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October 07, 2010


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"When we fail to name it, we allow critics of real existing communism to determine the terrain of thinking."

And, to make a point which for some reason is never stressed, there has never been a country in history which has claimed to have instituted 'real existing communism.'

C. DiDiodato

"What would the role of the party be?"

I think Badiou is very instructive here. I quote a passage from "The Communist Hypothesis": "We must...organize a very different kind of politics. That politics is far removed from state power, and will probably remain so for a long time to come, but that is of no import. It begins at the level of the real, with a practical alliance with those people who are in the best position to invent it in the immediate: the new proletarians who have come from Africa and elsewhere, and the intellectuals who are the heirs to the political battles of recent decades. The alliance will gradually expand, depending on what they are able to achieve. It will not have any organic relationship with existing parties or the electoral and institutional system that sustains them. It will invent the new discipline of those who have nothing, their political capacities, and a new idea of what their victory might mean." (99)

It's particularly heartening to me to envisage (in Badiou's marvelous plan)the direct participation of Muslims, Roma, Mexican workers and all excluded peoples in this new type of politics. Jacques Rancière has recently commented on the tragedy of the expulsion of the Roma from France and, of course, the banning of the veil. See http://wrongarithmetic.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/ranciere-racism/

Jodi Dean

The Communist Hypothesis is very inspiring. I think, though, that Badiou discards a relationship to state power or the goal of taking state power too quickly.

Re Roma et al--completely crucial: communism is the alternative to the trap of neoliberalism/ethnic nationalism.

Sydney--good reminder!


This is a very intriguing post Jodi. One question I have is whether it may be more appropriate to say that the transferential relationship would be between the people and the leadership? If this is the case than it would seem the same danger we face in the current political coordinates (cult of personality/savior politics) is also a risk for a future form of communism? I also think the reassertion of intellectuals like Badiou and Zizek trying to reclaim communism is frought with challenges - how to define it in a way that makes sense of its past failures while establishing its viability for today?

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