Cogito, Specters, and Marranos

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022798/00001

Material Information

Title: Cogito, Specters, and Marranos The Deconstruction of a New Humanism under the Aegis of a Disciple's Consciousness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (254 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Thomas, Harun
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: bennington, butler, deconstruction, derrida, fanon, foucault, hamlet, hegel, heidegger, humanism, marranos, marx, shakespeare, specters, spivak, wise
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In this dissertation, I trace a connection between Jacques Derrida and Frantz Fanon back to one particular passage on Fanon's 'cry' in Derrida's 'Cogito et historie de la folie' (1963) and draw out the implications of the replacement of this passage in a later version (1967) of the article that omits any mention of Fanon. My aim in the project is three-fold: to make more manifest the nexus between these two 'Algerian' infidels or marranos; to suggest that deconstruction and Fanon's project of 'new humanism' resonate with each other in interesting and incalculable ways, primarily in their rethinking of transcendental purity and intransigence, or, in a simpler term, justice; and to expand our general understanding of deconstruction, whose 'origins' appear commensurate with Martin Heidegger's 'Destruktion,' a term denoting the operation performed in relation to the totalizing structure of Western metaphysics. The success of this project falls largely on the openness of deconstruction, as I have expected it to run squarely against its typical articulations, movements, trajectories, and readings by situating it tentatively and performatively in an African context. To accomplish this end, I rely heavily on the analyses of Geoffrey Bennington, Judith Butler, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and especially Christopher Wise; the spectral presence and revolutionary fervor of Karl Marx; and the prescience and literary genius of William Shakespeare.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Harun Thomas.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Leavey, John P.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022798:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022798/00001

Material Information

Title: Cogito, Specters, and Marranos The Deconstruction of a New Humanism under the Aegis of a Disciple's Consciousness
Physical Description: 1 online resource (254 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Thomas, Harun
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008


Subjects / Keywords: bennington, butler, deconstruction, derrida, fanon, foucault, hamlet, hegel, heidegger, humanism, marranos, marx, shakespeare, specters, spivak, wise
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: English thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In this dissertation, I trace a connection between Jacques Derrida and Frantz Fanon back to one particular passage on Fanon's 'cry' in Derrida's 'Cogito et historie de la folie' (1963) and draw out the implications of the replacement of this passage in a later version (1967) of the article that omits any mention of Fanon. My aim in the project is three-fold: to make more manifest the nexus between these two 'Algerian' infidels or marranos; to suggest that deconstruction and Fanon's project of 'new humanism' resonate with each other in interesting and incalculable ways, primarily in their rethinking of transcendental purity and intransigence, or, in a simpler term, justice; and to expand our general understanding of deconstruction, whose 'origins' appear commensurate with Martin Heidegger's 'Destruktion,' a term denoting the operation performed in relation to the totalizing structure of Western metaphysics. The success of this project falls largely on the openness of deconstruction, as I have expected it to run squarely against its typical articulations, movements, trajectories, and readings by situating it tentatively and performatively in an African context. To accomplish this end, I rely heavily on the analyses of Geoffrey Bennington, Judith Butler, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and especially Christopher Wise; the spectral presence and revolutionary fervor of Karl Marx; and the prescience and literary genius of William Shakespeare.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Harun Thomas.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Leavey, John P.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022798:00001

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2008 Harun Karim Thomas 2


To Jaiden, Azsia, and Mikah 3


ACKNOWL EDGMENTS As the possibility of a proper acknowledgment presents itself elsewhere, in many forms, most of which exist both prior and anterior to the actual presentation of a gift of sorts, I must remain content with the modest address here, which in no way reflects my most sincere gratitude. I should first thank my committee for its watchful eye and caring grace: John P. Leavey, Jr., has been instrumental in guiding me through the process, inspiring me to make connections that I never imagin ed would happen so soon, and provi ding me with, by all spectral accounts, the most salient resources to complete th is project; Kim Tanzer has truly been my most practical and inspirational advisor, encouraging me along at every step; Mark Reid has been a generous confidant and mentor, pushing consta ntly for my intellectual growth; and Malini Schueller, whom I asked to join the committee al ready in progress, has challenged me with my most critical readings and has generously helped me recover gaps in my theoretical positions. I would like to iden tify those professors and staf f members who have challenged, provoked, encouraged, and/or helped immensel y over the years: Laurence B. Alexander (journalism), Roger Beebe, Carla Blount, John Cech, Loretta Dampier, Melissa Davis, Sid Dobrin, Kim Emery, Pamela Gilbert, Andrew Gordon, Terry Harpold, Susan Hegeman, Mildred Hill-Lubin, Brandon Kershner, Kenneth Kidd, Am itava Kumar, John Murchek, Scott Nygren, Amy Ongiri, Stephanie Smith, Robert Thomson, Gr eg Ulmer, Jeri White, and Kathy Williams. I want to take a rather no stalgic turn and acknowledge my colleagues, who have been sources of inspiration and frie nds since I began meeting them in 1996: Virginia Agnew, Renuka Bisht, Mindy Cardozo, Franklin Cason, Sophie Croisy, Denise Cummings, Amanda Davis, Bradley Dilger, Maya Dodd, Emily Garcia, Sarah Graddy, Bill Hardwig, Afshin Hafizi, Lorraine Ouimet, Rochelle Mabry, Sarah Mallonee, Ja mes McDougall, Brian Meredith, Robin Nuzum, Todd Reynolds, Jeff Rice, Brenda n Riley, John Ronan, Nishant Sh ahani, Jason Snart, Dean 4


Swinford, Laurie Taylor, W ashella Turner, Shar main van Blommestein, Trish Ventura, Maisha Wester, Jackie Whipple Walker, Lloyd Willis, and Fred Young. You have all been formative, in one way or another, in my development as an academician and instructor. I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the humble origins of this project: Newark, Delaware. Without that place responsible for su ch wonderful experiences and friends, I doubt seriously that Id have any intere st in specters, justice, or human ity. In short, I would like to thank the following: Kimberton, Brookside, Cleveland Heights, and other surrounding neighborhoods; the bus that took me often to 4th Street in Wilmington, the barbershop where Romaine worked, and the music and clothing stor es along the main strip; Newark High School (1986-90) and Sam Price; 1987 Capitol Trail VFW Ve ts; and the basement at 1 Waltham Street, the 49, and their progeny: Rising Force Rebels, NAT, The Elementals, The Outfit, and The 49ers. In one final breath, I must prai se the following individuals fo r their generosity and help during this long process: temi rose for unselfishly offering to read this manuscript and doing so in a timely manner, provoking me to rethink a numb er of ideas and formulations; my father for sharing with me as a child (either intentionally or unintentionally) critical attention to important matters and generally encouraging success; my mo ther for passing down inexplicable traits that have informed my practices and scholarship. (She seems to have, in the words of Jacques Derrida, a taste for the secret); Brahim, Din, and Sakinah for inspiring in one way or another; the Rumer family, A Childs Academy, and Noahs Ark for helping take care of my precious gems; my friends for being there when I need it; and last, Jaiden, Azsia, and Mikah. Because of you three, failure for me has never been an option. 5


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: A MYST ICAL DISAPPEARANCE ........................................................9 (Politically) Left in the S hadows (of Philosophy) ..................................................................11 Undecidability = Urgency = Deconstruction ...................................................................16 Algeria as Originary D econstructive Event (A New Hum anism on the Horizon) .......18 Specters of Marx: Going Back to Africa and Looking Toward the Future .....................24 A Disciples Declaration: Motivation and Methodology .......................................................28 2 ACT I: LEARNING TO LIVE ....................................................................................31 What is Deconstruction? .........................................................................................................36 Fukuyama, Kojve, Hegel, and the Right ...............................................................................40 Deconstruction and the New International, or Beyond Co s mopolitanism and Liberal Democracy ..........................................................................................................................44 Memory, Responsibility, and Inheritance ...............................................................................53 Max, Marx, and Ghosts ...................................................................................................57 Spirits, Specters, and Hamlet ...........................................................................................65 The Work of Mourning ...................................................................................................69 3 ACT II: (NOT) MARXISM .........................................................................................72 How the Left Gets Marx Right ...............................................................................................75 Derrida Responds to Marxs Sons ...............................................................................96 4 ACT III: A FRICAN ..................................................................................................110 The Specters of Derrida and Property Rights .......................................................................111 Affirmation ....................................................................................................................116 Pyramids, Aufhebung, Signs (P a S) ..............................................................................119 Bennington to the Rescue, or Spivak with the Last Word ............................................127 Diffrance Deferred ..............................................................................................................134 Which Came First, Speech or Writing, or Both and/or Neither? ..................................139 5 ACT IV: JUSTICE ................................................................................................... .148 Justice Must Be Something Other than Law ........................................................................148 Performative, Force, Violence ..............................................................................................154 Overflow of the Performative ........................................................................................159 6


Derrida and Revolution .........................................................................................................163 Oui, Oui, Africa ....................................................................................................................168 6 ACT V: (A) NEW HUMANISM ..............................................................................173 Deconstruction Is Not What You Think ...............................................................................174 The Plays the Thing .............................................................................................................179 Smile ..............................................................................................................................183 Humanism A New Hu manism ..................................................................................185 Fanon envisions a new humanism ..........................................................................189 Deciding to act, or the role of viol ence in preparing for a new hum anism ............202 Derrida and Violence De-/Re-Contextualized ......................................................................210 Working Out New Concepts .................................................................................................217 One Conclusion by Way of a Non-Arrival ...........................................................................230 7 CONCLUSION: DECONSTRUCTION AND SHADOWS................................................239 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................245 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................254 7


Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy COGITO, SPECTERS, AND MARRANOS: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF A NEW HUMANISM UNDER THE AEGIS OF A DISCIPLES CONSCIOUSNESS By Harun Karim Thomas December 2008 Chair: John P. Leavey, Jr. Major: English In this dissertation, I trace a connection betw een Jacques Derrida and Frantz Fanon back to one particular passage on Fanons cry in Derrid as Cogito et historie de la folie (1963) and draw out the implications of the replacement of this passage in a later version (1967) of the article that omits any mention of Fanon. My aim in the project is three-fold: to make more manifest the nexus between these two Algeria n infidels or marranos; to suggest that deconstruction and Fanon's project of new humanism resonate with each other in interesting and incalculable ways, primarily in their rethi nking of transcendental pur ity and intransigence, or, in a simpler term, justice; and to expand our general understanding of deconstruction, whose origins appear commensurate with Martin Heideggers Destruktion, a term denoting the operation performed in relation to the totalizing structure of Western metaphysics. The success of this project falls largely on the openness of deconstruction, as I have expected it to run squarely against its typical artic ulations, movements, trajectories, and readings by situating it tentatively and performatively in an African context. To accomplish this end, I rely heavily on the analyses of Geoffrey Benningt on, Judith Butler, Gayatri Chak ravorty Spivak, and especially Christopher Wise; the spectral presence and revo lutionary fervor of Karl Marx; and the prescience and literary genius of William Shakespeare. 8


CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION: A MYSTICAL DISAPPEARANCE This dissertation begins with an inquiry into the mystical disappearance of the following quote: Un peu comme la revolution anti-colonialiste ne peut se librer de lEurope ou de lOccident empiriques de fait quau nom de lEurope transce ndantale, cest--dire de la Raison, et en se laissant da bord gagner par ses valeurs, son langage, ses sciences, ses techniques, ses armes; contam ination ou incohrence irrductib le quaucun crije pense celui de Fanonne peut exorciser, si pur et si intransigeant soit-il. (Cogito 466) A bit like how the anti-colonialist revol ution can only liberate itself from a de facto Europe or West in the name of transcendental Europe, that is, of Reason, and by letting itself first be won over by its values, its language, its technology, its armament s; an irreducible contamination or incoherence that no cryI am thinking of Fanon scould exorcise, no matter how pure and intran sigent it is. (Baugh 40) The reference comes from French Algerian philo sopher Jacques Derrida, more specifically his Cogito et histoire de la fo lie, which first appeared in Revue de Mtaphysique et de Morale (1963). In Cogito et histoire de la folie, Derri da argues that the unreaso nableness of classical reason can only be ruled as such on the grounds that reason is purely Reason in general In other words, madness and reason are not mutually exclusive. His argument is in response to Michel Foucaults Folie et draison. Histoire de la folie la ge classique (1961), in which Foucault attempts to do an archeology of madnesss silenc e and protests against reasons sequestration of madness. In the particular paragraph in which the quote appears, Derrida describes a revolution against reason that can only occur on the basis of or within reason. Ultimately, there exists no term such as madness that can be opposed to reason, specifically because madness emerges from reason. The quote was dropped from the e ssay four years la ter in Derridas Lcriture et la diffrence (1967) and replaced with the following: On ne peut sans doute pas criture une histoire voire une archologie contre la raison, car, malgr des apparences, le concept dhistoire a toujours t un concep t rationnel. Cest la signification histoire ou archie quil et peut-tre fallu questioner dabord. Une 9


criture excdant, les questione r, les valeurs dorigine, de raison, dhistoire, ne saurait se laisser contenir dans la clot ure m taphysique dune archologie. (59) A history, that is, an archeology against reas on doubtless cannot be wri tten, for, despite all appearances to the contrary, the concept of hist ory has always been a rational one. It is the meaning of history or archia that should have been questio ned first, perhaps. A writing that exceeds, by questioning them, the values origin, reason, and history could not be contained within the metaphysical closure of an archeology. (Cogito and the History of Madness 36) The credit for bringing the lost quote to our attention belongs to Bruce Baugh. In Sartre, Derrida, and Commitment: The Case of Al geria, he describes this reference1 as anxious, written on the heels of the Algerian independenc e in 1962, with the wounds of that conflict still fresh, and by someone who, as a French Algerian with sympathies for the anti-colonialist revolution, was no mere spectator (40). For Baugh, the quote raises the following problem for revolutionaries, in Derridas view : they can protest against Europ ean injustices only in the name of a European ideal of justice, and fight Eu ropean colonial power only by using European weapons, tactics, forms of political organization, and theo ries (including Marxism and psychoanalysis) (40-1). If Baugh believes the qu ote is anxious because of the context in which it was written, it is anxious for me not only because it suggests that we can trace Derridas political engagements to the beginning of hi s publishing career, but al so because it marks the disappearance of any relevant connection betwee n two controversial, complex, revolutionary, and seemingly unrelated intellectuals of the 20th century, Jacques Derrida and Frantz Fanon. In some respects, these two should be viewed not on ly as contemporaries, but also as Algerian compatriots in search of the pure and intransigent and whose aims at achieving change in the world were similarly radical. The quote also yields implications re garding the scope and potentially transformative nature of deconstruction as a radical politics, though I should take 1 In Baughs article, he refers to the quote as a footnote, but it appears in the actual text. 10


great care not to reduce deconstruction to a m ethod or process of pragmatic politcs. It is possible that one might regard Fanons formulation of a new humanism as deconstructive. The aims of this dissertation are two-fold: to restablish a relation between Derrida and Fanon more than 40 years after the disappearance of an anxious quote and to suggest formatively that deconstruction and Fanons new humanism both res onate with each other in interesting and incaluable ways. First, I would like to offer a wa y that we might read the omission of Fanon from Cogito and its effect, as if De rrida were casting an incalculable shadow of some sort on Fanon. (Politically) Left in the Shadows (of Philosophy) The year 1967 marks Derridas emergence as a major figure in contemporary French thoughtand subsequently the beginning of the end of structuralism, according to Jason Powellduring which time he saw the publication of his first three texts: La voix et le phnomne (translated by David Allison as Speech and Phenomena in 1973), De la grammatologie (translated by Gayatri Spivak as Of Grammatology in 1976), and Lcriture et la diffrence (translated by Alan Bass as Writing and Difference in 1978). Though Derrida suggests that there may be a particular order to read these three books, a ll three lend themselves to an examination of philosophys concepts to determin e the issues that philo sophy has historically hidden, forbidden, or repressed. As Alan Bass notes the first step of this deconstruction of philosophy, which attempts to locate that which is present nowhere in philosophy, involves working through the notion of presence as undertaken by Martin Heidegger, who recognized in this notion the destiny of philosophy (x-xi). Wh at compounds the difficulty of a deconstruction of philosophy is language itself, es pecially translation. On this subject, Derrida writes: As a matter of fact, I dont believe that anything can ever be untranslatableor, moreover, translatable (What Is a Relevant Transl ation? 178). One could suggest that ultimately nothing is translatable, but if we must accede, we become bankrupt in the process of having 11


translated that which is untranslatable. Derrida posits that there is a certain econom y related to the enterprise of translation, an economy that signifies two things: property and quantity, both of which present empirical challenges. Bass asks two fundamental questions concerning the empirical difficulties of translation, Can any translation be made to signi fy the same thing as the original text? How crucial is the play of the signifiersetym ological play, stylistic playto what is signified by the text? (xv). Elsewhere, Derrida has concurred that the history of metaphysics has always imposed upon semiology the search for a transce ndental signified, a concept independent of language or a concept that can be unproblematically transferred among various languages without losing its purity. It is this promise of a tr anscendental puri ty or search for this purity that makes translation possible. Considering first the difficulties of language and translation in the project of the deconstruction of philosophy, I wonder why Derrida dropped the allusion to Fanon from the second version of Cogito et historie de la fo lie, especially given th at Derrida associates Fanons cry with a purity and intr ansigence in the original. Might the dropping of this proper name have anything to do with the systemic repr ession of ideas in concepts in philosophy? Might it have to do with Derridas emergence as a ma jor figure in contemporary French thought? Does the omission indicate a certain change reflected in the questions on madness and reason that are deemed no longer relevant? Had th e Algerian conflict ultimately be come of little importance to the larger questions raised in Cogito that Derrida felt compelled to excise the reference in the second version? Though we may never understand the motivation behind eliminating the quote, we can revisit the text to determine for ourselves if the omission is indeed important. Ill offer a brief discussion of Cogito below.2 2 I will refer to Derridas article in both Fren ch and English as Cogito, and I w ill refer to Descartes theory of the Cogito without quotation marks. 12


Derrida begins Cogito with a m odest acknowle dgment: I retain the consciousness of an admiring and grateful disciple of Michel Fou caults (31). He remarks that this disciples consciousness is similar to the Hegelian unhappy c onsciousness, in that it makes him feel like an infant when he attempts to enter into dialogue with the master. The child is one who cannot speak and certainly must not answer back, though the disciple anticipates the challenge of the master who speaks within him and before him, to reproach him for making this challenge and to reject it in advance, having elaborated it before him; and having interiorized the master, he is also challenged by the disciple that he himself is (31-2). The unhappiness of the disciple stems from the fact that he does not know or fails to rea lize that the master is al ways absent and that the disciple must, at some point, start to speak. Derrida breaks this silence and interrogates a mere three pages of Foucaults 673-page book on the history of madness, the three pages that Foucault devotes to a certain passage from De scartes Meditation I. Derrida is concerned necessarily with two questions: (1 ) Does Foucault interpret Descartes accurately, and insofar as Descartes is represented accurately in Foucaults History of Madness does Descartes intention, as Foucault understands it, have the manifest hist orical meaning assigned to it? In other words, has Descartes work been properly historicized? And (2) in light of a reread ing of the Cartesian Cogito, will it not be possible to interrogate certain philosophical and methodological presuppositions of this history of madness? In th e end, what Derrida shows us is that reason and madness are never fully distinct from each othe r and that one cannot write the history of madness, even if someone like F oucault wants to remain true to the language and substance of madness by attempting to excavate or provide for an archeology of madness, without recourse to reason or Logos. This perhaps will have been Foucaults biggest error in writing History of 13


Madness, according to Derrida, but w hat Foucault has s hown us in the process is that there are crises of reason in strange complicity with what the world calls crises of madness (63). Though the child (Derrida) has spoken against the master (Foucault), he does so with the utmost respect for him: even in erring, the master has still taught us something. Derridas Cogito project is impressive in th e manner it examines Foucaults attention to Descartes, describes how Foucault could have avoi ded falling into the trap of reason in speaking about madness, and attempts to locate Descar tes manifest historical meaning to understand Meditation I accurately. Derrida is bothered by Foucaults engagement with the decision, that which, through a single act, links and separa tes reason and madness. The decision produces indeed the archaeology of silen ce (madness), where reason is characterized by speech. Derridas problem with this is that Foucault has left in the shadows the decisions true historical ground (39). He lists two reasons: First, Foucault alludes to Logos as ha ving no contrary, unlike classical reason, whose contrary is supposedly madness. The second reason has to do with a profound link that Foucault establishes between the division, the dissension (or d ecision), and the possibility of history itself. I point out what bothers Derrida not because I agree with his argument about Foucault particularly, but because I find qu ite fascinating the phrase in the shadows to describe a certain philosophical process of repression, forbiddanc e, or concealment. What I find even more compelling is that Derrida, the moment he exci ses the references to Fanon and anti-colonialist revolution, seems to set the tone for deconstruction for the next three decades by relegating them to the shadows. Without the references in th e second version, Cogito remains fixed in the historicalwe read mostly about the Gr eeksand deconstruction becomes foremost philosophical, silencing (or leavi ng in the shadows) its political dimensions. Simultaneously, the 14


om ission of the citation also leaves Fanon in the shadows, a non-place ultimately, where he and the other Algerian revolutionaries are to linger. One might argue that engaging Fanon and the Algerian context might be irrelevant given th e nature of the essay, Descartes and the history of madness. But what are we to make of this cr itical distancing in light of Derridas professed close relation to his birthplace, Algeria, a land he experienced difficulty leaving for the first time at age 19? In Taking a Stand for Algeri a, Derrida explains this relation: all I will say is inspired above all and after all by a pain ful love for Algeria an Algeria to which I have often come back and which in the end I know to have never really ceased inhabiting or bearing in my innermost, a love for Algeria to which, if not the love of citizenry, and thus the patriotic tie to a Nation-state, is nonetheless what makes it impossible to dissociate here the heart, th e thinking, and the political position-takingand thus dictates all th at I will say. (3-4) Derrida writes this description in 2003, 40 years af ter Cogito, as if he has always felt this way. So, one might ask, if this country has been so important for Derrida, why does he abandon it after 1963 and defer for near ly 30 years his political enga gements? I suspect that for deconstruction to have had the impact that it has had on the academy, Derrida would have to undermine deconstructions own potentialities by em barking on such a substantial detour. He has never denied the extent to which deconstruction handles both the philoso phical and political, but his decision to defer these connections until af ter three decades of teaching, speaking, and writing has given the world the impr ession that deconstruction is me rely a mode of reading, that it has no political component, and that there is no sense of urgency in deconstruction. In other words, deconstruction, as an elabor ation of a democracy to come ( la dmocratie venir ), is made to appear less than what it is: the search for a pure, intransige nt, and undeconstructible moment or, more specifically, the search for justice. 15


Undecidability = Urge ncy = Deconstruction In Jacques Derrida and Alain Badiou: Is There a Relation between Politics and Time? Antonio Calcagno argues that Derrida is correct to bring to the fore the undecidability in his political notion of a democracy to come but th at he does not extend the aporia of undecidable politics far enough. According to Calcagno, Derridean democracy-to-come yields two results: (1) all politics are arch-structured by the undecidab ility of the double bi nd of possibility and impossibilityvia the temporal models of the spatio-temporization of diffrance, which makes the fully present an impossibilityand the to co me of the promise, and (2) such undecidability determines the limits of possibility and impossi bility, limits that make evident the aporias structured into politics. Regard ing the temporal models of politics as democracy to come, there are namely two, diffrance and the promise, which I will sketch briefly here. (I discuss these two concepts more fully in chapters four and five respectively.) The first model, diffrance, can be traced to Derridas Diffra nce and has two movements. The first movement delays or defers an origin that can never come to fu ll presence because that which has been originally present has to be represented by a sign. The second movement consists in differentiating among various elements within a chain of signification, each element vying to stand out within the chain. Derrida develops more fully the second temporal model, the promise, in Specters of Marx and Voyous. The promise emphasizes a futurity, a to co me, which has within its structure the double bind that is haunted by a past and a presen t that never fulfills itself as fully present. Calcagno argues that the promise not only contains within itself the logic of diffrance, but also emphasizes the possibility of a future. He then ex amines the two temporal structures in relation to Derridas notion of democrac y, as articulated at an intern ational philosophy colloquium in April 1968, just one year after the appearance of second version of Cogito. In his address, he 16


m aintains that democracy should be the form of political organization of society and follow two rules particularly: National philosophical identity is placed togeth er with non-identity. Philosophical identity must not exclude a diversity relative to and th at comes with the langua ge of such diversity, that comes eventually as a minority. Con cerning the fact that the totality of this diversity be exhaustively re presented, this cannot but remain problematic. So that philosophers will not identify with one another, the philosophers present here must not assume the politics of their own countries. It should be permitted here that I should be able to speak in my own name. I will not do otherwise than in the measure where the problem posed to me refers back in truth to an essential generality and it is in the form of this generality that I wish to ar ticulate it. (The Ends of Man 33) In a footnote, Calcagno notes th at, in the French, the word socit serves as a double entendre, alluding to both society in general but also the French Society of Philosophy. We might then apply Derridas reflections not onl y to philosophy, but also to society and the political. Still, Calcagno believe s that Derridas temporal mode ls and his philosophy in general sorely lack an account of human agency and th e possibility for intervention. The constantly shuttling back and forth of political possibility, the differing and deferring of the future and the impossibility of self-presence, ultimately lead nowhere for Calcagno. Within this gap perceived in Derridas thought of the undecidability of pol itics, Calcagno places Alain Badious notion of time as a subjective, decisive intervention. Ba dious idea functions as the timely, settling intervention in a politics structured by undecida bility, so to speak. These interventions are otherwise considered events, those that make ev ident what Badiou refers to as truth or the rupture or radical space where something can co me to appear (Calcagno 807). Examples of events include the French Revolution, the Amer ican Revolution, the Soviet Revolution, and the example of May all marking gr eat historical shifts in the manner we do and think politics. Badious notion of the event differs from Derridas notion, in that the la tter conceives of the event (on the basis of his trea tment of Heideggers notion of Ereignis and his own treatment of la 17


donation ) as an occurrence that undoes itself and renders both the possibility and im possibility of naming or pronouncing that very occurrence, acc ording to Calcagno. In Badious framework, the event is caused by a subject who acts according to a temporal force exerted during a pre-political phase of state affairs. This state of affairs might take the form of bourgeois restrictions and various repressions (in the exte rnal or extra-subjective world) that motivate the subject to respond and bring about singular an d unique change. Calcagno refers to this outside force as kairos the appropriate time of action, a time that does not stem from the subject alone through the actualization of his or her political techn but also through the stat e of affairs of the world that calls or elicits the subject to respond through an interventi on (811). We might view this Greek concept of the kairos as that which presents a sense of urgency or an appeal that promotes a subjective intervention. Algeria as Originary Deco nstructive Event (A New Humanism on the Horizon) Considering Calcagnos vi ew that subjects and kairos must work together to produce events within the structured undecidability of polit ics, I argue that Derrida himself is an example of a subject who responded to cert ain ruptures and intervened polit ically at an appropriate time, an argument that seems rather counterintuitive to Jason Powe lls argument that Derridas emergence as a political figure can be attrib uted to his career seem ingly going nowhere (162, 192).3 I also read the excision of Fanon from Derridas Cogito as an intentiona l, strategic omission that foregrounds the possibility of a po litics to come. If Fanons cry represents the purity and intransigence of a futu re politics or justice, a purity and intransigence incompatible with the legitimacy of Wes tern tradition, Derrida could never a fford to jeopardize the success of 3 Powell also argues that Derridas discussion of the po litical element of deconstruction does not arrive until The Deconstruction of Actuality (1993 ). His view clearly neglects Specters of Marx (1993) or Force of Law (1987) as considerations or texts inaugurating the politics of deconstruction (191). 18


deconstruction by foregrounding the question of politics with the reference to Fanon. The origin al Cogito surfaced just months after the Algerians defeated the French and gained their independence. So, the reference to Fanon in Revue de Mtaphysique et de Morale can be viewed as a rather bold, originary, yet premature investiture. In his White Mythologies, Robert Young detected this investiture or thread long ago in Derridas writings. Youngs text represents his effort to re-translate Derridas deconstruction as philosophical and literary strategies into a colonial and postcolonial framework. This thread the location of philosophy at the heart of the system of western dominance, mobilizes poststructuralism, which sets out to defend itself against this western problematic. Young notes that posts tructuralism has generally been regarded as theoretical positions originating with theori sts associated with Algeria and its war of independence, individuals includ ing Helene Cixous, Albert Memm i, Pierre Bourdieu, Francois Lyotard, Derrida, Fanon, and Albert Camus, all of whom identify as Franco-Maghrebian. Hence, Young identifies their positions as actively conc erned with the task of undoing the ideological heritage of French colonialism and with rethinking the premises, assumptions, and protocols of its centrist, imperial culture (Subjectivity 414). Echoing Abdelkebir Khatibi and Jane Hiddleston, Young declares deconstruction a form of cultural and intellectual decolonization (Su bjectivity 421), saddled with the burden of teasing out the myth of reason from metaphysics th at rarely fails to go uncontested. If we trace his analysis back to White Mythologies we find the difficulty that subsists in decolonizing ontology and the ontological subjec t by attempting to install the ethical into the political. If ontology can be charged with making the other into the same, we see the futility in attempting to neutralize the philosophy of power responsible for guarding the c oncept of totality. On this point, Young finds Emmanuel Levinas Totality and Infinity particularly instructive in that it traces 19


ontolog ical imperialism as far back as So crates, but also as recently as Heidegger ( White Mythologies 13). While for Levinas the preponderance of History maintains the imperialism of the same, metaphysics, which precedes ontology presents us with the possibility of breaching totality through a surplus that rema ins exterior and marks the radical alterity of the other. The problem with this formulation is that it return s us to the mythology of logos and Reason, leaving us little margin of error to r ecuperate the ethical injunctions that politics and ontology expose if only momentarily and fleetingly. Like Derrida, Le vinas locates this possibility in Marxs Eleventh Thesis. The problem for Derrida and deconstruction becomes the difficulty of anticipating the spatio-temporal dimensions of the politics of a democracy to come. I argue that Derrida must resume his ope n engagement with/on Africa later, after deconstruction has established itself as somethi ng worthy of a promising event. Even then, we should not obligate Derrida to take responsibility for making manifest the historical meaning of his work; the responsibility must be someone else s, in the way that Derrida took it upon himself to correct Foucault, his mentor, on his reading of Descartes and madness. In fact, I suspect that Derrida understood that his most critical and productive readings would surface after his death, after our work of mourning. Elim inating the reference may or may not have been an easy decision for Derrida, but as a Fren ch Algerian intellectual, shatte red by French discrimination in Algeria, distancing himself from Africa indefini tely appears philosophic ally and politically pragmatic. In Sartre, Derrida, and Commit ment, Baugh explains Derridas intractable difficulties as a French Algerian intell ectual in the early 1960s on the subject of Algerian independence, similar to the difficulties the Algerian re volutionaries faced, as if they we re placed in the predicament of Hegels unhappy consciousness: wavering be tween the opposites of independence and 20


dependence, affir mation and negation, and Europe and Africa, without reaching some reconciliatory synthesis. To negate Europe, the revolutionaries must affirm. To reach a transcendental Europe, they must negate the empirical one. Derrida, as a French Algerian by language and culture and a North African Jew by birth, finds himself in a similar, very Derridean position: both inside and outside of Afri ca, neither inside nor outside of it, caught in an aporia that places him, too, in the positi on of Hegels unhappy consciousness, which affirms what it negates and negates what it affirms (Baugh 41). Baugh argues that this awkward position would make it difficult for Derrida to speak on or to African concerns as a European Western intellectual, and Baugh seems to attr ibute the omission to this awkward position. Baugh then turns to Sartres difficulty as a Western intellectual speaking against colonization. For Baugh, Sartre interprets Fanons pure and intransigent cry as that which signals that Africans, previously mere objects for Europeans, were then beginning to speak to other Africans about Europe were establ ishing an order of knowledge that V. Y. Mudimbe refers to as African gnosis Baugh writes, Sartres concern is not what Africans should do to liberate themselves from their European masters; it is what Europeans should do in the face of Africas efforts to liberate itse lf. Consequently, he does not offer judgments concerning either African goals or means, but engages in an effort of comprehension of understanding and listening (42). The dilemma, then, for both Derrida and Sartre is that if they were committed intellectuals on the side of the oppressed, the diffi culty with this commitment ther ein would lie with the question, on which side is the oppressed? Matthew C. Ally might suggest that this question would be simply one among many regarding th e problem of intellectuals and their role in activism. He writes: Perhaps a proper understanding of the role of intellectuals would i nvolve each of these tendencies [toward detachment, relative e ngagement, and revolutionary activism] as 21


mom ents in an ongoing process. Not a synthesis, but a diachresis, a broadly mutual but temporally selective interaction between th e moment of stepping back, the moment of stepping forward, and the moment of meeting. A nd the intellectual can effect all of these moments, even if not always, ev en if not all at once. (77) Ally describes both a non-contempor aneity (disjointed sense of time) and a call to intellectuals, both of which remain significant for this project. In general, I agree with Baughs reading of Western intellectualism and the difficulties of addressing African concerns without assuming Eur opean theory and moral and political values, but I am not convinced that Derrida drops the citation because of this difficulty. Baugh recontextualizes Derridas earlier invocation of the Hegelian unhappy cons ciousness by situating both Derrida and Algerian revolutionaries within its overall framework. Where Derrida uses the unhappy consciousness in Cogito to explain the relationship he has with Foucault as student and critic, Baugh uses it to greater (though not nece ssarily better) effect. In his view, not only is Derrida victimized by the position of being both inside and outsid e of Africa, but the Algerians are as well. The problem with the Algerian revolutionary example, however, is that the Algerians as a whole were never as critic ally aware of this awkward positi on, as Baugh seems to insist. In fact, Fanon emphasizes in The Wretched of the Earth ( WE ) that the Algerians lacked not only critical awareness, but also an ideology to replace colonial awareness once independence would be secured. He feared that once Algeria gain ed its independence, the colonizers would be replaced by Algerian bourgeoisi e who would develop the same mi ndset as their predecessors about the Algerian natives. This lack of ideol ogy could be attributed to the various, distinct forces in Algeria all vying to open up new outle ts and engender new aims for the violence of colonized peoples. The first group includes th e political parties and the intellectual or commercial elites who are not interested in a radical overthrowing of the system, but in offering instead a string of philosophico-political dissertations on the th emes of the rights of 22


peoples to self-determ ination, th e rights of man to freedom fr om hunger and human dignity, and the unceasing affirmation of the pr inciple: One ma n, one vote ( WE 59). The native intellectual has only his individual interests in mind and desires to assimilate to the colonial world. The second group consists of the peasantry, who are the first to discover the utili ty of violence, which will only yield to a greater violence. The colonialis t bourgeoisie, a third force, strives to create a non-violent colonial situation, wh ich signifies to the intellec tual and economic elite of the colonized country that the bourgeoi sie has the same interests as th ey and that is it is therefore urgent and indispensable to come to terms for the public good ( WE 61). There are indeed French settlers who support the Algerian move ment, but the most radical and revolutionary force, the nationalist militants, flee the towns and their demagoguery only to discover real politics and real action th at does not resemble the old politics. Fanon writes: These politics are the politics of leaders and organizers living inside history who take the lead with their brains and their muscles in the fight for freedom. These politics are national, revolutionary, and social and these new facts which the native will now come to know exist only in action. They are the essenc e of the fight which explodes the old colonial truths and reveals unexpected facets, whic h bring out new meanings and pinpoints the contradictions camouflaged by these facts. (147) Given all these various positions, it would s eem rather disingenuous to attribute an unhappy consciousness to a monolithic fiction known as Algerian insurrectio naries, for not all of the forces in Algeria would have been c ognizant of this awkward position. Fanon, however, remained well aware of the difficulty of rec onciling Western intellect ualism and Third World revolution, or rather the difficulty of separating or clearly marki ng the limits of the irreducible contamination or incoherence of reason. Rich ard Owuanibe argues that Fanon himself was a man struggling to reconcile the apparent contra diction between genuine humanism and violence (xiii). His response to this apor ia is a new humanism, that which recognizes the preponderance of reasonhe knows we cannot simply abandon, i gnore, or neglect Euro pebut attempts to 23


think beyond the m oral and political value systems of Europe. The signifier new can be misleading in a sense. Fanon does not wish to replicate or merely improve the old humanism. He wants a transformation of man a nd society in a most radical ma nner. He, however, developed its thesis so very little that, at times, he uses th e terms new humanism an d new humanity almost interchangeably. Still, the concept denotes a futu rity, and I will argue here that Fanons new humanism should be viewed as ul timately another formulation of deconstruction, justice, or a democracy to come. As Calcagno reminds us, the relation between time and politics is best expressed in the spatio-temporization of diffrance and later in Derridas notion of promise and democracy to come, structured by the undecidab ility of the double bind of possi bility and impossibility. The elimination of the citation becomes more releva nt when we consider the relation between time and politics. If Derrida must conceal Fanon, it is because the tim e is not right for politics on Africa. Time becomes more urgent and Africa, more critical in the late 1980s and early 90s, when Derrida returns to the question of Africa in Specters of Marx, which serves as a subjective intervention structured by the unfolding of even ts in 1989. When I consider the early omission, however, I suspect that Derrida is not only intentionally hiding this crucial relation between time and politics, but he is also postponing his timel y, performative, political intervention. I would now like to sketch briefly Specters of Marx as that specif ic intervention. Specters of Marx: Going Back to Africa and Looking Toward the Future In 1989, an overwhelming sense of hope and co nceit came over the Western world as it witnessed the crumbling of the Be rlin Wall, the subsequent dissol ution of the Soviet Union, and the infamous confrontation in Tiananmen Squa re. Neoconservative political scientist Francis Fukuyama added to this spirit of optimism by conf idently claiming that the end of history was near and that the future would be the global triumph of free market economies. Amidst the talk 24


of a new world order after the co llapse of the Soviet Union, seve ral thinkers, unc onvinced of an imm inent demise of Marxism, began rethinking the global transformations and developing new theoretical approaches. By Oct ober 1991, two professors at the University of California at Riverside, Bernd Magnus and Stephen Cullenber g, began envisioning with several of their colleagues what it might be like to have a conference which would not consist of yet another autopsy administered mostly by Anglophone economi sts and policy analysts who typically were and are very far from the sites of struggle and transformation ( Specters ix). Nearly two years later, their conversation led to a multinational, multidisciplin ary conference titled Whither Marxism? which brought together Marxists thinkers from China, Russia, Armenia, Poland, Romania, Mexico, Germany, France, the United States and elsewhere to discuss future directions for Marxism after its presumed death. Magnus and Cullenberg organized the conference, which was held at UC-Riverside, and it began on 22 April 1993 with the plenary address of Derrida, who lectured over the course of two evenings on the futures of Marxism, Marx, and global politics, and arguably on the futures of deconstruc tion and himself. The conference ended on 24 April 1993, and Derridas addr ess, Specters of Ma rx: the State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New Inte rnational, was published by Routledge Press a year later with additional notes. While participants at the conference were determined to rethi nk both practical and theoretical solutions to the problems that had befallen Marxism, Derrida made matters more complicated by asking them to think through two seemingly unrelated considerations. The first concerns the dedication of Derri das lecture to Chris Hani, the South African patriot and communist gunned down just twelve days before the conference by a Polish immigrant and his accomplices. This dedication would be important for two reasons: (1) Despite the conference 25


organiz ers attempts to include Marxist theorist s from all over the world, the conference failed to include even a single black African theorist on the program Christopher Wise believes this omission to be a critical error in judgment and planning, consideri ng the rich historical legacy of African theorists who have been influenced by Marxism, including figures like Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabril, Ngugi wa Thiongo, and Thomas Sankara (Saying Yes to Africa); and (2) The more obvious reason Derrida mentions Hani is to remind his audience that the historic violence of Apartheid still had not been cancelled out by that time (xv). Derrida also asked conference part icipants to consider the exis tence, so to speak, of ghosts. According to Derrida, There has never been a scholar who really, and as scholar, deals with ghosts, and he believes that what seem s almost impossible is to speak always of the specter, to speak to the specter, to speak with it, therefore especially to make or to let a spirit speak (11). Because scholars, observers, intellectuals, witnes ses, and theoreticians privilege sight, they are not in the best position to speak to the specter. But, according to Derrida, to learn to live and to think the possibility of justice we must always speak of, to, and with ghosts from the moment that no ethics, no politics, whether revolutiona ry or not, seems possible and thinkable and just that does not recognize in its principle the respec t for those others who are no longer or for those others who are not yet there presently living, whether they ar e already dead or not yet born (xix). To examine this perspectiv e, Derrida critiques Shakespeares Hamlet which serves as an underlying thematic throughout Specters of Marx One might imagine Derridas opening lines on his reflections of justice, as if in a Shakespearian monologue: T o see (Africa) or not to see (ghosts), that is the question . More important than these two considerations, however, is the context in which Derrida delivered them, an acknowledgment that has been remarkably underappreciated. Ever since the 26


publication of his lectures, m any theorists have been provoked to challenge Derridas reflections on Marx, and indeed Specters of Marx has been considered a landmark text for Derrida, as it is considered one of the first texts in which Derrid a diverts his attention to politics. Still, while some believe that his manner of engaging politic s should be commended, ot hers believe that his engagement remains insufficient. In 1999, Ve rso published the medita tions of several of Derridas peers, including Fred ric Jameson, Werner Hamacher, Antonio Negri, Warren Montag, Terry Eagleton, Pierre Macherey, Tom Lewi s and Aijaz Ahmad, in a collection titled Ghostly Demarcations Also included in the volume is Derrida s response to his critics, Marx and Sons, a response that he considers inadequate but one that stresses the importance of keeping his remarks on Marx in their historical and performative context. He writes, I may perhaps be permitted to mention here, at the very outset, even before beginning, the most troubled interrogation of Specters of Marx and the most anguish ed, bearing as it did on the legitimacy and, simultaneously, the timelin ess of a book that was initially a lecture delivered at a specific moment, a lecture which took a position in response to a significant invitation in a highly determinate context. This question was, to be sure, left suspended in a place from which the strategy of this discourse and its address were organized. (217) He claims that virtually none of the texts in Ghostly Demarcations seems to have taken context seriously or directly into account as a question, which was pr ecisely a threefold question: (1) the question of the political (of the essence, tradition a nd demarcation of the political, especially in Mar x); (2) the que stion of the philosophical as well (of philosophy qua ontology, particularly in Marx ); and therefore (3) the question of the topoi all of us believe we can recognize in common beneath th ese namesparticularly the name Marxif only to indicate disagreement about them (Marx and S ons 217). While it may indeed have been a far stretch for intellectuals at the conference to attend to all of the questions and considerations Derrida posed over two nights, I believe that we as readers of his published lectures have no excuse to gloss over something as relevant as the highly determinant context in which his 27


address first took place. In fact, W ise believes this context to be one of the most important effects of Specters of Marx, insofar as it functioned in the fi rst instance as a voiced performance at a specific place and time (Saying Yes to Africa). For Wise, too, this performative intervention reinforces Derridas solidarity with Africa. A Disciples Declaration: Motivation and Methodology For this dissertation, I am deeply motivated by Derridas Cogito, which begins with a disciples consciousness. Where Derrida mobilizes this consciousness to examine three pages of Foucaults Madness and Civilization and the specific passage in Descartes Meditation I that Foucault considers, I would like to use as my poin t of departure the omission of the reference to Fanon, an event whose origins are unknow nsometime between 1963 and 1967and which seemingly undermines the very argument that Derrida wishes to make about reason in 1963 with Cogito and deconstruction in 1967 with the publication of Speech and Phenomena Writing and Difference, and Of Grammatology : that both reason and philosophy historically repress, hide, forbid, leave in the shadows, and render abse nt what indeed is endemic to them. In this case, what Derrida represses is a manifest attention to questions of the political. This study will not attempt a thorough investigation of Derridas various political, phi losophical, and literary engagements post-1963, as Derrida has indeed re presented himself politically in various ways since then, but this study recognizes that many critics argue that Derrida makes his first overt turn toward the pol itical in 1993 with Specters of Marx, the much anticipated text in which Derrida finally discusses deconstr uctions relationship to Marxism. Therefore, this dissertation is concerned with two events: th e dropping of the Fanon reference as an originary event and Specters of Marx as a deferred event structured around an undecidable politics. As both events are indeed deconstructive, this dissertati on attempts to extend our understanding of deconstruction additionally as on es learning to live, an offspr ing of Marxism, additionally 28


African (not exclusively European as is generall y assum ed), and the search for justice. Last, I will argue that deconstruction anticipates Fanons n ew humanism, an argu ment that I hope will support the idea that Fanon and Derrida should be regarded as virtual co mpatriots, renegades, infidels, or Marranos. As this dissertation is focused ultimate ly around the question of deconstruction, the chapters reflect various engageme nts with it. In the spirit of Specters of Marx I have attempted to establish a resonance with it by (de-)constructing this dissertation as a fi ve-act play; hence, each of the five major chapters constitute acts. Fu rthermore, the ellipses that precede and succeed the chapter titles should de note performatively the undecidability of the double bind of possibility and impossibility i nherent in a future-to-come. In Chapter Two, Act I: Learning to Live I examine more fully Specters of Marx, in which Derrida expl ains deconstructions relation to Marxism through a disc ussion of the first spatio-temporal dimension of Derridean democracy-to-come, the emancipatory promise. I al so take up briefly Derr idas engagement with Francis Fukuyamas The End of History, his vision for global politics called the New International, his exegesis on Karl Marxs response to Max Stirner in The German Ideology and his performative reading of Hamlet In the third chapter, Act II: (Not) Marxism. I further distinguish between deconstruction and Marxism by examining the arguments of various Marxist critics. In this chapter, I also hi ghlight the importance of the context in which Specters of Marx is performed and draw out the details of th at text as an event by engaging Derridas response to his Marxist critic s in Marx and Sons. In Chapter Four, Act III: A frican I situate Specters of Marx and deconstruction as originarily Af rican. In this chapter, I consider Wises Saying Yes to Africa: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx Deconstructionism and Zionism: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx The Figure of Jerusa lem: Jacques Derridas 29


30 Specters of Marx, and Derrida and the Palestinian Question to examine the highly determinant context in which Derrida presents Specters of Marx, one that opens up the possibility of Derrida deepening a solidarity with Africa, but also one that eventually leads us back to Fanon, Algeria, and Cogito et histoire de la folie I also consider Geoffrey Benningtons Mosaic Fragment: if Derrida were an Egyptian . and Gayatri Spivaks Philosophy from Critique of Postcolonial Reason and I re-evaluate diffrance, deconstruction, and spectrality. In the fifth chapter, Act IV: Justice I explore the violence inherent in deconstruction by tracing three key components th at will serve as anothe r significant movement of difference in this deconstructiv e analysis of Derridas affirmation of solidarity with Africa and more manifest connection to Fanon: (1) deconstruction is justice, which is different from the law; (2) justice is linked to the performative and its force, which assumes a certain violence; and (3) the affirmation of the performative yields a numbe r of yes which opens itself to the other. In this movement, I rely significantly on Derridas Force of Law and Roberto Buonamanos The Economy of Violence: Derrida on Law and Justice. In the last chapter, Act V: New Humanism I engage Fanons new humanism as deconstruction and return to Shakespeares Hamlet to offer a more performative reading of the relation between Derrida and Fanon.


CHAP TER 2 ACT I: LEARNING TO LIVE Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx ( Specters) is often regarded as the much-anticipated response to the pressing question, What is de constructions relations hip to Marxism? Though Derrida found a convenient occasion in 1993 to confront this old question at the Whither Marxism? symposium at UC-Riverside where co mmitments to historical materialism seemed resolutely clear and un inhibited, the critical rigor and t one of his address were no less demystifying than those of his previous texts. Of Specters, Michael Sprinker writes: [I]f one comes to the book in the hope that now, at long la st, Derridas (or deconstructions, which is not quite the same thing) relationship to Marxis m will be profoundly clarified or definitively resolved, one will almost certainly be disappointed (1). Indeed, Specters is infused with characteristic Derridean reticence, which stems from an anxious concern for being misunderstood or assimilated too fast. Given the natu re of Derridas address as political exegesis, one can only imagine the extent to which his concerns for clarity might be amplified. One result of this carefully managed position is the following declaration, which serves at the opening lines to his Exordium: Some one, you or me, comes forward and says: I would like to learn to live finally (xvii). We may gather tentatively that Specters is simply about learning to live. Furthermore, we might recognize that this modest phrase I would like to learn to live finally is one that Derrida himself utters, an utterance that sugge sts deconstructions indebtedness to Marx and Marxism, not necessar ily the other way around, as several of Derridas detractors would argue. To put the phrase anothe r way: without Marx or Marxism, there perhaps would be no revolutionary potential in deconstruction or, more pointedly, deconstructions remarks on justice would appear far less urgent. 31


Still, what follow rem arkably from this strange watchword, to learn to live are various questions that return repeatedly throughout Specters concerning life, death, and that which falls in-between, or rather the place of a sententious injunction that always feigns to speak like the just (xviii). In simpler terms, the in-between is the place of ghosts. According to Derrida, whatever happens between life and death can only maintain itself with ghosts or specters. Thus, if we are to learn to live, we must learn to live with ghosts, and if we allow ourselves to live and speak with ghosts, we enable ourse lves to treat more seriously que stions of memory, inheritance, generations, responsibility, and justice. Derrida writes: It is necessary to speak of the ghost, indeed to the ghost and with it, from the moment that no ethics, no politics, whethe r revolutionary or not, seem s possible and thinkable and just that does not recognize in its principle the resp ect for those others who are no longer or for those others who are not yet there, presently living, whether they are already dead or not yet born. (xix) Clearly, we recognize the striking similarities be tween Derridas appeal, which calls for an attenuation of specters (those dead or not yet born) and history, which is presumably a disciplinary and ontological act of remembering the past in order to learn from it and avoid repeating the same mistakes The five chapters of Specters, however, establish the critical and unstable distancing between history (as ontology) and spectrality, or what he refers to as hauntology. Hauntology exceeds ontology, just as the logic of the ghost exceeds binary or dialectical logic, the logic that distinguishes or opposes effectivity or actuality (either present, empirical, livingor not) and ideality (regulating or abso lute non-presence) ( Specters 63). So, on the surface, if spectra lity can be represented initially in the difference between pronouncing a hard has in hauntologyand maintaining a silent has in ontologythen we might see why Derrida insistently modifies and recapitulates his positions on the constitutive relationships between dec onstruction and Marxism. 32


He further distinguishes between hauntol ogy and ontology by noting that hauntology also concerns a future to come, not only the past. Derrida writes, The future can only be for ghosts. And the past (37). No one can anticipate the coming or returning of a ghost, the r evenant which nullifies the possibility of the specter appearing pr esent to itself or becoming present in the form of a body. We can also never predic t a present reality in which th e specter comes, and we have no control over how long the specter may wish to remain among us. The unpredictability of spectrality has implications for the arrival of justice, and indeed De rridas description of spectrality seems to resonate with the religious figuration of the Messiah. Hence, we arrive at a hauntology that signifies a messianic ity without religion, a messianic/-ity4 without messianism, whereas ontology remains strictly tied to religion. The future of any moment is contingent upon the anticipation of the specter. Thus, if one is to ask, Where is Marxism going? or Where may Marxism one day find itself? one must think thr ough that which remains irreducible to any sort of deconstruction or what is undeconstructible it self: an emancipatory promise. One could refer to this promise as justice, which Derrida di stinguishes from law, right, human rights, or democracy (to come). A certain spirit of Marxism remains faithful or committed to the promise, a promise that may no longer fulfill itself in th e spiritual or abstract. This promise as messianic affirmation brings forth the possibili ty of producing events, new effective forms of action, practice, organization, and so forth. To break with the party form or with some form of the State or the International does not mean to give up every form of practical or effective organization. It is exactly the contrary that matters to us here ( Specters 89). And if hegemony organizes the repression and confirmation of a ha unting, which belongs to the structure of every hegemony, as Derrida suggests, then the possi bility of a haunting continues to concern 4 In the English translation of Specters, messianic and messianicity are used interchangeably. 33


capitalism While Derrida tends to regard the form of the Party or the In ternational as outdated modes of communism, he continues to hang on to a specter of Marxism that leaves open the possibility of other, more effectiv e forms of resistance. The whole of Specters operates on the assumption that justice remains possible, but its fo rm can never be anticipated; this is perhaps the most important lesson we can glean from Marx, the one specter, or several specters rather, that hover around Derridas text. Against the difficultand frequently perplexingspectral backdrop in Specters lie an engagement with Francis Fukuyamas proclamati on of the end of Marxism and of history; a recommendation for a course of political action, under the auspices of deconstructive undecidability, of course, referred to as the New International; exegeses of several of Marxs texts, including The German Ideology Communist Manifesto The Eighteenth Brumaire and Capital regarding Marxs presumed ambivalence towa rd ghosts and Max Stirne r; an analysis of the work of mourning; and intermittent relapses into discussions on memory, inheritance, generations, responsibility, and justice. Interestingly, Derrida s most spectacular feat in Specters is not simply pulling off this polyvocal, intertextual discursive play in what many see as his first attempt at an open discussion on global politics. The fact is, deconstruction has always been political, as Derrida and his supporters will argue, and Derrida ha s taken stands politically and publicly since the 1960s. No, his audacious move consists in situating this hermeneutic within a reading of Shakespeares Hamlet where Hamlet and his fathers ghost provide an occasion for imagining Marxs specters, and Hamlets supposed ly ontological cry, The time is out of joint, serves as a starting point for meditations on the te mporal and spatial dislo cations that signify the Derridean neologism hauntology. 34


The responses to th is book range from unquestioned acceptance, to skepticism, to frustration, to ire, to overwhelming contempt. Ov erall, I might identify at least three typical responses, which I consider more thoroughly in chap ter three. First, some intimate that Derridas readings of Marx are atrociously misguided and argue that his deconstruc tionist hermeneutic is simply sad sidestepping (Negri 8). Leading th is vanguard are well-respected Marxists Antonio Negri, Aijaz Ahmad, Terry Eagl eton, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Frederic Jameson,5 who seem most distressed that Derrida does not th eorize in Marxian terms, though his provocative intervention resembles very much Marxian dial ectical inquiry in the way it examines the relations between the material a nd the spectral. More forgiving but equally critical reactions to Specters encourage further deconstructive readings that do not necessarily question Derridas ambivalence to Marxs formulations on value, class, and exploitation, but ones that highlight critical gaps in Derridas wor k. If Derrida warns us that Deco nstruction has never had any sense or interest, in my view at least, except as a radicalization, which is to say also in the tradition of a certain Marxism, in a certain spirit of Marxism as a radicalization is always indebted to the very thing it radicalizes ( Specters 92), then these deconstructive readers recognize the futility in expecting Derrida to speak like a Marxist. Instead, these read ers, which include Christopher Wise, Simon Critchley, Spivak, and Jameson examine the critical fissures that I believe are most important in understanding the sc ope of Derridas text. In a se nse, they point out not what Derrida is getting wrong in Mar x, but the things that Derrida s hould be saying outright but isnt. The last type of critique is generally more optimistic than the others, arguing that Specters is indeed a useful text for refashioning law in orde r to anticipate or refl ect I hope the impossible possibility of justice. Proponents of this type of appropriation include Robert Buonamono, Adam 5 Oddly enough, Spivak and Jameson are situated twice in th is discussion of responses, as they are sympathetic to both Marxism and deconstruction. 35


Thurschwell, and Ernesto Laclau, w ho are intere sted in motivating Derridean hermeneutics to speak to more political and pract ical concerns. One question they might ask is, how can we approach the law so that it reflects a determina tion to secure something as undeconstructible as justice? For the remainder of this chapter, in my atte mpt to illustrate theoretically what is implied in the strange watchword to learn to live, I will discuss th e hermeneutics of Specters to sketch more fully the limitations of deconstruction and speculate upon the extent to which Marxism and deconstruction are related. To do this, I will focus on Derridas engagement with Francis Fukuyamas The End of History, with the New International, a nd with Karl Marxs response to Max Stirner in The German Ideology Before I begin this critical examination, though, I would like to start with a brief, tenta tive definition of deconstruction. What is Deconstruction? De-construction, a term that appeared in seve ral of Derridas texts published in the mid1960s, is a translation into French of Martin He ideggers term Destrukt ion, which suggests an operation performed in relation to the structur e of the fundamental concepts of Western metaphysics, as Martin McQuillan reminds us (1 ). Peggy Kamuf notes that the success of deconstruction can be explained in part by its reso nance with structure, which was then, in the 1960s, the reigning word of structuralism. She speculates that the entr ance of the term deconstruction into North Americas vocabulary might be attributed to Derridas text Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sc iences. His use of the term would seem to imply an inevitable and necessary ethnocentrism of any science formed under the auspices of European tradition and progress. Kamuf defines de-construction in this context as that which marks a distance (the space of a hyphen, later dr opped) from the structuring or construction of discourses, such as Levi -Strauss, that have uncritica lly taken over the legacy of Western metaphysics. If, however, it cannot be a matter of refusing this legacyno one 36


can escape from itthen the distance or di fference in question is in the manner of assuming responsibility for what cannot be a voided. Deconstruction is one name Derrida has given to this responsibility. It is not a refusal or a destructi on of the terms of the legacy, but occurs thro ugh a remarking and redeployment of these very terms, that is, the concepts of philosophy. ( Between the Blinds viii) The act of dropping the hyphen from deconstruction is rather appropriate if we accept the conclusion that any de-emphasis of legacy is impossible. The space that was once marked by the hyphen disappears, and the gulf or divide is vi olently recuperated and the mark of refusal becomes virtually indistiguishable from the legacy that engulfs it. The only sensible remainder is a responsibility that acknowledges the legacy from which the terms of its own refusal originates. Deconstruction thus admits its debt to Western thought and, at the same time, marks the limits of it. It is with this responsibility that Derrida reads Plato, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Ferdinand de Saussure, and Jean-Jacques Rousse au, among others. David Wood argues that this responsibility stems from Derrida s attempt to understand each authors intentions, about which Wood writes, the belief that Derrida has no concern with authorial intentions is itself a misreading of his typical concern with authorial in tentions against structur al constraints that both limit and subvert authorial meaning (2). Derridas detractors argue, how ever, that his readings are irresponsible and know no limits. Imagine the frustration one might experience if he or she were to encounter Derridas definition of deconstruction as articulated in his Letter to a Japanese Friend. It is not Everything of course! and it is Nothing of course! But it is precisely between the everything and the nothing that deconstruction consis ts in sketching its limitations, four of which I will consider here: First, deconstruction must always be open to the other, as it atte mpts to understand this otherness. McQuillan argues that being sensitive to otherness is extremely difficult because we ultimately reduce the other to self-same. The ope nings made possible by otherness is just about one of the most difficult things we can hope to do. Ultimately, any attempt to do so will fail, 37


because we always end up reducing the other to the self-sam e. This fact, however, should not absolve us of our responsibility of listening for the unsettling effects of the other (6). With respect to the act of reading, we must be open to the possibi lities and the otherness of the text. Any shortsightedness would be an abrogation of our responsibilities, es pecially when that shortsightedness can be avoided. Th is last point leads us to a se cond limitation: Deconstruction is more than a method of literary cr iticism or reading because there is no set of rules and because it does not follow from a program or theory. Deconstruction simply happens, even if its procedure may evolve into something that might be cons idered a method, upon reflection. In this sense, deconstruction may be considered an impossi ble method. Any semblance of structure or methodology might be attributed to a third limitation: Deconstructi on is an attempt to understand difference by examining assumptions about bi nary (Western) thought and the resultant, logocentrism, which McQuillan defines as the mode of thought which works through the erasure of the metaphorical status of privileged terms within a binary opposition in order to support a conceptual order structured around the valuing of such terms as positive (12). What deconstruction attempts to do is identify the moment of erasure of the valuation of secondary terms and the simultaneous deployment of positive terms and their privilege status. In other words, deconstruction attempts to locate the moment of difference prior to or at the point of forcible, though arbitrary, valuati on and privileged status attributi on. These forceful erasures and adjustments lead us to a fourth li mitation, that deconstructoin is viol ence. Up to this point, I have illustrated Derrida as a philosopher for whom decons truction is devoted, albeit critically and selfreflexively, to a legacy of Western metaphysics. His appreciation for philosophy and literature is unquestionable. Over the years, Derrida has tr ied to sharpen the distinctions between the concepts of philosophy, which is generally regard ed as a rigorous, intellectual, and non-violent 38


endeavor, and literature, which is associated w ith passion, em otion, and in some cases violence, in order to demonstrate that each presupposes the other, similar to the relati on between deconstruction and Marxism (hauntology and ontology) If the reader would permit here a brief reading of Derridas reception as a philosopher of deconstruction, I would point out that what is often neglected is the passionate, vi olent aspect of Derridas work, an aspect that Derrida himself has mentioned on several occasions.6 In The Economy of Violence, Roberto Buonamano sums up this aspect rather nicely: the violence involved in discours e generally, and specifically in every practice of metaphysics, stages a war in wh ich the task of deconstr uction is to counteract the aggression of speech as presence (175). Buon amano refers to a certain silence, or in Derridas words, a certain beyond speech, as th e peace that one might envision after violence. But this silence, a finite silence, according to Derrida, is also the medium of violence, [and] language can only indefinitely tend toward just ice by acknowledging and practicing the violence within it. Violence against violence (Violence a nd Metaphysics 117). It should be clear from these descriptions that deconstruction is violence combating the violence of discourse. Buonamano has called deconstruction the violence of otherness, in the name of justice, and has argued that Derrida maintains a relation between justice and revolt, though this relation should not be reduced to a simple dominant theory-pra xis paradigm. Though I take up the questions of justice and deconstruction in chapter five, I want to stress here that Derrida recognized the necessity and inevitability of violence. Having established a preliminary understandi ng of deconstruction, I would now like to discuss Specters 6 See Force of Law specifically. 39


Fukuyama, Kojve, Hegel, and the Right At the outset of Specters, Derrida speaks of the consid erable (and perhaps undue) am ount of media coverage receiv ed by Francis Fukuyamas The End of History and the Last Man and its eschatological themes of the end of history, the end of Marxism, the end of philosophy, and the end of man as having emerged long before Fukuyama discovered them in the 1980s. These themes emerged in the 1950s, during which various historical entanglements erupted: the totalitarian terror in the Easter n countries, the socio-economic disasters of Soviet bureaucracy, the Stalinism of the past and the neo-Stalinism in progress. In the midst of these entanglements, deconstruction emerged, as Derrida would have it. He uses Fukuyamas work as an occasion to critique not only the pronouncemen t of those themes of an end, but also the metaphysical implications of those pronouncements. He writes, As for those who abandon themselves to that discourse with the jubilation of youthful enthusiasm, they look lik e latecomers, a little as if it were possible to take still the last train after the last trainand yet be late to an end of history (15). Derrida sees Fukuyama as someone who claims to be the bearer of a new gospel, the noisiest, the most mediatized [ mdiatized ], the most successful one on the subject of the death of Marxism as the end of history (56). On Fukuyama s text, Derrida admits that it is not as bad or as nave as one might think, despite its claim to lead the greater part of humanity toward liberal democracy and its reading of Alexa ndre Kojve and Marx. In the text, Fukuyama reduces the terrors, oppressions, horrors, exterminations, genocides, massacres, and other cataclysms that have erupted the last half of the 20th century to empirical realities, whereas liberal democracy takes the form of an ideal orientation, a telos of progress. I gather that Derridas problem with Fukuyamas work stems primarily from the fact that his distinctions between the empirical and the ideal exist as absolute orientations rather th an as useful binaries from which one might conduct productive analyses Derrida is unable to make sense of what 40


Fukuya ma refers to as good news, though we learn that it takes the form of an alliance between liberal democracy, which remains the only coherent political aspiration that spans different regions and cultures around the globe (Fukuyama xiii), and the free market. Derrida connects the evangelist ic figure of the good news of liberal democracy with the figure of Palestine or the Promised Land, where there are several forces mobilized at once, waging war against one another. These forces or rather three messianic eschatologies attempt to resolve conditions or questions with respect to old concepts of State and nation-State, of international law, of tele-techno-medio-economic and scientifico-military forces, in other words, the most archaic and the most modern spectral forces (58). He speculates that the war of messianic eschatologies can be summed up in the e xpression the appropriation of Jerusalem. In Derridas analysis, the three re ligions or eschatologies form several possibilities of holy alliances, but only one has proven itself to be th e necessary but also insufficient source for the transformation of Marxism: Islam, more specifica lly Middle-Eastern violen ce, which is generally regarded as the poorest choice in the field of eschatol ogical candidates vying to be delivered to the Promised Land. Derrida then notes Fukuyamas strategic mobilization of the figure of the Promised Land to discredit modern natural scien ce, which seems indispensable for the stability of the economic free market but alone not suffi cient for liberal democracy (Fukuyama xv). This move allows Fukuyama to distance himself from Judaism and Islam and privilege a HegelioChristian vision as the model of the liberal State. Invoking Hegels The Philosophy of Right Fukuyama sets up the end of history as a Chris tian eschatology: The French Revolution would have been the event that took the Christian vi sion of a free and equal society, and implanted it here on earth (Fukuyama 199). This Christian vision resonates with the discourse of the Pope on the European community, which is envisioned as a Holy Alliance. 41


Derrida argues that Fukuyam as book functi ons more specifically as a simplified and highly Christianized outline of the master-slave dialectic, a dialectic of desire and of consciousness. This dialectic enables Fukuyama to shuttle uncritically and problematically between ideality of politico-economic liberalism and a post-Marxist/post-historical reality, both of which emerge opportunely in the form of good news. Fukuyamas response to the atrocious historical realities always seems to point toward an ideal liberal democracy. When one notes the failure of liberal democracies, Fukuyama responds by pointing out that this ideal is inaccessible and cannot be measured against a ny historical event or empirical failure. The key term here is event, as Fukuyama seems to conflate two type s of events, the ideal and the real. Fukuyamas invocation of the event also conceals his original connection with Marx. In The End of History, he notes that both Hegel and Marx posit an end of history, but for Hegel the end is a liberal state, and for Marx, it is a comm unist society. Derrida insists th at this convenient selection between the ideal and reality, e ssentially hiding from the failures of society, effaces or conceals the potential of the spirit of Marxist critique, which he di stinguishes from Marxism as ontology, philosophy, metaphysics, and dialectical and histor ical materialism. Unlike Fukuyamas gospel, deconstruction does not disavow its Marxist legacy; it sharpens the distinction between that legacy and itself by no longer rema ining a critique where the ques tions it poses to any critique and even to any question have never been in a position either to identify with or especially to oppose symmetrically something like Marxism, th e Marxist ontology, or the Marxist critique ( Specters 68). Deconstruction is a thinking of the even t that exceeds binary or dialectical logic, the logic that opposes the empirical and the ideal or the very logic that presupposes Fukuyamas good news argument. The possibility of redempti on in his position lies in his engagement with two particular moments of Kojves postscript on post-history and post-historical animals after 42


his trip to Japan in 1959. Upon re turning from this visit as an important public official of the European Community, Kojve concludes that post-h istorical Japan is set on a path diametrically opposed to the American path, primarily as a resu lt of the snobbism of formal Japanese society, Derrida notes. This view, however, puts into ques tion Kojves earlier view on American society as representative of the Hegelian-Marxist end of History, which would put him in a rather curious position to extend his critique of Japan fu rther to suggest that Japan is on a more formal, extreme path to the final end of history. Japa nese post-historicity succeeds in saving the posthistorical man from a return to animality precisely because of the countrys snobbish attitude. According to Derrida, these conclusions not only silence Kojve on his earl ier analysis of mans return to animality, which would be the result of the final stage of communism in postwar United States, but they also indicate a certain arrogance that one mi ght find in Fukuyamas various proclamations regarding the unive rsalization of Western liberal democracy as an endpoint of human government or the victory of capitalism as a means of resolving the class problem.7 Derrida seizes an occasion to identify Kojve as someone who, no matter how he may have erred in his predictions on the end of history for America and Japan, correctly points to an essential lack of temporal specif icity of any event, an indetermination that remains the ultimate mark of the future (73). Derrida is referring sp ecifically to the opening of a postscript where Kojve argues that, for post-historical man, it is necessary that there be a future (qtd. in Specters 73). In the James H. Nichols, Jr. translation of Kojves Introduction to the Reading of Hegel we discover that post-histor ical Man must continue to detach form from content, doing so no longer in order ac tively to transform the latte r, but so that he may oppose himself as a pure form to himself and to others taken as content of any sort ( 162). For Kojve, the act 7 Derrida is drawing here from Michel Suryas La puissance, les riches et la charit, in Lignes 18, 1993, 21 and 29. 43


of opposing subject to ob ject seems not only in keeping with Hegels definition of human, but creates the possibility of a posthistory. The totality of history can only be understood as the end of the History, and a particular historical Worl d can be understood only after its end or death in History (163). The thought of a post-historical necessitates both an end and a future, both of which point toward the opening of an event and th e inevitability of the promise that needs to be fulfilled in the future moment, indicating a historicity as a future to come. This figuration is what Derrida refers precisely as the messianic wi thout messianism, a figure that deconstruction perceives as an emancipatory promise having nothing to do with the ont o-theological or the teleo-eschatological. The undecidability of th e promise is what makes deconstruction nonMarxist no more than it has been Marxist, remaining faithful to a spirit of Marxism, which has more than one spirit, all of them heterogeneous The messianic without messianism enables the possibility of justice. Based on Derridas conclusion that Fukuyama crudely manipulates Kojve, one can only conclude that Derr ida finds nothing salvageable or redemptive about Fukuyamas text, a text that boldly clai ms an absence of coherent theoretical alternatives to liberal democracy (70) This absence leads Fukuyama to ask Kants old question anew: Is there such a thing as a Universal History of mankind, taken from a point of view far more cosmopolitan than was possible in Kants day? Deconstruction and the New International, or Beyond Cosmopolitanism and Liberal Democracy Derridas New International refers to a profound transfor mation, projected over a long term, of international law, of its concepts, and its field of in tervention, a field that should extend and diversify its field to include, if at least it is to be consistent with the idea of democracy and of human rights it proclaims, the worldwide economic and social field, beyond the sovereignty of States and of the phantom-State s . (84). From this definition, we gather 44


that the New Intern ational, as a figure of law, is democratic, attempts to secure human rights for all, and extends beyond the scope of nationalism. De rrida seems to argue that such a form of law today has never been more necessary as there has never in the hist ory of humanity been so much violence, inequality, exclusion, exploitation, famine and other injustices that have affected so many men, women, and children. For Derrida, the answer to thes e issues cannot be liberal democracy, like the Fukuyama-type, which I di scussed above, for it depends too much on religion. The problems of the world, according to Derrida, might be best dealt with by the reflections of an international law, which woul d not only account for th e crimes of mankind, but also serve as an untimely, nameless link of hope. This law mobilizes effectively at least one of the spirits of Marx or Marxism as it calls to the friendship of an alliance without institution among those who, even if they no longer believe or never believed in the socialist-Marxis t International, in the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the messiano-eschatologi cal role of the universal union of the proletarians of all lands, continue to be inspired by at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism (86) In other words, this spirit of Marx(ism) that Derrida calls a New International is one that can only be derived from decons tructive thinking, which is only made possible by Marxism itself and by the non-methodological deconstruction of Marxist ontology. Simon Critchley concurs that the New International must be in the spirit of the Marxist idea of critique (critique of ideology and of capital) and the quasi-atheist noti on of messianic affirmation or promise which proceeds in the name of justice and emancipa tion. Furthermore, such critical and messianic promises must be made with the intention of being kept, and thus the promise of the New International must in its turn give rise to new forms of organization and activism (On Derridas Specters of Marx 23). The New International is rooted in the tent h plague of the so-called new world order, international law and its institutions, which suffers from at least two limits. The first has to do 45


with the norm s, charters, and missions of intern ational law, all of which cannot be dissociated from certain European philosophical concepts, a nd notably from a concept of State or national sovereignty whose genealogical closure is more and more evident, not only in a theoreticojuridical or speculative fashion, but concretely, practically, and practica lly quotidian (83). The other limit is inextricably linked to the first, wh ich says that international law remains dominated primarily by particular nation-st ates typically responsible for th e drafting of charters, norms, and missions in the image of European philosophical concepts. The New International attempts to correct, modify, or encourage the reconsideration of international law, which seems to be linked to the other nine plagues of the new world or der: (1) unemployment; (2) the exclusion of homeless citizens from democratic participa tion and the expulsion of exiles, stateless individuals, and immigrants from national territories; (3 ) the economic wars among the countries of the European community themselves, between them and the Eastern European countries, between Europe and the United States and between Europe, the United States, and Japan; (4) the inability to mast er the contradictions in the co ncept, norms, and reality of the free market;8 (5) the aggravation of the foreign debt and other connected mechanisms; (6) the arms industry and trade and their collusion in th e normal regulation of th e scientific research, economy, and socialization of labor in Western democracies; (7) the spread of nuclear weapons; 8) inter-ethnic wars; and 9) mafia a nd drug cartels. Cosmopolitanism can be said to treat thes e problems of the new world order quite seriously and to attempt to think through these global transf ormations, much like the New International does. In her essay, Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism, Martha Nussbaum promotes 8 Indeed, the sex trade and human trafficking are absent from the above list, as are other plagues, but we might consider these problematic episodes in our era to be linked indissolubly with number four, the contradictions in the reality of the free market. 46


a class ical universal of man as a way to engage a cosmopolitan project of educating people toward the common goal of a worldwide comm unity of human beings. For the American citizen concerned with sacrific ing his or her American-ness fo r the betterment of the global society, Nussbaum argues that our allegiance to Amer ica would be better served if we were to subscribe to the very old ideal of the cosmopolita n. Her argument relies heavily on a logic that recognizes the arbitrary nature by which we come in to being in the world. Because we arbitrarily become citizens of a variety of nations, this fact alone should compel us to think of ourselves as naturally outside of national boundaries. She derives her position first from Diogenes, the Cynic, who replied, I am a citizen of the world, a nd second from the Stoics, who followed Diogenes lead. To be a citizen of the world, one need not relinquish ones local identifications. The model she borrows from the Stoics to describe our orient ation as world citizens is a series of concentric circles: the first one encircle s the self, the second includes th e immediate family, then the extended family, followed by neighbors, fellow city-dwellers, and fellow countrymen, in that order. She adds that we can easily add to this list groupings based on ethn ic, linguistic, historical, professional, gender, or sexual identities. Outside of all the circles is the largest one: the world. If we come to accept our role in all of these various communities, we can, through cosmopolitan education, learn more about ourselves. In turn, we might solve problems more efficiently through international cooperation, recognize moral obligations to the rest of the world that are real and that otherwise would go unrecognized, and make consistent and coherent arguments based on distinctions we are prepared to defend. Though in theory these s uggestions are not without merit, pragmatically they seem largely unenforceable and not applicable, which is why she later admits that becoming a citizen of the world is often a lonely business (13). 47


Criticism s of Nussbaum extend beyond practical concerns. Consider the argument that, according to the Stoic and Kantian ideal, there is only room enough for one cosmopolitanism, one world citizenship, for there is only one worldwide community of human beings (Robbins 148). The notion of one centralized European framework for organizing citizens of the world acts as merely a reassertion of Western philosophical universalism without recourse to other theories or philosophies. Bruce Robbins c oncedes that he eventually learned to accept Nussbaums argument, however, for two reasons: First, generally invi sible or unrecognized citizens in the world sometimes encounter or ex perience fortunate opportun ities where they may emerge from their convenient i nvisibility but still may not be factored into calculations of global well-being. Second, Robbins himself feels alienated by some of Nussbaums critics who offer forms of American nationalism that may simply be hypocritical versions of idealist universalisms, such as a borderless-world globalism, both capitalist and electronic. There are, however, critics of Nussbaum w ho are much more careful not to conflate American nationalism with globalization. I mmanuel Wallerstein, for example, believes Nussbaum has separated cosmopolitanism and patrio tism, claiming that being disinterested and global on one hand and defending ones narrow interests on the other are not opposites but positions combined in complicated ways (124). He also charges that we need to learn that we occupy particular niches in an unequal world, which I believe Nussbaum does when she argues that we need to take Kantian morality seriously and educate our children to be troubled by the fact that the high living standard that we enjoy is one that very likely cannot be universalized, at least given the present costs of pollution controls and the present economic situation of developing nations, without ecological disast er (13). Another of Nussbaums convincing detractors is Kwame Anthony Appiah, who argue s that we would be wrong to conflate 48


cosm opolitanism and humanism. Cosmopolitanism is not just the feeling that everybody matters, he writes (25). The distinction that he makes between the two can be summed up as follows: cosmopolitanism celebrates difference, while humanism attempts to collapse those differences in its desire for global homogeneity. Appiahs critique resonates slightly with Judith Butlers, whose critique asks if it is possible to have a more universal understand ing of the universal. The problem is that the meaning of universal proves to be culturally va riable, and the specific cultural articulations of the universal work against its claim to a transcu ltural status (Universality in Culture 45). For Butler, it is possible that Nussbaum is simply articulating an Anglo-cosmo-ethico-political universal, especially if we consider Nussbaums first narcissistic impulse of cosmopolitan education: to learn about ourselves. Pheng Cheah argues that some of the new cosmopolitanisms articulated by various theorists have a strategic alliance with the nation-state. Drawing from Anthony Smith, Cheah suggests that transnational mobility and interconnectedness do not n ecessarily lead to meaningful cosmopolitanisms. In fact, arguing against Nussbaums point, Anthony Smith argues that global loyalty is anthropologically impossible. He writes: A timeless global culture answers to no living needs and conjures no memories. If memory is central to identity, we can discern no global identity-inthe-making, nor aspirations for one, nor any collective amnesia to replace ex isting deep cultures with a cosmopolitan flat culture. The latter remains a dream confin ed to some intellectua ls. It strikes no chord among the vast masses of peoples divided into their habitual communitie s of class, gender, region, religion and culture. Images, identities cultures, all express the plurality and particularism of histories and their remoteness from any vision of a cosmopolitan global order. (24) 49


Sm ith is correct to argue that there is no global memory9 of which to speak, but this fact is perhaps one of the reasons why Nussbaum suggest s education, perhaps as a means of working around a lack of any perceived or shared global commonality pres erved through memory. Indeed, without global support, Nu ssbaums vision may simply be a dream confined to some intellectuals. And if we take Lord Actons remarks as a de facto predicate of political engagementthe scheme of a philosopher can command the practical allegiance of fanatics only, not of nations (17)we might graciously accept the fate of a failed cosmopolitanism. For the sake of time, however, I will concede Smiths point here. The absence of global memory and identity is what seems to distinguish idealistic or empirically driven versions of cosmopolitanism from the New International, which aspires to belong only to anonymity, from which it will proceed in a spirit of Marxism. One inherits a responsibility to the New International, a responsibility that can be described as non-religious, non-mythological, and non-national. The form that the New Intern ational takes is a promise, whether it be satisfied or not, but we must unde rstand that there is necessarily some promise and therefore some historicity as future to co me. It is what we are nicknaming the messianic without messianism ( Specters 75). This singular event remains uneffaceable except by a denegation and in the course of a work of mourning that can only displace, without effacing, the effect of a trauma (91). If what we have today is a religious messianism in the form of a triple eschatology and an aggressive campaign for stat e-sanctioned liberal democracy throughout the world, Derrida is calling for or awaiting rather a messianism without religion, an emanicipatory promise that remains irreducible to any deconstr uction. In short, it is an idea of justice, 9 Is it possible that there truly exists a global memory, but it has yet to be written, or if it has been written, it has not been widely accepted? I am th inking about Jared Diamonds Guns, Germs, and Steel as a starting point for thinking the possibility of a collective global memory. Diamonds book attempts to look objectively at the evolution of civilizations and proposes various theories as to why some civilizations possessed and/or developed arms, and why some societies remained in the hunter-gatherer stage. 50


irreducible to law or hum an right s. Derrida appears to have no pr oblem with the promises of the Enlightenment or the ideals of democracy; the problem stems from the inability of these ideals and promises to be put to work. He writes, I wi ll dare to say in a deconstructive fashion, in the name of a new Enlightenment for the century to come. And without re nouncing an ideal of democracy and emancipation, but rather by trying to think it and to put it to work otherwise (90). Thinking through a new Enlightenment without renouncing the ideal of democracy exemplifies precisely an undecida ble politics both structured by an undecidability of the double bind of possibility and impo ssibility, and contingent upon the spatio-temporization of diffrance and the to come of the promise. If the Enli ghtenment and democracy have provided us the prodigious theses by which we migh t live justly, they have also gi ven us unfortunately the means by which we can discriminate against the Other on the basis of difference and then apply certain rules discriminately against the Other. This dou ble bind of possibility an d impossibility, a pure, indiscriminate, deconstructive a pplication of universal values and morals, lies not only at the heart of the deconstruction (such as the New In ternational), but also anticipates Fanons new humanism, a connection that I will address in chapter six. The New International exceeds cosmopolitanism in another fashion. Let us consider Derridas essay On Cosmopolitanism, in which he formulates a cosmopolitics of international law that enables cosmopolitanism as a city of refuge. This new concept is neither essentially endowed with classical concepts of the city, nor is the old subject of the city given new concepts. Instead, Derrida dreams of another concep t, of another set of rights for the city, of another politics of the city, which emphasizes ho spitality offered to the political asylum seeker or immigrant, something that Derrida feels Eu ropean nations have abandoned. Drawing from Kants definition of cosmopolitanismrelating to the conditions of universal hospitality 51


Derrida reco gnizes two limits. The first limitati on is that hospitality includes the right to visitation only, excluding the right of residence. Political asyl um seekers are given temporary visitation rights, but provisions for more permanent residencies become the sole responsibility of the asylum seekers. Since state sovereignty defi nes hospitality, especially as a question of the right of residence, the conclusion we might draw from this second limitationhospitality defined by state sovereigntyis that European states offer refuge to the same degree that they solicit vacationers. Political asyl um seekers can do no more than simply pass through national borders and enjoy their temporary stays. Derrida envisions the city of refuge as overcoming these limitations by providing a correctiv e to crime, violence, and persecution, and giving rise to a place for reflection on the questions of hospitality and asylum and a place for a new, more just order of law and democracy-to-come. Derrida con tinues, Being on the thre shold of these cities, of these new cities that woul d be something other than new cities, a certain idea of cosmopolitanism, an other, has not yet arrived, perhaps (23). We see in this formulation that Derrida doe s not altogether abandon the Kantian notion of cosmopolitanism. His reflections consider intern ational law, but also a generous sense of openness toward the Other. He describes e ssentially a cosmopolitanism beyond, a beyondcosmopolitanism, something between justice and traditional forms of cosmopolitanism and democracy. We might then view the New Intern ational then as an extension of Derridas conceptualization of the new city to encompass a more global perspective. This law of the New International assumes a certain hospitality, but it actively intervenes in what remains largely and unsatisfactorily addressed in traditional law. This law of the New International tends toward, in a word, justice. 52


Memory, R esponsibility, and Inheritance We ended the previous section on the New International and cosmopolitanism with memory and responsibility, two concepts among several that form the subtext of Specters. In the Exordium, Derrida mentions that living a nd being-with specters is generally a politics of memory, of inheritance, and of generations (xix). With respec t to memory, inheritance, and generations, we must assume some sort of responsibility to them all. And when Derrida says that he will speak about ghosts, inheritance, and ge nerations, those who are no longer or not yet presently living, it is always in the name of jus tice. Justice is continge nt upon a certain respect for others, alive or no longer present, regardle ss of race, nationality, sex, gender, or class. Clearly, this characterization alone is not necessar ily radical, original, or insightful. Many of us would assume that any formulation of justice attemp ts to calibrate its scales in terms of identity so that each individual is guaranteed the right to be treated with th e dignity and respect that he or she deserves as a person endowed with human rights; all person s should be treated humanely. In general, we might identify two types of formula tions regarding justice: in the abstract sense, where one conceives of an ideal construction that encompa sses both moral and political obligations such as cosmopolitanism,10 or in a concrete sense, where one finds oneself committed to responding globally to injustices. Circuit Judge Peter Murphy describes the difficulty of trying international criminal cases where almost all evidence, including hearsay, is permissible, and the language(s) and civil and co mmon law traditions of the participants of the trial differ considerably.11 Both versions consider precedent, but one significant difference is that while one version seems to visualiz e an exemplar of justice, the other seems to view justice more 10 For a sufficient discussion of cosmopolitanism as contingent upon both the feasibility of a popular sovereignty (moral and political obligations) and stability of the body politic through civic education, see Lea L. Ypis Statist Cosmpolitanism. 11 See Excluding Justice or Facilitating Justice? The International Journal of Evidence and Proof 53


pragm atically, if not more urgent ly. Derridas break with these fo rmulations begins precisely at the concession that justice ultimately emerges at the disjuncture among precedent, the present, and a time to come, what he refers to as a non-contemporaneity with itself of the living present the notion that time is out of joint. Justice is then beyond therefore the living present in general (xx). One figure can account for this beyond-ness or between-ness, that which is between the past and the present and between the present and the future: the ghost, which no longer belongs to real time, but rather to a spect ral moment, where it enters, exits, and re-enters freely, without warning. Our responsibility to th is sense of time, which is not really time proper but something rather incalculable, begins at bi rth. And if we want to carry Derri das analysis a bit further, we might say that the responsibility begins at conc eption, in the act itself. The act implicates two generations, at least, in this responsibilityof course, we coul d go back further to previous acts, invoking several ghosts along the wayand signifies the inheritance, what one inherits in the way of responsibility from the other. Throughout th is succession of acts, One never inherits without coming to terms with [ sexpliquer avec ] some specter, and therefore with more than one specter, according to Derrida (21). For him, this is the originary wrong from which Hamlet suffers, the bottomless wound experienced at birth, is that time is out of joint, which relegates one to the realm of law or right. Derrida refers to this wrong as an irreparable tragedy, which marks history as law rather than justice. In De rridas view, the primary manner in which we have historically dealt with this responsibility has been to turn to law and right to deal justice, where we punish with vengeance in the form of incar ceration, retaliation (an ey e for an eye), or the ultimate sacrifice, death. Derrida argues that ju stice is beyond vengeance, law, and right, and as 54


such, we can only await the com ing of it. The futu re holds the promise of the coming of justice, even if it is something that we can prescribe, as long as it bears no resemblance to right or law. When Derrida presents Specters to the reader, he assumes the responsibilities he has inherited from Marx and Marxism. When one takes up these or similar responsibilities, one promises or takes an oath, committing oneself in a performative fashionas well as in a more or less secret fashion, and thus more or less pub lic, there where this fr ontier between the public and the private is constantly be ing displaced, remaining less assured than ever, as the limit that would permit one to identify the political (50, my italics). Inheri tance, then, is a performative gesture, as well as a political act or event; it is always a task and never a given, according to Derrida. Via Specters, for the first timeand yet again, as th e question of the event is a question of the ghost, which assumes both a repetition and a first time (10)Derrida opens himself to address us on the connections between Marxis m and deconstruction, but also to profess a profound respect for Chris Hani and his manner of politics, which included student protests activities as a student; military training in the Soviet Union; campaigns in the Rodesian Bush War; and appointments as head of both Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), and later the South African Comm unist Party (SACP). Derridas dedication of Specters to Hani emphasizes a certain ambivalence toward organizational Marxism when he writes, This popular hero of the resistance agai nst Apartheid became dangerous and suddenly intolerable, it seems, at the moment in which, having decided to devote himself once again to a minority Communist Party riddled with contradictions, he gave up important responsibilities in the ANC and perhaps any offi cial political or even governmental role he might one day have held in a country freed of Apartheid. (xvi) The performative gesture of i nvoking Hani at the outset of Specters sets up the problematic that is at the heart of Derridas specific conjur ation of Marx. If Derrida feels ambivalent toward Marx, it is not necessarily because he finds Marxian dialectics outmoded or useless. His relation 55


to Marxism has much to do with the various perceived permutations that it has experienced over the years, especially as a result of new technologies. As Derrida would have it, recognizing Marx and Marxism over the past century becomes diffi cult as technologies proliferate, but Marx himself foresaw these changes. (Metamorphosis is the word Marx uses.) Derrida speculates that the worldview about Marxis ts is no longer one of fear,12 but people are s till afraid of certain non-Marxists who have not renounced Marxs inheritance, crypto-M arxists, pseudoo para-Marxists who would be standing by to cha nge the guard, but behind features or quota marks that the anxious experts of anti-communi sm are not trained to unmask (50). If invoking Hani serves as Derridas first critical move in Specters to distinguish between self-described Marxists and those who embody Marx s spirit(s), his second move leads us back to Marxs own words of the Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach: Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. Marx here calls for a certain responsibility, one that runs counter to Lord Act ons remarks about the trained philo sopher and his or her fanatical followers. This call would illustrate Marxs positi on as a social critic, but nothing would provide a more stark contrast between Marx and his co ntemporaries on the role of human nature and activism than his response to Max Stirner. In Specters, Derrida attempts to examine the nuanced distinctions between Marx and Stirner and ultimately encounters an irresolvable double bind with respect to their fear of ghosts. r tion Dipesh Chakrabarty recognizes a similar inher itance from and through which he writes. He explains, Postcolonial scholarship is co mmitted, almost by definition, to engaging the 12 As I write this, I am reminded of a story I heard a few years ago about a Marxist presenting at a conference whose cellular phone rang during her presentation. I wondered who could have been calling at that hour and about what. Revolution? Indeed, it isnt extraordinar y for cellular phones to ring during presentations, which is why I was rather struck by the degree to which this commonplace occurrence seemed to pervade the seri ousness of this supposedly radical environment. I recognize that the same could be said deconstruction which, interesti ngly enough, recently made its way into the game show Jeopardy as a question. 56


universalssuch as the abstract figure of the human or that of Reasonthat were forged in eighteenth-century Europe and th at underlie the hum an sciences (5). The difficult task that Chakrabarty, who acknowledges that Fanon also st ruggled with this same inheritance, must undertake is exploring how Eur opean thought, indispensable and inadequate as it may be, remains a question of viewing postcolonial scholarship to be viewed as a problem of translation. In this formulation, Marx and Heidegeger provid e a way for us to look at history through capital, and human belonging and historical difference, re spectively. What is particularly compelling about Chakrabartys work with respect to Derrid as is not the resonances between their focus on Marx and Heidegger, the acknowledgement that translation remains a problematic, or the insistence that they write from within a certain in heritance; it is that Ch akrabarty feels the need to bring into the network of power and humans the immanence of gods and spirits. He writes, One empirically knows of no society in which humans have existed without gods and spirits accompanying them. I take gods and spirits to be existentially coeval with the human, and think from the assumption that the question of being human involves the question of being with gods and spirits (16). For this reason, he does not reproduce any sociol ogy of religion in his analysis. In some sense, it reminds one of the messianism without messianicity about which Derrida speaks. Max, Marx, and Ghosts Born Johann Kaspar Schmidt in 1806, German philosopher Max Stirner13 is highly regarded as a major influence on nihilism, existentialism, and individualist anarchism. His main work, Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (1844), translated in English as The Ego and Its Own and more literally as The Individual and his Property is a polemic against th e concrete universality 13 Stirner is the nom de plume he adopted from a schoolyard nickname he had acquired as a child because of his high brow [ Stirn ]. 57


of Hegelianism the possible culmination of the Hegelian conception of absolute spirit, and a celebration of his antithetical radical egoism. His attack, sparing relatively few in the circle of Young Hegelians, takes particular a im at Ludwig Feuerbachs universal altruism in an attempt to transcend the magic circle that is Christ ianitys grip on Hegelia n theologico-philosophy (Stirner and Feuerbach 458). Such abstract concerns may lead one to think twice about Arnold Ruges comment that Stirner had produced the most readable book of philosophy in Germany at that time, or Engels depiction of him as the most talented, independent, and diligent of the Free Ones (The Revival of Max Stirner 323). Sti ll, despite these char acterizations, Lawrence Stepelevich has suggested that The Ego and Its Own ( EO ) has produced little consensus am ong its interpreters. The variety of in terpretations might be attributed to the diverse, interdisciplinary backgrounds of Stirners readers, those few historians and political scientists who have cared to pay any attention to Stirner at all. According to Stepelevich, with the exception of Marx and Engels, no philosophers with experience in Hegel s theories have taken Stirner seriously as a philosopher (Max Stirner as He gelian 599). In truth, the book received only critical success when it was first published, overshadowed no doubt by the events of 1848, and it would later experience a brief revival in the early twentieth century with the help of Stirners biographer John Henry McKay. In EO Stirner argues that religious modes of thought (fixed ideas) and the oppressive socia l institutions of the state, which he believed to be illegitimate, dominate the modern world. In this world, our obligation to obey the law conf licts with our individual self-mastery and that when this conflict arises, we should resist the requirements of law. The individual who asserts her self-mastery and autonomy epitomizes what Stirner regards as egoi sm. While individuals are not expected to overthrow the state, Stirner th inks that the state will eventually collapse as a 58


result of the cum ulative effect of a growing egoistic disrespect for law. Though Stirners structure, tone, and conclusions about the self and the world di ffer remarkably from Hegels, whose lectures he attended at the university in Berlin, Stepelevich has argued that Hegel was a significant influence on Stirners thinking. Stirner, like Hegel, saw himself as the heir of a spiritual line that could be traced to the or igins of conscious history. Hegel accepted this patrimony, while Stirner rejected it (Revival of Max Stirner 327). Stirner, however, did see himself as the last of the Hegelians, chiefly because he completes Hege ls dialectical project by continuing it (Hegel and Stirner). Having been well acquainted with and developed an appreciation for the whole of Hegels major wr itings, Stirner would be in a rather fortunate position to criticize the Hegelian forms of Objec tive Spirit and produce the logical consequence of Hegelianism. While the historical import of EO is not easy to determine, it is claimed to have had a divisive im pact on his young Hegelian contemporar ies, especially Feuerbach, who was a rather productive writer until 1845. Stepel evich has argued that Feuerbach s move from humanism to materialism can be attributed to Stirners negative criticisms of his latent idealism, an argument contrary to Engels claim that Marxs The Holy Family (1844) can take responsibility for Feuerbachs turn. According to Stepelevich, bot h Simon Rawidowicz and Friedrich Jodl also contend that Stirner pushed Feuerbachs thought more fully toward naturalism. Considered by Engels as the prophet of contemporary anarchis m, Stirner is known to have influenced the tradition of individua list anarchism. Last and most important here, Stirner is regarded as having played a significant role in the intellectual develo pment of Karl Marx (Leopold). Between 1845 and 1846, Marx collaborated with Friedrich Engels on The German Ideology an ardent attack on their philosophical contemporarie s. T hough Marx and Engels devot e more than three hundred 59


pages to Stirner, contributing si gnificantly to his ri dicule and subsequent m arginalization among both popular and academic discourses, not many ha ve sought to analyze the influence Stirner may have had on both men, especially Marx. For Stepelevich and others such as David Leopold, Stirners book appears to have been decisive in motivating Marxs break with the work of Feuerbach, whose influence on many of Marxs ear lier writings is read ily apparent, and in forcing Marx to reconsider the role that concepts of human nature should play in social criticism (Leopold). For them, S tirner is regarded as the motiv ating force behind Marxs break with idealism and move toward materialism, just as Stirner had done with Feuerbachs thought. Derrida believes the relation between Marx and Stirner to be a bit more complicated, disturbed primarily by what he perceives as th eir ambivalence toward ghosts. His reading of Marxs The German Ideology not only lays the groundwork to di scuss this ambivalence, but it also serves as an occasion to speak about the thing that distinguishes the specter or revenant from spirit ,14 a distinction necessary for understanding the role of spectrality in justice or that which is to come. Derrida describes this thing as doubtless a supernatural and paradoxical ph enomenality, the furtive and ungraspable visibility of the invisible, or an invisibility of a visible X, that non-sensuous sensuous of which Capital speaks with regard to a certain exchange-val ue; it is also, no doubt, the tangible intangibility of a proper body without flesh, but still the body of some one as some one other. And of some one other that we will not hasten to determine as self, subject, person, consciousness, spir it, and so forth. (7) Derrida refers to this figuration as the visor effect summarily drawn from the ghost of King Hamlet: we do not see who looks at us. In the play, the ghost appears and disappears wearing its armor and without warning. The visor effect functions as a figure representing the classic disjuncture between presence and abse nce, Being and non-being, and an unlocalizable moment or body. Historically, Western man, de spite having both a profound attraction for and 14 I also take up more thoroughly this notion of thing, spirit, and specter in chapter three. 60


fear of this thing, has had rela tively little success in com ing to terms with that which escapes definition and exceeds space and time: the ghost. De rrida argues that Marx loved and detested the figure of the ghost, claiming that Marx wa s haunted, harassed, besieged, and obsessed by it (106) and tracing this obsession with ghosts to Marxs dissertation, The Difference in the Philosophy of Nature of Democritus and Epicurus (1841). This obsession remains through the Communist Manifesto (1848), whose opening lines are A specter is haunting Europethe specter of communism, to The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon ( Specters 1852), which deploys something like a spectropolitics a nd a genealogy of ghosts, more precisely a patrimonial logic of the generations of ghosts (107). In the latter text Marx is accused of conjuring and exorcising ghosts, separating the go od from the bad and still desperately trying to oppose spirit from specter, some thing he hadnt resolved in The German Ideology (1845). Derrida believes this text to be most im portant in understanding how closely spirit ( Geist ) and specter ( Gespenst ) are related, as closely perhaps as Ma rx and Stirner themselves are related, something that neither one would have admitted. The initial problem in attempting to maintain the two distinctions in German or iginates with the double meaning of Geist which can also mean specter. Derrida believes that Marx exploits this equivocation in The German Ideology and allows himself to distinguish between the two te rms in a discreet and subtle manner. On this difference, Derrida writes: The specter is of the spirit, it participates in the latter and stems from it even as it follows it as its ghostly double. The difference between th e two is precisely what tends to disappear in the ghost effect, just as th e concept of such a difference or the argumentative movement that puts it to work in the rh etoric tends to vanish. (125-6) According to Derrida, Marx takes up this ghos t effect at the beginning of The Leipzig Council III: Saint Max in The German Ideology noting that the production of the ghost is not the same spiritualization or an autonomization of spirit, idea, or thought as it occurs in Hegelian 61


idealism The effect occurs once the ghostly moment overtakes the spirit after an initial expropriation or alienation, whereby a suppl ementary dimension, another simulacrum, alienation, or expropriation adjoins the spirit. The supplementary dimension is a body or flesh, for there is never any becoming-sp ecter of the spirit without at least an appearance of flesh, in a space of invisible visibility, like the disappearing of an apparition (126). There must be a return to a body for there to be a ghost, and this return must be abstract. This process of autonomization or spiritualization corre sponds to a paradoxical incorporation. The difficulty in understanding this spectrogenic process occurs when the first ghost effect, the initial autonomization or spiritualization, is negated, integrated, and inco rporated by the very s ubject of the operation who, claiming the uniqueness of its own human body, then becomes, according to Marx as critic of Stirner, the absolute g host, in fact the ghost of th e ghost of the specter-spirit simulacrum of simulacra without end (127). For spirit to become specter, it mu st assume the image of a unique body or flesh, sans density, which would give the specter the dime nsions of simulacra. Marx accuses Stirner of main taining ghosts throughout EO under the aegis of political critique and denounces Stirners rhetorical move as Eskamotage or conjuring trick, of which Marx finds several in Stirners text. The most significant conj uring trick consists in Stirners description of the discovery of self where the adolescent be comes an adult by spectralizing his thoughts, transforming them into specters, and destroying these thoughts as he takes them back into his own body, a body of specters. In Stirners view, the living body returns by annulling or taking into it phantomatic projections, a moment that ma rks the destruction or negation of the first ghost and the promise or hope for more life. For Marx where Stirner sees more life, we can only expect more death in the hyper bolic surplus of spectrality. 62


Derrida points out that both Marx and Stirner seem to have one thing in comm on: the critique of ghosts. He argues that both of them want to have done with the revenant both of them hope to get there. Both of them aim at some reappropriation of life in a body proper. This hope at least is what impels the prescriptive inju nction or the promise of their discourses (129). As I mentioned earlier, the difference between th e two is that Stirner wants to do away with ghosts after incorporating them into the body, and Marx believes that the body becomes the ghost of all ghosts. The Stirnian li ving individual, invaded by its ow n specter, is haunted, but in a way that cannot hide its Hegelio-C hristian dimension. Andrew Koch suggests that it is precisely the lie of spirit that was created by the rise of Christianity that Stir ner wants to disavow. The logic is as follows: human beings invented the idea of spirit so that they could become spiritual, the consequence of which became the fixed idea. Koch continues: The fixing of ideas makes us prisoners to thought rather th an the creators of though. Transce ndentalism takes the fixed idea and tries to shape the world in its image. Ultimately the idea has subjected the human being to itself (101). The fixed idea is what allows the st ate to subordinate human beings to its will and to quell all resistance. For Marx, Stirner never quite resolves his anti -Hegelian conception of absolute spirit, thereby rendering him in the image of Jesus Chri st through the mediation of the Holy Spirit. The debate on the treatment of spirit and specter continues with the st atus of conceptual generality, the idea that men represent, by mean s of new appellations, ge neral concepts. These men are accused of representing the generality of c oncepts in the Negroid form, Marxs phrase which serves in two ways. First, according to Derrida, the phrase denounces the confusion within which Stirner maintains th e concept, more precisely the presentation of the concept, the manner in which concepts come onstage in the intuition: the indetermination of the 63


hom ogeneous, in the dark element of nocturnal obscurity (137). In using this phrase, Marx criticizes Stirner for condemning those who ar e too generous with generality and who are preoccupied with ghosts, claiming these men obs cure conceptuality. Derrida articulates the formula as such: Negroid form equals obscura ntism plus occultism, mystery plus mysticism and mystification. Blackness is never far from th e obscure and the occult. Spiritualism is but a spiritism (137). The second defin ition of the Negroid form signi fies the enslavement of these generalized pseudo-concepts that have no autono my. These concepts work as objects in the service of men for men. Derrida quo tes Marx: These general concepts appear here for all in the Negroid form as objective spirits having for people the character of objects and at this level are called specters or apparitions! Indeed, this Negroid form signals the singularity or particularity of the ghost or specter and the extent to which Marx and Stirner attempt to understand ghosts, even if all they wanted to do was exorcise th em. What I find particularly compelling is that spectrality, in the eyes of Marx especially, is contingent upon the Negroid form or blackness, an idea that I will pick up on in chapter four. Insofar as Marx and Stirner differ, similarly to difference between spirit and specter in subtle nuance, it might serve us we ll to bring up the Derridean term that signifies this difference: diffrance. The term, whose origins date back to Derri das 1968 lecture of the same name to the Socit franais de philosophie, signals a graphic disorder that results from the substitution between two vowels: a and e. Derrida argues that the difference between these two vowels remains purely graphic or visual but not audible. To illustrate this point, Derrida conjures the term diffrance to emphasize that the ex istence of the homonyms difference and diffrance may suggest a reversal of a traditional binary, speech and writing. Our historical view has been to accept speech as a precursor to writing, but Derrida s argument anticipates an arche-writing that 64


precedes speech and m akes the homonym possible. Drawing upon the French diffrer which means to defer or postpone and to differ, diffrance serves as an exemplar for this reversal and displacement and signals an intensified pl ay often found in negative theology, philosophy, or discourses of figures such as Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Saussure, and Plato. Derrida imagines all of these designations being bundled together or complexly interweaved like a sheaf, where they represent coordinates within a genera l system of either a linguistic or philosophical economy. The primary task of deconstructi on then is to insert itself with in the sheaf, to weave itself throughout to explore the paradoxical figurations that keep the gene ral system of a linguistic or philosophical economy in tact, albeit tenuously. Ultimately, deconstruction mobilizes diffrance to mark the difference between itself and Marxism, which I will explore further in chapter three, and the difference between spirit and specter. De rridas most poignant examination of this relationship may be in his reading of Hamlet in Specters Spirits, Specters, and Hamlet In order to illustrate the difference between specters and spirits, and by default the relationship between deconstr uction and Marxism, Derrida relies significantly on his reading/rendering of Hamlet in which everything begins by the apparition of a specter. More precisely by the waiting for this apparition (4). In Hamlet we anticipate not only the perpetual exit and return of the ghost of Hamlets father but also the manner in which the ghost will present itself and address others when it re turns. Derrida reminds us that Marx in The Communist Manifesto anticipates a similar reappearance of a sp ecter, which I mentioned earlier. But Derrida admittedly is not the only one to have made the connection between Marx and Hamlet In La Crise de lesprit, Paul Valry describes an i ntellectual Hamlet who seizes various skulls including those of Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz, Lionardo di Sir Piero, and Kant qui genuit Hegel, 65


qui genuit Marx, que genuit (qtd. in Specters 6). For Derrida, however, Valry serves a m ore useful purpose when we c onsider the ghost as this thing that which exists between spirit and specter. This unnameable thing is regarded as a non-present, a non-pres ent present, or a nonobject that no longer belongs to the order of knowledge, and though it looks at us, it defies ontology, semantics, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Derrida writes: Nor does one see in flesh and blood this Thing that is not a thing, this th ing that is invisible between its apparitions, when it reappears. This thing meanwhile looks at us and sees us not see it even when it is there. A spectral asymmetry interrupts here all specularity. It desynchronizes, it recalls us to anachrony. We will call this the visor effect15: we do not see who looks at us. Even though in his ghost the King looks like himself. (6-7) Looking through the visor, we see that what se parates specter and spirit further is the furtive and ungraspable visibility of the invisible or what Derrida calls the non-sensuous sensuousness The non-sensuous sensuousness functions in this particular deconstructive interstice in the same phantom-like manner th at exchange-value gathers its nominal and fetishistic power over and above use-value in Ma rxist methodology. It is with this foresight that Derrida reads not only the ghost of Hamlet, but also what he perceives as numerous specters of Marx. Derridas critics read this move as omniscient posturing, which allows Derrida to put himself in the position of Hamlet. This criticism is especially telling when one considers that in Hamlet the ghost (Marx) reappears a nd makes itself visible to several characters (Marxists and those sympathetic to Marx), but it only speaks to his son, Hamlet (Derrida ). (I urge the reader here to keep this characterization in mind, for it will return later and re mains integral to an argument I wish to make later.) 15 This visor effect is significant for Derrida not only regarding the specter in general, in Marx and elsewhere, but also with respect to the law, since we do not always see who makes the law. I will return to this point later in the chapter when I discuss Buonamano. 66


Derrida reads as significant the gesture of affiliation between Hamlet and the ghost, for Hamlet inherits a responsibility from the ghost, one that obligates him to find his fathers murderer. Derridas reading of Marx as the ghos t of king Hamlet sugges ts that we are all inheritors of more than one form of speech, as well as of an injunction that is itself disjointed (16). Derrida argues that, as an inheritance is never natural, given, and univocal, we must recognize that Marxs legacy defies interp retation, and as such, we must decide what we inherit from Marx. We always inherit from a secret, which both gives us a directive and a challenge: read me, will you ever be able to do so? (16) These two separate moments, the inheritance (of/from the secret) and our response to this inhe ritance, denote a disjointedness of time, marking not only the narrative of Hamlet Hamlet cries, Time is out of jointbut also the entire corpus of Specters. Derrida continues: The critical choice called for by any reaffirma tion of the inheritance is also, like memory itself, the condition of finitude. The infinite does not inherit, it doe s not inherit (from) itself. The injunction itself (it always says choose and decide from what you inherit) can only be one by dividing itself, te aring itself apart, differing/de ferring itself, by speaking at the same time several timesand in several voices. (16) In essence, one always inherits when one co mes to terms with some voice or specter, despite or as a consequence of the disjointed nature of inheritance. The parameters of law, right, and justice are defined by our re sponsibility to the ot her. Derrida reads Hamlet as having been cursed by this responsibility to do justice, to put things back in order, to put history, the world, the age, the time upright on the right path, so that, in confor mity with the rule of its correct functioning, it advances straight ahead [ tout droit ]and following the law [ le droit ] (20). He also believes that Hamlet curses his mission to avenge his fathers death, complaining that law and right stem from vengeance. If law and right are tied to veng eance, then justice remains that which no longer belongs to history and removes the fatality of vengeance. This Levinasian formulation of justice assumes both an incalculable gift and the singularity of the an-economic 67


ex-position to others (23). The gift, to be read in Heideggeri an term s, removes any notion of culpability, debt, right, and duty. De rrida writes, The question of justice, the one that always carries beyond the law, is no longer separated, in its necessity or in its aporias, from that of the gift (26). And this appeal of the gift, singularit y, and the relation to the other is the space from which Hamlet speaks when he declares that time is out of joint. The tripartite of gift, justice, and disjointed time form the basi s of the seemingly untranslatable Dik what Heidegger usually translates as joining, adjoining, adjustmen t, articulation of accord or harmony. Derrida is interested in Heideggers engagement with presence and non-presence, non-contemporaneity of present time, where the present always passes or never remains. The out of joint then signifies a dislocation in Being and in time, and the rendering of Dik as justice is contingent upon this dislocation. Derrida continues: The necessary disjointure, the de-totalizing cond ition of justice, is inde ed here that of the presentand by the same token th e very condition of the presen t and of the presence of the present. This is where deconstruction would al ways begin to take shap e as the thinking of the gift and of undeconstructible justi ce, the undeconstructib le condition of any deconstruction, to be sure, but a condition that is itself in deconstruction and remains, and must remain (that is the injunc tion) in the disjointure or the Un-Fug (28) Deconstruction reads this dislocation of time as offering th e possibility of hope in the future, and Derrida invokes the figur e of the messianic to describe this futurity. This particular mark of the messianic is what remains an ineffaceable mark that one cannot or should not efface, a mark of Marxs legacy and of the e xperience of inheritance in general. For Derrida, Marxs most significant contribution, or what Derrida inherits from Marx rather, is his propensity to anticipate the arri val of justice in the form of a non-religious messianism. The particularity of the event and the alterity of the other, however, risk being rendered impure and being reduced to morals, legal rules, and norms. At the moment of pure intervention, we no longer have undeconstructible justice; we have law, at best, and cause for mourning. 68


The Work of Mournin g The characterization of the king as thing comes directly from Hamlet : The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing ( 93). Derrida argues that when we speak of spirits, specters, or justice, we must speak only of mourning, which always consists in attempting to ontologize or make present the remains by identifying them and by localizing the dead. The certainty of who and where is always a questi on of the work of mourning. As Derrida puts it, one has to know who is buried whereand it is necessary (to knowto make certain) that, in what remains of him, he remain there. Let him stay there and move no more! ( Specters 9). Without this certainty, we find mania, jubilation, a nd incantation, forms that Freud assigned to the phase of mourning work,16 according to Derrida ( Specters 52). With respect to Marx and Marxism, we might consider the function of hegemonic or dominant discourse in the work of mourning. Derrida argues that this discourse often assumes the tone of something rather manic, jubilato ry, or incantatory. It seeks to ontologize the remains of Marxism, pronounce it dead once an d for all, while it proclaims, Long live capitalism, the market, free enterprise, economic liberalism, and political conservatism! But the dominating discourse always remains uneasy about these proclamations; it convinces only itself, because Marxism has not been properly burie d. Marxs specters cannot be looked upon, like King Hamlet peering through his visor. And thes e specters appear unannounced in the form of protests against immigration a nd outsourcing, immigrants protesti ng against unfair treatment or pay, or the threat to national security in We stern countries by Islamic fundamentalists. Derrida has tried to show elsewhere that the work of mourning is not one kind of work among others. It is work itself, work in general, the trait by means of which one ought perhaps to 16 Freud defines mourning as the reaction to the loss of a loved person, or to the loss of some abstraction which has taken place of one, such as ones country, liberty, an ideal, and so on (Mourning and Melancholia 14: 243). 69


reconsider the very concept of productionin what links it to traum a, to mourning, to the idealizing iterability of expropriation, thus to the spectral spiritualization that is at work in any tekhn ( Specters 97). In general, Derrida is referring to a productive mode of the phantom and a phantomatic mode of production, in which the wo rk of mourning involve s, after the initial trauma, ensuring the dead will not return or co me back to life. The figure of the mortician embodies this notion of production and mourning, typically, as he is often entrusted with the task of rendering the dead body immobile, but also attempting to bring it to life once again (in appearance only) for the wake and funeral. De rrida argues that the same dual-function of rendering lifeless and bringing fort h holds true for any sort of mourning, which consistently follows trauma. He locates three original traumas upon which Freud remarks in terms of human narcissism, according to Derrida: (1) ps ychological trauma, the power of the unconscious over the conscious ego, discovered by psychoanalysis, which is preceded by, (2) biological trauma, the Darwinian discovery that man is a descendent of animals, which is preceded by, (3) cosmological trauma, the discovery that the earth is not the center of the universe. A fourth trauma can be attributed to Marx and encompas ses all three previous traumas: the projected unity of a thought and of a labor movement, sometim es in a messianic or eschatological form, as it is in the history of the totalitarian world ( Specters 98). The work of mourning inherent in Marxism involves a decentering of the earth an d man, of geopolitics, and the concept of narcissism whose aporias are the concern (and themes) of deconstruction. Derrida writes, This trauma is endlessly denied by the very movement through which one tries to cushion it, to assimilate it, to interiorize and incorporat e it. In this mourning work in process, in this interminable task, the ghost remains that whic h gives one the most to think aboutand to do. Let us insist and spell things out: to do and to make come about, as well as to let come (about). ( Specters 98) The specters of Marx are what we allow to co me about, but also what we in some sense encourage to return, similar to the way in which Hamlet, Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus 70


71 summon the ghost of King Hamlet during the wo rk of mourning in process. Mourning presupposes an untimely and dis-adjusted sense of contemporaneity, where the figure of the ghost never dies, but remains always to come a nd to come back. During the process of mourning, we would do well to use the occasion as an opportunity to learn to live, to await the undeconstructible justice that will make good on what law and right are insu fficiently prepared to do. At present, capitalism can always assume but can never be sure that it has rid itself of communism and the ghost of communism, which c onstantly haunts it. De construction dutifully anticipates this formulation of Marxism and insists on its immanence within a self-critiquing Marxian orthodoxy. In the next chapter, I will at tempt to distinguish further between Marxism and deconstruction by examining several Marxist responses to Specters and deconstruction.


CHAP TER 3 ACT II: (NOT) MARXISM Some of the most interesting criticisms of Derridas work have been written in the last decade by a few Marxist thinkers notably Aijaz Ahmad, Terry Eagleton, and Gayatri Spivak. Their sweeping dismissals of Specters are convincing enough to i nnervate a more traditional Marxist base, test the resolve of Derridas most ardent supporters, and cause Derridas most ambivalent readers to second-guess his abilities as a philosopher. Fo r an example of this bravura, one need look no further than Ahmads Reconcil ing Derrida, where he admits in the opening passages to reading Derridas A Lecture on Ma rx on his flight to Ljubljana to attend a conference at Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis in 1994, gathering his thoughts on the text the following day, and writing his responses the next morning just before giving his lecture. Ahmads rudimentary reflections motivate him to portray Derrida and dec onstruction as serving, albeit unwittingly, in the best inte rest of the Right, simply becaus e deconstruction does very little to establish itself as traditiona l, orthodox Marxism. We might al so consider Eagletons Marxism without Marxism, a five-page indictment of Derridas and deconstructions come-lately association to Marxism, in which Eagleton decries th at there is something pretty rich, as well as movingly sincere, about this sudden dramatic somersault onto a stalled bandwagon (84-5). Mocking the rhetorical style and tiresomely mannered syntax of Specters Eagleton meditates: What is it, now, to chew carrots ? Why this plural? Coul d there ever be more than one of them? Could this question even have meaning? Could on e even speak of the che wing of a carrot, and if so how, why, to whom, with what onto-teleo-theo logical animus? (85). Last, let us not forget Spivaks Ghostwriting, a happy mimesis of an earlier essay sh e wrote on Derrida for Diacritics called Glas -Piece. In Ghostwriting, Spivak proclaims that she has always had trouble with Derrida on Marx and that her main problem with De rrida, more concretely, is his 72


seem ing refusal to honor the difference between commercial and indust rial capital (65), a critique that stems from he r proprietary feelings for Ma rx. Generally sympathetic to deconstruction, Spivak believes that any engagement with Marx requires a certain responsibility to his text, a fact that should be most obvious to Derrida, though she believe he gets it wrong. On this point as it relates to her supposed ownershi p of Marxs legacy, she asks, Is it just my proprietorial reaction to think th at you cant catch at any specte r of Marx if you dont attend to the ghosts signature? Who knows? Maybe (65). More serious contributions be long to writers such as Ant onio Negri, Tom Lewis, David Bedggood, and Fredric Jameson who certainly recogni ze the philosophical capital that Derrida has accumulated over the years but spare him no polit ical slack. In The Specters Smile, Negri locates the origins of deconstr uction at the rue dUlm where exchanges between Derrida and Louis Althusser (and we might add Michel F oucault) were notoriously commonplace. As a consequence of these exchanges, deconstructi on would inherit a type of Marxism of an Althusserian strain, identified primarily by the invasiveness of ideological state apparatuses. Negris largest concern with deconstructions mutation in Specters, though, is that we do not know how to construct a strai ght line that would cut through his processs agonizing curves (8). Still, despite the frustration that deconstruc tion elicits for Negri, he concludes boldly that deconstruction remains prisoner of an ineffect ual and exhausted defini tion of ontology. Derrida is a prisoner of the ontology he critiques (13). Lewis, seemingly less annoyed with Derridas prose and more convinced that Derrida does not discover any satisfying answers, considers th e text in one of three ways: as a perspective for the evaluation of Marxisms position in the wo rld, amidst its historical contexts including the events of 1989 as well as the bankruptcy of We st European social democracy in the 1980s and 73


1990s, and within the debates in the 1990s am ong the broad Left over th e legacy of Marx (136). His largest complaint is th at deconstruction installs itsel f in the place that Marxism once occupied while it via Specters relentlessly drives verbal stak es through the heart of Marxisms claims to provide a viable know ledge of history capable of gr ounding an adequate practice of social transformation (139). Interpreting De rridas tone as conde scending, Lewis feels compelled after reading Specters to resign the Marxists of the world to s oul-searching, mourning, and atoning, while he suspects that the deconstructionists sole task consists in changing the world. Bedggoods critique resembles Ahmads, in th at he identifies Derrida as an apologist for capitalism or more specifically as an ideologis t of post-Marxist a pologetics of the new middle that now seeks to replace the neo-libe ral ascendancy (para. 10). What separates Bedggood from many other Marxist cri tics is that he believes they themselves fall short of conjuring away Saint Jacques because they repr esent the flawed tradition of Western Marxism the failure of materialist dialec tics grounded in the ontology of liv ing labor (para. 3). Indeed, Bedggood engages Derrida and his critics while he sufficiently theorize s Marxist dialectical method, but his critique amounts to little more than saying, I have Marx more right than anyone else. All posturing aside, these cri tiques indeed share one thing in common, the desire from the Left to get Marx right. These concerns come at a rather crucial moment, on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, and we might add, with the benefit of hindsight, the humb le origins of a capitalist, communist China emerging as a competitor in the global marketplace. If Marxis m was to make its case on the world stage in 1993 at the Whither Marxism? conference, it cer tainly took a gamble with asking Derrida to serve as its ambassador. As a resu lt, Marxism appears to have pa id a heavy price, according to 74


critics like Ahm ad, Spivak, and Ea gleton, whose works seem a noble effort to recuperate these losses. To a certain extent, th ese critics salvage mu ch of Marxisms dignity, but one wonders how much was actually accomplishe d in attacking Derrida for reading Marx irresponsibly. If anything, we can say that Derrida encouraged the Left to reexamine the applicability of Marx and to revise Marxist thought th at no longer seems relevant to t odays concerns. In other words, we might say that Derrida inspired Marxisms most faithful and honorific to treat us to valuable lessons in historical materi alism under (de-)construction. How the Left Gets Marx Right Indeed, Marxist critics acknowledge the sway of deconstructive exegesis and, in many ways, are quite generous in givi ng Derrida credit, especially wh ere Derridean critique involves the delegitimization of the Right. Ahmad belie ves that Derridas reflections on Francis Fukuyamas The End of History and the Last Man are fairly on the mark, but thinks that those reflections would have been mor e fruitful had Derrida offered meditations on the political and philosophical coordinates shared between Fukuya mas proclamation of the end of history and the end of all metanarratives that one finds rout inely in the work of so many deconstructionists (89-90). Eagleton writes that there is no doubting the pol itical passion at work in Specters and believes that Derridas relentless pursuit of a hapless Fukuyama, although considerably less original than Perry Ande rsons, is an example of his enduring radicalism. Clearly, Ahmad and Eagleton believe that Derrida do esnt attack the Right thoroughl y enough or rather he fails to position himself more determinately on the Left.17 That abrogation of resp onsibility erupts the moment Derrida situates deconstr uction as that which has inherite d a certain spirit of Marxism, 17 Eagleton begins his essay, There is no doubt that Derridean deconstruction was a political project from the outset, or that Jacques Derrida himself, in some suitably indeterminate sense, has always been a man of the Left (83). 75


more specifically the spirit of a young, de-totalized Marx. One question rem ains, however: Is deconstruction of the Left or the Right? The remai nder of this chapter will attempt to answer this question. Indeed, it is apparent in this analysis that Specters neither engages Ma rxian dialectics Derridas argument is that those dialectics become irrelevant over time and need to be replacednor offers us any prescriptions for change,18 two points that continually frustrate Derridas Marxist critics. For them, Derrida, by pos itioning himself as Hamlet, installs himself in a privileged position afforded to him by inherita nce, whereby the gesture becomes more than simply one of affiliation; it becomes a justification for nepotism, and critics find his engagement problematic on a number of levels. First, his notio n of the disjointedness of time with respect to inheritance, justice, and respons ibility enables Derrida to defer his engagements with Marxism. Despite the fact that deconstruc tion has its origins in the movements of the 1950s when others were already proclaiming the end of history and Marxism long before Fukuyama, Derrida waits until the dissolution of one of the last surviving remnants of communism, the U.S.S.R., to address deconstructions relation to Marxism. Indeed, Derrida does appear to play the part of Hamlet, who has been charged by many literary critics for being too apprehensive, prone to thinking too much, and deferring ac tion. And also like Hamlet, Derri da is often viewed in the Western world as someone whose motivations are often misunderstood and highly debated. To make this connection between Hamlet and Derrida further, let us recall briefly the narrative of Hamlet King Hamlet of Denmark has recently and une xpectedly died, and his brother, Claudius, inherits the throne and takes the former kings wi fe, Gertrude, to be his own. Prince Hamlet, the 18 He does, however, discuss what change may look like in the way of a New International, which I discuss in Chapter Two. 76


son of the slain king, is deeply distraught over the usurpation of the throne by his uncle, whom he believes pales in comparison to his father, an d his mothers remarriage to his uncle. One night a ghost resembling the deceased King appears to tw o watchmen of Elsinore Castle, Bernardo and Marcellus, who report this appearance to Hamlets colleague, Horatio, who attends Wittenberg with Hamlet. The ghost seems to have someth ing important to say but vanishes without delivering the message. The men notify Hamlet of the ghost, and Hamlet investigates the matter. The specter appears once again and speaks to Ha mlet, imploring him to seek revenge for his fathers death at the hands of Claudius, King Hamlets own brother. The ghost disappears, and Hamlet decides to feign madness to confirm Claudiuss guilt. Claudius and Gertrude, concerned about this recent development in Hamlets behavior, entreat a pair of Hamlets school friends name d Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to monitor him and discover the cause of his change. Polonius, the chief advisor to Claudius, believes that Hamlets madness can be attributed to his love for Polonius daughter, O phelia. It is revealed later in a secret meeting between the two lovers that Hamlet is not smitten by Ophelia; in fact, he orders her to a nunnery. Hamlet stages a play reenac ting the murder in hopes that Claudius will admit guilt. Hamlets strategy works, as Claudius interrupt s it midway through and leaves the room, and Hamlet follows him to avenge his father. Poised to kill Claudius who is in prayer, Hamlet decides to relent, as he believes that killing an unaware Claudius will send him to heaven rather than purgatory, which is where the former king is said to linger. Unfortunately for Hamlet, Claudius reveals the insufficiency of his prayer, but only after Ha mlet has left to confront his mother. In the middle of scolding her, he hears a noise behind a curtain. Believing it is Claudius eavesdropping, he thrusts his sword into the body be hind the curtain, only to find that it is elderly 77


Polonius. Ham let flees the castle, and Claudius deports him to England along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are carrying a request to have Hamlet murdered. Ophelia, afflicted by grief, goes mad and drowns in a river. Her brother, Laertes, returns from his visit to France enraged. Claudius seizes an opportunity to convince Laertes that Hamlet is responsible for the death of his father, Poloni us. Hamlet sends word that he has returned to Denmark because his ship had been attacked by pirates on the way to England. Claudius, hoping to rid himself of Hamlet, wagers that Hamlet can best Laertes in a fencing match. The match is arranged, but Laertes blade is poisoned, along with the wine that Hamlet is to drink. During the bout, Gertrude drinks from Haml ets goblet and dies. Laertes wounds Hamlet, but is cut by his own blade. With his dying breath, Laerte s reveals Claudiuss plot to kill Hamlet, who manages to kill the king befo re he dies. Fortinbras, a Norw egian prince with ambitions of his own, leads his army to Denmark and stumbles upon the scene. Horatio recounts the tale and Fortinbras, the son of King Fortinbras who was killed by King Hamlet, orders Hamlets body to be carried away with dignity. Considering the narrative, we can see that, despite the ghosts entreaties to Hamlet to avenge his death early in the play, it isnt until much later th at Hamlet decides to act, approximately the midpoint of the play (3.4). And when Hamlet finally decides to act, he accidentally murders the old man of the court, Polonius, who is often viewed as fatuous and long-winded. As a consequence of this unfortuna te murder, Hamlet finds himself locked in a duel with his spurned lovers brother and dies, but not before he is actually able to carry out his fathers wishes by murdering Claudius. Fo r many, Derrida has the makings of a 20th century Hamlet, prone to thinking, failing to act, and, after deciding to act, butchering the legacy of an important political figure. Eagleton asks, where was Jacques Derrida when we needed him, in 78


the long dark night of Reagan-Thatcher[? ] (83). According to Eagleton, it appears that Derridas false sense of affiliation has misguided him into thinking that deconstruction has operated like a radicalized Marxism, when it has ultimately operated as an ersatz form of textual politics in an era when, socialism being on the run, academic leftists were grateful for a displaced brand of disse nt which seemed to offer the twin benefits of at once outflanking Marx ism in its audacious avant-gardism, and generating a skeptical sensibility which pulled the rug out from under anything as drearily undeconstructed as solidarity, organizati on or calculated political action. (84) Eagleton and others intimate that deconstr uction functions as postmodern drivel and ultimately distorts classical Marxism and its co mmitment to effectual political action. Ahmad extends this critique to argue that Derrida seek s to replace our historic understanding of Marxism with his own messianic version in a move that Ahmad refers to as anti-politics, a term to be construed as simply non-politic al. Ahmad accuses Derrida of hopi ng to take advantage of an opportune moment in the collapse of historical Marxism, where the triumph of deconstruction will coincide smoothly with this collapse. This supposed transference plays nicely into Derridas favor, as he structures Specters around the motif of mourning, especi ally apparent in his reading of Hamlet If Hamlet mourns the death of his father he also anticipates inheriting the throne relinquished by him, though he curses this responsibility, as Derrida w ould argue. In the same manner, Derrida mourns the dead father (Marx) a nd may expect to assume the throne that Marx has left behind; by Derridean l ogic, Derrida would too curse this responsibility to a Marxian legacy. Ahmad insists that this logic is flawed, in that the kingdom in Hamlet is inherited not by the son, Hamlet, but by Fortinbras, a right-winged usurper. Ahmad writes, The Hamlets of this world are fated, it seems, to be besieged by usur pers and remain forever uncrowned (94). The messianic or teleological function of this narra tive of mourning and inhe ritance has the makings of a right-wing dogmatics, whose origins can be traced to the emer gence of deconstruction in the late 1960s, which Ahmad believes was presented as an altern ative to Leftis t politics and 79


conservatism. Since then, however, Ahm ad and other Marxists have argued that deconstruction has been waging an unconditional war against political Marxism, in its antipathy toward working-class organizations and against organized politics of the Left, an d in its advocacy of a global hermeneutics of suspicion [where it has] unwittingly contributed to openings for resurgence of a fully fledged right-wing intelligen tsia (Ahmad 98). Eagleton believes that if Derrida thinks, as he appear s to do, that there can be a ny effective socialism without organization, apparatuses and reasonably well-for mulated doctrines and programmes, then he is merely the victim of some academicist fant asy which he has somehow mistaken for an enlightened anti-Stalinism (86). Tom Lewis argues also that this Derridean work of mourning undermines the activist strategies and tactics of Marxis m and gives rise to two main c oncerns: first, the repudiation of historical materialism, and second, the renunciati on of social revolution. He agrees much with Ahmad in that the display of right-wing trium phalism enables Derrida to mourn the death of Marx as if he were leading an open-casket funera l procession and staging rhetorically the death he actually would have preferred Marxism to have died (138). Lewis, unlike Ahmad, is very clear about how deconstruction fa ils to address social issues, which classical Marxism (and its tradition of revolution) proves more capable in addressing. Insisting on a class-based politics, Lewis examines three ways in which the founda tion of class struggle has appeared to erode during various modal shifts (from commodities to information, Fordism to post-Fordism, production to reproduction, etc.) gene rally as a consequence of postm odern theorizing. First, the informational work of the Wall Street trader, the insurance claims adjuster, the Information Technology specialist, and the software deve loper still remain th e production, exchange, distribution, and consumption of material commod ities such as computer workstations, fiber80


optic networks and program s. That is to suggest that the machinic nature of telecommunications/mass media/trading/banking must not be overlooked. The centralization of capital occurs in these various industries, and technological change is contingent upon capitalist relations of production. Second, th e number of working class i ndividuals is not shrinking, but continues to grow, and that Marx anticipated the fall of living la bor (workers) and rise of dead labor (machines). Lewis argues that each individu al blue collar worker who remains is now ten, twenty, or even a hundred times more powerful in terms of the ability to shut down production than each of the individual workers who we re replaced by the machines operated by the remaining worker (151). One need look no furthe r than the early twenty-first century during which we became privy to the discussions betwee n Enron traders and representatives of energy companies in California who were responsible for rolling blackouts across the entire state. Last, the working class is composed of blue collar and white collar, as the displacement of workers from industrial to servicesector jobs does not entail a de-classing of workers. Lewis reminds us of the conditions of the working class: (1) they must work for a living wage, as opposed to living off investments or inherited wealth, and (2) they have very little control, if any, over the conditions in which they work and what happens to the products or outcomes of their work. Citing a 1987 study done by Callinicos and Harman, Lewis remarks that 70 percent of an advanced capitalist society structurally belongs to the working class (151). Put in such urgent and relevant terms, one can see the pressing demand to bring Derrida to task on his seeming erasure of complex relations between the working class and an emergent global politics. Indeed, one can also see how the very gesture of affiliating Marxism with deconstruction in the name of the hauntological, or vice versa, would sound off, albeit indirectly and unintentionally, one of a gr eat many attacks on political Marxism that have been launched 81


by deconstructionists (Ahm ad 98). For Lewis, a nother problem with dec onstruction is that it seems to rehabilitate Stirner. Spivak sees this, too. She writes: Given Derridas deployment of Marxian me taphorics without any notice of industrial capitalism, Marxs remark that [i]f Saint Ma x seriously applies himself to exploit this ambiguity [that certain words are used both for commercial relations a nd for characteristic features and mutual relations of individuals as such], he may easily succeed in making a brilliant series of new economic discoveri es, without knowing anything about political economy cuts awfully close to the bone [M arx and Engels 231]. (Ghostwriting 73) The problem with Stirner for Marx and everyone else in his camp is his notion of the unique, which enables us a certain freedom to act in the absence of coercive, totalizing, social relations. The Stirnian view aims to disc redit the notion that soci alism can be won only by means of a revolutionary class struggle. Aligni ng Derrida with the pos t-Marxist political philosophy of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffes Hegemony and Socialist Strategy Lewis argues that these three theorists are abstracting a figure from the concrete circumstances of his or her debates with representativ es of revolutionary currents within Marxism, and then claiming that the resurrected figure (or the analysis of the figure in Derridas case) allows reformist insights better suited to our own new times (146). For Spivak, the problem with Derrida is more than a disavowal of activist strategies and tactics of Marxism; it is that he completely misses Marxs points.19 Her biggest issue with Derrida is that he refuses to honor the difference between comm ercial and indus trial capital, which troubles her because she so desperately hopes that Derrida can get Marx rightish. The mistakes that Derrida makes, unfortunately, do not allow for the pe culiar half-mourning of something like a Fathers ghost that is the pa raph of deconstruction (72). In Ghostwriting, 19 In Limits and Openings of Marx in Derrida, Spivak argues that Derrida doesnt seem to know Marxs main argument. In this essay, which is an augmented piece that she originally presented at the first ten-day Derrida symposium at Crisy-la-Salle in 1980, Spivak examines Derridas engagements with Marx prior to his address Specters In Ghostwriting, she refers the reader to Limits to see where she has laid out my trouble in print. 82


Spivak m entions three mistakes: Marx on th e spectral nature of money, Marx on use-value, and the notion that without the religious, the critique of ideology cannot operate. The first error arises from Derridas reading of Marxs A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and The German Ideology in which Derrida seems to suggest that, since Marx prefers the ghost that he seems to want to exorcise, Marx would pr efer that the ghostly body of the money-commodity (gold) to become a real body and adequate to itself. The real confusion lies with Marxs quotation from Timon of Athens in The German Ideology : The body of money is but a shadow (qtd. in Ghostwritin g 72). From this quotation, Derrida supposedly draws a connection among Marx, his adversarie s, and ghosts, opining th at Marx doesnt like ghosts any more than his adversaries do. He writes: But he thinks of not hing else. He believes rather in what is supposed to distinguish them from actual reality, living effectivity. He believes he can oppose them, like life to death, like vain a ppearances of the simulacrum to real presence ( Specters 47). Derrida seems to have a desire for Ma rx to wish for the body of money to become real, leave behind its ghostly form in order to be adequate unto itself. Spivak warns us that this reading of a young Marx fails to ta ke into account one formula that he hadnt yet discovered: the secret of industrial capitalism as the crea tion of surplus value through labor-power as commodity. Neither The German Ideology or Critique of Political Economy can have an adequate theoretical discussion on capital, and if we remain committed to this error, then we will have a large problem: the fetish-character of labo r-power as commodity in the transformation of capitalism into socialism Marxs signature contributi onwill emerge in a chain of displacements where the transfor mation of money into capital is crucial and made possible precisely of the general equivalency of money (Ghostwriting 73). If we want to see Marx 83


entertain spectrality, Spivak suggests th at we consult his later texts, the C apital s, but we will certainly not find anything of use in Ideology or Critique. Indeed, Marx argues in Capital volume 3, that the true barrier to capitalist production is capital itself (250). The circulation of capital and its c onstitutive inte rruptions make visible to him the generality of a deconstructible econom y. The circulation and expenditure of money, on the other hand, belong to a highly re stricted sphere. As Spivak notes in Limits and Openings of Marx in Derrida, Derridas use of politicoecono mic vocabulary in his previous texts such as Economimesis, The Retrait of Metaphor, Limited Inc. and The Other Heading confined to money and interest-bearing capital, may not allow for the emergence of Marxs original theses in Derridas arguments. For Spivak, capital is merely a supplement of th e natural and rational teleology of the body, and its inherent contradicti ons are managed by capitalism. For socialism to manage these contradictions in the interest of the socially human, Marx must emphasize the opposition between work and commodity and also their double common nature as commodity for the leverage necessary for an active calculus (Limits 107). According to Spivak, Derridas Force of Law might prove more instructive on the issue of the relationship between justice and this active political calculus, though I will not pursue this idea here. In speaking of work and commodity, one must recognize that laborpower distinguishes itself from other commodities insofar as its us e creates value. And co mmodities, by their very nature, are said to be a use-value and value, a double thing. When a commodity possesses its own form, as distinct from its natural form, a nd acquires exchange-value, the commodity is said to have been set in relation to another co mmodity of a different kind. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking that we can truly know the nature of use-value. Spivak argues that Indeed, use-value in Marx is a slippery idea, not necessarily c onnected to persons and things 84


(Lim its 107). She says that Marx left the c oncept of use-value untheorized. This fact, however, fails to deter Derrida from taking up the question of use-value in Specters, an engagement that contributes to his second error, which follows from Derridas selective readings of Marxs most widely known text Drawing almost exclusively from The German Ideology, The Communist Manifesto, The Eighteenth Brumaire and Capital after admitting that he had not read them in decades, Derrida is charged with portraying a silly Marx who thinks use is good and exchange bad and that use is proper to man, primarily as a consequence of Marxs ontological response to spectrality. Where Derrida reads this ambiguity in Marx as a resistance to spectrality, Spivak notes that it arises out of an indispensable relation between capitalism/capital accumulation and socialism. She writes: Capital is formed because capital uses the use-value of labor-power (average abstract labor), which is to produce more value than it needs. Thus one could say (though not to much purpose) that the my stical character (of the definitive commodity) owes everything (rather than n othing, as Derrida writes [ Specters 149]) to the possibility of use-value (Ghostwriting 74). A ccording to Spivak, Derrida fails to recognize the complexity of use-value in relation to exchange-value, and th is failure may stem from Derridas belief that use is proper to man. She quotes a passage from Capital to dispute Derridas argument: [I]f surplus labor and surplus product are al so reduced, to the de gree needed under the given conditions of production, on the one hand to form an insurance and reserve fund, on the other hand for the constant expansion of reproduction in the degree determined by social need; if, finally, both (1) the necessary labor and (2) the surplus labor are taken to include the amount of labor that those capab le of work, or are no longer capable of workingi.e. if both wages and surplus-value, necessary labor as well as surplus labor are stripped of their specifically capitalist ch aracterthen nothing of these forms remain, but simply those bases [ Grundlagen] of the forms that are common to all social modes of production. (qtd in Ghostwriting 74-5) Spivak argues that if there is anything proper to man, it is the potential to create exchangevalue in use. There is indeed a specter at work in use-value, but Marx wants this specter to be used in socialism. The ghost is what is rational, and without the rationality of the ghost, there is 85


no hope for socialism according to Spivak. This is precisely where Spivak believes Derrida comes close to getting Marx right, but she seems to suggest that Derrida is so committed to an ontological Marx that for him to think othe rwise would completely ruin his project. Last, Derridas conjuration of Marx seems to presuppose that the subject of Marxist cultural critique is not the worke r but the academic or intellectual. Spivak intimates that this focus may be a consequence of the Frankfurt School, a powerful source of Marxist cultural critique, bringing ideology to the forefront, a nd Althusser, Derridas friend and colleague, bringing ideology back into French Marxism. This trend allowed for psychoanalysis to emerge as the ideal tool for correcting notions of false c onsciousness. However one wants to view false consciousness, Spivak insists that the Marx in the age of the Capital s was committed to the worker, and his work differs si gnificantly from the mystificatory moves of German ideology practiced by philosophy. The field of social agency, as opposed to phi losophical speculation, consists of two very simple exhortations to the worker: do not believe the moneyor production-based explanations of the capitalist and do not understand capitalism in terms of empirical work experience; unders tand it through the s pectrality of reas on (which shows you the inaccessible yet coexisting skeleton of trut h even as the body misguides you) in order to change it (78). The point in all this, for Spiva k, is that we cannot allow Derrida to make the mistake of thinking that, without the religious, the cri tique of ideology cannot survive or operate, but nowhere in her intervention does she me ntion Derridas notion of messianism, a nontheological messianicity capable of thriving in th e absence of religion. We might assume that she is referring to this messianicity, though Pierre Macherey reminds us of a passage in Specters that speaks to an absolute privilege that Marx gr ants to religion and to ideology as religion, 86


mysticism or theology, in his general analysis of ideology in The German Ideology (Macherey 22). In addition to admitting her proprietorial feelings toward Marx and discussing the manner in which Derrida gets Marx wrong, Spivak not es something of cruc ial importance about Specters : in it, woman is nowhere (66). This fact puzzles her, for Specters which poses as a corrective to Marxian dialectics, fails to redeve lop Marxs prescience on th e question of the labor of women superseding that of men as presented in The Communist Manifesto She argues that this prescience manifests itself in Post-Fordi sm and global housework, where the subaltern woman provides the bulk of the support of produ ction (67). She offers in her analysis a taxonomy of the ways in which the labor of the patriarchally defined subaltern woman has been socialized, what she refers to as the socializ ation of reproductive labor-p ower rather than the feminization of labor. The taxonomy includes 1) reproductive rights ( metonymic substitution of the abstract average subject of rights for womans identity); 2) surrogacy ( metaphoric substitution of abstract average reproductive labor power as fulfilled female subject of motherhood); 3) transplant (displacement of eroticism and generalized presupposed subject of immediate affect); 4) population control (objectification of the female subject of expl oitation to produce alibis for hypersize through demographic rationalization); [and] 5) post-Fo rdist homeworking (class ical coding of the spectrality of reason as empiricist individualism, complicated by gender ideology). (67) She follows this taxonomy with a very brie f discussion of how th e fetish character of labor-power as commodity might be rethought to push capitalism into a socialist state. In discussing the socialization of the female body/ reproductive labor, Spivak notes where Marx originally misconceives the play between capital ism and socialism: between the self and the other, an agon which becomes clearest in birt h and childrearing. As reproductive labor is socialized and freed, it will be unable to ignore that agon, for the commodity in question is children. Spivak unfortunately stops her analysis there, mentioning that Since Specters of Marx cannot bring in women, I will not pursue this further here (68). She does, however, use Specters 87


to read Ass ia Djebars Far from Medina as a ghost dance, a prayer to be haunted, a learning to live at the seam of the past and the present, a heterodidactics between life and death, a reading that I will not reproduce here. Suffice it to say that because Derrida fails to include women in his analysis, Spivak feels compelled to do it for him. We should be content to note th at Spivak, Ahmad, and Lewis a ll appear proprietorial about Marx and desire to see Derrida get Marx right, in a manner of speaking. David Bedggood, however, argues that Derridas charge that his sta unchest critics are propr ietal about Marx is largely undeserved, perhaps because he hims elf would, by definition, fall within that very category. Still, he believes that those critics, un like himself, are unable to counter effectively Derridas haphazard philosophizing on Marx because they represent the flawed tradition of Western Marxismthe failure of materialist dialectics grounded in the ontology of living labor (para. 3). He recognizes that Eagleton does not pursue Derridas political purpose to expose his loosely formed dialectics and that Spivaks blind spot on Marx is her view that the contradiction between use-value and exchange-value is not a real contradiction that motivates the class struggle. In other words, she re gards the role (value ) of the philosopher mo re highly than she ought, for it is not the academy that should accoun t for the insufficiency of reason in Marxian dialectics; the class struggle will prevail as a result of capitalisms flaws. Marxism is not just another Enlightenment teleology th at we should expect to fail; the exploited masses will rise up. His comments on Ahmad are relegated almost exclusively to endnotes. In one endnote, he mentions his agreement with Ahmad that Derridas motives for reclaiming Marx seem suspect, but in another, he appears disappointed that Ahmads promise to devote a longer response to Derrida hadnt appeared by the time he was wr iting Derrida and the G host of Marxism in 1999. Bedggoods primary argument is that Derrida recuperates a young idealist Marx and in 88


doing so regresses into the pre-hi story of W estern Marxism and defaults into a form of liberal anarchism (para. 31). Derridas motivation then a ppears more in line with Max Stirner than with Marx, and Bedggood pursues this argument through th e course of his articl e. First, he relies on John Fletchers critique of Derrida, Marx the Uncanny? Ghosts and thei r Relation to the Mode of Production, to make a connection between Stirner and Derrida. For Bedggood, Derrida abandons historicity of social re lations in his formulation of di sjointed time to allow for an ahistorical metaphysics of time, which provides Derrida a framework to set up a transcendental hauntology against ontology. The problem with this hauntology is that it is a subversive metanarrative that says in history th ere is no objective or material r eality such as the necessity of social relations, only a reality which is the pr oduction of the indeterm inate (free will) ego (Bedggood para 26). Derridas point for coining the term hauntology is to exorcise the ghosts of Enlightenment determinism, and to do so, Derrida must foreground ontological and epistemological assumptions about being while counterposing a radical essence of nothingness. Derrida finds Heidegger useful for this foregrounding, particularly his theorization of the gift as it relates to presence (t he present) and lends itse lf to the phrase Time is out of joint. The most intere sting point about the gift is th at it has no market or exchangevalue for Bedggood, and as such, social justice can be realized within this r ealm of that which is outside of any horizon of culpability, of debt, of right, and even, perhaps of duty. Beyond right, and still more beyond juridicism, beyond mo rality, and still more beyond moralism, does not justice as relation to th e other suppose on the contrary the irreducible excess of a disjointure or an anachrony, some Un-Fuge some out of joint dislocation in Being and in time itself, a disjointure that, in always risking the evil, expropriation, and injustice against which there is no calculable insurance, would alone be able to do justice or to render justice (Specters 25-7) In locating justice beyond right, debt, and culpab ility, Derrida sets up his characterization of justice as the messianic, that which will come, the coming of the other, the 89


absolute and unpredictable singularity of the arrivant as justice ( Specter s 28) For Bedggood, Derridas use of Heidegger to read Marx merely indicates why Derrida fi nds Stirner so useful. To distance Marx from Derri das characterizatio n of him, Bedggood reminds us of Marxs disdain for Stirners ideas with one particular passage from The German Ideology in which he criticizes Stirner for his brand of egoism a nd anarchy. It might be noted here that Marx established firmly his notion of materialism and made a complete break with idealism after responding to Stirners The Ego and Its Own a text that exposes some of the weaknesses of the Left Hegelians by arguing that all religions, ideo logies, and societys in stitutions rest on empty concepts. The remainder of Bedggoods essay devotes itself to examining the ideas of Derrida as they seem to replicate Stirner s notion of the unique, ideas that include the messianic and the New International, his answer to globaliz ation and its ten pla gues. Bedggood writes: Derrida invokes, as a counter-conjuration a worldwide social movement with no organizing features to reform in ternational law! As an idealist fix, this is no more than a hollow call for social justice which joins with Soros and Giddens et al. in appeals to a spontaneous millenarian power of bourgeois citizens to fight responsibly for a democratic capitalism against th e totalitarian specters of speculative capital, fundamentalist ideas and totalizing dogma. (para 68)20 In a way, Bedggood may be right in arguing that Derrida resembles Stirner, if we take Specters to serve as a text that exposes w eaknesses of Western Marxism, as Bedggood convincingly argues. He locates this failure in materialist dialectics in a split between objective and subjective reality that can only be reconc iled in the program of the revolutionary party. Derridas Specters cannot escape subjec tive idealism, for Bedggood, as it dehistoricizes the selfactivity of the individual by abstracting from social relations. Indeed, I believe we must appreciate Bedggoods work for at least the follow ing three reasons: he succeeds in criticizing 20 Bedggood opens his essay with a critique of George Soros and Anthony Giddens, who he believes are the financial and the sociological architects of post-Marxism, respectively. He likens Derrida as the philosopher of such a movement, arguing that post-Marxism and the new liberalism of the center need a new priesthood in order to secure the flows of capitalism and deepen the exorcism of the ghosts of communism. 90


Derrida s Marxist critics (and the academy, for that matter), has located the split that prohibits Derridas Specters from reaching its revolutionary potential as a program for political activity, and has effectively described the status of global relations from a Marxist perspective just before the 21st century. We might ask, Now what? Two f acts remain: Outside of the declaration We do not have to let capitalism destroy the planet,21 Bedggood himself offers no real solutions or revolutionary advice, while Derridas Specters has continued to attract the attention of numerous scholars who have found it useful to think through various problem s. We must admit that, unlike Stirners The Ego and Its Own Derridas work has not been la rgely ignored by its contemporary audiences. In fact, theorists eagerly anticipated Derridas Specters while Stirners work has been almost completely ignored by professi onal philosophers; Marx s ridicule of The Ego and Its Own has played a significant role in its marginaliza tion. Indeed, we should be indebted to these Marxist scholars for reminding us of a later, more materialist Marx committed to socialism, but I believe that, ultimately, Specters ends up somewhere between Left and Right, like much of Derridas work. The key Marxist figure who seems to sketch th is Derridean position rather proficiently is Fredric Jameson when he refers to Derridas cr itique as unmixed or what is somehow pure and self-sufficient or autonomous, what is able to be disengaged from the general mess of mixed, hybrid phenomena all around it and named with th e satisfaction of a si ngle conceptual proper name (44). The pure constellation is spectralit y, which opens up new and unexpected lines of rereading. Jameson himself is looking for ways to recuperate the function of Husserl and 21 What follows is, We can take power, expropriate the expr opriators, and collectively pl an to create a better, freer, and equal society called socialism. But to do this we need to mobilize and organize the working class. Not in Derridas spirit of Marxism but against it, taking stock of Marxs method, recuperating the methods of the Bolsheviks, and taking state power. This is both necessary and possible, since the contradictions of capitalism make busting the ghost of alienation and collectivizing dead labor the only means of survival as well as emancipation of living labor (para 87). 91


Heidegger in Derridas work and to keep his re a ding (and Derridas) free of current intellectual politics, described mainly by its preoccupation with multivalent readings. Jameson argues that Derridas philosophical lifes work can be discovered in the tracki ng down and identifying, denouncing of just such nostalgias for some originary simplicity, for the unmixed in all its forms (45). In Marxs Purloined Letter, Jameson locates several features of the Marxian heritage worth problematizing, one of which is the dialect ic, privileged by many as a reflexive operation but stigmatized as one version of ontological th inking. Two other features include use-value and class. In the case of the former, we can say th at it has always already vanished by the time Marxism has begun: yet an uncertain ty may well persist as to whethe r even its residuality betrays ontological longing at the hear t of Marxism, or at l east at the centre of Ma rxs own writing (46). In other words, as Spivak has already argued, the definition of use-value ha s been undertheorized since its inception. It is, like the function of the ghost in spectrality, a fleeting concept, no clearer than the wood or table upon which it rests. The second feature, class, is one that is bandied about among Marxist critics with little consistency. As Jameson sees it, even some Marxists denounce the concept obligatorily, as if race, gender, a nd ethnicity were more appropriate, fundamental concepts or experiences to use when thinking through issues that Marxists find endemic to capitalism and social disorder. The Left also tends to abandon class as the evolution of contemporary politics recognizes the obsolescence of old social cla ssifications. His point is that class is not a simple-minded, reduc tive concept, and he argues that the most realistic Marxists will not fail to recognize this point At present, one could say that all points in which the classes come into public contact, as in sports, for example, are the space of open and violent class antagonisms, a nd these equally saturate the other relations of gender, race, and ethnicity, whose dynamics are symbolically reinvested in class 92


dynam ics and express themselves through a clas s formation, when they are not themselves the vehicle for the expression of class dynamics as such. (Jameson 47) As class tends to be reconstituted as interna lized binary oppositions, much like gender and race, deconstruction emerges as the most appropriate method for detecting the operations of these oppositions and the manner in which thes e oppositions deconstruct themselves, according to Jameson. The remainder of Jamesons text ex amines the various dimensions of Derridas Specters that prefigure the messianic, spectral f unction in Marx and Marxism where they intersect with tele-technologies, in the same manner in which Derrida remarks on the intersection of postal delivery and tekhn in The Post Card Jameson leaves us with this reflection: Marxs purloined letter: a whole new programme in itself surely, a wandering signifier capable of keeping any number of conspiratorial futures alive (65). For Jameson, Derrida provides us an alternative political calculus fo r conceiving a Marxism that adjust s to the varying dimensions of class (and gender and race for that matter) during times of cons tant change in our global economies. In other words, deconstruction should give Marxists something to look forward to. Negri notes one term that fa ils to emerge in Derridas Specters altogether, a term that may be ontologically out of date, on the surface, but one he believes has not been eliminated altogether: exploitation. In the way that Frantz Fanon recognizes that (the forms of) racism evolves with the timeswhere it renew[s] itself, adapt[s] itself, to change its appearance. It has had to undergo the fate of the cu ltural whole that informed it ( Toward the African Revolution 32)Negri posits that in speaking of exploitation, its necessary to take into consideration not so much the categories that, post festum denounce exploitation, but rather the mechanisms that produce it (10). Negris point is that any form or logic of pr oduction, simply human labor, is implicated in exploitation. De spite the communicative networks and global capital flows that have developed in recent times, two things remain rather certain in Negris formulation: capital 93


produces wealth and power for a few, and m isery and discipline for the masses. Thus, the new paradigm or the new post-deconstr uctive ontology of exploitation c onsists in intellectuality and cooperative force. Negri believes that if we lead deconstruc tion into this new ontological terrain, we would find it incapable of producing any effectual critique. He argues that deconstruction remains prisoner of an ineffectua l and exhausted definition of ontology (12). In other words, despite the fact th at Derrida presents deconstruction in a way that assumes a timely arrival, according to Negri, it is itself out of joint. Negri continues: When Derrida concludes his analysis of the Marxian ontology of value, ridding himself of its nave ontology of presenceto the extent that it thinks of the possibility of dissipating spectrality from the starting-point of a consciousness representative of the subjecthe does not produce an adequate ontological ju mp-start, aside from the correctness of his phenomenological approach. (13) Negri believes that the genesis of Derridas sad sidestepping resi des in his unwillingness to locate the spectral within the ontological, which would render his critique as ineffectual as the Marxian ontology he presumes to decry. But as e xploitation is real and intolerable, we must fight against it. Deconstruction is simply insuffici ent as a model of praxis in Negris view, and Specters turns back and loses itself in that whic h is inaccessible to man, in the infinitely other. The game is played out in mysticism, in the recognition of an i rresolvable foundation of the law, in the definition of responsibility as committing to an ungraspable ontological other. Why? (14). I certainly will not commit myself to speak on behalf of Derrida in answering the question Why? Why this regressive step back? but I might propose here one reason that Derrida does not mention the term exploitation, which will in itiate my series of connections between him and Fanon. If I mentioned earlier that Negris formulation of exploitation resembles Fanons description of racism, I will further compli cate this analogy by returning to Fanon on the question of exploitation. In Black Skin, White Masks Fanon notes that all forms of exploitation 94


resem ble one another. He argues that [t]hey all s eek the sources of their necessity in some edict of a Biblical nature. All forms of exploitation are identical because all of them are applied against the same object: man (88). We see here that Fanon does not treat exploitation and racism similarly to the way in which Negri c onsiders the issue of e xploitation. Fanon perhaps takes a Derridean or deconstructionist approach to the problem by insisting that any attempt to distinguish among various forms of exploitation simply means that one ignores the major, basic problem, which is that of restoring man to hi s proper place (88). Much like Derrida, Fanon does not speak exhaustively on the subject of e xploitation, possibly because we are well aware that it exists. The point is to restructure and reformulate the relati ons of man so that exploitation no longer remains. Despite Fanons disdain for racism, it rarely pr eoccupies his thoughts to the extent that he feels the need to belabor the i ssue. Before the First Congress of Negro Writers and Artists in Paris in 1956, Fanon argues that to study the rela tions of racism and culture is to raise the question of their reciprocal acti on. If culture is the combination of motor and mental behavior patterns arising from the encounter of man with nature and with his fellow-man, it can be said that racism is indeed a cultural element. There are thus cultures with racism and cultures without racism ( Toward the African Revolution 32). He has argued elsewhere that to suggest that there are varying degrees of racism is to miss the point completely that fundamentally a larger social issue is involved. In Black Skin, White Masks Fanon seems hardly willing to discuss the nuances of racism. In fact, he proposes a rather crude, reductive formula for racism: a given society is racist or it is not (85). His pr oposal is a response to Octave Mannoni, who wants to distinguish between different kinds of racialism, namely col onial and others forms. Fanons answer is that colonial racism is no different from any othe r racism (88). (He also links racism to anti95


sem itism here, too.) He also notes, in nearly Marxian fashion, that there exists an economic component to racism. He writes, the white [Sout h African] proletariats aggression on the black proletariat is fundamentally a resu lt of the economic structure of S outh Africa (87). It is safe to assume that, for Fanon, racism is not the larger co ntext to be addressed. Fa nons interest lies in altering the colonial landscape, which consists in universality and the decision to recognize and accept the reciprocal relativi sm of different cultures ( TAR 44). In other words, change does not come about by addressing exhaustively issues such as class and exploitation, but in restoring man to his proper place ( Black Skin 88). If Derrida has not made clear this intention in his Specters project, he clarifies it in his response to his Marxist critics in Marx and Sons. Derrida Responds to Marxs Sons In Marxs Purloined Letter, Jamesons extensive tracing of spectrality back through Heideggers master-narrative is generally im pressive. His particular preoccupation with context extends only so far as his reading of Specters ; he cannot decide whether spectrality represents another way for Derrida to avoid names or whether it might be viewed as a change in strategy for deconstruction and a turn toward a new figural directi on. Despite the various trajectories of Jamesons work on the constellation of spectralityplacing it w ithin several philosophical traditions, primarily Heideggers but also Husserls, Lacans, and Benjamins very little mention is made of what Derri da considers the most important context of Specters : a lecture delivered at a specific moment, a le cture which took a positi on in response to a significant invitation in a highly determinant context (Marx a nd Sons 217). Derrida attends to this question in Marx and S ons recognizing that virtually none of his critics in Ghostly Demarcations took context in Specters seriously or directly into account as a question. He tells us that this question is in fact threefold: 96


1) the question of the political (of the essence, tradition and dem arcation of the political, especially in Mar x); 2) the question of the philosophical as well (of philosophy qua ontology, particularly in Marx); and therefore 3) the que stion of the topoi all of us believe we can recognize in comm on themes beneath these namesparticularly the name Marxif only to indicate disagreement about them. (Marx and Sons 217) Along with this threefold question summoned during this particular moment are two related valences that generate the possibi lity for several thre ads to run throughout Specters The first, the possibility and the phe nomenality of the political, comb ines with the possibility of a hauntology to produce a spectral movement to which Derrida takes responsibility in performative fashion. He points to the very phrase in Marx and Sons to remind us of this invocation: This dimension of performative interpretation, th at is, of an interpretation that transforms the very thing it interprets, will play an indispen sable role in what I would like to say this evening. An interpretation that transforms what it interprets is a definition of the performative as unorthodox with regard to speech act theory as it is with regard to the 11th Thesis on Feuerbach. (Marx and Sons 219; SM 50) Derrida argues that three consequences follo w this performative gesture. The first deals with what he refers to as the question-form or the putting into que stion of the question. Throughout Specters, Derrida investigates several probl ems and concerns, all of which are generally intertwined and themselves need to be put to the larger question that presides over the smaller (but just as substantial) ones and th at proceeds by a logic that assumes a seemingly irreconcilable discourse. On one hand, the questio n attempts to reawaken questions mesmerized or repressed by the answer it self; but simultaneously and on the other hand to assume the (necessary revolutionary) affirmation as well, th e injunction, the promisein short, the quasiperformativity of a yes that watches over the question, pr eceding it as an eve precedes the following day (Marx and Sons 220). What seem to be at stake in any deconstructive interrogation are the possibility of the performa tive gesture, which I will discuss later in this chapter, and the affirmation of the messianic. One reductive way to look at this problem in relation to others more real and historical might be to ask, Are we asking the right questions? 97


W ithout taking into serious consideration the question-form we can never expect to resolve any global, historical, or social crisis. So, the ques tions themselves are not at issue, but questioning the manner in which we present these questions s eems to be the most pressing issue for Derrida. Regarding the affirmation of the messianic or messianicity, Derrida takes great care to distinguish messianicity from both religious messianism and utopia. Derrida refers to messianicity as a universal st ructure of experience, which anticipates the coming of a real, concrete event, that is, to the most ir reducibly heterogeneous otherness. Nothing is more realistic or immediate than this me ssianic apprehension, straining forward toward the event of him who/that which is coming. I say apprehension, because this experience, strained forward toward the ev ent, is at the same time a waiting without expectation (an active preparation, anticipation against th e backdrop of a horizon, but also exposure without horizon, and therefore an irreducible amalgam of desire and anguish, affirmation and fear, promise and threat). (248-9) Derridas messianicity is not merely inseparabl e from an event or future moment, it also calls for the participation from the other, necess itates an undeconstructible notion of justice, and is contingent upon the extent to which one finds hi mself or herself responsible to this messianic commitment. This messianicity differs from Walter Benjamins weak Messianic power in that it attempts to dissociate itself from all forms of Judaism, unlike Benjamins version. Benjamins weak Messianic power refers to a power with which we have all been endowed like every generation that has preceded us, a power to whic h the past has a claim. That claim cannot be settled cheaply. Historical materi alists are aware of that (Theses on the Philosophy of History 254). His version is linked tenuously to the figure of the Me ssiah. Derridas messianicity, however, attempts to do away with the religious figure of messianism almost completely, though he recognizes that the structur e of the messianic has a rather complicated relationship with the Messiah. Derrida is arguably much le ss clear about this relationship in Specters but clarifies for us the distinction between Benjamins fo rmulation and his own (messianic without messianism) in Marx and Sons when he tells us that the messianic without messianism no 98


longer has an essential connecti on w ith the memory of a speci fic historical and religious revelation, and on the other hand, a messiah-figur e. The structure of messianicity without messianism tries to exclude these two conditions at all costs. It isnt that Derrida believes we should reject these two conditions, but the possib ility of a messianicity without messianism is contingent upon their impossibility. We might say that the difference betw een messianism and messianicity without messianism is, like many of Derridas examples of deconstructed binary oppositions, the movement of diffrance. Though I havent the space here to elaborate much more on the sequence of these particular ope rationsthat is, determining which operation precedes the other, messianism or messianicity without messianismwe can assume that Derrida has conceptualized these ordered operations, which w ould enable the promise that accompanies the event that then leads to justice. The second consequence subtends a more articulate elaboration of the first and calls for both a depoliticization and a repoliticization of a certain kind of Marxism. If we attend to the theoretical and political disast ers and the Marxists response to them, we should find that Marxism has clearly not dealt with these disasters as effectively as it might have. Depoliticizing Marxism in light of these disastrous historical failures enables us to repoliticize a different inheritance of Marx. Du ring this discussion of repoliticization, Derrida responds to his Marxist critics who aim to discredit hi s version of unorthodox Marxism. He charges Eagleton, one of the last statutory Marxists who defend traditional, orthodox Marxism, with maintaining an imperturbably triumphal tone and wonders where Eagleton finds his inspiration and haughtiness. He regards Spivak as one who has a jealous possessiveness in the name of the proprietary, and he wonders with amazement a nd amusement at those like Ahmad who claim 99

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either openly or indirectly to inherit a specific Marx. Referring to a comment that Spivak m akes in Ghostwriting, Derrida asks, In the name of what, on the basi s of what claim, exactly, does one even dare confess a proprietorial reac tion? Merely making such a confession presupposes that a title deed has been duly authenticated, so that one can adamantly c ontinue to invoke it in defending ones property. But who ever authenticat ed this property right, especially in the present case? (222). I find this li ne of questioning relevant not onl y in the case of Marxism, but also in the case of deconstruction, which I will a ddress in the next chapter. Nonetheless, Derrida does not argue that the fall of Marxism can be attr ibuted to those overzealous Marxists, for that would be saying too much, he says. He ac knowledges, however, that their proprietorial attitudes on Marx certainly do not make matters any better or, in his words, contribute to setting things right (223). The genius of Specters lies specifically in Derridas discussion of inheritance and messianicity, something that seems to be lost on those claiming proprietary feelings for Marx. Derrida argues that the text assumes multiple filiations and affiliations, many of them contradictory, either simultaneously or su ccessively. In identifying itself as a book on inheritance, Specters also analyzes, questions andlet us say, to save timedeconstructs the law of filiation, particularly patrimonial filiat ion, the law of the father-son lineage: whence the insistence on Hamlet although this could be justified in many other ways as well (231). If this intention was not clear to his Marxist critics after their reading of Specters the title of Derridas response alone, Marx and Sons, should have clarified the issue. In reading the gesture of paternal filiation and affiliation in Specters Derrida is, as he claims emphasizing that the question of woman and se xual difference is at the heart of this analysis of spectral filiation. Specifically, this question of sexual differen ce commands everything that is said, in Specters of 100

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Marx, about ideology and fetishism (231). He argues that this thread can be followed to his analysis of fetishism in Glas and especially to his reference to Hamlet the paternal specter, and the visor effect. Presumptively, Derrida anti cipates the question of inheritance and Marx, where we must consider that the rights to an inheritance (especially of ones name, such as Marx) lie squarely with the father. One inherits the name of the father (Marx). When one claims exclusive rights to an inheritance, one is in essence arguing fo r possession of something. In the case of his Marxist critics, the presumptively legitimate Marxists and communists and presumptively legitimate sons seem to complain of having been dispossessed of his patrimony or prioprietoriality (231). In this sense, Ahmad, Eagleton, and especially Spivak are, as exclusive heirs of Marx, sons. Derrida argues that this paternal filiation is merely a legal fiction, which applies historically not only to paternity but also to maternity. He underscores this point brilliantly in his invocation of me ssianicity without messi anism. For if this gesture conjures the Messiah or Jewish figure, we should indeed recognize that Jewishness is handed down through the maternal line, not the paternal line. It is at this interstice, the paternal filiation with respect to Marx and the maternal filiation regarding the messianic, where we find a necessary negation, where the father (Marx) is undercut by the questi on of woman and sexual difference that has been all but silent, there yet not there. At this scene where the negation occurs, Derrida opens up the question of filiati on, affiliation, and possession in a manner that encompasses the other. We are all heirs of Marx, as well as the multiple and contradictory orders that he has handed down. This argument that Derr ida proposes will be most relevant in Chapter Four when I discuss what we might possibly inherit from Derrida. The third juncture, the perverformative consists of two relations necessary for any formulation of repoliticizati on. The first relation is simply taking into consideration a 101

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perform ative dimension of the text, either in a linguistic sense or regard ing trace and writing, all of which are always determined and overdetermined, the latter of which being the second relation. Derrida believes that the argumentation in his te xts over the last qua rter of century has been o verdetermined primarily because he has always wanted to work outside of Austins program or to attempt to transform the theory of the performative from wi thin, to deconstruct it, which is to say, to overdetermine the theory itself, to put it to work in a different way, within a different logicby challenging, here again, a certain ontology, a value of full presence that conditions ( phenomenologico modo ) the intentionalist motifs of seriousness, felicity, the simple opposition between felicity and infelicity, and so on. ( Specters 224) He refers to several texts that attempt to pervert the performative, noting foremost Signature Event Context and ending with Specters. He does not say much about the extent to which he does this, but considering the texts th at he mentions, we can assume that this perverformative project has a great deal to do w ith reversing the order of operations in various phenomena and history that we pe rceive to be rather natural. Before I discuss briefly how Derrida describes his approach to the performativ e in Signature Event Context, I would first like to rehearse quickly Austin s notion of the performative. In How to Do Things with Words J. L. Austin problematizes a widely-held belief in philosophy at that time, a belief that to utter sentences is to state f acts, which can either be true or false. Austin argues, on the contra ry, that true/false sentences fo rm only one particular range of utterances, what we might consid er constative utterances. He sugge sts that there is another form of utterances, performative, which performs a certain kind of action. Through a rigorous philosophical approach, he attempts to distinguish between a cons tative and performative utterance. One initial distinction might be that while the former reports something, the latter does something. For example, in the case of marriage, the utterance I doone of Austins most famous examples of a performativeperforms an action and carries with it a certain force, 102

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whose effects are subs tantial. One of the effects is that those two parties involved in the marriage enter into a legally binding agreement in which bot h parties become not only responsible to each other, but also to the State. A constative versi on of I do might be a re sponse to a question such as Do you feel better? If I were to utter, I do (feel bett er) I would not have entered an agreement, obligation, or contract. The utterance w ould not have carried with it a force similar to the one in the context of marriag e. To respond I do in this case would be simply to report on the status of my health. As Timothy Gould argues, this distinction might seem quite simple and even simpleminded (20), to characterize the constative a nd performative as simply to say something and do something. Austin himself recognizes the stakes in challenging the assumption in philosophy that to say something is to state something. If, for philosophy, statements can either be true or false, then Austin wants to consider the perform ative a statement that might fail or be unhappy (infelicitous). For a smooth, happy (felicitous) perf ormative, six conditions must be satisfied: There must exist an accepted conventional pr ocedure having a certain conventional effect, that procedure to include the uttering of certain words by certain persons in certain circumstances, and further, the particular persons and circumstances in a given case must be appropriate for the invocation of the particular procedure invoked. The procedure must be executed by all participants both correctly and completely. Where, as often, the procedure is designed for the use by persons having certain thoughts or feelings, or for the ina uguration of certain consequent ial conduct on the part of any participant, then a person participating in and so invoking the procedure must in fact have those thoughts or feelings, and the participants must intend so to conduct themselves, and further must actually so conduct themselves subsequently. (14-5) 103

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Austin notes that if we do not satisfy any one or more of these ru les, our perform ative utterance will be unhappy. For Gould, Austins stra tegy was not to substitute performance and its various effects for truths. His strategy was rather to drag the fe tish of true and false into the same swamp of assessment and judgment in which we find the dimension of happiness and unhappiness that afflicts our pe rformative utterances (23). Gould believes that Austins motivation for decoupling the perfor mative from the true/false dic hotomy was that he wanted to locate in language those regions in which we mi ght find (or fail to find) relations to the world and its inhabitants, or to locat e what Derrida regards as the d ifference of force. Austin is concerned with three forces, locutionary, illocutio nary, and perlocutionary, especially the latter two. A locutionary act, Austin explains, is roug hly equivalent to meani ng in the traditional sense (108). It is the utterance of certain noise s, the utterance of certain words in a certain construction, and the utterance of them with a cert ain meaning in the favourite philosophical sense of that word, i.e. with a certain sense and with a certain reference (94). Austin defines illocutionary acts as utterances having a cer tain conventional forc e. These acts include informing, ordering, warning, and undertaki ng, and they involve the securing of uptake (116). The perlocutionary act, on the other ha nd, is what we bring about or achieve by saying something, such as convincing, persuading, deterring, and even, say, surprising or misleading (108). So, if the illocutionary act is bound up with effects, th e perlocutionary act produces effects. Of these two acts, Gould writes: The locutionary act of saying, for instan ce, the words Im sorry may have the illocutionary force of an apology. It might al so have the force of a confession, or a provocation, or even a kind of oblique accusa tion. We must further distinguish between understanding that the words had the force of an apology and the fact that the apology was accepted When the former occurs, then Austin says that what he calls uptake has been secured. The latter, on the other hand, is th at sort of thing that Austin calls the perlocutionary force or effect of the utterance. Such effects might include mollifying, or indeed, further irritating the offended party. (29) 104

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In Signature Event Context, Derrida argues that Austins analysis seem s to have one root, despite his attempt to locate language beyond the true/false dichotomy in an analysis that is patient, open, aporetic, in constant transformati on, often more fruitful in the recognition of its impasses than in its positions (322). The common r oot is that Austins notion of locution and its structure fail to take into account a system of predicates called graphematic in general which presupposes the value of context. What Austin ca lls total context depe nds significantly on the series of infelicities that might affect the even t of the performative, a se ries that always returns this element of total context. One of these esse ntial elements is consciousness, the conscious presence of the intention of th e speaking subject for the totality of his locutory act (322). Performative utterances are con tingent upon the conscious intenti onality of the one who utters and the one who receives the utterance. The consequence of this intentionality, for Derrida, is that, teleologically, no remainder escapes the present totalization of language. In other words, both the infelicitous and felicitous remain within the total structure of language and make possible the performative utterance. Th e performative takes context and the graphematic of writing into account. Derrida cites two passages from How to Do Things with Words The first passage explains that appropriate circumstances are necessary for the performative to be happy, and in the second passage, Austin discusses the six possibilities and origins of the infelicities of the performative utterance, which I have noted above. Derrida argue s that these six criteria are typical of the philosophi cal tradition that Austin wants to av oid. Of this tendency for Austin to invoke the totalizing context wher e intentionality remains the or ganizing principle, Derrida writes: It consists in recognizing that the possibility of the negative (here, the infelicities ) is certainly a structural possibilit y, that failure is an essentia l risk in the operations under consideration; and th en, with an almost immediately simultaneous gesture made in the 105

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nam e of a kind of ideal regulation, an exclusion of this risk as an accidental, exterior one that teaches us nothing about the lan guage phenomenon under consideration. (323) Derridas point is that Austin seems so cons umed with making his argument regarding the performative utterances and illocutory acts that he fails to engage the conventionality of the locutory act itelf, which precedes illocution. Th e arbitrariness of th e sign and of language precedes the possibility of the constitution of the performative. Without language and its originary relation to meaning, the performative does not exist. This point raises Derridas second argument, that the risk or failure of the performative is just as essential a predicate as the conventions that make possible the felicitous statem ent. The possibility of failure and risk, that which constitutes an accident, is necessary fo r the success of the performative, and we cannot speak of the success and failure of illocution or perlocution without accounting for the structure of locution in a general, systematic manner. Derrida refers to this risk or failure of language as a certain structural parasitism inherent in language. This structural parasitism will play its most important role in what Austin excludes as anomalous, exceptional, non-serious, that is, citation (on the stage, in a poem, or in a soliloqu y), the determined modification of a general citationalityor ra ther, a general iterabilitywithout which there would not even be a successful performative (325). De rrida then recognizes that a su ccessful performative is an impure performative, which Austin himself co ncludes. The utterance I do can only be authentic in certain circumstances. Out of context, this utterance functions merely as an impure citation. Derrida sets up this probl em of citationality in order to approach the performative from another aspect, not necessarily fr om the side of the positive, ha ppy performative or the negative, infelicitous utterance, but from the indispensabil ity of the graphematic st ructure of language. An event or an occurrence during which a performative succeeds, pr esupposes not only its citational double that must fail, but also the coded, iterable statement which becomes identifiable as a 106

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citation. In this gesture, the inte ntionality of the speaker of th e utterance becom es secondary to different types of marks or chains of iterabl e marks, whereby the intention which animates utterance will never be completely present in itse lf and its content. The iteration which structures it a priori introduces an essential dehiscence and demarcation (326). From this formulation, Derrida does not wish to concl ude anything outside of the followi ng: the effects of speech, of the performative, of writing, and of ordinary language do not exclude what is generally opposed to them term by term, but on the contrary presuppos e it in disymmetrical fashion, as the general space of their possibility (327). The logic by which Derrida is authorized to posit the notion of dissymmetrical eff ects of language is diffrance that which signifies the difference between specter and spirit, where the specter is not only the carnal appariti on of the spirit, its phenomenal body, its fallen and guilty body, it is al so the impatient and nostalgic waiting for redemption, namely, once again, for a spirit ( Specters 136). Diffrance then names the subtle difference between the successful citation/iterable mark (spirit) and its failed citational double (specter), which awaits the redemption of the felicitous performative. I would now like to return to the particular moment that Derrida mentions in Marx and Sons, the lecture during which he addresses specters of Marx. At this cruc ial point, we arrive at the term inheritance. If the lecture presents itself not in the present on the question of inheritance, but as a response to the 11th of the Theses on Feuerbach we might generally regard this moment as one where Derrida takes a position on responsibil ity in an un-timely, performative fashion. In this performative contex t, we might substitute the terms felicitousinfelicitous with faithful-unfaithful, terms suggested by Derrida himself, and consider performatively how one is to be faithful to Marxs heritage. Derrida hints that Specters in fact is a book about being faithful, or unfaithful out of faithfulness to Marx and tells us 107

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straightforwardly that it is a book about inheritance and applie s to everyone, m an and woman. Specters is also about about what an inheritance can enjoin in a manner both contradictory and binding. What exactly is our responsibility in responding to a herita ge that hands us contradictory orders? Please permit the following di gression in the form of a question: Is Derridas characterization of contradictory orders not similar to what Fa non encountered in attempting to reconcile the prodigious theses of Europe with how Europe chose to apply (and not apply) those very theses to its colonial occupations? How was Fanon to respond to and feel responsible for both the humanism and Enlightenment about which he had learned as a student of the lyceums and universities of Martinique a nd France, especially after the di scrimination he experienced as a soldier fighting for France and as an Algerian revolutionary? Jean-Paul Sartre explains the difficulty of Fanons response in his Preface to The Wretched of the Earth when [the golden age of whitewashing] came to an end; the mouths opened by themselves; the yellow and black voices still spoke of our humanism but only to reproach us with our inhumanit y. We did not doubt but that they would accept our ideals, since they accused us of not being faithful to them (7-8). He continues: A new generation came on the scene, which ch anged the issue. With unbelievable patience, its writers and poets tried to expl ain to us that our values and th e true facts of their lives did not hang together, and that they could neither reject them completely nor yet assimilate them. By and large, what they were saying was this: You are making us into monstrosities; your humanism claims we are at one with the rest of humanity but your racist methods set us apart. [Still,] what native in his senses would go off to massacre the fair sons of Europe simply to become European as they are? (8-9) If Negri presumes that Derrida s (deconstructions) approach is insufficient as a Marxian response to evolving global politi cs, then how are we to situat e the revolutionary politics of Fanon, the one who argues that Marxist analysis should always be slig htly stretched? In conceiving of the various possibili ties for responding to contradict ory orders, we have on the one 108

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109 hand Derridean deconstruction that anticipates the possibility and the phenomenality of the political and also the possibility of a hauntology or discourse on spectrality that makes possible ontology, theology, and positive or negative onto-th eology (the question of the philosophical). On the other hand, we have Fanonian deconstruc tion, a new humanism, which I will discuss in more detail in chapter six, that presupposes th e political in the form of a disruption to the ontologicalthe only way to escape the Manichean de lirium of colonization is to deconstruct it, to destroy itand the philosophical, which recognizes the indispensability of rationality. Both versions have Marxian dialectics as a foundational base from which to start, but both recognize that strict adherence to its ort hodox principles will not be sufficien t for their respective contexts. What seems to distinguish these two deconstructi ons is the same thing th at distinguishes spirit from specter, speech from writing, and th e performative from the constative: diffrance I raise these points in this digressi on about Derrida and Fa non in order to suggest that Derridas insistence on the performative context of his lectur e may be more relevant than his critics and he himself seem willing to admit, and that his conn ection to Africa and Marx by way of Chris Hani should not be taken lightly. I will explore this idea in the next chapter.

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CHAP TER 4 ACT III: A FRICAN If Jacques Derrida has argued in Marx and Sons that many of his Marxist detractors have conveniently overlooked the pe rformative context of his Specters lecture, Christopher Wise is one critical sympathizer of d econstruction who certainly has no t missed this point. Ultimately, his critiques represent the filli ng in or closing up of fissures left open by many responses to Specters. Where many of these responses to the text range from engagements with the constellation of spectrality to th e New International or from m essianicity without messianism to justice and law, Wise has examined more closely Derridas relati on not only to Marx and Marxism but also to Africa. He has also pondered Derridas failure to engage more fully on the question of Palestine, but I will not consider extensively the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in this dissertation. In this chapter, I will focus pr imarily on a more manifest connection between Derrida and Africa via several cr itiques by Wise: Saying Yes to Africa: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx, Deconstructionism and Zionism: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx, The Figure of Jerusalem: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx, and Derrida a nd the Palestinian Question. In looking at these te xts, I would like to propose an alternative perspective on the highly determinant context in which Derrida presented Specters one that opens up the possibility of Derrida deepening a solidarity with Africa, but also one that eventually leads us back to Fanon, Algeria, and Cogito et histoire de la folie. To emphasize this approach, I will draw upon Geoffrey Benningtons Mosaic Fragment: if Derrida were an Egyptian take a br ief look at Gayatri Spivaks Philosophy from Critique of Postcolonial Reason and re-examine the Derridean terms diffrance deconstruction, and spectrality to re-imagine Derridas performativ e act in the highly determinant context of the Whither Marxism? conference. 110

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First, I would like to esta blish the rationale for opening up the questi on of Derrida as one who deepens his solidarity with Af rica, a question that expresses an attempt to test the limits of deconstruction. As a form of intellectual and cult ural decolonization, deco nstruction is concerned with decolonization and Africa, a term I use to refer to the con tinent and its continuous quest to decolonize. Sanya Osha identifies four areas of reflection with respect to Africas decolonization efforts: (1) the changing sociopolitical cond itions within the African continent; (2) the inclusion of global configura tions within the contemporary movement and how they impact on the conditions in the African con tinent; (3) the meditation on the historical transformations in the discourse of decolonization itself in order to keep track of its turns and changes; and (4) the reconceptualization of the project and discour se of decolonization where and when necessary with a view to doing away with them altogether if old conceptual models fail to describe adequately present realities ( 135). In this project, I am c oncerned with the fourth area, examining the manner in which Derrida and Fanon a ttempts to reconceptualize or renegotiate not only decolonization, but also that which may remain afterward. Furthermore, Osha mentions several African philosophers committed to the task of developing discourses on decolonization Messay Kebede, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Kwasi Wiredu, and V. Y. Mudimbe, to name a fewand I would like to assert here that Derrida, in ali gning himself with Africa, extends his intellectual currency to this cause. The Specters of Derrida and Property Rights Christopher Wises orientation to and enthusiasm for Specters developed as early as April 1993 at the Whither Marxism? conference, wh ere he was an attendee. Though Wise publicly discusses this orientation very little, one might ga ther that his initial enthusiasm originates with Derridas dedication of his Specters of Marx le ctures to Chris Hani and his mention of stillthen-existent South African apartheid in an in tellectual environment that promised Marxist 111

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scholar ship from all over the globe but failed to produce a single black African theorist on its roster of distinguished thinke rs and participants. Therein lie s the nature of his earliest disappointments, with the conference itself, not so much with De rridas lectures. In truth, Wise considers Specters one of the most important texts of cultu ral theory to appear since the end of the Cold War. He writes, Its literary virtuosity is as remarkable as its value in suggesting new directions for radical po litics in the post-Marxist dispensa tion, especially on an international scale (Saying Yes 124). His appreciation for Derridas text converges at the place or highly determinant context that has been ignored by many, especially Derridas Marxist critics. Of this context, Wise writes: What must be emphasized is that Specters of Marx functioned in the first instance as a voiced performance at a specific place and tim e. Not unlike the Platonic dialogues Derrida has famously subverted, Specters of Marx must be construed as a book that seeks to subvert its own status as a merely reified and spatial artifact. Although surprisingly few commentators have remarked upon this books deconstruction of the book form, it is finally impossible to divorce Specters of Marx perverformative and stubbornly antilogocentric basis in temporality. (124) Wise attributes the lack of critical attention of Specters as an example of the deconstruction of the book form and as a performance at a particular place and time to Derridas status as a uniquely African theorist of Sephardic, Maghrebia n, and Judaic experience. In Deconstruction and Zionism, Wise has remarked th at many theorists, especially those included in Michael Sprinkers Ghostly Demarcations, have failed also to anal yze Derridas discussion of the Middle East, his remarks on the state of Israel and a certain Jewish [i.e.] Zi onist discourse on the Promised Land (56). The myopic range of Marxist critique becomes even more regrettable when we consider that Ghostly Demarcations omits not only Gayatri Chakravorty Spivaks Ghostwriting, but also any other feminist analyses of Specters, which is actually a text that problematizes patriarchal filiati on and affiliation. Regardi ng the contributors to Sprinkers volume, Wise notes that they offer im pressive analyses of Derridas formulation of 112

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spectrality, but none of them puts forth convincin g counterarguments to show how Derrida errs in his assertion that Marx remains stuck in a mythology of the real. Wise writes, The best that critics in Sprinkers volume seem able to muster is that Derrida, like Marx, equally remains a prisoner of ontology [Negri 13], or that Marx may be more sensitive to spectrality than Derrida suggests [Jameson 58], adding very little to Jamesons by now thirty-year-old argument that deconstruction promotes a metaphysics of the text, or a dogma of the signifier [ PrisonHouse of Language 195] (Deconstruction and Zionism 57) According to Wise, Spivak is perhaps one of the only critics who has challenged Derridas critique of Marx in any productive manner. For Wise, very few (if any) criticisms touch upon anything remotely cl ose to the political, namely the question of Africa or of Palestine. He argues that anyone unwilling to suspend his or her preconceptions of Derridas work as being exclusively Western, ther efore outside of the scope of the Africa and the Middle East, will undoubtedly blunt the coup de force of Specters that is his critique of metaphysics latent within Marxist theory. Ultimately, Wise is challenging those who are proprietorial about Derrida in a manner consistent with Derridas analysis in both Specters and especially Marx and Sons regarding th e proprietary nature of Marxists unwilling or unable to see, hear, or accept more than one specter of Marx, for there are always several specters, Derrida reminds us. To put this point another way, anyone unwilling to ente rtain critical possibilities outside of traditiona l deconstructionist criticism would be practicing something akin to proprietoriality or, more pointedly, jeal ous possessiveness, a phr ase Derrida uses to characterize so many Marxists (Marx and Sons 222). Indeed, are there not several specters of Derrida that haunt us? I reproduce here De rridas reaction to Spiv ak, who professes her proprietoriality for Marx, to speak more directly about this point: In the name of what, on the 113

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basis of what claim exactly, does one even dare confess a proprietorial reaction? Merely making such a confession presupposes that a title deed has been duly auth enticated, so that one can adamantly continue to invoke it in defending ones property. But who ever authenticated this property right, especially in the present case? (Marx and Sons 222). Who can lay claim to know Derrida more than the others? We know that he was never particular ly enthusiastic about those critics who have never opene d a single text of his, but fo r those of us who have been devoted readers of Derrida, why have we been more than willing to accept these one-sided, Eurocentric narratives of Derridas work, simply because he himself has followed this trajectory? Wouldnt this sort of occult following be akin to se rving in the interests of author intentionality? I certainly do not want to disc redit any of the work on Derrida that has appeared over the last thirty years, but I do want to raise the possibility that the general economy of the system in which Derridas work appears is perhaps much larger than has generally been considered. I preempt Derridas own line of inquiry into pr operty rights and proprietorial reaction in order to allow for a general cons ideration of Wises critique to enter into this system. This Derridean logic, turned against or onto itself rath er, is indeed an example of deconstruction, not necessarily auto-or self-critique, as self-prese nce is impossible, Derrida tells us. Derridas critique of property rights invites his critics and followers alike to recognize the various specters that manifest themselves in his work, especia lly if these specters are not explicit. Wises approach arguably represents an acceptan ce of this invitation, which would enable deconstruction to challenge its own scope, extend its parameters, and open itself more to the possibility of the other. Counter to what his Marxists critics have proposed when arguing that deconstruction grants itself immunity while deco nstructing Marxism, Derrida genuinely invites his readers to point out the fissure s that may be implicit or apparent in his critiques. Indeed, it 114

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would be disingenuous of hi m if he refused to ac cept de-constructive criticism, especially given his relationship to deconstruction and his open acceptance of an Hegelian unhappy consciousness as early as his Cogito et historie de la folie that inspires one to challenge the master in good faith. This consciousness seems more than simply a responsibility to the te xt, but furthermore an obligation, one that summons some one like Derrida to critique hi s mentor Michel Foucault in Cogito on the subject of Reason. As highly as Wi se regards Derrida, much of his enthusiasm for Specters began to erode during the 2001-2 and 2002-2 academic years when he taught U.S. foreign policy and cultural studies at the Univ ersity of Jordan, Amman, during which time the Israelis conducted military operations in Ramallah, Jenin, Gaza, and elsewhere. The majority of his students were of Palestinian orig in, as was true of most of the residents at that time. Of this period, he writes in Derrida and the Palestinian Question, it was possible to hear raucous protests, marches, flag-burnings (of US and Israeli flags) from the seminar room where we met (para. 2). His concerns about the questions raised in Specters were further shaped by this experience, and in this particular article on the question of Palestin e, his hope is that the reader might hear the echo of his students voices and disappointments in his work. Based on the previous considerations, I pr oceed with the foll owing critique of Specters, which is framed particularly ar ound the concerns of those who wish to see the scope of Derridas work extend beyond the usual Western paradigms, and those who have neither an authentic, original orientation to Western intellectualism nor an affinity fo r it. (Here, I am thinking of Wises Palestinian students and others similar to them.) Also, this critique represents a challenge to the limits of deconstruction. It is to ask, W ill deconstruction forever remain a prisoner of metaphysics or an unorthodox philosophy relegated to the confines of Western and/or Greek history? Or can it exist as uni quely other than or prior to metaphysics and philosophy, which 115

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Derrida h as repeatedly insisted ? Or, better yet, can deconstruc tion be something inherently African and/or Egyp tian analogically? Affirmation Wise argues that deconstruction, despite its limitations, may be commensurate with traditional African concerns, more specifically t he European stigmatization of illiteracy, the iconoclasticism of Judeo-Muslim hermeneutics, and the orality-aurality of traditional African culture (124). Looking back at the context of the Whither Marxism? conference, which did not engage a single black African theorist or ba rely made any reference to an African nation, Wise remembers two guests who could claim African identity: Jacques Derrida and Abdul JanMohammed, whose paper on Michel Foucau lts indebtedness to Marx proved largely irrelevant to the question of Marxisms future in Africa. The sole, relevant connection to Africa is Derridas dedication to Hani at the outset of his lectures, a dedication which represents a violent rhetorical strategy or deconstructive intervention for Wise. The intervention begins with the first sentence of Specters : One name for another, a part for the whole: the historic violence of Apartheid can alwa ys be treated as a metonymy (xv). The metonymic displacement of this historic violence functions on at least two levels: (1) for me, it signifies the violence endemic not only to apartheid, but also to other oppressive systems. Using this formulation, Derrida seems to suggest that we can locate violen ce (in a general sense) in places such as South Africa and the Promised Land, where Mi ddle-Eastern violence is an unleashing of messianic eschatologies and infinite comb inatory possibilities of holy alliances (Specters 58). Violence can also be found in economic wars, national wars, wars among minorities, the unleashing of racisms and xenophobias, ethnic conflicts conflicts of culture and religion that are tearing apart so-called democratic Europe and the world today ( Specters 80). (2) For Wise, the metonymic displacement consists largely on the level of aparthei d as a rhetorical strategy and 116

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deconstru ctive intervention where ju stice and the other is something beyond deconstruction. He writes, If apartheid, which is said to be defunct but which flouris hes today in places like Israel, Mauritania, and the Sudan, is evoked for its metony mic value, the historic violence of apartheid seems to justify Derridas usurping of Chris Hanis rightful place (Saying Yes 126). Wise believes that Derrida, claiming Hanis place, ultimat ely serves as a stand-in for Hani and, in doing so, emphasizes the undeconstructible alterity of Hani. According to Wise, the problem with and fortunate thing about th is strategy is not simply that Derrida risks disl odging Hani, but that we do not know if justice will be delivered in such a gesture of standing in for Hani, as justice is something for which one awaits. The dedication amounts then to Derridas affirmation of his solidarity for a fellow African, rather th an speak[ing] for that absent black African voice (126). This affirmation of solidarity tends to get lost when Derridas readers ignore the racial and ethical dimensions of his oeuvre. For an apparent example of thes e dimensions, Wise points us to Derridas White Mythology, where he define s metaphysics as A white mythology which assembles and reflects Western culture: the wh ite man takes his own mythology (Indo-European mythology), his logosthat is, the my thos of his idiom, for the unive rsal form of that which it is still his inescapable desire to call Reason ( 11). Derrida then define s white mythology as a metaphysics that has effaced in itself that fabul ous scene which brought it into being, and which yet remains, active and s tirring, inscribed in white ink, an invisible drawing covered over in the palimpsest (ibid). We see here, in a style atypical of what Negr i refers to as Derridas sad sidestepping, that Reason, metaphysics, my thology, and logos are all Western, European constructions, each contingent upon its ability to fold into itself its fabulous scene of origin. After this constant folding, we are always left with this fabulous scene, which is always 117

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scream ing out to be deconstructed. These two citations from White Mythology return us curiously to the citation taken from Derridas Cogito et histoire de la folie that forms the basis of this work: A bit like how the anti-colonialist revolution can only liberate itself from a de facto Europe or West in the name of transcendent al Europe, that is, of Reason, and by letting itself first be won over by its values, its language its technology, its armaments; an irreducible contamination or incoherence that no cryI am thinking of Fanonscould exorcise, no matter how pure and intransigent it is If Reason is the white mans mythology reflecting and assembling his culture, and sites of colonial occupation are sites that experience the inculcation of Reason, we can see precisely how problematic it may be for the anti-c olonialist revolution to liberate itself from a framework which cons tantly evokes the scene of metaphysics and mythology. This Cogito reference, in the contex t of Wises discussion, points us toward the indissociability of Reason and revolution, much like the mutually incl usive combination of madness and reason in the referen ces original context. It also leads the way for conceiving a pure and intransigent cry in the infinite loop of Reason, in which Derrida positions not only Frantz Fanon but also himself. One could say, th en, that his original affirmation of solidarity with Africa coincides with his initial invocation of Fanon in Cogito, which emerges as a fabulous scene, only to experience a disso lution in subsequent publications with the effacement of the Fanon reference. If we follow Wises argument, that Derri da is always seeking to undermine the metaphysical and religious biases built into Western understandings of the real, we might conclude that Derrida unveils this disentanglement in Specters by invoking Hani. To illustrate this point, Wise does not invoke Derrida, the Afri can, but Derrida, the jewgreek, who appeals to the Greco-Roman as the dark brother. He contin ues, It is no exaggera tion to think of this 118

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prodigal son of a Greek father as engaged in a fo rm of parricide, as a Maccabean slayer of Zeus (Saying Y es 127). To make sense of the jewgr eek figure in relation to the racial and ethical dimensions of Derridas critique as well as language (alphabe tic writing versus hieroglyphic writing), it might be more instructive to cons ult Geoffrey Benningtons Mosaic Fragment: if Derrida were an Egyptian Derridas T he Pit and the Pyramid, and Gayatri Spivaks Philosophy. Pyramids, Aufhebung Signs (P a S) Bennington begins his Mosaic Fragment with the following association: Jewgreek is greekjew: but greekjew is Egyptian (97). He devotes the re mainder of his fragments to exploring Derridas identity as one who is neit her wholly Jew nor Greek, but one who arrives prior to those designations: an Egyptian. He argues that Egyptian motifs appear regularly at important moments in Derridas te xt, more specifically Derridas readings of Plato and Hegel, and asks, What is the place of Egypt in deco nstruction? Is there any sense in insisting on Derrida, greekjew or jewgreek, as North African, analogically Egyptian? To begin to answer these questions, Bennington suggests that one need look no further than Derri das definition of deconstruction, the systematic interruption of the Hegelian Aufhebung and that which attacks and criticizes such things as totalization and absolute knowledge (Mosaic Fragment 98). Bennington points to several texts, particularly The Pit and the Pyramid, in which Derrida opposes philosophy, dialectics, metaphysics, lo gos, alphabetic writing and Reason to hieroglyphic writing, which resists the movements of the aforementioned. Deconstruction finds itself in a position similar but more difficult than hieroglyphic writing as it attempts to resist metaphysics, but deconstruction can only do so by searching for the remainders discarded by philosophy. As such, deconstruction finds itse lf playing an interminable game with Hegelianism, which it is desperat ely important not to seem to have won, at risk of having to 119

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accept the end of any foundationalist philosop hy, and therefore the uselessness of such erudite questioning of it (Mosaic Fragment 99). Derr ida begins this game in The Pit and the Pyramid by mark[ing] effectively the displacements of the sites of conceptual inscription and articulat[ing] the systematic chains of the m ovement according to their proper generality and their proper period, according to their unevennesses [ sic ], their inequalities of development, the complex figures of their inclusions, implications, ex clusions, etc. (72). For Derrida, it is rather foolish to think that one coul d produce a reductive account of any given concept by eradicating differences or that one could locate an or igin or overlook long sequences and powerful systems. In The Pit and the Pyramid, Derrida atte mpts to develop an account of metaphysics by examining the presence of the theory of the sign on the basis of being-present in Hegels work, specifically Philosophy of Spir it, the third part of Hegels Encyclopedia of Philosophical Sciences I have not the space here to develop this sequence as adequately as Derrida, but will sketch briefly the components of Derridas argument. In Hegels speculative semiology, the sign is understood according to the structure and movement of Aufhebung (often translated as sublation or subreption), by means of which the spirit, eleva ting itself above the nature in which it was submerged, at once suppresses and re tains nature, sublimating nature into itself, accomplishing itself as internal freedom, and thereby presenting itself to itself for itself, as such according to Derrida (76). Derrida descri bes three movements of the development of spiritsubjective, objective, and absolute. The subjective spirit refers to the spirits relation to itself and is an ideal totality of the Idea (con cept). Subjective spirit exists in the form of internal freedom, as Being-near-to-itself. The obj ective spirit refers to a world that produces and is produced in the form of reality. Free dom in this movement becomes a present necessity 120

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( Notwendigkeit ). The final m ovement of spirit, absolute unifies objective and subjective spirit. The unity produces itself eternally and bears ab solute truth. Derrida notes that the first two movements are finite, in that they are transitory. One way that we might understand the function of the three movements of spirit is to consider them in the larger scheme of reconc iliation in the Hegelian system, which emphasizes the completion of a cycle of assertion, negation, and e limination or elevation ( Aufhebung), or in other words, the transitions of the dialectical process. For example, in the case of the Phenomenology of Spirit if we accept that Hegels intention is circumscribed/written within the dialectical experience and moments described ther ein, those moments are to be performed by the reader of the Phenomenology of Spirit Each moment in it is said to present itself to the reader as an immediate appearance of the truth of a phenomenon. Jacques Lezra explains that this immediate appearance only offers us an impove rished sense of truth that excludes reflection, primarily because the initial empirical moment when thought takes account of the experience of the senses or every term at issue bears not only upon my concrete experience, but on the general possibility of beingexperienced of the phenomenon, and on the abstractness of the subject experiencing: the here and now of my e xperience of this object both locate and particularize the experience, and make it comprehensible beyond that particularism, as I can serve to indicate now one, now another grammatical person, and here and now shift in this or that circumstance. (21) In other words, the initial moment brings to consciousness the experi ence of truth being made available to me at a particular moment. This moment also makes me aware that I am no longer simply I, that there is another object before me that denies me an immediate knowledge of myself.22 Once this particular experience presents itself on condition of historicity and as a 22 If we recall, it is this particular moment that Max Stir ner recuperates from Hegel and finalizes into a radicalized oneness/ownness, nearly securing his place as the la st Hegelian for several Hegelian philosophers. 121

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general form of negation proper to the structure of historicity itself, the second m oment extends this initial account to th e sphere of social relations or to the world, as Derrida writes. In this sphere, one enters into relations with others, the State and Re ligion attempt to formalize and legislate this realm, and the slow-moving and self-mediating process of History ( totality the mediately identical-with-itself, A bsolute Knowing, or Spirit that knows itself as Spirit) begins under the auspices of necessity (Lezra 22). Historical necessity is simply concrete historical events that become manifestations of the necessary movement of Geist through natural history. The third moment, then, would consist in unifyin g both the initial and se condary moments, the movement through the first epistemological level, through the conception of historical necessity, to the totality of thought to absolute truth. In Hegelian speculative semiology, the sign serves as the site of the tr ansition between two moments of full presence, Being as presence, or presence in the form of the object, and selfpresence under the rubric of consciousness. Th e sign shuttles from the h ere and now of my experience when I know I am no longer I through the sphere of social relations when my weakness moves through the self-mediating procession of consciousness up the scale of generalities until I reach the moment of Absolu te truth and knowledge. The sign defers this sequence of self-presence in the following manner, according to Derrida: The process of the sign has a history, and signification is even history comprehended : between an original presence and its circular reappropriation in a final presence. The selfpresence of absolute knowledge and the consciousness of Being-near-to-itself in logos, in the absolute concept, will have been distr acted from themselves only for the time of a detour and for the time of a sign. The time of the sign, then, is the time of referral. It signifies self-presence, refers presence to itself, organizes th e circulation of its provisionality. (Pit 76) In essence, the sign announces itself, twice: first attesting to its self-presence and later circulating to affirm its final presence. The ci rcularity or movement of the sign denotes both deferral and difference between self and final presence. 122

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Traditionally, this history of the sign has conform ed to the metaphysical gesture that governs philosophy, in which semiology falls un der the jurisdiction of psychology. Derrida traces this model back to Aristo tle, as does Hegel, who writes, Aristotles books on the soul along with his essays on particular aspects and states of the soul, ar e for this reason still the most admirable, perhaps even the sole, work speculative interest on this topic ( Philosophy of Mind 5). Hegel believes that the primary aim of the ph ilosophy of spirit can only be to reintroduce the unity of idea and principle in to the theory of mind. Derrida argues that not even Saussure deviates from the idea that semiology proceeds from psychology. Semiology also is a part of the theory of the imagination, which links representation ( Vorstellung ), intelligence ( Intelligenz), and sensible intuition/immediacy in Hegels formulation. Since sensible immediacy is s ubjective, intelligence must lift and conserve ( Aufhebung ) this immediacy to be both internal and external. Intelligence then recalls itself to itself in becoming objective. By means of Erinnerung the content of sensible intuition becomes an image, freeing itself from immediacy and singularity in order to permit the passage to conceptuality. The im age thus interiorized in memory is no longer there, no longer existent or present, but preserved in an unconscious dwelling, conserved without consciousness (Pit 77). As intelligence keeps these images in reserve, we can conceive of these reserves as an unconscious or dark pit. From this pit, we ar e led to the Egyptian desert where the pyramid stands as an enigma and is used to designate the sign for Hegel. The sign then becomes a kind of incarnation, a unity of the signifying body and th e signified ideality. The opposition of soul and body, and the opposition of the intelligible and th e sensory condition the difference between the signified (an animating activity ) and the signifier (a body). Th e body, for Hegel, is not only animated, but also a tomb and a sign of death. In a sense, it preserves life in consecrating its 123

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disappearance. It shelters life from death. The body of the sign becomes monumental in the manner in which it encloses, preserves, and mainta ins the soul. At the heart of the monument, the soul keeps itself alive, by, ironically, exposing itself to deat h in its living re lation to its own body. According to Derrida, Hegel insists that the py ramid is a sign rather than a symbol. Signs, known particularly for their arbitrary nature, show no resemblance, participation, or analogy between the signified and the signifier. As a sign, the pyramid emphasizes the condition for the arbitrariness of the sign in two ways. Firs t, the soul consigned to the pyramid is foreign Derrida emphasizes (84). In simpler terms, the soul that emerges in the pyramid neither belongs to nor resembles the architecture in which it is kept. The soul also does not bear any strong relationship to the body from which it emerges or from whic h it distinguishe s itself. In this sense, the heterogeneity of the soul and the body is irreducible, much like the irreducibility of the intelligible and the sensory or the concept or signified ideality and the signifying body. The second manner in which the pyramid emphasizes its arbitrary nature is in its relationship of absolute alterity, in which the imme diate intuition of the signifier represents an entirely other content than that which it has for it self, entirely other than that w hose full presence refers only to itself (84). In this way, the sign is distinguished from the symbol, which Hegel clarifies in the Introduction devoted to Symbolic Art in Aesthetics according to Derrida. In Aesthetics Hegel remarks on the extent to which the Egyptia ns went further than the Hindus in expressing the concept of relations between the natural and th e spiritual and the immortality of the soul. For Hegel, the Egyptians express this id ea of immortality of the soul in Aesthetics as a symbolic artform in the form of pyramids and labyrinths, corridors more than mile long, rooms covered with hieroglyphs, built with th e greatest of care (14). 124

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Inscribed within this m odel of the pyrami d is Hegels theory of the sign, in which alphabetic writing emerges as the privileged phonetic sequence. In the opposition of the intelligent and the sensory, alphabetic writing re presents in the Hegelian philosophy of language the more intelligent. Derrida quotes Hegel at leng th on this point, which I will reproduce here: Alphabetic writing is in and for itself the more intelligent form; in it the word the worthiest mode, peculiar to the intelligence, of expressing its representations, is brought to consciousness and made an object of reflection. Alphabetic writing thereby also retains the advantage of spoken language, that in wr itten as in spoken la nguage representations have genuine names; the name is the simple sign for the genuine, i.e. simple representation, not resolved into its determinati ons and compounded out of them. (Philosophy of Mind 197) Hegel argues that the features of hieroglyphic writing are an tagonistic to the fundamental desideratum of language, which is the name. This form of hieroglyphic writing for Hegel arises from an antecedent analysis of ideas, whereby its composition can be reduced simply to strokes, like the Chinese Koua, and is tied to the sensory representation of the thing that it represents. Hegel argues that hieroglyphic writing remains too symbolic and has no relation to the sonorous sign. It holds b ack the spirit in its quest for circ umlocution and stands largely as a poor model for science and philosophy. Dec onstruction, for its pa rt, highlights the contradictions inherent in Hegels thought on this subject, especially wi th respect to Chinese grammar. Chinese syntax, supposedly in a state of stagnant primitiveness, remains counter to its formalism of mathematical abstraction. Derrida at tributes this movement of contradiction to Hegelian speculative dialectics, which manifests itse lf particularly in unn oticed contradictions, contradictions without concepts (The Pit 102). The initia l contradiction consists in determining the nature of the si gn (pyramid) as symbol or symbo lic, given that it appears as sign and not as symbol in Hegels ear lier formulation. In fact, for Hege l, the symbol in Egypt is an ensemble of symbols, a polysemia, belonging ne cessarily to the struct ure of the hieroglyph, which works as mystery. The mysterious symbolism of the Egyptians is manifest directly as the 125

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riddle, the o bjective riddle par excellence more specifically. Hegel, re ferring to the symbolism of the Sphinx in Greek myth, writes, The symbols e xplanation lies and is to be sought in its selfcontained meaning, in its spirit, just as the famous Greek inscri ption cries out to all mankind: Know Thyself! The light of consciousness is the clarity with which consciousness makes its own substantive content shine strai ght through the shape appropriate to it and in the existence of which it reveals itself alone ( Aesthetics 15). It should be no surprise to Derridas readers that he ends his ruminations on metaphysics, Hegelian speculative dialectics, and the theory of the sign with Heideggers meditations on calculation and machines, both of which can be viewed as posing the same problem regarding function. Simply put, Hegel could never conceive of the place of a machine, which functions, does work, by itself. A machine is defined primarily by its pure functioning, not by its telos or meaning. The language of philosophy, philosophy its elf, cannot think the machine, and it would be disingenuous to put an apparatus in place, as if it had already been anticipated. Derrida here is envisioning a system of constr aints that repeats the living, thinking, and speaking, a system that protests against repe tition. As such, this system can no longer simply be included in metaphysics, and even less in Hegelianism. Derrida encourages to look at the following passage from Heideggers Identity and Difference: The time of thinking is different from the time of calculation that pulls our thinking in all directions. Today the co mputer calculates thousands of relationships in one second. Despite their technical uses, they are inessential (41). Derrida tells us that, to resolve this problem, we cannot revers e the direction of the hi erarchy and attribute an essentiality to technology to change the machinery, the system, or the terrain. What we are left with, essentially, is a system that privilege s speech over writing and one that privileges alphabetic writing over hieroglyphic writing. It is a system that subordinates the hieroglyph and 126

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Egyptian architecture to Greek philosophy and science, which rem ain the highest achievement for the sign. Bennington to the Rescue, or Spivak with the Last Word Derrida traces the history of metaphysics from Aristotle through Hegel to the present, and enables us to view the problematic subordination of hieroglyphic writing and the possibility of its success in a system of constraint s. Despite Derridas adequate sketches in The Pit and the Pyramid, one may still emerge with the sense that deconstruction has truly drawn itself in a corner. To rescue Derrida and deconstruction from this fraught pos ition, Bennington takes a Kantian approach and reads Derrida as an E gyptian. The Kantian exercise of recuperating Derrida from metaphysics begins with Benning ton situating him between Kant the Jew and Hegel the Greek, and also Levinas the Jew, agai nst whom Derrida apparently has never really objected, and Heidegger the Greek, without whom deconstruction could not be possible. I will now characterize these figures briefly. To br oach the relation between Kant and Hegel, Bennington refers to Derridas Glas where the Kantian position is lin ked to that of the Jew, as Hegel conceives it. In Hegels formulation, the Je w is condemned to alienation, cut from Mother Nature and any fixed domicile, and bound to the cut itself. He wanders the earth as a nomad and is in touch not with a transce ndent truth but with quasi-transce ndence which can only take the (formless) form of a command and of a law one cannot understandwhich cannot therefore be rationalbut which is suffered, without mediation, in its letter rather than its spirit (Mosaic 101). Wise reminds us that Judaic theology celebra tes the world coming into being after a divine act of speech. God speaks the world into existence, and for the orthodox Jew, the world is always already saturated with the linguistic (Sa ying Yes 132). This dynamic places Kant and the Jews in a paradigm of oppositional thinking, in which they are stuck between a formalism of the law and an empiricism of ev ents, namely the coming about of the law through 127

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the div ine speech act or, in other words, the expe rience of the spirit that produces effects and takes on the material form. Once these boundaries of formal law and event become apparent, the Jew, Kant specifically, can then fix the boundari es of what is knowable and distance himself from the infinite and unknowable, to which he remains enslaved. Bennington then tells us to imagine Derrida first as Kant, not the Kant of the Enlightenment but Hegels Kant whose YHWE is Hegel. Hegel as God puts Derrida (who is act ually the stand-in for Kant the Jew) in his sufferable place and imposes limits upon what is knowable and what remains an unknowable absolute knowledge. As suffering Jew, Derrida is subjected interminably to an elaboration of a law always in retreat and myster y, jealous of its truth that we can never know, but whose traces we can follow, at best, never arriving at a present perception or an experience (102). Benningtons next move is quite in teresting though rather complicat ed. He argues that if Derrida is to follow the Hegelian track, which permits ye t another reading of metaphysics, Derrida will assume the role of Hegels shadow or double, thus becoming both Hegel and Kant. The move also permits Derrida to make Hegel his doubly mysterious God. As Ka nt, Derrida the Greek, an advocate of metaphysics, finds himself perpetua lly trying to cut himself from Hegel, and as Hegel, Derrida finds himself attached to the cu t from which hes tried to cut himself. Bennington writes, Show that Hegel never really escap ed from Judaism by making him your YHWE. Striving for finite mastery of the letter of philo sophy, enslave yourself to the infinite you admit you cannot understand. Whence deconstructions ve rtigo, fascination an d repulsion, nomadic wandering in the desert, failure to announce any truth or promise any knowledge (102). For Bennington, Derrida is most Greek in his Violence and Metaphysics when he defends Heidegger against Levinas, insisting on the ab solute necessity of speaking alterity in the language of the Greek logos claiming thereby that if Jewi sh thought is other than Greek 128

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thought, it can nonetheless not be absolutely exte rnal to it, but folded back in via the nondialectical figure of invagination, non-iden tical sam e which is not different from diffrance but the milieu of history in general (Mosaic Fragment 103). The necessity of speaking alterity in the language of Greek logos seems to be a clarification of an elaboration of Benningtons earlier formulation of Derrida as both Hegel and Kant. Simultaneously, Derrida recognizes both a truth we can never really know but the indispensabi lity of logos in expl aining this point of unknowable truth. Given that Derrida cannot be Hegel s Kant or Jew exclusiv ely, especially if he agrees with Hegel regarding the extent to which diffrance must be thought of as the name for the impossibility of difference ever being absolu te or pure, Derrida as Greek makes it further implausible for him to offer an auth entic Jewish reading of any text. Bennington argues that the problem of attempti ng to label Derrida essentially Jewish is already a Greek gesture: the Jewish reading is a Greek reading ( 104). He also reminds us of the importance of this position and how it plays out in Derridas defense of Heidegger and Paul de Man. This perhaps might be why Wises attempts to make Derrida essentially Jewish in Deconstruction and Zionism and The Figure of Jerusalem, though quite convincing, loses a great deal of force. Wise regards the Jewish/G reek conflation as the Shylock Complex, or the violent conversion of the Jew to logocentric modes of interpreta tion (The Figure of Jerusalem 73). His concern, howev er, is that the critics whose readings rely on the Shylock Complex discount the possibility of non-European belief systems. Wise argues that Derrida, for his part, promotes a Jewish concep t of the Messiah in his reading of the universal concept of messianicity. Later in the essay, Wise notes that Derrida associates messianicity with a stylistic Heideggerian gesture, but he reads this gesture as reinforcing the hegemony of Judaic belief systems, promoting a spiritual ist theology rather than a l ogocentric one (The Figure of 129

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Jerusalem 79). This move on the surface seems rath er strange given both Heideggers affiliation with the Nazis and the nature of the Heideggerian gesture of the gift of the Dik Greek for justice, the paradoxical gift without debt and w ithout guilt. I find these tw o points rather difficult to reconcile with Wises claim that Derrida is a Jewish thinker who is doing the reader a disservice by not making this fact more manifest. Indeed, the deconstructive analysis that Wise offers us in the way of bringing to light the implicit omissions in Specters is helpful in that we can begin to understand the extent of Derridas Judaic exegesis. Bu t if Wise finds that Derridas readings are not Jewish enough, th en it confirms Benningtons assertion, that Derrida indeed is still a little too Greek. If we are looking to place Derrida our alternative is to consider something before the opposition of Jew and Greek, which I be lieve Wise has tried to do with Saying Yes to Africa. Benningtons analys is overall subsists in ma king a general connection among Derrida, Sigmund Freud, and Jean-Jacques Rous seau around the figure of Moses through a sophisticated pastiche of quotes taken from all three writers, as well as Warburton and James Joyce. In focusing on Moses, Bennington intends to construct him largely as a legislator, one who speaks a language incomprehensible to those for whom he legislates: only his law will make the people capable of understanding his law. In the absence of understanding, the legislator must act violently, illegally, to ge t the law accepted: he pretends it was given by God. In the absence of understa nding, the people cannot know that this is the legislator and not a charlatanwhat indubitable signs could there be of a real legislator? (110-1) The legislator acts as a figure of absolute exteriority, and his logic can be extended to writing and thinking in general. Bennington argues that any ev ent of thought involves an undecidability, and thus, in any event, the legi slator always risks being made a charlatan. Bennington offers us an example of the uncertainty i nherent in the role of the legislator when he invokes Martin Bernal, whose Black Athena project has invited cri ticism and has potentially condemned [him] to expulsion from academia. Ar guing against what he views as the systematic 130

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repres sion of Afroasiatic roots of Ancient Greece Bernal might be viewed as a legislator. According to Bennington, Bernal says that ne w approaches tend to come from the outside, though this privileged space also raises the possi bility that the outsider might be a quack. Bennington writes: Academics, Bernal says, academically nervous of his own amateur status, quite typically accept that their discipline was founded by amat eurs (as it necessarily must have been, insofar as what counts as a professional in this sense can be dete rmined only after that foundation, which is constitutively illegitimate ), but reject any new input from the amateurish outside, just as Moses, once accepte d as legislator, orders the putting to death of any new aspirant arrivals. (115) Simon Critchley argues that one of the most challenging aspect s of reading Bernals work is that manner in which he traces the geneal ogy of the invented historical paradigm upon which Husserl bases his remarks from his 1935 Vie nna Lecture, Philosophy and the Crisis of European Humanity (Black Socrates 146). The paradigm to which Critchley refers is the Aryan Model of ancient history, dating back to early nineteenth century, which rendered the question of an African philosophy nearly m oot, according to Robert Bernasconi (African Philosophys Challenge to Continen tal Philosophy 183). Prior to th is time, the Ancient Model predominated, suggesting that the Egyptians i nvented philosophy. Critchley uses Bernal to good effect, allowing him to place Derrida within th e Greek tradition, as does Bennington. Drawing also from Derridas Violence and Metaphysics, Critchely argues that Derridas thinking of tradition is dominated by the problem of closure, that play of belonging and non-belonging to the Greco-European tradition, which asserts both the necessity and impossibility of such a tradition. Closure is the double refusal of both remaining within the limits of the tradition and of transgressing that limit. Closure is the hinge that articulates the doubl e movement between the philosophical tradition and its other(s) (151). Li ke Bennington, Critchley concurs that there is no pure Greek inside the European tradition; there is only and always contamination. 131

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I end this section on Benningtons reading of Derrida as an E gyptian with the following consideration: if Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is correct in her assumption that Kant, Hegel, and Marx are merely influential figures in the forma tion of the European ethi co-political subject, not necessarily as imperative as we may believe in the dismantling of third-wo rldist talk, then how exactly are we to take Benningtons Kantian re ading and Derridas Heideggerian reading of Hegel? To pose the question another way, can we really expect to recover the marginal while engaging in European discourse? In P hilosophy, the first part of her Critique of Postcolonial Reason, Spivak argues that postcolonial writing and theorizing should be mindful that its selfstyled discourse is indeed a produc t of the texts of European ethi co-political self -representation, especially texts offered by Kant, Hegel, and Marx whom she considers to be the last Three Wise Men of the Continental (European) traditio n. Spivak calls for more self-reflexivity, in which we might recognize the too-easy West-andthe-rest polarizations sometimes rampant in colonial and postcolonial discourse studies (39). She continues, To my mind, such a polarization is too much a legitim ation-by-reversal of the colonial attitude itself. Deconstruction enables us to point out this polar ization and to understa nd that there can be no mere reversal of binary oppositions, such as between the West and the rest, or between master and slave. One of the tasks of deconstruction might be a persistent attempt to displace the reversal, to show the complicity between native hegemony and the axio matics of imperialism (37). As Derrida has argued elsewhere, we can attempt this disp lacement of the reversal by mark[ing] effectively the displacements of the sites of con ceptual inscription and by artic ulat[ing] the systematic chains of the movement according to their proper genera lity and their proper period, according to their unevenness, their inequalities of development, the complex figures of their inclusions, implications, exclusions etc. (Pit 72). 132

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For Spivak, the exercis e of r eading Kant, Hegel, and Marx calls for the production of a counternarrative that makes visibl e the foreclosure of the subject, namely the native informant, whose lack of access to the position of narra tor is the condition of possibility of the consolidation of Kants position (9), but we migh t suggest here that the exercise applies to all three theorists. In Kants Critique of Judgment which charts the operation of reason that cognizes nature theoretically, Sp ivak looks at the superiority of the rational and how, in the moment of the Sublime, the subject accedes to the rational will and opens the floodgates to the superiority of reason. Spivak follows w ith remarks on Hegels discussion of the Srimadbhagavadgit and the manner in which Hegel tends to place not only all of history and reality upon a diagram, but also Time (of the Law) itself. Last, in Spivaks reading of Marxs reading of the commodity-form as the locus of the homeopathy that would monitor the diffrance of capitalism and socialism, she remarks: That imperialism introduces mobility toward socialization has proved itself, I would suggest, in th e cases of both international communism and international capitalism. And in the new international ec onomic order after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it is the labor of the patriarchally defined subaltern woman that has been most effectively socia lized (Philosophy 67). In this last description, we can gather that the figure of the native informant is ge nerally woman. Kant writes how the naturally uneducable is woman. In post-Fordist Marxist critique, the subaltern woman emerges, fulfilling Marxs prediction that the labor of men would be superseded by that of women, which he speculates in The Communist Manifesto But the native informant is not simply always woman. In the case of Hegel, the informant is an implied reader contemporary with the Srimadbhagavadgit a reader or listener w ho acts out the structure of the hortatory ancient narrative as the recipi ent of its exhortation (Philosophy 50). 133

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Spivak suggests that one of the ways that the foreclosure of th e native informant may become apparent, might require the work of a critic or teacher who has gone through the trouble of learning other languages and histories to be able to produce [a contemporary reader] in the interest of active interception and reconstellatio n; rather than to teach the producers of neocolonialist knowledge to chant in unison, one cannot truly know the cultures of other places, other times, and then proceed to diagnose th e hegemonic readings into place (Philosophy 50). Though she has listed this requirement in the context of locating that informant in Hegels reading of the Git I suggest that her call represents gene rally a deconstructive exercise in which one can interrogate the terms of binary oppositions. So, although Geoffrey Benningtons Kantian reading of Derrida is indeed sharp, we undoubtedly recognize that he is perhaps not one who has taken the trouble to study th e language and history of E gypt. Bennington himself possibly recognizes this shortcoming, as the strength of his criticism lies not in his engagement with Hegel and Kant, but with his invocation of Martin Bernal, who Bennington considers a legislator or one who may be potentially condemned to expulsion from academia. I would suggest that, in Spivaks formulation, Bernal fits precisely the role of the critic or teacher who has done his homework in language and history. Another such figure is Christopher Wise, having spent a significant amount of time and preparation with various African and Arabic cultures. The strength of my argument therefore lies not with my reading of Derrida, Hegel, Kant, Bennington, or Spivak, but with my use of Wise, with whos e critiques I do not agre e wholeheartedly, but ones that I appreciate and consider thor oughly nonetheless. In the next section, I will return to Wises critique of Derrida. Diffrance Deferred If Spivak is correct in her assessment that de construction attempts to displace binary terms, we should recognize then that Derrida, in reversin g the speech and writing binary in particular, 134

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would seem to challenge our understanding and prioritizi ng of the those binaries. I will focus on those two terms primarily because Wises ar gument relies significantly on them. Derridas reversal of speech and writing is most apparent in his essay Diffrance, which was presented before the Socit franais de philosophie on January 27, 1968. According to Martin McQuillan, diffrance makes possible the presentation of the syst em of difference. When we attempt to deconstruct a binary opposition, we are attemp ting to think through th e complexities of diffrance. The most obscure aspect of diffrance is the economic action of delay in which the element of the same aims to come back to the deferred pleasure of presence, and it is the impossible relation to a presence wh ich can never be (McQuillan 19). Diffrance makes every system possible and impossible, and the logic behind this play is ge nerally conceived as supplementarity: the difference of difference. We might define supplement as that which escapes the system and simultaneously installs itself with in the system to demonstrate the impossibility of the system. Nicholas Royle defines supplemen t as that which is a dded on to something in order to further enrich it and what is added on as a mere extra (from the Latin for outside). It is both a surplus and a plen itude enriching a plenitude, and it makes up for something missing, as if there is a void to be filled up (49). In Of Grammatology, Derrida defines the supplement as something that is not simply added to the positiv ity of a presence its place is assigned in the structure by the mark of an emptine ss (144-5). In the closing pages in Of Grammatology he considers the strange essence of the supplement not to have esse ntiality: it may always not have taken place. Moreover, literally, it has never taken place: it is never present, here and now. If it were, it would not be what it is, a supplement (244). The figure that represents best the supplement is the ellipsis or three dots, whic h always signify a logic of the supplement, according to Royle (48). The ellipsis marks both wh at is left out and what is implied. Derrida 135

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dem onstrates this logic in Of Grammatology with the chapter titled . That Dangerous Supplement . I have chosen to reproduce that same logic for each chapter of the dissertation, broaching the possibility that wh at may be missing or implied befo re and after each chapter is perhaps the preceding one, though clearly in a nonlinear order. Indeed, there is an overlap, an enrichment of one by another, a constant folding of the terms onto themselves. We must apply a similar logic to Diffrance, in which Derrida, at th e outset of the essay, compares the letter a to a pyramid, conjuri ng not only the Egyptian py ramids (drawing clearly from Hegel), but also the Greek term for home, oik sis which is similar to the Greek oikos housefrom which the word economy is derived. For Derrida, a represents not only economy and tomb, but also family, death, law, a nd inscription. Derrida at tempts to reassemble all of these concepts in the figure of a sheaf which represents both the general system of its economy but also marks more appropriately that the assemblage to be proposed has the complex structure of a weaving, an interlacing which permits the different threads and different lines of meaningor of forceto go off again in di fferent directions, just as it is always ready to tie itself up with othe rs (Diffrance 3). But I am moving too fast with the analogies. Th e figure of the sheaf will be important later in the chapter, but I should first discuss the pyr amidal silence of the graphic difference between the e and the a, a silence that functions only within the system of phonetic or alphabetic writing. It is this silence that, for Derrida, should convinc e us that the traditional binary of speech versus writing is false and that there is no purely and rigorously al phabetic writing. He writes, So-called phonetic writing, by all rights and in principle, and not only due to an empirical or technical insufficiency, can function only by admitting into its system non-phonetic signs (punctuation, spacing, etc. ). And an examination of th e structure and necessity of these nonphonetic signs quickly reve als that they can barely tolerate the concep t of the sign itself. (Diffrance 5) 136

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The graphic difference signals not only the difference between signsnam ely the e and the abut also a difference between two phonemes, which, like its written counterpart, does not exist purely. The differences in French between the phonemes ance and ence remain in and of themselves inaudible. The graphic and phonetic differences thus can never be sensed as full terms, and their differences are thought to vanish into the nigh t. The difference eludes both hearing and vision, which would mean that the order to which th is difference belongs no longer belongs to sensibility. It belongs neither to intelligibility nor to understanding. The order to which these differences belong is diffrance, a movement that does not belong to the voice or to writing, but is located between the two, reassu ring us that they are indeed two purely separate terms. As diffrance remains that which cannot be expos ed, it can be rendered present during particular moments, whereby a being-present in its truth is made a pparent, though it exceeds the order of truth. These next two definitions of diffrance will resemble two other terms that I have been discussing in this dissertation: the first definition enables us to delineate everything that [ diffrance ] is not that is, everything; and consequently that it has neither existence nor essence. It derives from no cat egory of being, whether present or absent (Diffrance 6). If one recalls Derridas Lette r to a Japanese Friend, one will remember that Derrida defines deconstruction as such: What dec onstruction is not? Ever ything of course! but also What is deconstruction? Nothing of course! We must remind ourselves that deconstruction is diffrance though we must strike out the verb to be (is) so as to emphasize the non-present being of diffrance. The second definition involves the recourse to the language that Derrida uses to describe the term. Derrida ad mits that this language resembles that used to discuss negative theology. He argues, Diffrance is not only irreducibl e to any ontological or 137

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theologicalontotheologicalreappropriation, but as the very opening of the space in which ontotheologyphilosophyproduces its system a nd its history, it incl udes ontotheology, inscribing it and exceeding it without return (Di ffrance 6). This definition should remind us of another constellation that I have addressed previously, specifically spectrality. In Specters of Marx, when Derrida distinguishes between ha untology and ontology by noting that hauntology also concerns a future to come, not only the past he conjures that this future can only be for ghosts. And the past (37). As no one can anticipa te the coming or retu rning of a ghost, the revenant which nullifies the possibility of the specter appearing present to itself or becoming present in the form of a body, we can also never predict a present reality in which the specter comes, and we have no control over how long the specter may wish to remain among us. The unpredictability of spectrality has implications for justice, the de livery of such, in the future. Indeed, Derridas description of sp ectrality seems to resonate with the religious figuration of the Messiah, which is why he attempts to bind religion with ontol ogy and suggests that hauntologically we might speak of a messian icity without religion, messianic/-ity without messianism. We arrive now at a system of difference w ithin Derridas own detours, locutions, and syntax, where we might feel the need to distinguish now between diffrance deconstruction, and spectrality. We know that in the delineation of diffrance, everything is strategic and adventurous. Strate gic because no transcendent truth present outside the field of writing can govern theologi cally the totality of the field. Adventurous because this strategy is not a simple strate gy in the sense that st rategy orients tactics according to a final goal, a telos or theme of domination, a mastery and ultimate reappropriation of the development of the fi eld. Finally, a strategy without finality, what might be called blind tactics, or empirical wandering if the value of empiricism did not itself acquire its entire meaning in its opposition to philosophical responsibility. (Diffrance 7) 138

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If diff rance is both strategic and adventurous, the sa me must be said for the exercise of deconstruction and spectrality. We should establish he re that in all three, especially spectrality, there appears, for lack of a mo re appropriate term, to be an uncertainty and unpredictability. For example, with spectrality, we certainly attempt to grasp at moments when we perceive the presence of the specter or ghost. We certainly ca nnot anticipate its comi ng. The same must be stated for deconstruction and diffrance : only at certain moments can we appreciate its appearance, though it derives from no category of being, neither pr esent nor absent. Furthermore, the manner in which we choose to invoke these terms succeeds on the level of the strategic and adventurous. In this particular play of differenceamong deconstruction, diffrance, and spectralityonly a blind tactics23 will suffice, enabling or allowing for a certain wandering in the tracing of one term above the others. Derrida tells us that the concept of play keeps itself beyond the opposition of empirical discourse and ph ilosophical discourse, where one can expect the unity of chance and n ecessity in calculations without end (Diffrance 7). Which Came First, Speech or Writing, or Both and/or Neither? It is at this point where we return to Ch ristopher Wises Saying Yes to Africa and the context or particular moment of Specters as an address or performative context. Wise writes, Derridas prioritizing of the oral-aural dimensions of this ev ent is worth emphasizing here not only because such a gesture is wholly coherent in terms of the project he has called deconstruction, but also because it deepens his solidarity with those Africans who were not invited to this highly literate, academic, and d ecidedly white conference setting (127). In this quote, we find both the strategic invocation of deconstruction, as well as the summoning of binary oppositions, notably, speech versus writing. Inherent in this discussion is the European 23 I am thinking here of the visor effect, the manner in which the ghost appears, exits, and reappears without warning and according to its own stra tegic or tactical logic. 139

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stigm atization of illiteracy, precisely where it col lides with the oral-aural tradition of African culture. At this crucial interstice, Wise reminds us that the European and Euro-American peoples have always identified themselves as superior on the basis not only of skin color but also according to their degree of literacy. Wise is convinced that Derrida remains largely critical of the historical privileging of writing/logos over speech and argues that Derridas Specters advances an arguably African critique of Western thought syst ems with reference to the eye, the optic lens where Marxs specters make their appearance (129). To illustra te this point, he focuses on Derridas critique of the complex subject-object dialectic vi a his discussion on specter and spirit in Specters (see the section on Stirner in Chapter Three for Derri das critique). Wise also points out Derridas Of Grammatology in which he posits that the presence-absen ce of the trace carries in itself the problem of the letter and sp irit (Linguistics and Grammato logy 71). Speaking of trace and spirit as interchangeable terms, Wise argues that Derrida affirms the trace and spirit as present at the worlds origin and that spirit is never subj ect to deconstruction. Even if one wants to argue that deconstruction can locate spirit, we should note that spirit itself may be undeconstructible, much like justice. We also know that spirit is ne ver construed as ontologic al substance. As that which is outside of materialization, spirit, or De rridas approach to it, converges rather nicely with Judaic theology celebrating a world that come s into being following a divine act of speech. From the Book of Genesis, God speaks the world into existence (Saying Yes 132). But it is precisely this convergence that De rrida cautions us to avoid making. Rather than speaking of the visor effect in relation to speech versus writing specifically, Wise argues that the figuration illustrates the noti on that there exists a spiritual reality that can never be described in ontologi cal terms, something beyond the human eye. From this, Wise 140

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m akes a connection to the other, or what Derrida presumably draws from Levinas, and refers to this connectiona as the relation without relation where we do not relate as centered, logocentric subjects or dialectical opposites, but as wholly others, for we do not really see who sees us. According to Wise, Derridas critique of logocentrism rema ins of limited value in the African context, not only for its perverse approach, but also because of significant omissions implied by its critique (Saying Yes 134). Rather than locate the thrust of Derridas critique in Specters or Diffrance, Wise reopens Of Grammatology to find more pronounced versions of the implied omissions, particularly Derri das critique of Cl aude Levi-Strausss Triste Tropiques, in which Levi-Strauss describes the Nambikwara Indians of South America. In Derridas critique, which elides important differe nces in oral-aural and written languages, he deconstructs Levi-Strausss avowed Marxi st theory of writing and ethnography, denouncing the Marxism operative in the wr itings of both Levi-Strauss and Rousseau who supposedly share a prejudice against writing, preferring the orality of primitive societies. For Derrida, no society is without writing, and anyone who does not believe so betrays his own misguided longing for the plenitude and self-presence of speech ( The Violence of the Letter 110). For Wise and other critics of Derrida such as Walter Ong a nd Geoffrey H. Hartman, however, there remain fundamental differences between speech and wr iting. The most critical distinction between European languages and various indigenous langua ges would be the extensive record-keeping of the European languages, which would be regarded as grapholects during the 18th century. These grapholects contained hundreds of thousands of written texts, including dictionaries, thesauruses, and encyclopedias, unlike the indi genous languages such as the Mor and Djioula, which could not have included more than a few thousand words. As Wise puts it, grapholects can perform wide-ra nging destructive se rvices for those w ho possess them. If we may speak so broadly, the primary lingu istic difference between West African and 141

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European peoples consisted not in the possession of chirographic and alphabetic writing, but in the impact of m oveable-type print, de veloped more than four hundred years before Parks arrival in Bamako. The main psychological effect of this development is the words increasing reification in the dimension of space, the illusory transformation of the word as visual spectacle, or an object that, like any other object, may be alle gorically recorded as commodity fetish. (Saying Yes 136) For Wise, Derridas insistence that writing precedes speech graphically and that ethnographers who separate speech and writing is disingenuous at best, given the Africans tenuous relationship with the written word. One might argue that, according to Wise, perhaps the only way that Derrida can redeem his reversal of speech versus writing woul d be to privilege the oral-aural dimensions of language, much like his earlier targets in Of Grammatology which, as we know, Derrida is careful not to have done. In Diffrance, Derrida speaks of trace and the outside or excess of the ontological which he identifies as an archi-writing, an originary figure which precedes the oral form that it will take. It is in this way that speech and writing differ and defer. In this way, one can posit th at, if Derrida does indeed privil ege orality, sight is not very far behind. In fact, Wise himself points out that for Jews, the law encompasses both the written and oral traditions that were believed to have been transmitted simultaneously (Saying Yes 129). If anything, Derrida indeed replicates the syntax of theology, offering us a negative theology in his reversal. This connection to Judaism brings us to another omission, Derridas position on the Abrahamic religion, especially w ith respect to his insufficiently articulated defense of the literate orality of the Nambikwara, according to Wise. Though Derrida has often repeated that he has no stable position, Wise remains convinced that Derridas formulation of writing and speech is ineluctably connected to Judaism and its varieties of imperialism, a critique that Wise pronounces in Deconstruction a nd Zionism: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx In Deconstruction and Zionism, Wise bemoans Derrida s supposedly repeated disavowals of any 142

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explic it affiliation with Judaism as religion, a di savowal that is implausible if not altogether disingenuous (56). One might locate the origins of this comment in Derridas Writing and Difference where Derrida speaks of Gods silence or God separating himself from himself in order to let us speak. He continues, Our writin g starts with the stifling of his voice (67). Wise regards these comments as theological speculation, which have far more limited appeal for those who do not share his affinities for Judaism (Saying Yes 138). As much as I am reluctant to admit that Derrida holds an affinity for Judaism, it is a critique that I must accept, espe cially if I am to accept Wises argument that Derridas critique represents an affirmative solidarity with Africa. What I recognize in accepting Wises argument is that, though Derrida seems to disavow both Al geria and Judaism, these two identifications represent the notion of trace as manifested in the writing of Derrida. If Derrida disavows both identities, I argue that he must do so for two reasons: First, in openly affirming both of these identities, the thread of Derri das argument comes undone. The co mplex interweaving and lacing that he meticulously draws together falls apart. In affirming Judaism, the scope of deconstruction remains limited to ethnocentric critique, rather th an its very actuality as a theory, where its viability depends upon it remaining at all ti mes the deconstruction of unmerited privilege whenever and where its manifestation (Saying Yes 138-9). In affirming Africa (or even Algeria), deconstruction risks marg inalization and perhaps expulsion. It is here where we return to the citation that once appeared in 1963, but no longer bears its presence: A bit like how the anti-colonialist revolution can only liberate itself from a de facto Europe or West in the name of transcendental Europe . If we return to Bruce Baugh, we find that this quote explains Derridas intractable difficultie s as a French Algerian intelle ctual in the early 1960s on the subject of Algerian independence, a difficulty that Derrida suffers in the predicament of Hegels 143

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unhappy consciousness: wavering between the opposites of independence and dependence, affir mation and negation, Europe and Africa, without reaching some reconciliatory synthesis. We know that, in Hegelian terms, to negate Europe is to affirm the other, and to affirm Europe is to negate the other. Derrida, as a French Algeri an by language and culture and a North African Jew by birth, finds himself then in a difficult, very Derridean position: both inside and outside of Africa, neither inside nor outside of it, caught in an aporia that places him, too, in the position of Hegels unhappy consciousness (Baugh 41). In su ch an awkward position, can any European or Western intellectual speak on or to African co ncerns without framing them within European theory, without invoking European moral and political values? And if Africa speaks, can a Europe hear? (Baugh 41). If deconstruction we re to affirm itself as African, would Europe accept it equally? And as for Judaism, we know vi a Geoffrey Bennington that a Jewish reading is a Greek reading (Mosaic Fragment 104), wher eby the gesture is to fold the Jewish question back into the Greek. Wise would say that this Jewish/Greek conflation arises as a result of a violent conversion of the Jew to logocentric modes of interpretation, what is termed the Shylock Complex. To explore this conversion further, I will examine the figure of the Marrano in Chapter Six. The second reason that Derrida must disavow id entity has much to do with deconstruction and the manner in which it operates. Ultimately, it solicits or calls for disavowal or elimination of names and designations in order to open itself up to the other. Derrida also says that the unnameable is the play which makes possible nomi nal effects, the relatively unitary and atomic structures that are called names, the chains of substitutions of names in which, for example, the nomimal effect diffrance is itself enmeshed, carried off, rein scribed, just as a false entry or a false exit is still part of the game, a functi on of the system (Diffrance 27). As there is no 144

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m aster-word or unique word, what could one possibly be conjuring with the name Judaic/Jewish or Algerian, fo r they are all names in a chai n of substitutions? This view indeed derives from Heideggers The Anaximander Fragment, in which he describes a possibility of the uniqueness of Being. Heidegge r writes, Therefore, in order to name the essential nature of Being, language would have to find a single word, the unique word. From this we can gather how daring every thoughtful word addressed to Being is. Ne vertheless such daring is not possible, since Being speaks always and everywhere throughout language (52). What is most interesting is that the last sent ence in the previous cita tion is one that affirms both the philosophical tradition, but also Derridas identity as an African, for Wise, when Derrida isolates the terms of the phase as such: Being / speaks / always and everywhere / throughout / language. In doing s o, Derrida seems to highlight speaking, deconstruct the mythological basis of universalizi ng constructions of the other, a nd [emphasize] the problem or question of listening rather than seeing, insisting upon a concept of the other as wholly other or different (Saying Yes 140). Wise believes that the name of Chris Hani is absolutely crucial to Specters primarily because of this insistence on the other as wholly other, as unique Being. What remains to be seen for Wise is the extent to which the saying yes to Africa is truly a deconstructive event, for deconstruction always implies both a promise and a to-come. Wise concludes the essay, Whatever its limitations (or latent theological motivations), such an effort should and must be acknowledged as a thoughtful and significant interv ention on behalf of African peoples everywhere, no matter how impatient one might be at its historical necessity, especially at a conference of Marxist theori sts (Saying Yes 141). What Wise fails to emphasize is that this meaning perhaps has alre ady arrived, as Derrida would remind us. While Hani as unique Being and proper noun is an affirmation, it certainly does not serve as an 145

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inauguration. One could locate a m ore originar y affirmation in the name Fanon, to which Derrida attributes a pure and in transigent cry. The invocation of Fanon is also a deconstructive event, which calls into question absence/presen ce through the eventual disappearance of the name. Like language, speech, and the written word, the name Fanon appears and reappears, if even in one obscure reference or citation. The na me, like the ghost that returns and leaves at will and speaks to whomever it wishes, also hides in the shadows, waiting for someone to stumble upon it, to make sense of its presence. The shadow s begin to take the shape of Negroid forms, like men who are too generous with generality and who are preoccupied with ghosts, according to Marx, who claims that these men obscure co nceptuality. As Jason Powell tells us, Derrida values shadows, and if we could envi sion the fate of shadows governed by diffrance, it might take the form of an allegory, Platos Cave, where the ench ained man (philosopher) sees shadows reflected upon walls and discovers, once liberated, that the light yi elding the shadows is the light of diffrance, according to Powell. The true objects are shadows, and the world itself is neither sensible nor intelligible. For Powell, th e liberation from the cav e allows the philosopher to find ghostly things that do not exist in the pr esent and do not have life, but the philosopher hopes one day to locate these thi ngs in a pure form. Is it possible that this pure form exists or once existed in Africa? And if this is true, how are we to search for or await the arrival of this gift? For Powell, the role of deconstructi on has been to show that the light of diffrance is beyond the cave, and in reading the history of philosophy, we understand that philosophy has not discovered the destiny of thinking beyond the cave (232). This task of deconstruction, however, has never been a simple, non-violent one. If I were to extend Powells char acterization further, I might locate the figure of justice as that which liberates the chained man to discover true shadows and the light of diffrance. It is the impossibility of the promise or undeconstructible 146

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147 justice that maintains mans hope. Justice is indeed the key element missing from Powells argument, as there is inherently viol ence associated with deconstruction and diffrance. I will explore deconstruction as just ice in the following chapter and Frantz Fanon as a shadow24 in the final chapter. 24 I am aware of the criticisms that this designation might invite, but I want to remain steadfast in my conviction that the term shadow has less to do with race and more to do with spectrality. In some ways, th e shadow is perhaps the closest visual representation of the specter that we have, and I wish to emphasize this here.

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CHAP TER 5 ACT IV: JUSTICE In chapter two, I offer a brief definition of dec onstruction that begins with a discussion of its relation to Martin Heideggers term Des truktion, its resonance with structure (and structuralism), and its responsibility to the text a responsibility that ack nowledges the heritage and legacy from which it originates in order to examine critically that heritage. I also remind the reader of one of Derridas own definitions of deconstructionthat it is both not everything and yet nothingand suggest four limits of deconstruc tion: (1) that it must always be open to the other and attempt to understand this otherness, (2) that it is more th an a method of literary criticism or reading, (3) that it is an attempt to understand difference by examining assumptions about binary oppositions, and (4) that it assume s violence. Throughout the remainder of the dissertation, I have attempted to demonstrate th e ways in which deconstruction has tried to remain open to the other, to perform something more than literary criticism, and to understand difference. In this chapter, I will explore the violence inherent in dec onstruction by tracing three key components that will serve as another significant movement of difference in this deconstructive analysis of Derri das affirmation of solidarity with Africa and more manifest connection to Frantz Fanon since the disappearance of Derridas re ference to Fanon in Cogito et histoire de la folie: (1) deconstr uction is justice, which is different from law; (2) justice is linked to the performative and its force, which assumes a certain violence; and (3) the affirmation of the performative yields a number of yes, which opens itself to the other. Justice Must Be Something Other than Law The first component in this analysis assumes th at deconstruction is justice. To support this simple declarative statement, one need look no further than Derridas Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority, Adam Thurschwell reminds us, in which he claims as much: 148

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Deconstruction is justice (945). Bu t we would be too hasty indeed to accept this argum ent at face value, for such a position assumes a para doxical figuration that requires unpacking. Allow me to quote this figuration at length: [I]t is [the] deconstruc tible structure of law (droit ), or if you prefer of justice as droit that also insures the possibility of deconstruction. Jus tice in itself, if such a thing exists, outside or beyond law, is not deconstruc tible. No more than deconstruction itself, if such a thing exists. It is perhaps because law ( droit ) (which I will consistently try to distinguish from justice) is constructible, in a sense that goes beyond the opposition between convention and nature, it is perhaps insofa r as it goes beyond this opposition that it is constructible and so decons tructible and, whats more, that it makes deconstruction possible, or at least the pract ice of a deconstruction that, f undamentally, always leads to questions of droit 1. The deconstructiblity of law ( droit ), of legality, legitimacy or legitimation (for example) makes deconstr uction possible. 2. The undeconstructiblity of justice also makes deconstructi on possible, indeed is inseparable from it. 3. The result: deconstruction takes place in the interval that separates the undeconstr uctibility of justice from the deconstructibility of droit (authority, legitimacy, and so on). (945) From this formulation, we gather that justice, unlike law, is undeconstructible, and that the deconstructibility of law makes deconstruction possible. We also learn that this opposition between law and justice alwa ys leads to questions of droit a consideration that calls into question what is ultimately at the heart of this discussion: language and idiom. The question of language and idiom returns us to the first sentence in Force of Law, wh ich begins Cest ici un devoir, je dois madresser vous en anglais (921). Mary Quai ntance translates this sentence as This is an obligation, I must address myself to you in English ( 921). The sentence is Derridas response to a particular colloqu ium in which he was invited to speak on Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice at the Cardozo Law School in 1989. The problem of addressing an audience of English-speakers on deconstruction and justice plague d Derrida for several months prior to his presentation at th e colloquium, during which he began to develop reservations about feeling compelled to speak the language of the majo rity, especially since it grants the foreigner the right to speak. For Derrida, it is more just to speak the language of the other. Still, to speak the language of the other requires the translation of idioms, wh ich assumes an always possible 149

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but an always im perfect compromise between two idioms, despite how ex cellent the translation may be (925). In terms of droit we can see initially how tangled this problem of language and idiom can be. To illustrate this problem, Derrida cites two English idiomatic expressions that have no strict French equivalent: to enforce th e law and to address a problem (945). In the first expression, to enforce the law, we are re minded that law is an authorized force that justifies itself. The enforceable nature of the law is neither supplementary nor exterior, but essential, implied in the c oncept of justice as law (droit ) or justice as it becomes law. Laws are to be enforced or applied by force, and each law works under the presupposition that it tends toward enacting justice. The nature of law is such that its force assumes the role of justice. The French translation of this first expression, appliquer la loi, loses the direct, literal reference to force, hence the term loi rather than droit in this instance. When we factor in the force that accompanies the law, we begin to see the transf ormative potentialities of law in the inscription droit which I will briefly discuss later. The second expression, to address a problem, also has no true Fren ch equivalent. In French, one can address a letter or a personeven without ever quite knowing if the letter will arrive at its destination or if the person will understand completely the message to which he or she is being directedbut one cannot address a problem as one can in English. For Derrida, to address a problem is to assume or to accept that we must address an infinite number of problems, not because these problems are numerically, histor ically, or culturally infinite, but because they are related to an experience of the aporia. As a full experience of the aporia seems rather impossible, we might conceive of the problem of justice similarly, as an impossible experience but one worthy of the attempt. Derrida argues th at there is no justice without the impossible experience of the aporias. Justice is simply an experience of the impossibl e, and any desire, will, 150

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or dem and for justice without accounting for its impossibility will always fail. But if we were ever to have the good fortune of experiencing the r easonable application of a particular rule to a particular case, we w ould only experience law ( droit ), which is not justice. Derrida writes, Law is the element of calculation, and it is just that there be law, but justice is incalculable, it requires us to calculate with the incalcula ble; and aporetic experiences ar e the experiences, as improbable as they are necessary, of justice, that is to sa y of moments in which the decision between just and unjust is never insured by a rule (947). In other words, the law is certainly useful and necessary, but it can never be a substitute for justice, which is something that one could never calculate. According to Derrida, deconstruction finds its privileged site of instability in the aporias located between both law and justice. He clarifies later in the essay that there is actually one aporia that distributes itself infinitely, rather th an an infinite number of aporias. Deconstruction then, generally practiced in two ways, attempts to dis tinguish between justice and droit (or the infinite, incalculable, rebellious to rule and foreign to symmetry, heterogeneous and heterotropic and the exercise of justice as law or right, legitim acy or legality, stabilizable and statutory, calculable, a system of regulated and coded prescriptions) (959). These two ways or styles of deconstructionone is an ahistorical and formal demonstration, the other, a historical reading and meticulous interpretation of textsgraf t one onto the other in their approach toward justice, which Derrida hesitantly compares to Levinass notion of justice as the relation to others or more specifically droiture de laccueil fait au visage (equitable honoring of faces) as defined in Totalit and Infini Derrida reminds us that Levinas also speaks of an infinite right, what he refers to as a Jewish humanism, whose basis is not the concep t of man, but rather the other. Derrida compares this Levinasian not ion of justice to the Hebrew equivalent of sanctity, but he abruptly stops the associati on between deconstruction s justice and Levinass 151

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at this point, risking further confusion. Droit alw ays claims to exercise itself in the name of justice, but justice sometimes manages to establ ish itself in the form of a law that must be enforced. Deconstruction finds itself caught between these two poles, estra nged in this aporia. Derrida offers the reader three examples of aporias with which deconstruction struggles. In the first aporia, pokh and rule, Derrida attempts to distingu ish between the application of a rule (law) and the exercise of justi ce that induces a fresh judgment (Derrida borrows the phrase from Stanley Fishs article, Force). Derrida explains that the fresh judgment can very wellmust very wellconform to a preexisting law but the reinstituting, rei nventive, and freely decisive interpretation, the respons ible interpretation of the judge requires that his justice not just consist in conformity, in the conservative and reproductive activity of judgment (961). For a decision to be just, it must be both regulated and without regulation. This difficult decision remains within the order of another apor ia, the ghost of the undecidable. The undecidable, a theme generall y associated with deconstruction, does not oscillate between two contradictions or determinat e rules. It is rather the experience of that which is foreign to the calculable and the ru le, but remains obliged to give itself to the impossible decision, while considering law and ru les. If the decision do es not go through the ordeal of the undecidable, it is not a free deci sion, but an application of the calculable or programmable. Because we can never know quite when such a decision has taken place, we suppose that the undecidable remains caught as a ghost in every event of decision. Derrida writes, Its ghostliness deconstructs from within any assurance of presence, any certitude or any supposed criteriology that would assu re us of the justice of a deci sion, in truth of the very event of a decision (965). 152

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Though the figuration of the ghost and spectrality seems to resonate with the religious figuration of the Messiah in Specters, Derrida is much more cautio us in Force of Law to distinguish between religious messianic horizon, including J udaic, Christian, or Islamic messianism (or any other horizon for that matter, such as the Kantian regulative idea or the eschato-teleology of the neo-Hege lian, Marxist, or post-Marxist type), and this ghostly idea of justice. Deconstruction remains guarded against th ese other horizons precisely because of their status as such. Derrida reminds us that horizon, in the Greek sens e, refers to an opening and a limit that defines an infinite progress or pe riod of waiting. The third aporia that Derrida describes, the urgency that obstructs the hor izon of knowledge, can be misleading. Justice, though impossible, is something that cannot wait; it must be immediate. Anyone who must make a just decision does not have the tim e to gather and sift through an infinite series of facts and conditions, precisely because any decision requires disclosure at a precise moment. Of this moment, Derrida writes: [It] always remains a finite moment of urge ncy and precipitation, sinc e it must not be the consequence or the effect of this theoretical or historical knowledge, of this reflection or this deliberation, since it always marks the in terruption of the juri dicoor ethicoor politico-cognitive deliberation that precedes it, th at must precede it. The instant of decision is a madness, says Kierkegaard. This is particul arly true of the instant of the just decision that must rend time and defy dial ectics. It is a madness. (967) Simply put, the moment of the just decision is a madness, given that justice, which is impossible, is something that cannot wait, some thing that we need in the present. Ernesto Laclaus Time Is out of Joint might be instruc tive here on this point of the moment of decision as madness. If the first movement of deconstr uction portends undecidabili ty with respect to social relations, the consequence is that the area of responsibility b ecomes enlarged and an operation of grounding, which would reinscribe something within the terrain of the undecidables (iteration, re-mark, difference, etc.) that makes [the emergence of grounding] 153

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possible (94). For Laclau, undeciba bility is that from which no course of action should follow, and democracy cannot be grounded. For these reasons, there can never be a beginning or an end of time. The present moment, which never arrive s, constantly awaits a constitutive succession of decisions that serves as a plura lity of acts of democr atization. Laclau notes that that we can only move to a more democratic society through this plurality of acts, which is a maddening consideration. Whats also maddeni ng about justice is that an incal culable justice always requires us to calculate because, when left on its own, the incalculable and giving (donatrice ) idea of justice is always very close to the bad, even to the worst for it can always be reappropriated by the most perverse calculation (Force of Law 971). According to Derrida, we must negotiate between the calculable a nd the incalculable and engage in juridico-political battles, although justice exceeds law and calculati on. It is precisely this bind in which Hamlet finds himself caught. Christopher Prendergast e xplains: Hamlet does not curse the corruption of the world, but also the mission to redeem it. He is thus punished by virtue of being appointed as the punisher, the avenger, inserted into the impossi ble chain of violent re prisals against actual, alleged or perceived wrongs, the ch ain that has no beginning and no e nd, and so in turn he is no differentapart from his consciousness of th e dilemmafrom anyone else caught up in the cycle of violence (47). This dilemma leads Haml et to madness. In some sense, through his reading of Hamlet Derrida is asking us to dance with madness if it is justice that we want to see served. Performative, Force, Violence In chapter three, I refer to Derridas Signatu re Event Context, in which he argues that J. L. Austins discussion of performative and cons tative utterances, the locutionary force and its structure specifically, fail to take into account a system of predicates called graphematic in general which presupposes the value of context. If what Austin calls total context depends 154

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significantly on the series of infe licities that might affect the event of the performative, Derrida deduces that the infelicitous and felicitous both re main within the total structure of language and make possible the performative utterance. For De rrida, Austin seems so consumed with making his argument regarding performative utterances a nd illocutory acts that he fails to engage the conventionality of the locutory act itself, which precedes illocution, and that the arbitrariness of the sign and of language precedes th e possibility of the constituti on of the performative. Without language and its originar y relation to meaning, the performa tive does not exist. According to Derrida, the risk or failure of th e performative is just as essential a predicate as the conventions that make possible the felicitous statement. This consideration leads us to Derridas argument that a successful performative is impure: an event or an occurrence during which a performative succeeds, presupposes not only its citational double that must fail, but also the coded, iterable statement that becomes identifiable as a cita tion. In the performativ e, speech, writing, and ordinary language, the citational doubling or presupposition of failing and successful terms are coded in dissymmetrical fashion, w hose effects can be anticipated by diffrance. Examining further the just decision is one way we might begin taking up the role of the performative in law and justice. As I mentione d earlier, the decision al ways remains a finite moment of urgency and precipitation. Derrida attributes this irreducibility of precipitate urgency to the performative structure of sp eech acts in general as acts of justice or law, whether they be performatives that institute something or deri ved performatives supposing anterior conventions (Force of Law 969). In Derridas formulation, a constative can only be juste (right) but never in the sense of justice. A performative, however, cannot be just in the se nse of justice unless it founds itself on conventions and other anterior perf ormatives, thus maintaining within itself an irruptive violence and no longer responding to the demands of theoretica l rationality. Since all 155

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constative utterances rely on perf ormative stru cture, the dimension of truth of the theoretical and constative utterances presupposes the dimension of justice of performative utterances, whose essential precipitation never proceeds without a certain dissymmetry and some quality of violence. It is at this intersti ce that the problem of violence, ju stice, and law become tangled in various ways. Roberto Buonamano locates this di ssymmetry and violence in three Derridean propositions about the law: it alwa ys tends toward universality, it ope rates to maintain rights, and it is bound up with the silence of its own force, thus making it se lf-preserving. In essence, these three determinations attempt to render law applicable to everyone, to keep the discourse of rights at ones disposal, and to clarif y the relation of law as founding, justifying, and preserving force, respectively. The last point is perhaps most crucial in disti nguishing further between law and justice and understanding the role of the performative in each. Buonamano explicates three assertions about the third propositionthe law as force, the silence of this force, and the se lf-preserving quality of this silence (170)and traces all three to the phrase to enforce the law. Insofar as law must be enforced, it must also be authorized as and through force, more specifically, as founding, justif ying, and preserving force. The law then functions to legitimize itself th rough this force in the context of a system of laws. It is the founding and instituting moment that is most im portant because the founding act is one of selfpreservation and serves dually as a point of origin of the authority of law. Successfully enforced, the law becomes a performative and therefore interpre tative violence that is itself neither just nor unjust (Force of Law 941-3). Buonamano reminds us that Derrida sees this as a mystical foundation of authority, a phrase Derrida bo rrows from Montaigne, who also sought to distinguish laws from justice. The foundation of la w is mystical in the sense that it conceals a certain silence in the violence of its founding act. Derrida sees this violence as not having a 156

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ground, but he also suggests that this groundless foundation is neith er just nor unjust, neither legal no r illegal in the founding moment. It exceeds the opposition between founded and unfounded. Derrida writes: Even if the success of performatives that found la w or right (for example, and this is more than an example, of a state as guarantor of a right) presupposes earlier conditions and conventions (for example in the national or intentional arena), the same mystical limit will reappear at the supposed origin of said conditions, rules or conventions, and at the origin of their dominant interpretation. (943) The flexibility of this groundless foundation of violence allows for injustice, thus making accessibility to justice more difficult. Law exacts vi olence against individuals in the moment or act it legitimizes itself. Drawing from Walte r Benjamins Critique of Violence, Derrida distinguishes between two types of violence in la w: the first is founding violence, the one that institutes and positions law, and the other, the one that conserves, maintains, confirms, and insures the permanence and enforceability of la w (981). The law-making vi olence is the very condition of violence. Violence unleashed must be accounted for; thus, legal conditions are modified, existing laws are replace d, or the states power is destr oyed in favor of another mode of power. Law-preserving violence is that which continues and maintains the hegemony of the juridical order and is viewed as the administ rative corollary to law-making violence. When combined in one institution, these two types of violence yield one of the most extreme cases of legalized perversion for Benjamin. The modern police force, as law-making and law-preserving, is capable of extending its own influence by re-inventing itself ove r and again. In essence, the police blur the distinction be tween the two types of violen ce. For Derrida, however, what threatens the clarity of distin ction between the two is the paradox of iterability. Iterability requires the origin to repeat itself originarily, to alter itself so as to have the value of origin, that is, to conserve itself, as Derrida says (1009) He continues: This iterability inscribes conservation in the essential stru cture of foundation. Derrida argue s that this trope has existed 157

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for centuries, though Benjam in is correct to prod uce the example of the modern police force. Interestingly, in this formulation of iterability, there can be no pure or great founders, initiators, or lawmakers. Despite the necessity of citing an origin, there can be no true, pure point of origin, which makes it difficult to criticize violence. Because law-making violence cannot precede the performative act, we are reduced to identifying th e law-preserving antecede nt in the collapse of this double bind. Buonamano suggests that this double bind is ak in to what Derrida refers to as the economy of violence, where the v iolence involved in discourse generally, and specifically in every practice of metaphysics, stages a war in wh ich the task of deconstr uction is to counteract the aggression of speech as presence. The peace envi saged is that of a certa in silence (a certain beyond speech) (175). He urges us to consider Derridas Violence an d Metaphysics as an example: But since finite silence is also the medium of vi olence, language can only indefinitely tend toward justice by acknowledging and practi cing the violence within it. Violence against violence (117). Following the logi c of the performative, the viol ence inherent in discourse contains two types within its general system of economy: the violence that represses discourse and the one able to combat the re pressive violence, the violence of otherness. The strategic and adventurous diffrance keeps in play the possibility of the violence of otherness overcoming the repressive violence and the possibility of jus tice. Derrida works arduously through this problem in Force of Law when he takes up Benjamins Critique of Violence, specifically Benjamins distinction between mythical violence of the law (Greek) and divine violence of justice (Jewish). Derrida sketches the tw o types of violence as follows: on one side, decision (just, historical, political, and so on), justice beyond droit and the state, but without decidable knowledge; on the other, decidable knowledge and certainty in a realm that structurally remains that of the undecidable, of the mythic droit of the state. On one side the decision wit hout decidable certainty, on the other the certainty of the 158

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undecidable but without decision. In any case, in one for m or another, the undecidable is on each side, and is the violent condition of knowledge or action. But knowledge and action are always dissociated. (1035) Derrida then asks where deconstruction lies wi thin this Benjaminian schema, on the more Jewish side (he includes Christianity and Islam within this dis tinction) or the Greek side? Is deconstruction more religious, more mythic, or more philosophical? The simple answer for Derrida is that deconstruction participates in something rath er impure, contaminating, negotiated, bastard and violent, what he refers to as Judaeo-Greek to save time. Indeed, Derrida confirms what Bennington has said all al ong about deconstruction, that it attempts to go beyond the Jewish and Greek schemas to become something else, to perform something other. It is here where I would like to take this discussi on into two different directions with the hopes that they will both lead toward Frantz Fanon: First, I would like to continue my discussion of the performative as justice with rega rds to language. I will follow my discussion of the performative with Buonamanos assertion that at the heart of each of Derridas treatments of law is the question of revolt (177). Overflow of the Performative As I mentioned earlier, all constative utteranc es rely on performative structure, and the dimension of truth of the theoretical and cons tative utterances presupposes the dimension of justice of performative utterances, whose essential precipitation never proceeds without dissymmetry and violence. In Force of Law, Derrida argues that the overflow of the performative is the reason that justice has no horizon of ex pectation, be it messianic or regulative, but it may have an avenir a to come, which Derrida distinguishes from a future that always reproduces the present. I quote Derrida at length: Justice remains, is yet, to come, venir, it has an, it is -venir the very dimension of events irreducibly to come. It will always have it, this -venir and always has. Perhaps it is for this reason that justice, insofar as it is not only a juridical or pol itical concept, opens up 159

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for laven ir the transformation, the recasting or ref ounding of law and politics. Perhaps, one must always say perhaps for justice. There is an avenir for justice and there is no justice except to the degree that some event is possible which, as event, exceeds calculation, rules, programs, anticipations a nd so forth. Justice as the experience of absolute alterity is unpresentable, but it is the chance of the event and the condition of history. No doubt an unrecognizab le history, of course, for those who believe they know what theyre talking about when they use this word, whether its a matter of social, ideological, political, juridical or some other history. (969-71) We may recall that Derrida has also named this structural dimension of justice, -venir, a democracy to come ( la dmocratie venir ), which is the search for a pure, intransigent, and undeconstructible moment, though deconstruction itself is impure, contaminating, negotiated, bastard and violent. This democracy to come, a ll politics for that matter, is arch-structured by the undecidability of the double bind of possibility and impossibility, via difference and its spatio-temporal chain of deferra l, which makes the fully presen t an impossibility and the to come of the promise. Indeed, we understand the Derridean formulation of justice as overflow of the performative and that both justic e and politics are in the order of venir but how are we to understand the function of the perfor mative in the context of politic s? Judith Butler offers an instructive hermeneutic for maki ng this connection more fully. Butler maintains that the speech act is a bodily act and that the force of the performative is never fully separable from bodily force. This pe rformative force is derived precisely from its decontextualization, from its break with a prior context and its ca pacity to assume new contexts (Speech Acts Politically 259). A performative opera tes precisely because it is iterable, despite the context in which it might be repeated. She argues that Derrida focuses precisely on the structural features that define the performative apart from its context. One such feature is the logic in which the performative operates, simila r to written marks, which carry with them a force of breaking with [their] context. This force of breaking is not an accidental predicate, but the very structure of the wr itten text (Signature Event Cont ext 217). According to Butler, 160

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Derrida links the force of ruptur e to spacing or the paradox of itera bility, insofar as the necessity of citing an origin remains tethered to the impossibility of locating any true origin whatsoever. In particular, the sign is the differential, iterable mark that is cut off from its origin. The force of the performative, according to Butler, is not exactly inherited from prior usage, but is derived from its break with any and all prior usage, be yond all question of truth or meaning. This formulation becomes important when we consider Derridas remark that [ t]he semantic horizon which habitually governs the noti on of communication is exceeded or split by the intervention of writing (Signature Event Context 329). The semantic here is distinguished from the intervention of writing, or the itera ble mark, more specifically. In this sense, we understand that for a mark to be a mark, it must carry with it the structural characteristic of iterability. But the dissemination of every mark, as repeatable as it may be, cannot be re ducible to the signs capacity to bear multiple meanings, to polysemy. The sign or its dissemination then takes place at a structural rather than semantic level. Butl er argues that the structur al and the semantic in Derridas schema appear to work always and only at cross-purposes. She asks, What guarantees the permanence of this crossed and vexe d relation in which the structural exceeds and opposes the semantic, and the semantic is always crossed and defeated by th e structural? (260). Butler suggests that if we approach the questi on from a variety of political scenes, we should encounter a reading of the speech act that does more than universalize its operation on the basis of its putatively formal structure (261). U ltimately, because all marks and utterances are vulnerable to failure, the challenge is to disc over how certain uttera nces break from prior contexts more easily than others or why certain utterances carry th e force that they do. While we recognize that every utterance and written mark has a break, which serves as its structurally 161

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necessary feature, we have yet no account of the social iterability of the utterance, according to Butler. Derridas form ulation of the break paralyze s any social analysis of forceful utterance. Performative utterances can fail. This fact, howev er, is essential to its success. As Butler reminds us, all performativity rests on the cred ible production of authority and is, thus, not only a repetition of its own prior instance and, he nce, a loss of the originary instance, but its citationality assumes the form of mimesis without end (261). To see how this constellation functions in the present context, let us return to the Cogito quote that forms the basis of this dissertation: A bit like how the anti-colonialist revolution can only liberate itself from a de facto Europe or West in the name of transcendental Eu rope, that is, of Reason, and by letting itself first be won over by its values, its language, its technology, its armament s; an irreducible contamination or incoherence that no cryI am thinking of Fanonscould exorcise, no matter how pure and intransigent it is. The origin of this performative utte rance is presumably 1963, just one year after Algeria gained independe nce and two years after the death of Fanon. As Butler suggests, we have not the resources to speculate comfortabl y on the social aspects of this forceful utterance. But we can suggest that th is quote had not the authority it might have needed to succeed in later publications ( Lcriture et la diffrence 1967, and Writing and Difference 1978). It is here in this c ontext, ripped from its previous and actually more timely context, that this quote, which had always been c itable, begins to recover its own prior instance. And we might attribute the opportunity for this pe rformative to succeed to the credible authority that Derrida has established over the years, coupled with the political stances that he has taken, beginning, for lack of a better term, with Specters. If in Specters, Derrida speaks of a certain promise and a politics to come, in a word justice, we might begin to understand that his deconstructive analysis of -venir originates with his associ ation with Fanons cry, a pure and 162

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intransigent one possibly. But it is this associ ation that has been lost in the shadows of philosophy for decades, repeating itself to itself ye t inaugu rating contexts yet to come. How can Derrida possibly be associated with a revolutiona ry like Fanon? Indeed, we might consider this question against Buonamanos asse rtion that the question of re volt remains at the heart of Derridas ideas on justice and law. Derrida and Revolution Buonamano argues that the question of revolt sust ains each of Derridas treatments of law, two of which include Specters and Derridas dedicati on to Nelson Mandela. On Specters, Buonamano reads Derrida as having made an explicit desire to account for the legacy of Marxs philosophical revolution, seeing it as indispensable to any criti que of current political, legal, and moral domains, particularly in light of the hegemonic presence of global-economic and neoliberal discourses (177). On The Laws of Reflection: Nelson Mandela, In Admiration, Buonamano sees Derrida remarking on the inabilit y to transcend the history of existing and former politico-legal systems while attempting to transform them. As I have already discussed Specters at length, I will take a brief look at The Laws of Reflection before I proceed with Buonamanos argument. Derridas main point in The Laws of Reflection appears to be that Admirable Mandela forces exemplarity and admiration precisely becaus e he himself admires. That is to say, friends and enemies alike admire Mandela, a man of re flection, because he knows how to admire. What Mandela admires most, according to Derrida, is th e law, specifically t he tradition inaugurated by the Magna Carta, the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man under their diverse forms (he frequently calls upon human dignity, upon what is human and worthy of that name); it is also parliamentary democracy and, still more precis ely, the doctrine of the separation of powers, the independence of justice (16-7). Mandela cham pions democratic rights, has great respect for 163

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British po litical institutions, and for South Africa s system of justice. Despite having conversed with Marxists and having read Marxist literature that intimates the parliamentary system of the West is undemocratic and r eaction, Mandela claims in The Struggle Is My Life that the independence and impartiality of [the British Pa rliaments] judiciary ne ver fail to arouse my admiration (176). We learn that Mandelas respect for law extends further than the arrival of whites in South Africa, when he was raised in Transkei listening to the elders of his tribe tell stories of the days before the white mans a rrival. Mandela writes: Then our people lived peacefully, under the democratic rule of their ki ngs and their amapakati [hose of highest rank next to the king], and moved freely and confid ently up and down the country without let or hindrance. Then the country was ours, in our ow n name and right (149). He claims that the structure and organization of early African societies in this country fascinated him and greatly influenced the evolution of his political views. But not only does Mandela admire the Western parliamentary judiciary and the organization and structure of pre-colonial African society, but also the idea of a classless so ciety, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading (175). Let us now recall the impurity that define s Mandelas political outlook: he admires both Marxism and the order of law in the West, two syst ems that appear almost antithetical to each other. Indeed, they are the two systems through which Derrida attempts to work in Specters when he speaks of various ghosts of Marx circulating among us during these times of globalization. Mandela also admires what the West has to offer (in the form of law and Marxism) and the organization and structur e that governed the African soci ety that his elders once knew well. And perhaps this is similar to what dec onstruction envisions, both Western rationality and what Derrida calls the figures of African societ y [that] prefigure, they make visible ahead of 164

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tim e, what still remains invisibl e in its historical phenomenon, that is to say, the classless society and the end of the e xploitation of man by man (Laws of Reflection 25). But before Mandela may feel comfortable working within the legal tradition to return to a more peaceful Africa, he studies jurisprudence. Derrida considers this a question of mastering Western law, this weapon to turn against the oppr essors. These do not finally realize, in spite of all their legal ruses, the true force of law that they manipulate, violate, and betray (Laws of Reflection 29). Mandela must take course s by correspondence, since he does not have immediate access to direct personal conversation. In fact, Mandela and ot hers in the ANC must resort to writing because none of them has access to direct contact The white government, however, does not respond. When Albert Luthuli, as president of the ANC, addresses the first minister Strijdom and requests a response, he receives nothing. Mandela himself writes to Verwoerd to inform him of a resolution voted on by the action committee of the ANC and to request that Verwoerd convoke a national convention before th e deadline determined by the resolution. Mandela receives neither an answer no r acknowledgment of recei pt. He articulates in The Struggle Is My Life what he sees as the cause of this problem, which I will reproduce here: We have been conditioned by the history of White governments in th is country to accept the fact that Africans, when they make th eir demands strongly and powerfully enough to have some chance of success, will be met by force and terror on the part of the Government. This is not something we have ta ught the African people, this is something the African people have learned from their own bitter experi ence. Already there are indications in this country that people, my people, Africans, are turning to deliberate acts of violence and of force agains t the Government, in order to persuade the Government, in the only language which this Government show s, by its behavior, that it understands. Elsewhere in the world, a court would say to me, You should have made representations to the Government. This Court, I am confident, will not say so. Representations have been made, by people who have gone before me, time and time again. Representations were made in this case by me; I do not want ag ain to repeat the experience of those representations. The Court canno t expect a respect for the process of representation and negotiation to grow amongst the African peopl e, when the Government shows every day, by its conduct, that it despises such processes and frowns upon them and will not indulge 165

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them Nor will the Court, I believe, say that, under the circumstances, my people are condemned forever to say not hing and to do nothing. (155-56) Again, we return to the problem of Africa bein g heard (or not heard). What is the point of addressing an audience if it never in tends to listen or take up ones concerns? And if the Africans understand that even if they articulate their conc erns eloquently, what alte rnatives exist for them, might we suppose? Must someone else speak on their behalf? Or is vi olence the only means necessary to encourage the other to understand that he is not a pplying his rules of order equally and appropriately? Mandela understa nds the necessity of violence, as well as Derrida and Fanon. But these three also have not given up on the ju diciary, rationality, the ri ghts of man, a certain humanism that does not necessarily privilege man as center. For Ma ndela, the goal is to return to an organized and structured African society th at his forefathers once knew. For Derrida and Fanon, justice requires a reworking of the Enlight enment, a more equitabl e distribution of rights to everyone. These rights, however cannot be granted without recour se to violence; this fact is unmistakable, for Fanon and Derrida, though the degree to which one must proceed with violence is contingent upon circumstances, upon the force of an original event. In the case of South Africa, apartheid upheld the segregation and oppression of the black majority. The ANC responded tactically with methods of sabotage, though there were casualties. In the case of Algeria, the French violated the natives thr ough both decrees and excessive physical violence. The FLN and other groups responded with physical violence, but the Front had no ideology to replace the former one after a successful revolt, a point th at Fanon raises in Toward an African Revolution Buonamano acknowledges that Derrida ma intains a relation between justice and revolution, but it is one that can be reduced simply to the dominant theory-praxis paradigm. Buonamano writes, It may be that the act of revol t is, in certain circumstances, a condition for the exercise of justice, perhaps even a pre-condition; nonethel ess, they cannot be simplistically reconciled. 166

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Revolt exists within law, albeit at its limit, rather than beyond it. In this sense, the revolution is never anarchic if this term is understood in its ideological connotations. (177) Because one can never be outside the order of law, one must always speak and act within to overturn the legal system. In this sense, revolu tion is regarded as a fi nal act in a process of affirmation of discontent, where one que stions the law. But revolu tion is neither the beginning nor the end of counter-violence, but it is the possibility of an ev ent that mediates violence. The act of revolt attacks the violent structure of law and surrenders itself to the violence, which it appropriates for its own use. Buonamano argues that the problematic of revolt is similar to that of justice, in that there exists no purity in either order. Just as justice must attempt to experience the impossible, the ultimate aporia, revoluti on must challenge the law and state without becoming entirely co-dependent on the force and th e self-preserving violen ce of authority of the state since it must strike at th is authority with the latters weapons. We clearly begin to see the repetition that emerges hereA bit like how the anti-colonialist revo lution can only liberate itself from a de facto Europe or West in the name of tran scendental Europe, th at is, of Reason with respect to deconstruction. The fact is, Derr ida has identified with Nelson Mandela and Chris Hani, both of whom fought by violent means to secure freedom from the apparatuses of apartheid. And Derrida has spoken of the cry of Fanon several decades earlier, but one has to wonder why it is that the performative utterance of Fanon has been relegated to an originary position, despite Butlers asserti on that to ask such questions is pointless. Still, we must recognize that this perfor mative indeed exists and that a certain affirmation with Africa precedes this performative. I will conclude this chapter with a brief discu ssion of this affirmation, and in the final chapter, I will explain why I be lieve Fanon resonates with/for Derrida. 167

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Oui, Oui, A frica In A Number of Yes, Derrida sp eaks across Michel de Certeaus La Fable Mystique which teaches Derrida that memory can be encapsulated in a single word: yes The utterance invokes immediately a foreign land, memories of fo reign lands, but the word is also a promise. Conclusively, Derrida argues that yes is both a promise of memory and a memory of promise in an event that precedes all presence and all being. But because of the yes this memory itself must forget in order to satisfy its mission, which remains inseparable from the promise of a yes : incalculability itself, as a yes can never be counted. Furthermore, y es engages the performative of an originary affirmation and thus is supposed by every utterance about the yes Indeedto put it aphoristica llyfor Michel de Certeau there is no subject of any kind which does not arise from the scene of the yes (98). Derrida proposes two types of yes which, like many of Derridas figurations, are not homogeneous but similar. The first yes is archeoriginary, in that it engages, promises, acquiesces be fore all else. It is initially a response, but it also binds itself to the next or other yes which is already there and enveloped in the first. The first yes is and is not of language, belonging with out belonging to the totality that it simultaneously institutes and opens. In some sense, it is before language, marking the promise or an engagement to come to language. In fact, such an event can only occur by the force of this yes This first yes gives breath to every utterance, makes possible every constative and performative. As a word, it confirms yet rema ins silent, always doubling and redoubling. As an absolute performative, it makes possible all ot her performatives, even if they are radically negative. Yes can never be reduced to any simplicity, as it is neither empirical nor ontic. It does not fall within the pr ovince of any specific scienc e, ontology or phenomenology, nor finally of any predicative discourse. Presuppos ed by every proposition, it cannot be confused with the position, thesis or them e of any discourse. It is thro ugh and through the fable which, 168

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alm ost before the act and before the logos remains almost at the beginning, Derrida insists (104). On the surface of this figuration, one might discern at least two resemblances between yes and justice, and between yes and diffrance that I will identify here quickly in order to make a point about yes In terms of incalculability, we might say that justice and yes are similar. Both also fall outside of the aegis of science and should be associated with a certain beyond-ness. In terms of spatio-temporal dimensions, a yes functions similarly to diffrance in that it identifies two moments at the least, an original mo ment and an arche-original one. Where a yes prefigures both a first and a second yes repeatedly doubled into each other, diffrance anticipates an archewriting that precedes or makes po ssible the writing that we see. Wedged between these two types of writing is orality, which tends to efface th e memory of the arche-originary writing of diffrance. Orality motivates or inspir es one to forget arche-or iginary writing. It is this forgetting that interests me mo st, especially in the context of yes Returning to memory of promise or the promise of memor y, I would like to recount what Derrida says about the first and second yeses: Promised simultaneously with the first, the second yes must come as an absolute renewal, again absolutely, once again absolute ly inaugural and free, failing which it could only be a natural, psychological or logical consequence. It must act as if the first were forgotten, far enough past to require a new, initial yes This forgetting is not psychological or accidental, it is structural, the very condition of fidelity, of both the possibility and the impossibility of a signature; it is the divisibility against which a signature extends. (104-5) Might one make the connection here among this formulation here, Christopher Wises argument in Saying Yes to Africa: Jacques Derridas Specters of Marx that Derrida affirms his solidarity with Africa, and Derridas dropping of the Fanon reference in Cogito et histoire de la folie? I submit now the following pr oposition using this Derridean logic of yes : Derrida conveniently uses the lapsus of history to se rve as the forgetting between the experience of 169

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invoking the nam e of Frantz Fanon, wh ich acts as the first yes or affirmation of solidarity with Africa, and the event one could describe as Specters which acts as the second yes. The initial yes has been forgotten long enough to require a new, initial yes which some of us have accepted as his so-called political turn. Specters serves as Derridas faithful countersignature to the first yes the naming of Fanon. The memory of th e promise and the promise of memory enable us to keep this connection between De rrida and Fanon intact, even if it requires the treating of a cut and a c ontamination simultaneously. Of the two repetitions of yes Derrida writes: The first would not take place without the project, the bet or the promise, the mission or the emission, the send-off of the second, which is already there in it. This last, this first, doubles itself in advance: yes yes previously assigned to its repetition. Since the second yes resides in the first, the repetiti on augments and divides, distributing in advance the arche-originary yes This repetition, which figures th e condition of an opening of the yes menaces it as well mechanical repetition, mi metism, therefore forgetting, simulacrum, fiction, fable. (104) The dropping of the reference to Fanon signifies at once a cutti ng and a contamination, which remains vulnerable to the forgetting inherent in a yes one that does not exclude separation. Drawing from de Certea us The Scene of Utterance in La Fable Mystique Derrida identifies an originary separation of the yes : the Christly yes and the I am (the Other) of the burning bush (Jew). Faced once again with ma king a choice between Jew and Greek, Derrida wonders if it is not possible fo r the identity between both affirmations to touch upon an event or an advent of the yes which might be neither Judaic nor Christian, not yet or no longer simply one or the other? And does this neither-nor bring us [to some possibility that] could harmonize the originary eventness of the event with the fabulous narrative or with the fable inscribed in the yes as the origin of every word? (100 ). Could this event or advent of yes (in a word, deconstruction) have anything to do with Africa? 170

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If we recall, Christopher W ise argues that deconstruction may be commensurate with traditional African concerns, more specifically t he European stigmatization of illiteracy, the iconoclasticism of Judeo-Muslim hermeneutics, and the orality-aurality of traditional African culture (124). Wise is convinced that Derridas dedication to Ch ris Hani is proof of Derridas affirmation of solidarity with Africa. The dedication, which Wise views as a violent rhetorical strategy or deconstructive intervention, al so functions as metonymic displacement that consists largely on the le vel of apartheid, where justice and th e other are envisioned as something beyond deconstruction. Wise believes that Derrida ultimately serves as a stand-in for Hani and, in doing so, emphasizes the undecons tructible alterity of Hani. According to Wise, the problem with and fortunate thing about th is strategy is not simply that Derrida risks disl odging Hani, but that we do not know if justice will be delivered in such a gesture of standing in for Hani, as justice is something for which one awaits. The dedication amounts then to Derridas affirmation of his solidarity for a fellow African, rather th an speak[ing] for that absent black African voice (126). In my argument, I propose that Wise is correct to assume that Derridas dedication to Chris Hani and his work on Nelson Mandela support the assertion that Derrida affirms his solidarity with Africa in a manner consistent with deconstruction, suggesting perhaps that the conceptualization of justice, much like deconstruction itself, is as much African (or other) as it is European. This idea encapsulates the second yes in Derridas formulation. But the more archeoriginary yes, the first yes consists in identifying this affirmation with African earlier in Derridas invocation of Fanon. This connection ci rcumscribes something that I have suspected for several years, that Derri da and Fanon have something fundamentally in common. The commonality that I have in mind is deconstructi on, the origins of which may be located in 171

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172 Africa. I argue that Fanons new humanism is a dec onstructive call for justice. It is plausible that Derrida must have understood this possibility, gi ven his reference to Fanon in the early 1960s, but an inevitable forgetting has severed this tie momentarily, long enough for the requirement of a new, initial yes Derrida signs two yeses indeed, the first, or the Cogito that locates the necessity of Reason in any revolution, and the second, or the Specters that insist on a certain revolution for any justice to be served. In the next and final ch apter, I will explore Fanons new humanism, which resonates with these two yeses

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CHAP TER 6 ACT V: (A) NEW HUMANISM . and this is why I am addressing myself here to God, the only one I take as a witness, without yet knowing what these sublime word s mean, and this grammar, and to, and witness, and God, and take, take God, and onl y do I pray, as I have never stopped doing all my life, and pray to him, but I take him here and take him as my witness, I give myself what he gives me, i.e. the i.e. to take the tim e to take God as a witness to ask him not only, for example, like SA, why I take pleasure in weeping at the death of the friend, cur fletus dulcis sit miseris?, and why I ta lk to him in Christian Latin French when they expelled from the Lyce de Ben Aknoun in 1942 a little black and very Arab Jew who understood nothing about it --Jacques Derrida, Circumfession (57-8) It was my philosophy professor, a native of th e Antilles, who recalled the fact to me one day: Whenever you hear anyone abuse the Jews, pay attention, because he is talking about you. Later I realized that he meant, quite simply, an anti-Semite is inevitably an antiNegro. --Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (122) O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling, damnd villain! My tablesmeet it is I set it down That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark. --Hamlet Throughout this text, I have attempted to sketch various blueprints of deconstruction, noted appropriately by the ellipsis. Permit me here an improper substitution of the verb to be (designated by the double striketh rough) to attempt to make sense of the supplementary allusions: deconstruction is learning to live, is (not) Marxism, is additionally African, and is justice. Beneath these sketches I have attempted to explore an underappreciated relationship 173

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between Jacques Derrida and Frantz Fanon, which be gins tentatively with Derridas reference to the la tter in Cogito et histoire de la folie. The reference has been excised from later versions of the article, but the connection or the affirmation re mains just as solid as it was when the article was first printed, like the promise of memory or th e memory of promise. In this chapter, I would like to reinforce this connection and conclude by turning the focu s to Fanon and his idea called new humanism, which is a concept that I have felt to be deconstructive si nce I first began reading both theorists as an undergraduate student of English. To put this point more boldly and simply, deconstruction is also a new humanism. Deconstruction Is Not What You Think I borrow the subtitle from Geoffrey Benningt ons essay of the same name, in which he offers several points about deconstructi on. In the essay, orig inally published in Art and Design he writes that Deconstruction is not (what you think if you think it is) essentially to do with language (217). He also suggests that Deconstruction is not a theo ry or a project. It does not prescribe a practice more or less faithful to it, nor project an image of a desirable state to be brought about (218). Though Bennington intended th ese words for a more artistic audience, we should understand through his insigh t that deconstruction cannot be anticipated and that it is more than language. Considering these precepts, one might arrive at Fanons new humanism, which he initially describes as a state that requires man to take on the universality inherent in the human condition ( Black Skin 10). By A Dying Colonialism Fanon begins to regard a revolutionary component to a new huma nism. In his last full-length text, The Wretched of the Earth Fanon describes a new humanism that is a consequence of decolonization, which brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a new language and a new humanity. [It] is the veritable creation of new men (36). In th is search for a new humanity, we are told that we must not imitate Europe, fo r Europe, incapable of showing us humanness, 174

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equality, and justice, has only s hown us a succession of negations of man, and an avalanche of murders (312). Fanon writes, It is a question of the Third World starting a new history of Man, a history which will have regard to the som etimes prodigious which Europe has put forward, but which will also not forget Europes crimes, of which the most horrible was committed in the heart of man, and consisted of the pathological tearing apart of his func tions and the crumbling away of his unity (315). When Fanon refers to the term humanism, we must understand that he is not referring explicitly to the humanism in a traditional or even Levinasian sense (Jewish humanism). Fanons concept refers generally to a system that has o ffered the world the Declaration of Rights of Man, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and other forms of ina lienable rights based upon Reason. In truth, I believe he uses new humanism primaril y because there exists at that time no word or concept that could capture precisely what he wished for the pres ent and the future of humankind. Indeed, Fanons last words in The Wretched of the Earth encourage us to turn over a new leaf work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a new man (255). Ultimately, Fanon stresses the term new more than any other term in this phrase, which expresses an ambiguous desire to experience a new state of affairs to come. I argue that this concept, new humanism, aligns rather nicely with deconstructions democracy to come ( la dmocratie venir ), which I will explain later. Still, one question we must constantly as k ourselves is, What is deconstruction? especially because deconstruction can be both no thing and not everything. What then are the limitations of deconstruction? Are we really r eady to accept the answers to these questions? In truth, to read Derrida isnt to accept wholeheartedly his version of things; it is to accept a provisional argument or departure, with the understanding that the argument or departure is still 175

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open to conjecture: we are expected to contribute som ething to his work. So, for example, if his aim in Specters is to open up Marxism to a certain readi ng via Shakespeare in the spirit not only of Marxism but also of deconstruction, then my goal might be to open Derrida and deconstruction to an alternative re ading rooted deeply in Africa in the spirit of deconstruction. To stabilize these readings, I wi ll rely on Derridas reading of Hamlet in Specters. In this reading, Derrida establishes a sp ectral logic by which we are to regard Marx as something beyond ontology, while problematizing the schola rs understanding of and engagement with politics, philosophy, and change. Derr ida is not interested in how we can use Marx today, but he is concerned with how we ourselves can become revolutionary thinkers in the way that both Marx and Feuerbach might have wanted from ph ilosophers. In other words, we might ask, How can we speak to and with the specters of Marx to think about change? How are we to listen to the specters of Marx? Ultimately, Specters is a book about this inhe ritance, and Derrida is interested in understanding how one is to respond to or feel re sponsible for a heritage that hands one down contradictory orders. He is consumed by a particular moment when there existed on the one hand the very possibility and th e phenomenality of the political, or, again, that which makes it possible to identify the political; and, on the other hand the possibility of a hauntology, in which a disc ourse on (I do not say a science of) spectrality remains irreducible to all that it [a hauntology] makes po ssible: ontology, theology, positive or negative onto-theology, which also m eans, even before one begins to speak of Marxist philosophy, the philosophy whose limit Marx was, in my opinion, never able to thematize. (Marx and Sons 219) I want to resume this discussion of respons ibility, heritage, cont radictory orders, and specters in thinking about Fanon and Derrida as complementary revolutionary intellectuals, joined particularly at Cogito et histoire de la folie, but I will propose my own reading of Hamlet : 1) Though Derrida makes no clear or explicit reference to the ghost of Hamlet as being Marx, some readers generally read the ghost in th is manner; my reading will be no different; 2) Marxist Aijaz Ahmad insists on characterizing Derri da as one who has inserted himself in the 176

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place of both Ha mlet and the ghost of Hamlet s father. I accept provisionally this characterization, preferring to read Derrida as Ha mlet only, for the sake of simplicity; 3) Where my reading of Hamlet will differ from other deconstructive r eadings is in my rendering of Fanon as Horatio, despite three ontological inconsis tencies: a) Derrida and Fanon were never considered friends or colleagues, though they we re certainly contemporaries of each other; in Hamlet however, Hamlet and Horatio are collea gues at Wittenburg; b) Fanon dies several decades before Derrida, but in Hamlet Hamlet dies before Horatio, upon whom Hamlet asks to carry on his legacy; and c) Marx is not in any biographical sense Derridas father. I make these provisional conjecture s by way of spectral/ diffrantial logic that problematiz es both origin and the prioritizing of first and second. In other word s, this logic recognizes a temporal disjuncture, invoked in the following phrase in Hamlet Time is out of joint. On the subject of the specter and time, Derrida argues that that guise of the specter does not belong to present time, especially considering the fluidity of the ghost of King Hamlet: Enter Ghost Exit Ghost Re-enter Ghost ( Hamlet 2-5). The ghost is always leaving and re turning, and thus is beyond time. This beyond-ness is significant in terms of justice and responsibility, as justice carries life beyond present life or its actual being-there, its empirical or ontological actuality: not toward death but toward a living-on [sur-vie], namely, a trace of which life and death would themselves be but traces and tr aces of traces, a surv ival whose possibility in advance comes to disjoin or dis-adjust the identity to itself of the living present as well as of any effectivity. There is then some spirit Spirits. And one must reckon with them. One cannot not have to, one must not not be able to reckon w ith them, which are more than one: the more than one/no more one [ le plus dun]. ( Specters xx) It is my hope that, by this temporal disjunctu re, we may allow a dec onstructive reading of Hamlet that permits us to speak of or with various specters of Derrida and Fanon, which is, in any event, my aim. By shedding light on Derrida I hope to cast an alternative image of Fanon, and vice versa. I will argue that if we must al ways (already) place Derrida in the spotlight, we ought to recognize that Fanon is always never very far from him. In other words, we might 177

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regard Fanon as Derridas devoted shadow, a reading inspired by Francis G. Schoffs inte rpretation of Horatio in Hamlet Schoff argues that judged by his speech and actions, it remains true that Horatio is very nearly a nobody. It is only through Hamlet that we are made aware of him as an individual; only through Hamlet that we feel that his presence on stage supplie s Hamlet with one decent and loyal associate in the mad and rotten world in which he fi nds himself: one person on whose reports or testimony he can rely; one person to whom he can speak openly and freely. Otherwise, Horatio would remain for the audience merely a Messenger, a Nuncio. (55) Conclusively, Schoff regards Horatio as Haml ets devoted shadow or confidant. Though I do not regard Horatio as very nearly a nobody, I believe that Schoffs argument underscores quite well the fact that we are never made awar e of Horatios intellectualism and potential, thus leaving the focus on Hamlet. In the same way, I c onclude that we are often defensive about our regard for Derrida and deconstruction, and, in doing so, we fail to direct our attention toward a figure such as Fanon who is just as integral to deconstruction. On e way that we might rethink the extent of Fanons contribution to deconstruction is to regard him as Jacques Derridas devoted shadow. This characterization becomes more impo rtant when we consider Derridas Cogito et histoire de la folie, which, as I have argued earlier, describes the manner in which Foucault embeds the true historical ground of the Decisionthat which, through a single act, links and separates reason and madnessin the shadows (39). Cogito also preempts the figuration in the shadows to describe a certain philosophi cal process of repression, forbiddance, or concealment, a process that can be said to ch aracterize deconstruction, beginning perhaps with the excising of Fanons name. If Fanon (Horatio) is in the shad ows of deconstruction, it is Derrida (Hamlet), not necessarily the reader, who forces him there. Before I focus on Fanons new humanism, I will first draw out seve ral implications among Derrida, Fanon, and Hamlet 178

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The Plays the Thing The inclination to associate Derrida with Ham let begins with the latters inability to act, his tendency to think too much, and his feigning madness. Whence does this inability to act and madness usher forth? If we are to accept Derrida s ideas on justice, we might conclude that the moment of the just decision is the cause for bot h hesitancy and a madness, given that justice, which is impossible, is something that cannot wa it. Derrida himself recognizes this problematic in Hamlet when he speaks of responsibility and justice in Specters as a non-contemporaneity with itself of the living present where justice is beyond therefore the living present in general (xx). Our responsibility to this di sjointed, incalculable sense of tim e begins at birth or, in other words, the inheritance of a res ponsibility. According to Derrida, this inheritance signifies the originary wrong from which Hamlet suffers, the bottomless wound experienced at birth, an irreparable tragedy, the indefinite malediction that marks the history of the law or history as law: that time is out of joint is what is also atte sted by birth itself when it dooms someone to be the man of right or law only by becoming an inher itor, redresser of wrongs that is, only be castigating, punishing, killing ( Specters 21). If we recall, it is the ghost of king Hamlet that reminds us of this responsibility and inspires this madness. Hamlet, however, is not the first to see the ghost. Horatio sees it before him (Fanon was first to engage in Communist politics, though he never became a member [1949-51]. He is reported to have been close to the student branch Parti Communiste Francais, but he did not become a member, even though he was active in student politics and took part in anti-colonial ist demonstrations), and it is Horatio who is ready to act, to strike at the ghost (Ill cro ss it, though it blast me), an interesting fact considering Horatio does not initially believe in the ghost. Horatios most difficult challenge, however, lies in attempting to speak to the ghost. As Derrida argues, what seems almost impossible is to speak always of the specter, to speak to the specter, to speak with it, therefore 179

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especially to make or to let a sp irit speak ( Specters 11). This feat is especially difficult for a reader, an expert, a professor, an interpreter, in short, for what Marcellus calls a scholar. Derrida believes that because scholars, observe rs, intellectuals, witnesses, and theoreticians privilege sight, they are not in the best positi on to speak to the specte r. So when Marcellus implores Horatio to speak to the ghostThou art a scholar; speak to it (3)we might understand why it appears to us, esp ecially to Derrida, that Horatio wants to inspect, stabilize, arrest the specter in its speech. For Derrida, it is as if Marc ellus were taking part in a colloquium. He appeals to the scho lar or to the learned intellectual, to the man of culture as a spectator who better understands how to estab lish the necessary distan ce or how to find the appropriate words for observing, better yet, for ap ostrophizing the ghost, which is to say also for speaking the language of kings or of the dead ( Specters 12). After Marcellus implores Horatio to speak with the ghost, Horatio speaks, but th e ghost is offended and leaves. When the ghost returns, Horatio is certain that the ghost will speak to Hamlet Hamlet also knows the ghost will only speak to him, primarily because it may assu me my noble fathers person (16). The ghost does not speak immediately to Hamlet, but beck ons him to go away with it (24). Both Marcellus and Horatio respond nega tively, telling Hamlet not to go with it, lest the ghost may encourage Hamlet to commit suicide or deprive Haml et of his ability to r eason and draw him into madness. Hamlet, however, does not follow their advice and leaves w ith the ghost to another part of the platform where the ghost conf ides in Hamlet. The ghost tells him, I am thy fathers spirit and that he must wander the earth until the crim es he committed as a mortal are purged. He cannot tell the secrets of the prison-house because they are not appropriate for ears of flesh and blood (26). The ghost wants Hamlet to revenge his wrongful death. 180

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It seem s, then, that thinking th e possibility of and addressing the specter require more than being a scholar; thinking and addressing specters require f(am)ilial relations. The ghost will not speak to Marcellus and Hora tio, but to them, it will merely make itself known, will itself appear only to be seen but not spoken to. The ghost, however, will only speak to the one with whom he identifies, his son, and he will not do so in public but in private. Does this issue not return us to the problematic of being heard, which occupies the quest ion of the scholar or intellectual speaking on behalf of Africa? If Hamlet knows that his familial relations will guarantee that the ghost will speak to him, he must also realize the privilege that these relations afford him. Derrida too must surely recognize th at to identify as Western will afford him a certain privilege to be heard that the Africans, who clearly lack the familial relations with the specters of Europe, will certainly not have acces s to. The contexts in which these conversations take place seem most interesting. If the ghost will only speak to Hamlet in private, then how are we to make sense of the question of inheritan ce and filial relations in general? Derrida argues that one always inherits from a secret, which says, read me, will you ever be able to do so? The critical choice called for by any reaffirmation of the inheritance is also, like memory itself, the condition of finitude ( Specters 16). When one thinks of inher itance, one thinks of family, but because inheritance is not given, natural, tran sparent, univocal, if it did not call for and at the same time defy interpretati on, it is heterogeneous. Neither Derrida nor Hamlet, however, is able to deal with this inheritance rather effectively, as both ra tionalize too much to act in a general sense. Who is th en called upon to act, to carry on the legacy of Hamlet? Before his last breath after falling at the poisone d sword of Laertes, Hamlet passes on the responsibility of inheritance to Horatio, who shows his allegiance by offering to drink poison so that he may die with Hamlet. Hamlet tells him no, that he must live and deliver the tr uth about all that has 181

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happened. Ham let entrusts his colleague of Wittenburg, the center of rationalism and the Protestant Reformation, with truth. Let us pause for a moment to consider Wittenburg not only as a metaphor for rationality and Reason, but also religiosity. Wittenburg becomes more significant when we consider that Sren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopherhis work deals with religious problems such as the nature of faith, the institution of the Christian Church, Christ ian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with existential choiceswould be regarded as the first existentialist philosopher and Derrida would read his work, along with the work of Heidegger, back in 1948 after he passed the baccalaureat Heidegger, too, would be regarded by many as an existentialist, despite his denial. Rese arch into the history of Wittenburg also yields another name, Martin Luther, to whom we might attribute an originary anti-semitism. If Derrida as Hamlet becomes scholar at Wittenburg, we might posit that his occupation represents not a reconciliation, but a coming to terms with discrimination. By default, Fanon as Horatio is also dealing with a heterogeneous but deceptively simila r discrimination, especially if we are to take the words of Fanons philosopher professor to hear t: It was my philosophy professor, a native of the Antilles, who recalled the f act to me one day: Whenever you hear anyone abuse the Jews, pay attention, because he is talking about you. Later I realized that he meant, quite simply, an anti-Semite is inevitably an anti-Negro ( BSWM 122). The black and the Jew, the black and the little black and very Arab Jew contending side by side agai nst an originary violence, both men tending to a responsibility as scholars, attemp ting to speak with specters. But it is somehow Derrida (Hamlet) passing this responsibility to Fanon (Horatio). How is this possible? We can see the possibility of the passing of resp onsibility in this moment if we return to diffrance and temporality, where we must conceive of a second term folding back onto the first 182

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term where an arche-originary proponent ma kes possible any subsequent ones. A more aphoristic expression would be that the second is always implied with in the first, as Derrida tells us. In the case of diffrance itself, an arche-originary writ ing precedes orality which precedes writing. If we were to substitute Derrida and Fa non within this system of a general economy, system of differential marks, to label each ma n as first or second, we might arrive at the following calculus: Fanon/Horatio as arche-orig inary precedes Derrida/Hamlet. It is Fanon (Horatio) who sees Marx (the ghost) before Derrida (Hamlet), and he is implored to speak to it. It is Fanon (Horatio) who acts first, taking up ar ms with National Liberation Front (offering to strike at the ghost). The ghost, how ever, does not affirm this gestur e, deferring instead to Hamlet, with whom it speaks. It is in this sense th at the specter (of Marx, of Europe) hears and communicates with Hamlet. But how is Derrida (H amlet) to pass the responsibility back onto Fanon (Horatio)? Deconstruction indeed permits us a reading that allows Fanon to assume a certain responsibility, to tell us about truth in a most pure and intransigent manner, after the death of Derrida. Deconstruc tion then is a new humanism, for which violence functions integrally to permit (the promise of) a future wher e justice can occur. This dissertation represents a modest gesture to make this possible, to allow Fanon to carry a burden of responsibility after Derrida. Enter Hamlet and Horatio. Smile The conversation between Derrida and Fanon begins with a smile, with a Marranos smile or maybe even the smile of a villain, a renega de, or infidel. In A Marranos Smile, John Leavey proposes that the smile is one way th at Marranos can recognize one another on and over the topos of a particular shibboleth. A simplistic definition of Ma rrano would tell us of a Spanish or Portuguese Jew who is forced to convert to Ch ristianity, usually under the threat of death or 183

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persecution, a sort of Shylock conversion. Derrida looks at this conversion f rom the perspective of the convert, defining Marrano not as someone who has chosen to relinquish an integral aspect of his or her life, his or her re ligiosity in particular, but as anyone who remains faithful to a secret that he has not chosen, in the very place where he lives, in the home of the inhabitant or of the occupant, in the home of the first or of the second arrivant in the very place where he stays without saying no but without identif ying himself as belonging to ( Aporias 81). The Marrano keeps a secret, or, more appropriately, the s ecret keeps the Marrano even before the Marrano keeps it. Is it not possible to think that such a secret eludes history, ag e, and aging? (Derrida, Aporias 81). If the secret is to remain a secret, th en it would necessitate a shibboleth that would assist in the concealment of the secret. Hence, not only is the smile encoded, but the shibboleth also encodes, as it divides and cuts in the word that can and cannot be sai d, as Leavey explains (A Marranos Smile 14). For him, a certain prag matics of the shibboleth and the evocation of a smile enable Derrida and Antonio Negri to have a conversation that has not yet taken place and will not have taken place even when conceived from a future point, as if Derrida were still alive, as if his ghost had now returned to ha ve this conversation (A Marranos Smile 8). Leavey can speculate on what these two (will) ha ve (already) said, but what remains certain is the implication or necessity of a two-fold re sponsibility. This specula tive conversation has no immediate regard for an order(ing) of events or the privileging of primordi al terms, as it has not yet taken place. The futurity implicated within the event(-uality) is st ructured, misaligned, or disordered on the basis of a responsibility or an inheritance of a twofold before. We quote Derridas For What Tomorrow at length to explain this point: The concept of responsibility has not sense at al l outside of an experience of inheritance. Even before saying that one is responsible for a particular inheritance, it is necessary to know that responsibility in general (answeri ng for, answering in ones name) is first assigned to us, and that it is assigned to us through and through, as an inheritance. One is 184

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responsible before what com es before one but also before what is to come, and therefore before oneself A double before, one that is also a debt, as when we say devant ce quil doit: before what he ought to do and owing what he owes once and for all, the heir is doubly indebted. It is always a question of a sort of anachronism: to come before [ devancer ] in the name of what came before us, and to come before the name itself! To invent ones name, to sign otherwise, uniquely in each case but in the name of the name passed down, if thats possible! (5-6) Derridas words here do nothing more than re inforce what has already been established throughout this work: our conversation with the ghost implies a responsibility that is out of joint. Leavey figures that the conve rsation between Derrida and Negri takes place through the shibboleth of a new practice, namely a new ont ology. In A Specters Smile, Negri proposes a newpost-deconstructiveontology that would en able deconstruction to escape the prison of an ineffectual and exhausted defin ition of ontology where it remains. Humanism A New Humanism If Negris intent in A Spect ers Smile is to help Derrida escape the prison of ontology and to lead deconstruction onto new ontological terrain, my goa l here is also two-fold: to examine deconstructions role in humanism via Bill Martins Humanism and Its Aftermath and locate Fanons proposal for a new humanism with in the shibboleth of a new practice that we might refer to as a new humanism. This examinati on will then lead us to questions of identity, which will further reinforce Derridas connection to Fanon. Martin argues straightforwar dly that Derrida enacts a tr ansformation of humanism by engaging with problems of modernity. At the hear t of his essay are two fundamental questions: 1) what is human, or what is it to participate in humanity? And 2) wh at is universalism, and what are its possibilities today? Recognizing that humanism is generally framed as a universalistic ideology, Martin acknowledges two di stinct versions of humanism. We identify Immanuel Kant as the figure who most thoroughly articulated the Enlightenment version of ethical universalism. The second ve rsion can be attributed to Re ne Descartes, whose humanism 185

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thrusts the I in the center of th e universe. Martin speculates for several reasons that Kant, more than Hume or Spinoza, should be credited with moving beyond selfcentered Cartesianism, which has every right to claim the mantle of humanism. Its highest aspi ration is self-knowledge, though defined as self-assertion (5 0). The highest aspiration of the Kantian circuit seems to be a general regard for the other. Ma rtin argues that some thinkers, most specifically Marx, are caught between these two circuits, which makes understanding Kantian culture difficult. In order to situate Derrida within this discussion, Mart in turns to Susan Bordos The Flight to Objectivity to explore the dominance of Cartesian culture and the manner in which it encourages us to reflect inward and to purify our minds by purging the mo ther, the feminine, the body, and the dirt of labor. Mar tin explains: Such are the Cart esian roots of the boot camp, where one is made over into a man. This last comment is not merely gratuitous; just as a societys politics are concentrat ed in war, so is its culture concentrated in its war-making machineries (52). The narrator of Albert Camuss The Last Man reminds us of the concentration of war in society: Theres always been war, said Veillard. But people quickly get accustomed to peace. So they think its normal. No, war is wh ats normal (184). War, then, is the enterprise of men and, as such, requires us to reflect by purging ourselves of the feminine. Though we might recognize masculinization in Kants work, we must also acknowledge the reversal of the Cartesian reaction-formation, the memory of the mother (53). Martin returns us to Derridas essay, Cogito and the History of Madness, which serves as the basis for this work. In Cog ito, Derrida attempts to clarify the manner in which Descartes struggled to attain mental purity and to ch arge FoucaultEnter Bernardowith a nave historicized reading of Descartes cogito as that which subsumes an a priori madness. Martin points to Derridas criticism of Foucaults methodology to emphasize the crisis of reason that 186

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both log ically precedes and unde rwrites all temporal ity; [Derrida] is carrying through to its logical conclusion a Cartesian cri tique of Foucault (56). This cr isis is not only energized by a culture of positivism, it is also brought on by the decision between an access to reason and an attack of it. Martin wonders if Derrida describes a universal structure in which all who are human participate (57). The brief reference to Derridas Cogito a llows Martin to position Derrida against Habermas, Nietzsche, and Kant to extrac t a more poignant Derri dean stance on reason. Habermas decries young conserva tives like Derrida for promulga ting Kants project in a onesided, Nietzschean way, which allegedly remains on the level of pure reason, eliding its connection to pure judgment and the practicality of ethics. For Habermas Nietzsche and others like him, especially Derrida, never deal with pr actical reason. Martin then points to Habermass The Idea of the UniversityLearning Processes and Derridas The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of Its Pupils to challe nge Habermass claim that the Nietzschean variant of the Kantian project has no regard for the c onvergence of the practical/political and reason. What the examination of the two texts ultimately reveals is that Habermas himself lacks an international dimension and that Derridas work hi ghlights aporias that are points of repression in Habermass essay. Another crucial distincti on between the two texts is the placement, or understanding rather, of an outside with resp ect to reason. For Habermas, the attack on the principle of reason and the university will come from the outside. For Derrida, this crisis develops from within the university. If Kant initially placed philosophy at the center of the faculties of the university, Martin laments the marginalization of ph ilosophy and its being replaced by fields such as marketing and advertising. It is here where Martins argument loses tract ion. Although he speaks rather 187

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awkwardly for people of color, wom en, gays, and others and of the in tellectual sanctuary, or generally pleasant and privileged spaces that ar e also a kind of padded cell, where we realize that we are only permitted to raise relevant ques tions in irrelevant circ umstances and irrelevant questions in relevant circumst ances (120), we should not overlook the fact that Martin himself seems to repress the universitys earlier role in marginalizing the voices of people of color, women, gays, and others. He mentions ideologu es such as Dinesh DSouzas, Roger Kimballs, and George Willeses who hack the scholarship of lesbian, deconstructionist, or Marxist writers, but spends little time describing the manner in whic h this repression historic ally organized itself to exclude marginal voices within the university itself. Before disciplinary interests such as feminism, Afro-American literary studies, de construction, Marxism, gay studies, and other critical approaches even saw the light of day at institutions of higher learning,25 these interests fought (and continue to fight) at these highly contested sites of r eason/rationality. It is relatively only recent that the academy has allowed for a certa in level of self-reflexivity that would enable a space for questioning the system. In fact, Martin locates this movement in the sixties when specific questions [concerning] patriarc hy, ideologies of raci al (especially white) superiority, capitalism, and other oppressive hi erarchies were given especially powerful expression (118). He argues that these questions were taken in to the colleges and universities and developed in theoretical terms. Did not these questions emerge from within the walls of the university? If we pay partic ular attention to V. Y. Mudimbes analysis of Africa, to which I shall briefly return later, we can understand an approximation of how these instit utions have come to 25 One wonders why Martin spends so much time focusing on blacks, gays, and women, neglecting to mention other racialized categories such as Hispanic or Asian American s. Aside from a few references such as the Vietnam War and Paolo Freire, Martins essay lacks an international dimension, much like the Habermas essay he discusses. 188

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circum scribe a narrative of supe riority and delimit the right to question, which Martin believes is itself under attack (118). Indeed, Martin is correct to point to Derri da as someone who a ttempts to transform humanism by examining reason, especially with respect to the university. Mart in also deploys a critique of Richard Rortywho credits Derrida s experiment writing as aiming at new ways of being humanto arrive at the following conclusion: The difference [between Rorty and Derrida] is that Derrida goes to great length to thematize the ri sks involved in encountering the invention of the other, and he also urges that these risks must be taken, of necessity. This necessity is our possibility and the possibility of the other (112). But Mar tins sketch of Derrida falls short of illustrating accurately the problematiz ation of the notion of an outside. The neoconservative ideologues that Martin decries have done nothing more than take up, albeit aggressively and in extreme fashion, the concerns of its conserva tive counterparts within the university. If Derridas The Prin ciple of Reason: The University in the Eyes of Its Pupils centers around the figure of the gorge in the midst of Cornell University, a figure that runs both inside and outside, we should have no pr oblem understanding how ideologue Ann Coulter, the poster child for irrationa l thought, could emerge from its prestigious halls. Martin treats fairly the questi on what is it to participate in humanity? but his discussion of universalism and its possibilitie s today, with the exception of a brief reference to Paolo Freire, remain largely a question of the West. It is he re where I should take on Fanons notion of a new humanism and return to the que stion of Derrida and universalis m to examine the confluences between Derridas and Fanons positions. Fanon Envisions a New Humanism Fanons new humanism went through severa l transformations throughout his short publishing career. Beginning with the first page of Black Skin, White Masks ( BSWM ), Fanon 189

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introduces us to the notion of a new hum anism, which requires man to take on the universality inherent in the human condition (10, emphasis added). If the white man fails to recognize the Negro, or if the Negro feels inferior and finds himself faced with a ne urotic situation, it is because the world needs to be restructured (82). This restructuring requires both the white man and the black man to turn their backs on th e inhuman voices which were those of their respective ancestors in order th at authentic communication be po ssible. Before it can adopt a positive voice, freedom requires an effort at disa lienation (231). Fanons position appears to run counter to Derridas, who believes precisely in taking on the voices of our respective ancestors in order to move forward or to generate a ne w practice. We must clarify, however, that Fanon does not suggest turning our backs on all of our ancestors, only those whose voices are inhuman. His interest can be purported ly reduced to communication, freedom, and disalienation. Nowhere in this early formulation do we see the term violence, as Fanon believes naively that in order to eliminate the psychology of oppression and its concomitant terms such as superiority and inferiority, we must attempt to touch the other, to feel the other, to explain the other to myself (231). He recognizes that the Negro who toils in fields has only one solution: to fight (224), but the extent of his discussion on war is limited to the double process of an inferiority complex, namely economic and the internalization (or epidermalization) of this inferiority. Fanon argues that the black man must wa ge his war on both levels (11). Conclusively, we might concede that Fanon is fam iliar with the plight of the Negro in a white world, and his theses are profoundl y structured around a Manichean delirium that he believes can be corrected only through a successf ul struggle with disalienation. Much like deconstruction, the architecture of BSWM is rooted in the temporal as Fanon realizes that [e]very human problem must be considered fro m the standpoint of time (13). 190

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Fanon believes that the present always contributes to the building of the future, but he regards the future as imm ediate, of my century, my country, my existence. In no fashion should I undertake to prepare the world that will come la ter. I belong irreducibly to my time (13). He also insists that his analysis will be valid only for the Antilles, his home On the surface, these statements might appear counterintuitive to decons truction, in that they attempt to delimit history and time, or to plot time linearly, and to identif y one particular locale (the Antilles) for his analysis. The sentiment e xpressed at the outset of BSWM should be viewed as disingenuous at best for two reasons: First, regarding time, Fanon is convinced that the body of history does not determine a single one of my actions, and yet he cannot escape the logic that insists that man is drowned in contingency (231). He insists th at he will not derive his basic purpose from the past of the peoples of color, but he declares that as a man, what I have to recapture is the whole past of the world (226). We then are not clear how he could resign himsel f to conclude that the possible correspondence between a Negro philosopher and Plato has no relati on to the destitution of children working the cane fields in Mart inique or Guadeloupe. An impatient Fanon consistently gets temporality incorrect, which is why Derrida serves as an important interlocutor here on behalf of his Marrano counterpart. If Fano n refuses to recognize that justice must arrive, that the future moment is not as immediate as it is desirable, it is because he would like to experience justice in his lifetime. Henry Louis Gates has argued that Homi Bhabha and others have conveniently ignored Fanons provisoIn no fashion should I undert ake to prepare the world that will come later. I belong irreducibly to my timewh en they attempt to create a poststructural, postmodern Fanon. I want to argue here that this proviso indeed encapsulates deconstruction insofar as it is understood as neces sary and, in Derridas words, as something needed immediately. This proviso also enjoins Fanon and Derrida uniquely, especially when we 191

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consider Derridas argum ent in Force of Law when he writes that anyone who says our time, while thinking our present in light of a future anterior present does not know very well, by definition, what they are saying. It is precisel y in this ignorance that the eventness of the event consists, what we naivel y call its presence (991). My guess is that Fanon writes this proviso hastily, not necessarily in ignorance, but insistent on the fact that justice is needed now. His frustration a pparent throughout BSWM, Fanon in a final prayer eventually comes to terms with the prospect of not experiencing just ice in his lifetime: O my body, make of me always a man who questions! (232). Indeed, th is declaration converges on an aspect of deconstruction that would return us to our di scussion in Chapter Two on spectrality: the notion of prayer emanating from Fanon should suggest a messianicity without religion. Nowhere in BSWM do we see any representation of religion, which makes the last words of the text all the more curious. Fanon is not a religious man, so wh at is the need for prayer? Fanon himself awaits the arrival of a Messiah, a salvation that will lead to equal treat ment for all. But we should not identify this Messiah with th e typical religious figuration, but with spectrality that assumes no religious affiliation. For Derrida, the messian icity without messianism has no doubt a profound importance for the coming of the specter and justice, the unpredictability of their arrival. In the meantime, Fanon must accept this itinerary, but he also wants to remain a man who questions! In choosing to be a man who questions, Fanon ultimately tells us that he is ready to learn to live the strange watchword that indicates the sententious inj unction that always feigns to speak like the just ( Specters xviii). Fanon prepares to treat more seriously questions of memory, inheritance, generations, res ponsibility, and justice. He prepares to speak with/for/to ghosts/specters. If we retu rn to the first line of BSWM, we can make more sens e of this particular explosion that will not ha ppen today. It is too soon or too late (7). 192

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The second reason why we should view Fanons initial sentim ents expressed in BSWM as disingenuous has to do with his will ingness to expand his analysis to include those he originally felt authorized to discuss. In some sense, he opens the questions of memory, inheritance, responsibility, and justice when he agrees to s how why the Negro of the Antilles, whoever he is, has always to face the problem of language, yet he also broadens the field of this description and through the Negro of the Antilles include every colonized man (18, emphasis added). Fanon universalizes the experience of the black man to include those who have lived in France for a length of time only to return r adically changed (19), the R -eating man from Martinique (21), people born in Dahomey or the Congo who pretend to be natives of the Antilles (25), the Senegalese, the black proletar iat of South Africa, and the Negro in America. In these characterizations, he recognizes himself, but he also does not have the duty to be this or that. . (229). He wants to break free of the lasso of existence to which he has been confined, and he only has one right: to demand human behavior from the other. We see Fanon at the conclusion of BSWM attempting to redefine not only humanism, th e Cartesian self-centeredness that led to the designations superiority and inferiority in th e first place, and ontology ( I am a part of Being to the degree that I go beyond it). In doing so, in traveling the world, he is endlessly creating [himself]. These exclamations represent humble expressions of deconstr uction. In them, Fanon understands how he has been made Negro, but he refuses to accept those terms. He wants to create himself. Can we not hear in his words so mething akin to Derridas criticism of what it means to be a Jew? In Abraham, the Other, De rrida becomes witness to the deconstruction of the phrase I could thi nk of another Abraham for myself. With this phrase, we can assume, imagine, or conceive of more than one Abraham, according to Derrida. We can call this other 193

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Abraham a fiction, and in fictionalizing Abraham, we can move to make sense of at least two orders and to respond to them, with a yes perhaps. (Before I begi n Derridas critique of Abraham, let me not waste any time in pointing out that at the time of Fanons death, he had taken the name Ibrahim.) These two orders ca n be summed as follows, and I quote Derrida at length here: How, and by what right, can one distinguis h, for example, between that which, in my experience, touches in part my being jew [ tre juif] at its most intimate, its most obscure, its most illegible (however one takes this being-jew, and later I will in fact complicate the stakes of this expres sionone cannot do everything at once) and in part that which, let us say, seems to belong in a more legible fashion to my work, the public work of a good or a bad student, which does not necessarily, nor always, bear visible traces of my being-jew, whether it concerns itself with writing, teaching, et hics, law or politics, or civic behavior, or whether it concerns itself with philoso phy or with literature. (2-3) These two orders, recognizing th e intimacy of being-jew and th e obscurity of being-jew, always requires the affirmation or a response, a yes which either accepts affirmatively the terms of ones being-jew or disavows being jew, ev en under the cloak of secrecy, like a Marrano. In short, as Derrida says, it is a matter of respons ibility, but also a matter of dissociations, which do not necessarily threaten social bonds but threaten love, Of living love and of lifelong love of life, the lively and exposed affirma tion of life. So it is that evil, risk, as well as opportunity, have to do neither with dissociation nor with its opposite, but with the experience of a dissociation that is at once possible, necessary, and impossible. An alternative at once promised and denied (5). Fanon might suggest a dissociation of what it means to understand and to love. . (7). We can better understand this sense of di ssociation by considering three different figures, which I will rehearse briefly here: 1) a dissociation between persons of a particular et hnic/racial/religious identity. How does one (I am Jewish) ultimately come to identify with an other (She is Jewish)? 2) the dissociation between authenticity and inauthenticity How do we identify the authentic and the inauthentic Jew? and 3) the dissociation between judeity [jewishness] and judaism What 194

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ultim ately is the difference between the two term s? If we refer to Fanons philosophy professor, we can simply substitute beingnegro, negro-ness, and negritude for a few of the terms above, as Fanon once learned from him that Whenever you hear anyone abuse the Jews, pay attention, because he is talking about you. Later I reali zed that he meant, quite simply, an anti-Semite is inevitably an anti-Negro ( BSWM 122). But before Derrida examines these three dissociations, he whispers a secret (to Fanon): one is entrusted to a certain determined silence that keeps and guards so long as one keeps and guards it. The secret keeps from judaism, but keeps as well a certain jewishness in oneselfhere in me. As ifa paradox that I will not stop unfolding and that summarizes all the torment of my lifeI had to keep myself from judaism in order to retain within myself something that I provisionally call jewishness (6). In guarding himself from being jewish, Derrid a is guarding the jew in himself. Thus, the disavow is not a negation, but an affirmation. In saying no to overdetermined identities, one is responding to the overdetermination itself, saying yes to the one who overdetermines. But one should not accept this overdetermined identity wholehear tedly. Fanon understands this secret. Derrida has always had a strang e relationship with the word Jew The first time he heard it was not at home, in the context of a particular peoples, but at school in El Bi ar as an insult, a wound, an injustice. He explains: I received this word like a bl ow, a denunciation, a de-legitimati on prior to any right, prior to any legality. A blow struck against me, but a blow that I would henceforth have to carry and incorporate forever in the very essence of my most singularly signed and assigned behavior. This word, this performative addres s (Jew, that is, almost inevitably, as if it were readily understood as dirty Jew!), this apostrophe was, remains, and carries, older than the claim, more archai c than any constative, the figure of a wounding arrow, of a weapon or a projectile that has sunk into your body, once and for all and without the possibility of ever uprooting it. (10-1) Derridas orientation to the word Jew serves as a moment of trauma, hurled against him as an insult in the early 1940s. How is one to accept this name, Jew, dirty Jew, in good faith, 195

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without reservation? Derrida will tell us that the suffering has killed in him an elementary confidence in any community (15). We would then expect Fanon to feel something similar after being called Dirty nigger! or simply, Look, a Negro! by a young boy in France. Discovering that he is merely an object among other objects, Fanon is shattered into fragments, which are then put together ag ain by another self ( BSWM 109). The experience leads him to disavow ontology, which he believes does not permit us to understand the being of the black man (110). Fanons description of this traumatic experience is much more vivid: What else could it be for me but an amputation, an excision, a hemorrhage that spattered my whole body with black blood? (112). He, however, does not want to accept this revision, this thematization. Interestingly, both Derrida and Fanon turn to Sartre to help them understand their traumasEnter Marcellus. Both Fanon and Derrida be lieve that, in some ways, Sartre errs in his universal onto-phenomenological as sessment of man, particularly the authentic and inauthentic Jew, and the black man expressing his pride through negritude. Pointing to Sartres reflections on the Jewish question in Anti-Semite and Jew based significantly on his ruminations in Being and Nothingness Derrida argues that Sartres defini tion of the authentic Jew has a way of transforming the concept of Jew into a non-conc ept, without any attrib ute that a Jew could attribute to himself, that is to say, that he c ould assume or claim (25). For Derrida, Sartres formulation leaves no space for the Jew to define himself without misunderstanding. The Jew is ultimately defined by what Sartre refers to as s emblance of unity, which relies significantly on the common situation of the Jew, the community its elf. Sartre writes, It is neither their past, their religion, nor their soil that unites the sons of Israel (Anti-Semite and Jew 67). Derrida argues that Sartre has no answer to the questi on What keeps the semblan ce of unity? and even deprives himself of the principl e that would enable such an an swer, since all the reasons that 196

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would be availab le to non-Jews for calling a nyone jew are unacceptable and justly discredited by Sartre (26). Sartre resigns the Jew to a quasi-a uthenticity and leads us to believe that the inauthentic Jew has no problem assimilating to national soci ety. In his willingness to assimilate, the inauthentic Jew contributes his r ationalism, critical spirit, and humanism to create a contractual society and universal brotherhood (1 46). One can see how those who consider themselves authentic Jew might be offended at this characterization. Derrida does not intend to criticize Sartre and believes he deserves cr edit for his work. His point in examining Sartrean logi c is to highlight the essential difficulty in signing (and what one demands of a responsible signature is that it be original and au thentic), in underwriting and in countersigning an utterance of th e type: Me, I am jew (authe ntic or inauthenticor quasiauthentic), in knowing and meaning what one appear s to be saying (28). Derrida recognizes that it is very difficult and vertigi nous to pronounce that one is Je w while knowing and meaning it. He cautions us not to convince ourselves that we know what we are saying, especially when we do not know. It is precisely the aporetic experien ce of undecidability be tween the authentic, the inauthentic, and the quasi-authentic that Derrid a holds to be the very condition, in truth, the milieu or the ether within which decision, and any responsibility worthy of the name (and perhaps worthy of the name and of the attribute jew ) must breathe (31). The undecidability of naming and signing emphasizes responsibility. To re inforce this point, Derrida ends the essay with the possibility that there might be anothe r Abraham (Ibrahim): more than one, more than jewish, otherwise jewish, other than jewish, the most jewish. We cannot pretend to know which one; we must know undoubtedly. Sartre presents us with another aporetic experience with respect to negritude and humanism. In the Preface to The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre writes, there is nothing more 197

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consistent than a racist hum a nism since the European has only been able to become a man through creating slaves and monsters (22). While Sartre remained st eadfast in his repudiation of an old humanism, it is his existential honesty that would insist a stark reality for Fanon. According to Sartre, ngritude, though a celebrato ry affirmation of black identity, was merely the weak stage of a dialectical progression, wher e the theoretical and pr actical affirmation of white supremacy is the thesis and ngritude as antithetical value is the moment of the negativity dedicated to its own destruction ( Black Orpheus 60). Ngritude, best expressed as poetry, is a means to an end. Aime Csaire realiz es the ephemeral nature of ngritude in his Notebook of a Return to My Native Land the text where the term appeared for the first time. He writes: And in the midst of all this I cry hurray! my grandfather is dyi ng,/I cry hurray! the old negritude is gradually cadave rising./There is no denying it: he was a good nigger (127). Sartre argues that ngritude is not a state but a pure surpassing of itself, and it is love. He continues: It is at the mo ment that it renounces itself that it finds itself; it is at the moment that it consents to lose that it has won (62). Leopold Senghor gives Sartres argu ment perhaps its most moving testimony. In Elegy of the Saudades Senghor expresses love in a renunciation of blackness and a nostalgic tu rn toward Portugal: My flower is open, my mo re-than-brother, to my handsome Prince, the Bee. But butterflies, beware! Your weapons are useless my brotherhow foolish the warrior is! I die and am reborn as I will. My love is a miracle. But I have no taste for magic. Love is my marvel. (48) 198

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The breast, which represents nudity without co lor, is what best sym bolizes ngritude, according to Sartre (62). Senghor, in a collecti on of poetry whose title draws from Sartres Black Orpheus invokes the figure in a number of contexts: it is Earth that allows Senghor to rest his head on the shore of your breasts (11), those sa me firm breasts that will tremble under the Conquerors caress (17). It is after the renunciation of itself that ngritude can ask, But when shall I see again my homeland, the pure horizons of your face? When shall I sit down again at the table of your dark breasts? ( Poems of a Black Orpheus 26). Though Sartre argues that ngritude poetry is ra ther beautiful, he indeed refers to ngritude as a rather ugly term and one of the only black contributions to our dictio nary. If the term is definable, it would correspond to the immediate gifts of the Negro consci ousness (23). Sartres unintentional association of ugliness and Negro consciousness, however, is not inaccurate. Csaire writes: Through an unexpected and beneficient [ sic ] inner revolution I now honour my repulsive ugliness (103). But this ugliness is precisely why ngrit udes only end is its destruction. Senghor explains that he must die a sudden death to be reborn in the revelation of Beauty (Nocturnes 33). As Sonia Kruks suggests, Fanons objection to Sartre is not that he erred in assessing ngritude as a transitional moveme nt, but that Sartres mistake, in fact, is to have told the truth! (131). We should not e Fanons disappointment in BSWM when he reflects, I needed to lose myself completely in negritude I needed not to know (135). He continues, What is certain is that, at the very moment when I was trying to seize my own being, Sartre, who remained the Other, gave me a name and thus shattered all illusion (137). Though Sartre may have been telling the truth, Fanon argues that Sart re had forgotten that the black man suffers in his body differently than the white man, an assert ion that, as Lou Turner insists, encouraged 199

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Fanon to locate the dialectic of lived-experience of the black at the se nsuous level where selfconsciousness is counterposed to its life-world (137). The suffering of the black body appears as a m oral aporia condemning the black man to a feeling of nonexisten ce (Marriott 87). For Fanon, sin is to Negro, as virtue is to white. The black man alwa ys feels an unknowable sense of guilt and wretchedness. Fanon was joined by Eskia Mphahlele, Wole Soyinka, Mamadi Keita, and Amilcar Cabral in disavowing ngritude, all of whom elaborated lengthy critiques intended to encourage the re-orientation of African intellectuals away from the metaphysics of a black soul (McCulloch 57). According to Jock McCulloch, the failure of ngritude arose from a lack of direction at the h eart of its movement; colonialism wa s not the only force at fault. According to David Marriott, Fanon uses Richard Wrights Native Son to describe the aggression the black man feels, part of which is the reaction, by black men, to the open hatred of the democracies they were being asked to di e for, a conflict which soon leads to another: a black man at war with himself, locked in inexorable combat between a desire for transcendence and moral self-abnegation (87). The narrator in Native Son explains the frustration Bigger Thomas experiences when he is in the car with Mary Dalton and her es cort Jan, the communist: He was very conscious of his black skin a nd there was in him a prodding conviction that Jan and men like him had made it so he would be conscious of that black skin. Did not white people despise black skin? they [Jan and Mary] made him feel his black skin by just standing there looking at him, one hol ding his hand and the other smiling. He felt he had no physical existence at all right then; he was something he hated, the badge of shame which he knew was attached to a black skin. He felt naked, transparent; he felt that this white man, having helped to put him down, havi ng helped deformed him, held him up now to look at him and be amused. And at that moment he felt toward Mary and Jan a dumb, cold, and inarticulate hate. (58) About Bigger, Fanon writes, He is afraid, but of what is he afraid? Of himself. No one knows yet who he is, but he knows that fear will occupy the world when the world finds out. And when the world knows, the world expects so mething of the negro. In the end, Bigger Thomas acts ( BSWM 139). It isnt until Bigger murders Mary that he feels a sense of existence 200

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and protection in his fear-ridden life (W right 90). He has created a new life for himself and added to him a certain confidence which his gun and knife did not. And he had done something which even he had not thought possible (90). What is most instructive about Fanons comments on Bigger Thomas is that they return us to Derridas caveat regarding the very difficult and vertiginous impulse to name and to sign (and mean it) without actually knowing. The fear that Bigger develops is a consequence of the overdetermination th at propels him toward an ontological existence th at destroys an identity before he ac tually has a chance to create one for himself. Even sympathizers such as Jan and Mary are responsible for this overdetermination. Bigger responds by murdering Mary, by signing and naming, which leads to a sense of freedom and salvation. It isnt actually th e act of violence, which seems ra ther imperative, that resolves for Bigger the question what is it to be a man in black skin? The gun a nd knife never give him a sense of confidence. It is the decision to act that creates the confidence and allows Bigger to understand who he is, to create himself. Th e violence is merely an unfortunate though irreplaceable means to an end. Emmanuel Ha nsen argues that we can understand Fanons advocacy for the use of violence and the liberation of Bigger if we conceive of violence in terms of a baptism, a symbolic termination of the individuals past life and the beginning of a new one (121). He continues: This rebirth of the individual has also a direct bearing on the nature of the political system after decolonization. The individual who has gained consci ousness of himself as a liberated individual, in the same way that he will no longer submit himself to the tyranny of the colonial oppressor, will also not submit hims elf to the native tyrants but will hold his leaders accountable for their actions. Hence democracy will ensue. (122) In some sense, violence serves as a clean sing, in which a thing such as Bigger, previously an object on which others acted, becomes a man or one who acts. 201

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Deciding to Act, or the Role of Vi olence in Preparing for a Ne w Humanism By the time Fanon writes A Dying Colonialism his patience to experience or influence the development of a new humanism in his lifetime is waning. While Fanons or iginal thesis centers on a universalized Manichean schema of European colonizers (whi tes) and the colonized (blacks around the world), his first real st ep in escaping this Manichean dilemma lies in his insistence on taking up the problems of the Alge rians, a group with which he id entifies fully. He is French, European. But upon visiting France, he realizes what hes always sensed: that I was not French, that I had never been French. Language, culturethese are not enough to make you belong to a people. Something more is needed: a common life, common experiences and memories, common aims. All this I lacked in France. My stay in France showed me that I belonged to an Algerian community, showed me that I was a stranger in Fr ance (175). It is at this moment when Fanon declares himself an Algerian, an African, choosin g to identify more with his paternal African ancestry. This disavowalI am an Algerian, yes but does Fanon really know what he is saying?creates a more impassioned Fanon, who be gins to understand the imperative nature of violence. Hence, a shift in the possibility of a new humanism occurs, assuming a more violent aspect. Fanon believes that a new humanity in Algeria will be possible, but with a cost: the innocent blood that has flowed onto its national soil ( A Dying Colonialism 27-8). To the Algerian Revolution he attributes the characteristics that wi ll [change] man and [renew] society. The revolution is oxygen, which creates and shapes a new humanity (181). I remain convinced that his interest in new huma nism, still underdeveloped at this point, becomes sustained largely by his vigor fo r the Algerian revolution and hi s disappointment in the French. He explains a recent visit to Fr ance after working in Algeria: In France I thought I would find rest. I f ound only a bad conscience. Every day the newspapers brought news of arre st and of firings of friends of mine. Every fresh item of news depressed me more. I felt even more useles s. I tried to fight, to stir up reactions of 202

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protest am ong those around me, to make th em understand. It was wasted effort. The Parisians had their minds only on their vacations that had to be planned three months ahead of time. I found myself detesti ng them, despising all those Fr enchmen who sent their sons off to torture people in Algeria and cared about nothing but their little shops. I rejected any feeling I had about belonging to the French nation. My people were certainly not those bourgeois devoid of any ideal. They were the pe ople who suffered and died every day in the djebels and in the torture chambers. (175) It takes a great deal of effort and contempl ation on the part of Fanon to come to these conclusions. In fact, before he commits himself to the Algerian cause, he proclaims, I refused to accept the validity of violence. I was greatly shaken by this profession of faith (165). We see through this quote that Fanon, although he has faced sharp discrimination, never considers violence until he realizes after endless discussions and mountains of reading that To fight for the humanization of the repression was futile! It was necessary to fight in order to impose a political solution. But what solution? It soon became clear to me that if even the embryo of a social revolution was to be created in Algeria, the colonial links with France would have to be broken (168). For years, Fanon views violence as illegitimate until he finds himself embroiled in the Algerian conflict. It is also during this time th at Fanon begins to establish more links not only with the Algerians, but also the Algerian Jews, whom he views as a heterogeneous group. He identifies at least four types: (1) Ce rtain tradesman, those whose fate is tied closely to colonial domination, like the powerful European, and who believe that the end of the colonial regime is looked upon as the end of prosperity (154); (2) Tradesmen who maintain close contacts with the Algerian population and might furnish the A.L.N. with mili tary supplies; (3) Civ il servants who believe that educating Algerians would mean loss of priv ileges; and (4) Three-f ourths of the Algerian Jewish population, who have a poor knowledge of French and consider themselves by tradition and sometimes by dress as authentic native. (We need not posit which groups might constitute authentic, inauthentic, or quasi-authentic here.) He writes, They are in th e Algerian territory the 203

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hom ologues of the Tunisian Jews of the Moroccan Djerba or the mellah. For these Jews, there is no problem: they are Algerians (155). Indee d, it is a Jew who convin ces Fanon that certain problems must be addressed. (Ham let returns after meeting with the ghost and confers with Horatio.) Fanon decides to aid the FLN ( Front de Libration Nationale ), an Algerian revolutionary group seeking i ndependence from France. After having served the FLN fo r several years, Fanon develops his thesis a bit further, describing decolonization as that which brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a new language and a new humanity. [It] is the veri table creation of new men ( Wretched of the Earth 36). He warns us that in our se arch for a new humanity, we must not imitate Europe, for Europe has only shown us a succession of negations of man, and an avalanche of murders (312). Europe has been incapable of showing us humanness, equality, justice. Fanon writes, It is a question of the Th ird World starting a new hi story of Man, a history which will have regard to the sometimes prodigious theses which Europe has put forward, but which will also not forget Europes crimes, of which the most horrible was committed in the heart of man, and consisted of the pathological tearing apart of his func tions and the crumbling away of his unity (315). His thesis echoes his sentiments in 1958, when he invokes new humanism as that which can onl y be achieved if the colonial peoples redouble their vigilance and their vigor to end colonialism. He conti nues, Imperialism must be blocked in all its attempts to strengthen itself. The peoples demand this; the historic process requires it ( Toward the African Revolution 126). In short, a new humanism and a new humanity require decolonization, but Fanon clearly notes that not only is violence necessary, but also thought/reason/rationality are imperative; on these ideals, he ha s not given up. In fact, violence relies on reason, insofar as revolutions cannot function by force alone. We might see here a 204

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confluence between Derridas th esis on m adness and reason, and Fa nons idea that violence and reason are similarly symbiotic. His growing concern for the decoloni zation efforts of the oppressed was that it might be devoid of ideology. In The Wretched of the Earth Fanon writes, The enemy is aware of ideological weakness, for he analyzes the forces of rebellion and studies more and more carefully the aggregate enemy which makes up a colonial people; he is also aware of the spiritual instability of certain layers of the population (137). Lou Turner argues in Fanon and the FLN that Fanons concerns regard ing ideology lay with Ramdane Abane, one of the leaders in the Front who was responsible fo r developing perspectives of the group. Turner sees as pivotal the Soumman Valley Congr ess, which convened in August 20, 1956, during which time 50 delegates and 200 militants failed to develop a program for a post-independent Algeria. After Abanes death, the ideological void would be filled by Arab nationalist and Islamicist tendencies (Fanon and the FLN 379). F our years later, Fanons anxieties about this absence for Africa as a whole has not subsided : Colonialism and its de rivatives do not, as a matter of fact, constitute the present enemies of Africa. In a short time this continent will be liberated. For my part, the deeper I enter into th e cultures and the political circles the surer I am that the great danger that threatens Africa is the absence of ideology (Toward the African Revolution 186). His fears should not go unnoticed in lig ht of the current problems that plague Africa, such as the genocide in Sudan, the pr oblematic elections in Zimbabwe, and the slow development of racial equality in South Africa nearly 15 years after apartheid. We must be careful, though, when we consider reason, as it hesitates and refuses to say which is a true decolonization, and which a false ( Wretched of the Earth 59). We know, however, that the idea of comp romise is very important in the phenomenon of decolonization, for it is very far from being a simple one ( 62). Denis Ekpo cautions us similarly against 205

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logocentric trappings, w hich woul d be a consequence of the fram ing of the African mind via two events, European colonialism and the African react ion to it in the form of African nationalism and cultural awakening (125). For this reason, we must be sure not to suggest that the formation of an ideology in postcoloniality would constitu te a new humanism. The respondent ideology to European colonialism and African independence would be merely a step or phase toward the development of a new humanism. Nigel Gibson, one of the most recent, outs poken, and forthright scholars on Fanon, seems to insist in Radical Mutati ons and Beyond Manicheanism that Fanons liberatory call for a new humanism ends at his conception of ideolog y, his prescriptions of violence for colonialism, and his dialectical response to the Manichean logic inhe rent in colonialism. I highlight Gibsons insistence in order to contrast it with Robert Bernasconis de scription of Fanons new humanism, which he says has been misunderstood by theorists primarily because Fanons relative silence about that new humanism has not been properl y appreciated (Casti ng the Slough 113). Both men arrive at their conclusions based on Fanons last words in The Wretched of the Earth: For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity, comrades, we must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a new man (255). Although forcefully argued, Gibsons point falls short because it fails to consider Fa nons earlier call for a new humanism, which was accompanied by a call for understanding among me n. He urges, Mankind, I believe in you ( BSWM 7). Fanon was interested in more than simp ly advancing humanity a step further and bringing it up to a different leve l than that which Europe has shown it. So, his new humanism does not end at the elimination of colonialism; it begins with that elimination, necessitating a violent response to the Manichean logic employe d by the colonialist who seeks to legitimize colonization, as Albert Memmi suggests (45). In The Colonizer and the Colonized Memmi 206

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anticipates the colonialis t logic carried to its most succinct conclusion: [ E]very colonial nation carries the seeds of fascist temptation in its bosom, whereby the entire administrative and political machinery of a colony has no other goal but to create a regime of oppression for the benefit of a few (62). He argues that only a complete liquidation of colonization would allow the colonizer to become free and serve as a prelud e to complete liberation and to self-recovery. The free colonized must be a nationalist, havi ng fought for the emergence and dignity of his nation, but he must also have a free choice and exist not only through his nation. Memmi articulates a colonial counter-violence. Indeed, Memmis formulation of counter-vio lence lies at the heart of Fanons new humanism, though to what extent Fanon proposed a violent liberation is debatable. Hannah Arendt argues in On Violence that the new undeniable glorif ication of violence by the student movement of the late 1960s could only be explained by the ignorance and nobility of sentiment of people exposed to unprecedented ev ents and developments without any means of handling them mentally, for which Fanon is la rgely to blame (122). In response, Samira Kawash and others have taken to defending Fa non from these accusations. Kawash argues that Fanons violence of decolonization is always in excess and elsewhere to the instrumental violence of the colonized in struggle. And it is this excess which is not reducible to or identifiable as particular violent actsthat port ends the decolonization th at will be a rupture with, rather than a re-formati on of, the colonial past (237 ). L. Adele Jinadu acknowledges Fanons indebtedness to Georges Sorels Reflections on Violence as have Aristide Zolberg, Henry Bienen, and Arendt, and argues that bot h men condemn liberal illusions about, and prejudices against, physical violen ce (92) and also believe in th e regenerative role of physical violence (93). Through violence, revolutionary violence, the oppressed engender a new moral 207

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ground and force and are em powered to recr eate themselves. Though Arendt may have acknowledged that Fanons prescr iptions were complex and nuanced, what she may have failed to consider is the evolution of Fanons thought on violence from the time he wrote BSWM to the time he finished Wretched of the Earth Hussein Bulhan reminds us that Fanons early writing was dominated by a belief in the potency and prev ailing of reason, even in dealing with irrational matters such as racism. By the time Fanon became involved in the Algerian resistance, he saw that only violence could transform the oppressive order. What is pivotal to Fanons theory of violence, Bulhan argues, is the notion that a Manichean psychology makes possible human violence and oppression. In Frantz Fanon and the Psychology of Oppression Bulhan explains: A Manichean view is one that divides the world into compartments and people into different species. This divi sion is based not on reciprocal affirmations, but rather on irreconcilable opposites cast into good versus evil, beautiful ve rsus ugly, intelligent versus stupid, white versus black, human versus subhuman modes. Its logic is a categorical either/or in which one of the terms is consid ered superfluous or unacceptable. (140) Gibson argues that Fanons dialectical enga gement is merely an extension of this Manichean mutual exclusivity. For Gibson, Fanons conceptualization of a liberatory ideology that is, an ideology that should enlighten the social experiences and bring out their meaning and one that is constructed in a social relati onship between the militant intellectual and the mass movement (Beyond Manicheanism 3)is con tingent upon a dialectical logic whose generative power is not in the evolution of a s ynthesis but in its abs olute diremption. Gibson writes: Hegels absolute s end in syntheses whereas, like Mar x, Fanons absolute ends in total diremptionsabsolute, irreconcilable contradi ctions (Dunayevskaya 1988, 93). Irreconcilable contradiction is at the hear t of the programme of compl ete disorder put forward by decolonization (Beyond Manicheanism 4; Radical Mutations 409-10). What should interest us here is the connection between Marx and Fanon that Gibson makes. It is precisely these so -called irreconcilable contradictions that must be worked out 208

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through new concepts, and revolutio n is indeed the means by which we are to achieve justice. Kawash asks, Does revolutionary violence liber ate its agents to a new level of humanity? or does it further enslave its agents in animalist passi ons which can never contri bute to history or be historical? (235). Before we answer these que stions, we must first acknowledge that the elimination of systems of domination and oppressi on through nationalist libe ration represents the first step of advancing Fanons new humanity. So, violence does not nece ssarily guarantee the emergence of a new humanity, but it will aid in th e liberation of the colonized. This much should be obvious, as most countries that have gained their independence have used violence to do so. Our question about the role of violence in achieving a new humanity should encompass the role of the nation. Neil Lazarus posits that, for Fanon, the national project has the capacity to become the vehiclethe means of articulationof a social (ist) demand which extends beyond decolonization in the mere ly technical sense, and which calls for a fundamental transformation rather than a mere restructuring of the prevailing social order (163). A new humanism must assume a nationalis t agenda before we can arrive at a point of transformation. Deconstructive justice also a ssumes nationalist agendas, if onl y to extend beyond their scope. Take, for example, Derridas New Internationa l, which refers to a profound transformation, projected over a long term of international law, of its concep ts, and its field of intervention, a transformation that exists b eyond the sovereignty of States and of the phantom-States ( Specters 84). The democracy-to-come is contingent upon the reflections of an international law, a law that mobilizes effectively at least one of th e spirits of Marx or Marxism as it calls to the [eventual] friendship of an alli ance without institution, a spirit of Marx(ism) that can only be derived from deconstructive thinking, which is only made possible by Marxism itself and by the deconstruction of Marxist ontology, which is not a methodical or theoretical procedure. In 209

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Fanons words, we are to stretch Marxist analysis a bit further ( WE ?). Indeed, our work consists in working through seem ingly irresolvab le contradiction, through, over, and above the dialectic. In short, we might argue that a new humani sm encompasses, is motivated by, or begins with love and understanding among men. Fanon argues that every consciousness seems to have the capacity to demonstrat e either a movement of aggre ssion, which leads to enslavement or to conquest and a movement of love, a gift of self, the ultimate stage of what by common accord is called ethical orientation (41). A ne w humanism also requires ideology, violence, and revolution. Still, outside of these components, we are not qui te sure how a new humanism might operate. We only know the several steps one must ta ke in order to achieve it. Ultimately, Fanons contribution consists in his willingness and abil ity to act, with every intention of making good on the 11th thesis of Feuerbach: changing the world. Derrida, on the other ha nd, hesitated; he thought through the act and, in th inking through, discovered a performative element that should not be overlooked. It might be instructive here to return to Derrida and his conception of violence to understand Fanons ne w humanism as both predicat ed on violence and reason. Derrida and Violence De-/Re-Contextualized In chapter five, I discuss Derridas Signature Event Context to foreground the idea that a successful performative is contingent upon the possibility of its failure. A performative presupposes that not only may its c itational double fail, but also the coded, iterable statement that becomes identifiable as a citation. The cita tional doubling or presupposition of failing and successful terms are coded in dissymmetrical fashion, whose effects can be anticipated by diffrance. I also examine the just decision as one way that we might begin taking up the role of the performative in law and justice, where the performative cannot be just unless it founds itself on conventions and other an terior performatives and mainta ins within itself an irruptive 210

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violence and no longer responds to the demands of theoretical rationality. It is at this interstice that the problem of violence, justice, and law become variably tangled. I rehearse Roberto Buonamanos response to this dissymmetry in his discussion of th e three Derridean propositions about the law: it alwa ys tends toward universality, it ope rates to maintain rights, and it is bound up with the silence of its own force, thus making it self-preserving. In its very foundation, law has a mystical element in the sense that it conceals a certain silence in the violence of its founding act. Derrida sees this vi olence groundless, but neither just nor unjust. Although the violence exceeds the opposition betw een founded and unfounded, the flexibility of this groundless foundation of violence allows for injustice, thus making accessibility to justice more difficult. Law then exacts violence against individuals in the moment or act it legitimizes itself. What problematizes the force of law pa rticularly is the para dox of iterability, which requires the origin to repeat itself originarily. De spite the necessity of citing an origin, there can be no true, pure point of origin, which makes it difficult to criticize violence. Because lawmaking violence cannot precede the performative act, we are reduced to identifying the lawpreserving antecedent in the collapse of th is double bind. For Buonamano, this double bind is akin to what Derrida refers to as the econom y of violence, where th e violence involved in discourse generally, and specifically in every practice of metaphysic s, stages a war in which the task of deconstruction is to counteract the aggression of spee ch as presence. The peace envisaged is that of a certain silenc e (a certain beyond speech) ( 175). Following the logic of the performative, the violence inherent in discourse c ontains two types within its general system of economy: the violence that repres ses discourse and the one able to combat the repressive violence, the violence of otherness. The strategic and adventurous diffrance keeps in play the 211

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possibility of the violence of otherness overcom ing the repressive violence and the possibility of justice. The structural dimension of justice, -venir a democracy to come ( la dmocratie venir ), becomes the search for a pure, intransigent, a nd undeconstructible moment. This democracy to come, arch-structured by the undeci dability of the double bind of possibility and impossibility, via difference and its spatio-temporal chain of deferral, makes the fully present an impossibility and the to come of the promise. To anchor this discussion of dec onstructive politics onto something a little more pragmatic, I deploy Judith Butlers reading of the performative, in which she maintains that the speech act is a bodily act and that the for ce of the performative is never fully separable from bodily force. The force of the performative force can be derived from a break with prior contexts and its ability to a ssume new ones, or one could say its capacity to decontextualize and recontextua lize. I extend this formulation to Buonamanos argument that the question of revolt sustains each of Derridas treatments of law, expressly his Specters in which Derrida attempts to take responsibility for Marx s philosophical and re volutionary heritage. I also present for consideration Derridas T he Laws of Reflection, his ruminations on Admirable [Nelson] Mandela, as a way to re think Derridas connecti on to Africa and to the problem of Africa not bei ng heard (or not heard). I would like to turn briefly to Chung-Hs iung Lais On Violence, Justice, and Deconstruction to tie up some loose ends of this particular thread. Let me point out here that Derridas acknowledgment of viol ence can be traced back to Of Grammatology one of three texts published in 1967. Lai reminds us that in The Violence of the Letter: From Levi-Strauss to Rousseau, Derrida attempts to examine a g enealogy of violence and lo cates three types of originary violence (in writing): the first, the a rche-violence, is the originary violence of 212

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language which consists in inscri bing within a difference, in classifying, in suspending the vocative absolute. To think the unique within the system to inscribe it there, such is the gesture of the arche-writing (112); the second, a reparative and protective violence, prescribes a concealment of writing and obliteration of the pr oper name, which renders the possibility of a third violence; the third is one of reflection, as it implicates the first two levels of violence and enables the scene of proper name s to be written on this level. Lai notes that, as effects of archewriting these three levels of violence together constitute the endless cycle of the violence against violence phenomenon or what Derrida calls an economy of violence (117). For Derrida, this economy of violence is imperative fo r violence to negate itself. Lai examines Derridas critique of Levinass ethics oriented toward non-violen ce, which privileges peace over war, to establish the economy of violence as a violence of revolutionary action against a violence of police action. It is th is endless cycling, or the tertiary structure, of violence, which makes the economy of violence irreducible (5). It is in this context that we can begin to make sense of Derridas position that one cannot escape the economy of war (Violence of the Letter 117). While Lais treatment of Derrida and Levina s appears reasonably s ound, the strength of Lais reading can be found in the following rumination: It is perhaps the nature of deconstructive decision : any deconstructiv e reading (which chooses a lesser violence as a resistance agains t the violent oppression of the Said in the name of justice for the Unsaid) in the economy of violence is always already subject to other deconstruc tive readings to come In other words, one may state that the refusal to meet the Other in the face-to-face relation (o r a deconstructive relation) actually results from the refusal or inability of the Self to see and examine its own blindness, which makes the violence possible. (7) Is this sentiment, deconstructive readings to come not what Leavey anticipates when he speaks of moving on in order to ta ke on inheritance? With respect to Derrida, Leavey argues that the question of how or whether to read Derrida should be out of date. The point then is to 213

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m ove on to the next position, r eaction, affair (3). Derrida hims elf seems well aware that if there are people [who] have not even begun to read me, that if there are many very good readers (a few dozen in the world, perhaps), they will only do so later ( Learning to Live Finally ). With respect to justice, the decision must follow the structure of avenir (to come). Justice is a performative, which is irreducibly thoughtle ss, unconscious and does not respond to the demands of theoretical rationality because of its irruptiv e internal violence (12). With justice, there is only one aporia which renders justice incalculable, an aporia of singularity that multiplies itself infinitely. Lai posits that justice is a performative in the sense that its structural incalculability makes possible transformation. As su ch, justice as a performative is wide open to abuse, according to Lai (13). He reminds of Derridas warning, th at justice, if left unguarded, can always be reappropriated by the most perver se calculation (Force of Law 52). Implicit within this sort of incalculable, irrational, non-regulative id ea of justice is a madness; deconstruction is mad about this kind of justice. Mad about this desire for justice (Force of Law 46). Derrida tells us that, according to Ki erkegaard, the instant of a decision is madness (48). (Could the decision, the instant of a decisi on, have driven Hamlet [Derrida] mad? Could Horatio [Fanon] have possibly gone mad, consumed by an economy of violence or the aporia of justice?) Lai writes, the aporia of justice signifies both the impossibility of deconstructive experience and the promise of the future, which is always therea messianism without Messiah (13). Justice prefigures a messianism without messician icity, a messianism without religion. As always, there is more than one Abraha m. And yet there is still another Abraham, one who will teach us what it means to live finally. We will, one day, learn (what it means) to live, to be human. 214

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I say W e will, one day, learn (what it means) to live, to be human with reservation. Up to this point, it may appear that I have represented Fanon, Derrida, and my own work from a masculine perspective, failing to take into account the question of the feminine, though I have tried to present this question via Gayatri Spiv ak and her critique of Derrida, and Derridas response to Spivak in Marx and Sons. I coul d easily reinforce this critique by referring to Diana Fusss Interior Colonies: Frantz Fanon and th e Politics of Identifica tion to suggest that Fanons otherwise powerful critique of the scene of colonial representation does not fundamentally question the many sexualized dete rminations of that scene (36). Indeed, my discussion raises an important question: If a ne w humanism and deconstruction are predicated on violence, and war signifies not only violence, but also masculin ization, where does this leave Fanon and Derrida with respect to women? I would argue that the masculini zation of this project remains a symptom of ideology and the knowledge and power structure of otherness. In The Invention of Africa V. Y. Mudimbe traces with acuity the development of African thought, or the difficult possibility of its development, after th e colonizing structures of the West have been largely responsible for its emergence. He explains: Modern African thought seems somehow to be basically a product of the West. What is more, since most African leaders and thinkers have received a Western education, their thought is at the crossroa ds of Western epistemol ogical filiation and African ethnocentrism. Moreover, many concepts and categories underpinni ng this ethnocentrism are inventions of the West. When prominent le aders such as Senghor or Nyerere propose to synthesize liberalism and socialism, idealism and materialism, they know that they are transplanting intellect ual manicheism. (185) If we consider the omnipresence of the West in much of what we think and do, then we can certainly understand that To invoke the Other [an ideological c onstruct] as an ontological or existentialist category paradoxically risks eliding the very range a nd play of cultural differences that the designation is intended to represent. Reliance upon the Ot her as a categorical imperative often works to flatten rather than to accentu ate difference (Fuss 22). If Fuss can argue that 215

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W hite operates as its own Other, freed fr om any dependency upon the sign Black for its symbolic constitution and that Black functions diacritically as a negative term in a Hegelian dialectic, why does it seem that we have a mo re difficult time accepting the fact that Man historically has tended to opera te as its own Other, while Woman has served as a negative term. If we follow this line of thought to it s ideo-logical conclusion, we might rethink Fanons Algeria Unveiled, in which he describes the role of women in the revolution, or even his chapters on the black woman and the white ma n, and the white woman and the black man in BSWM. We may also come to respect the rather ambiguous manner in which Derrida attempts to recover sexual difference in Specters and Sons of Marx, and his other works. By no means am I apologizing for what we might rightfully regard as problematic readings of the role of women in Fanons analyses or the possibility of his ho mophobia. I am not attempting to justify Derridas traditional omission of women in his analyses. In Rogues: Two Essays on Reason he explains precisely why, with respect to democracy, we seem to speak of brothers or men rather than people or humans: democracy has always wa nted by turns and at the same time two incompatible things: it has wanted, on the one hand, to welcome only men, and on the condition that they be citizens, brothers, and compeers, ex cluding all the others, in particular bad citizens, rogues, noncitizens, and all sorts of unlike and unrecognizable others, and, on the other hand, at the same time or by turns, it has wanted to ope n itself up, to offer hospitality, to all those excluded (63). In this sense, hospitality re mains limited and conditional, and democracy has struggled to reconcile both excl uding and including women and the Other. Let us here recognize that Fanon attempted to engage women in this complicated fo ld, beginning with BSWM Derrida, for his part, acknowledges this problematic hist ory of exclusion througho ut his writing career. Foremost, what I hope to raise here is that both men are acutely aware of the problems of 216

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ontology and ideology and how they consistently reinscribe the prim ary and derivative terms upon which difference and colonization have historically operated. If we recall Homi Bhabhas Interrogating Identity, we unders tand precisely that colonial desire is articulated always in relation to the place of the Other the phant asmatic space of possession that no one project can singly or fixedly occupy, and therefore permits the dr eam of the inversion of roles (44). It is at this uncomfortable nexus that Fanon calls for a refashioning of concepts or for new concepts under the auspices of a new humanism that work through the issue of exclusion or the disturbing distance in-between that constitutes th e figure of colonial othe rness (Bhabha 45). As Judith Butler explains26, the rethinking of human does not ne cessitate a return to humanism. She writes: When Frantz Fanon claimed that the black is not a man, he conducted a critique of humanism that showed that the human in its cont emporary articulation is so fully racialized that no black man could qualify as human (Acting in C oncert 13). She charges that his critique is one of masculinity, which I would like to extend to my own, and also suggests that the category of human is crafted in time, in which norms encode differentials of power and conceals that which it excludes. To different though similar e ffect, I would like to e xplore this notion of working out new concepts that would enable alte rnate categories of human and the possibility of a new humanism, which would neither entail a return to humanism nor exclude the projected Other. Working Out New Concepts In an attempt to establish yet another c onnection here between Derrida and Fanon, I will consider both theorists in relation to Heidegge r, to whom we attribut e deconstruction (and now the possibility of a new humanism). One of Fano ns most recognizable prescriptions for a new 26 I would like to thank Nishant Shahani for bringing this passage to my attention. 217

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hum anism comes from the last few words in The Wretched of the Earth where he pleas, For Europe, for ourselves, and for humanity, comrades, we must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a new man (316). Considering Heideggers Letter on Humanism, we might posit that to work out new concepts is to think and that to explore possibilities for a new humanism is to learn to thin k. Given the violent nature of the sign or the letter, one might extend the formulation learn to th ink to include or signify learn to live. If rationality and madness are concomitant terms within the framework of justice and the decision, we can clearly see a connection between what it is to think and to live. A word that encompasses or embodies adequately this concep tualization is humanis mwhat is it to be human?but we know that previous claims to th e truth of humanism have been, if not negated or completed wrong, challenged. Heidegger asks Is it possible to restore to the word humanism a sense that is not metaphysical, to hu manism an historical sense that is older than its oldest meaning chronologically reckoned? (2 24). For Heidegger, the earlier conceptions of humanism are metaphysical. The problem with metaphysics, though, is th at it represent[s] beings in their Being, and so it thinks the Being of beings (202), it is no t capable of thinking of the difference of both. As Heidegger points out, ev en Sartres existentialist declaration that existence precedes essence is simply a metaphysi cal question that reverses Platos original metaphysical statement, essentia precedes existential Heidegger argues that metaphysics is incapable of the thinking that thinks from the question concer ning the truth of Being (230). Before we can decide if it is possible to recove r a humanism that is not metaphysical, however, I should have the responsibility of explaini ng briefly the terms thinking and Being. When or if one is to speak of action, one mu st ponder the relationshi p of thinking to Being. Thinking accomplishes the relation of Being to th e essence of man. It does not make or cause 218

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the relation (193). In thinking, then, Being co m es into language. Thinking, on the other hand, does not guarantee that an action will occur. Thinking is itself the act or action, and when thinking happens, it is claimed by Being so that it can say the truth of Be ing (194). It is only through the liberation of language from grammar that we can employ thought and poetic creation, and we can liberate our selves through thinking. The thin king in which Heidegger is interested, however, is not a te chnical act, nor does it lead to technical interpretations. These interpretations, he reminds us, began with Plato and Aristotle, who took thinking itself to be a techn a process of reflection in order to do or to make. Reflection from this perspective, according to Heidegger, is already seen as praxis and poi sis two processes that will not allow us to experience language in a liberating sens e. And when thinking is characterized as theria it reproduces the technical interpretation of thinking. In order to keep up with the natural sciences, philosophy has had to justify its existence and has attempte d to elevate itself to the rank of a science. When philosophy a llows thinking to remain a te chnical endeavor, it abandons thinking. The written word is also capable of abandoning thinking. As Heidegger puts it, in writing it is difficult above all to retain the multid imensionality of the realm peculiar to thinking (195). Pure thinking is the thinking of Being. Wh en pure thinking occurs, Being belongs and listens to itself, and this type of thinking remains committed to its essential origin. Heidegger continues: To embrace a thing or a person in its essence means to love it, to favor it. Thought in a more original way such favoring [ Mgen ] means to bestow essence as a gift. Such favoring is the proper essence of enabling, which not only can achieve this or that but also can let something essentially unfold in its provenance, that is, let it be (196). At present, [e]very humanism is either grounded in a metaphysics or is itself made to be the ground of one (202). 219

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Heidegger believes that we can revive hum anism if we think purely a nd leave philosophy to itself. What philosophy has become is not what originally thinking set out to do. Philosophy remains committed to logic, physics, and ethics disciplines that arose when thinking was becoming philosophy. Heidegger argues that we must abandon logic, which produces and provides for simple negation. In the event that we leave logic behind, thinking will open other vistas. He writes: To think ag ainst logic does not mean to br eak a lance for the illogical but simply to trace in thought the logos and its essence which appeared in the dawn of thinking, that is, to exert ourselves for the first time in preparing for such reflection (227). A scientific, logical philosophy or thinking is precisely what Lewis R. Gordon articulates as the problem that has plagued the humanities and Western man, and he points to Husserls Crisis of European Sciences to describe this crisis of the humanities. In Fanon and the Crisis of European Man, Gordon argues that Husserls complaint is that practitio ners of the human sciences, philosophy, and cultural criticism ofte n identify the symptoms, but they shrink cowardly from the task involved in identifying the disease (7). For this crisis, Heidegger prescribed less philosophy and more attentiveness in thinki ng; less literature, but more cultivation of the letter (242). Cultivation of the letter demands that thinking gather language into simple saying. In this way language is th e language of Being, as clouds are the clouds of the sky. With its saying, thinking lays inconspicu ous furrows in language. They are still more inconspicuous than the furrows that the farmer, sl ow of step, draws through the field (Heidegger 242). For Heidegger, the truth of Being remain s unthought and concealed as the destiny that sends truth, a destiny that can be found in poetry. Drawing from Aristotle, Heidegger argues that poetic composition is truer than any explorati on of beings. Responding to Jean Beaufret, he argues that thinking is considered an aventure or laventure the arrival of some unforeseen 220

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challenge, and laven ir what is to come. If Being arrives, we must attribut e its arrival to thinking, where both thinking and Being present a challenge and an adventure for each other. And if any form is able to capture the arriva l of thinking and Being, that form is ultimately poetic. We arrive now at an aporia: if the poem is s upposed to represent the ar rival of thinking and Being, why does negritude poetry fail? Why is it una ble to overcome its position as the negating term in the dialectical progression? The assumption that the poetic is able to arrive at thinking and Being is perhaps where Heideggers argum ent could use revision. I argue that douard Glissants Poetics of Relation could be rather instruc tive in this regard. In Poetics of Relation we notice a significant overlap between Glissants thought and Heiddegers. G lissant writes that the thought of the Other is sterile without the othe r of thought (154) and that poetry is driven by another poetic dimension that we all divine or babble within our selves. It could well be that poetry is basically and mainly defi ned in this relationship of itself to nothing other than itself, of density to volatility, or the whole to the indi vidual (159). For Heid egger, thought and poetics are bound to Being in challenging, unthought wa ys. Where the theorists differ is on the importance of the poetic in relation to Being. Fo r Heidegger, Being is that which arrives, whereby thinking and cultivation of the letter contri bute to the revelation of Being. He is quite explicit about the importance of Being in allo wing man to find his way home. For Glissant, however, Being is too self -important. He writes: We reassure ourselves with this overly vague idea: that Relation diversifies forms of humanity according to infinite string models infinitely brought into contac t and relayed. This point of departure does not even allow us to outline a typology of these contracts or of the interactions thus triggere d. Its sole merit would lie in proposing that Relation has its source in these contacts and not in itself; that its aim is not Being, a self-important entity that would locate its be ginning in itself. (160) 221

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Glissant arg ues that Relation does not part ake of Being, primarily because Being cannot bear having any interaction attached to it. Bei ng is self-sufficient, wh ereas every question is interactive (161). He later qualifies that Re lation does not necessarily function exclusively without Being but that it encompasses the idea of Being and scatters abroad from Being-asBeing and confronts presence (186). That is, the being of the world, total and limited, realizes Being in beings. Relation is the knowledge in motion of beings, where the risk is being in the world. Totality is imagined through a poetics of Relation. Glissant insists that Thought of the Other is the moral generosity disposing me to accept the principle of alterity, to conceive of the world as not si mple and straightforward, with only one truth mine. But thought of the Other can dwell w ithin me without making me alter course, without prizing me open, without changing me within myself. An ethical principle, it is enough that I not violate it. (154) Glissants notion of totality differs from that of Emmanuel Levinas, who argues that the illumination of the totality is an unpredict able creative collection or arrangement. He continues: The totality of bei ng must produce itself to illumina te the given. It must produce a being that can be reflected in a thought. The function of the one who must be there to receive the reflection is at the mercy of that illumination, whic h is a process of collection of being (14). For Levinas, the illumi nation and collection of a totality is not some kind of pileup of objects, whereas for Glissant, the imaginary constr uct of totality allows us to transmute for ourselves this mad state of the world into a chao s that we are able to contemplate (155). An aesthetics of chaos enables us to conceive, imagine, and act, and the other of thought is the aesthetics that we implement. Within an aesthetic s of chaos, the worlds poetic force infinitely reveals lines of force. Glissant writes, The expr ession of this force and its way of being is what we call Relation: what the world makes a nd expresses itself (160). And though Relation comprehends violence by marking its distance, this is the work I am to undertake, the road I am to travel (155). 222

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Glissants form ulation is important for two reas ons: first, it reveals two terms relevant to our discussion, force and violence about which we have already spoken; but it also identifies Fanon as a striking example of Being or, if we would be generous to make another connection here, a new humanism. Glissant refers to this re lation of Being as errantry, which I will describe briefly. In order to understand errantry, Glissant sugge sts that we must begin with the following phrase: Roots make the commonality of errantry and exile, for in both instances roots are lacking (11). He reminds us that Gi lles Deleuze and Feliz Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus having criticized notions of th e root and being rooted, propose the rhizome, a thickened, horizontal underground stem that stores food-pr oducing roots below and leafy shoots above. The notion of the rhizome maintains the idea of a root system but challenges that of a totalitarian root, that is, the European spir it, which has strange roots ( Wretched of the Earth 253). In a Derridean sense, we might conceive of thes e roots as generations, upon which questions of justice, memory, and responsibility are put forth. As Michael Azar argues, the journey towards a [new] humanism must have as its point of departure a new foundation, a new spirit that may overcome the antinomies of the European spirit, without neglecting the p rodigious theses which Europe has put forward (21). Gl issant proposes that rhizomatic thought is the principle behind errantry, in which identity is extended through a relationship with the Other. Deleuze and Guattari extol nomadism, which supposedly liberate s Being, as opposed to a settled way of life, whose law is based upon the intolerant root. Considering Immanuel Kants Critique of Pure Reason in which he finds similarities between sk eptics and nomads, Glissant acknowledges that the rhizome concept seems interesting for its anticonformism, but rhiz omatic thought is not necessarily subversive an d it cannot overturn the order of the world because, by doing so, 223

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one reverts to ideological claim s presumably challenged by this thought (12). The nomad, both the invading nomad and the nomad who moves via the principle of circularity, is overdetermined by the conditions of existence, according to Glissant. This overdetermination can be characterized as colonization, where whole populati ons have had to assert their identity in opposition to the processes of identificati on or annihilation tr iggered by [invading nomads/colonizers] (17). Glissant understands that d ecolonization will have done its real work when it goes beyond the limit of overdetermination, that same limit which fixes blackness for Fanon and Jewishness for Derrida, forcing them both to face a condition that Sartre expresses in Anti-Semite and Jew : overdetermined from without. In ot her words, the colonizer determines the colonized. The colonizer/colonized relationshi p demands a dualism of self-perception that the thought of the Other cannot escape until the time when differences become acknowledged, though this acknowledgement does not guarantee that one will not take as its basis a generalizing universal. The next step before one really enters the di alectic of totality is driven by the thought of errantry. If we will agree with Glissa nt that the histories of the West have passed through the following stagesthe thinking of territory and self, which is ontological and dual, and the thinking of voyage and other, whic h is mechanical and multiplethe next step in the historical progression is the thinking of erra ntry and totality, which is rela tional and dialectical. He writes: We will agree that this thinking of errantry, this errant thoug ht, silently emerges from the destructuring of compact national entities that yesterda y were still triumphant and, at the same time, from difficult, uncertain births of new forms of identity that call to us (18). In this context, identity is contingent upon a search for the Ot her (through circular nomadism) rather than an expansion of territory (an invading or arrowlik e nomadism). Errantry leads us away from 224

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anything totalitarian. It does not pro ceed from a renunciation of a deterritorialized situation of origin, and it is not a rejecti on or repudiation of ideology. Erra ntry can be taking up problems of the Other, which enables one to find oneself. Fanons insistence on taking up problems of the Other leads him from Martinique to France to Algeria, continually traversing these borders and others until his death in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1961, a path that makes him an exemplar of errantry, for Glissant. His movement resembles th e image of the rhizome, which prompt[s] the knowledge that identity is no longer completely w ithin the root but also in Relation (18). The thought of errantry is a poetics, wh ich infers that it (a poetics) is to ld at some point; it is a tale of Relation, which is not an absolute but a totality (35). Glissant wr ites, the thinking of errantry conceives of totality bu t willingly renounces any claims to sum it up or to possess it (21). That is, errantry is not concerned with putting forth a claim of universality, a c oncept that Europe has failed in its mission to carry out. That the thought of errantry is a poetics of Relation indicates that it remains forever conject ural and presupposes no ideological stability. It is against the comfortable assurances linked to the supposed excellence of langua ge. A poetics that is latent, open, multilingual in intention, directly in contact with everything possible (31). Still, errantry would be yet another phase in establishing a new humanism, occurring after decolonization and the destructuri ng of compact national and international entities. Justice is yet something that exceeds these designations. In De rridean terms, we might argue that errantry epitomizes a certain violent deterritorialization, a disadjustment that appears as a promise, making possible justice to come. Catherine Malabou explains: The disadjusted present allows one to trace a st range and improbable line of separation between what arrives or happens (the plagues of the black pictur e) and non-arrival, the non-place as promise. This non-place would outlin e, like a negative, the territory of those who suffer, and exist as the paradoxical site of a New International comprising all those travelers who consent to experience a dis-join ted time and space, thus opening themselves to the resource of such a dis-adjustment. (100) 225

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Here, we should consider a brief sketch of Fanons life to verify how he e xperienced a sense of dis-adjusted time toward the end of his life. The fifth of eight children, Fanon was born July 20, 1925, on the Caribbean island of Martinique into a middleclass family that belonged to an emerging black bourgeoisie of small business owners and civil servants. His father was a customs inspector and the descendent of African slaves, and his mother was a shopkeeper and said to be an illegitimate child of mixed race, whose white ancestors came from Strasbourg in Alsace. Both of their earnings kept the family in relative comfort and en abled Fanon to attend the all-black Lyce Schoelcher. We lack detailed accounts of Fanons life in early childhood, aside from a few anecdotes, but those who knew him insi st that he was a person of unusual courage, of strong will, relentless in play and work, given to practical joke s, but serious in purpose, a born leader who, early in life, took up the theme of freedom and self-s acrifice (Bulhan 20). Most of what we know about Fanon begins during his teenage years when he volunteered to fight to liberate France. Still in high school, Fanon heard the broadcasts de Gaulle made from London, calling for the liberation of France from Ge rman occupation. Fanon then tried twice to escape to Dominica to volunteer with the Allied forces but failed. At age 17, Fanon eventually succeeded in escaping to Domini ca on his older brothers wedding day. While there, he trained for six months and returned to Martinique, where recruiting had begun. It was when Fanon and other recruits were transported to North Af rica that they began to experience personal humiliation and disillusionment. They were racia lly discriminated against, facing more blatant and hardened expression of bigotry from white settlers, the Pied Noirs (Bulhan 27). After training in North Africa, the sold iers were deployed to the bat tlefields of Europe, where Fanon began to realize that the soldiers of the Antille s suffered humiliations similar to that of the 226

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African soldiers, with whom he never identified. Considering himself French, he was quite shocked to find that the Europeans made very littl e distinctions between Africans and Antilleans. Fanon returned a decorated war veteran, but ha d serious doubts about his identity as a Frenchman. He immediately worked in the elec tion campaign of Aime Csaire, the Communist candidate. In 1947, Fanons father died and his family suffered financially. Despite these setbacks, he won a scholarship to study abroad in Paris, but could not de cide on a field of study. Taking the advice of a friend, he took up dentistry, which was short-liv ed. Fanons intellectual abilities desired more, so he left for Lyons to ta ke the one-year preparator y training in the natural sciences. While there, he became involved in polit ical debates, left-wing meetings, and workers strikes. Bulhan notes that it wa s also during these years that h e experienced a psycho-existential crisis threatening not only his medical studies, but also his sanity (29). Fanon eventually parted with Csaire, when the latter supported to tal integration with France instead of committing himself to an independent Martinique. After having briefly worked in Martinique as a general practitioner, he returned to France to specialize in psychiatry where he worked at the Hpital de Saint-Alban with Professor Franois Tos quelles. In the spring of 1953, he sat for an intense medical examination, Le Mdicat de hopitaux psychiatrique and finished in July. Immediately after the exam, he attempted to contact Leopold Senghor in Senegal but never received a response. He had no other option but to accept a position at a psychiatric hospital in Normandy. It was during this time that Fanon wrote his first book, BSWM, which is considered by many as part manifesto and part analysis. In it, he presents his personal experience as a black intellectual in the Western world and describes th e effects of the colonizer/colonized relationship on the black psyche. 227

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In Novem ber, he heard of an opportunity to work in Algeria as the chef de service of the Blida-Joinville Hospital, the largest psychiatric hospital in Algeria. While there, he introduced innovative treatments, wrote artic les, and began to articulate new perspectives on healing practices. Meanwhile, the strugg le for national liberation grew more intense, and Fanon soon began working secretly for the FLN. In Janua ry of 1957, Fanon received a warning to leave Algeria in 48 hours. He then worked in Tunis as a spokesman for the Algerian liberation movement, an editor of its major paper El Moudjahid a doctor in FLN health centers, and a traveling ambassador soliciting support and resources from other African countries. While traveling on one of his frequent trips to refugee camps near the Algerian border, the jeep in which he was riding was blown up by a land mine. He sustained 12 fractured spinal vertebrae and was treated in Rome, where he received death threats, and in one incident, two masked men entered a room from which he had just tran sferred and sprayed the bed with a Browning automatic (Geismar 144). After recovering, Fanon returned to Tunis, but only revolutionary commitment and profound conviction could have sustained him through his peculiar predicament, confronted as he was with Arab prejudice against his co lor and with African discomfort in the presence of his white wife (B ulhan 34). It was around this time that his second book, A Dying Colonialism was published. In it, he examin es his observations of and his involvement in the Algerian revolution. While exploring new supply routes in Mali, Fanon suddenly became ill. In December 1960, it was clear that Fanon was suffering from le ukemia and had only a few months to live. He was taken to Moscow and was treated for granul ocytic leukemia. Instead of going to the United States to receive treatment, as advised by his phy sicians in Russia, Fanon returned to Tunis to write in ten weeks his last book, The Wretched of the Earth considered perhaps the most 228

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im portant work on decolonization yet written. In it, Fanon defines decolo nization as a violent phenomenon, where the proof of its success lies in a whole social struct ure being changed from the bottom up (35). It is also a program of comple te disorder and a historic process: that is to say that it cannot be understood, it cannot become in telligible nor clear to itself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements which give it historical form and content (36). The initial conflict of decol onization can be described as the meeting of two forces that are opposed to each other, but the result of this clas h is a natural rhythm that comes into existence. Fanon hopefully predicts that a new language and a new humanity will follow this natural rhythm. During the writing of The Wretched of the Earth Fanons health had deteriorated considerably. His Algerian comrades insisted th at he seek treatment in the United States, the place to which he referred as the nation of l ynchers. Peter Geismar notes that the American CIA and FLN representatives arrang ed for Fanon to visit a U.S. hosp ital, where he spent ten days without medical attention in a hotel room. He ev entually was admitted to a hospital, where he showed symptoms of acute anemia and, after several blood transfusions, contracted double pneumonia. He died on December 6, 1961, without ha ving the opportunity to realize his plans for writing texts on the history of th e Algerian revolution and the ps ychology of the death process (Bulhan 35). His body was taken to Tuni s then to Algeria to be buried. Despite Fanons constant declaration of an Al gerian identity, he ne ver quite retains any formal sense of identity. Having abandoned Martini que at the thought of to tal integration with France, rather than independence, Fanon has come to be resented by the Martinicans. Eduoard Glissant once remarked that years could go by without the author of Les Damns de la terre 229

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being m entioned in even left-wing newspapers in Martinique (Macey 14). The French have largely ignored him and his work. David Macey explains: There is no Avenue Frantz Fanon in metropolitan France. Even though some psychiatrists who work with immigrants acknowledge, like Robert Berthellier, that Fanons clinical writings provide at least a starting point for reflections on transcultural psychiatry, no psychiatri c institution bears his name. Almost ten years after Fanons death, a critic noted that Fanon had been fo rgotten because France wanted to forget something else, namely a war in Algeria that la st for eight years. France wanted to forget one million dead, two million men, women, and children in camps, police raids and torture in Paris itself and, at the same time, ap art from rare fits of indignation, the passivity of the masses and the spinelessne ss of the entire Left. (15) With respect to Algeria, Fanon has never real ly become a part of its history. As Macey notes, the countrys standard history schoolbooks contain photographs and biographies of the heroes of the FLNs revolution, but Fanon was not considered. Although the hospital where he worked in Blida, an avenue in Algiers, and a lycee on the edge of the citys Bab El Oued district bear his name, his placement in Algerias cultural memory has been obscured, due partly to the insistence that the revolution had only one hero: the people (8). Because Fanon was not a Muslim, he will never be considered an Algeri an. Because the question of Fanons identity has been a long-standing one, Macey argues that Fanon remains a surprisingly enigmatic and elusive figure (7). It is precisely this ambiguity that illustrates for us Fanons desire to create himself in a way that expresses dis-adjustme nt, a between-ness represented by arrival and nonarrival, or the non-place as promise. This non-pl ace not only denotes the suffering of others who experience a dis-jointed time and space, but it also opens us to the possibility of justice. In order to rejoin Fanon and Derrida, let us now cons ider Derrida and his re lation to non-place. One Conclusion by Way of a Non-Arrival Some readers of Jacques Derrida may insist that his life in biographical form, as well as his work, defies convention. Like Fanon, we lack de tailed accounts of Derridas childhood life, aside from the few oblique anecdotes that Derrida hims elf provides in texts like Circumfession, but 230

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there indeed exists a traceable chronology of his life and works. Derrida was born in El Biar, Algeria, 15 July 1930, into a Sephardic Jewish f am ily, and was the third of five children, two of whom died in infancy. Very little is known about Derridas father, who was a salesman, and mother, Georgette, about whom Derrida generally speaks lovingly. As a child, Derrida was quite emotional and, by his accounts, prone to weep ing; he was the child whom the grown-ups amused themselves by making cry for nothing, who was always to weep over himself with the tears of his mother (Circumfession 118-9). In 1941, Derrida entered the nearby Lyce de Ben Akoun, which had already been subjected to anti-se mitic Vichy laws. On the first day of school the following year, he was expelled as a Jew and experienced severe verbal abuse from his French peers. In 1943, Derrida began attending the Lyce Emile-Maupas, which was formed by displaced Jewish teachers, but he found the expe rience unbearable and skipped school for a year. According to Derrida, No doubt these are the years during which the si ngular character of J.D.s belonging to Judaism is imprinted on him: wound, certainly, painful and practiced sensitivity to antiSemitism and any racism, raw response to xenophobia, but also impatience with gregarious identification, with the militancy of belonging in gene ral, even if it is Jewish. In short, a double rejection. (Circumfession 327) Derrida commenced regular schooling in 1944, but his focus was more on soccer than on studies; he wanted to be a profe ssional football player. At the same time, however, Derrida read intensely the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Andre Gide, Friedrich Niet zsche, Paul Valry, and Albert Camus. After failing his baccalaureat in June 1947, he studied the works of Henri Bergson and Jean-Paul Sartre at the Lyce Gauthier in Algiers. It was also during this time that he realized his passion for literature and began envisioning a career as a teacher. This realization had a profound effect on De rrida, as he passed the baccalaureat in June 1948, after which he began reading the philosophy of S ren Kierkegaard and Martin He idegger at the Lyce Bugeaud in Algiers. 231

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Derrida first visited Paris in 1949 as a board ing student at the Lyce Louis-le-Grand, where he read the works of Simone W eil. After hearing a radio broadcast, he set his sights on the Ecole Normale Suprieure, the leading French institute for literature and philosophy. The main requisite for study at ENS was two years of prep aratory classes at the Lyce Louis-le-grand in Paris, although it took Derrida longer as he suffe red physically and psychologically in the new environment. (It was the first time he had b een out of Algeria.) After a series of failed examinations due to poor health, Derrida was finally admitted to the ENS in 1952, where he explored (unsuccessfully by his accounts) psyc hology and ethnology, and became an intermittent militant in non-Communist far-left groups. While there, he studied under and became friends with Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault, and met Marguerite Auc outurier, whom he married in 1957. Derrida continued to experience failures in his schooling until 1956, when he passed the philosophy agrgation an examination that qualifies candidates for lifelong tenure in a teaching job at a state school, and received a grant as a special auditor at Harvard University, where he began translating Edmund Husserls Origin of Geometry into French. For his introduction to this book (published in 1962, the year Algeria gained independence), Derrida was awarded the Jean Cavailles Prize in modern epistemology. During the Algerian Revolution between the years 1957-59, Derrida taught French and English in a school in Kolea, ne ar Algiers, to children of sold iers in the Algerian war for independence in lieu of actual military serv ice. Between 1960-64, Derri da taught philosophy and logic at the University of Paris (Sorbonne ) and published essays in the journals Critique and Tel Quel In 1966, Derrida made his debut among Americ an intellectuals at a conference at John Hopkins University where he announced the d eath of French structuralism with his paper 232

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Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Hum an Sciences. The effect of Derridas paper was such that by the time the conference pr oceedings were published in 1970, the title of the collection had become The Structuralist Controversy The conference was also where he met Paul de Man, who would be a close friend and so urce of great controversy, as well as where he first met the French psychoanalyst Jacques L acan, with whose work Derrida enjoyed a mixed relationship. This conference also inaugurated a long re lationship with English departments in the United States, where he was made more welc ome than anywhere else in the world. (The French academic establishment never accepted him fully, and academic philosophers everywhere were generally uncomprehending.) In 1967, Derrida published his first three texts, Of Grammatology, Writing and Difference and Speech and Phenomena These three books contained read ings of the work of many philosophers, including Foucault, Rousseau, Husserl, Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Georg W. F. Hegel, Georges Bataille, Ren Descartes, Cl aude Levi-Strauss, Sigmund Freud, Ferdinand de Saussure, and others. It was in th is trinity of works that the pri nciples of deconstruction were set out, where he showed that the arguments promulgated brought forth by their subject matter exceeded and contradicted the oppositional paramete rs in which they were situated. Also in 1967, Derrida lectured to the Socit franais de philosophie on hi s concept Diffrance, one of his most famous elocutions and displays of de construction. As Derrida not es in his Curriculum Vitae in Circumfession, much of what follo ws 1967-8 can be reconsti tuted on the basis of publications (331). Still, it must be said that much of his work in the next twenty years would be devoted to deconstruction. During the 1970s, his work was arguably at its most playful and most radical: his crucial works, Glas and The Post-Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond set the tone for his 233

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deconstructive project, particularly by em phasi zing his form of close reading. In 1974, Derrida founded the Groupe De Recherche Sur L'enseignement Philosophique, which was dedicated to improving the teaching of philosophy in schools. He was also traveling often to various institutions and establishing impor tant friendships. A few of thos e productive friendships formed during his annual visits to Johns H opkins and Yale, where he worked closely with J. Hillis Miller and Paul de Man, a group that later came to be known as the Yale school of deconstruction. In 1980, Derrida defended a doctoral thesis at the Sorbonne, based on his publications, and, that same year, he was the focus of a 10day Cerisy-la-Salle conference organized by two friends whose work was to remain in close proximity with his, Jean-Luc Nancy and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. The following year, Derrida expe rienced an event that would haunt him for the rest of his life: return ing from a seminar in Prague, he wa s arrested on false drugs charges and imprisoned. The French government proteste d his arrest and he was released. In order to encourage developments in ph ilosophy outside the traditional canons, Derrida contributed to the establishment of the Collge International de Philosophie, of which he became the first director in 1983. That same year, he also participated in the creation of an anti-apartheid foundation and a writers committee for Nelson Mandela. In 1993, Derridas work took a decidedly political turn, heralded by Specters. Derrida and many of his supporters, however, have argued that much of the philosophical work done in his political turn can be dated to earlier essays, though the tone of his work changed and his effort to examine political issues more openly became apparent. His ethical turn followed not long after with works such as The Gift of Death in which Derrida applies deconstruction to the relationship between ethics and religion. In The Gift of Death Derrida reads Kierkegaards Fear and Trembling and argues that a leap of faith is required in ma ny aspects of life, not only religion. We can also see in this phase 234

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of Derridas career his professe d indebtedness to Friedrich Ni etzsches genealogy of morals, especially e vident in Derridas discussion of responsibility, guilt, and the genesis of the JudeoChristian tradition. Derrida continued to travel wide ly and held a series of visiti ng and permanent positions at institutions including New York University a nd The New School for Social Research. Derrida was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Scienc es and received the 2001 AdornoPreis from the University of Frankfurt. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Cambridge University (after a great deal of controversy) Columbia University, Th e New School for Social Research, the University of Essex, University of Leuven, and Williams College. In 2003, Derrida was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic can cer, which reduced his speaking and traveling engagements. He died in a Parisian hospital on the evening of Friday, October 8, 2004. By the time of Derridas death, he had co me to embrace his extensive traveling. In Glissants terms, Derrida too epitomizes the erra nt, satisfying the requirem ents of errantry by not remaining connected physically or emotionally to one particular location. In fact, Derrida conceives of an arrival without de rivation or a non-arrival, which he refers to as destinerrance. As such, the event always escapes teleology by wa y of a surprise. These lines of flight during travel rely upon what has never arrived, what ma y never arrive, but they are determinants for anything to arrive, happen, or be produced. Marabou writes: [O]ne could say that everything that happens owes its chance to non-arrival. Owes its chance: this expresses at the same time a debt (every event is indebted with respect to non-arrival) and the relation of a possibility to its condition of possibility (what happens or arrives derives from nothing, owes its existence to non-arrival). (61) Derrida and Fanon differ in these lines of nonarrival in the acknowledgment of a heritage, accepting responsibility for the contradictory orde rs handed down by fathers and mothers. Where Fanon dedicated his life to Algerian independe nce, denounced France and the French language 235

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and cultu re that he once loved so well, and ma de little to no mention of Martinique, Derrida insisted upon multiple heritages. In Geopsychoanaly sis: . and the rest of the world, Derrida writes, I am a foreigner because I am neither an American nor a European, Northern or Southern. I am not even really a Latin. I was born in Africa, and I guarantee you that I retain something of that heritage (204). In Taking a Stand for Algeria, Derrida reifies this heritage by claiming that he was inspired above all and after all by a painful l ove for Algeria, an Algeria where I was born, which I left, literally, for the first time only at nineteen, before the wa r of independence, an Algeria to which I have often come back and which in the end I know to have never really ceased inhabiting or bearing in my innermost, a love for Algeria to which, if not the love of citizenry, and thus the patriotic tie to a Nation-state, is nonetheless what makes it impossible to dissociate here the heart, th e thinking, and the political position-takingand thus dictates all that I will say. In The Other Heading however, he boasts, I am Eur opean, I am no doubt a European intellectual, and I like to recall this, I like to reca ll this to myself, and why would I deny it? In the name of what? But I am not nor do I feel, European in every part that is, European through and through. By which I mean I do not want to be and must not be European through and through, European in every part (qtd. in Marabou 91-2). This highly fraught position, however, does not discourage Ross Benjamin and Heesok Ch ang to declare that Derrida is The Last European. They write, Derridas national a nd cultural hybridity might have made him not quite European, but he was also in some sens e the last Europeans omeone who marked, in his texts and in his person, the limits of what Eu ropean thought has had to offer the rest of the world (142). The one thing that remains c onstant for both Derrida and Fanon, despite their struggle to account for or forge their own identi ties or non-identities, is their relation to the French language. Derrida capture s this ambivalence best in Monolingualism of the Other when he speaks not only of an inability to call French his mother tongu e (34), but also a language of origin such as French that can lose someone which he derives from Abdelkebir Khatibis Amour 236

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Bilingue. Derrida explains: Khatibi holds the vo luble couch of a double language against his ear. He keeps what has lost him And naturally, he was also still keeping what he has not lost. As if he could guarantee its salvation, even from his own loss. He had only one mother and, no doubt, more than one mother, but he indeed has his mother tongue, a mother tongue, a single mother tongue plus another language (36). Fanon could never escape being French, his mother tongue, despite his attempts to learn Arabic; he would always have his first name to remind him of this fact. Instead of occupying or claiming a land or peoples who may not authorize or accept this association, Derrida chooses to identify with the Marrano, who is anyone who remains faithful to a secret that he has not chosen, in th e very first place where he lives, in the home of the inhabitant or of th e occupant, in the home of the first or the second arrivant in the very place where he stays without saying no but without identifying himself as belonging to ( Aporias 81). Only something like deconstruction could orie nt Fanon toward a non-place, in a way that deconstruction could not operate for Derrida. While Derrida no doubt represents deconstruction structurally, linguistically, and performativel y, Fanon serves as the ultimate performative embodiment of deconstruction. If De rrida has hesitated to act, it is primarily because he has been prone to thinking, learning to think and learning to live. Derr ida needs Fanon, as a person of action, to represent the violent legacy (of d econstruction and beyond). Both yearned to see a transformation of Man and History and both unders tood the implications of this transformation as something larger than or in excess of a combination of ideology, metaphysics, Reason, madness, and violence. This transformation must remark something new, as yet to arrive, but must remain contingent upon the refashioning of Western ideals (an old humanism, in Heideggers words). If deconstruction is a neithernor, both and yet not one or the other, if it is both a repudiation and acknowledgment of an indebt edness to that which it repudiates, how can 237

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238 it not be reflected accurately in the phrase a new humanism, which anticipates the arrival of justice without saying much necessarily about wh at that justice will encompass? In the dark night, a new humanism acts as a shadow to d econstruction, both of which are formed on the basis of not only general intellect ual concerns about the crisis of reason, but also an uneasy smile to an originary discrimination, the wounding of a dirty Jew and the amputation of a dirty nigger. Horatio : Never believe it: I am more antique Roman than a Dane: Heres yet some liquor left. Hamlet : As thou rt a man, Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, Ill have t. O good Horatio, what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, Absent see from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world dr aw thy breath in pain, To tell my story. O, I die, Horatio; The potent poison quite oer-crows my spirit: I cannot live to hear th e news from England; But I do prophesy the election lights On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice; So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence. [Dies Horatio : Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to the rest! (137-38)

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CHAP TER 7 CONCLUSION: DECONSTRUCTION AND SHADOWS As an undergraduate student of English in the late 1990s, I encountered two texts that altered my understanding of the world in a most profound manner: Ma rtinican psychiatrist Frantz Fanons first published text, Black Skin, White Masks and Algerian philosopher Jacques Derridas infamous essay Diffrance, on the de construction of the speech and writing binary. My energy and enthusiasm for this project have been haunted constantly both by the formative impact of those texts and by a simple question th at my dissertation direct or once asked during the exam process that I could not really answer at that time: What su stains your interest in a project that focuses primarily on Frantz Fanon and Jacq ues Derrida? In truth, I have been intrigued by the attention that Derrida and deconstruction have received over the yearsand that attention is well warranted, for he has contributed greatly to l iterary theory, literature, the arts, and arguably philosophy, to name just a few disciplinesbut rath er confused by Fanons relegation to either a postmodern or poetic Third World theorist of black consciousness or an incensed warmonger for his contributions to the Algerian revolution. I suspect that my in itial attraction in studying Fanon and Derrida arises from a realization that both ha d spent time in Algeria, a country that has been described by William Spencer as one of paradox. That is, things are not just the way they seem, and usually the opposite of what you expected (105). In a sense, wh at we have in Algeria is a place out of joint, creating at least two possib ilities for becoming: (1) a non-person, which characterizes [m]ost of the FL N heroes of the war years [T]hey were never seen or mentioned in public again. Not only political figur es but technicians and civil servants, whose only crime was competence, disa ppeared (Spencer 109), or (2) a renegade, an infidel or a Marrano whose smile encodes a secret maintained by a shibboleth. The Marrano exemplifies the 239

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undecidability of politics, which opens the possibility of justice, while the non-person is rendered silent and inoperative The observations presented in this disser tation represent a m inor and rather rough composite of what links these men. Foremost, as I have tried to illustrate, what Derrida and Fanon had most in common is, not homogeneously but deceptively similarly, a commitment to justice and revolution. This commitment is fash ioned by their respective responses to the discrimination they faced as French-speaking minor ities in French territories and departments. Both men initially found consol ation in intellectual achievement and philosophical engagement, but ultimately found themselves encountering aporia s from which each tried to liberate himself. Fanon challenged these aporias th rough resistance against French forces as an Algerian insurrectionary. Derrida wrote exhaustively about and through the ambivalences of a heritage unrelenting in its pursuits to maintain its privilege. I have also tried to demonstrate or remind readers of two often overlooked po ints: (1) Derrida understood the in evitability or necessity of violence in justice, and (2) early on, Fanon never prescribed or accepted violence as a solution to the colonial condition, believing that reason could prevail. In less than a decade after publishing Black Skin, White Masks Fanon, as if being handed down knowledge and contradictory orders, began to understand what Derrida had always already known about violence. Event-ually, the convergence of what Derrida and Fanon develope d on the basis of an inheritance from Marx culminates with the evolution of bot h deconstruction and a new humanism. Let us recall momentarily the outset of Hamlet when both Hamlet (Derrida) and Horatio (Fanon) are able to see the ghost of the king (Marx), but the ghost ac knowledges only one of them. The responsibility to carry on the legacy through the contradictor y orders lies not only with Hamlet, who has a proclivity for thinking, but also Horatio, the brave scholar willing to 240

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strik e at a moments notice. We might think of Horatio then as one who leads the battle cry, or the search for the pure and intran sigent. I have tried to capture a similar, performative connection between Derrida as a man of thought and Fanon as a man of action by trac ing the reference of the latter by the former in Cogito et histoire de la folie, in which Derrida seems to whisper a secret to Fanon posthumously, from one renegade or Marrano to another: the only effective way to critique is from the inside, but make no mistake: violence is inherently necessary. For this dissertation, my motivation is similar to Derridas in Cogito, which begins with a disciples consciousness. Where Derrida mobili zes this consciousness to examine three pages of Foucaults Madness and Civilization and the specific passage in Descartes Meditations I that Foucault considers, I use the omission of the reference to Fa non in Cogito, an originary deconstructive event, as my poi nt of departure. I open with Cogito also to reinforce the argument that both reason and philosophy historically repress, hide, forbid, leave in the shadows, and render absent what indeed is endemic to them. I have tried to show that Derrida, by distancing himself from Fanon, leav es Fanon in the shadows and repr esses this relationship in a performative gesture of critical import. In order to make the connection more salient between Derrida and Fanon, I focus on a nother deconstructive event, Specters of Marx, a deferred event performed and structured around an undecidable politics. Essentiall y, Marx serves as the first (Marrano) interlocutor who enable s us to make this intial connection between the two. My return to Specters of Marx also reestablishes Derridas status as a uniquely African theorist and attempts to problematize Marxism and deconstructio ns relation to it. We could easily compile a list of African theorists and Marx ists, but we would certainly be hard pressed to find one among that list who has made as si gnificant an impact on the unive rsity (universality, reason, philosophy, etc.) as Derrida. If no one usually hears Africa, it is for this reason that we must 241

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situate Derrida as African, am ong his other volu ntary and involuntary desi gnations. In essence, Derrida emerges from his tomb, the letter A, in or der to tell other Marranos a secret, or several secrets, that are encoded in a way that enables good readers to crack the code of the shibboleth yet leaves the others to irrespons ible readings of deconstruction. I then focus on deconstruction as justice, pr edicated on violence and force, based on the German existential phenomenology of Martin Heide gger, and rooted in Af rica. I explore these qualifications in order to lead us back to Fanon where he has articulated a similar concept deconstruction is neither a word nor a concepta new humanism. I draw out the implications for a new humanism by engaging Heideggers Letter on Humanism. Heidegger then becomes a second Marrano interlocutor through which we ar e able to decode this shibboleth between Derrida and Fanon. I propose that deconstr uction, if it can b e several things, is also a new humanism. The word deconstruction appear s shortly after Fanons death in 1961 and his posthumously published The Wretched of the Earth which offers us a splendid Preface by JeanPaul Sartre, who cautions Europe to listen to Africa. Althoug h Fanon was indeed influenced greatly by Sartre, the world that Fanon envisioned exceeds the dialectical progression that Sartre attributed to him and his negrit ude poets. Sartre becomes the third Marrano interlocutor when I examine Derridas critique on Sartre and his views on jewishness in chapter six. Underlying the questions regard ing deconstruction that I ha ve addressed, I have also attempted to install a brief r eading of Derridas reading of Hamlet and extend Marxist Aijaz Ahmads reading of Specters of Marx to identify Derrida as Hamlet and Marx as the ghost of King Hamlet. I develop Ahmads performative reading by introducing Fanon as Horatio and alluding to Sartre as Marcellus. (So as not to trivialize matters, I refrained from placing Spivak, Butler, Heidegger, Wise, and others central to this dissertation in my performative reading of 242

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Hamlet but I envision a topos in which this reading is possible.) I would like to be clear here that Fanons work, nearly as much as Derridas, has experienced a hist ory of radical interpretations. Indeed, not long after the death of Frantz Fanon in 1961, debates over his work began to surface. Lewis R. Gordon, T. Denean Sharpley-W hiting, and Rene T. White propose that these Fanon studies or Fanonisms perhaps might be divided into five stages.27 Recounting the various political vicissitudes of Fanonisms since the 1960s, Nigel Gi bson argues that the Critical Fanonism of the post-Cold War 1980s truly marks a shift from radical politics to a liberal, almost wholly institutionalized field of cultural studies. Fanon s work, he suggests, is also experiencing a rebirth in the English-speaking wo rld, in contrast to the lack of discussion in French of Fanon. Henry Louis Gates offers an explanation for this trend in his essay Critical Fanonism: Fanons current fascination for us ha s something to do with the convergence of the problematic of colonialism with that of subject formation (458) Terry Goldie reminds us of another, not so widely quoted phrase from Gatess essay: It may be a matter of judgment whether his writings are rife with c ontradiction or richly dialectic, polyvocal, and multivalent; they ar e in any event highly porous, that is, wide open to interpretation, and the readings they elicit are, as a result, of unfailing symptomatic interest: Frantz Fanon, not to put too fine a point on it, is a Ro rschach blot with legs. (458) What seems rather interesting is that Cedric Robinson implicates Gates, who seems to be re-centering Fanon within cultural and Fanon studies, along w ith Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Abdul JanMohamed, Gayatri Chakra vorty Spivak, and Benita Pa rry in charging them with 27 In the first stage, revolutionary thinkers such as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Huey Newton, and Paulo Freire were said to have applied and reacted to Fanons work. In the second stage, beginning in th e early 1970s, David Caute, Peter Geismar, and Irene Gendzier began publishing biographies on Fanon. In the mid-80s, writers such as Hussein Adam, Emmanuel Hansen, Renate Zahar, and L. A. Jinadu undertook intense research projects on Fanons significance in political theory. The fourth stage, characteriz ed by the ascent of postcolonial and postmodern cultural studies in the academy, includes figures such as Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Abdul JanMohamed, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Benita Parry, Henry Louis Gates, and Cedric Robinson, who, the editors complain, represent a literary-critical bias marked by a tendency to attack Fanon under a number of fashionable political designations (qtd. in Alessandri ni 5). The most recent stage, ina ugurated by Hussein Bulhan, Tsenay Serequeberhan, Lewis Gordon, and Ato Sekyi-Otu, consists in engagements with the thought of Fanon for the development of original work across the entire sphere of human studies (ibid). 243

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244 imagining a Fanon in their self-re ferential debates on colonial di scourse (79). I concede here that Fanon has received a considerable amount of attention over the years, but we must neither reduce Fanon to a Rorschach blot with legs, nor employ him as merely a background device (Robinson 79). He should be regarded as highly as Derrida, I believe, for his richly dialectic, polyvocal, and multivalent writings. But if we fe el that we do not have enough material with which to make more thoroughly critical judgments about Fanon, just as we havent enough to speak exhaustively about Horatio, then we might simply read Fanon through Derrida, who has all the speaking parts in this play. I believe that whenever we hear or see Derrida, Fanon is not so far away, like his darker shadow. Fanon serves as an example of one always prepared to act at any moment, and this is perhaps how Derrida in Cogito accounts for Fanons ipseity. Let us remember that various circumstances during the 1940s and 1950s contribute to what we know as deconstruction (a new humani sm). When we read Derrida and Fanon, we cannot neglect to situate them both properly within these historical interstices. In doing so, we realize that Derridas supposed come-lately associa tion with Marxism and Fanons supposed predisposition toward violence are fictional, at best I suggest that there is more work to be done on the connection between the two, specifically with resp ect to love and revolution, but for now, we should content ourselves with the following formulation: Frantz Fanon acts as Jacques Derridas Devoted Shadow.

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BIOGR APHICAL SKETCH Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harun Ka rim Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism (August 2008) a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (June 1999), and a Master of Arts degree in English (May 2002) from the University of Florida. In the summer of 2008, Harun accepted a position as assistant professor at Daytona State College.