This essay situates recent calls for a return to the organizational form of the party by Bruno Bosteels and Jodi Dean in the current historical conjuncture. This conjuncture is described as an “age of riots”; this age, in turn, is defined both by a global capitalist crisis and an emergent “politics of the street.” The limits of this form of politics, I argue, give real urgency to the felt need for a new type of party form. My exploration of this question has recourse to a little-known text by Louis Althusser on the innovations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, in particular the development of organs of power external to the Party. I conclude with a consideration of the way in which the notion of the commune poses a countermodel for thinking political organization that any current reconsideration of the party form must address.
Jason E. Smith; The Politics of the Street: Commune and Party in the Age of Riots. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2014; 113 (4): 687–700. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2803580
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