The Communism of Love

The Communism of Love

An Inquiry into the Poverty of Exchange Value, by Richard Gilman-Opalsky, AK Press 2020

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"Fabulous! A wonderful idea, superbly carried out. After the horrors of the 'communism' of the last century, we need to talk of a Communism of Love, work out what it means and find the paths we make by walking in that direction. Against the tick-tock of capitalist doom, we urgently need to reinvent-rediscover our own tradition of going in the opposite direction, towards a Communism of Love. This book speeds us on our way."—John Holloway, author of We Are the Crisis of Capital

"The philosophy of Gilman-Opalsky gives new life to the word 'love,' which has been trivialized by advertising and fake sentimentalism. Those young people who are opening their eyes on the sad world that capitalism has cooked up for them, and those of us who are gathering and rebelling together, will find in this book the ideas that we need to overcome our despair."—Franco “Bifo” Berardi, author of Futurability

Exploring the meanings and powers of love from Ancient Greece to the present day, Richard Gilman-Opalsky argues that what is called “love” by the best thinkers to have approached the subject is in fact the beating heart of communism—that is, communism understood as a human yearning and way of life, not as a form of government. Along the way, he reveals with clarity that the capitalist method of assigning value to things is incapable of appreciating what humans treasure most. Capitalism cannot value the experiences and relationships that make our lives worth living; it can only destroy love by turning it into a commodity.

The Communism of Love follows the struggles of love in different contexts of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and shows how the aspiration for love is as close as we may get to a universal communist aspiration.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of five previous books, including Specters of Revolt and Precarious Communism.

More praise for The Communism of Love:

“A wonderfully evocative and thought-provoking book, a real gift to us all. Readers will be inspired and transformed throughout, seeing illustrated and philosophized how our love does and can break capitalist value production. Grounded and groundbreaking—this is a must read for all who want new social relations based in care and trust.”—Marina Sitrin, author of They Can’t Represent Us!

“In this beautifully crafted book, Richard Gilman-Opalsky persuasively uncovers and explores an ‘irreducibly antagonistic relationship of love to capitalist exchange value.’ Refusing to submit to the all-too-common reduction of love to sex, he points to the emergence of communist love during moments of uprising and resistance. In so doing, he illuminates the future of revolution.”—George Katsiaficas, activist and author of The Subversion of Politics

“Gilman-Opalsky’s The Communism of Love is a magisterial work comprised of a dialectics of love that ranges from an unsparing critique of treatises on romantic love, to a critical engagement with changing conceptions of love in the wake of precarity, individualism and the globalization of capitalism. In a book that is breathtaking in its range and attention to detail, the author settles on an approach that stresses love’s ‘rival logic of relationality,’ of being-in-the-world, of activating feeling, of cultivating a non-capitalist vocation of becoming more fully human. This is a courageous book that is not afraid to examine the dark side of love and its relationship to violence, brutality and loss of meaning. Most importantly, Gilman-Opalsky develops the possibilities inherent in a communist love, one that both denounces injustice and at the same time announces a new world of possibilities for communal being."—Peter McLaren, author of Pedagogy of Insurrection


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