(Frase 2011) An imagined community

Frase, Peter. An imagined community: regional identities and the Left. Jacobin. 2011 Summer; 3–4:51–52. Available from: http://jacobinmag.com/2012/11/an-imagined-community/.

Frase argues that the critical problem confronting the Left today is to identify a collective “revolutionary agent” that can accomplish a fundamental transformation of society. Changes in the economy have weakened the classic Marxist revolutionary agent, the industrial proletariat, and the growth of feminist and minority identity politics has destroyed the credibility of the working class as a rallying point for all unprivileged people, revealing proletarian class struggle as itself a form of identity politics. Frase believes the human race as a whole to be unsuitable for the role of revolutionary agent, arguing that a sense of unity and purpose depends on the ability to contrast our own community with other communities. National identities can sometimes act as revolutionary agents, as in Egypt, but in the USA nationalism has strong reactionary associations. Pointing to Wisconsin as an example, Frase proposes regional identities within the USA as candidates for revolutionary agency.



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Last revision: April 5, 2013