The Communist Horizon (Pocket Communism)
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In this new title in Verso’s Pocket Communism series, Jodi Dean unshackles the communist ideal from the failures of the Soviet Union. In an age when the malfeasance of international banking has alerted exploited populations the world over to the unsustainability of an economic system predicated on perpetual growth, it is time the left ended its melancholic accommodation with capitalism.
In the new capitalism of networked information technologies, our very ability to communicate is exploited, but revolution is still possible if we organize on the basis of our common and collective desires. Examining the experience of the Occupy movement, Dean argues that such spontaneity can’t develop into a revolution and it needs to constitute itself as a party.
An innovative work of pressing relevance, The Communist Horizon offers nothing less than a manifesto for a new collective politics.
the horizon is the line dividing the visible, separating earth from sky. Understood tempo rally, the horizon converges with loss in a metaphor for privation and depletion. The "lost horizon" suggests abandoned projects, prior hopes that have now passed away. Astrophysics offers a thrilling, even uncanny, horizon: the "event horizon" sun-ounding a black hole. The event horizon is the boundary beyond which events cannot escape. Although "event horizon" denotes the curvature in space/time effected
collective benefit can only be sec ured through the pursuit of individual self-interest. 16 M ichel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitic.�, trans . Graham B u rc hell, New York : Palgrave M ac millan, 2008, 1 1 6. 17 Ib id., 278. 90 T H E COM M U N IST H O R IZON Just as i ndividual economic ac tors cannot see the whole, neither can the sovereign: a visible hand would be no hand at all. It would be partial, dis torted. It would fail to combine the multitude of economic inter ests. Political
hierar chies! Vulgar, brutal, de-skilling, and mercenary? Au contraire, it's creative and fun! U nstable? Nah, that's just its m i racul ous dynamism at work!"6 Widely celebrated for making work fun, inspiring cre ativity, and opening up entrepreneurial oppmtun ities, networked information and communication technology contiibuted to the production of new knowledge-based enterprises. Its more pronou nced legacy, however, has been widespread de-skilling, surveillance, and the acceleration and
himself. Freud explains, "In this way an object loss was transformed into an ego-loss and the conflict between the ego and the loved person into a cleavage between the critical activity of the ego and OF.SI R F. 1 67 the ego as altered by identification." ! .> The answer to the question of the subject's loss of self-respect turns on the object: it's the internalized object who is judged, criticized, and condemned, not the subject at all. Brown uses Freud's account of melancholia to understand
governing bureaucrati c party. As a governing body the Party experienced further changes, changes that were sometimes violent, sometimes incremental, often paid for wi th the lives of Party members themselves. Insofar as it was a political party, and for most of its history the only recognized political party, the Communist Party in the former Soviet U nion was a locus of struggle and disagreement over a host of issues from art, literature, and science to economic development, foreign policy, and