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.
Workers had individual rights to be free from discrimination even as they were col lectively becoming ever more exposed and vulnerable to a brutal capitalist economy. A widely publicized s tudy from Bruce Westem and Jake Rosenfeld demonstrates that de unionization directly accounts for at least a third of the increase in income inequality experienced by US men working in the private sector. The indirect effects of the decline of unions are even more pronounced. U nions ben efitted workers
spontane ous mechanisms , are a site of truth, the truth of the natural limitations of government. The sovereign may have a right to levy taxes, but is that good govem ment? Foucault explai ns that to ask this question is to i nstall a limitation on sovereign power, fundamentally changi ng the logic of governance. H truth is located i n the market, it is displaced from juridi cally deter mined principles of right, the principles championed SOV E R E IGNTY OF T H E P E OPLE 89 by natural
excluded from their own substance ."2 As I explained in chapter three, a C M ic hael H ardt, "The Common in Communism," in The Idea of Communism, ed . Costas D o u z i nas and Slavoj Z izek , London : Verso, 201 0, 1 36 . 2 Slavoj Z izek "How to Begin from t h e Beginning," in The Idea of Communism, 2 1 3 . In contrast, N ic k Dyer-Witheford 120 THE COM M U N IST H O R IZON benefit of the concept of proletarianization is that it turns our attention away from empirical classes and toward the
hit its goal, is repeated, sat isfaction attains to this repetition and the prior object, the lost object of desire, is abandoned. For example, some theorists today find the analytic category of the subject theoretically uninteresting, essentially useless; they've turned instead to objects, locating there new kinds of agency, vitality, and even politics. The recent reactivation of communism also bears witness to the end of melancholia as a stmcture of left desire. Describing the massive
from time to time incor porated in the world. The implicit prom ise is then that the political tmth of the idea of communism will again be incorporated in new subjects. Rather than a con viction forcing the divisi ons of enactment by a party and a state, the desire of the philosopher appears as a form of thought that may guide or direct the affective attach ments of those who contemplate it. Rather than a mptured field of practi cal and theoretical k nowledge and will, this desire manifests