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Daniel Bensaïd

Bensaïd at a conference in Barcelona in April 2008
Full name Daniel Bensaïd
Born March 25, 1946(1946-03-25)
Died January 12, 2010 (aged 63)
Era 20th century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Trotskyist

Daniel Bensaïd (25 March 1946 – 12 January 2010[1]) was a philosopher and a leader of the Trotskyist movement in France. He became a leading figure in the student revolt of 1968, while studying at the University of Paris X: Nanterre.


Life and career

Born in Toulouse, Bensaïd studied at the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud and became a leading theorist of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire and the United Secretariat of the Fourth International, and a professor of philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII.

With Daniel Cohn-Bendit he helped to found the Mouvement du 22 Mars (Movement of 22 March) which was involved in the protests of May 1968 in France.[2]

He was known for his studies of Walter Benjamin and Karl Marx, and a recent analysis of French postmodernism.

Daniel Bensaïd was a Fellow at the International Institute for Research and Education.

He died of AIDS.

Criticism and debate

Bensaïd and the Fourth International tradition have come under attack from sections of the far left for the strategy they have advanced in the social movements; in particular, for seeing reform and revolution as a false dichotomy, and proposing the formation of "broad parties". In one such critique, Luke Cooper, of the journal Fifth International, criticised Bensaïd for arguing that—in certain, specific circumstances—it maybe permissible to enter a capitalist government, and seek to use the existing state as an instrument of revolutionary transformation.[3] Bensaïd also debated revolutionary strategy with other Fourth International members, and the British Socialist Workers Party's Alex Callinicos.[4]


  • with Henri Weber: Mai 1968: Une répétition générale (François Maspero, 1968)
  • La revolution et le pouvoir (Penser, 1976)
  • Walter Benjamin sentinelle messianique (Plon, 1990)
  • La discordance des temps : essais sur les crises, les classes, l'histoire (Editions de la Passion 1995)
  • Marx l'intempestif : Grandeurs et misres d'une aventure critique (Fayard 1996); English translation: Marx for Our Times (Verso 2002)
  • Le pari melancolique (Fayard 1997)
  • Le sourire du spectre (Michalon 2000)
  • Qui est le juge? (Fayard 1999)
  • Contes et le gendes de la guerre ethique (Textuel 1999)
  • Eloge de la resistance e l'air du temps (Textuel 1999)
  • Une lente impatience. Stock - Un ordre d'idées 2004. ISBN 2-234-05659-4
  • Les irreductibles (Textuel 2001)
  • Fragments Mécréants. Mythes Identitaires et République Imaginaire (2005)
  • "In Memory of a Rebel." Telos 44, Summer 1980.


  1. ^ Laure Equy, "Le théoricien de la LCR, Daniel Bensaïd, est mort", Libération, 12 January 2010
  2. ^ Tariq Ali Obituary, The Guardian, 14 January 2010
  3. ^ Daniel Bensaïd and the “Return of Strategy”
  4. ^ Hegemony and the United Front [1] The Return of Strategy [2]

External links



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