The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings

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They deserve an adequate theory…a properly materialist theorization of the riot. Badiou, however, rejects the party form as historically exhausted. Dean further distinguishes her position from Badiou and Clover by arguing for the necessity of a disciplined communist party that can be true to the desire of the crowd. In fact, she goes so far as to suggest that the crowd is a necessary condition of such a party. Common names, tactics, and images are bringing the fragments together, making them legible as many fronts of one struggle against capitalism.

What is sometimes dismissed as party bureaucracy thus needs to be revalued as an institutional capacity necessary for political struggle and rule in a complex and uneven terrain. While this particular classification is probably peripheral to the larger analysis, suggesting that the current situation is unique, Dean employs it to 1 articulate a broadly understood class struggle politics where paid, precarious, and unpaid labor are not treated separately; 2 suggest that class struggle in the current period is not found exclusively in the workplace, i.

The Rebirth of History : Alain Badiou :

We should remember that the preconditions for the development of revolutionary subjectivity are notoriously undertheorized by Marx. Of course, the question in the subsequent history of Marxism in theory and practice becomes: how and when does this recognition occur?

While workplace struggles remain relevant, Dean clearly downplays them in favor of crowds and riots. Key to revolutionary subjectivity, for Dean, is a rejection of the idea that political agency is tied to individual subjectivity. The autonomous, choosing individual is, of course, a cornerstone of liberal political theory.

Others take the individuality of the subject of politics for granted. I argue that the problem of the subject is a problem of this persistent individual form, a form that encloses collective political subjectivity into the singular figure of the individual. It is the threat. The voting booth lacks this potential. Dean theorizes the crowd both politically and psychoanalytically. Forces associated with the crowd become unconscious processes with an individual.

For the actual emergence, though, the party is necessary, i. They imagine the goal of politics as the proliferation of multiplicities, potentialities, differences. The unleashing of the playful, carnivalesque, and spontaneous is taken to indicate political success…they treat organization, administration, and legislation as a failure of revolution, a return of impermissible domination and hierarchy rather than as effects and arrangements of power, rather than as attributes of the success of a political intervention.

She sees a communist party as essential to developing and sustaining the intense collective subjectivity of the crowd. The party provides an affective dimension. More than an instrument for political power, the communist party provides an affective infrastructure that enlarges the world.

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Dean invokes psychoanalysis with special reference to Jacques Lacan and Slovoj Zizek to think through the emotional needs that can be met through identification with a communist party. The move to psychoanalysis has been, of course, a common approach to revolutionary consciousness in much of Western Marxism. The difference here is that the earlier approach used psychoanalytic categories negatively, that is to explain why the working class did not revolt, accepting the idea implicit in the remarks from the Manifesto quoted above that such conscious rebellion should have followed automatically.

Their words and actions took on an importance far beyond what they would have been absent the Party.


Members experience its reality alone or in very ordinary settings. Yet it is a special kind of agony, an agony that makes us feel more alive, more fully present, more in tune with what makes life worth living, and dying for, than anything else. Enjoyment, then is this extra, this excess beyond the given, the measurable, rational, and useful.

Politically, the party allows people to see themselves in a new way. People make impossible demands upon themselves, feel guilty when they fail, etc. This is, for Dean, a positive thing, both politically, and for the people involved. A new way of living and a new conception of living well can emerge through this new collective revolutionary subjectivity. An average reader is likely to be both drawn to and put off by this description. Of course, that makes sense given the particular psychoanalytic lens through with Dean offers her account. While Dean writes powerfully regarding the role such a party might play in facilitating a new subjectivity, she says very little regarding the conditions for its possible formation.

Additionally, since for her crowds, are, at present, a necessary condition of the party, one would like to hear more regarding the conditions for the emergence of crowds. Crowds and Party represents a serious attempt to grapple with both the theory and practice of revolutionary change. Configure custom resolver. Exile the Rich!

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The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings

Jack A. Goldstone - - Oup Usa. Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy. Alain Badiou - - Continuum. Seyla Benhabib - - Philosophy and Social Criticism 40 Uprisings in the Banlieues.

Timothy John Isaacson - unknown. Can Change Be Thought? Alain Badiou - - In Gabriel Riera ed. State University of New York Press.