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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 17, Issue 1, 2014

What Is Radical Philosophy Today?

Christopher Ruth
Pages 149-162

Communist Existentialism
The Contemporary Relevance of Marx and Engels's Appropriation of Stirner

Max Stirner pioneered a radically existentialist thinking in which the ego or the Unique One is able to appropriate its “predicates” or determinations as objects of consumption. In this sense the singular event is privileged over the intellectual “spooks” that express the predicate’s independence from and mastery over its subject. Karl Marx’s thinking was decisively altered by his encounter with Stirner, to whom he replied at length (with Engels) in The German Ideology. I propose that Marx and Engels’s critique and appropriation of Stirner provides the basis for what I call “communist existentialism,” and that this is the proper standpoint for radical philosophy today. After giving an account of this position, I briefly adopt it to critique two of the communist standpoints associated with “communization,” those of Tiqqun and Theorie Communiste.

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