Since the rise of capitalism, socialists have faced certain deep-seated obstacles: the hostility of the bourgeois state, the fitful curve of proletarian class-consciousness, and the inertia or active opposition of apparatuses originally built by the workers for struggle. Daniel Bensaïd reviews the answers to these problems given in the 'classical' period of the Marxist movement. He then examines them in light of events in Southern Europe and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, including the growth and diversification of the state, growing aspirations to self-management, multiple forms of dual power and the experience of left reformist governments.
Daniel Bensaïd was born in 1946. He was active in the French student and anti-imperialist movements that led up to May 1968. Drawing the lessons of the failure of the general strike, he emerged as one of the main advocates of building an independent radical left. He taught sociology at the University of Paris and was an IIRE Fellow until his death in 2010. His many published works include: Portugal: la révolution en marche (1975), Mai si! rebelles et repentis (with Alain Krivine, 1988), Le pari mélancolique (1997), Les irréductibles: théorèmes de la résistance à l'air du temps (2001) and Strategies of Resistance (2009).