Moishe Postone to speak in London, 15 June, SOAS, 7.00pm

Unit for Global Justice

Reflections on the Antinomies of Capitalist Modernity: History, the Holocaust, and the Left

Moishe Postone Professor in the History Department at the University of Chicago

The author of Time, Labour, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory, his research and teaching focus is on critical social theories of capitalist modernity. He is particularly interested in self-reflexive theories of historical context — theories that seek to grasp social, economic, and cultural processes in ways that illuminate the relation of such processes to the theories themselves. His work also focuses on the problematic of modern anti-Semitism and questions of history, memory, and identity in postwar Germany, as well as on the issue of the global transformations of the past three decades and their implications for understanding the historical trajectory of the 20th century.

‘History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism’ by Moishe Postone is available for free download on the Engage website here

This event is co-hosted by the Unit for Global Justice at Goldsmiths and the Centre for Jewish Studies at SOAS

Event to be held at 7.00pm, Monday 15 June 2009,
Room G50,
School of Oriental and African Studies
University of London
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

Goldsmiths, University of London logo

19 Responses to “Moishe Postone to speak in London, 15 June, SOAS, 7.00pm”

  1. PetraMB Says:

    While I would have some reservations, “History and helplessness” is really a very very impressive piece — Thanks for the link!

  2. schalomlibertad Says:

    care to elaborate what your reservations are?

    • PetraMB Says:

      I’m afraid that is beyond me right now. This piece by Postone was the first I read from him, and I’m very impressed by his ability to construct a “bigger picture”, i.e. to explain certain trends/events of the past few decades as part of a more fundamental dynamics. At the same time, I see it to some degree as a minus that he writes of course within an academic context and fully conforms to the resulting requirements — in other words, I suspect that the need to sound sophisticated leads him to express himself in a much more convoluted way than necessary. I will need to find some time to read more of his stuff before I can form a view on this, but for the time being my sense is simply that he ties up too many things too tightly with his interest in re-interpreting Marxism.

      • contested terrain Says:

        Take a look at his “Anti-Semitism and National Socialism.” It demonstrates precisely why he thinks a non-Marxist analysis of antisemitism is incapable of comprehending antisemitism. And he demonstrates how, through a reinterpretation of Marxist categories, antisemitism can be understood. That is to say, for Postone, grasping antisemitism and reinterpreting Marx are inseparable from one another.

  3. les Says:

    any possibility that someone will make a video of his talk that could be posted on you tube or perhaps the internet archive site?

  4. modernityblog Says:

    I echo Les’s point.

    Too many of these talks make the assumption that people are based in London, could physically get to the event and have the ability to do so.

    Surely, wouldn’t it be far better in the age of the Internet to compile an archive of videos and audio material which amplifies the arguments against anti-Jewish racism, etc ?

    Otherwise you are merely reaching 30-60 people at a time, why not try to aim for 10,000+, an international audience, or aid those outside of London to see this type of material.

    If the events are truly worthwhile then they demand the largest possible audience.

    It is a battle of ideas and by self limiting access to these events we are fighting with one armed tied behind our backs.

    Even students nowadays record lectures so if they can manage it, why can’t we?

    A couple of cheap, ~£50, voice recorders from Argos would suffice.

  5. Closer to home Says:

    i hope that the professor can also touch upon zionist antisemitisms as well as right wing jewish antisemitism. not only that the neo-marxist perspective cannot be impartial, zionist antisemitism and right wing jewish antisemtism dwarf the other type. either way here is a clip that shows UCL members expresssing antisemtitc anti-israel views in DAY LIGHT!!!

  6. NIMN Says:

    Unfortunately, “closer to home” seems to think that opposition to left antisemitism means pointing to right-wing racism and the decrying the latter over and against the former.

    One can only assume that he or she thinks that Engage is somehow in support of right-wing racism becasue it concentrates its energies on left-wing antisemitism.

    He or she also seems to think that Engage’s attitude to right wing Jewish racism is the same as some sections of the left to left-wing antisemitism – i.e. a denial of its existence at best or a carefully contsructed libel by Jews at worst. It is not.

    Engage, however, concerns itself with left-wing antisemitism – that is the remit it set itself and that is what it choses to fcous on.

    Merely reproducing the fact of right-wing Jewish racism does nothing to alter the legitimacy of Engage’s concern, nor its choice to focus on the issue of left-antisemitism.

    If “closer to home” would like to spend his or her energies of right-wing Jewish racism, just as Engage focus on left antisemitism, then good luck to him or her. I am sure many who contribute to Engage would be pleased to contribute as well.

    If, however, he or she determines to use right-wing Jewish racism as a means of “countering” left-wing racism and antisemitism, then, unfortunately, that is nothing more than a puerile, superficial, empty and vacuous politics that does nothing to transcend the oppositions that marks the contemporary situation.

    One would have thought by now that any serious anti-racist would know that opposing one expression of racism with another is, not only a waste of time, but damaging to the anti-racist struggle itself.

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    closer to home says: “right wing jewish antisemtism dwarf the other type.”

    The other type of what? And what is the point of this rather incoherent offering? Has anyone here in the anti-boycott, pro the right of Israel to exist but as a 2 state solution camp ever suggested that Jews can’t be antisemitic? Why not? There is no rule of nature that says this can’t ever happen.

    And the “zionist antisemitism” phrase is even less coherent. The two phrases are not bound together like atoms in a molecule. Indeed, unless we are talking of fundamentalist christians awaiting the “rapture”, the words are antithetical to each other.

    Perhaps Closer to home would like to go away and lie down with an ice-pack on their head in order to reconsider their frankly nonsensical contribution and come back with it rewritten in some sort coherent comment we can agree or disagree with. At the moment, it’s a shambles.

  8. Jacob Says:

    Does any one take this video seriously? The whole think is a set up. The video has been edited to make the memebers of the rally look like bloodthirsty nuts.

    Note the kinds of leading questions the “interviewer” keeps asking.

    MOreover, Senator Schumer, a key Obama suporter, is hardly “right wing.” Nor is Democratic Governor Patterson “right wing.”

    “Closer to home,” you should be ashamed of yourself posting such tranparent one sided hack work here.

  9. modernityblog Says:

    well, was there a video of the meeting?

    I hate to ask, but …

  10. Moishe Postone on history, the Holocaust and the anti-capitalist Left « Greens Engage Says:

    […] presentation at SOAS on June 15th outlined with great clarity the origins of the weaknesses of thought on the radical left which are […]

  11. Notes on Moishe Postone in London | Contested Terrain Says:

    […] presentation at SOAS on June 15th outlined with great clarity the origins of the weaknesses of thought on the radical left which are […]

  12. robert Says:

    Hallo there, guess i am too late already but if someone still sees this, here is a collection of mp3s and videos of moishe postone:

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