The Promise of Memory: History And Politics in Marx, Benjamin, And Derrida

The Promise of Memory: History And Politics in Marx, Benjamin, And Derrida

English | 2005 | ISBN: 0791465497, 0791465500 | 264 Pages | PDF | 2,4 MB

Argues for a closer connection between memories of injustice and promises of justice as a means to overcome violence.

Rereading Marx through Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, The Promise of Memory attempts to establish a philosophy of liberation. Matthias Fritsch explores how memories of injustice relate to the promises of justice that democratic societies have inherited from the Enlightenment. Focusing on the Marxist promise for a classless society, since it contains a political promise whose institutionalization led to totalitarian outcomes, Fritsch argues that both memories and promises, if taken by themselves, are one-sided and potentially justify violence if they do not reflect on the implicit relation between them. He examines Benjamin's reinterpretation of Marxism after the disappointment of the Russian and German revolutions and Derrida's "messianic" inheritance of Marx after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The book also contributes to contemporary political philosophy by relating Marxist social goals and German critical theory to debates about deconstructive ethics and politics.

"The most important feature of this book is its contribution to the philosophy of liberation. In philosophy there is a shortage of literature that focuses on the experience of the victims of history, and Fritsch has done a great service to those of us who are interested in the role of memory in the process of liberation struggles." - Arnold L. Farr, Saint Joseph's University

"The author's rigorous attempt to read the text of Marx in relation to both Benjamin and Derrida is most impressive. This is one of the very few works that has taken Marx seriously as an interlocutor for both Benjamin and Derrida, and which has attempted, in considerable detail, to bind the former's philosophy of history to the messianic politics elaborated by the latter two thinkers. As such, it goes a long way toward advancing our understanding not only of Marx but also of the vexed question of theology in Derrida and Benjamin." - Rebecca Comay, coeditor of Endings: Questions of Memory in Hegel and Heidegger

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