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Daniel Bensaïd (25 March 1946 – 12 January
2010) 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
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
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.
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. Bensaïd
also debated revolutionary strategy with other Fourth International
members, and the British Socialist Workers
- with Henri Weber: Mai 1968: Une répétition générale
(François Maspero, 1968)
- La revolution et le pouvoir (Penser, 1976)
- Walter Benjamin sentinelle messianique (Plon,
- 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
- Eloge de la resistance e l'air du temps (Textuel
- Une lente impatience. Stock - Un ordre d'idées 2004.
- Les irreductibles (Textuel 2001)
- Fragments Mécréants. Mythes Identitaires et République
- "In Memory of a Rebel." Telos 44, Summer 1980.