In this essay, I engage with Jodi Dean’s idea from The Communist Horizon (2012) that “division is common; we must seize it.” I argue that this is a critical insight that helps us think both about the kinds of political subjectivity that we find in Marxist philosophy as well as the actual practices of communism. Looking to Marx’s Capital, and especially his writing about the development of a community of laborers, I argue that readings of the proletariat as a monolith and as the teleological expression of class more generally are not supported in this volume. The story that Marx tells here is, rather, one of division, internal tension, and contingency. What is produced from this history then is a dynamic and complex form of identity that must be recognized to avoid reproducing old class hierarchies in new guises. Turning next to the idea of “seizing,” I argue that this moment of radical transformation is equivalent to the community of laborers recognizing itself as divided and internally contested. The “species being” that emerges from this history can be a vehicle for self-transformation only if all of that contingency and dynamism are allowed to be expressed, only if the subject itself is seen as plural and internally complex.
James Martel; “Division Is Common”. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2014; 113 (4): 701–711. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-2803591
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