Thanks for supporting an independent and worker-owned bookstore!
When people say 'comrade', they change the world
Between mass participation in two world wars and mass participation
in Communist parties, in the 20th century millions of people across
the globe addressed each other as 'comrade'. Now, it's more common to
hear talk of 'allies' on the left than it is of comrades. In Comrade,
Jodi Dean insists that this shift exemplifies the key problem with
the contemporary left: the substitution of political identity for a
relation of political belonging that must be built, sustained, and
Dean offers a theory of the comrade as a mode of address, figure of
belonging, and carrier of expectations for action. Comrades
are equals on the same side of a political struggle. Voluntarily
coming together in the struggle for justice, their relation is
characterized by discipline, joy, courage, and enthusiasm.
Considering the generic egalitarianism of the comrade in light of
differences of race and gender, Dean draws from an array of
historical and literary examples such as Harry Haywood, CLR James,
Alexandra Kollontai, and Doris Lessing. She argues that if we are to
be a Left at all, we have to be comrades.