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New Left Review I/106, November-December 1977


Valentino Gerratana

Heidegger and Marx

Invitations to a ‘Marxist’ re-reading of Heidegger are repeated today with ever increasing frequency. Since the suit is pressed with such urgency, and we are recommended so reasonably to avoid adopting an a priori stance, we should at least entertain the suggestion. We therefore propose to devote a few hours of unprejudiced reflection to the question. It is fair, however, and only honest to our reader, to recall at the outset a fact of the matter which our petitioners for a Marxisant Heidegger prefer to pass over in silence: namely, Heidegger’s adherence to Nazism at the now distant date of 1933. Though one can dispute both whether and to what extent this support has any connection with the substance of Heidegger’s thought, one cannot ignore it. Nor can one dismiss it out of hand as an insignificant episode. For that indeed would demonstrate a blind apriorism, in favour of a conception of ‘high bourgeois culture’ extended beyond all belief. On the subject of Heidegger’s relations with Nazism, two documents of particular interest, not least because they are to some extent mutually illuminating, have recently been made public (they have been published in Italy in L’Espresso). One is the text of an interview given by Heidegger in 1966 to the weekly, Der Spiegel, on condition that it would be published only after his death. The other is a few pages of Karl Jaspers’s Autobiography which the editor of that work had again undertaken not to make public until Heidegger died.

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