Claude Lefort: the “abolition of power” as totalitarian

Whoever dreams of an abolition of power secretly cherishes the reference to the One and the reference to the Same: he imagines a society which would accords spontaneously with itself, a multiplicity of activities which would be transparent to one another and which would unfold in a homogeneous time and space, a way of producing, living together, communicating, associating, thinking, feeling, teaching which would express a single way of being. Now what is that point of view on everything and everybody, that loving grip of the good society, if not an equivalent of the phantasy of omnipotence that the actual exercise of power tends to produce? What is the imaginary realm of autonomy, if not a realm governed by a despotic thought?

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from Claude Lefort, “Politics and Human Rights” in The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism, edited by John B. Thompson. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986), p 270.

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2 Responses to “Claude Lefort: the “abolition of power” as totalitarian”


  1. 1 schalomlibertad February 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    reminds me of Bookchin´s critique of oneness in the ecology movement. right on!


  1. 1 New blogs: self-governing socialism and radical archives « Poumista Trackback on January 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

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