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January 12, 2013

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John Bloomberg-rissman

Hi. I read you faithfully, and rarely am troubled by what you write. But this troubles me. Or, better, the history of parties troubles me, and has me saying, but but but. What of the dangers of parties and hierarchies, etc? They have more often than not ended up quite counter-revolutionary, starting with (before?) the Bolsheviks. I mean, for a topical example, the current self-destruction of the SWP in the UK; how does one weigh the "evil" parties do (maintaining themselves under all circumstances, even against revolution if necessary) against what you and Zizek advocate?

Jodi Dean

John -- you are absolutely right to say that parties have a troubling history, that they have produced entrenched hierarchies, that some have ended up in counter-revolutionary positions. I am not denying that at all. That would be a historical discussion. And if we were to undertake that kind of discussion, we would want to know what we meant by party, what the concept of the party was. And, then maybe a discussion like mine would be relevant. Perhaps it would enable some sorts of criticisms of real existing parties, perhaps it would help account for people's attachments to parties in the way you suggest, namely, a certain relentless attachment that becomes itself a barrier to revolution.

John Bloomberg-rissman

Thank you. There's lots to think.

Hugh Thomas

The analogy between party and analyst seems to throw into relief one of the contemporary difficulties with the "party" idea. The analyst is not relevant unless the analysand is willing to engage with her/him -- and, indeed, not merely engage with, but engage with in a way that attributes to the analyst the analyst-position as the subject supposed to know.

I think I'm going in a similar direction to what you mention in your last paragraph: it is tranference that puts the analyst in the position of the subject supposed to know. Opening up this possibility of transference seems crucial, then, and I'm not really seeing why we should view "party" as something able to succeed in doing that.

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