The Twilight of Politics
Forthcoming in July 2024
A classic work of political theory by a major twentieth-century figure of the Italian Left.
Italian political thinker Mario Tronti is most famous for being the author of Workers and Capital, which became the central theoretical formulation of Italian operaismo or workerism, a current of political thought emerging in the 1960s that revolutionized the institutional and extra-parliamentary Left in Italy and beyond. In The Twilight of Politics, written originally in 1998, Tronti argues that modern politics, which reached its apogee in the twentieth century, has ended.
Realism and Utopia, Tronti explains, were the foundational qualities of modern politics, which it always tried to clasp together. But behind this highwater mark of politics was a history over the longue durée, encompassing the wars of religion, Hobbes’ Leviathan, revolution, great individuals and popular movements, as well as innovations such as the nation-state and the party-form. Historically, the modern period is also a coming together of the categories of the political and the laws of political economy. At the heart of this book is Tronti’s attempt to hold together a view of the course of political history with a critique of the ‘dictatorship of the present’ to help us escape being ‘chained to the bars of an eternal present . . . which deprives us both of the freedom to look back and to see ahead.’