COVID Revolution

in Democratic Theory
Author: Jodi Dean1
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  • 1 Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, USA
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Revolution only occurs when people are willing to die for it. The last few days of May 2020 showed that thousands of people were willing to risk their lives in the struggle against the racist capitalist system. Rage at four hundred years of oppression, exploitation, and denigration, at the systemic murder of black, brown, and indigenous people, and at wanton, visible, and permissible police violence could no longer be contained. Between the virus and the economy, there was nothing left to lose.

Contributor Notes

Jodi Dean is Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including The Communist Horizon (2012), Crowds and Party (2016), and Comrade (2019) all published by Verso. E-mail:

Democratic Theory

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Canetti, Elias. 1984. Crowds and Power. Trans. Carol Stewart. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

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  • Lenin, Vladimir Ilych. n.d. “Left-wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder,” available at Accessed July 17, 2020.

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