Why not, then, the 'democratic horizon'? It is here that we reach the limits of democracy that Dean's book so astutely identifies. Democracy is a process, not a goal. It is measured quantitatively not qualitatively. It is empirical not axiomatic. It is no more a marker then of our actual place than the way the wind blows. Above all - and this we have learned from experience - democracy is not a means for attaining itself. The vote wasn't won through referenda. Rather it was won when 'the people' imposed its 'will' on the polity. For Dean the terms 'people' and 'will' are mutually constituting. That is, the 'people' only become once they have transformed themselves into a unified collective behind a certain ‘will’. We should not be put off by a failure to reach a democratic consensus or by the mere existence of reactionary dissent. For not everyone is 'the people'.
Dean's argument might appear controversial, but only if we pay no attention to history. For example, we do not have much trouble in saying that women won themselves the vote. And yet at the height of the suffragette movement in Britain, reactionary movements were able to gather more female signatories against their having the vote than the suffragettes could muster for it. So when we say that women won themselves the vote, we can only be using 'women' in a certain qualified sense.
The overthrow of capitalism will not come at the polling stations or the signing of petitions. Such devices, Dean argues, are essentially exercises in ratifying prevailing arrangements (the 'rendering the people' in terms of their 'demographic components'). It will come when the people will it and have the organisational form to achieve it. Dean is right. The people's will is communist because 'communism' is expressly for the collective in a way that brooks no qualification. As such, it is the only word we have in our political vocabulary that represents an unequivocal rejection of capitalism. This is why our horizon is communist.
Midway through The Communist Horizon Dean quotes Walter Benjamin on the perils of a certain strata of radical left wing intellectualism; one that has 'nothing in common' with a workers movement, and whose function is to 'produce, from the political standpoint, not parties but cliques; from the literary standpoint, not producers but agents or hacks who make [...] a banquet out of yawning emptiness.’ The truth is that theory is largely a 'banquet of yawning emptiness'. There is often a chasm separating the questions intellectuals ask themselves and the kinds of problems encountered by everyone else. The Communist Horizon is theory for everyone else and I can think of no higher praise for Dean's arguments than to say that they really belong, not in seminar rooms and lecture theatres, but in people's houses, workplaces and public haunts.