The 3 Rs: Reform, Revolution and "Resistance": The problematic forms of anticapitalism today
The Platypus Affiliated Society in Boston presents
A Public Forum
The 3 Rs: Reform, Revolution, and "Resistance"
— the problematic forms of "anticapitalism" today —
Monday 16 April 2012, 6:30-8:30PM
Encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Ave, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02111 (map)
"Reform, Revolution, Resistance": what kind of weight do these categories hold for the Left today? How are they used, to where do they point, and what is their history? The discussion concerns a question that has renewed immediacy in light of the Occupy movement.
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"[After the 1960s, the] underlying despair with regard to the real efficacy of political will, of political agency [. . .] in a historical situation of heightened helplessness [. . .] became a self-constitution as outsider, as other [. . .] focused on the bureaucratic stasis of the [Fordist/late 20th Century] world: it echoed the destruction of that world by the dynamics of capital [with the neo-liberal turn after 1973, and especially after 1989].
The idea of a fundamental transformation became bracketed and, instead, was replaced by the more ambiguous notion of 'resistance.' The notion of resistance, however, says little about the nature of that which is being resisted or of the politics of the resistance involved — that is, the character of determinate forms of critique, opposition, rebellion, and 'revolution.' The notion of 'resistance' frequently expresses a deeply dualistic worldview that tends to reify both the system of domination and the idea of agency.
'Resistance' is rarely based on a reflexive analysis of possibilities for fundamental change that are both generated and suppressed by [the] dynamic heteronomous order [of capital]. ['Resistance'] is an undialectical category that does not grasp its own conditions of possibility; that is, it fails to grasp the dynamic historical context of which it is a part."
— Moishe Postone, "History and Helplessness: Mass Mobilization and Contemporary Forms of Anticapitalism" (Public Culture 18:1, 2006)