Category Archives: the Left

Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Claus Leggewie: “1968: Power to the Imagination”

“Our solidarity with the national liberation movements was immense. … What we largely ignored, however, was the suppression proceeding from the liberators themselves, once they had seized power.”

Mitchell Abidor: “1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution “

“1968 was the definitive proof, if such proof were still needed, that the Communist Party had no interest in seizing power through revolution. But it also demonstrated that in this, the PCF was the perfect image of the class it represented, and vice versa. Cornelius Castoriadis … wrote in an essay published during the events:

In France in May ’68 the industrial proletariat was not the revolutionary vanguard of society, but rather its ponderous rear guard. If the student movement attacked the heavens, what stuck society to earth… was the attitude of the proletariat, its passivity in regard to its leadership and the regime, its inertia, its indifference to everything that was not an economic demand.”

“The care and feeding of radical men”

“By glossing over Karl Marx’s numerous personal misdeeds, Raoul Peck’s biopic ‘The Young Karl Marx’ fails to give his collaborators their due.”

“Tunisia’s Next Revolution”

“Over the past seven years, the Tunisian left has reorganized and restructured itself. The leftist youth, which stood at the forefront of the struggle for political and democratic rights, has used its new power to fight for the revolution, creating new forms of organizing and reaching beyond the leftist contexts of the prerevolutionary period.”

Steve Wright interviewed on “Italian workerism and its enduring legacy”

“The failure of Potere Operaio to convince other revolutionaries that its goals and methods were suitable led ultimately not only to the group’s collapse, but also a rethinking of aspects of the workerist framework. Some people headed off to the mainstream left, following other workerists who had already embraced the notion of ‘the autonomy of the political’; many others were attracted to a new wave of worker extremism, in which ‘autonomist’ workplace collectives turned their backs on the far left groups and sought to carve out a new project based directly in factories and communities. The appearance of so-called ‘new social movements’, starting with the women’s movement, saw a section of Italian feminists draw upon their own earlier involvement in workerist politics as one means to understand the circumstances around them; it also (eventually) pushed many of their male counterparts to begin to address aspects of the politics of reproduction. Workerism as a branch of marxist theory connected to wider social struggles collapsed by the early 1980s, along with most of those struggles themselves – but it’s fair to say that it was already in crisis by the late 1970s, due to the seemingly growing complexity of revolutionary politics, which cast doubt over the certainties held a decade before.”

“October! The Soviet Centenary”

South Atlantic Quarterly 116: 4 (October 2017), Hardt & Mezzadra, eds.

“An Investigation Into Red-Brown Alliances: Third Positionism, Russia, Ukraine, Syria, and the Western Left”

“As radical leftist anti-fascists, anti-racists, anti-colonialists, and anti-capitalists struggling for liberation, we can fight against imperialism, against racism, and against fascism at the same time, and we can oppose the American war machine and oppose colonialism without siding with reactionary and oppressive entities. We can support liberation in Palestine, Bahrain, India, Venezuela and everywhere else where people are struggling against oppression without allying to fascists or allowing them to try co-opting our movements. Unfortunately sections of the radical movement have failed or have been purposely misled by crypto-fascists.”

Daniela Mussi: “Awaiting an Alternative”

“We seem not to notice, even as we stand before so many attacks, the key problem of organizing a new collective will with the capacity to attract new hearts and minds in a time of crisis. Something is aging, its death fast approaches, without a new replacement that could carry the beauty of an effective and concrete political alternative. This has been the tragedy of the Brazilian left for some years.”

Col­let­ti­vo C17: “11 Theses on Possible Communism”

“The Commune must therefore be accompanied by the phenomena of revolutionary syndicalism, genuine institutions of living labor where class struggle and processes of politicization, conflict, and self-rule go hand in hand.”

Despina Lalaki: “Charting Syriza’s swift rise and fall”

“Profoundly disappointed, not merely with the capitulation of the government but also its alienation from the party and the movements, Helena Sheehan [in The Syriza Wave: Surging and Crashing with the Greek Left (2016)] evaluates through her interviewees and discussants some of Syriza’s fault lines as well as the prospects of the Left’s recomposition, especially after the break of the left wing of Syriza and the large exodus of dissidents both from the government and the party.”