deleuze marx politics.indd

Deleuze, Marx and Politics by Nicholas Thoburn

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Gilles Deleuze’s (1995a: 51) comment that his last book, uncompleted before his death, was to be called The Grandeur of Marx leaves a fitting openness to his corpus and an intriguing question. How was this philosopher of difference and complexity “” for whom resonance rather than explication was the basis of philosophical engagement “” to compose the ‘greatness’ of Marx?1 What kind of relations would Deleuze construct between himself and Marx, and what new lines of force would emerge? Engaging with this question and showing its importance, Éric Alliez (1997: 81) suggests that ‘all of Deleuze’s philosophy . . . comes under the heading “Capitalism and Schizophrenia’”. Since the proper name of such a concern with the ‘demented’ configuration of capitalism2 is of course Marx, Alliez continues: ‘It can be realized therefore just how regrettable it is that Deleuze was not able to write the work he planned as his last, which he wanted to entitle Grandeur de Marx.’ But this is not an unproductive regret. For, as Alliez proposes, the missing book can mobilize new relations with Deleuze’s work. Its very absence can induce an engagement with the ‘virtual Marx’ which traverses Deleuze’s texts: we can take comfort from the possibility of thinking that this virtual Marx, this philosophically clean-shaven Marx that Deleuze alludes to in the opening pages of Difference and Repetition . . . can be mobilized in the form of an empty square3 allowing us to move around the Deleuzian corpus on fresh legs.

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