Borec 66/706–708 (2014)

Selected articles

  • Lilijana Burcar:

    Liberal feminism and contemporary anti-fa movements The story of the deformation and degradation of self-managing socialism

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    The article sheds light on crucial differences between socialist feminism and liberal feminism, pointing

    to the traps and finally to the negative consequences of retrospectively interpreting the gains

    of socialist feminism through the lens of Western liberal feminism. Inevitably, this leads not only

    to the distortion of the basic tenets of socialist feminism but also to the degradation and negation

    of systemic gains for women during the socialist period. The end result is the loss of a synthetic

    and broader understanding of the issues at stake, which can turn out to be deeply disorienting and

    could easily have negative consequences for neo-Marxist and anti-fa political platforms. The danger

    lies in the fact that rather than questioning the deeply essentialist and merely reformist stances of

    liberal feminism, these newly formed leftist or avant-garde movements in what was once Yugoslavia

    may find themselves unquestioningly supporting and endorsing them as part of their own political

    programmes. In this way, they could easily find themselves working in collusion with the system of

    capitalist patriarchy rather than acting or fighting against it.


    feminism, socialism, self-management, anti-fascism, neo-Marxism, capitalism,


    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 56954978)
  • Lev Kreft:

    Capitalism and art in Marxist aesthetics

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    On our path to the critique of political economy, there are two often expressed viewpoints, which appeared

    both in Marxist theory and radical and avant-garde art movements, that obstruct the analysis

    of the aesthetical dimension in the relation between capitalism and art. The first says that capitalism is

    in principle hostile to art; the second claims that the commodity form is inappropriate for artworks,

    if not even directly destructive. The article argues two different points. Firstly, that the devaluation

    of the elevated artistic genius is a revolutionary act and that art under capitalism has not been dealt

    a special injustice, but merely a universal one. Secondly, that since all commodities, and not only

    artworks, have both dimensions, the relation between aesthetic fetishism (aura) and commodity

    fetishism needs to be examined in relation to commodities in general and not merely in case of

    artworks and their aura.


    arts, aesthetics, Marxism, political economy, aesthetic genius, aesthetic fetishism, human work, aesthetics, art, Marxism, political economy, aura,

    commodity fetishism

    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 56727138)
  • Anna-Katharina Gisbertz:

    On Karl Marx, the sublime, and the comical

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    Lev Kreft


    Karl Marx’s early journal articles and poems present a high ambition to write while he continuously

    reflects on the style of his writing as an author. His most famous work The Capital claims to be an

    analysis in the sense of a micronomical anatomy. To avoid boredom he requires the power of abstraction

    (Abstraktionskraft) from his reader. This power replaces any empirical account such as a microscope, or

    chemical reactions, as Marx argues. How is this possible? In this article, I trace Marx efforts to deal with

    his power of abstraction on the levels of language and writing. I argue that Marx uses certain aesthetic

    tools in order to make his ideas plausible. Marx is familiar with contemporary writings on aesthetics

    such as Friedrich Theodor Vischer’s Aesthetics (Ästhetik oder Wissenschaft des Schönen, 1844–1857).

    Already in 1857, Marx is asked to write an article on aesthetics for the New American Cyclopedia. His

    notebooks contain excerpts from other articles on aesthetics. Even though Marx does not turn in the

    article, he is aware of the aims of aesthetics at the time – on the power of empiricism and sense physiology

    on the arts and aesthetics. Vischer’s subjective aesthetics is a key work for later empirically oriented

    studies (Einfühlungsästhetik) such as those of Rudolf Vischer, Theodor Lipps, and Johannes Volkelt.


    human being, aesthetics, beauty, humour, dialectics, Marx, Capital, Friedrich Theodor Vischer, sublime, comical

    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 56832354)
  • Rachel Aumiller:

    Comic anguish: Marx and Hegel on the theatrical and historical stage of comedy

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    Lev Kreft


    The article explores the relationship between revolutionary action, art, and societal affect through

    Marx’s and Hegel’s appropriation of Greek drama. Marx and the Left Hegelians identify the spirit of

    comedy as the necessary societal disposition for revolution.

    The process of bringing an exhausted order to the grave to make space for the life of new societal

    practice and belief is represented in Greek drama by the double-death of the gods in tragedy and

    comedy. Marx’s early writings anticipate this dramatic shift within his own time in the transition

    from a historical stage of tragedy to one of comedy.

    In response to Marx’s characterization of revolution as a happy separation with the past, I consider

    Hegel’s analysis of a lingering tragic element in comedy and question whether there is not a place for

    societal grief in the necessary destruction of a tragic stage. The final section argues that in order for

    a society to recreate a new stage that is grounded in ethical relationships comic destruction requires

    an attitude of seriousness. Comedy demands compensation for a historical stage in which our agency

    was denied to us. But does it offer solace?


    human being, aesthetics, theatre, humour, historiography, tragedy, comedy, Marx, Hegel, destruction, reconciliation, seriousness

    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 56836962)
  • Daniel Hartley:

    Style in the Marxist tradition

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    Simon Hajdini


    I shall begin by setting out the general framework of Marx’s early writings. In these works he is concerned

    in particular with the specificity of the modern state and the types of alienation to which a

    shift in the mode of production from feudalism to capitalism gave rise. I claim that what appear to

    be “merely aesthetic” appendages to these reflections – in this case, his comment on style in an article

    on press censorship – are constitutive aspects of his broader political and economic thought. Adapting

    the comparative method Marx occasionally uses in his Critique of Hegel’s Doctrine of the State, in

    which he contrasts the modern state with the classical polis, I outline Aristotle’s implicit theory of the

    relation between style and the polis in book three of the Rhetoric. I then hone in on a specific passage

    from Marx’s first article on Prussian censorship. I set it in the context of two prominent eighteenthcentury

    (and very modern) theories of style – those of Buffon and Fichte respectively – and suggest

    the ways in which it links to other central problems with which Marx was dealing at the time. In the

    second half of the article I outline the ways in which this early theory of style becomes transformed

    into a guiding principle of his philosophy of history, including a brief interpretation of that curious

    notion of the “content transcending the phrase,” which we encounter in the Eighteenth Brumaire.

    Finally, I set all of the previous discussion in the larger context of the so-called “end of style” which

    Fredric Jameson has argued is constitutive of postmodernity as such, but which Roland Barthes’s

    notion of écriture blanche allows us to understand quite differently.


    aesthetics, Karl Marx, style, rhetoric, censorship, Aristotel, polis, Roland Barthes,

    écriture blanche

    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 57103458)
  • Benjamin Noys:

    The aesthetics of crisis: Forms of the novel and forms of value

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    Rok Benčin


    In a recent interview, reported in the Latin American Herald Tribune, self-described ‘liberal’, i.e.

    believer in the market and democracy, the Peruvian novelist and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas

    Llosa claimed that ‘great traumas’, such as the current financial crisis, were ‘very stimulating’ for

    literature, predicting the beginning of a ‘good period’ for literary creativity. He added that the crisis

    was ‘just beginning’, and that ‘we’ve never seen anything like it’. On this reading the slaughtering of

    capital values is not going to extend to literary value and, in this dialectic, bad times make for good

    literature, and presumably very bad times make for very good literature. Early signs of the novels

    that engage with the financial crisis are not particularly promising, and although the timescale might

    be thought long enough for contemporary literature, we still await the ‘great novel’ of the financial

    crisis. In this situation of absence what I want to trace here are critical possibilities for thinking the

    novel occasioned by the crisis, and consider the question posed by Fredric Jameson, how to express

    the economic or the peculiar realities and dynamics of money as such in and through literary narrative.

    In particular, we could add, how to express the realities and dynamics of money turned toxic?

    The crisis of money, collapsing in malignant value-loss, may refigure aesthetic value, as well as the

    aesthetic forms used to represent that loss. The crisis may also force into appearance what is usually

    troped as the sublime unmappability of capitalism. In terms of tracing these problems we can use

    Joshua Clover’s distinction, borrowed from Braudel, of capitalism in ‘autumn’, in the cycle of financialisation,

    and capitalism in ‘winter’, in the period of crisis. What I will trace and analyse here are

    what we could call the ‘signs of winter’ embedded within the literature of ‘autumn’.


    financial crisis, novel, comodity form, representation, realism, György Lukács,

    Bertolt Brecht, Joshua Clover, Fredric Jameson, Thomas Pynchon, Frederick Barthelm, Joshua Ferris, William Gibson

    Availability in libraries (COBISS.SI-ID: 281165056)
Borec 66/706–708 (2014) View Co-financed by the Slovenian Book Agency.
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