A Theory of Immediate Collective Liberation

A presentation for Plan C London

January 19, 2016

Overview

  1. Revolution as an immediate goal
  2. How the 20th century outpaced radical theory
  3. A political science of liberation dynamics
  4. "How is it to be done?"

Revolution is not some distant hope

  • Global climate change = now or never
  • Refugee/climate migration crises = now or never
  • Right-wings + fascist Caliphate (?) = now or never
  • Increasingly brazen police states = now or never
  • Mental/social crisis of the West = now or never

How the 20th century outpaced radical thought (1)

(next four slides expand on these points, click down; click right to continue with main points)

 

1. The "iron cage" of instrumental rationality (Weber, etc.)

2. The pacification and near-extinction of key human capacities

3. The information/learning revolution has hardly entered radical politics

4. The cultural & mental effects of neoliberalism remain underestimated

 

How the 20th century outpaced radical thought (2)

 

1. The radical theory canon has been victim to larger trends of modernity

2. Instrumental rationality has made all life an object; now a terrifyingly thorough (if unequal) dehumanization (Weber; Frankfurt School; Foucault)

3. Since activist rationality is instrumental rationality, most activism remains hitched to the global institutional suicide trajectory

How the 20th century outpaced radical thought (3)

 

We are observing the pacification & extinction of key human capacities

  • The capacity to sincerely hold non-negotiable values
  • The capacity to trust oneself or each other
  • The capacity to express/embody one’s reality honestly
  • All of this permeates radical circles as much as anywhere else

How the 20th century outpaced radical thought (4)

 

The information revolution is still not fully understood by radicals

  • Web 2.0 remains underutilized for its capacity to encourage and receive defectors from status quo at massive scale
  • Information, knowledge, and learning
    • unexploited advances in why people don’t rebel
    • unexploited advances in psychology of groups
    • unexploited advances in learning & testing models of attitude/behavior change
    • But we are still studying "surplus value" and shit

How the 20th century outpaced radical thought (5)

 

The cultural & mental effects of neoliberalism remain underestimated

  • an epochal global ideological shift, closure, & confusion
  • massive emotional & intellectual destruction
    • importantly: the ruling & bourgeois classes have become so stupefied that they are not even enemies so much as zombies to be walked pass, if only we can learn to strut
  • mental health so important because it is invisible & immediately naturalized when occurring to many at once; yet pre-requisite to life

All of these factors point in the same direction.

Toward a Political Science of Liberation Dynamics (1)

1. Social, political, institutions are simply complex and evolved machines for distributing flows through bodies (Deleuze)

  • There is no "leverage" to be had because there is no "fulcrum"
  • Only institutions controlling life, and life to be liberated

2. Instrumental rationality is the railroad track that invisibly steers our radical desires into consistency with status quo institutions

  • This is why "strategic" organizing is doomed in advance

3. The question is: How to re-wire the flows such that we produce new forms-of-life incommensurable with the institutions? (technologies of life more desirable than the popular one: fascism)

Toward a Political Science of Liberation Dynamics (2)

4. Mass collective liberation (revolution) is achieved by re-wiring the flows starting from bodies in (random) proximity & moving outward

  • First, mutual re-wiring of alienated bodies in proximity to empower the separated bodies (e.g. "consciousness-raising")
  • Second, wiring the individualized liberations back up into groups & group liberations back down into individuals (+ defectors from status quo pulled irresistably to liberation-in-progress)
  • Third, mass collective liberation begins with wiring group liberations into other autonomous group liberations
    • “irreversible anthropological transformation” (Fontaine)

Toward a Political Science of Liberation Dynamics (3)

My main proposition:
 
 
 

 In this way, it is possible for even a small group of revolutionaries to spark and foster a cultural insurrection leading to #fullcommunism within a generation.

 

 

 

 

"How is it to be done?" (1)

Human Strike:

  • Refuse anything that doesn't increase feelings of flourishing (joy)
  • Zealously & publicly refuse the existence of whatever is false
  • Become unreasonably devoted to caring for ourselves (Lorde, etc.)
  • Support this and join it wherever you find it, however latent
  • All there is to do is "coordinate the gestures" (Fontaine, pp. 8-9)

Converges with Weber, Frankfurt School, etc.:

  • Live according to an “ethically substantive rationality”

    •  To become sincerely possessed by true values unreasonably in contradiction to mere "strategic interests" (as much we can, but there are no judges; only comrades to help stay in check)

    • Many reasons to believe this is a real driver of historical change

Notice that this basically means becoming insane, together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“How is it to be done?” (2)

1. We maintain a public organization not to "organize" but:

  • To steer "R&D" in what/when/how to liberate everyday life
    • kind of like a feminist situationism + computers
  • To communize/enjoy all the life we steal between meetings
  • To support & publicize/politicize already existing human strike
  • Use info-tech to modularize & share our "social technologies"
  • Use info-tech to encourage/receive defectors from status quo

2. Note that we don’t even have to agree on anything

  • If we commit to honesty then we will converge toward truth; if we commit to our own joy, we will converge on what is optimally, collectively desirable

Title Text

Title Text

“How is it to be done?” (3)

 

System-level political revolution begins when collective liberation is greater than collective pacification

  • In utter confusion, they will start to throw concessions at us
  • But we’ll know better this time
  • This will continue until everything is equal and everyone is free

 

 

Thanks :-)