'The police have opened up for our men a quite splendid field - the omnipresent and unremitting struggle with the police themselves. It is being conducted everywhere and continuously with great success and, better still, with great humour. The police are defeated and - ridiculed into the bargain. And, in the circumstances, I consider this struggle to be more useful than any other.'
"Come to that, things aren’t going too badly in Germany where agitation is concerned, although the bourgeois papers suppress most of it an only sometimes and despite themselves emit an anxious moan about the rapidity with which the party is gaining ground instead of losing it. The police have opened up for our men a quite splendid field - the omnipresent and unremitting struggle with the police thermselves. It is being conducted everywhere and continuously with great success and, better still, with great humour. The police are defeated and - ridiculed into the bargain. And, in the circumstances, I consider this struggle to be more useful than any other. Above all, it keeps contempt for the enemy alive in our lads’ minds. No worse troops could be sent into action than those of the German police; even when they have the upper hand they suffer moral defeat, and our lads’ confidence in victory grows from day to day. The effect of this struggle will be such that, as soon as the pressure at last lets up (and that will happen on the day things get cracking in Russia) we shall not be numbered in our hundreds of thousands but in our millions. Amons the so-called leaders there may be plenty of rotten stuff, but in our masses I have unmitigated faith, and what they lack in revolutionary tradition, they will increasingly be taught by their guerilla war with the police. And, say what you will, we have never yet seen a proletariat learn in so short a time to act collectively and march shoulder to shoulder. Hence, although nothing may appear on the surface, we can, I think, confidently look to the day when the alarm is sounded. Then just watch them stand to!"
Engels to Johann Philipp Becker. London 14 February 1884. In Collected Works 47 p.99
the other Thesis XI
Theoreticians who examine the history of this movement from a divinely omniscient viewpoint (like that found in classical novels) can easily demonstrate that the Commune was objectively doomed to failure and could not have been successfully consummated. They forget that for those who really lived it, the consummation was already there.
The Situationist International. Theses on the Paris Commune. 1962
bourgeois moral blackmail
one need hardly dwell today on the negative consequences of the Revolution. For several years, and especially in the last few months, they ahve been an obsessive topic in published books, newpapers, radio and television. The danger is not that we shall draw a veil over the enormous blots on the record of the Revolution, over its cost in human suffering, over the crimes committed in its name. The daner is that we shall be tempted to forget it altogether, and to pass over in silence, its immense achievements […] Of course, I know that anyone who speaks of the achievements of the Revolution will at once be branded a Stalinist. But I am not prepared to submit to this kind of moral blackmail.
E.H Carr. The USSR and the West. New Left Review. September 1978.
The Materialist Dialectic is a Revolutionary Dialectic!
the evolution of society constantly heightens the tension between the partial aspects and the whole. Just because the inherent meaning of reality shines forth with an ever more resplendent light, the meaning of the process is embedded ever more deeply in day-to-day events, and totality permeates the spatio-temporal character of phenomena. The path to consciousness throughout the course of history does not become smoother but on the contrary ever more arduous and exacting. For this reason the task of orthodox Marxism, its victory over Revisionism and utopianism can never mean the defeat, once and for all, of false tendencies. It is an ever-renewed struggle against the insidious effects of bourgeois ideology on the thought of the proletariat. Marxist orthodoxy is no guardian of traditions, it is the eternally vigilant prophet proclaiming the relation between the tasks of the immediate present and the totality of the historical process.
Lukacs. History and Class Consciousness. p.22
‘Dialectical materialism stands for its own impossibility; it is no longer the universal ontology: its ‘object’ is the very gap that forever, constitutively, renders impossible the placement of the symbolic universe within the wider horizon of reality, as its special region – our access to ‘reality as such’ is always-already mediated by the symbolic region. Why, then, have recourse to this term at all? It is used as a purely negative determination that stands for the abyss of every transcendental horizon, this horizon is in itself finite and ontological. In short, ‘dialectical materialism’ is a negative reminder that the horizon of historical-symbolic practice is ‘not-all’, that it is inherently ‘decentreed’, founded upon the abyss of a radical fissure – in short, that the Real as its Cause is forever absent.’
Zizek. The Metastases of Enjoyment. p.136
The boomerang thus designates the very moment of hte emergence of “culture”, the moment when instinct is transformed into drive: the moment of splitting between goal and aim, the moment when the true aim is no longer to hit the goal but to maintain the very circular movement of repeatedly missing it.
Slavoj Zizek. Tarrying With The Negative. 1993. p.199
Communicative Capitalism (oh the irony)
"The concept of communicative capitalism designates the strange merging of democracy and capitalism in which contemporary subjects are produced and trapped. It does so by highlighting the way networked communications bring the two together. The values heralded as central to democracy take material form in networked communications technologies. Ideals of access, inclusion, discussion, and participation come to be realised in and through expansions, intensifications, and interconnections of global telecommunications. Changes in information and communication networks associated with digitalization, speed (of computer processors as well as connectivity) and memory/storage capacity impact capitalism and democracy, accelerating and intensifying some elements of each as they concolidate the two into a new ideological formation."
"Rhetoric of access, participation, and democracy work ideologically to secure the technological infrastructure of neoliberalism, an invidious and predatory politico-economic project that concentrates assets and power in the hands of the very, very rich, devastating the planet and destroying the lives of billions of people."
Jodi Dean. Democracy And Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. p.22