This month, the independent progressive publisher Pluto Press has reissued Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ revolutionary political text, The Communist Manifesto, with a new introduction by Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean, who holds the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The new edition also features an afterward by renowned theorist and professor David Harvey.
Exploring the text’s historical impact and contemporary relevance, Dean’s introduction describes the global reach of capitalism, wide-spread economic inequality, strained political systems and the influence of Marx and Engels’ manuscript in class struggles over the past 150 years.
Against this backdrop, she writes, the reissue of The Communist Manifesto “one hundred years after [the Russian Revolution of 1917] pushes us to occupy this space again and take the perspective of the revolution.”
Dean was also recently invited to deliver keynote addresses in Italy and Switzerland. On Jan. 20, she spoke about communist power at the C17 Communism conference in Rome, joining speakers such as Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt and Etienne Balibar. On Feb. 4, Dean spoke at the conference, “Reclaiming Democracy,” in Basel. Her talk, “The Force of Many,” highlighted the dual importance of popular movements and the organized political party. An international panel that included activists from Greece and Germany and a Swiss member of parliament responded to her address.
Dean, who has taught at HWS since 1993, is the author or editor of 12 books, including Blog Theory, Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies and, most recently, Crowds and Party (2016, Verso Books). In Crowds and Party, Dean argues for a vision of leftist politics with a renewed focus on the political party as a vehicle for lasting change. She examines the failures of a politics focused on the individual rather than the group, and the need for the left “to think again about the political form and organize itself as a party.”
Building on the work of her previous book, The Communist Horizon, which learns from and critically engages the Occupy movement, Dean offers a critique of individualism and the legacy of the 20th century, and the barriers they impose on collective action. Crowds and Party also continues her work surrounding the concept of “communicative capitalism,” with a focus on the promises and shortcomings of social media.