What if we look at all the revolts of the last few years (from 2010 on) as revolts of the knowledge class or cognitariat? So, we think of knowledge workers broadly -- teachers, adjuncts, civil servants, nurses, Verizon workers, the newly layed off, phone-center employees, programmers, the unemployed students and graduate students -- we read, in other words, the precarious in terms of the majority of knowledge workers (those who generate content and data for communicative capitalism) who have been displaced and disposed because of the very technological innovations that make them knowledge workers. My hypothesis is that all the revolts of the last three years are revolts of these e-proles. The current skirmishes around Google buses are thus absolutely key for understanding the current cycle of struggles. Likewise, university struggles aren't epiphenomenol or derivative. They are major sites of struggle, like factories were in previous cycles.
The problem with much emphasis on the cognitariat has been the focus on the entrepreneuers and billionaires. This emphasis tends to rely on rags-to-riches narratives: homegrown computers and hackers in it for the lulz. But these stories are of course capitalist fairy-tales that displace our attention from workers onto their becoming-capitalist. Success is when they are capitalists, huge amounts of venture capital, successful IPOs, etc. What matters, though, are those who remain knowledge workers.
If this inclination is correct, then the stupid media fixation on Facebook and Twitter in the revolutions is useful: it flags the activity of the cognitariat (I really hate this term, though -- is there another one? like cybertarians? digital proletariat is pretty awful, e-proles? what about e-proles? I think that sounds pretty good ...) It also explains the importance of Anonymous, both as actors and as emblems. And, it links people like Snowden and security questions into the class struggle.
So, looking at the protests and revolts of the last few years as the class struggle of the cognitariat would account for the persistence of personal media, the people protesting, the economic position of the protesters, and the political ambiguity of the protests. E-proles have a strong libertarian bent (I blame 30 years of capital resurgent). They tend to present themselves as post-political, anti-political (for example, in the Spanish movement of the squares). They are so fluid and spongy (whatever beings, imaginary identities -- I talk about this in Blog Theory) that they can be pushed, channeled in different directions (they have a hard time uniting as a class and so tend to concentrate around identity claims). So, the revolt in Ukraine would be part of the same series as Tunisia, Egypt, OWS, and Turkey.
Struggles of e-proles don't look like past struggles of the working class because of the disparate, individualized nature of media under communicative capitalism. But it is a class struggle nonetheless.
Below are excerpts from an essay by Christopher Newfield on the knowledge economy. Much of it is quite useful and interesting. I am posting it because I think it helps provide some good context for the reflections above about the cognitariat. Some folks might recall that this was big a few years ago. The discussion pretty much died down because knowledge workers weren't a revolutionary class. But, I am suggesting that maybe, in fact, we are.
A few weeks ago when Paul and I were in NYC for the baptism of the child of some friends (by Reverend Billy), we ran into some acquaintances. The acquaintances are men in their late twenties. We ran into them around NYU. I made strained small-talk with one while Paul chatted with the other.
The guy I was talking to is a hedge fund manager.
I didn't push it. Really. After covering sports, the weather, the few people we know in common, he asks about my kids. I reply that my son is going to McGill. He's impressed and adds, "a lot of guys in my firm went to McGill." I smile sweetly, "The one thing I hope my son will never, ever, become is a hedge fund manager."
The guy laughs uneasily, "Well, he should be able to make his own choices."
"But not that."
"What's so wrong with being a hedge fund manager?"
I look at him like he must either have severe brain damage or be from another planet (both, I think, are true, the effects of capitalist excess). "Umm, the role of the finance sector in the intensification of economic inequality in the US and the larger global economic crisis?"
He says, "Well, that's your opinion."
"No. It's a fact."
"Well, some would disagree."
"Then they are wrong."
He stares at me. I offer, "My most recent book is The Communist Horizon." He grabs the other guy and insists that they have to go. Now.
The next evening while a blizzard engulfed the city I sat in a bar with a socialist friend a few years younger than the other guys. After I recounted the conversation from the night before, he tells me a similar story. A few weeks earlier, he was chatting with a woman at a party. He said something critical of Wall Street and she became uneasy, volunteering that she worked in finance, that people who go into debt have no one but themselves to blame, that anyone who works hard can easily save enough money to have a good life, etc. He described some of the challenges faced by his working class parents, tying them to the structural role of debt and unemployment for capitalism. She became increasingly uncomfortable, defensive, and angry, ultimately storming off.
The bright side of these stories of twenty-something shame: the fact that they feel it. They aren't bragging and gloating. This isn't Jamie Dimon and his gloating Christmas card. Rather, these twenty-somethings quickly cave under the realization of the wrong of inequality. They might try, initially, to parrot the capitalist ideological clap-trap that protects them, but they feel its holes. They don't believe it anymore, even if they want to. Jamie Dimon and his ilk do their best to patch up the the image of extreme wealth, "look how fun it is!," but their deafness to the tone of the times betrays their underlying desperation. Misfires are symptoms of their crumbling position. They won't be able to hold it much longer.
I lived in NYC in the mid-eighties. I worked for a year in a low-paid publishing job and then went to graduate school. A few friends and a lot of acquaintances had gone to work on Wall Street (Karen's Ho's Liquidated is a great ethnography on this pipeline). They were investment bankers and traders. Some dealt in junk bonds. From the outside, it looked like a wild scene, not as extreme as "The Wolf of Wall Street" but not so far off, either.
The difference is that in the mid-eighties, these guys were shameless, masters of the universe, Tom Wolfe would call them in Bonfire of the Vanities. The Gordon Gekko line, "greed is good," wasn't a critique, it was a flag, a banner.
This flag is now in tatters. The banner has fallen.
Now even those who want to be Wall Street's gekkos and wolves can't. They don't believe anymore that the rest of us believe that they are winners, that they are the smartest guys in the room, that they somehow deserve or have earned their immensely unequal share of the common surplus. They know that the rest of us think that are thieves, extortionists, criminals. A little shame has crept in. That's why the twenty-somethings got angry.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" lays bear the injunction to enjoy underlying the last thirty years of financialization. The ambiguity of the movie comes from our relation to this enjoyment. Does it incite our desire, does it arouse us, making us against our better selves in fact want to be like them, want to have what they have? Does it disgust us, arousing our indignation? Does it blend the two together so that we find ourselves with no place to stand (sex and drugs are fun! I'm no conservative, moralistic, prude!)? And, if it does any of these does the movie end up coming too much to the assistance of Jamie Dimon and his ilk? Maybe the audience for the film is those twenty-something finance types who want to rid themselves of the shame that shadows their work in the sector that is killing the world.
Criticisms of the movie for its sexism miss the mark. The movie enacts obscenity. It enjoins excess and this injunction always is at a cost to someone. Someone is exploited (or excluded--it's a white movie--or beaten up--lots of homophobia). The excess has to be understood as inseparable from Wall Street. Nothing to be proud of here. They should all be ashamed.
In the contemporary US, capitalist ideology pushes non-stop on the throttle of individuality.
"Individuality," in the present context, is not the same as rugged individualism or personality, although it shares with these earlier formations an emphasis on the singularity of a self against others. Unlike rugged individualism, contemporary individuality doesn't emphasize strength as much as it does suffering. Unlike personality (appearing in a new form in the 19th century and well-described by Richard Sennett), contemporary individuality doesn't rely on an interiority that is both authentic and to be cultivated, expressed only with care and attention. Instead, individuality is uniqueness for its own sake, uniqueness as moment, quip, fashion statement, flare, comeback, quirk--the difference that registers as different before it is swept into communicative capitalism's flows.
Two elements that factor into the particularly US fetish for individuality are law and economics. Our legal system emphasizes individual rights. The peculiarity of US libertarianism is its inability to acknowledge that a right is only as a good as the force that backs it up, whether that force comes from the state or the community. Rather than part of a broader cultural appreciation for the imbrication of rights and responsibilities, duties, and obligations (part of the continental tradition), in the popular understanding of rights in the US, rights are individual claims to freedom. Rights are imagined in terms of the specific injury of a plaintiff, not the larger, structural, condition of a collectivity. Winning rights (ending segregation, workplace discrimination, marriage restrictions) has required not just legislative victories but judicial ones as well, which means finding individual plaintiffs.
The US capitalist economic system likewise insists on individuality. Particularly in the wake of the attack on unions, work is more and more figured as an individual matter. It's a choice, an option, a matter of one's own unique ability to work hard, play the game, think outside the box, be a team player, demonstrate leadership skills, give a 110 percent, seize the opportunity, and take risks. One has to be be unique, different from all the rest, so that one stands out from the crowd, shows that one has what it takes -- no wonder it's hard for some people to think of themselves as part of the 99%. The demands of so-called flexible employment (flexible for whom?) make the process of differentiation constant and inescapable: one is perpetually trying to show that one is the best for whatever job comes around.
The best are hard to find. They are unique. This is the lesson of Wall Street, whose finance wizards are ostensibly rare and valuable enough to justify massive bonuses every year. It's the lesson of Silicon Valley: not everyone is Steve Jobs. It's the lesson of professional sports (one MVP), of Hollywood, of all of communicative capitalism's intensified networks as they activate the many in order to generate the one.
How, then, does the left respond?
There is the rejection of leaders. Already part of the legacy of '68, the current rejection of leaders rightly tries to immunize itself from celebrity seekers attempting to use radical politics for their own advancement. Some of the best versions of this have been the common names Zapatista (including Subcommandante Marcos) and Anonymous. They replace individual leaders with a common name and image. Occupy went far in this direction of a name in common as well.
Yet it's also the case that people sometimes interpret the need to provide an alternative to capitalist individuality as an injunction to destroy any individual who emerges out of the left as someone exciting, someone to hear and read. Need passes through demand to the plane of unconditionality, to put it in the ever-popular Lacanian idiom. In this urge to destroy, we find the intensity, the excess, of desire. It's desire that is absolute, unconditioned, out of proportion, desire that abolishes the dimension of the other.
We learn from Lacan that this desire is incommensurate to any specific object. So, we would be wrong to think of it in terms of its object. I admit, this is a drag. It would be much easier to be able to point out that someone desires their own fame, their own power, their own glory, and then demolish them by demonstrating how this desire makes them hypocrites, failed and false leftists, even betrayers of the people or the revolution. This sort of cheap shot relies on a shift into the economy of the drive, into the loop of momentary satisfaction where one repeats the same gestures over and over, getting off a little bit, enjoying, but completely effacing the dimension of desire.
To think within desire we have to think of it in terms of its effects, its abolition of the dimension of the other. The question, then, would be who is the other who is abolished? Who is the other for us?
For communists, the other is the capitalist other. In the demand to abolish private property (ownership and waged labor), basic needs pass "over to a state of being unconditioned, not because it is a question of something borrowed from a particular need, but of an absolute condition out of all proportion to the need for any object whatsoever, and in so far as this condition is perhaps called for precisely in this, that it abolishes here the dimension of the other, that it is a requirement in which the other does not have to reply yes or no." The capitalist cannot meet the demand. It cannot even reply "yes or no." Morphed through demands, basic needs are not enough. Their satisfaction is just a vehicle for a more profound, unconditional, restructuring of society.
An effect of communist desire, then, is the abolition of capitalist other, and hence an abolition of class itself, the very relation on which capitalism depends.
It's no wonder that capitalism works incessantly at blocking this dimension of desire, at attempting to push it into the more present and frequent momentary satisfactions of drive. Capitalism wants to channel this desire into different languages and images, the ones that it provides -- that of individuality, specificity, uniqueness. For a left that has struggled for a voice in a place contorted by forty years of unfettered capitalism, this channeling is apparent in efforts to suppress emerging class solidarity. Even as a global proletariat -- textile workers in Bangladesh, technology workers in China, transport workers of multiple backgrounds, indeed, a mobile proletariat visible less in terms of national location, race, or sex than of interdependence along multiple vectors -- presses to build its collective power, the left finds itself attached to practices that undermine solidarity. Perpetually suspicious and mistrustful, it eats its own.
There are multiple versions of this mistrust. Sometimes it manifests as a preoccupation with process. Sometimes it manifests as critique and "problematization" before anything has even been carried out. For those who engage in social media, the left-liberal press, and left academia, it appears as a set of predictable responses and snarky one-liners, which then devolve into debates over tone, and various accusations, most of which are mean-spirited, many of which demolish rather than build.
In the course of the demolition, the capitalist is displaced as the other. He is safe, protected, no longer the target.
The only way to move through this is via an ethos of comradeship, a solidarity. We can't fight class war one person at a time. We have to be connected, solidary, and strong. Mark Fisher's recent essay in The North Star is a major contribution to such an ethos as it describes the practices that have prevented it from emerging as well as their destructive effects. Mark writes:
We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for it by condemning and abusing each other. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must always agree – on the contrary, we must create conditions where disagreement can take place without fear of exclusion and excommunication. We need to think very strategically about how to use social media – always remembering that, despite the egalitarianism claimed for social media by capital’s libidinal engineers, that this is currently an enemy territory, dedicated to the reproduction of capital.
As I see it, examples of destructive projects are criticisms that attack someone for sins of omission, as if one person could do, think, and write everything, as if one person had the capacity of a party to encompass a wide array of positions. Criticisms of blog posts as if they were academic articles or even books are similarly misplaced as are attacks that proceed as if one article were all that a person had ever written.
What would the left mediapelago look like if we treated one another as comrades? Yes, there would be fights, splits, and purges. But they would grow out of and intensify opposition to capitalism. They would contribute to the maintenance of communist desire, not capitalist drive.
Brilliant -- watch this now. Brand passionately says: the problems of the people are not being addressed by our political system. Profit is a filthy word. The time is now -- it's happening everywhere. Occupy Wall Street brought the idea of the one percent to a generation. Revolution: it's going to happen.
The reality we face now and the way that Leninist ideas apply to that reality deserve much more consideration than I have time to offer here. But I want to conclude with a few thoughts that hopefully will be helpful.
First of all, the turn capitalism has taken over the past few decades has knocked the stuffing out of our class, has ridden roughshod over its organisations and communities and has driven down its quality of life. More than this, there has been a proletarianisation process engulfing and embracing many occupations and social layers once considered “middle class”, while at the same time technology and globalisation have eroded the industries that were once at the heart of working-class employment, replacing them with jobs that pay less and are less secure. And all of this has contributed to a slow-moving, contradictory, but intensifying radicalisation process, and out of this process have been emerging new struggles, new forms of struggle and a still-evolving crystallisation of a new, diverse vanguard layer of the working class.
The possibilities now exist for the coming together of the kind of revolutionary party that Lenin spoke of. This means that no such party yet exists, and that no unified nucleus or core group of such a party exists – and none can yet exist until there is the crystallisation of a radical working-class subculture capable of sustaining a class-conscious vanguard layer of a size substantial enough, in turn, to sustain the kind of genuine revolutionary party described by Lenin. My prediction and firm belief is that the core group, the nucleus, of such a party will be composed of activists who are currently in a number of different revolutionary groups, plus activists who are in no revolutionary group at all, plus some people who at this moment are neither revolutionaries nor activists – but who will become so in future struggles.
The responsibility of any revolutionary group worth its salt will be to help create the preconditions necessary for the emergence of such a party. One aspect of this will involve communicating to more and more people a socialist understanding of what is happening in our society and our world, and doing this in words and ways that will make sense to them. This means – also – our developing a clearer comprehension of that reality. Related to this is the need to help define and initiate struggles, or join in already-existing struggles, to win improvements in the here-and-now for more and more sectors of the working class and the oppressed.
This brings me to the final quote, from authors of an imperfect but important book entitled Beyond Capitalism?, which blends experience (for example) from the Occupy movement with Marxist insights. In that book, Luke Cooper and Simon Hardy say this: “The creation of new forms of political organization which draw upon the spirit of the social movements, rekindle grassroots trade union organization, and embolden participation of wider sections of society in social mobilizations is an orientation on which the success of the left ultimately depends.” They elaborate on “the need to regroup the left in new political formations that provide a space for strategic thinking, that allow different strategies to co-exist in a certain tension, while also creating the conditions for unity and action.” They explain that this should not be seen “as an excuse to avoid reflective, strategic discussion but as a starting-point through which we can move towards a greater degree of genuine unity”.
I think it is important for our different groups of the socialist left not to rush into hothouse efforts to forge some premature organisational unity. Instead we should focus on working together in real, practical struggles, with an eye towards possible unity, but with a focus on the actual struggles. Those struggles are the necessary, transformative precondition for possible unity. The only fruitful unity will come on the basis of joint action in such real, practical struggles. If such unity is achieved, the result might be a democratic, durable, well-run organisation of several thousand, with full-time organisers and new technologies being utilised to enable more and more people to become activist cadres working together to build local struggles, as well as advancing left-wing educational and cultural work, throughout the country. Such an organisation could do a lot to lay the groundwork and create the possibility for the kind of revolutionary party we need.
От редакции: Джоди Дин – известный американский политический философ, профессор, активистка движения «Оккупай Уолл-Стрит» и редактор журнала «Theory and Event», автор и редактор книг «Теория блогов: обратная связь и захват желания», «Демократия и другие неолиберальные фантазии», «Политика Жижека», «Секрет публичности», «Коммунистический горизонт». В интервью LIVA.com.ua она рассказывает о необходимости организации антикапиталистического движения, о его перспективах и о своем понимании концепции «общего».
English version here: http://liva.com.ua/dean-interview.html#
One way to discern an "idea whose time has come" is by the strength of the urge to evict it.
A new rejection of calls for a Party of the left suggests that, finally, a sense of the need for something like a Party is so undeniable that opponents feel like they have to confront it directly. Instead of coughing up old criticisms from late nineteenth century agrarian anarchists or early twentieth century Dutch councilists, those who attempt to divert the energies building toward greater organization are now having to look at our current situation. In related good news, the very weakness of "Party in the USA: the New Newest Left & the Organization of Sadness" signals the diminishing persuasiveness of those who want to prevent the left from coming together.
Tiredly repeating the irony and innuendo of late nineties academic jargon, Party in the USA: The New Newest Left & the Organization of Sadness criticizes recent arguments for a Party, one from Jacobin, the other the #Accelerate Manifesto. The post begins by exploring the 'masturbatory metaphorics' of the essays, relying on word play that insinuates that calls for left unity are little more than masculine narcissistic fantasies. The intent is to make left organization seem silly, even embarassing: "can one think of something more auto-erotic, more narcissistically invested, than some dude offering up yet another contribution to the archive of revolutionary Party invitations?" Well, sure. How about a rejection of the Party that trades on the playfulness of blogosphere psychoanalysis?
This kind of simple reversal, although adequate as a response to the post's wankery, only repeats the gesture animating the piece. What matters more than the author's indulgence is the position from which the author's critique is raised. What is at stake in ostensibly left positions that want to prevent the left from unifying?
Why would someone on the left want the left to be weak, to remain where it is, to refuse to learn from the Occupy experience and take the next step? What accounts for this left particularism and for its insistence that what we have now--fragmented groups that affiliate from time to time while focusing on their own particular issues and agendas--is the best way to end capitalism and build a more egalitarian world? Is it the narcissism of small differences? the fear of change? the assumption that capitalism is here to stay? a failure to grasp our present situation? Is it an individualist conception of freedom? A hopelessness with regard to the capacities of organized political subjects?
As it rejects the Party, the post depicts the 'new, new left' as sad. This is a mistake. What the author calls the "new new left" isn't sad -- it's energized, vital, fully aware of the urgency of the present. That's why meetings like Historical Materialism and Left Forum have been getting bigger every year, why there are more seminars, reading groups, actions, discussions, symposia, journals, and events, why Jacobin is making a mark.
I now take up some of the specific arguments offered against the Party.
1. "Left unification is not an unqualified good." Since these day everything is qualified--qualification being the quintessential gesture of the left--this point doesn't need to be made. So, what's at stake in stating the obvious? Opening the door to race and gender (has anyone else noticed that white male anarchists never talk about race and gender so much as when they are attacking communists, revolutionary socialists, and anyone else arguing for organizing the left?).
What's disingenuous about such appeals to race and gender is their obliteration of the history of the Communist Party in anti-racist struggle, the reality of Third World Communism (particularly in the seventies), and the fact that sexism and racism are not limited to the organized left but appear throughout society, including anarchist and insurrectionist settings. Perhaps the author is covertly urging a logic of separatism, of identity politics (the implication of the author's invocation of racism and sexism in Marxist groups being that criticism implies splitting rather than learning and change)? If so, then how far does it go? All the way to the individual (itself a false stopping point giving the imaginary character of identity). If not, then it is necessary to acknowledge that a left Party today, one with the capacities of the communist Party, wouldn't exist in the past but would incorporate and learn from the last sixty years of struggle and critique.
The author of the post, though, thinks that what we are doing now is the way we should continue to do things -- it's more flexible. It allows for more autonomy. But autonomy for whom and in what contexts? It seems to me that it's the autonomy of the ineffectual, one that continues to enable an economy that traps people in debt and furthers the intensification of inequality. The author, though, emphasizes "flexible forms of putting groups in contact" with no attention to what it might mean to create structures capable of enduring over time and space in the context of ever intensifying political struggle.
2. Left organizing should not "step back to (pre-)Fordist modalities of political organization in a post-Fordist capitalist landscape. Even MBAs know that flexible decentralization—for them in terms of labor processes, not in terms of the channeling of profit, of course—unleashes greater productive potentials than hierarchical forms of centralization, and I like thinking that my comrades have at least achieved the level of savvy of a Wharton undergrad." This lets us know the author's primary commitments -- to a vision of society in neoliberal economic terms. In this vision, the political is completely absorbed in the economic: both seem to benefit from the productive potential that comes from decentralization. Note as well the omission of the fact that there have been multiple models of the Party--not one "pre-Fordist" or Fordist model (a point which has to be occluded if the binary between bad centralization and good decentralization is to hold).
More horrifying, though, is the repetition of a primary myth of the new economy, that of flexibility and decentralization. If that were true, then why has there been consolidation in the finance sector, in communications, and in oil and gas? Doug Henwood demolished this myth in his After the New Economy. Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, shows the connections between ideas of flexibility and military research (Rand Corporation, defense contracting, advanced research programs). And hubs are an immanent property of complex networks -- growth and preferential attachment result in powerlaw distributions, fundamental features of the winner-take-all and winner-take-most characteristic of communicative capitalism (Barabasi, Taleb). This doesn't even scratch the surface of the effects of so-called flexibility on workers and communities. Flexible for whom? Certainly not for laid off workers.
The post, though, announces "horizontalism does in fact produces a robust economy of organizations." It's already a bad call to render left political groups as an economy, as if groups were competing with each other rather than engaged in struggle against a common enemy. But can we say that there is robustness here? And in what sense? The fragmentation of the energies and efforts produced during Occupy has cost us a lot of time and good will. Attachment to horizontalism has been one of the problems. Without clarity of membership, infilitration is easy. Without clarity of vision, constant fighting over goals is unavoidable. Without a shared sense of how we are going to work together, what sorts of decision rules will let us determine which projects to pursue and when, we fall into patterns that reinforce prior privileges. It's not for nothing that Jo Freeman's "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" became so prominent during Occupy.
3. We don't need small groups of militants, leaders, an orientation, or a plan. I will ask again: who does this benefit? Who would want to seduce the left into thinking that we can have a politics without plans, a disoriented politics? Who would want to eliminate or undermine left militants and leaders? It makes me wonder about COINTELPRO and disinformation operations.
Planning is only a problem if one thinks that all potentials emerge in ways that leftists support. Since this is obviously false, planning ways to move forward (as well as ways to respond) is crucial. The most significant recent tragedy on the left is our failure to use the financial crisis of 2008 to our benefit. Occupy was a much needed (although a little late) response. The post asserts: "The last cycle of rebellion closed because we couldn’t keep up the intensity, because our feedback loop of positive affect was shattered by the State and by our own failures to stay committed to the democracy that we were making." Maybe we couldn't keep up our intensity because we lacked organizational structures that would distribute tasks such that we knew that someone would take responsibility for them. Too few people felt like they had to do everything (because some would drop the ball, fail to show up, volunteer but then not carry out what they had agreed to do). And maybe planning, having a clear orientation, would enable us not to be "shattered by the State." If we collapse whenever the State intervenes, we have and will have no movement. The one thing of which we can be absolutely certain is that the stronger we become the more repression we will encounter.
4. The turn to the Party is therapeutic, done in the "spirit of sadness." This doesn't ring true. In fact, it's so false as to invite diagnosis. Perhaps the sadness is over the failure of horizontalism. This would make sense. Many people are still grieving over the inability of horizontalism to last or scale. I think, though, that it has been an important experiment. We've learned from it. Indeed, as I argue in The Communist Horizon, this experiment should inform our thinking as we figure out the form of the Party that will work for us today.
The remainder of the blog post sets out what the author prefers to the Party. He advocates
a. "the production of new political sensoriums, new sensoriums of the political, so that we can ironize the ontological density of the state and capital and not feel like we’re living defective half-lives if we’re barred from access to either." Given that irony is a primary marketing tool and content of pop culture, it's hard for me to see exactly what it contributes to a new political sensorium. It also seems to me that trying to feel better about being barred from the state and capital is exactly what capitalism wants of those it's immiserating. Unhappy about your 80 thousand dollars of student loan debt? Try yoga, a 12 step program, Zoloft, or ironizing ontological density!
b. All of the social knowledges and powers we used to attribute to those terms are immanent to the social itself. We don’t need to organize, to treat ourselves or the social as a technical object. The terms to which the author is referring are "activists, militants, and Parties." I confess that at this point I wonder if the author is actually a Platypoid doing his best to kill the left. Dismissing the dedication of our activists, the courage of our militants, and the histories and organizational capacities of our parties, he evokes a social free from antagonism, inequality, oppression, and exploitation. How are knowledges and powers distributed? Who can access them and for what purpose?
c. Let’s disorganize. Who benefits from a disorganized left? A prominent paper last year documented the rise in inequality and decline of labor unions. There is no reason to think that the immanent movement of capital will do anything but enrich the few and immiserate the many.