I recently tried my hand at prodding Jacques to blog more often about Marxism and Marxist thought. As an immigrant from a country with a strong Marxist tradition and – more importantly – with his educational background (Stanford’s sociology department in the late 60s/early 70s; arguably the time period with the most sophisticated understanding of Marxist thought ever), I think he provides readers with a nuanced and sharply critical glance into Marxism, something that is very tough to do. Alas:
Brandon: Thanks for the suggestion and for the incense. However, the charm of blogging has much to do for me with following whatever my inspiration whispers at any one time. Once in a while, it lands on Marxism, not often. When it does, it’s often in the context of conversations in French with French speakers. (You may have noticed something on my blog called, “Le dernier Communiste.” )
To the extent that I am impelled to do the needful rather than the natural, I direct my steps to whatever I think I do well and that is also in demand. In general, I am not sure waking up Marx for the benefit of young Americans is useful or much in demand. Almost no one in America calls himself a Marxist anymore . (There were many when I was young.) The people who would have been Marxists in 1974 call themselves “environmentalists” today. Aside from this, I suspect
that the Obama administration is the result of wet dreams by Marxists of my generation but I don’t know how to talk about it. It’s just my sense of smell telling me.
I make a mental note of your expressed demand for Marxist critiques. In the meantime, feel free to pillage whatever you find on the subject in my blogs.
Oh, I’ve pillaged. His knowledge of Marxism is too important for me to ignore it. You can find Jacques’s thoughts on Marxism here. Jacques is also working on his memoirs, and you can find excerpts of those here (it’s also located on the top right side of the blog’s navigation bar).
As far as President Obama being the culmination of American Marxism, I think Jacques is woefully wrong. However, I also think Jacques’s assessment of Marxism in the US today (it’s irrelevant) is spot on. There is a recent, well-written essay in Dissent by a political scientist at Columbia arguing that the Obama administration is simply kowtowing to a neoliberal (and, by extension, racist) agenda, and this, I think, suggests that my suspicions are correct.