China Miéville And The Communist Manifesto

Gavin Jacobson at The New Statesman:

What, I asked Miéville, might a counter-factual history of Marxism-communism look like if instead of “spectre” the opening had always included “hobgoblin”? “The serious answer,” he replied, “is that nothing would have changed. But the hobgoblin is a stranger figure than the ghost. What has always inspired me is the ‘red sublime’ – the unsayable, the beyond-speech, the apophatic; literally unthinkable change. I want a radical movement that understands that there is no ‘right’ way to do things. Maybe the hobgoblin is closer to the sublime than the spectre.” There are few outside academia who are better qualified to write on the Manifesto than Miéville. As a novelist, he is receptive to the “thunderously uncynical” style and expression of its authors – the declamatory tenor through which Marx and Engels literally willed the future. There is also the remarkable shift in voice into the second person, when the Manifesto goes from discussing the bourgeoisie to excoriating it directly, “You reproach us [communists] with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.”

more here.