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Communization and Its Discontents Contestation Critique and Contemporary Struggles

Communization and Its Discontents Contestation Critique and Contemporary Struggles

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Published by Ben Lear

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Published by: Ben Lear on Jun 05, 2012
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One question that needs to be immediately addressed is the role a sim-
plistic valorization of ‘make total destroy’ plays in simply reproduc-
ing the capitalist social relation in anticapitalist milieus. In the 1970s
French ultra-leftist Jacques Camatte linked the uncritical valorization
of a negation predicated upon violence with ‘repressive consciousness’
– the elevation of theory and a ‘militant’ subjectivity into a self-identi-
cation with revolutionary praxis.157 is can actually block the emer-
gence of revolt and submerge it within what Camatte termed ‘rackets’
of anticapitalist enterprise. All too often an identi cation of anti-cap-
italism with destructive negation ful ls this role. e actual end of an

197

Strategies of Struggle

identi cation with violent negation would be the perpetuation of a
particular form of ‘revolutionary’ organization – the degeneration into
clandestine resistance or an ideological sect being the apex of this – or
simply the a rmation of extremity as a stylistic gesture. at a com-
munizing anti-politics would reject the institutional left – in favour of
more di use forms of resistance such as wildcat strikes, blockades and
occupations – could almost be taken for granted but this anti-politics
should also be present in a critique that deactivates any nascent ‘repres-
sive consciousness’. e anti-political violence implicit within commu-
nization – even on a theoretical level – should be corrosive of ‘repres-
sive consciousness’ and ‘rackets’. Both help reproduce the conditions of
capitalism and its constituent systemic violence in the form of a self-
perpetuating con ict managed by ‘rackets’.

Camatte’s caveat about violence is that ‘each individual must
be violent with him/ herself in order to reject […] the domestication of
capital and all its comfortable, self-validating “explanations”’.158 I think
this suggests that the rejection of the ‘domestication of capital’ by the
‘individual’ would be based upon studying the e ects of the material
processes of capital upon the ‘subjective’. Critique itself would be l-
tered through the prism of abstraction. A complimentary approach is
suggested by Walter Benjamin in the essay ‘Critique of Violence’, where
he writes that: ‘ e critique of violence is the philosophy of its history […]
Because only the idea of its development makes possible a critical, discrim-
inating, and decisive approach to this temporal data.’159 Any theorisation
of destructive negation should conceptualise it formally through the
abstractions of ‘the philosophy of its history’. e existence of violence
in capitalism provides the condition for a critique that acts through
abstraction in order to avoid ‘repressive consciousness’. Such an exercise
isn’t just genealogical – the tracing of a conceptual history – but is also
an attempt to ensure that a false immediacy in valorizing destructive
negation is deactivated and doesn’t reproduce ‘repressive consciousness’.
e ‘philosophy’ of the brief history of communization as a theoretical

198

Communization and its Discontents

praxis is best tracked through looking at the questions raised around
‘programmatism’ by éorie Communiste (TC).

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