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DEMOCRACY AND OTHER DEAD-ENDS

It is of the utmost importance to realize that this or that particular piece of legislation is not the issue. As capitalism goes into crisis, the State will always restructure itself to meet the needs of capital at the expense of all else. In this way, a democratic state is no different than a dictatorship, a welfare state no different than an austere one. The form of the state will always correspond to the needs of its real content: capitalism. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Wherever it presents itself, the Democratic alternative is inherently a dead end. When activist-managers, union bureaucrats and politicians lead chants of “Democracy, Unions!” they shamelessly demand more of the same! more of the same! To be clear: there is absolutely no hope in the activity of these politicians and would-be politicians. We can only hope that they might follow the example of their colleagues in the Wisconsin state senate by running away to hide-out poolside at some hotel far from the senate chambers. If only every politician would stop doing their jobs! If the struggle in Wisconsin is to get beyond its current limitations and to become a real threat to the State, it would be necessary for all those involved to rightly expose, critique and depose their self-appointed leaders.

- Wisconsin in exile, February 17



NYC: Action in Solidarity with California Occupations (and comments)

And some comments:

At some point a critique of some of this is in order, because these occupations are only interesting when they go outside of merely being “actions” that address a growing assemblage of issues regarding the management of capital. Certainly there are people within this who share a similar critique and are attempting to push these struggles past their allotted boundaries.   Although what is at issue most importantly about the generalization of an antagonistic practice is the possibility that while in the process it deconstructs the separate categories of student, worker, individual, etc, rather than reifies them further.  Do we dare flirt with student activism?  Or is it something to hide within?  Maybe a temporary invisibility cloak?

There are some people who want to only see activism and apply the traditional anti-political critique.  It’s so easy.  But what they miss is the student acting.  And in this acting lies the possibility of their no longer being simply students.

On a tangential note, there is a tendency of much writings coming out of the recent student movement to appropriate situationist jargon, which then has an emptying relationship on the concepts themselves.  As the SDS activist so often thinks to don the fatigues of the leftist guerrilla as did their 1960s predecessors whose image they have brought back from the dead to build the organization, the more sophisticated activist speaks in anti-activism and pro-situationist jargon.  They read The Coming Insurrection in an attempt to use new words to give life to practices that will always be dead.

Maybe this is too harsh?  There’s plenty of room for both excitement and suspicion.  Could we be so naive to think of conflict not as a force developing, but of another tendency to critique?  While at the same time it seems the only space left where anything interesting or new can happen is built within a healthy pessimism and hostility.  Where there is nothing left for us but a shared total hostility to our conditions we can finally be constituting of something different.

If you have anything to add, please do.




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