Having at one point been a true Derridean, and now coming to try and write critically on Derrida for the new book (it's virtually impossible btw, and probably pointless), I came across the new issue of Diacritics on Derrida and democracy. Even back in the day the 'democracy to come' stuff never really impressed me, and nothing much so far in the issue prompts me to change my mind. I did find this, however, me raised my post-Derridean ire - from a paper on Derrida's 'nonmaterialism':
'As the undoing of the power of the subject, the force of materiality cannot lead to a political program. Indeed, it is what resists and confounds any teleology such as that of Marxism and even any purposive or end-oriented action that is based on rational calculations or the projection of an ideal end.'
Great... say goodbye to rational calculation, end-oriented action, or an 'ideal end' (like, say, a fairer society, or avoiding a class-stratified environmental catastrophe). Or, welcome the irrational contingencies of the market, in which the only teleology is accumulation...
Of course we are supposed to respect this as about theory and not the dread empirical, and no doubt if I could be bothered to read my own work I might well find similar such acceptance of contemporary commonplaces. I can't help but find this stuff depressing. In the interest of fairness here is the next part of the passage:
'But as that which opens power up uncoditionally to the other this force also has a messianic dimension. It aporetically implies an absolute or incalculable hospitality to the other that demands a response in which we calculate the given conditions in order to act in a responsible manner.'
That, however, doesn't seem to me to provide the answer, especially considering the later comment that although the impossible other 'is not unfigurable as such, [it] is not easily instantiated by concrete figures that are recognizable by political discourse.' Well quite...
Of course Mark and Owen are the people to refer to here when discussing the knee-jerk ideological rejection of planning.