After breakfast I happily start each intellectual day by reading the NDPR review. Today it´s a review of Post-Structuralist engagement with Marx. Given my interest in the history of political economy I read it with some attention. But it's the last paragraph of the review that caught my attention: "As such Choat offers a remarkable revision of the established history, demonstrating [A] how much more productive an encounter between Marxism and post-structuralism would have been to the old debates and divisions. However, [B] the separation of intellectual history from the history of forces and conflicts not only betrays this new materialism, but [C] it also closes off some important ways of understanding this encounter, situating the turn to language and subjectivity within the larger transformations of capital. Choat, however, has cleared the dust of the old debates, letting "the dead bury the dead," producing an intellectual history of the present that [D] will hopefully make it possible to move beyond intellectual history, [D*] to grasp the present in terms of its forces and conflicts." [Capital letters added for ease of exposition.]
A. I admire counterfactual history. But I suspect that something has gone terribly awry here. It is scholars pretending that they are more interesting than the historical scholars studied.
C strikes me as fantasy. Important ways of understanding can always be reopened (or they are not important)! (They may not be exactly duplicated.)
D strikes me as American-Cartesian fantasy. Intellectual History cannot be suppressed, of course, but always has a way of reemerging (in new Guises).
D* strikes me as impossible, by the time one has grasped the present it has vanished. (Or in Spinozistic terms one has become eternal, that is, "outside" the present.)
I would love to hear a lot more about B. I doubt I understand it.