Recorded Fragments


Twelve reflections on the 20th century

with Daniel Bensaïd
Preface by Michael Löwy

ISBN: 978-0-902869-67-7 (print)
ISBN: 978-0-902869-55-4 (e-book)

Print RRP: £12, €15, $18.
E-book: £7.99, €9.99, $11.99.

210pages; 140x216mm.

With contributions from Olivier Besancenot, Isabelle Garo, Michael Löwy, Arya Meroni,  Hegoa Garay, Olivier Neveux, Ugo Paletha and Christine Poupin.

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These interviews with Daniel Bensaïd were broadcast in 2008 on the radio station Fréquence Paris Plurielle. Through them, Bensaïd gives his insight into twelve significant events including the October Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the assassination of Lumumba, the 1973 coup in Chile, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. These milestones of the ‘short twentieth century’ are necessarily a biased and partial choice. In this book, one reads some of the main analyses that structure Daniel Bensaïd’s thinking at the beginning of the 21st century.

With contributions from Olivier Besancenot, Isabelle Garo, Michael Löwy, Arya Meroni and Hegoa Garay, Olivier Neveux, Ugo Palheta and Christine Poupin.

Daniel Bensaïd was born in Toulouse in 1946. He became a leader of the 1968 student movement and subsequently of one of France’s main far left organizations (Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire) and of the Fourth International.He is the author of Marx for our Times, Verso: 2010, Strategies of Resistance, Resistance Books: 2014 and An Impatient Life, Verso: 2015. He died in Paris in 2010.


The publication of the French edition of the book is the result of the collective work of Robert March, Jacqueline Guillotin, Come Pierron, Guillaume Garel, Marion Druart, Hegoa Garay and Olivier Neveux who transcribed and corrected the interviews. Thierry le Bail did the cover design. Thanks again to Louis Weber and the publisher of Le Croquant, to the whole team of Fréquence Paris Plurielle and of the show Les oreilles loin du Front, Laurent and Gwenn from the group Sous la Ruine, Camille Jouve, Alexandre Guérin and Christine Poupin, Pierre Barron and Patrick Le Moal.

The recordings were produced by Pierre Barron, Marion Druart, Guillaume Garel and Gwenn Sanchez. The audio version of all the episodes recorded by Daniel Bensaïd is available at

The English edition was edited by Penelope Duggan and translated by Bernard Gibbons, Dave Kellaway, Fred Leplat and Marie Stewart. Adam di Chiara designed the cover.


Preface:  Against the discourse of fatalism  – Michael Löwy,

Daniel Bensaïd on twelve events:

25 October 1917 – The storming of the Winter Palace (Russia)
15 October 1919 – The assassination of Rosa Luxemburg (Germany)
17 July 1936 – The start of the Spanish revolution
8 May 1945 – The end of World War 2 in Europe
1 November 1954 – The bloody All Saints Day (Algeria)
1 January 1959 – Entry into Havana (Cuba)
17 January 1961 – The assassination of Patrice Lumumba (Congo)
3 May 1968 – The closing of the Sorbonne (France)
26 August 1970 – In memory of the wife of the Unknown Soldier (France)
11 September 1973 – The fall of Allende (Chile)
10 May 1981 – The election of Francois Mitterand (France)
9 November 1989 – The fall of the Berlin wall (Germany)

For a strategic Marxism – Isabelle Garo;  Rescuing politics? – Olivier Neveux; Ecocommunism or ecology versus capital – Christine Poupin; Taking leaps seriously – Ugo Palheta; The new feminist wave: an accelerant of the class struggle – Hegoa Garay and Arya Meroni; Daniel, end and continuity – Olivier Besancenot.


‘In Bensaïd’s work we can salvage certain missed encounters: between a Trotskyism focused on economics and politics and a western Marxism focused on philosophy and aesthetics; between dominant trends of English-speaking Marxism and of continental European Marxism; as well as between academic Marxism and that of political activists; and between two generations of activists, that of 1968 and that of the 2000s, whose experience, inspiration and practice is very different.’
Cinzia Arruzza, author of Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism, and co-author of Feminism for the 99%

‘Daniel Bensaïd was one of the most creative, imaginative and sharpest minds in the contemporary history of Marxism, in France and beyond. He had the gift of combining fidelity to our Great Ancestors – Marx, Lenin, Trotsky – with an extraordinary open-mindedness and boundless curiosity.’
 Michael Löwy, author of The Theory of Revolution in the Young Marx, and of Why Ecosocialism: For a Red Green Future.