the death drive achieves its satisfaction by not achieving its aim. . . . The full paradox of the death drive, then, is this: while the aim (Ziel) of the drive is death, the proper and positive activity of the drive is to inhibit the attainment of its aim; the drive, as such, is zielgehemnt, that is, inhibited as to its aim, or sublimated, "the satisfaction of the drive through the inhibition of its aim" being the very definition of sublimation.
Could this begin a story of post-Marxism? And so in the sixties and seventies, leftists lost their desire. They lost their faith in communism, their desire for a socialist state. Some argued that the system requirements of advanced states could not be managed by bureaucracies. Markets were more efficient. Others argued that the basic premises of Marxism, a working class and the determining role of the economy, were essentialist and essentially wrong. The very aim of Marxism seemed to be death, the death of the political, the end of politics staged as the withering away of the state (which now looks more like the neoliberal fantasy and nightmare of the Real).
And so leftists shift, make themselves shift, make themselves to be shifted, away from their desire and into an economy of drive. They sublimate their political aims. They name their sublimation democracy (r-r-r-radical democracy) and say that it is good, the only good.
And this democracy is so satisfying. It delivers. Round and round they circle, enjoying all the while. Enjoying the process, the arguments, the little daily struggles. Enjoying the visibility and the revelation, desecretization, the making public. Enjoying the voice, their voice, hearing voices, giving voices, including ever more voices. The sublimation of the political in democracy produces extensive opportunities for intensive enjoyment. To imagine meeting the aim of politics is dismissed in advance, packaged as a dangerous death wish, fantastic desire, impossible dream.