Since Plato, philosophers have dreamed of establishing a rational state ruled through the power of language. In this radical and disturbing account of Soviet philosophy, Boris Groys argues that communism shares that dream and is best understood as an attempt to replace financial with linguistic bonds as the cement uniting society. The transformative power of language, the medium of equality, is the key to any new communist revolution.
We're pleased to finally post video from our Communism, A New Beginning? conference from back in October in the debut of our incredibly novel YouTube page. It's an interesting look back to a weekend of what was the first month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street; around when Étienne Balibar spoke on "Communism as Commitment, Imagination, and Politics," peaceful protesters just uptown at Times Square were arrested and en route to Central Booking.
Here is a guide to the talks given at this conference:
There are Reds under the bed. Or in the academies. Or worse: about to spill into the streets. So warns Alan Johnson in World Affairs, the esteemed Washington-based international affairs journal. Tracing the rising profile of a group of authors such as Alain Badiou, Bruno Bosteels and Slavoj Žižek and the popularity of their books, the columnist outlines what he sees as a nascent threat lurking in the incendiary words of Terry Eagleton and Toni Negri.
Lamenting the ubiquity of the seasonal "best of" lists, Our Man in Boston (aka Robert Birnbaum)—happy as he is to "skirt the perimeter of hypocrisy"—has done his very own list. We should hasten to add however, that unlike other lists ("one cannot avoid a suspicion of cynicism amongst the editors and editorial chosen who spew out this stuff") this list will "at least incite some brain activity."
And indeed it will, for featured on the list are all three titles from Verso's "Pocket Communism" series: Alain Badiou's Pocket Pantheon and The Communist Hypothesis and Boris Groys' The Communist Postscript.
Birnbaum closes his list quoting Joe Bageant, "How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked?" Perhaps it's down to the "effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp." Whatever it is, a bit of Badiou and a bit of Groys will certainly help ...