This paper puts into question the current leftist tendency to reject leader, party and State in favor of horizontal forms of organization. Critically extending key moments where the often opposed political theories of Laclau and Badiou touch on the question of "the leader," I argue for a political conception that neither simply opposes presentation and re-presentation, nor subsumes one under the other. Articulated in relation to the process of "chavismo" in Venezuela, this conception identifies the leader, and the State, as necessary, experimental sites in transformative politics.

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