The Actuality of Communism
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One of the rising stars of contemporary critical theory, Bruno Bosteels discusses the new currents of thought generated by figures such as Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Žižek, who are spearheading the revival of interest in communism. Bosteels examines this resurgence of communist thought through the prism of “speculative leftism” – an incapacity to move beyond lofty abstractions and thoroughly rethink the categories of masses, classes and state. Debating those questions with writers including Roberto Esposito and Alberto Moreiras, Bosteels also provides a vital account of the work of the Bolivian Vice President and thinker Álvaro García Linera.
From the Hardcover edition.
first place. They thus propose that a socialist or communist mode of doing politics must necessarily pass through th� detour of a prior ontologi cal investigation into the very b eing of politics . In her short book On the Political, for example, Chantal Mouffe contends "that it is the lack of understanding of 'the polit ical' in its ontological dimension which is at the origin of our current incapacity to think in a political way"; or, as Toni Negri writes: "Here is where communism is in need
291 Introduction Communism is the solution of the riddle of history, and knows itself to be the solution. - Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 More than a solution to the problems we are facing today, communism is itself the name of a problem: a name for the difficult task of breaking out of the confines of the market -and-state framework, a task for which no quick formula is at hand. - Slavoj Zizek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce In the Name of Communism "Of What Is
immanence:'30 As the constitutive outside of politics, or its immanent transcend ing, the impolitical therefore cannot be seen as yet another value, external to political valorization, because there is neither a secure interior nor a safe exterior to politics from which the latter might be accomplished or criticized. ''As this book tries to argue through 'its' authors, for the impolitical there exists no entity, force, or power that could be opposed to politics from within its own language. But
See Roberto Esposito, Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community, trans. Timothy Campbell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 201 0), 6. The fact that Moreiras recently devoted a lengthy essay to Esposito's book Terza persona: Politica della vita e filosofia dell'impersonale (Third Person: Politics ofLife and Philosophy of the Impersonal) only further highlights this confluence of interest around the issues of subjectiv ity and personhood, which these thinkers seek to deconstruct in the
Zizek and Derrida, see Chapter 7, "From Potentiality to Inexistence;' in my Badiou and Politics (Durham: Duke University Press, 2011). Finally, Roberto Esposito offers an "impolitical" reading of Barth's commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Romans, in "Opera;' in his Nove p ensieri sulla politica (Bologna: II Mulino, 1993), 137-57. 16 Balibar, "Remarques de circonstance sur Ie communisme;' 37. INTRODUCTION 17 would remain a purely hypothetical communism, one that would be unable to mediate