Ernesto Laclau

Mobilizing ‘the Alternativist’: Exploring the management of subjectivity in a radical political party

Introduction

When the hope for something else and better perishes, the alternative dies with it [...]. However, belief is necessarily accompanied by doubt. Without doubt belief turns into conviction and blindness. Conversely, without belief doubts very easily develop into cynicism and dejection. The alternative thinker, writer, speaker and practitioner is one who is full of faith but far from faithful. (Schreven et al., 2008: 136)

Time to party?

Since the decline of classical Marxist theory and the concomitant proliferation of ‘new social movements’ from 1968 and onwards, two opposing lines of thought have dominated leftist thinking: One that could be called ‘horizontalist’ and one that could be called ‘verticalist’ (Prentoulis and Thomassen, 2013). While both lines of thought identify with the label of post-Marxism – sometimes even without apologies – their approaches to radical politics differ profoundly.

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