Organization and Political Invention
This year we celebrate150 years of Marx’s Das Kapital and 100 years of the October Revolution. This coincidence, however, only further highlights the utter incommensurability between these two events, between the theoretical and the practical achievements of Marxist and communist thinking. As Slavoj Žižek suggests, there is something of a “parallax" between the critique of political economy and the political activity in Marxism, so that the proper engagement with one of the two tends to reduce the other to an inconsistent or even hopeless endeavour1. Usually, this is not taken as problematic, mostly because we are used to understanding Marx’s work as concerning the social organization of capitalism, while the work of revolutionaries would concern itself mostly with the dis-organization of this same society – so, for a while, we could compatibilize the objective temporality of the crises of capitalism with the subjective temporality of the political opportunity, the cyclical and the periodical points of view. However, today when the management of perpetual social and economic crises has become a form of government and we can no longer afford the luxury of concerning ourselves solely with how to undo or deconstruct pre-established orders and norms, the problem of social organization suddenly emerges – perhaps for the first time – as an urgent and central concern of anti-capitalist militant practice. Rather than wait for us on the other side of an insurrection, the problem of how to relate our critical theory of capitalism and a constructive, affirmative view of social relations poses itself now, as a contemporary challenge. To recognize the emergence of this problem is, however, to also recognize this incommensurability, identified by Žižek, between Marxist theory and communist practice: between our conceptual resources – developed in view of rendering capitalism intelligible – and our practical experience – focused mostly on the interruption of pre-existing social orders.
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