Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Vatter, Miguel. "Review of Claude Lefort's LE TEMPS PRESENT: ÉCRITS, 1945-2005." NDPR December 2, 2007.
Claude Lefort has never quite made it to the rank of the French "maîtres à penser" like Sartre and Lacan, Althusser and Foucault. Nevertheless, during the second half of the 20th century he became France's most important practitioner of political theory, in the North American understanding of the term, as defined by the likes of Arendt, Strauss, and Sheldon Wolin. This volume collects over eighty texts by Lefort, written from 1945 to 2005, composed for the most part of journal and newspaper articles, interviews, and conference papers. They provide a fascinating exercise in what Foucault once called the project of an "ontology of the present." Until his break in 1958 with the journal Socialism or Barbarism, which he founded together with Cornelius Castoriadis, Lefort was active in the "revolutionary" Left, first as a Trotskyite, later as an advocate of people's self-government in the form of workers' councils. The texts in this collection written in the thirty years from 1945 to 1975 reflect the changes that brought Lefort to completely reject what he calls the "myth" of the Revolution found in the Marxist-Leninist tradition, and to espouse the non-Marxist, yet radical democratic theory for which he is best known. . . . Read the rest here: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=11823.