Daniel Bensaid

The website of International Viewpoint, the English language journal of the Fourth International, announces that Daniel Bensaid has died. He was for many years a leader of the LCR, a French Trotskyist organization that recently fused with other formations to create the New Anticapitalist Party. (See his article on that development here.)

Verso has just reprinted his Marx for Our Times in paperback, and I'm now reading his newly translated  book Strategies of Resistance, with an introduction by my friend Paul Le Blanc

From the obituary, which I am going to guess was translated very quickly:

The quality of Daniel's intelligence was to combine theory and practice, intuition and political understanding, ideas and organisation. He could, at the same time, lead a stewarding force and write a theoretical text.

He was one of those who inspired a fight which combined principles and political boundaries with openness and a rejection of sectarianism. Daniel, his own political convictions deeply rooted in him, was always the first to want to discuss, to try to convince, to exchange opinions, and to renew his own thinking....

Although seriously ill he overcame it for years, thinking, writing, working on his ideas, never refusing to travel, to speak at rallies or attend simple meetings. Daniel set himself the task of checking the solidity of our foundations and passing them on to the young generation. He put his heart and all his strength into it. His contributions, at the International Institute in Amsterdam, in the summer universities of the LCR and then of the NPA, at the Fourth International youth camp, made an impact on thousands of comrades. Transmitting the experience of the LCR to the NPA, Daniel decided to accompany the foundation of our new organisation with a relaunch of the review Contretemps and forming the "Louise Michel" society as a place for discussion and reflection of radical thought.

Daniel was all that. And in addition he was warm and convivial. He loved life.

Although many "68ers" turned their coats and abandoned the ideals of their youth, Daniel abandoned none of them; he didn't change. He is still with us.


I always regarded him as something like the heir to Ernest Mandel. My own attitude towards that tradition is a mixture of heterodoxy and fidelity. Watever its limitations, it is infinitely preferable to the prevailing cynicism. It is sad to learn of his death; his persistance and patience were an example it will be hard to replace.

January 12, 2010 2:51 PM | | Comments (0)

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