides on 'the phenomenological fold': Marx still seems to think that being is separated from appearing [but this is very French — 'the appearance of being, as such, as phenomenology of its phenomenon is and is not the being that appears; that is the fault of the "unheimlich"' (181 – 2). I think it means that Marx never fully  managed such a separation?]. [Quote from GI follows — Stirner sees a spectre in every man, sometimes a sinister one, and this makes him terrified. He is not reassured by the usual split between phenomenon and essence]. This is such a fear that it could have ended in suicide, and led to considerable suffering in Stirner [maybe fanciful]. The production of the next ghost offers a possible solution, apparently based on the cheerful stance of the ancients towards their slaves, not thinking for a minute that they might harbour any humanist spectres [?].

Hence ghost nine 'the spirit of the people (Volksgeist)' (182). We can see the dangers here in national populism and their founding stories, always a ghostly survivor. Its return is both anticipated and feared. Even Marx doesn't comment on this discussion of nationalism, though. Ghost 10 is another necessary transition, the final moment where everything is transmuted into a ghost. There is no need for any more analysis or enumeration, 'everything is in everything' (183), and we can approach it from any angle [there is an odd bit where Derrida says Marx is accusing Stirner of being a self appointed spokesperson for this system, 'a technique of personal promotion'].

The overall fault is 'the vice of modern speculation'. That always requires a spectre and a mirror to both produce and examine spectacles or believable representations. We can see all 10 ghosts as representations. This always remains within theory and theology. Marx uses Feurbach to distinguish a kind of 'ordinary theology', which refers to 'the ghosts of sensuous imagination' as opposed to speculative theology which is fully abstract. Both still believe in ghosts, 'belief in general', so the sensuous and the non-sensuous must be linked, and Derrida is going to show how this leads to the analysis of exchange value in Capital.

 A Platonic heritage for both commentators associates image with spectre and idol with phantasm — phantasms are dead souls which haunt the souls of living persons, so the arguments for return of these souls 'belong to the essence of the idol' ', a way of connecting bodies to ideas, but one which privileges ideas as more real. This heritage runs through a lot of philosophy, finding itself at work in discussions of concepts in Marx , in the 'whole problematic' of GI — 'nominalism, conceptualism, realism, but also rhetoric and logic, literal meaning, proper meaning, figural meaning and so forth' (185). It implies deeper questions of life and death, survival. It lurks in the discussion of ideology. That can be seen as involving 'the logic of surviving' also in this Platonic notion.

Certainly, in GI, a privilege is granted to religion and to ideology and to their connection. The ghostly forms in Stirner are still the 'essential feature… of the religious' [Derrida says this is even clearer if we do not elide in translation different terms like hallucination, fantastic, the imaginary]. The mystical characteristic of the fetish is 'first of all a ghostly character', a specific spectre, not stemming just from the imagination or even from general ontology, but found 'within a socio-economic genealogy or a philosophy of labour and production' [at last we get to it!]. Yet the religious model persists every time Marx evokes spectres, including in the fetishism of the commodity, and Derrida insists that this is not just rhetoric. It is powerful, for a reason, touching on fear, imagination, life.

[Now we get to quite an interesting discussion of chapter 1 of Capital]. Marx refers to value as something mystical, enigmatic or ideological. If we trace 'the spectral movement' of the argument, we will say it is 'indeed constructed with reference to a certain haunting' [which might be circular?], and this explains both the inability to see what the concept is [for laymen and for existing economists] and how we should be able to open our eyes. Bourgeois economists can only see relations of equivalence in 'the finished form of money', and in the process of explaining exchange value, Marx wants to distinguish exchange value from use value [and this is where he uses the hilarious metaphor of the table, which is a thing, but also takes on a life, revealing embedded social relations] and, for Derrida offers 'the example of an apparition' (187). Derrida offers 'an ingenuous reading' to try to escape the existing 'many glosses' on this section.

Marx insists that 'what first sight misses is the invisible', and this leaves the table as a trivially obvious simple thing, an uninteresting [to all except philosophers] phenomenon. Marx says it is not so simple, however, and first sight is not reliable [Derrida sees in this rebuke to positivists]. The commodity is in fact so complicated that it might even be ultimately 'undecidable' (188) and we have to be really sophisticated to grasp it, like the best theologians themselves. It is not the same for use value, where the obvious might serve, and here, the apparent power of ordinary perception ['phenomenology'] specifically helps make us 'blind to exchange value'.

However, Marx also believes in 'a pure and simple use value' [which is going to be a problem], where there is nothing mysterious, where we can always spot human wants and needs at the root of it. Thus there is nothing difficult about the wood which makes up the table, but the mystery deepens when it becomes a commodity involving the market. Here Marx says the table has to be both 'actor and character at the same time', hence all the ludicrous jokes about tables walking and becoming figures. It acquires non-sensuous qualities, 'sensuously supersensible', apparently in Marx's actual terms (189). It does not become fully spiritual, however, but undergoes a transcendence nevertheless ['sensuously supersensible' implies these qualities are integral, not just added, says Derrida]. Again transcendence implies connecting the non-sensuous to the sensuous [also from the other way around, as it were, as in incarnation — Derrida uses the example of the phantom limb expressing sensuous perceptions]. In this way, 'the commodity thus haunts the thing, its spectre is at work in use value', and no one can finally separate the two. Marx uses theatrical language here describing the appearance of the commodity as a stage entrance, with the table like the one that turns in spiritualism. [In a happy ambiguity] the table itself is 'theo- anthropological' — it has feet, legs and a body. Once becoming a spectre, it can relate to other spectres, other commodities, sometimes even competitively, and without this 'neither socius, nor conflict, nor desire, nor love, nor peace would be tenable' (190). We have to undertake 'a seance of the table' [Derrida says that it will then join all those other tables in philosophy that stand as teaching objects].

The wooden table stands up, even stands on its head, becomes headstrong, addresses other commodities. It is 'at the same time, Life, Thing, Beast, Object, Commodity, Automaton — in a word spectre'. It seems to develop itself, it seems to be able to create all sorts of 'fantastic or prodigious creatures, whims, chimera' (191), far from its wooden origins: the creations developed out of the commodity form, as unlikely as a table being able to dance. For 'whoever understands Greek and philosophy [!]', this is about 'the becoming immaterial of matter', sometimes seen as 'the projection of an animism or a spiritism', when things come alive. Before dismissing this as 'childish or primitive humanity' we might notice its persistence in the market, with its whole impulse towards the Enlightenment and progress.

This sort of contradiction induces a pragmatic response [maybe]. The table appears to be both 'autonomous and automaton', developing freely, even producing time out of joint, 'delirious, capricious and unpredictable'. It puts everything around it into motion as well. The contradiction is not just down to 'the incredible conjunction of the sensuous and the suprasensible in the same Thing', but in this 'contradiction of automatic autonomy'(192), the way in which technical life seems to develop on its own. It might still be understandable as something following 'the technical rigidity of a program', but it does seem to release all sorts of other possibilities, hence its spectral appearance: 'it accumulates undecidability, in its  uncanniness' as a result. The thing appears to be inspired, infused with a life. It seems even as if 'an idol would like to make the law'. However, the very opaque  thingness of the idol seriously limits this life, so really, 'autonomy is no more than the mask of automatism'. There seems to be a living gaze inside because the automaton is so good at simulating living: it seems to survive, seems cunning, and unpredictable [at this point Derrida calls it a 'war machine'!], as plausible as theatrical machines, but 'its hyper lucidity insists' (193).

Its social qualities appear multiple, especially if we remember there is always more than one commodity and more than one spirit. The very process of spectral realisation is assisted by this development in numbers. No single use value can itself produce a mystical effect. There is also the process of 'a relation (ferance [sic -- it might mean 'toleratance of something illegal' says an online dictionary, or it cold bejust playful?], difference, reference and différance)', two-way social bonds. These bonds connect men to each other, as labour always has [Derrida thinks that labour also introduces the idea of duration, not in any vulgar determinist way of course, which leads to experiences of self presence, survival and return]. The relations also refer to commodities — social bonds on the one hand among humans, relations on the other hand among spectral commodities — and, especially, the subjection of the first to the second.

[He can't resist another aside this time on temporality. He identifies in Marx an important issue, an implication for time in the development of the commodity which recalls Hegel's. Hegel saw time as first of all abstract or ideal. Derrida notes that there is the same phrase in Hegel about 'the non-sensuous sensuous', and promises to develop this elsewhere]

The commodity table relates to all other commodities through the market, itself 'a front'. The commodity takes on a social form because it is ultimately related to labour. This is still mysterious until Marx. Derrida notes more theatrical metaphors turning on mistaking persons or misinterpreting, or substituting actors and characters, 'an abnormal play of mirrors' (195), where the mirror does not reflect the expected image — men don't recognise the social character of their own labour, heading towards ghostliness themselves. [Derrida wittily links this to the fact that ghosts have no reflection in mirrors]. This gets naturalised, just like misrecognitions being accepted in the theatre to the extent that they just seem objective, the properties of things. [This Marxist mirror relation means 'the specular becomes the spectral' (196)]. Social relations look like relations between objects apart from producers, and the products of labour become sensuous things which are also '"suprasensible or social"'.