The time is out of joint
Hamlet:. . . .Sweare.
Ghost [beneath]: Sweare
Hamlet: Rest, rest perturbed Spirit! So Gentlemen,
With all my loue I doe commend me to you;
And what so poore a man as Hamlet is
Doe t’express his loue and friending to you,
God willing, shall not lacke: Let us goe in together,
And still your fingers on your lippes, I pray.
The time is out of ioynt: Oh cursed spight,
That ever I was borne to set it right.
Nay, come, let’s goe together. [Exeunt]
—Act I, scene v
Maintaining now the spectres of Marx.footnote＊ (But maintaining now [maintenant] without conjuncture. A disjointed or disadjusted now, ‘out of joint’, a disajointed now that always risks maintaining nothing together in the assured conjunction of some context whose border would still be determinable.)
The spectres of Marx. Why this plural? Would there be more than one of them? Plus d’un: this can mean a crowd, if not masses, the horde, or society, or else some population of ghosts with or without a people, some community with or without a leader—but also the less than one of pure and simple dispersion. Without any possible gathering together. Then, if the spectre is always animated by a spirit, one wonders who would dare to speak of a spirit of Marx, or more serious still, of a spirit of Marxism. Not only in order to predict a future for them today, but to appeal even to their multiplicity, or more serious still, to their heterogeneity.
More than a year ago, I had chosen to name the ‘spectres’ by their name
It will always be a fault not to read and reread and discuss Marx—which is to say also a few others—and to go beyond scholarly ‘reading’ or ‘discussion’. It will be more and more a fault, a failing of theoretical, philosophical, political responsibility. When the dogma machine and the ‘Marxist’ ideological apparatuses (states, parties, cells, unions and other places of doctrinal production) are in the process of disappearing, we no longer have any excuse, only alibis, for turning away from this responsibility. There will be no future without this. Not without Marx, no future without Marx, without the memory and the
Nevertheless, among all the temptations I will have to resist today, there would be the temptation of memory: to recount what was for me, and for those of my generation who shared it during a whole life-time, the experience of Marxism, the quasi-paternal figure of Marx, the way it fought in us with other filiations, the reading of texts and the interpretation of a world in which the Marxist inheritance was—and still remains, and so it will remain—absolutely and thoroughly determinate. One need not be a Marxist or a communist in order to accept this obvious fact. We all live in a world, some would say a culture, that still bears, at an incalculable depth, the mark of this inheritance, whether in a directly visible fashion or not.