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This article reconsiders Arendt's frequently ignored proposal of a federal council system. While Arendt's references to a council system are usually dismissed by her interpreters, I re-examine Arendt's political writings in order to demonstrate the centrality of the councils to her thought. The development of the council system is traced back to two primary sources: a council communist tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Arendt's husband, Heinrich Bl├╝cher, and Arendt's Jewish writings of the 1930s and 1940s. The analysis reveals that Arendt's republicanism undertakes a council communist inflection, which has not yet been fully appreciated. Her distinct variety of council republicanism emphasizes the participatory and popularly empowered nature of council institutions.

Keywords: American Revolution; Hannah Arendt; Marxism; Rosa Luxemburg; council communism; council system

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2016

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