The Politics of Abstraction: Communism and Philosophy

  • Alberto Toscano
Keywords: communism, philosophy, politics


What might it mean to be a communist in philosophy, or to treat communism as a philosophical idea? A scandal or an anachronism for its detractors, such a question is not likely to sit well with communism’s relatively sparse and beleaguered partisans, for whom speculative abstraction might stand as the nemesis of concrete politics. This essay seeks to foreground what I’d like to call the politics of abstraction – signalling both the political contests over the conceptual definition of communism and the often polemical characterization of communism as an abstract politics – in order to reconsider the manner in which philosophy is caught up in the very emergence of the idea of communism. Communism develops both from and against philosophy. To rethink the idea of communism today is also to rethink this double movement, of immanence and separation, inheritance and refusal.


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How to Cite
Toscano A. The Politics of Abstraction: Communism and Philosophy. FV [Internet]. 2016Mar.8 [cited 2021Dec.2];30(3). Available from: