Jodi Dean

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Jodi Dean (born April 9, 1962) is an American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state. She has also held the position of Erasmus Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Quotes[edit]

The Communist Horizon (2012)[edit]

  • The communist horizon appears closer than it has in a long time. The illusion that capitalism works has been shattered by all manner of economic an financial disaster – and we see it everywhere. The fantasy that democracy exerts a force for economic justice has dissolved as the US government funnels trillions of dollars to banks and the European central banks rig national governments and cut social programs in order to keep themselves afloat. With our desiring eyes set on the communist horizon, we can now get to work on collectively shaping a world that we already make in common.
    • Introduction, p. 21
  • Precisely because the Soviet Union adopted "the capitalist heavy-industry definition of economic modernization," socialism remained caught within a very specific capitalist model of economic development. The Soviets did not reconstruct American capitalism. They glorified it. (Indeed, for some Soviets, Henry Ford was as close to a saint as one could get.)
    • Our Soviets, p. 27
  • Against the background of communist = Soviet = Stalinist, two interlocking stories of the collapse of communism predominate. The first is that communism collapsed under its own weight: it was so inefficient, people were so miserable, life was so stagnant, that the system came to a grinding halt. It failed. Linked to Stalinism, the story of failure features chapters on famine, purges and terror. Like most ideological constructions, it's not quite coherent: it neglects the fact that the Stalin period was also a period in which the US and the USSR were allies. In the era most exemplary of the Soviet Union's injustice and illegitimacy, the period when the USSR was present not as a failed state but a strong one, the US was closer to the regime than at any other time in its history. The second, related, story of the collapse of communism is that it was defeated. We beat them. We won. Capitalism and liberal democracy (the elision is necessary) demonstrated their superiority on the world stage. Freedom triumphed over tyranny. The details of this victory matter less than the ostensible undeniability. After all, there is no Soviet Union anymore.
    • Our Soviets, p. 31
  • The Right positions communism as a threat because communism names the defeat of and alternative to capitalism. It recognizes the crisis in capitalism: over-accumulation leaves the rich sitting on piles of cash they can't invest; industrial capacity remains unused and workers unemployed; global interconnections make unneeded skyscrapers, fiber-optic cables, malls, and housing developments as much a part of China as the US. At the same time, scores of significant problems – whether food shortages linked to climate change, energy shortages resulting from oil dependency, or drug shortages resulting from the failure of private pharmaceutical companies to risk their own capital – remain unmet because they require the kinds of large-scale planning and cooperation that capitalism, particularly in its contemporary finance and communications-driven incarnation, subverts.
    • Present Force, pp. 51-52
  • The contemporary Left claims not to exist. Whereas the Right sees left-wing threats everywhere, those on the Left eschew any use of the term "we," emphasizing issue politics, identity politics, and their own fragmentation into a multitude of singularities.
    • Present Force, p. 53
  • Although the contemporary Left might seem to agree with the mainstream story of communism's failure – it doesn't work, where "it" holds a place for a wide variety of unspecified political endeavors – the language of failure covers over a more dangerous, anxiety-provoking idea – communism succeeded. The Left isn't afraid of failure, it is afraid of success, the successful mobilization of the energy and rage of the people. Leftists really fear the bloody violence of revolution, and hence they focus on displacing anger into safer procedural, consumerist, and aesthetic channels. As Peter Hallward emphasizes, the legacy of anti-Jacobinism is a preference for the condemnation of some kinds of violence but not others: leftists join democrats, liberals, and conservatives in denouncing the revolutionary Terror while they virtually ignore the "far more bloody repression of the 1871 Commune." Even those who see themselves as part of some open and varied constellation of the Left condemn the violence of the people against those who would oppress them. State violence and the force of counterrevolution is taken for granted, assumed, cloaked in a prior legitimacy or presumed to be justified in the interest of order.
    • Present Force, pp. 58-59

External links[edit]

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Lectures[edit]

Articles[edit]