“Immanent critique proceeds in the manner of ‘good’ conversation. Immanent critique converses with its critical targets, in contrast to external critique which holds no brief for answerability in any conversational (or ‘dialogical’) sense. The programme of immanent critique turns on the Hegelian notion of intersubjectivity or ‘recognition’. External critique is for its part ‘monological’, and in the last instance throws intersubjectivity to the winds. [...] At the opposite extreme from ‘good’ conversation there is conversation which is ‘disappointing’ or boring. Disappointing conversation restricts itself either to sheerly first-order points (e.g. ‘Did X really murder Y?’) or to sheerly external points (e.g. ‘What counts as murder?’); its mode is either empirical or philosophical but never both at the same time. [...]
‘Good’ conversation is good rather than ‘disappointing’ — it does not merely chew over factual disputes or retreat into a play of disembodied concepts — because it, and it alone, allows conversational partners to challenge one another and to learn from one another in a fashion which brings all things about each partner into play. To discuss with someone whether or not they think it empirically true that it was X who murdered Y (and to discuss this alone) is to leave their conception of what constitutes ‘murder’ out of account; to discuss with someone what they think constitutes ‘murder’ (and to discuss this alone) rapidly becomes, in the worst sense, academic unless we can also ask: ‘Do you think for example that Stalin murdered Bukharin when he brought him to trial in 1938?’ We recognize our conversational partner — to employ this Hegelian expression once again — only when both theoretical and metatheoretical considerations are open to being conversationally addressed. And, as the example of Bukharin’s execution signals, such recognition presupposes that theoretical and metatheoretical considerations are not held separate. [...]
And in case the notion of ‘conversation’ should seem too polite to capture the Marxist notion of class hatred, this is to be noted: nothing is less polite than rigorous conversation pursued to its end. For Hegel, such conversation amounted to a ‘drama of suspicion’; for Marx, famously, immanent critique plunges over into satire and vitriol. No-holds-barred conversation precludes none of this. Least of all does it mean that one’s placing of oneself at issue entails deriving one’s agenda and categories from those planted on enemy terrain. All that it means is that the dialogical condition of immanence is sustained and, thereby, the dogmatisms of philosophy and methodology are avoided. No-one says that one has to like the opponents whom, literally for the sake of argument, one agrees to respect. And no-one can say in advance where (into what issues of life-and-death struggle) good conversation may lead.”
—Richard Gunn, ‘Marxism and Philosophy’
Endnotes is a journal/book series published by a discussion group based in Germany, the UK and the US. The original group was formed in Brighton, UK in 2005 primarily from former participants in the journal Aufheben, after a critical exchange between Aufheben and the French journal Théorie Communiste. But with migration and the addition of new members the group has become increasingly international. Endnotes is primarily oriented towards conceptualising the conditions of possibility of a communist overcoming of the capitalist mode of production—and of the multiple structures of domination which pattern societies characterised by that mode of production—starting from present conditions. As such it has been concerned with debates in “communist theory”, and particularly the problematic of “communisation” which emerged from the post-68 French ultra-left; the question of gender and its abolition; the analysis of contemporary struggles, movements and political economy; the dynamics of surplus population and its effects on capital and class; capitalist formations of “race”; value-form theory and systematic dialectics; the revolutionary failures and impasses of the 20th Century.
The group was founded on a commitment to ruthlessly honest, open-ended internal debate, in which no topics would be off-limits, and in which the conversation itself was to be given priority over concerns about publishing, political position-taking or other matters in which the Ego—collective or individual—would necessarily take centre-stage. As such, the journal is conceived specifically as a by-product of this debate, rather than a simple forum for the publication of articles on its chosen theme. And for this reason, wherever possible, Endnotes publishes articles under the group name, rather than those of individual participants. Where contributions are taken by named authors, these are typically commissioned from individuals who are outside of the core group at the time of publication, but who are engaged with issues closely connected to its concerns. Thus, while blind submissions are welcome if they engage closely with these concerns, it should be underlined that Endnotes is not a conventional magazine or an academic journal with standard submissions procedures, peer review etc. It exists simply for the sake of good, impolite conversation, is self-funded, and entirely lacking in affiliations.
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