Étienne Balibar

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

Lenin, Communists, and Immigration (1973)

Lenin, Communists, and Immigration (1973)

Lenin’s analysis forces us to consider immigration – the living and working conditions of immigrant workers – starting from the theory of imperialism, outside of which the contemporary forms of immigration remain unintelligible. The concrete knowledge of the causes and effects of immigration is, reciprocally, a guiding thread towards an understanding of imperialism.

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 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 →