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A forceful intervention into contemporary politics, this chapter argues that the designations left and right must be preserved, as they are names for different relations to the political origin. Drawing on Schmitt’s genealogy of modern politics, the chapter argues that the real source of the left-right distinction is not the crisis of parliamentary democracy after the collapse of communism but the incomplete and accidental manner in which modern politics inherits the very premodern political forms it presumes to overturn and reject. Yet even though contemporary politics might remain bound up with an ambiguous political heritage, it nonetheless inhabits institutional architectures and political terminologies that point to a new chain of active subjectivities and conflictual political spaces outside state politics, ones in which the traditional distinctions begin to get crowded out by emerging questions of ecology, biopolitical potentialities, and new rebellious collectives.

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