02 July 2013

Guilty as Charged - Against the Revival of Communism

Enter my guilty plea. At Dissent Jeff Isaac nicely dissects the vogue among some leftists for a "revival of communism" - complete with resuscitation of party dominance and scant understanding of the realities of immense, complex economies. The vehicle for his argument is this review of a recent book by Jodi Dean entitled The Communist Horizon. I know Dean a bit and she is smart. But since, in an odd-fitting sort of way, I count myself among the “radical democrats” whom (along with other suspects) she lumps together as complicit in “the repression of the communist alternative,” I find much of what Isaac argues quite congenial. Even if communism had ever been anything more than a dead letter in the U.S., it surely is one now. Many of the reasons for that are good ones. Indeed, among the strengths of Isaac's review is the partial genealogy he offers of communists of various stripes who, even before the collapse of the Soviet empire, considered the communist ideal deeply, deeply problematic. All a  cocktail of diffuse political complaints and assertions, historical amnesia, and citations to irrelevant, impenetrable European social theorists (Badiou, Žižek, etc.) promises is an unpleasant hangover.

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Blogger Beth E. said...

The world does take place in more than two dimensions, after all. I think more damage has been done by the 'enemy of my enemy' kind of thinking than can be catalogued....

03 July, 2013 18:45  

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