Comrade

Dean, Jodi

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In the twentieth-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 defended.

In Comrade, Dean offers a theory of the comrade. Comrades are equals on the same side of a political struggle. Voluntarily coming together in the struggle for justice, their relationship is characterised 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, C.L.R James, Alexandra Kollontai, and Doris Lessing. She argues that if we are to be a left at all, we have to be comrades.

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