On the Abolition of All Political Parties

Simone Weil

translated from the French by Simon Leys
New York Review Books 2013 [1950]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2016 http://dannyreviews.com/
Thirty two pages long, Simone Weil's "On the Abolition of All Political Parties" is really only an essay. There is nothing remarkable about its content (the problems with political parties are fairly obvious) but neither has it dated (nothing has changed here in the last seventy years) and it is a passionate statement of the case.
"When a country has political parties, sooner or later it becomes impossible to intervene effectively in public affairs without joining a party and playing the game. Whoever is concerned for public affairs will wish his concerns to bear fruit. Those who care about the public interest must either forget their concern and turn to other things, or submit to the grind of the parties. In the latter case, they shall experience worries that will soon supersede their original concern for the public interest."

In this edition this is accompanied by a twenty two page essay "The Importance of Simone Weil" by the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, which offers a broad overview of Weil's life and ideas and her unique combination of Christian mysticism with political activism. There is also an eleven page afterward by translator Simon Leys on Milosz and his friendship with Weil and Albert Camus. These parts fit together nicely, and together they make up an engaging little volume which gives some feel for Weil and her work and their context in the intellectual landscape of post-war France. My only complaint is that it seems rather too expensive for such a slim volume.

June 2016

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%T On the Abolition of All Political Parties
%A Weil, Simone
%M French
%F Leys, Simon
%I New York Review Books
%D 2013 [1950]
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781590177815
%P 71pp