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The Idea of Communism

An all-star cast of radical intellectuals discuss the continued importance of communism.
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.
With contributions by Alain Badiou, Judith Balso, Bruno Bosteels, Susan Buck-Morss, Costas Douzinas, Terry Eagleton, Peter Hallward, Michael Hardt, Jean-Luc Nancy, Antonio Negri, Jacques Rancière, Mark Russo, Alberto Toscano, and Gianni Vattimo

Blog

  • Costas Lapavitsas: "We are clearly at a critical turning point"

    As a deal between Greece and its lenders begins to look increasingly unlikely, Costas Lapavitsas outlines the respective parties' proposals and argues that the "institutions" have left Greece with little choice: accept public defeat—and still no solution to the debt—or default. Visit the Jacobin to read the original piece. Translated by Wayne Hall.


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  • The Telegraph on the "Leftist mutiny” within Syriza

    In an unwitting accolade to Verso authors Stathis Kouvelakis and Costas Lapavitsas, the Telegraph covers the imminent "insurrection” by Syriza's "domestic rebels", the "extremist" Left Platform. The original article is here and the Left Platform's statement, which sought a return to Syriza's election pledges, here. Costas Lapavitsas' and Heiner Flassbeck's Against the Troika is the first book to propose a strategic left-wing plan for how peripheral countries could exit the euro. 


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  • Alain Badiou: True and false contradictions of the crisis

    We are told capitalism is in crisis, and that this crisis forces a choice: "the West or else barbarism". In the light of escalating fascism and ongoing war, the choice is made to appear all the more urgent. Yet, as Alain Badiou shows in his article below, this is a false contradiction that serves both sides and "blocks the advent of the only global conviction that could save humanity from disaster".

    Translated by David Broder. The original French text is here



    By Alain Badiou

    Modernity is first of all a negative reality. Effectively it is a break with tradition. It is the end of the old world of castes, nobilities, religious obligation, youth initiation rites, local mythology, the submission of women, the father’s absolute power over his children, and the official division between a small group of rulers and a condemned mass of toilers. Nothing can push this movement back—a movement that evidently began in the West with the Renaissance, was consolidated by the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century and then materialised in the unprecedented breakthroughs in production techniques and the constant refinement of means of measurement, circulation and communication.

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