Since the '70s and '80s, the fragmented, individualist American left has been largely cynical about manifesting change through the party form, yet parties are too important to be left to the two-party system. How do we make a party of communists seem more compelling to more of us again? In her new book Crowds and Party, Jodi Dean diagnoses an American Left splintered by individualism, but ripe for a return to one of the oldest organized political forms: the party. The following is extracted from Crowds and Party.
Donald Trump cuts through the ideological haze of American politics and exposes its underlying truth, the truth of enjoyment. Where other candidates appeal to a fictitious unity or pretense of moral integrity, he displays the power of inequality. Money buys access — why deny it? Money creates opportunity — for those who have it. Money lets those with a lot of it express their basest impulses and desires — there is no need to hide the dark drives when there is none before whom one might feel shame (we might call this the Berlusconi principle). It's the rest of us who bow down.