Re-thinking communism in the 21st century

Rowcroft, Andy (2015) Re-thinking communism in the 21st century. In: Conformity & Controversy, 23 March 2015, University of Southampton.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The collapse of state Communism in the 20th century, most clearly symbolised with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, helped foster a profound crisis for radical left thought. Recently marked by a 25th year anniversary, the celebrations are a vivid reminder of Neoliberalism’s ability to reconstitute historical events, presenting the end of totalitarian dictatorship, economic hardship and political censorship as clear evidence of the intrinsic failure of communism, and the success of free-market economics and liberal democracy.

While capitalism has of course long relied on the creation of a specific ideological and historical narrative (one where, as Žižek claims, state socialism appears conservative, administrative and hierarchical) a number of philosophers and political theorists have sought to challenge this marked disparity. Seeking to overturn narratives of right-wing triumphalism in the wake of the spectacle of neoliberal thinking and weak market reforms, a number of intellectuals have instigated a series revival of the communism, claiming it represents the ultimate horizon of our thinking (Dean 2012).

This paper surveys new works on Communism by the likes of Bruno Bosteels, Jodi Dean, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. Claiming these developments find their most nuanced expression with the ‘Idea of Communism’ conferences, the paper further investigates the concept of the communist idea and how new critical thinking seeks to condition the actuality of radical politics. The paper closes by arguing that the idea of communism has returned to dominate left thinking.

Keywords:communism, Philosophy, Financial crisis
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V310 Economic History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V220 European History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
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ID Code:16888
Deposited On:07 Mar 2015 22:09

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