The Idea of Communism

Overview

Do not be afraid, join us, come back! You’ve had your anti-communist fun, and you are pardoned for it—time to get serious once again!—Slavoj Žižek

Responding to Alain Badiou’s ‘communist hypothesis’, the leading political philosophers of the Left convened in London in 2009 to take part in a landmark conference to discuss the perpetual, persistent notion that, in a truly emancipated society, all things should be owned in common. This volume brings together their discussions on ...

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Overview

Do not be afraid, join us, come back! You’ve had your anti-communist fun, and you are pardoned for it—time to get serious once again!—Slavoj Žižek

Responding to Alain Badiou’s ‘communist hypothesis’, the leading political philosophers of the Left convened in London in 2009 to take part in a landmark conference to discuss the perpetual, persistent notion that, in a truly emancipated society, all things should be owned in common. This volume brings together their discussions on the philosophical and political import of the communist idea, highlighting both its continuing significance and the need to reconfigure the concept within a world marked by havoc and crisis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Separating the promise of communism from the disasters of the twentieth century is no easy task. But it feels necessary. Already we know that choices will have to be made and sides taken. Impending ecological disaster suggests that this could be our last chance to do so. If another world is possible, it will happen in action, not abstract theory. The first choice is very simple: to begin.”—Guardian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844674596
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 12/13/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 637,189
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

Costas Douzinas is Professor of Law and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. He is the author of numerous works, including Human Rights and Empire, The End of Human Rights, and Law and the Image: The Authority of Art and the Aesthetics of Law.

Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the E?cole normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including Theory of the Subject, Being and Event, Manifesto for Philosophy, and Gilles Deleuze. His recent books include The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics, Polemics, The Communist Hypothesis, Five Lessons on Wagner, and Wittgenstein’s Anti-Philosophy.

Bruno Bosteels, Professor of Romance Studies at Cornell University, is the author of Badiou and Politics, Marx and Freud in Latin America, and The Actuality of Communism. He is also the translator of several books by Alain Badiou: Theory of the Subject, Can Politics Be Thought? and What Is Antiphilosophy? Essays on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Lacan. He currently serves as the General Editor of Diacritics.

Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory at Cornell University. She is the author of Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West, The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project and The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt Institute.

Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow, University of Manchester. His other books include Ideology; The Function of Criticism; Heathcliff and the Great Hunger; Against the Grain; Walter Benjamin; and Criticism and Ideology, all from Verso.

Peter Hallward teaches at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. He is the author of several books including Absolutely Postcolonial, Badiou: A Subject to Truth, Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation, and Damming the Flood.

Antonio Negri has taught philosophy and political science at the Universities of Padua and Paris; he has also been a political prisoner in Italy and a political refugee in France. He is the author of over thirty books, including Political Descartes, Marx Beyond Marx, The Savage Anomaly, The Politics of Subversion, Insurgencies, Subversive Spinoza, and Time for Revolution, and, in collaboration with Michael Hardt, Labor of Dionysus, Empire and Multitude. He currently lives in Paris and Venice.

Jacques Rancière is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII. His books include The Politics of Aesthetics, On the Shores of Politics, Short Voyages to the Land of the People, The Nights of Labor, Staging the People, and The Emancipated Spectator.

Alberto Toscano is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production and Fanaticism, translator of Alain Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds and co-editor of Alain Badiou’s Theoretical Writings and On Beckett. He has published numerous articles on contemporary philosophy, politics and social theory, and is an editor of Historical Materialism.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Idea of Communism

1 The Idea of Communism 1

2 To Present Oneself to the Present. The Communist Hypothesis: a Possible Hypothesis for Philosophy, an Impossible Name for Politics? Alain Badiou Badiou, Alain 15

3 The Leftist Hypothesis: Communism in the Age of Terror Judith Balso Balso, Judith 33

4 The Second Time as Farce...Historical Pragmatics and the Untimely Present Bruno Bosteels Bosteels, Bruno 67

5 Adikia: On Communism and Rights Susan Buck-Morss Buck-Morss, Susan 81

6 Communism: Lear or Gonzalo? Costas Douzinas Douzinas, Costas 101

7 'Communism of the Intellect, Communism of the Will' Terry Eagleton Eagleton, Terry 111

8 The Common in Communism Peter Hallward Hallward, Peter 131

9 Communism, the Word Michael Hardt Hardt, Michael 145

10 Communism: Some Thoughts on the Concept and Practice Jean-Luc Nancy Nancy, Jean-Luc 155

11 Communists Without Communism? Antonio Negri Negri, Antonio 167

12 Did the Cultural Revolution End Communism? Eight Remarks on Philosophy and Politics Today Jacques Rancière Rancière, Jacques 179

13 The Politics of Abstraction: Communism and Philosophy Alessandro Russo Russo, Alessandro 195

14 Weak Communism? Alberto Toscano Toscano, Alberto 205

15 How to Begin From the Beginning Gianni Vattimo Vattimo, Gianni 209

Index Slavoj i ek ek, Slavoj i 227

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