Politics as a Strategic Art: Selected Writings of Daniel Bensaïd

A selection of groundbreaking essays by Daniel Bensaïd, surveying the contributions of his entire career, contracted to be published by Haymarket Books. For speedy completion, we would like your assistance!

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Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010) was among the most innovative Marxists of the twentieth century. His work is especially relevant to contemporary problems in radical philosophy and global politics; Tariq Ali described him as “France’s leading Marxist public intellectual.” The years following the translation of his memoir, An Impatient Life, have seen increasing interest in his work in the Anglophone world. This work received enthusiastic reviews. However, very few of Bensaïd’s philosophical or political writings are presently available in English. This collection will include a robust selection of his essays, written from 1968 to the end of his life. These include his historical research, as well as interventions into controversies that remain heated today.

In addition to the insight this provides into Bensaïd’s unique form of Marxism, the essays convey a vital perspective on a series of important historical and analytic questions, such as Lenin’s organizational theory, articulation between the classic theories of Trotsky and Gramsci, French Marxism in the wake of the events of 1968, the Italian “years of lead” in the 1970s, the turn towards Eurocommunism and anti-Marxism in the late part of that decade, Latin-American guerrilla combat, Central American revolutions, and contemporary theories of class composition. This provides a crucial addition to an understanding of European Trotskyist politics, an under-represented area in Anglophone publications. Collected as a whole, Bensaïd’s essays pull together developments in Europe and South America alongside meditations on the earlier revolutionary Marxist tradition.

This book will be of interest to anyone following ongoing debates about the nature of Leninism, such as the work of Lars Lih, Paul Le Blanc, and Tamás Krausz. More broadly, it bears comparison with the political interventions of famous authors such as Antonio Negri, Alain Badiou, and Michael Löwy.

 We have already translated the great majority of the essays. However, we need to produce annotations, introduction, and bibliography in order to assist the reader. This scholarly apparatus is necessary in order to situation Bensaïd’s interventions in the range of contemporary historical and practical literature. We anticipate that the entire process will be concluded by December of this year.

We are raising funds to facilitate this last phase of translation, and need to raise $7,500. All donations over $100 will receive one copy of the book. Donations over $250 will receive the book as well as a copy of An Impatient Life. If you can donate more than $500 we will thank you on a donors’ page for the project, and donations of $800 or more will be acknowledged in the book.

 

Contents

 

Translator’s Introduction

Preface by Paul Le Blanc

Foreword by Antoine Artous: “Daniel Bensaïd, or Politics As a Strategic Art”

 

The Notion of Revolutionary Crisis in Lenin

About the Question of Organization: Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg

Two Years After

Italy: The Avatars of a Certain Realism

What Is to Be Done? and the Establishing of the Communist League

Workers’ Democracy and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Eurocommunism, Austro-Marxism, and Bolshevism

Hegemony, Self-Management, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

General Strike, United Front, Dual Power

Managua-Petrograd, and Return

Questions of Strategy in the West

Revolutionary Strategy Today

Back to the Memory of Mastery

Antonio Negri, Constituent Power and Multitudes

Hegemony and the United Front

“Leaps! Leaps! Leaps!”

Marxist Strategy in Western Europe

“And If We All Stopped?”: “The Social Illusion” of John Holloway and Richard Day

United Front and Hegemony

Historical Time and Political Rhythms

Strategy and Politics: From Marx to the Third International