Video: Jodi Dean on the Communist Horizon

by Doug Enaa Greene on December 10, 2012

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian S. December 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm

There aren’t any comments on this thread, and I don’t know if that means that people haven’t watched the video, or whether they have but haven’t found anything to say about it. If its the former, I would urge people to take the 50 minutes to watch it. There are a lot of important ideas here – to many to deal with in an orderly manner in 50 minutes – so the talk is a bit of a jumble: a stimulus to thought rather than the provision of answers. But that’s probably what we need at the present time. Perhaps the book is more structured, although looking at the Amazon preview I’m not sure. But it is going on my reading list for the next year – whatever its limitations, it looks clearer, more focused, and more relevant, than the other works that have tried to insert themselves into this space.
A couple of comments:
To reduce “communism” (or whatever you want to call serious anticapitalism) to the “sovereignty of the people” is to identify the right terrain for discussion but an inadequate answer (this is reflected a bit in the brief discussion included in the video). Its seems to me that traditional Marxist/social democratic schemas centred on the notion of a steady onward march of the “class with radical chains” has been superseded by history. The ideas of “democracy” and the “rule of the people” appear as more relevant concepts of the moment – but they remain vacuous if they are not grounded in a critique of the class structure of power in capitalist society, and a perspective for the overturn of those structures by some sort of collective force.
A very interesting aspect of Jodi’s thinking is her focus on the “PARTY-FORM” as a necessary element to transcend short-term struggles ( and hopefully victories) and move towards historic changes. But she lacks a sense of the time frame in which this issue arises, and the stages through which this might pass. She seems to conflatesthe idea of an historic party of social change with contemporary “party-aspiring” sects. It may well be that the road to the former does not lie through the latter, but through very different forms of organisation. (These of course are issues that have been discussed in many different thread on this site: but it might be useful to reconnect them in this context.)


Pham Binh December 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I didn’t finish part one. She at least has the common sense to know that running around blathering on about the “dictatorship of the proletariat” is a non-starter in this day and age after the experience of the Cold War.


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