Having lost much of its political clout and theoretical power,
communism no longer represents an appealing alternative to
capitalism. In its original Marxist formulation, communism promised
an ideal of development, but only through a logic of war, and while
a number of reformist governments still promote this ideology,
their legitimacy has steadily declined since the fall of the Berlin
Separating communism from its metaphysical foundations, which
include an abiding faith in the immutable laws of history and an
almost holy conception of the proletariat, Gianni Vattimo and
Santiago Zabala recast Marx's theories at a time when capitalism's
metaphysical moorings -- in technology, empire, and
industrialization -- are buckling. While Michael Hardt and Antonio
Negri call for a return of the revolutionary left, Vattimo and
Zabala fear this would lead only to more violence and failed
political policy. Instead, they adopt an antifoundationalist stance
drawn from the hermeneutic thought of Martin Heidegger, Jacques
Derrida, and Richard Rorty.
Hermeneutic communism leaves aside the ideal of development and
the general call for revolution; it relies on interpretation rather
than truth and proves more flexible in different contexts.
Hermeneutic communism motivates a resistance to capitalism's
inequalities yet intervenes against violence and authoritarianism
by emphasizing the interpretative nature of truth. Paralleling
Vattimo and Zabala's well-known work on the weakening of religion,
Hermeneutic Communism realizes the fully transformational,
politically effective potential of Marxist thought.
Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science
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