Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Another Loss

Daniel Bensaïd - inspired intellectual, outstanding miliant, enthusiastic anti-capitalist, long-term cadre of the LCR and one of the founders of the NPA - has died in Paris. He was only 63. You can read Alex Callinicos’ tribute here.

Eight years ago I first discovered Bensaïd’s writing through was a provocative piece of his on 21st century Leninism in International Socialism journal. Since then I’ve found so much stimulation, inspiration, and matter for debate and disagreement in his work. His death is a real loss to the movement.

Bensaïd’s open, non-dogmatic and amibitous project is best summarised, for me, in these lines from the introduction to his important book Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique (2002):

A theoretical-political legacy is never straightforward: it is not some position that is received and banked. Simultaneously instrument and obstacle, weapon and burden, it is always to be transformed. For everything depends upon what is done with this inheritance lacking owners or directions for use. (xi- xii)

That’s the situation we find ourselves in now with Bensaïd’s own work, which is part of that “theoretical-political legacy” to be inherited and put to use.

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