Étienne Balibar

is a French philosopher and currently Anniversary Chair of Contemporary European Philosophy at Kingston University London and Visiting Professor at Columbia University.

From Charonne to Vitry (1981)

From Charonne to Vitry (1981)

But let’s return again to Charonne. I find it very reveal­ing of the Party’s atti­tude which, both today and yes­ter­day, glo­ri­fies the fall­en com­rades but nev­er recalls why the demon­stra­tion was held in the first place. One hears only of an abstract and myth­ic anti­colo­nial strug­gle. Many of us can bear wit­ness with lucid mem­o­ries: if there was a Feb­ru­ary 8, 1962 and before it a Decem­ber 19, 1961, these unit­ed demon­stra­tions in which everyone’s divi­sions and sec­tar­i­anisms were put aside, it is only because the ter­ri­ble event of Octo­ber 17, 1961 hap­pened, of which the Par­ty nev­er speaks, nor any­one else for that mat­ter.

After the Other May (1981)

After the Other May (1981)

We must start again on the basis of an irre­versible plu­ral­ism, and look to move past parox­ys­mal – and today, car­i­ca­tured – forms that have led up to this crit­i­cal moment where­in every mass work­ers’ orga­ni­za­tion is in upheaval, and replace them in the face of the unre­solv­able alter­na­tive of pas­siv­i­ty or ephemer­al revolt. No mat­ter its con­crete shape, the out­come of the cri­sis of the par­ty-form depends on the simul­ta­ne­ous trans­for­ma­tion of all the orga­ni­za­tions of the work­ers’ move­ment (none of which have every been pure­ly com­posed of work­ers).

(The Right to) Tendencies, or the Right to Set Up Organized Groups Within the Party (1982)

(The Right to) Tendencies, or the Right to Set Up Organized Groups Within the Party (1982)

Once we man­age to avoid iden­ti­fy­ing a “polit­i­cal cen­ter” and “the­o­ret­i­cal” cen­ter in advance, from iden­ti­fy­ing the elab­o­ra­tion of a strat­e­gy with the appli­ca­tion of a pre-estab­lished vision to the course of his­to­ry, it might be pos­si­ble to over­come the dilem­mas of “demo­c­ra­t­ic cen­tral­ism” and the “right to ten­den­cies.”

The Genre of the Party

The Genre of the Party

I would like to briefly return to what might be the cen­tral prob­lem of polit­i­cal sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, where Marx­ist thought encoun­tered its lim­it and ulti­mate­ly hit an impasse: the par­ty-form and its con­flict­ual rela­tion­ship with anoth­er “form,” that of the “women’s move­ment” and, con­se­quent­ly, fem­i­nism.

The Communist Desire to Change the World – and Ourselves

The Communist Desire to Change the World – and Ourselves

Chiara Gior­gi: Karl Marx’s rep­re­sen­ta­tion of com­mu­nism was that of an alter­na­tive to cap­i­tal­ism, the ground for which it had in fact already pre­pared. This idea opened up one of the main ques­tions of com­mu­nism, name­ly the very notion of tran­si­tion. In The Phi­los­o­phy of Marx, you have observed that, far from embrac­ing an evo­lu­tion­ist view, the tran­si­tion fore­seen by… Read more →