On Monday (30th April) we had two guests to the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths who managed to warp our brains in what we billed as a day school on ‘Contemporary Marxist Thought‘.
Visiting from Paris, Geoffrey Gilbert rightly wondered why and where we came up with the title for the day, and how his talk would fit, but it was nevertheless a good one I think – and the title might be taken as ironic in some ways, – the challenge for us to make Marxism contemporary is always welcome.
Geoff spoke to us of Lukacs on literary realism and a book by Francois Bon called Daewoo (2004), which I admit I’ve not read. The Daewoo book concerns a scandal to do with the Korean company in France and led to an excellent discussion of the character of realism, which clearly had resonances with an earlier Goldsmiths seminar on ‘speculative realism’ and the idea of realism in H. P. Lovecraft, [which I also missed cos I was in Berlin]. There was also much debate about Lukacs’ various recantations and re-valuations of History and Class Consciousness that, to tell the truth, really requires better preparation on my part if I’m to say anything coherent about it. On the whole Geoff’s presentation was engaging and informed (he was well prepared at least) and a very good start to the day.
A little later on I then had the pleasure to introduce Felton C Shortall, author of a book I’d read in dog-eared photocopy format borrowed from comrades in Melbourne. The Incomplete Marx was one of those texts that circulated like a rumour amongst us – at last something that thought and taught an activist Marx that was not a dumming down (I have the introductions prepared by the likes of the ‘thinkers’ of certain Trotskyite groups in mind here as contrast). So, at Goldsmiths Felton presented a potted summary of the argument of that book. I wish we’d had more time, and clearly the discussion was just getting going – with Bhaskar and I arguing about economics and moral bases of Marx’s philosophy, and Felton stressing the importance of alienation, and more that is sure to come up over and over at future meetings…
Tom for getting Felton,
and to Lisa for getting Geoff.
In order the pics are:
– Tom (dark grey shirt) and Felton (grey shirt)
– John (black hat) and Geoff (black shirt)
– the Brighton posse with Felton
– Lisa – and Geoff’s ear (pink).
[OK, so I’m not as good a photographer as Malinowski…]