The Anticommunist Marxism of
Socialisme ou Barbarie

The journal Socialisme ou Barbarie came to the attention of a wider public only after some of the leaders of the May '68 movement, especially Dany Cohn-Bendit, had explained its influence on them. The journal, like the political group that published it for sixteen years, during which forty issues were published—first bimonthly, then quarterly—placed itself explicitly out of the mainstream of organized left-wing politics. Only some three hundred copies of each issue were printed, and the journal finally ceased publication in 1965 after a final split within its ranks when its critical Marxism turned finally into a critique of Marxism. Attempts to reconstitute it during May '68 failed, however much its initiators found the May events to be a confirmation of their basic political orientation. Its leading members—Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Jean-François Lyotard, and Daniel Mothé—continued its project in their own ways. 1 But their experience with the journal—and with the political actions that the group undertook—should not be neglected by those who know only their later work. In the wake of 1989, their immanent critique of communism is more relevant than ever, as is their passage through Marxism to its internal self-critique. Although the historian


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The Specter of Democracy


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