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Every Instance of Post-Marxist Theory is More Eurocentric Than Marxism

In reading Sayak Valencia's Gore Capitalism I was again struck by the way in which the Marxist theoretical tradition is deleted according to opportunistic identity politics. Theoretically, this deletion is quite strange, though practically not so much: we should not forget that the editors of the Semiotext(e) "interventions" series (of which Gore Capitalism is a recent publication) have no problem breaking political boycotts and justifying their actions by appealing to liberal ideology. Valencia and her book had nothing to do with the behaviour of the Semiotext(e) editors, however, though her inclusion in the series is symptomatic of what perspectives are allowed to circulate as "radical".

Gore Capitalism follows intentionally Marxist interventions that have drawn upon genre violence to explain the state of affairs, such as Mark Steven's Splatter Capital. And yet Valencia's analysis rejects Marxist analyses because Valencia does "not need First World discourses to explain the realities of the g-local Third World." (9) The preface to Gore Capitalism spends a lot of time condemning so-called "first world discourses" so as to valorize a supposed "third world" insight, which seems radical to the layperson but is merely an exercise of saying: no historical materialism here because Marx is a white man. Which would be all fine and dandy, or at the very least consistent, if Valencia's entire methodology was not beholden to intensely Eurocentric fields of theory. The rejection of "first world discourses" is only a rejection of Marxism; Valencia's analysis openly promotes European post-Marxist (meaning post-Heideggarian post-modern, post-structuralist, post-colonialist). Her operating concepts are taken from Foucault, Agamben, Lyotard, Baudrillard, Butler, Bataille, and an entire host of European theorists––she does not conceal this fact. For some reason, however, these do not count as "First World discourses" because… why? Because they are not Marxism which, in her mind, is a discourse of the Enlightenment which is the apex of European ideology. The fact that this conceptualization of Marxism and the Enlightenment is one that was invented by very European theorists (the ones she cites without problem) is side-stepped. The fact that these theorists locate their epistemology in Nietzsche, one of the most chauvinistic first world theorists, is conveniently forgotten.

But this is the way it always is.

We should not forget that the basis of contemporary identity politics locates itself in a constellation theory that is intensely European though it pretends it is critical of Europe. This constellation might have been successfully appropriated by academics from the global peripheries––and more power to this appropriation, especially its best examples (i.e. Mbembe whom Valencia also draws upon)––but its deployment in the field of practice has generated far less meaning than the appropriation of Marxism by the same peripheries' wretched of the earth. The translation and development of Marxism by revolutionary movements in the peripheries has resulted in people's wars, actual challenges to the status quo. The translation of these post- theories produces some interesting critical analysis, nothing in the realm of praxis, and most often a rewriting of history that hides the intensely Eurocentric basis of post-Marxist theory. I mean, good God, Agamben uses Schmitt! Valencia uses this fascist's concepts by way of Agamben (and, to be fair, Mbembe did as well) but then has the gall to proclaim herself free from First World contamination.

Is this deletion of Marxism in the interest of a theory based on European chauvinism intentional, counter-revolutionary? Probably not: there is always a sincerity in these proclamations, and a bizarre lack of reflection on the sources that those proclaiming the "first worldism" of Marxism utilize to make these proclamations. The CIA was quite cunning in promoting the work of French theorists who broke from the Althusserian paradigm to push an anti-Marxist alternate "radicalism". We have reached the point where intensely European theoretical conceptions, none of which were ever utilized by revolutionary movements outside of Europe, have become part of an academic "common sense".

I don't know if it is tragic or farcical when individuals who rely on identity politics to make sense of the world base all of their work on Foucault or Agamben (white European men whose theories were developed from European chauvinists such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Schmitt) and yet still complain about vague "white Marxists." Thankfully, even if I don't always agree completely with them, the best contemporary Indigenous theorists in the Americas avoid this facile critique of Marxism: when they reject it, they don't do so by way of the even more Eurocentric conceptions of the Foucaults and Agambens of the world––they critique them as well! Unfortunately, the majority of anti-Marxist "radical" theory is facile… And sadly, the majority of its promulgators refuse to grow up.