Latvia

Das kommunistische Postskriptum (Komunisms. Post Scriptum.)

Artis Ostups
A life after Communism. Boris Groys’ The Communist Postscript
In: www.diena.lv, 17 August 2015


oris Groys: Komunisms. Post Scriptum © Latvijas Laikmetīgās mākslas centrsThe Communist Postscript analyses the interrelations between Communism, philosophy and language from the point of view of the philosophical left. It is evident that Latvian society instinctively takes an extremely sceptical attitude to this viewpoint, since it was poisoned all too purposefully by Marxism-Leninism in the past. Perhaps it even transpires that we have hidden sympathy for the haunting spectre of communism. (…) Groys provocatively underlines the supposedly honest attitude of Stalinism vis-à-vis the contradictory nature of language, thus pushing into the background catchwords associated with the regime such as “occupation”, “exile”, “torture”, “collectivism” and “Russification”, to name only a few terms often used in our public discourse that have a major influence on remembrance policy. While Groys’ stance here may seem reprehensible, it should be recalled that he is a philosopher of the age of linguistic turns. Thus, it is not surprising that in a way, he puts language above the facts of life and immerses himself in its undecipherable meaning. (…) Groys’ essay When Paradox Holds Power again highlights the interesting fact that Stalin saw language as an all-encompassing power from which no single thought was free and thus, every attempt to bring people closer to the Communist paradise called for fantastic skills in dealing with language. The miracle that was to be wrought was to resolve the conflict between the basis and the superstructure. The market economy would permanently remove from the game the peace that has been achieved, and the language, which had finally pacified the old enemies, would be rewarded with eternal dominion over the people, a dominion the people themselves concede to language and which they keep alive through remaining within the framework of Communist ideology.

Boris Groys
Komunisms. Post Scriptum (Origin.: Das kommunistische Postskriptum)
Translation: Ilva Skulte
Latvijas Laikmetīgās mākslas centrs, 2015
ISBN: 9789934850929