RE: [xmca] New Polls Are Open: Park your swords at the door

From: Alexander Surmava (
Date: Tue Nov 08 2005 - 18:25:08 PST

Hi Mike,
As I see it both "literary swards" and "dirty-Jewish" term of the first
thesis we meet just the issues related to different cultural contexts. And
if the former is clearly derived from French romantic literature the origin
of the latter is not such obvious.
>From the first sight it looks just like banal anti-Semite exclamation and
you are not the first who shudder reading these words. (When I have read
this fragment for the first time I was shocked as well. The anti-Semitism is
absolutely taboo in the circle of Russian intelligentsia.) The
paradoxicality of the term is surely accentuating with the ethnicity of Marx
itself :-). Que fair? It can't be helped. Alas even between Jew one can meet
anti-Semites. So political correctness counsels us not to concentrate our
attention on this ambiguous subject and repress it somewhat quicker.
Thus we inadvertently break a wise Spinoza's rule: "Non ridere, non lugere,
neque detestari, sed intelligere" ("I have made a ceaseless effort not to
ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand
them." Benedictus de Spinoza)
And what if we will try to respect old Baruh's recommendations?
We will find out that the sense of this hurting our political correct ears
expression has nothing to do with any anti-Semitism. In Il'encov's archive
we can find "A letter to the Institute for Marxism-Leninism" in which
Il'enkov discussed just this issue. Those who can read Russian can find the
EVI's text here: .
For others I can add that the very term in Marx is expressing the idea of
distinction and opposition of Old Testament's and antic Greek's cultures in
their interrelation to the Nature and is quite clear in the context of
Marx's critical analysis of Feuerbach's "The Essence of Christianity [Das
Wesen des Christenthums]"
The funny detail - the Soviet ideological authorities imposed the funny
euphemism pretending to be a politically correct translation of this term
into Russian. The official translation replace "dirty-Jewish" by
"dirty-hucksterish" killing any sense and giving a good example of Feudist
projection :-).
As for distinction of social - societal I find it too taking away to discuss
it in general sense. As for sense given to the term "societal" in Anna's
paper it can be easy extracted from this fragment:
"Exploration into the functioning, contradictions, and transformations
between the societal and individual forms of life, relatively (and
inevitably) neglected in the philosophical and economical analyses..."
I hardly can see any contradiction between "contradictions, and
transformations between the societal and individual forms of life", because
they cannot exist separately as say face and profile. Abstract individual
form of life is as false concept as abstractly societal form. Both they
exist only in researchers imagination along with all kind of contradictions
among them. Real contradictions exist in real social world comprehend as a
system of social relations or as a human personality. Any contradiction
cannot exist between something heterogeneous like say a taste of steak and
diagonal of square.
Real contradictions do exist inside the realm of social relations or inside
a human's consciousness which is nothing but a projection of the same
"objective" material practice (mediated with diverse social relations) into
Spinozian attribute of thinking.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:30 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [xmca] New Polls Are Open: Park your swords at the door

The abstracts of articles from the next issue of XMCA discussion are now
available for you
to check out on the MCA webpage. See what you like and vote for it.

Sasha and Victor -- Please put away your swords! Literary adventures using
these implements,
even used as metaphors, are not likely to deepen our understanding. Never
mind that I shudder whenever
I read Marx's first thesis on Feurbach with its reference to Jews in a
manner I find totally unacceptable,
however much I might be able to work on interpreting it in its historical
context, etc.

Might someone pick up on Joe's earler note to suggest where the current
critical/philosophical around Anna's
article articulates in different practices for thos of who insufficiently
school in the arguments to be able to
figure out how to keep things straight. What difference(s) do these
differences make?

My own ability to engage xmca is going to be increasingly limited over the
next four weeks as I prepare for an
NSF site visit, getting course materials ready for winter quarter in
January, and lectures in Chile.

I suggest that Lois's strategy of "yes and" be adopted as a way of giving
people the opportunity to acknoweldge
and add. If it seems necessary to destroy/undo, be as careful as if your own
life might be the object of that
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