Thursday, 9 April 2009

Starting thoughts...

Biographical aside...

After a year of discussions about defining socialist politics with the comrades from the Black Cat Group, I began to reconsider my initial position, which aimed to incorporate all the various bad things of the world under the term 'capitalism' and thus incorporate all struggles against them into the term 'class struggle'.

I think this was a reaction against bad identity politics, as well as a discourse of 'tolerance' which basically relativised and made equivalent all forms of of struggle against these bad things. The negative reaction is correct, I believe, but the alternative I posited relied on a total equation of 'anti-capitalism' and 'class struggle', which tends to overlook the actual specificities of exploitations & oppressions for the sake of rhetoric. So I tried to think about what exactly the basis of socialism in everyday society is, as an actual principle, or tendency within human organisation. I started by thinking about different modes of social organisation that create change in the world, then thinking about motivation, and differentiating activity based on its cause. We can then proceed to think of class strugggle as a 'struggle-for' where the 'for' is an expansion, or generalisation of some principles already present in the social world.

I don't fully agree with either of these notes, and they're both clearly quite limited (god, "happiness" is so lame), but I think the principle of associational modes of organising is useful enough. I'll flesh it out in a later, more focused piece (if I defined it clearly earlier, I can't find it now...)

In M->C->M', capitalist activism finds itself as the transformational logic of capitalist society. But for the capitalist, the transformational quality is obscured by the simple reflexive continuity of accumulation; the social/material transformation of the world created by capitalist projects is a side effect.

If the capitalist class identifies the corporation as the structure for the realisation of their projects, the political class identifies the state political structure. It is from there that they can develop and implement their various plans.

The working class must find its own structures. People who do not have access to such structures as State and corporation must find or develop their own. On the lowest levels, these are simply social structures by which we aim to realise the type of life that we want. On another, these are structures by which we aim to enact a force upon society.

I suggest that is when people use social structures dominated by associational principles of organising that they are happiest.

Later notes

We can reconfigure the terms and problems of classical anarchism into spatial terms.

The 'venting', or symbolic protest action of the electoral left is intended to generate a stance, a block of recognisable mass.

Direct action is conscious, projective movement. It contains a direction, defines its path en route and applies a force.


Capitalism and all hierarchical systems maintain the relative privilege of a minority through compulsive behaviour. However, it's survival/growth depends upon its ability to harness initiative based on impulsive behaviour.

This is fostered in a wider group of people via economic and ideological infastructures and is, passively, the ideological status quo (initiative within certain bounds).

We are looking for a society based on redistribution of weight between impulsive and compulsive behaviour.

Reaction [i.e. Reactionary forces] in capital arises when the generalisation of impulsive behaviour exceeds manageable bounds both in scope and in breadth.

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