I was sent this great quotation from William Pietz’s prescient article, ‘The “Postcolonialism” of Cold War Discourse’ (Social Text 19/20, 1988):

This [a 1951 book which lent an academic respectability to the new theoretical discourse about totalitarianism] was The Origins of Totalitarianism by the reactionary political philosopher Hannah Arendt. Her theory of totalitarianism must be understood in the context of Arendt’s lifelong Heideggerian project of destroying every category basic to leftist political thought (above all, the concept of labor) according to a reactionary nostalgia for the political life of the Greek city-state (at least, as the world of the polis was conceived in the fantasies of thinkers such as herself and Leo Strauss).

Advertisements