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Theory of the Partisan: Intermediate Commentary on the Concept of the Political unknown Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0914386339
ISBN-10: 0914386336
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Despite certain signs of ironic distrust in the areas of metaphysics and ontology, The Concept of the Political was, as we have seen, a philosophical type of essay to 'frame' the topic of a concept unable to constitute itself on philosophical ground. But in Theory of the Partisan, it is in the same areas that the topic of this concept is both radicalized and properly uprooted, where Schmitt wished to regrasp in history the event or node of events that engaged this uprooting radicalization, and it is precisely there that the philosophical as such intervenes again."

Jacques Derrida, from The Politics of Friendship

"Carl Schmitt's Theory of the Partisan is a must-read to understand our age of terrorism, in which adversaries are degraded as criminal and subhuman. Schmitt traces the transformation of the enemy concept that had governed limited warfare for the European sovereign states into the dogma that defines the political foe as a target of complete annihilation."

George Schwab
President, National Committee on American Foreign Policy
Professor emeritus, City University of New York

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Telos Press Publishing; unknown edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0914386336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0914386339
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book, the 'Theory of the Partisan', grew out of two lectures delivered March of 1962, fittingly, in Spain. I say 'fittingly' because it was in Spain, during the resistance to Napoleon, that we first encounter the full figure of the partisan fighter. Schmitt observes that 'regular' warfare (which is contrasted with the irregular warfare of the partisan throughout this text) only emerged with (that is, in opposition to) Napoleon and the armies of the French Revolution. It is as if, from the very beginning, modern 'enlightened' politico-military order called forth its demonic other. We are reminded that Napoleon had 250,000 troops who were held in check by 50,000 partisans. ...What? How? - This is Napoleon for God's sake! Well, yes, but in order to be a great General one needs at least two things: an army that will competently obey, and an enemy who will stand and fight. Even though the French Revolutionary troops provided the former, the Spanish partisans refused to provide Napoleon the latter...

From these beginnings Schmitt traces the History and Theory of the Partisan in a very terse manner. (Schmitt's book, really only an essay, is only 95 pages long.) After the defeat of Napoleon the victors, at the Congress of Vienna, "reestablished the concepts of European laws of war." However, as Schmitt points out, with "the introduction of compulsory military service, all wars become in principle wars of national liberation..." Thus Schmitt implies that to lose a war now means to lose the right to be a self-determining people. Since every war is now, at least potentially, a fight for national survival, there can be (in fact) no more limited wars... Naturally, along the way, we learn something of civil wars and colonial wars, both of which always had a partisan presence.
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