Exploring the meanings and powers of love from Ancient Greece to the present day, Richard Gilman-Opalsky argues that what is called “love” by the best thinkers to have approached the subject is in fact the beating heart of communism—that is, communism understood as a human yearning and way of life, not as a form of government. Along the way, he reveals with clarity that the capitalist method of assigning value to things is incapable of appreciating what humans treasure most. Capitalism cannot value the experiences and relationships that make our lives worth living; it can only destroy love by turning it into a commodity.


The Communism of Love follows the struggles of love in different contexts of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and shows how the aspiration for love is as close as we may get to a universal communist aspiration.


Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of five previous books, including Specters of Revolt and Precarious Communism.


"Fabulous! A wonderful idea, superbly carried out. After the horrors of the 'communism' of the last century, we need to talk of a Communism of Love, work out what it means and find the paths we make by walking in that direction. Against the tick-tock of capitalist doom, we urgently need to reinvent-rediscover our own tradition of going in the opposite direction, towards a Communism of Love. This book speeds us on our way."—John Holloway, author of We Are the Crisis of Capital


"The philosophy of Gilman-Opalsky gives new life to the word 'love,' which has been trivialized by advertising and fake sentimentalism. Those young people who are opening their eyes on the sad world that capitalism has cooked up for them, and those of us who are gathering and rebelling together, will find in this book the ideas that we need to overcome our despair."—Franco “Bifo” Berardi, author of Futurability

The Communism of Love: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Exchange Value

  • AK Press 2020

    New paperback

    336 pages