One question which has to be addressed is as to the relevance of group theory as such at all. Why was it that in seeking to update his basic existential-phenomenological theory of the subject did Sartre necessarily need to invoke some kind of group dynamic for what was at least initially an absolute individual freedom of consciousness? One can only presume that this was in the face of his more doctrinaire Marxist critics, who pointed to the very real exigencies which face his conception when applied to the social world. In acknowledging these criticisms, and in light of his discovery and near obsession with the dialectic, Sartre phrased his new project as a return to a pure Marxism, free from the dogmas which had befallen it by the time of the early 1960s. Whilst it is true that an overly determinist-mechanistic view of history combined with a dangerously obsequious pro-Soviet Union line were damaging the intellectual and moral credibility of continental Marxist parties, what Sartre did was quite distinct from a mere corrective. In actuality his project (in Critique of Dialectical Reason and Search for a Method) emerges as a way of integrating the Marxist dialectic with his previous work, and as such there remained an irreducible tension. This tension, between the grand sweep of the dialectic and the ultimate freedom of the individual reaches its highest point in his understanding of the group, for it is here that individual freedom, dialectical motion, and the exis of the practico-inert situation meet and are negotiated. For Sartre at least the theory of the Group evolved as the solution to the tensions of combining an individualistic existential phenomenology with a dialectical view of history. In this sense the group is the point where he cedes some ground (in terms of the originary freedom of the individual) in the face of the viscous gluey stability of the already socially formed world.
Why now? Because the problem still hangs partially unresolved. Whilst Badiou prima facie (in Being and Event) at least seems to dodge the question entirely, both he and Guattari have recourse to strikingly crypto-Sartrean accounts. In terms of empirical history, the very issue which was both the spur and ultimate limit for the CDR remains highly problematical to anyone thinking post-Marxist political theory: the collapse of the Soviet project into a tyrannical bureaucratic Stalinism. Any account of revolutionary strategy must deal with this, and it will be interesting to disentangle this historical challenge in the works of Badiou and Guattari. For Guattari the resistance to micro-fascisms is a central part of his answer. For Badiou his ethics of the truth process would seem to preclude such collapses into neo-Stalinism. But still, whilst these answers go some of the way towards satisfying the need for an answer to this question, in operational terms they remain somewhat unsatisfactory, mere moralising injunctions against such a collapse - for me at least there is a need to answer at the very level of the intersubjective structure of the revolutionary group itself.