Posted February 22, 2010
A February forum in Chicago memorialized the French radical philosopher and political leader, Daniel Bensaïd, who died in January 2010. A leader of the French student revolt of 1968, Bensaïd maintained a vigorous Marxist critique of politics. He was an incisive and internationalist critic of neo-liberal globalization, and was especially involved in developments within the radical left in Latin America, where he aided in the development of the Worker’s Party in Brazil. Most recently Bensaïd helped to found, in 2009, the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) in France.
A prolific writer and teacher, his most important theoretical work, Marx l’intempestif, (1995), was published in English in 2002 as A Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique. Bensaïd was a frequent author of op-eds in Le Monde and Libération, and appeared regularly on European radio and TV. A bibliography of Bensaïd’s English language writings is newly available.
Two of Daniel Bensaïd’s colleagues spoke at the event, which was hosted by the Open University of the Left. Historian and author Dr. Keith Mann is a Solidarity member in Milwaukee, a former staff writer for International Viewpoint and a monthly columnist for the Swiss revolutionary socialist newspaper L’anticapitaliste. His articles have appeared in International Labor and Working Class History, the International Review of Social History, Labor History, and the French social science journal le movement social. His new book, Forging Political Identity: Silk and Metal Workers in Lyon, France 1900-1939, is scheduled for publication in April, 2010. Veteran activist Patrick Quinn is Northwestern University Archivist Emeritus, a novelist and frequent contributor to The Wisconsin Magazine of History, and a colleague of Bensaïd’s in the international socialist current Fourth International.
Read Tariq Ali’s obituary of Daniel Bensaïd, published in the Guardian UK.