Left Behind w/ expelled Situationist T.J. Clark

“The question of reformism versus revolution, to take that up again, seems to me to have died the death as a genuine political question, as opposed to a rhetorical flourish. To adapt Randolph Bourne’s great dictum, extremisms—the extremisms we have—are now the health of the state.The important fact in the core territories of capitalism at present (and this at least applies to Asia and Latin America just as much as Europe) is that no established political party or movement any longer even pretends to offer a programme of ‘reform’. Reforming capitalism is tacitly assumed to be impossible; what politicians agree on instead is revival, resuscitation. Re-regulating the banks, in other words—returning, if we are lucky, to the age of Nixon and Jean Monnet. It surely goes without saying that a movement of opposition of the kind I have been advocating, the moment it began to register even limited successes, would call down the full crude fury of the state on its head. The boundaries between political organizing and armed resistance would dissolve—not of the left’s choosing, but as a simple matter of self-defence. Imagine if a movement really began to put the question of permanent war economy back on the table—in however limited a way, with however symbolic a set of victories. Be assured that the brutality of the ‘kettle’ would be generalized. The public-order helicopters would be on their way back from Bahrain. Jean Charles de Menezes would have many brothers. But the question that follows seems to me this: what are the circumstances in which the predictable to-and-fro of state repression and left response could begin, however tentatively, to de-legitimize the state’s preponderance of armed force? Not, for sure, when the state can show itself collecting severed and shattered body parts from the wreckage of Tube trains. Extremism, to repeat, is the state’s ticket to ride. There will be no future, I am saying finally, without war, poverty, Malthusian panic, tyranny, cruelty, classes, dead time, and all the ills the flesh is heir to, because there will be no future; only a present in which the left (always embattled and marginalized, always—proudly—a thing of the past) struggles to assemble the ‘material for a society’ Nietzsche thought had vanished from the earth. And this is a recipe for politics, not quietism—a left that can look the world in the face.”


and talking w/ Douglas Lain

About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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1 Response to Left Behind w/ expelled Situationist T.J. Clark

  1. Pingback: The Flowers of Shanidar | The Grammar of Matter

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