Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean, who holds the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences, discussed her new book, “Crowds and Party” (published this winter by Verso Books), on the California radio station KPFA’s program “Behind the News.”
In the July 21 interview, Dean discusses the “crowds” and “party” of her title — the unpredictable political force of the many and the strengths of the party form in harnessing that force. She also examines struggles of the modern left in American politics and its focus over the past several decades on “personal [and] small group transformation, immediacy, making our immediate relations better [which has become] the form of political struggle…a form that is ultimately damaging.”
In “Crowds and Party,” Dean makes the case for a vision of leftist politics with a renewed focus on the political party as a vehicle for lasting change. Building on the work of her previous book, “The Communist Horizon,” which learns from and critically engages the Occupy movement, she remains concerned with the political organization of the radical left but takes the issue further in “Crowds and Party,“ arguing that the “left needs to return to the party as a form for radical political action. So enough of identity, issues, and momentary events; we need a politics that can actually endure.”
The author or editor of 11 books including “Blog Theory” and “Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies,” Dean elaborated on her newest work in a January interview on This is Hell, the weekly political interview radio program on Chicago’s WNUR.