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T H E INHERITANCE OF T H E G E R M A N RIGHT

LEFT FASCISM: GEORGES BATAILLE AND THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY


Richard Wolin
How does one keep from being fascist, even (especially) when one believes oneself to be a revolutionary militant? How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our behavior? Michel Foucault, Preface to Anti-Oedipus It [is] simply dishonest to praise piously the dimension of the heterogeneous in the writings of one of the great writers of the century . . . wholly deleting the most unassimilable fragment of his oeuvre. Jeffrey Mehlman (with reference to Maurice Blanchot), in Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France

In an essay that has often been considered a touchstone for the multifarious debates during the 1980s over the merits of modernity vs. postmodernity, Jiirgen Habermas brands French poststructuralism as a type of young conservatism. His remarks - which are far from uncontroversial - read as follows:
The young conservatives embrace the fundamental experience of aesthetic modernity - the disclosure of a decentered subjectivity freed from all constraints of rational cognition and purposiveness, from all imperatives of labor and utility - and in this way break out of the modern world. They thereby ground an intransigent antimodernism through a modernist attitude. They transpose the spontaneous power of the imagination, the experience of self and affectivity, into the remote and the archaic; and in manichean fashion, they counterpose to instrumental reason a principle only accessible via evocation: be it the will to power or sovereignty, Being or the Dionysian power of the poetic. In France this trend leads from Georges Bataille to Foucault and Derrida. The spirit [Ceist] of Nietzsche that was reawakened in the 1970s of course hovers over them all.

The epithet young conservative has often been misconstrued by critics. Since Habermass characterization of the poststructuralists occurs in the context of a discussion of neoconservatism as a political force in the United
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States and Europe during the 1980s, it has often been assumed that he considers the aforementioned French theorists as neoconservative - which is of course far from true.2 Instead, his comparison refers to a group of right-wing - in truth, either fascist or proto-fascistic - German intellectuals who played an enormously influential, subversive role in the waning years of the Weimar Republic. Among their number one would have to include: Ernst Junger, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Ludwig Klages, Ernst Niekisch, Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, and the members of the Tat (The Deed) ~ i r c l e .Of ~ equal importance is the fact that there are significant aspects of the philosopher Martin Heideggers critique of modernity that bear profound affinities with their doctrine^.^ One could best summarize the role played by Germanys so-called conservative revolutionaries by saying that they contributed decisively to the spiritual preparation for German National Socialism. It was their withering critique of modernity, their indictment of the purportedly Western ideas of reason, liberalism, individualism, constitutionalism - in sum, of a decadent and moribund bourgeois Zivilzkation (that had, moreover, been grafted unwillingly upon German Kultur by the victorious allies at Versailles) -that did much to undermine intellectually what little support remained for Germanys fledgling democracy in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It is worth pointing out that Habermas is not alone in having perceived the intellectual affinities between the critique of reason that was fashionable in the concluding years of Weimar and contemporary French theory. Manfred Frank has also remarked on the striking conceptual parallels between the two currents in question. As Frank observes: Postmodernism and antimodernism perfidiously join hands. This is also the case with logocentrism: [Ludwig] Klages and the new anti-intellectualism [Geistfeindlichkeit] of our day agree in the affect against the achievements of Western rationality. Through the allusion to Klages, Frank alludes to the telltale fact that the term logocentrism -that lament against which has become the hallmark of Derridas deconstruction - was itself coined by Klages in his work of the late 1920s and early 1930s, Der Gezkt als Widersacher der Seele (The Intellect as Antagonist of the Soul). According to Frank, the theoretical position shared by poststructuralism and the German critics of civilization in the 1920s was that rationality and reason, which the post-enlightenment tradition perceived as a balm for the ills of humanity, represent instead the primary source and origin of those very ills. To speak of intellectual affinities between Germanys young conservatives and the French postmoderns, while suggestive, as yet tells us relatively little. There could indeed be more substantive differences between these two groupings than similarities. Prima facie, their respective political leanings could not be more opposed: while the proto-fascism of the German critics of reason and civilization is plain, their French counterparts would
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seem to be the authentic philosophical heirs of the spirit of May 6fL6 As such, their theories incline toward a philosophical anarchism that is resolutely anti-statist. The embrace of an authoritarian state, as practiced by the German young conservatives, would in their case be something very difficult to imagine. And yet, the aforementioned parallels between German right and French left intellectual milieus come into focus if we consider the figure who is generally recognized as the major theoretical forebear of poststructuralism, Georges Bataille. Bataille: by day the unassuming librarian at the Bibliotheque Nationale specializing in medieval collections; at night, mystic, occultist, heretic, novelist, libertine and champion of erotism ; founder of a secret society (AcCphale, or head-less), as well as the famed College of Sociology; antagonist and occasional ally of AndrC Breton and the surrealists (though more often the former); member of the avantgarde anti-Stalinist group, La Critique Sociale, founded by Boris Souvarine; and (of greatest interest from the standpoint of the present investigation) co-founder of the short-lived anti-fascist group ContreAttaque, which made no secret of its desire to fight fascism via the employment of fascist means; Bataille, who, according to contemporary and kindred spirit Pierre Klossowski, wanted above all to create a religion without god. 7 The assimilation of Batailles texts became a rite of passage for an entire generation of French intellectuals who wanted to break decisively with the humanistic implications of Sartrian existentialism; a generation that wanted, above all, to have quit with Sartres antiquated modernism: that is, with his valorization of subjectivity, the individual, freedom, and a progressivist philosophy of history. This was the generation of structuralists and poststructuralists that included (among Sartres contemporaries) Claude LCvi-Strauss and Jacques Lacan, as well as their renowned successors, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, and Lyotard. Both Derrida and Foucault have bequeathed passionate early texts in which their coming to grips with Batailles legacy proved to be a formative experience of the highest order.8 In sum, Bataille (1897-1962) represents the crucial transitional figure from one generation of French cultural radicalism to the next. As one critic has observed, Batailles influence has been pervasive on the present generation of radical critics and writers in Paris. . . . The logic developed by Bataille . , . links the twenties context to a later generation of radical critics, including Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and the Tel Quel group.9 Like Germanys young conservatives, Bataille came of age in the interwar period that witnessed a radical disillusionment with European cultural ideals. For this generation, on either side of the Rhine, it was as though the carnage of the First World War had turned Nietzsches
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apocalyptic prophecies concerning the advent of European nihilism - the process whereby the highest Western cultural ideals devalue themselves into a reality. Germanys longstanding resistance to the values of a democratic political culture are well known. With its humiliating defeat in the Great War, the free acceptance of such un-German, Western ideals became even more difficult, so great was the blow to its collective narcissism. Instead, on the Right, a cultural consensus was rapidly established that was in full accord with Nietzsches denunciatory verdict: Christianity, democracy, socialism, positivism - all were life-denying expressions of a moribund civilization that had forsaken a heroic ethos in favor of bourgeois timorousness and mediocrity. This accounts for the situation of German political culture in the aftermath of World War I that facilitated the triumph of a proto-fascistic, conservative revolutionary reading of Nietzsche - a reading that was vigorously endorsed and purveyed by virtually all of the young conservatives, from Spengler to Carl Schmitt.* Did there exist a parallel set of historical conditions across the Rhine that might account, mutatis mutandis, for an analogous antipathy among French intellectuals to the values of a democratic political culture? Given the longstanding French attachment to republican ideals, dating back at least to Year I of the Revolution (1792), one would be tempted to offer a less pessimistic verdict. However, such conjecture would be misguided. Though the Third Republic spanned some sixty-eight years, it could hardly be described as a model of political stability. The threat of a monarchist counterrevolution haunted the nascent republic until 1875, when a constitution was finally promulgated. The decade of the 1880s witnessed both the menace of Boulangism - a legitimate precursor of the fascist mass movements of the twentieth century - as well as the publication of Edouard Drumonts enormously influential La France juive, a work that easily surpassed in anti-Semitic virulence anything that had been produced to date in Central Europe. In the following decade occurred the Dreyfus affair - the veritable turning point for the development of twentieth-century French political culture. It became the event that caused notables on both ends of the political spectrum to line up on either side of the still much unloved republic; a milestone in French political life of such enduring cultural significance that some forty years after the colonels rehabilitation, as Charles Maurras was convicted of treason by a French military court following World War 11, he could only cry out: Cest la revanche de Dreyfus ! Equally important, however, was the fact that the affair set a fateful precedent for the political manipulation of anti-Semitic sentiment in modern politics. As Hannah Arendt remarks, It [anti-Semitism] had been tried out previously in Berlin and Vienna, by Ahlwardt and Stoecker, by
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Schoenerer and Lueger, but nowhere was its efficacy more clearly proved than in F ~ a n c e . ~ It was in the aftermath of Dreyfuss rehabilitation that Sorel converted from socialism to the proto-fascism of the Action Franqaise - an oscillation in political loyalty that would prove prototypical for a great many twentiethcentury political actors. In the estimation of Sorel, once the socialists had rallied to the aid of the Republic, their ultimately non-revolutionary, reformist essence stood unmasked for all to see. This unheroic embrace of the spirit of parliamentarianism was something of which the legendary revolutionary syndicalist wanted no part. The Maurrasians greeted Sorel with open arms. Both they and the syndicalists, who in 1911 united to form the Cercle Proudhon, were convinced that democracy was the greatest error of the last century, and that if one wishes to preserve and to augment the moral, intellectual and material capital of civilization, it is absolutely necessary to destroy the democratic institution^"'^ - which were viewed by both Right and Left as a political vehicle employed by big capital and the bourgeoisie to suppress the interests of French workers. The fluid alliance of Sorelians and Maurassians - of Left and Right - would become the prototype for many similar political crossovers of the interwar period. The Cercle Proudhon purveyed an authentic national socialism some ten years in advance of its better known German variant. In France, such tendencies would come to fruition in the avowedly national socialist Faisceau founded by Georges Valois in the midtwenties. The time for action - a keyword for French fascism - was now ripe, and the Faisceau was established to meet this challenge. It was in its passion for avowedly fascist ideals and means that the Faisceau came to outstrip, at least temporarily, the Action Franqaise - with its antiquarian monarchism and its quaint literary pretensions - among French rightists. Valoiss political aims - a total revolution that would be a negation of the whole political, economic and social philosophy of the nineteenth centuryI6- would a decade later culminate directly in the infamous derive ~ Faisceau was one of the first fasciste of Bergery, Dkat, and D o r i ~ t .The fascist groupings openly to recognize the essential kindredness of Bolshevism and fascism (here, too, Mussolinis political biography - not to mention the inspiration provided by his pseudo-heroic march on Rome - was crucial): both were reactions to the plutocratic spirit that had taken hold of the nations of Europe; both proclaimed a new spirit of militarism and struggle in the words of the decorated veteran Valois, the law of the combatant that would leave the languorous comforts of a decadent bourgeois social order far behind. Observing the underlying kindredness between these two nominally opposed ideological camps, Zeev Sternhell has remarked: All authentic fascists in the following twenty years [i.e., from 1925 on] behaved in a
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similar manner. Up to the Second World War, and often during the war years themselves, their hatred of bourgeois Europe was stronger than their opposition to communism.8 Thus, in the latter years of the Third Republic, Left and Right alike felt a distaste for the lukewarm and were fascinated by the idea of a violent relief from medi~crity.~ Yet, the ideological groundwork for this intertwining of political extremes had been laid years before. Proudhon and Ptguy were icons for the syndical Left and the neo-monarchist Right alike because they had addressed, in their very different ways, the limitations and frustrations of parliamentary republicanism that had occupied the thoughts of earlier generations as well. 20 It was the same ideological kindredness - one which well reflects the fundamentally antiliberal tenor of European social thought of the period that was captured by Drieu La Rochelles felicitously titled 1934 classic, Le Sociulismefasciste.21 A moribund bourgeois democraticpolity, characterized by individualism, divisiveness, predatory economic conditions, lack of patriotism, etc., was to be replaced by a new authoritarian regime - Fascism - organized along corporatist lines. Socialism would insure that harshly exploitative economic relations, predicated on the dominance of international finance capital, would be mitigated in a way that took into account the economic rights of the French lower middle classes. The petit-bourgeois socialism of Proudhon, astutely lampooned by Marx, also forms a crucial link (thus, it was hardly an accident that the 1911 merger of rightists and leftists in France decided on the name Cercle Proudhon). Here, too, the parallels between French fascism of the interwar period and the fraternal, contemporary German fascist orders - the National Bolshevism of Ernst Niekisch, the left wing of the Nazi Party (the wing headed by the Strasser brothers that took the socialist component of National Socialism quite seriously), not to mention Jungers fascination with the total state as embodied in the Soviet five-year plan - are far from fortuitous.
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The 1930s were crucible years for Bataille as a writer and engaged intellectual. It was a period of maturation in which he displays remarkable bursts of creative energy which found their way into novels (Le Bleu de Ciel), essays that remain today exemplars of French cultural theory (La Notion de dtpense, La Structure psychologique de fascisme, Le Valeur de usage de D. A. F. de Sade), and the establishment of legendary avantgarde cultural groupings such as Counter-Attack, the College of Sociology, and Actphale. And yet, unless one appreciates the extent to which the Third Republic - and, more importantly, the Enlightenment ideals for which it stood - had been intellectually delegitimated during this period,
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culminating in grave political assaults from both left and right, one will be hard pressed to understand the field of cultural-political options that presented themselves to Bataille at this specific historical conjuncture. One of the intellectual traits that ties Bataille most closely to the German young conservatives is his affect against the universal - an attitude that leads directly to a valorization of affect as such against the universal.22 Heidegger (whose determinate ties to Germanys young conservatives I have sought to portray elsewhere) can remark in all candor: Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the most stiff-necked adversary of thought; a statement that could be taken as emblematic for an entire generation of German intellectual^.^^ It is the same Heidegger who would observe in the mid1950s: Bataille is today the best thinking mind in France.24 The conservative revolutionaries proffer a quasi-existentialist endorsement of affect, life, and experiential immediacy versus what is mediated and reflexive. These anti-intellectual intellectuals (recalling Franks allusion to Geistfeindlichkeit) associate reason with calculative thinking or instrumental reason tout court. On this basis, the aims of reason in its practical employment (Kant) - reasons role as an arbiter in the domains of political judgment, morality, and law - are similarly rejected out of hand. In Batailles understanding, the dialectic of enlightenment promotes the value-ideals of a homogeneous society: a totalizing vision of seamless order that cannot help but repress the vitalistic cosmic forces of irregularity and chaos from which nearly everything of cultural interest derives. In the 1930s therefore, Bataille can state, laconically and une uivocally: It is time to abandon the world of the civilized and its light.2 In Spengler, too, the Enlightenment glorification of theoretical thought serves only to alienate humanity from the healthy naturalness of immediate life, as yet unsundered by the quintessentially modern mindhody dualism. The essential problem may be traced back to an intellectualist civilization which has fallen under the spell of the unconditional monarchy of the eye. As he observes in the spirit of Bataille:

The animal microcosm, in which existence and consciousness are joined in a self-evident unity of living, knows of consciousness only us the servant of existence. The animal lives simply and does not reflect upon life. Owing, however, to the unconditional monarchy of the eye, life is presented as the life of a visible entity in the light. . . . Instead of straight, uncomplicated living, we have the antithesis represented in the phrase thought and action.26

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intellectual, intuitive properties of musical experience deriving from Schopenhauer and the young Nietzsche. In lieu of such a monumental cultural reversal of the relation between the theoretical and the sensual, argues Spengler, we are condemned to endure the fatal hegemony of visual thought, of the sovereignty of the Moreover, the cultural attitudes of both Spengler and Bataille are linked by an aesthetics of violence that is highly characteristic of the front generation. In a key passage in The Decline of the West, Spengler, depicting the life-world of blood and instinct that had been repressed by the Faustian spirit of modernity, observes: War is the primary politics of everything that lives and so much so that in the de ths battle and life are one, and being and will-to-battle expire together.2 Similarly, for Junger, War is an intoxication beyond all bonds. It is a frenzy without cautions and limits, comparable only to the forces of nature.29Bataille (the meaning of his name in French should be recalled), too, is convinced, that conflict is life. Mans value depends upon his aggressive strength. A living man regards death as the fulfillment of life; he does not see it as a misfortune. . , , I MYSELF AM WAR.30As Jay observes in this connection: on a deeper level, the war [World War I] seems to have exercised a certain positive fascination [on Bataille]. For it is striking that many of Batailles obsessive themes would betray an affinity for the experiences of degradation, pollution, violence and communal bonding that were characteristic of life in the trenche~.~ In the worldview of both Bataille and that of German young conservatives, war plays an essential, positive role. It serves as a means of dissolving the principium individuationis: the principle of bourgeois subjectivity, on which the homogeneous order of society - a world of loneliness and fragmentation - depends. For, according to Bataille, the general movement of life is . . . accomplished beyond the demands of individual^."^^ It is in precisely this spirit that he celebrates the nonutilitarian nature of combat or war as a type of aestheticist end in itself: Glory . . . expresses a movement of senseless frenzy, of measureless expenditure of energy, which the fervor of combat presupposes. Combat is glorious in that it is always beyond calculation at some moment.33For the same reasons, Bataille eulogizes those premodern wamer societies in which ure, uncalculated violence and ostentatious forms of combat held sway. For under such conditions, war was not made subservient to the vulgar ends of enterprise and accumulation, as is the case for modern-day imperialism, but served as a glorious end in itself. Yet, in the early 1930s, it was precisely this aestheticist celebration of violence for violences sake, or war for wars sake, that Benjamin viewed as the essence of modem fascism. As he remarks in a well known passage :

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Fiat ars - pereat mundus, says fascism, and, as Marinetti admits, expects war to supply the artistic gratification of a sense perception that has been changed by technology. . . . Mankind, which in Homers time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, now is one for itself. Its selfalienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which fascism is rendering ae~thetic.~

In Batailles thought war serves as the harbinger of a cultural transfiguration in which the primacy of self-subsistent subjectivity would be replaced by the values of an unavowable or ecstatic community: that is, a community that would no longer be governed by the goals of a visual culture - transparency, self-identity, etc. - but instead, those of selflaceration, difference, and finitude. In fact, this Bataille-inspired program of an ecstatic community has been quite explicitly carried forth and explored in the political writings of Maurice Blanchot (La Communautk inavouable; 1983) and Jean-Luc Nancy (La Communautk dboeuvrke; 1985). Via his theory of general economics - which stands opposed to the restricted, rational-purposive orientation of a capitalist economy Bataille, too, embraces a type of vitalism. In The Accursed Share, for example, he speaks confidently from the standpoint of the exuberance of life, of the exuberance of living matter as a whole.36 Yet, his is less a philosophical vitalism than that of a theorist of culture who allows himself to be guided by a certain anthropological romanticism: by a tendency to project anachronistically contemporary societys need for wholeness and unity upon premodern forms of life that are on this account viewed in a quasi-utopian light. Batailles understanding of the prospects for a return of the sacred is relatively pluralistic. The revitalization of any one of a number of rites and occult practices that have been summarily banned by the rise of modernitys instrumentally rationalist culture (Weber) will do. Thus, in Batailles theory of expenditure (dkpense), war is only one of a number of possibilities for radical cultural transgression; other possibilities include: luxury, mourning, war, cults, the construction of sumptuary monuments, games, spectacles, arts, perverse sexual activity (i.e., deflected from genital finality) - all of these are, according to Bataille, activities which, at least in primitive circumstances, have no end beyond t h e m s e l v e ~ . ~ ~ Yet, in addition to his endorsement of varieties of non-purposive ritual, Bataille is of sorts a disciple of negative theology. As a counterweight to modernity he is in favor of generalized profanation: any practice that furthers the ends of a general rather than restricted economy (where economy is anthropologically defined in terms of the general circulation
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of persons, goods, and symbols) will do. All instances of profanation that gratuitously disrupt the smooth functioning of productive consumption the reign of the Tuuschprinzip - are eagerly welcomed. Hence, in Batailles

work the heterogeneous (along with sovereignty) can best be defined ex negativo: as whatever stands opposed to or helps to undermine our modern cult of the homogeneous: contemporary capitalism and its anodyne cultural analogues (such as art for arts sake), which know no wanton expenditure, but instead adhere to the bourgeois principle of equivalent exchange. However, as a result of the ethos of transgression that is propagated in Batailles work - a quasi-aestheticist valorization of transgression for transgressions sake - one encounters serious normative lacunae. One might even go so far as to say, echoing Tony Judt, that aspects of Batailles thought are redolent of a more general and long-standing vacuum at the heart of public ethics in France, the marked absence of a concern with public ethics or political morality.38 I have already spoken of his work as an unsurpassable normative point of reference for much of poststructuralism. Here, anti-normativism itself becomes normative, insofar as rejection of the norm becomes itself a source of normativity. In recent years, as poststructuralists have begun meditating on the problem of how one would go about constituting a non-totalitarian political community - a communautk inavouable (Blanchot) or dksoeuvrke (J-L. Nancy), as it has been called - it is, unsurprisingly, to Batailles work that they have immediately turned.39 Yet, as Bernard-Henri LCvy has cautioned in relation to this avowedly illiberal, new organicism or communitarianism:
Organicism. Naturalism. Refusal of universal values. Denial of values purely and simply. . . . It is on these bases, on this mute foundation, that one deploys a cover of horror that is more somber and infinitely more clamorous. . . . I will have attained my objective when I have succeeded in convincing that fascism is not in the first instance barbarism; that is it not essentially and to begin with the apocalypse; that it does not always and of necessity mean storms of iron and blood. Instead, it is in the first instance a type of society, a model of community, a manner of thinking and of organizing the social bond.40

It is precisely Batailles ecstatic model of community, his manner of thinking and of organizing the social bond, that I wish to call into question. It is a model that, fundamentally and undeniably, seeks to establish the normative basis of social action on an aesthetic foundation. As such its guiding ethos would be an aesthetics of transgression. Batailles ecstatic community would also be an aesthetic community: it would be a community in which the type of social action that would be valued above all
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would be action that yielded no return, action that - in the manner of art for arts sake - had no end beyond itself. In the last analysis, the celebration of transgression for transgressions sake remains unnuanced, unqualified, and uncritical. In lieu of a conceptual articulation of how one would begin to differentiate between, shall we say, salutary and retrograde instances of transgression, we are left with an ethos of shock, rupture, and disruption, purely and simply. In essence, Bataille and those who have followed in his footsteps - seeks to ground an ethics of postmodernity in an avant-garde cultural practice that draws heavily on precapitalist forms of social life, precisely those forms that have been scorned and tabooed by the process of modernization. Indeed, the very desideratum of an adequate conceptual articulation of Bataillesque concepts such as sovereignty, heterogeneity, expenditure, and so forth would amount to a contrudictio in adjecto. In Batailles sense, the very call for principled legitimation would stand convicted a priori of indebtedness to the logic of productive consumption, to the values of a society predicated on instrumental reason and equivalent exchange. Such considerations return us to Habermass claim concerning the affinities between poststructuralism and the young conservatives. Both transpose the spontaneous power of the imagination, the experience of self and affectivity, into the remote and the archaic; and in Manichean fashion, they counterpose to instrumental reason a principle only accessible via evocation: be it the will to power or sovereignty, Being or the Dionysian power of the poetic. In other words, both ground an intransigent antimodernism through a modernist a t t i t ~ d e . ~
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In order to appreciate the pivotal position Bataille occupies in the intellectual life of twentieth century France one must view his work in relation to the legacy of Mausss and Durkheims theory of religion. It was Mausss work that directly spurred Batailles own fascination with the notions of sacrifice and the gift. For it was the practices of ritual sacrifice and gift-giving that would form the basis for Batailles own major conceptual innovation during the 1930s and 1940s, innovations that culminated in this theories of waste and of the accursed share (fa part rnaudite). In his Moral Conclusions to The Gift, Mauss offers a poignant entreaty on behalf of the world we have lost. He suggests how greatly our modern social relations have been impoverished by the substitution of a rational economic system for a system in which exchange of goods was not a mechanical but a moral transaction, bringing about and maintaining personal relationships between individuals and groups.42The integrity of
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the mdral side of exchange has been systematically decimated by the wholly impersonal reign of commodity production in modern societies, laments Mauss, in an anthropological pendant to the Marxian critique of political economy. For in premodern circumstances, where the economy was not yet entirely divorced from its embeddedness in the religious life of the community, economic action, or the exchange of goods, still preserved a paramount moral function; that is, it continued to play an essential role in the maintenance and reproduction of social cohesion or group solidarity. Conversely, under circumstances of modern capitalism, there arises a society of pure competition - an economic bellum omnium contra omnes in which the natural bases of social solidarity have been frayed to the point of collapse. As Mauss observes in a spirit of fin-de-sikcle Kulturkritik:
It is only our Western societies that quite recently turned man into an economic animal. . . . Homo oeconomicus is not behind us, but before us, like the moral man, the man of duty, the scientific man and the reasonable man. For a long time man was something quite different; and it is not so long now since he became a machine - a calculating machine.43

This proto-Weberian lament concerning the fragmentation of modern life is accompanied by an unweberian valorization of those premodern comf life remains relatively intact. In such munities where the totality o communities, economic life was never specialized and one-sided. Instead, it represented a total social phenomenon, incorporating religious, aesthetic, legal, moral, as well as economic aspects. Such societies betray an economic effervescence which has little about it that is materialistic; it is much less prosaic than our sale and purchase, hire of services and speculations.44 In sum, whatever their failings and limitations may be, they display a wellroundedness and balance that is woefully lacking in their modern counterparts, governed as they are by the single-minded pursuit of utility and profit.. They exude a robust social health that is singularly wanting in societies dominated by the division of labor. In a passage that would have significant repercussions for many subsequent anthropological critiques of modernity - from Bataille and LCvi-Strauss to Baudrillard and contemporary postmodern ethnography - Mauss places special emphasis on the welldeveloped aesthetic sensibility that permeates social life in such societies:
the dances performed, the songs and shows, the dramatic representations given between camps or partners, the objects made, used, decorated, polished, amassed and transmitted with affection, received with joy, given away in triumph, the feasts in which everyone participates - all these . . . are the source of aesthetic emotions as well as emotions aroused by interests.45

Mausss vivid descriptions of sacrifice, potlatch, gift-giving and other steadfastly non-utilitarian forms of ritual were clearly the most important
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sources of Batailles own theory of expenditure, his notion of societys interest in varieties of nonproductive consumption. Yet, in a sense that is far from trivial, Mausss conclusions are unproblematical in a way that Batailles are not. For Mauss seeks merely to restore an element of balance in an advanced industrial society whose relation to non-instrumental forms of social interaction has become tenuous to non-existent. As such, one might say that Mausss position serves as a welcome and salient corrective to the debilitating one-dimensionality of these societies. Batailles own stance is in fact quite different. His critique of modernity sees itself neither as a palliative nor as a mere corrective, but instead as a type of (non-Hegelian) supersession, one which would be in keeping with the idea of t r a n s g r e ~ s i o n . In ~~ effect, Bataille appeals for a total break with the logic of modernity. He calls into question not only the narrowness of its economic terms, but its status as a form of life: he rejects its cultural, political, legal, ethical, and aesthetic aspects. His theory tends, therefore, toward a totalizing diagnosis of modernity that, for this reason, bears key similarities with the Zivilisationskritik of the German conservative revolutionaries. Both they and Bataille share an ethos of total criticism. Both believe that since the shortcomings of the modem age can neither be remedied piecemeal nor from within, only an ethos of total contestation would be appropriate. Batailles strengths as a Zivilisationskritiker are manifest most clearly in his transfiguration of the anthropolitical motifs one finds in Durkheim and Mauss. What is lacking in civilization is that which in premodern societies made life most valuable: proximity to the sacred, which, one might say, accounts for the difference between life lived with intensity and mere life. The keywords Bataille uses to refer to this exalted state in which the principle of individuation collapses and man is able to transcend his (modern) isolation and loneliness are immanence, intimacy, inner experience. Hence, Batailles tremendous fascination with those moments of experiential intensity or transcendence where the barrier between the sacred and the profane is breached. For him such moments are epitomized in the eminently non-utilitarian acts of sacrifice and gift-giving. Yet, they are not limited to such acts. There are other forms of violent pleasure that assist equally in overturning the reign of utility. For the latter produces only tepid, moderate forms of pleasure, which pertain either to the acquisition of goods or to the frankly timorous, negative definition of pleasure as a minimization of pain. According to Bataille, conversely, human society [has] an interest in considerable losses, in catastrophes that, while conforming to well-defined needs, provoke tumultuous depressions, crises of dread, and, in the final analysis, a certain orgiastic state. Such instances of cataclysm and destruction represent paradigmatic instances of
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nonproductive expenditure. As such, they give vent to the satisfaction of disarmingly savage needs which subsist only at the limits of horror. In all such instances, the accent is placed on a loss that must be as great as possible in order for that activity to take on its true meaning.47For only such an uncompromising emphasis on loss would serve as an adequate prophylactic against the temptations of accumulation- that is, against the timorous productive consumption of goods. As Bataille observes:
Everything that was generous, orgiastic, and excessive has disappeared; the themes of rivalry upon which individual activity still depend develop in obscurity, and are as shameful as belching. The representatives of the bourgeoisie have adopted an unobtrusive manner; wealth is now displayed behind closed doors in accordance with depressing and boring conventions. . . . Such trickery has become the principal reason for living, working, and suffering for those who lack the courage to condemn this moldy society to revolutionary destruction.

Thus, in trying to maintain sterility in regard to expenditure, in conformity with a reasoning that balances accounts, bourgeois society has only managed to develop a universal It is in passages such as these that Batailles profound identification with Nietzsches lament concerning a modern age in which the heroic values of agon, struggle, risk, and cruelty have all but vanished becomes undeniably clear. These reflections lead us to the problems endemic to Batailles uncritical employment of Mausss ethnographic accounts of sacrifice and the gift. For Bataille the glory of these two forms of ritual lies in their gratuitousness: as practices they are totally removed from the ends of utility or productive expenditure. They give expression to those moments when society revels in loss qua loss. Most importantly, however, they entail a transfiguration of the profane or the everyday that borders on apotheosis: he (or she) who is sacrificed crosses over the line separating the sacred from the profane. Henceforth, she (or he) becomes a demigod and is permitted to dwell among the gods. The profane world is, for Bataille, a thing-world, a sphere of life overly beholden to mundane considerations of use. There we are primarily immersed in a cycle of fate: that of the production and reproduction - with little solace or consolation - of mere life. Sacrifice restores to the sacred world that which servile use has degraded, rendered profane. In fact, all religion is purely a matter of detaching from the real order, from the poverty of things, and of restoring the divine order. When viewed from the standpoint of nonproductive consumption or general economics, acts of destruction (sacrifice, potlatch, war, violence, etc.) have an ennobling role to play. For destruction serves to emancipate both objects and persons from the profane considerations of use. As Bataille remarks, Destruction is the best means of negating a utilitarian relation . . .49
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Hence, the real benefit of sacrifice or gift-giving lies in the fact that it produces a restoration of intimacy: a kind of proximity to the sacred reminiscent of Heideggerian Nuhe (nearness to Being). As Bataille explains:
The victim is a surplus taken from the mass of useful wealth. And he can only be withdrawn from it. in order to be consumed profitlessly, and therefore utterly destroyed. Once chosen, he is the accursed share, destined for violent consumption. But the curse tears him away from the order ofthings; it gives him a recognizable figure, which now radiates intimacy, anguish, the profundity of living beings. . . . This was the price men paid to escape their downfall and remove the wei ht introduced in them by the avarice and cold calculation of the real order.4%

Yet, in his celebratory discussions of sacrifice, potlatch, and so forth, Bataille fundamentally misconstrues the historical and contextual parameters of such ritual practices. One could even go so far as to say that, in a certain measure, Batailles understanding of these phenomena succumbs to a type of primitivism: he decontextualizes the cultural practices he analyzes in order the better to incorporate them within his own theoretical agenda of his own critique of modernity. Here, Bataille seeks nothing less than an anthropology that will itself provide a living - and orgiastic - myth to overturn, through its experience on a collective level, modern sterile bourgeois society .51 Bataille chooses to view sacrifice and gift-giving in the first instance as gratuitous, non-utilitarian, or, as he puts it, having no ends beyond themselves - but this is far from the case. While he is correct in characterizing such practices as unrelated to the production of wealth, they are very much oriented toward the reproduction of existing relations of power. The act of human sacrifice as practiced among the Aztecs redounds to the credit of the sacrificer(s): it reinforces existing relations of authority, viz., the authority of those who are empowered to commission a sacrifice (in this case, the priests and aristocracy). It provides those in authority with a quasi-divine power to preside over life and death. In this sense, it is misleading to claim that sacrifice has no end beyond itself. An analogous criticism may be made of Batailles discussion of potlatch the public, demonstrative destruction of wealth - and gift-giving. Only those who possess great wealth can in reality afford to destroy it. Consequently, the option to engage in potlatch does not exist for the poorer strata of such societies.52 Acts of potlatch are no less implicated in the reproduction of an existing social hierarchy. At issue is the reinforcement of the social status or prestige of the one who destroys his or her wealth. In almost all cases, those who practice potlatch are drawn from the upper strata of society. Those who must witness the potlatch are in effect
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humiliated: they are vividly reminded of their lowly rank in the social order. The same, of course, is true of the practice of gift-giving. The gifts in question are not freely bestowed, as it were, with no ulterior end in view. Bataille seizes on the aspect of gift-giving that serves his purposes. For, strictly speaking, gift-giving is not an economic transaction. It is neither an act of barter, nor does it aim at the enhancement of social wealth. Instead, with the gift it is social relations among persons that are in the first instance at issue. But the types of social relations at stake are relations of power. When given in accordance with social ritual, they always come with strings attached: unless the gift can be returned in kind, its social function is to humiliate the recipient. In fact, the entire object of gift-giving as a social ritual is to derogate and shame the recipient by virtue of his or her inability to return a gift of equal value. Gift-giving, too, then must be classified as a ritual practice that is in no sense gratuitous or free. Far from being an end in itself, as Bataille claims, it is fully implicated in the production and reproduction of social power. Such insights are amply confirmed in the writings of Mauss as well as in those of other ethnographers. To quote Mauss:
But the motives of such excessive gifts and reckless consumption, such mad losses and destruction of wealth, especially in these potlatch societies, are in no way disinterested. Between vassals and chiefs, between vassals and their henchmen, the hierarchy is established by means of these gifts. To give is to show ones superiority, to show that one is something more and higher, that one is magister. To accept without returning or repaying more is to face subordination, to become a client and subservient, to become mit~ister.~

IV

Batailles conceptual orientation is far from sui generis. The key positions he adopts: the excoriation of liberalism, parliamentarianism, autonomous subjectivity, the spirit of enlightenment criticism, and, more generally, reason , his impassioned dismissal of the intellectual animus that grounds French republicanism, as well as his positive commitment to some form of ecstatic community - all harmonize with a mode of non-conformist cultural criticism that was profound and widespread in France in the 1930~ It~is, moreover, a discourse concerning whose terms thinkers on both Right and Left sides of the political spectrum stand in marked agreement. It is a discourse well attuned to a political climate that was becoming more and more favorably disposed toward the goals of a socialisme fasciste (Drieu La Rochelle), or of a left fascism; a political orientation which, far from emerging unexpectedly and ex nihilo, has longstanding roots in specific French intellectual and cultural traditions. It
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was a trajectory of French political culture - one that led from the philosophers of counterrevolution (Maistre, Bonald, etc.) to Proudhon, Drumont, Boulanger, the anti-Dreyfusards, Sorel, Valois, Drieu - that would culminate in the infamous experiment of Vichy. Bataille had no personal truck with Vichy; nor, however, was he a rbsisfant. Instead, he spent the war years (as one is accustomed to saying in the German context) in inner emigration, preoccupied with literary concerns, composing his Summa Atheologica. As one observer has remarked: All the texts written [by Bataille] during the war years . . . translate into a profound need to disengage himself.56 Here, the motivations for his retreat from public life were certainly as much personal as intellectual. In the years immediately preceding the war, he endured both the tragic death of his lover, Laure, as well as the dissolution of the College of Sociology, the now legendary gathering of French intellectuals that Bataille had founded in 1937 with Roger Caillois. Nevertheless, if we take a look at the political positions espoused by Bataille during the 1930s, the motif of left fascism takes on a vivid and disquieting reality. To begin with, there is telling circumstantial evidence. Batailles biographer, Michel Surya, has stated that when he began work on his book (Georges Bafaille: La Mort h loeuvre [Paris: Seguier, 1987]), many of his interviewees - Batailles contemporaries included - assumed quite naturally that Bataille was a fasci~t.~ More damning still are the remarks of the left-wing anti-Stalinist, Boris Souvarine, in whose journal, La Critique sociale, many of Batailles key essays from the 1930s appeared. In his preface to the 1983 republication of the review, Souvarine makes the startling claim that Bataille was a fascist sympathizer; and that, moreover, if hed had the courage of his convictions, he would have rallied to the cause.* Surely, Souvarine overstates his case.59 Yet, the deeper one probes Batailles political convictions and allegiances in the 1930s, the more disconcerting is the overall picture that emerges. Here, the analysis must begin with an examination of Batailles essay, The Psychological Structure of Fascism, often rightly hailed as a theoretical breakthrough in our understanding of the mass psychological appeal of modern authoritarian rule. Yet, the essay also contains a barely veiled admiration for the vitality and energy of the existing fascist states, especially when contrasted with the decadence and inertia of the contemporary European democracies. Bataille purveys a critique of parliamentarianism that is as zealous as anything one finds in the work of Carl Schmitt. Parliamentary decisionmaking, he claims, partakes wholly of the order of the homogeneous. It aims solely at co-optation, the elimination of difference. As such, it is purely
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instrumental and serves primarily to suppress the breakthrough of heterogeneous elements that threaten to explode the normative bases of the given economic and political order. As Bataille observes, in a striking anticipation of Jean-Franqois Lyotards association of consensus and terror: The reduction of differences in parliamentary practice indicates all the possible complexity of the internal activity of adaptation required by homogeneity.60Bataille can perceive no fundamental differences between the conduct of political and economic life in modern democratic societies, insofar as both are examples par excellence of homogeneity - this despite the fact that discussion aims at mutual understanding, whereas economic activity is goal-oriented and utilitarian .61 Given this curt dismissal of the institutional bases of democracy, it comes as little surprise that Bataille glorifies the role played by fascism in modern political life as a type of breakthrough of the heterogeneous. For Bataille, the fascist leaders are incontestably part of heterogeneous existence. Opposed to democratic politicians, who represent in different countries the platitude inherent to homogeneous society, Mussolini and Hitler immediately stand out as something other.62 What he admires about these men and the movement they represent is that they embody a force that situates them above other men, which accounts for their sovereignty. Yet, he also esteems greatly their thoroughgoing antagonism to law: the fact that laws are broken is only the most obvious sign of the transcendent, heterogeneous nature of fascist action.63 Here, the parallels with Schmitts critique of bourgeois legal positivism are of course profound. Both Schmitt and Bataille view the institution of law as the consummate embodiment of the spirit of bourgeois rationalism. It symbolizes everything they detest about the reigning social order: its prosaic longing for security, its unrevolutionary nature, its abhorrence of transcendence, its anathematization of the vitality and intensity one finds in the exception (Schmitt) or transgression (Bataille). Moreover, for Bataille the system of law merits especially harsh treatment insofar as it signifies a type of consecretion of the profane order of things; as such, it stands as an impediment to contact with the heterogeneous or the sacred. Bataille concludes his endorsement of fascist politics with the following encomium: Heterogeneous fascist action belongs to the entire set of higher forms. It makes an appeal to sentiments traditionally defined as exalted and noble and tends to constitute authority as an unconditional principle, situated above any utilitarian judgment.64 As opposed to the bourgeois order of life, which, with its utilitarianism and its legalism, merely sanctifies the prose of the world, fascism offers a new political aesthetic, the return, as it were, of an aesthetic politics: a type of politics that reintroduces the long lost elements of charismatic leadership (in Batailles terms,
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sovereignty), violence, and martial glory. It is, moreover, a politics that facilitates a great emotional cathexis between leaders and masses, a point which Bataille emphasizes repeatedly. For one of fascisms great attributes is that it clearly demonstrates what can be expected from a timely recourse to reawakened affective forces - forces capable of guaranteeing a measure of collective solidarity, which have been banished from a society in which the division of labor and rationalization reign supreme. In sum, fascism serves to reintroduce a type of ecstatic politics into the forlorn and disenchanted landscape of political modernity, a politics that aims at the creation of a quasi-Nietzschean ecstatic community. Here, it is well worthwhile to recall the remarks of Bernard-Henri LCvy cited above: [fascism] is in the first instance a type of society, a model of community, a manner of thinking and of organizing the social bond.6sFor it is the restoration of the affective energies and intensities associated with a type of communitarian social bond prevalent in premodern societies that is in so many respects the guiding thread of Batailles intellectual oeuvre. His preoccupation with sacrifice, the sacred, and, lastly, the possibilities for cultural renewal embodied in fascist political action, are comprehensible in these terms alone. As one commentator has appropriately remarked concerning Batailles attempts to view fascism as a contemporary reincarnation of the sacred or heterogeneous:
the worship of Otherness which underlies [Batailles] concept of the sacred inevitably leads to an acknowledgement of the attraction historical fascism exerts through the mana of its leaders. The category of the heterogeneous, as Bataille defines it, contains so much that is nature rather than history that its repeated application to manifestations of fascist power quite clearly produce a mythification. . .&

In his analysis of the cultural origins of fascism, the philosopher Ernst Cassirer makes an analogous point. Basing his work on Malinowskis researches among the Trobriand islanders, he shows that for purposes of everyday problem-solving, common sense and natural ingenuity are employed. Only under extraordinary conditions, he continues, where natural knowledge falls short, are supernatural means invoked: those of magic and other rites that are intended to influence higher powers in order to bring about the desired result. According to Cassirer, This description of the role of magic and mythology in primitive society applies equally well to highly advanced stages of mans political life. Thus, when modern societies experience grave crises in which the traditional means of problemsolving appear inadequate (Cassirers historical point of reference is Germanys Weimar Republic), they, too, have recourse to the irrational means of political myth and charismatic leadership - in the German case, the myths of the superiority of race and of the charismatic leader who
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triumphs, not by dint of intellect and skill, but by virtue of having been endowed by the forces of destiny with superior powers. Cassirer follows Durkheim by explaining such myths as a type of collective wish-fulfillment: they represent the ideational projections of the community, and thus a type of imaginary resolution of social problems that cannot be resolved via tried and true empirical means. As Cassirer explains, In all critical moments of mans social life, the rational forces that resist the rise of the old mythical conceptions are no longer sure of themselves. In these moments the time has come for myth again.
The call for leadership only appears when a collective desire has reached an overwhelming strength and when, on the other hand, all hopes of fulfilling this desire, in an ordinary and normal way, have failed. At these times the desire is not only keenly felt but also personified. . . . The intensity of the collective wish is embodied in the leader. The former social bonds - law, justice, and constitutions - are declared to be without any value. What alone remains is the m stical power and authority of the leader and the leaders will is supreme law.x7

Cassirers cautionary sentiment applies well to Batailles conviction that a return of the cult and cult ritual would represent a restorative balm vis-i-vis the centrifugal tendencies of political modernity. Moreover, the tendency to valorize unreason - madness, myth, the heterogeneous, and so forth that we have observed thus far in Batailles work are only accentuated in his writings of the late 1930s. Only myth reflects the image of a plenitude extending to the community in which men gather, remarks Bataille in a 1937 text; he goes on to praise the violent dynamic belonging to [myth which] has no other object than the return to a lost totality.@ The members of AcCphale, the secret society Bataille founded in 1937 and conceived along the lines of a medieval religious order, viewed themselves as a type of Nietzschean cultural vanguard charged with preparing the way for a more generalized return of ritual practice. Although its members were sworn to secrecy about its rites, it is generally acknowledged that animal sacrifices were practiced and that the idea of human sacrifice was seriously contemplated. The intellectual program of the College of Sociology was quite explicit in its call for a return to various forms of premodern religiosity as an alternative to the restricted economy that dominated spiritual life in the Western democracies. A rehabilitation of the concept virility - a virtual obsession in the writings of the French fascist literati of the 1930s (Drieu La Rochelle, Robert Brasillach) - figured prominently in the many texts authored by Bataille and co-founder Roger Caillois. Caillois concludes his 1937 inaugural text The Winter Wind with the following chilling, fascistoid prophesy: an irreversible cleansing takes place in nature . . .: there is a
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rising wind of subversion in the world now, a cold wind, harsh, arctic, one of those winds that is murderous . , . and that kills the fragile [and] the sickly, one that does not let them get through the winter.69 In a fascist era in which the Nietzschean theory of rank or hierarchy had come into its own, and in which the Nazis would lay the groundwork for the final solution via their winter-wind-like euthanasia program (resulting in the deaths of some 100,000 persons), such remarks quickly lose all their innocence. In such a political climate Caillois could recommend without shame that the new cultural vanguard - the members of the College - regard the rest of humanity less as their rightful equals than as the raw material for their ventures. 70 Many of Batailles own interventions and political prescriptions during this short-lived gathering of sorcerer apprentices (Kojeves characterization of the College) were no less problematic. His first sympathies for fascist Italy dated from a 1934 visit to Rome, where he viewed a famous exhibition of the Fascist Revolution. In a letter t o Raymond Queneau, he effusively praised Italian Fascisms morbid inconography - mortuary symbols, black pennants, and deaths heads. In a February 1938 College lecture on Power, he openly praised the symbolism of Italian fascism in the form of the fasces as seen on every locomotives belly; in the German and Italian fascist regimes alone was the Christian tradition threatened without any danger of relapsing into tragedy, or, as Bataille expressed it, mourning for the dead king. The lictors axe or fasces was an ancient Roman instrument for beheading subjects and thus, in Batailles view, worked to preserve the sovereignty of the consuls and praetors. A kindred admiration for the collective energies unleased by fascism would play a key role in the concluding passages of his 1935 novel, Bleu de Ciel. Finally, in January 1939, Bataille delivered a lecture at the College of Sociology on Hitler and the Teutonic Order. A society of orders inspired by the knighthoods of the medieval Stundegesellschaft, in which the values of hierarchy, glory, conquest, and the sacred remained unimpugned -was, after all, the model that Bataille and Caillois sought to emulate with the College. This was a model that had been revivified on a modern, secular basis by Europes young fascist regimes. Following World War I - that is, in an era when all hopes for an outright restoration of ancien regime prerogatives had become anachronistic - the concept of fascist dictatorship became a European-wide rallying point for counterrevolutionaries and devotkes of the ancien rkgirne. Batailles lecture of January 1939 has, conveniently, not been preserved. One can only speculate on its probable tendency and content - as does Denis Hollier who suggests an important link with Alphonse de Chateaubriants pro-Nazi 1937 work, La Gerbe des Forces - a text about which Caillois writes admiringly. There, Chateaubriant speaks admiringly of the
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new German elite paramilitary units or Ordensburgen. Patterned after the ancient orders of chivalry, they produce the strong men whom the world, as much as Germany, needs today to revolutionize contemporary society. Suffice it to say that it is probably to the advantage of Batailles intellectual legacy that the text of this 1939 lecture remains mislaid. In a 1971 interview Caillois described the mission of the College as follows:
It was concerned with conducting philosophical research, but philosophy was in a way only a facade or a form, the real project being to recreate the sacred in a society that tended to reject it. We thought of ourselves as sorcererapprentices. We had decided to unleash dangerous movements . . .71

It was a program that, however, collapsed in dramatic fashion with the onset of war. For it was then that the untenability, if not the bankruptcy, of the cultural program of a return of the primitive stood transparent for all to see. For in the eyes of Bataille, Caillois, et al., the world war had in effect brought such primitive energies directly to bear on modern European societies, and the unprecedented carnage that had been the main result was undeniable. Thus, according to Caillois: The war showed us the inanity of the attempt of the College of Sociology. The dark forces that we had dreamed of unleashing had been freed on their own, and their consequences were not those that we had expected.72

V
There remains one chapter in the saga of Batailles forays into the heady world of the Parisian cultural avant-garde that has yet to be told. It is a crucial episode, for it illustrates Batailles transition from the Left to the Right side of the political spectrum. In the aftermath of his three-year involvement with Souvarines La Critique sociale, Bataille was able to form an alliance with former antagonist Andre Breton. Just a few years earlier, Bataille had in a marxisant spirit characterized Breton and the surrealists as decadent aesthetes utterly incapable of even the possibility of contact with the lower c~asses.~~ In the fall of 1935 Bataille founded a new group called Counter-Attack, in which Breton had agreed to participate. To be sure, the intellectual differences separating these two titans of the cultural avant-garde remained cavernous. Breton had concluded his Second Manifesto of Surrealism with a rather cursory dismissal of Bataille as an excremental philosopher, owing to the latters manifest obsession with scatological themes.74Breton, who was medically trained, uncharitably went so far as to characterize
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Bataille as suffering from a pathological disorder in need of a cure. But this was the era of the Popular Front, which served as the pretext for many reconciliations among former political antagonists. In the light of this background, it will perhaps come as a surprise to no one that the lifespan of Counter-Attack proved mercifully brief. Its manner of dissolution, however, is of no small interest from the standpoint of our theme. In the spring of 1936, Breton and the surrealist faction withdrew abruptly from the group, accusing Bataille and his supporters of embracing a sur-fascisme - a superfascism paralleling Nietzsches advocacy of the surhomme or superman. It seems that the admiration of fascist methods - primarily with respect to the ethos of unbridled transgression that was so prominent in the fascist regimes embrace of an aesthetics of violence - evinced in Batailles essays of the 1930s had come to the fore in a way that proved profoundly embarrassing to Breton and those allied with him. In Batailles view, the fascist revolutions in Italy and Germany were alone successful in challenging the existence of the democratic spirit. They alone had replaced the decrepit value-system of bourgeois society with a new collective mythology - a restoration of myth that was so avidly desired by the belief-starved masses. This telltale flirtation with a left fascism - an avowed endorsement of fascist methods for left-wing political ends -was apparent from the groups inaugural manifesto of October 1935, Contre-Attaque: Union de lutte des intellectuals rkvolutionnaire. Here, Batailles views played the major formative role. To wit, a sanguinary fascination with revolutionary violence occupied a distinct position of prominence: one of the groups resolutions emphasized that in order to insure public safety (le salut publique) an uncompromising dictatorship of the armed people was required. Europes political destiny would be determined by the creation of a vast network of disciplined and fanatical forces capable of exercising one day a merciless dictatorship. And in conclusion, the admiration for fascist methods was explicitly invoked: The time has come for all of us to behave like masters and to physically destroy the slaves of capitalism . . . we intend to make use g f the weapons created by fascism, which has known how to make use of the Fundamental human aspiration for affective exaltation and fanaticism. 75 The stress on revolutionary violence, on emulating an ethos of mastership, :he celebration of affective exaltation and fanaticism, of the emotional ;ide of mass politics that contemporary fascism had been able to exploit so yell - all represent key aspects of the ideology of left fascism as propagated y Bataille at this time. As Allan Stoekl has remarked: Effervescence, the ubversive violence of the masses, the baseness of their refusal to enter into joring discussions - all these things, then, without a clear and correct (even f boring) theory behind them, could easily be reversed into fascism, as 3ataille quickly became aware.76In the context at hand it is of more than
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passing interest to note that the notion of a revolt of the masters (Herren-Aufstand) was one of the key ideas of Ernst Jiingers prophetic, conservative revolutionary classic, Der Arbeiter (1932).77 Henri Dubief, a former member of Counter-Attack, has described Batailles political thinking circa 1935 in the following terms:
Persuaded of [fascisms] intrinsic perversity, Bataille affirmed its historical and political superiority to a depraved workers movement and to corrupt liberal democracy. . . . There is an inevitable movement from anguish to intoxication over fascism. At this moment there were reflections of the fascist experience among Georges Bataille and his friends. Later, the influence of Hitlers neopaganism was patent in the case of AcCphale.*

It was the publication of a one-page manifesto entitled Sous le Feu des Canons Frangais that precipitated the break between the two factions dominated by Bataille and Breton. Breton had been listed as a signatory to the document without prior consultation. The tract began with a condemnation of the Soviet Union, whose anti-revolutionary nature had been revealed as a result of its increasing willingness to enter into alliance with the corrupt victors of 1918 - the bourgeois democracies (the FrancoSoviet cooperation treaty had just been signed). It concluded with the following provocative claim: We are against rags of paper, against the slavish prose of the chancellories. . . . We prefer to them, come what may, the antidiplomatic brutality of Hitler, which is more eaceful than the slobbering excitation of the diplomats and politician^."^ Such forthright praise for Hitler presented itself as a major embarrassment for the surrealist faction (which, in addition to Breton, included Benjamin PCret and Paul Eluard), which promptly resigned. Even though in the first Manifesto of Surrealism, Breton, in a dadaist spirit of Cpater le bourgeois, had openly celebrated the virtues of random violence - The simplest surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-definec place in the crowd with his belly at barrel level - there were certain limit! beyond which he refused to follow Batailles fascination with so-callec heterogeneity. This hesitancy certainly pertained to Batailles advocacy o fascist heterogeneity. Batailles fascination with fascism was consistent with a position he hat articulated for some time, and one which is epitomized by the epithet lef fascism. Like his brethren on the German right, Bataille was full convinced of the bankruptcy of both bourgeois democracy as well as th communist alternative - which, in his view, under Stalins reign had cease to be an alternative. Like the German young conservatives, he too sougt

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out a third way beyond the discredited paths of socialism and liberalism.* It was a view he had articulated as early as 1934, though the text in question, Fascism in France , remained unpublished until some eight years after his death. Here, too, Batailles estimation of fascisms historical import is remarkably positive. In no uncertain terms, he views it as a force that is capable of restoring the two elements that were so sorely lacking in present-day European society. Both were quintessentially Durkheimian: first, the dimension of collective solidarity that had dissolved with the triumph of a society governed by the division of labor; second, the dimension of ritual-induced myth. In other words, confronted with a bourgeois social order that was on the verge of disintegrative collapse, fascism represented the sole source of social integration capable of healin the lacerations that were rending the contemporary capitalist world. 85 According to Bataille:
The antagonisms expand from one day to the next and become too acute for society to survive without reabsorbing them. Today, fascism represents the necessary labor of reabsorption. It is natural that in the West the workers movement, which is today moribund and miserable, and which only knows how to do battle against itself, should be liquidated and disappear, since it did not know how to win. Perhaps there is no longer room for anything else on the earth other than societies transformed along the lines of monarchy, unified as much as the will of one man can be - that is, room for great fascist societies.83

In retrospect, Bataille himself was quick to acknowledge the insalubrious nature of his political proclivities in the pre-war period. In a series of selfcritical reflections composed later in life, he avows to having succumbed to a certain paradoxical fascist tendency during his Counter-Attack days.@

The historical motivations behind the emergence and triumph of European fascism are certainly complex. Moreover, they differ signficantly according to specific national contexts. For example, the central aspect of Nazi ideology, the doctrine of race, has no parallel in the case of Italian fascism. Mussolini, in keeping with his attempt to stress specifically Italian traditions, always emphasized - often, by way of superficial appeals to Hegel, as mediated via the writings of Gentile - the preeminence of the state. Such emphasis was foreign to the worldview of National Socialism, in which, conversely, the state was often perceived as a bureaucratic impediment to the authenticity of the movement. But there are also specific features that the European fascist movements of the interwar period have in common, and a consideration of these will help to give a better sense of the underlying historical affinities between
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them and Batailles theoretical program in the 1930s. For Batailles legendary fascination with fascism was neither episodic nor accidental. Instead, it betrays the way in which he sought to give intellectual expression to certain dominant tendencies of the age; more specifically, it indicates the way in which he sought to articulate a widely shared anticivilizational ethos that was part and parcel of the fascist sensibility, both left and right.85 Thus, one of the generic features of fascism as a political movement was its attempt to roll back the achievements of the French Revolution - to efface the political legacy of the ideas of 1789. This was a desideratum expressed unequivocally by Goebbels, who, with reference to Hitlers accession to power in January 1933, summarily opined: The year 1789 is hereby eradicated from history. In a similar vein, the historian Karl Dietrich Bracher, commenting on the counterrevolutionary origins of European fascism, has observed: The intellectual forerunners on whom National Socialism drew in the development of its Weltanschauung were primarily ideologists fervently opposed to the ideas of democratic revolution, human rights, freedom, and equality.86 In a similar vein, Zeev Sternhell has correctly associated the import of European political antiSemitism with the ideology of counterrevolution. For with the emergence of political anti-Semitism in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, the obsession with the evils visited upon European culture by world Jewry becomes inextricably intertwined with a broader historical agenda: the desire to reverse the tide of democratic revolution; a wish to plug the floodgate of egalitarian sentiment by virtue of which Jews emerged for the first time as the political equals of their European Christian counterpart^.^^ While Bataille would certainly agree with Bebels characterization of antiSemitism as the socialism of fools (there are no traces of anti-Semitism in his work) his affinities with the ideologists of counterrevolution come to the fore precisely in his antipathy to the ideas of 1789. Finally, much has been written about the corollaries between fascism and irrationalism, much of it highly conjectural and superficial.88It would of course be ludicrous to assert that every historical position that radically calls into question the preeminence of reason would at some level exist in a symbiotic relation with forces of political reaction, let alone those of fascism. Nevertheless, it would be equally misleading to deny that one of the central ideological tenets in the theory and practice of fascism entails a rejection of reason and all that that concept has come to represent historically. In Escape from Freedom and other works Eric Fromm has defined the fascist personality type in terms of a regressive charactex structure which yearns to be released from the demands of the egc autonomy. The demands of individual autonomy are felt to be overlj burdensome to the weak ego structures produced in an era of post-libera
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capitalism, in which socialization via large-scale organizations has become the rule. Social psychological regression takes the form of a defensive embrace of those ontogenetically earlier components of the self, the id and the superego. The superego is of course embodied by the fascist leader, who sanctions the masses longing to act out long repressed libidinal urges. Hence, one of the primary mechanisms of escaping the demands of ego autonomy is an immersion of self within the social collective - a type of socialization common to both fascist and premodern collectivities, and one to which Bataille was distinctly attracted. In Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, Freud offers the following apposite observations concerning the regressive psychological tendencies enjoyed by the group, which has come to play such an increasingly significant role in modern political life. The group
respects force and can only be slightly influenced by kindness, which it regards merely as a form of weakness. What it demands of its heroes is strength, or even violence. It wants to be ruled and oppressed and to fear its masters. Fundamentally it is entirely conservative, and it has a deep aversion to all innovations and advances and an unbounded respect of tradition.

To sum up: when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to free gratifications.789 In light of Freuds analysis of the problem of group psychology, which has yielded such great fruits for our understanding of the mass psychology of fascism, the basis for Batailles infatuation with proto-fascist methods of socialization become apparent. For such methods allow unimpeded access to a realm of socially prohibited instinctual expression - a disappearance of inhibition, the emergence of cruel and destructive instincts, a sadomasochistic celebration of violence and mastery - on whose untrammeled release so much of Batailles thought qua philosophy of transgression depends. Of course, the idea of uninhibited instinctual expression is far from being inherently fascistic. Instead, only when this release of previously pent-up libidinal urges is explicitly tied to the avowedly regressive, sadomasochistic traits - as the work of both Fromm and Freud on group psychology suggests - does the character type associated with the authoritarian personality arise. Batailles often uncritical glorification of elements and forces that have been repressed over the course of civilization - of everything that is heterogeneous or accursed - also accounts for his troubling affinities with what Max Horkheimer has described as the revolt of nature: the regressive channeling of anticivilizational urges undertaken by the authoritarian political regimes in our erag0
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Many of the complex cultural-political motifs I have sought to elaborate in the preceding account - motifs which pertain both to the idiosyncracies of a French political context as well as the larger civilizational crisis afflicting Europe - have been brought to the fore in a recent book by Daniel Lindenberg, in which the author felicitously summarizes the trajectory of Batailles development in the 1930s. Beginning with a quote from CounterAttack - The democratic regime, which finds itself in mortal contradictions, cannot be saved - Lindenberg continues:
This is the credo that Bataille will develop, without ever distancing himself from it, from 1934 to the declaration of war [in 19391. . . . Democracy is against nature, and the convulsions of our epoch prove this by demonstrating the true immutable and eternal nature of societies. . . . The political Bataille of the pre-war years wagered on a violent proletarian revolution, then on Hitlers new order in order to found a new tradition, to reestablish the rights of a tragic community. . . . But this does not prevent the fact that, as Jean-Michel Besnier has observed, the refusal of history, the exaltation of origins and the valorization of mythology remain inscribed in the official philosophy of fas~ism.~

NOTES 1. Jiirgen Habermas, Die Moderne: Ein unvollendetes Projekt in Kleine Politische Schriften I-IV (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1981), 444464. The essay originated as a lecture delivered by Habermas on the occasion of his receipt of the Adomo prize awarded by the city of Frankfurt on September 11,1980. It has appeared in English in New German Critique 22 (Winter, 1981) under the title, Modernity vs. Postmodernity, 3-14; as well as in The Anti-Aesthetic, edited by Hal Foster, under the title, Modernity: An Incomplete Project (which of course corresponds to the original German). The reference to sovereignty is of course an allusion to Bataille. 2. For an example of such confusion, see John Rajchman, Habermas Complaint in New German Critique (Spring, 1989). See my response to Rajchman, On Misunderstanding Habermas, New German Critique (Winter, 1990): 139-154. 3. There is a substantial literature on this political grouping in German, but relatively little in English. Schmitts membership has been the object of some controversy. For one, unlike the others who worked as writers or Pulizisten, Schmitt was a highly successful academic and jurist. For the terms of this debate over Schmitts role among the Weimar intelligentisia, see my essay, Carl Schmitt: the ConservativeRevolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror, Political Theory 20: 3 (1992): 424-447. For a different view, see J. Bendersky, Carl Schmitt: Theorist for the Reich (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1983). 4. I have explored these filiations in my book The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990). See especially

chapter 2, Being and Time as Political Philosophy. 5 . Manfred Frank, Die Grenzen der Verstiindigung: Ein Geistergesprach zwischen Hubermus and Lyoturd (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988), 20. 6. For substantiation of this claim, one should consult the important book by Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, French Philosophy of the Sixties (Amherst: University of Massachusetts
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Press, 1990). The original French title of the book, La Penste 68, is of course much more congenial from the standpoint of the argument Ive just made. 7. CrCer une religion, voila ce quil voulait. Une religion sans dieu. Cited in BernardHenri LCvy, Les Aventures de la Libertk (Paris: Grasset, 1991), 170. 8. See Jacques Derrida, From Restricted to a General Economy: A Hegelianism without Reserve, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1978), 251-277; Michel Foucault, A Preface to Transgression, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), 29-52. Derridas attitudes toward Bataille are less unequivocally positive than are Foucaults. 9. James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture (Cambridge: Harvard, 1988), 125, 127. See also the important number of the journal Critique (1963; the journal was founded by Bataille in the late 1940s), Hommage Georges Bataille, which contains contributions by Foucault, Derrida, Barthes, and Philippe Sollers. 10. See Friedrich Nietzshe, European Nihilism in The Will to Power, trans. W. Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage, 1967), 9-82: What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devaluate themselves. The aim is lacking; why? finds no answer (9). See also, Robert Wohl, The Generation of 1914 (Cambridge: Harvard, 1979). 11. Hans-Ulrich Wehlers The German Empire remains one of the best historical accounts of this resistance. Wehlers argument concerning a German Sonderweg was called into question by Geoff Eley and Robin Blackbourn in The Peculiarities of German History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984). The critics of the Sonderweg thesis have yet to explain how, if Germanys path to modernity was so normal, the 12 year detour of National Socialism and then Auschwitz could have been possible. 12. See Stephen Aschheim, The Nietzsche Reception in Germany (Berkeley: University of California, 1993). 13. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Meridian, 1958), 108. 14. DCclaration, Cahiers du Cercle Proudhon, Jan.-Feb. 1912, 1. 15. See Zeev Sternhell, Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France (Berkeley: University of California, 1986), an indispensable guide to the ideological genesis of the French right: There can be no doubt: in large part, the emergence of the Faisceau was due to the deep need for action felt by the younger generation in the old ligues, and for that reason the fascist movement represented a danger both for the Action Fragaise and for the other national ligues, headed by the oldest - Dbroulkdes Ligue des Patriotes (101). In terms of its actual practice, the Faisceau sought to promote a convocation of the Estates General with the end in view of establishing a true corporative state. 16. Cited in Ibid., 96. 17. See Philippe Burrin, La Dkrive fasciste: Bergery, Dtat and Doriot (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1986). 18. Sternhall, Neither Right Nor Left, 97. In this context, too, one must distinguish between authentic fascists and the atypical German National Socialism. 19. Tony Judt, Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals, 19441956 (Berkeley: University of California, 1993), 18. 20. Ibid. 21. Drieu La Rochelle, La Socialisme fasciste (Paris: Gallimard, 1934). 22. A Honneth, An Aversion Against the Universal, Theory, Culture and Society 2: 3 (1985). 23. See R. Wolin, The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), 28ff. Martin Heidegger, The Word of Nietzsche: God is Dead in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, ed. W. Lovitt (New York: Harper, 1977). 112; emphasis added. What is equally striking is the extent to which the critique of modernity purveyed by the conservative revolutionaries - whose activities were largely journalistic - was largely shared by German academic mandarinate. In a key work, The Decline of the German Mandarins (Cambridge: Harvard, 1969), Fritz Ringer offers a thorough account of the Kulturkritik of the former group. The best book on
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the conservative revolutionaries is Jeffrey Herf s Reactionary Modernism: Technology Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984); although I do have some significant reservations about the typology he seeks to apply to this group. Most importantly, he exaggerates the enthusiasm for modern technology in the work of the German intellectuals he treats. Hence, Jiinger is really the only thinker to whom the ideal type of reactionary modernism applies. In the cases of thinkers such as Spengler, Schmitt, and Heidegger, the enthusiasm for technology is either highly muted (Spengler and Schmitt) or non-existent (Heidegger). For another informative discussion of the conservative revolutionary worldview, with special reference to Heideggers views, see Pierre Bourdieu, Heideggers Political Ontology (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990). See also Jerry Z. Muller, The Other God that Failed: Hans Freyer and the Deradicalization of German Conservatism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). 24. Heideggers characterization of Bataille may be found in Bernd Mattheus, Georges c Seitz, 1984). See also the Bataille: eine Thanatographie, vol. 1 (Munich: Matthes 8 important collection of essays in Georges Bataille et la penske allemande (Paris: IAssociation des Amis de Georges Bataille, 1986). 25. Bataille, The Sacred Company in Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1929, ed. A. Stoekl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1986), 179. 26. Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West 11: 11. 27. Ibid., 8-9. 28. Ibid., 440. 29. Jiinger, Der Kampf als inneres Erlebnis (Berlin: E. S . Mittler, 1922), 57. 30. Bataille, The Threat of War October 36 (Spring, 1986): 28. 31. Jay, The Disenchantment of the Eye, 16. 32. Bataille, The Accursed Share, trans. R. Hurly (Cambridge: Zone Books, 1988), 74. 33. Ibid., 71. 34. Ibid., 54. 35. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Illuminations, ed. H. Arendt, trans. H. Zohn (New York: Schocken, 1969), 242. See also Benjamins important statement on this theme in his review of Jiingers 1930 volume, Krieg und Krieger, in Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften 111: 240: The new theory of war . . . is nothing less than a transposition of the theses of Iart pour Iart to war. 36. Bataille, The Accursed Share, 38, 39. 37. Bataille, The Notion of Expenditure in Visions of Excess, 118. 38. Judt, Past Imperfect, 73, 9. 39. See, Maurice Blanchot, La Communautk inavouable (Paris: Minuit, 1983) and JeanLuc Nancy, La Communautk dksoeuvrke (Paris: Galilte, 1986). 40. Bernard-Henri Ltvy, Lidkologie frangzise (Paris, Grasset, 1981), 220-221. 41. See note 1 , supra. 42. E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Introduction, to Mauss, The Gift, trans. I. Cunnison (New York: Norton, 1967), ix. See also Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1964). 43. Ibid., 74. 44. Ibid., 70. 45. Ibid., 77. 46. Batailles relation to Hegel and dialectics is largely scornful - he believes that Hegelian dialectics remain excessively indebted to the forces of modern rationality; as such, they partake of the order of the homogeneous - which stands in stark contrast to his enthusiastic relation to Nietzsche. See The Critique of the Foundations of the Hegelian dialectic in Visions of Excess. 47. Bataille, The Notion of Expenditure, 117-1 18. 48. Ibid., 124, 125. 49. Bataille, The Accursed Share, 55-57.
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50. Ibid., 59, 61. 51. Allan Stoekl, Introduction to Visions of Excess, xiii. 52. Potlatch is most commonly practiced among Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest and Canada, such as the Haida, Kwakiutl, and Tlinlgit. 53. Mauss, The Gift, 72. 54. On this point, see Jean-Louis Loubet del Bayle, Les Non-conformistes des annies trentes (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1969). 55. In this connection, it would also be extremely fruitful to examine the political biography of Maurice Blanchot, the literary theorist and celebrated precursor of poststructuralism, for the parallels with Bataille are quite striking. We know now that Blanchot served as a regular political commentator for the right-wing monthly Combat, which was directed by the heir apparent to Charles Maurras and future Vichyite, Thierry Maulnier. In his work for Combat, Blanchot shrilly complains of the appeals of unfettered revolutionaries and Jews who might incite France to enter into conflict against Hitlers Germany; characterizes the Popular Front government of E o n Blum as a band of degenerates and traitors; and pens the appropriately titled essay, Le Terrorisme comme methode de salut public (Combat I: 7 [July, 1936]), in which he indeed appeals for revolution and terrorism . . . as method[s] of public salvation from the sins of the French republic. For more on Blanchot, see the important study by Jeffrey Mehlman, Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1983); especially chapter 1 , Blanchot at Combat: Of Literature and Terror, 6-22. 56. J-F. Fourney, Introduction d la lecture de Georges Bataille (New York: Peter Lang, 1988), 104. As Fourney goes on to observe: This explains the fact that for the Bataille of this period the war signified hardly more than a sort of rumor that only began to matter when it penetrated his immediate universe. 57. Suryas remarks are cited in Allan Stoekls important essay, Trumans Apotheosis: Bataille, Planisme, and Headlessness, Yale French Studies 78 On Bataille (1990): 181. 58. La Critique Sociafe (Paris: La DBcouverte, 1983). It may be of interest to note in this connection that when Bataille published his Theory of Expenditure in Souvarines review in 1933, the article appeared with a disclaimer to indicate that the points of view expressed in the essay were not necessarily shared by the editorial collective as a whole. 59. His charges have been rebutted by Maurice Blanchot in Le Dt?bat 29 (March, 1984): 20ff. 60. Bataille, The Psychological Structure of Fascism in Visions of Excess, 139. For Lyotards remarks on the relationship between consensus and terror, see The Postmodern Condition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1984). 61. For more on this distinction among various action-types, see Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, vol 1. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984). 62. Bataille, The Psychological Structure of Fascism, 143. 63. Ibid. 64. Ibid., 145. 65. See supra, note 40. 66. Anthony Stephens, Georges Batailles Diagnosis of Fascism, Thesis 11: 24 (1989): 74, 85. In terms of the question I have raised concerning Batailles affinities with the conservative revolutionaries, the same author has observed: Bataille shows the same willingness to accept the Nazis as much nobler than all the facts suggested that determined, for varying lengths of time, the attitudes of Ernst Jiinger, Gottfried Benn and Martin Heidegger . 67. Ernst Cassirer, The Myth of the State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946), 279, 280. 68. Bataille, The Sorcerers Apprentice, in The College of Sociology, ed. D. Hollier (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1988), 22, 23. 69. Ibid., 42. 70. Ibid., 49.
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71. Roger Caillois, Entretien avec Roger Caillois, La Quinzaine littkraire (June 16-30, 1970). 72. Ibid. 73. Bataille, Oeuvres compl2tes 111: 521. 74. Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1969). For more on the mercurial relations between Bataille and Breton, see Uvy, Les Aventures de la libertk, 164-66. 75. Bataille, Oeuvres complktes 11: 380, 381, 382; final emphasis added. 76. Stoekl, Introduction to Visions of Excess, xviii. 77. See Bernd Mattheus, Georges Bataille, vol. 1, p. 296. For a discussion of Jiingers ideas in relation to Drieu La Rochelle, see Julien Hervier, D e w individus contre Ihistoire: Pierre Drieu la Rochelle et Ernst Junger (Paris: Klincksieck, 1978). 78. Henri Dubief, Tkmoignage sur Counter-Attack in Textures 6 (1970): 56-57. 79. Bataille, Oeuvres compl2tes I: 398. 80. Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism, 125. 81. For more on German developments, see George Mosse, Germans and Jews: The Right, the Left and the Searchfor a Third Force in Pre-Nazi Germany (New York: Howard Fertig, 1970). 82. Batailles essay was composed in the aftermath of the events of February 1934. Following the relevations concerning the Stavisky affair there occurred: (1) riots on the part of right-wing paramilitary organizations; (2) retaliatory actions by communist groups; and, finally, (3) a successful general strike on 12 February organized by the forces that would later coalesce to form the Popular Front. The upshot of the events of February, as one might expect, was a tremendous loss of confidence in Third Republic. 83. Bataille, Le Fascisme franGais in Oeuvres compl2tes 11: 212; first and last emphasis added. 84. Bataille, Oeuvres compl2tes VII: 461. 85. Needless to say, but not to be omitted, is the fact that not all who shared the aforementioned ethos were fascist or even flirted with fascism. To wit, it was an ethos that was also espoused by many on the left, for example, those thinkers subsumed by Lukacs under the designation romantic anticapitalism: Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, and Herbert Marcuse. For more on this concept, see Michael Lijwy, Georg Lukacs: From Romanticism to Bolshevism (London: New Left Books, 1977). 86. Cited in Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship (Fort Worth: Holt. Rinehart, 1970), 10. 87. See Sternhell, Anti-Semitism and the Right in France (Jerusalem: Shahar Library 1988). 88. Perhaps the foremost offender remains Georg Lukacs in The Destruction of Reason (London: Merlin Press, 1980). 89. Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (New York: Norton, 1959), 1011. Freud goes on to describe the group as a manifestation of collective neurosis, insofar as it forsakes the reality principle in favor of a life of fantasy: in the mental operations of the group the function for testing the reality of things falls into the background in comparison with the strength of wishful impulses with their affective cathexis (12). 90. See Horkheimer, The Revolt of Nature, in The Eclipse of Reason (New York: Seabury, 1974), 92ff. 91. Lindenberg, Les Annkes souterraines (Paris: Editions de la Decouverte, 1993), 64,62.

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