by Grant Farred
This essay is a version of the lecture that Grant Farred gave at the Teach-In at Rhodes University in 2010. It is a draft of a chapter of new book to be titled 'Conciliation'.)
. . . this interminable task, the ghost remains that which gives one the most to think about – and to do.
Specters of Marx.
Everywhere one turns in Specters of Marx there are, as we well know, ghosts. Revenant King Hamlet, Hamlet, troubled prince of Denmark, and the King as visor effect. Then there is Karl Marx of The Communist Manifesto, Max Stirner and, the opening ghost and the subject of a memorable Jacques Derrida dedication, the slain South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani.
“A man’s life,” Derrida writes, “as unique as his death, will always be more than a paradigm and something other than a symbol. And this is precisely what a proper name should always name” (SM, xv). There is no proper taxonomy, or categorical delimitation, for a ghost such as Chris Hani; the ghost, above all else, demands its own “proper name.” Specters of Marx contains a rich cast, motley in its own way, of the dead. Still, as an assemblage this is not in the least surprising because, Derrida, we also know, is entirely in favor, and fond, of ghosts. The “ghost is not just one figure among figures. It is perhaps the hidden figure of all figures” (SM, 120). The ghost, the “hidden figure,” is the figure of thought. The ghost is what gives us to thinking, what, we might say, brings us – sometimes willingly, more often not – to thought – to produce, at the very least, a thinking in excess of the “paradigm” and the “symbol;” to think for the name.
The ghost is the figure of thought because we must always think, think with, think against, think of, think despite, think, even, most especially, for the ghost. Thinking the ghost takes place under the most provisional, uncertain, unforeseeable conditions because the ghost who will address us is as likely to come from the past as much as from the future:
If he loves justice at least, the ‘scholar’ of the future, the ‘intellectual’ of tomorrow should learn and from the ghost. He should learn to live by learning not how to make conversation with the ghost but how to talk with him, with her, how to let them speak of how to give them back speech, even if it is in oneself, in the other, in the other in oneself: they are always there, specters, even if they do not exist, even if they are no longer, even if they are not yet. (SM, 176)
For all his declarative uncertainty, “they” are always the “even if they do not exist,” what Derrida establishes here is more than simply how to think spectrally. He delineates the ghost in its political relation, a matter of no small concern for either Derrida or Marx (or the Communist Hani, for that matter), to the question of the Other: “in the other, in the other in oneself,” he offers in an iteration whose repetition draws us away from ourselves, even from Marx, compels us toward the Other by making us wary – politically suspicious – of ourselves. How are we to know the ghost? Or, as a nervous Marcellus implores the “scholar,” how are to “speake” to it so that we might “Question it?” The more urgent question, perhaps, is not how we speak of ourselves but how are we to speak to ourselves?
Apropos then that, in attempting to stretch ourselves in the direction of the extremities, the past-present (“they are always there”) and the future-present (“even if they are not yet”), that Derrida would coin his own “Shakespearean term,” the “visor effect.” Hiding behind, protected by, in-visible to us, the visor, the ghost ensures that “we do not see who looks at us.” Even in our direct encounter with the specter, we cannot know how we are looked at. As a consequence, we cannot be sure of who claims us, who speaks our name, who speaks in our name, whether the proper noun – Hani, Marx-ism, Engels – is invoked or no (SM, 7).
The thought of the ghost is, in critical moments, what makes it specifically political – and, therefore, difficult – for us to inhabit our own body – that is, to call ourselves by our own name. Everything turns, for Derrida, on the body of thought: “one engenders some ghost by giving them a body. Not by returning to the living body from which ideas and thoughts have been torn loose, but by incarnating the latter in another artifactual body, a prosthetic body, a ghost of spirit, one might say a ghost of the ghost” (SM, 126). The “artifactual body,” the “prosthetic body, a ghost of spirit” is what will preoccupy us here in our thinking on “Derrida’s body.” More to the point, our focus here is on the body that Derrida “engenders” as a ghostly provocation and a presence but does not address in SM. There can be no question, then, that it is specifically the “ghost” that “gives us the most to think about.” As Horatio knows only too well, the specter can only be spoken to – “Speake to it Horatio, Thou art a scholar,” Marcellus urges his friend – if the ghost can be presumed to have had, and will again have, for that reason, a form – an identifiable, articulable body. Does the ghost have eyes? How does it look at us?
Derrida’s affection for the ghost is what, he might insist, distinguishes him, in relation to the specter, from Marx – and Marx’s implacable foe, Johan Kaspar Schmidt, better known as the prototypical nihilist, anarchist and existentialist extraordinaire Max Stirner. There is something spectrally dangerous about Marx’s aversion to ghosts. Derrida believes that the author of The Communist Manifesto is in great danger of being upended – and, of course, apprehended – by ghosts because “Marx always runs the risk of going after in this way his own ghost.” The Self is the most tempting, terrifying specter of all. King Hamlet, arguably, knows this, which is why he wears his “visor” so defiantly while speaking in his own historic voice; he must guard against confronting the specter that is the most fearsome to all. The king wants to be both heard and seen, as it were, without ever running the risk of apostrophizing himself: turning, pausing, addressing himself, being addressed himself, as and by the imaginary other. Clearly, what the ghost fears most is the ghost itself: it fears itself as the ghost. The king wants to be public without, in the discourse of the spectral, exposing himself to the vulnerabilities that might, to phrase it awkwardly, attach to him as a – no, the – “private” subject of the political. How does the ghost look at itself?
There is, in this regard, an “implacable concatenation” between Derrida’s critique of Marx and Stirner, both of whom exhibit their own particular fear of the revolution, and King Hamlet: “it is as if they had been frightened by something inside themselves” (SM, 105). By its very invocation, “concatenation” compels a “physical,” bodily thinking. Not only of the link between two or more figures, but a potentially disruptive conceptualization of motion, of what happens when the act of thinking figures – historical bodies – together is undertaken. This is because “concatenation,” in itself, if not necessarily by itself, stands as an invitation to think against, to produce, tension, conflict and, of course, political upheaval, of precisely the variety Derrida engages in his reading of Hamlet and The Communist Manifesto – the revolution of the ghost, the revolution by and because of the ghost. Hamlet’s Denmark suffers a political collapse because of the ghost; Marx and Engels’ Europe, “old Europe,” stands on the precipice of massive social disruption because the ghost is coming from the future. The ghost is the motor of revolutionary history because it “appears to put itself spontaneously into motion, but it also puts others into motion, yes, it puts everything around it into motion, as though ‘encourager les autres’ (to encourage the others” (SM, 153). The ghost, the political force of the ghost, cannot be accounted for yet such is the power of the ghost that it sets others, the Other, in motion; the ghost is that “something,” ineluctable, implacable, possessed of a radical power, within the political that unleashes history upon, we might say, history as such. How could we not live in fear of the ghost? Live always on the lookout for it?
“Revolution” is the name we have, the conceptual framing, for what Marx and Stirner are “frightened by.” But what of Derrida, especially when he proclaims, “Marx had his ghosts, we have ours,” in a tone that is at once confident of itself as a pronouncement – since ghosts are everywhere, we are, per force, surrounded and enlivened by our own – and an invitation to the question: who, what, is our ghost? More precisely, what is that ghost, that “something” inside of Derrida? What risk does he run of, unlike Marx, not “going after his own ghost?” (Is such an avoidance even possible?) And, what is the name of that ghost, a specter capable of asking, as Derrida does, “Who has ever called for the transformation of his own theses?” (SM, 13) We might reply: everyone, because there can be no tradition of thought without the “call” of transformation; and, Derrida, issuing less a call than a challenge to the present-future. What are we to do, then, but think for transformation? Inhabited, fully, by ghosts, Specters of Marx is also redolent with invitations – we could as easily label them “provocations” – of this sort. “Interminable tasks,” these invitations, giving us, as any good specter would, much to think about.
To begin, I will confide in you a feeling . . . It is the somewhat weary feeling of an old European. More precisely, of someone who, not quite European by birth, since I come from the southern coast of the Mediterranean, considers himself, and more and more so with age, to be a sort of over-acculturated, overcolonized European hybrid
Derrida, The Other Heading.
We are dealing here not with any “old European” but one possessed, “weary” though he may be, with, above all else, a resonant equivocation about himself as a European. “Not quite European by birth,” he is therefore not, can never be, fully European because he is – as he reminds us both here and, with such poignance, in Monolingualism – from somewhere else, from somewhere outside of Europe – “from the southern coast of the Mediterranean.” By turns affirming and interrogative of his Europeanness, Derrida declares:
I am European, I am no doubt a European intellectual, and I like to recall this, I like to recall this to myself, and why would I deny it? In the name of what? But I am not, nor do I feel, European in every part, that is, European through and through. By which I mean, by which I wish to say, or must say: I do not want to be and must not be European through and through, European in every part. Being a part, belonging as ‘fully a part’, should be incompatible with belonging ‘in every part’. My cultural identity, that in the name of which I speak, is not only European, it is not identical to itself, and I am not ‘cultural’ through and through, ‘cultural’ in every part. (OH, 82)
Of this, at least, we are certain: Jacques Derrida is not only a European. He is not even, except in “part,” a French intellectual. He is, definitively, “more than one/no more one:” because he is “more than one” and “no more one,” rendering impossible a radical singularity except as an impossibility, Derrida draws us toward something other – toward the other (SM, xx). Appropriately, then, this thinking Derrida as “more than one/no more one” can only begin “inside” the one, as it were. It must begin with that “something” inside of him that is, that is not, “more than one,” that place will no longer permit “one-ness” – “no more one.” To be “more than one” admits to the ghostly specter of what is “more than,” “more than” being a European intellectual or being French, that so clearly haunts some of his later work. Above all else, Jacques Derrida is haunted by his relation to the “southern coast of the Mediterranean.” In a word, Derrida is haunted by Algeria. As in Monolingualism, where, it is possible to say, it is the Arab philosopher Abdelkebir Khatibi who haunts the Sephardic Jew.
To be “more than one/no more one” requires that the intellectual who does not “feel, European, in every part, European through and through,” who does not “want to be European through and through,” undertake the politics of double duty. The intellectual has to be the Algerian, the French intellectual, together, by turns, occasionally claiming one without foreswearing the other – “I am . . . why would I want to deny it?” There is no room, there is no time, for denial because there is another question before us: how does one do double duty? What is the cost of this task, these tasks? To do double duty is to understand the act of thought, of politics, as doing things not twice, which is to say their repetition, their doing with difference. Double duty demands that intellectual undertake first one task, one articulation, and then the other, the time in between tasks, that is where the matter of translation becomes a matter of the measure – the measure of thought, the measure of what Derrida names the “cultural,” the “part” that is not in “every part.” “I feel European among other things,” Derrida says, “would this be, in this very declaration, to be more or less European? Both, no doubt. Let the consequences be drawn from this. It is up the others, in any case, and up to me among them, to decide” (SM, 83).
To do double duty is to feel now “more” and then “less European” which implies, of course, although this is never articulated in any measure, that Derrida must feel, in moments, “more Algerian” than he does French This does not mean, of course, that he feels in that same moment “less” French because he does not exclude such an unthinkable possibility – “Both, no doubt.” That is the demand of double duty: now more but not necessarily less; now one, then the other, now here and then there; doing two things, imagining the prospect of doing them once rather than twice and yet knowing that it must done again after it has been done; not repeating them but doing them again, one after the other in their inexhaustible, richly uncertain singularity inscribed in the answer “Both, no doubt,” is itself already overdetermined by “doubt.” Little wonder, then, that, in the spirit of “more than one/no more one,” Derrida expresses a preference for the collective decision in response to the “quantitative question” – “more or less,” always a matter of the measure – the thinking of the place of duty, the thinking of where we think from, what we think toward, what we turn from, what is apostrophized in this act of thinking.
Thinking, in this instance, takes place under a very particular conjuncture, a historic time. This moment is marked because for a moment, just a tantalizing moment, Derrida cedes his right to the decision; at least, for a moment, he appears to. “It is up to the others,” he says. They, and they alone, for that moment, we presume, can decide his status, can determine who he is; that is, where he is from, what constitutes his primary alliances. Whether, we might say, the “something” inside can be attributed, always only in part, of course, to here or there. For a moment, there is the possibility of suspending the onerous responsibility of doing double duty. Even as we think the particularity of double duty, there is Derrida’s haunting caution that is not only audible in the dedication to Hani, but equally, if not more so, evocative of Marx: “A man’s life, as unique as his death, will always be more than a paradigm and something other than a symbol.” Double duty is always less onerous than we imagine it to be, and, in the same measure, more demanding than we can even begin to know.
Lingering, present in the form of the urgent concatenation, haunting double duty as an inheritance (itself, of course, demanding nothing less than consummate responsibility), is the issue of the relationship of location to elocution: “the singularity of a place of speech, of a place of experience, and of a link of filiation, places and links from which alone one may address oneself to the ghost.” What double duty compels us to “address” is not only the “ghost,” or the “ghost” in the Self, but, again, Self-addressing. The matter is not only about how the Self speaks itself, or speaks to itself, but how the Self speaks, historically, ethically, we might say, from (a or the) place. Again, there is Marcellus, haunting us: “Question it, Horatio, thou art a scholar.” Our question, our inheritance from Marcellus and, much more pertinently, from Specters of Marx, is the question of Algeria because we must attend to our “transformation of his theses.” That is the ghost Derrida bequeathed us in his declaration: “Marx had his ghosts, we have ours.” Algeria, that is “ours” – not ours alone, clearly, it is Derrida’s first, we might say, but ours nonetheless; our act of apostrophizing. We know that the “name of the one who disappeared must have gotten inscribed someplace else” (SM, 5). The primary inscription of the “name” can be located, before all else, in our thinking Specters of Marx. Algeria has not “disappeared,” it has not assumed another form, it has certainly not been eradicated, it has not been made ghostly (or, perhaps it has, in order to haunt us into the search for “someplace else”). It has, simply, been apostrophized. We must, like the “old European,” turn to face the “southern coast of the Mediterranean” and then declare that insufficient: “more than a paradigm and something other than a symbol. And this is precisely what a proper name should always name:” In the name of the ghost, this is, as Derrida says, what we “must do:” name Algeria so that we might “put others in motion, as though ‘encourager les autres,” so that we might release the ghost of Algeria into or, for, our thinking of Specters of Marx as the act of Derridean double duty.
If it is “up to the others,” would it be proper then to suggest that only the Algerians decide if Derrida is not why a fellow-Algerian, but if he can stand with the others? If he, before the act of double duty occurs, can be counted among them? The moment of abdication, maybe even a disingenuous abjection, submitting to the judgment of the Other, however allusive and full of political prospect and portent it may be, passes. It is not, except for that moment, only “up to the others” to decide. Derrida wrests the power of the decision back by not disenfranchising the other, but by locating himself, in the act of double duty, now with the other (the other could, can no longer, decide by him-/herself) and then simply as part of the broader social decision-making process: “me, among them.” Is “me” the reinscription of the name of the “disappeared?” Is “me” a metonym for Algeria? For France? Must “every part” have a “proper name?” Or, is “me, among them,” following as it does “it is up to the others,” the most demonstable act of double duty? Hesitation, translation, the refusal of repetition that still requires a “now” and a subsequent, consecutive “then,” that is how one does double duty: more than one/no more one: Europe/Africa, Algeria/France, old Europe/new Europe, colonizer/colonized, “not quite European/from the southern coast of the Mediterranean,” and, finally, Marx’s ghost, Derrida’s ghost, and our ghost, all, simultaneously, in motion. Disruptive, pleasurable, provocative, elemental, motion.
“I think I saw Jacques Derrrida at the World Cup, . . .
. . . regarding new forms of a withering or rather a reinscription, a re-delimitation of the State in a space that it no longer dominates and that moreover is never dominated by itself. (SM)
They are labelled, a number is sewn on their backs as if they were playing on a soccer team the night of the big final beneath the lights, from Ghost No. 1 to Ghost No. 10. Only one of them would be missing, one may well wonder which one it is. (SM)
I think I saw Jacques Derrida at the World Cup, just now passed, in South Africa. The World Cup, historic, the first on African soil. More specifically, a World Cup on South African soil. Chris Hani’s soil. Hani, lest we forget, was assassinated on the 10th of April 1993, by Polish immigrant Janusz Waluś, just before he could make this his way to watch a football match that Easter Saturday afternoon. I think, I am sure, I saw Jacques Derrida at the World Cup. He was wearing the green jersey of Algeria. I am sure, I think, that I saw Jacques Derrida, at the World Cup. He was draped in the colors of Les Bleus. “Labelled,” “sewn on his back,” I can almost guarantee you, was emblazoned the number “10.” Above it, the letters spelled a Berber name, Berber, like Derrida’s: “Zidane.” The ghost, from the 2006 World Cup, a man from the Kabyle, playing for France: the very best that France had to offer. The best African footballer, ever? Born in Marseille?
And then there were the 17 players that France, if we might phrase it this way, “offered” Algeria. 17 of the 23 players on the Algerian team were born in France – French youth internationals such as Habib Belaid, Ryad Boudebouz, Mohammed Chakhouri, now representing the “Desert Foxes.” Like Zidane. Unlike Derrida, born and raised to his youth, in Algeria. It required a special dispensation from the world’s governing body in football, FIFA, to allow these 17 players to “represent” Algeria. To do double duty: born in Europe, wearing the colors of the “Desert Foxes,” “French,” “Algerian,” “among other things.” Like Derrida, most of them spoke no Arabic, to say nothing of Berber. Returning to France, to live and play “here,” again, and not “there,” after the World Cup. “There,” where many of them had never been, thrust into a language not their own. Translation through repetition: is football ever, truly, a shared language? How does one address the teammate from “there,” the place of the other/Other? In what language? It mattered, it mattered not enough because “there” had reached out, wrested them from “here.” Seventeen Frenchmen, Frenchmen in “part only,” presented with the chance to play at the World Cup, to do double duty. Who knew how powerful the call, the address to the Self from that ghostly place, the “southern coast of the Mediterranean,” could be? Long before these 17 players did duty for the green of Algeria, Derrida knew the force, the temptation, the inherent presence – for the past-present, for the future-present – of that call. What will “dominate” that which is incapable of dominating itself? The first answer would, of course, be neo-colonialism, buttressed by quasi-indictments about (sporting) gastarbeiters (or, worse, the 17 are simply footballing “mercenaries,” eager to play at the World Cup but unwilling to declare allegiance to the State), but such an account does not take into consideration the force of double duty. Instead, it might be proposed that things should proceed, as Derrida suggests in SM, by a question: what happens to the State that is reinscribed, again, by that outside itself that is, has never been, fully apart from it? If de-limitation is the “natural” condition of the nation, is it possible to ever imagine unimpugnable membership? Is im-proper membership the only politically ethical way in which to belong to, or, represent, for that matter, the nation? Does all representation, in its very impossibility, emerge from that other shore, as both Derrida and Ranciere have argued? Is representation, like the “spirit of the revolution,” “fantastic and anachronistic through and through?” (SM, 112) The 17 make the nation, then, non-contemporaneous with itself in terms other than the temporal: the nation doubled out, out-wards, upon itself, even as it, in the same act, dutifully re-turns to, turns back into, itself. But, never, of course, as itself, as what it was. The nation transformed by act of double duty. “Algerian” names, French in part.
What the “representation” of these 17 players marks is, as Derrida says, “new forms of a withering or rather a reinscription of the State.” At the World Cup, where the very idea of representation turns on the “State,” the act of double duty reveals how the “State,” before the world, at the World Cup, operates under the ghostly conditions of “de-limitation:” the state functions from within a “space that it no longer dominates and that moreover is never dominated by itself.” The state, the States, as we should properly name it, lives under the terms of haunting:
a regenerating reviviscence of the past, of the spirit, of the spirit of the past from which one inherits . . . so assimilating of the inheritance and of the ‘spirits of the past’ that is none other than the life of forgetting, life as forgetting itself. And the forgetting of the maternal in order to make the spirit live in oneself (SM, 109)
No one, as Belaid, Boudebouz and Chakhouri found out, forgets the “maternal,” forgets the “spirit of the past from which one inherits.” In one form or another, in some lesser or greater measure, the “spirit” of Algeria lives in Derrida and his 17 “compatriots;” to live, to love, “life as forgetting itself” is, of course, to understand how one lives a life of not forgetting, to understand how to live in full cogniscance of the inheritance. If we cannot ever know how to live in the full complexity of our inheritance, then doing double duty demands, in the act of its doing, of its being done, that we, at the very least, struggle toward such a comprehension. After all, who amongst us can forget the spirit of the mother? Of our mother as she reaches out from that southern coast, especially as she offers us the prospect, so seductively inscribed in that green jersey, in seeing the prospect of “Boudebouz” on that jersey, the opportunity t play in “big final beneath the lights,” of an African World Cup? (Only an amateur footballer, in all likelihood an enthusiastic but not very talented one, could grasp the joy of such a prospect: to “play,” for a few spectators, in the “big final beneath the lights.” Derrida, clearly, keen footballer that is he reputed to have been in his youth, understands this “dream come true” in its entirety.) What else did Derrida inherit from Algeria? What did he not inherit from Algeria? Is “forgetting the maternal” the first, most enduring trace of the non-anthropological Self? Is that the very trace of deconstruction? What Algeria, in standing as the “forgetting of the maternal,” gives us back, as we do our double duty, is the possibility of reclaiming a name that we had not thought with the precision and the requisite difficulty it deserved. Such is the dedication of the mother that she, in the spirit of Chris Hani, knows “precisely what a proper name should always name.”
As a footballer, Derrida know that it matters that the jersey, numbered 1 through 11, bears upon it the proper name. I know now that I was wrong about Derrida and his jersey. It was Zidane who was wearing that number 10 jersey. Derrida was at the World Cup, doing, as he is, in Specters of Marx, double duty. It is Jacques Derrida, from the “southern coast,” who is the missing player; it is he who is wearing number 11. We can now be sure that when Derrida, in the tone of a New Testament scribes, warns us, “Only one of them would be missing, one may well wonder which one it is,” he has identified for us – allowed us to identify – the missing player. It was him. It was him who was “completing,” in the act of double duty, Algeria, “completing” Algeria from France, completing, we wonder, his own re-turn to Algeria(?). It was Derrida’s ghost, all 17 of them (should we say 18 now that we can officially announce Derrida as a member of the squad?), “there is more than one of them and they are heterogeneous,” that made Algeria a team if not whole (SM, 75).
17 players born in France representing Algeria: that is the act of “prosthetic synthesis” (SM, 71). The Algerian team, for the 2010 World Cup, is constructed out of the “de-limited State.” This team was constituted through ideological force, a clear indication of the “withered State.” Algeria’s World Cup squad was a “prosthetically synthetic” unit made a squad, and then selected into a team of 11, by forcing the other out of a Self that can only be properly reckoned with as a double duty Self. 17 out of 23, a significant, overwhelming majority, such an act of violence against the “de-limited State.” This squad of footballers was made by putting the body of the others/Other onto the Self, the body of the revenant nation: the nation that has, just for a moment, between qualifying and playing in the World Cup, turned its attention away from those whom it was – just now – addressing and speaks, instead, to the dead – to the ghost of imperialism “past;” the ghostly 17, moreover, who now function as a critical resource for, dare one say it?, the (Algerian) nation’s exhausted cultural resources. Much, we might say, to return us to the specter of Zidane, like the Algerians – and those from other far-flung colonies – have constituted the French team for almost two decades now. Might Derrida one day be “returned” to Algeria? Or, is that missing the point, the work done, already done, by Specters of Marx. Is that the answer delivered by “our ghost?”
The bodies of the 17 double duty players, the apostrophization of Algeria and the ghostly political critique of Specters of Marx make it clear that the present-future has been usurped by the present-past. Yesterday, it would seem, has taken the place of today. Because forgetting is remembering, “one must forget will have been indispensable. One must pass through the pre-inheritance, even if it is to parody it, in order to appropriate the life of a new language or make the revolution” (SM, 110). 17 out of 23, French in Algeria, Frenchmen, of a certain sort, representing Algeria, does that not, even beyond the Algerian World Cup squad, point to an unarguable “indispensablity?” The “southern coast of the Mediterranean” has, as it were, come to Europe to claim itself after which it will re-enter Europe. Will the act of double duty make the players, and Derrida, more or less Algerian? We already know that Derrida, and these 17, are both more and less European. Is this a “parody,” a culturally arresting one (it required new football laws to enable it), of colonialism? What is our name for it? Reverse neo-colonialism? Or, is it simply another instance of Europe and Algeria engaging the difficulty of making a “new language” for inheritance? (Does reverse neo-colonialism not strike one as an abject term? Is this not a political indictment shorn of efficacy because it is already too exhausted, too familiar? Hackneyed in the extreme?) The demands on the “new language” in which, with which, out of which, a “revolution” will be made are, in advance (this is its “pre-inheritance”), onerous. But, that is the responsibility that attends to the “revolution,” is it not?
Because of the act of double duty, it is now possible to think, in the same gesture, only beyond (Algerian) ontology (after all, who can now be said to count as an Algerian?) and beyond the history of French imperialism – old Europe, new Europe, it hardly matters. It is no longer tenable, after the event of Specters of Marx and the 17, to declare, with any political confidence, about the continuing consequences of Europe in Algeria or about how Algeria has reshaped Europe. Those declarations contain, of course, a measure of truth, but it is by means the end of the matter. What is “Algeria,” Derrida’s and the 17 o/Other’s Algeria anyway, but the haunted act of doing, time after time, addressing the Self again and again to the “revivified past” and the future l’avenir, double duty? We can have no doubts now about the ghost, the ghost of Specters of Marx we must now claim as ours, the ghost that we have questioned in our non-/apostrophized speaking to it. Above all else, the ghost is the figure of the politically indispensable.