Dana L. Cloud, Steve Macek, and James Arnt Aune In two recent articles, "Another Materialist Rhetoric," and "Rhetoric and Capitalism" (1998, 2004), Ronald Walter Greene pays considerable attention to Marxist rhetorical theory, especially the work of Dana L. Cloud (1994, 2001a, 2001b, 2002) and James Arnt Aune (1994, 2001). These essays usefully point up what is at stake in the debate between poststructuralist theory and Marxism: whether an instrumental, class-based, socialist critical and political project is still feasible and necessary in today's world. Rejecting both Aune's Marxist-humanist approach and Cloud's more economic vision of agency, Greene claims that the changing character of global capitalism and recognition of the "constitutive power" of discourse render rhetorical criticism and practical politics on a Marxist basis untenable. Although we appreciate Greene's engagement with Marxism, we contend that the arguments sketched out in his essays are theoretically and politically flawed. First, Greene's criticisms are directed against a crude caricature of Marxist epistemology that obscures the complexity of theories of representation and ideology in the historical materialist tradition. Second, underwriting Greene's entire project are confused, and in some cases demonstrably false, assessments of the nature and historical trajectory of world capitalism and of the
Philosophy and Rhetoric – Penn State University Press
Published: May 6, 2006
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