Friday, February 22, 2008

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Revolution as process

Here, I posted about The Take, one of my favourite documentaries of all time. It is about the workers' movement in Argentina, following the 2001 financial collapse. In the wake of the massive wave of "capital flight" that followed this collapse, the Argentinian workers took over hundreds of abandoned factories and kept them functioning and productive. What was different was, firstly, that production was run for need rather than for profit, and secondly, that the workers ran the factories collectively and without bosses! When the bosses tried to come back they were locked out in order for the workers to preserve the more just and equitable system which they had put in place. The fact that the Argentine workers simply did not need their former employers (read: exploiters) demonstrates plainly that we also do not need the capitalist class at all, nor their rotten system of capitalism which exploits the labour of workers for the benefit of an obscenely wealthy few. The advertising slogan of The Take was as follows: "OCCUPY. RESIST. PRODUCE." What I most liked about this was the last word: PRODUCE. Just one small word, but for me it embodies a whole new approach to revolutionary politics, and that is: That we don't need to wait until "after the revolution" to begin creating and enacting a worker's economy. I would add that this is a politics not so much of "resistance", but of "subversion". Allow me to explain: Resistance implies a victimhood, and that we must solely "resist" until such time that we can sieze power at the national level, and only from there may we set about creating a new society. Subversion, on the other hand, is about agency, not victimhood... In wielding our agency (that is, in creating), we simultaneously subvert and transform the present arrangement of things. It is about unleashing our productive powers in the here and now, instead of believing we have to overthrow the system first, in one fell swoop, and merely "resist" until such a time comes. In other words, this new kind of politics does not defer the creative process until after the seizure of state power, but enacts creation in the present. Related to this is an entirely new conception of revolution: one that sees the revolution not as an "event", but rather, as a process. We have so much to learn from the Argentinian experience! If you haven't yet seen The Take, I would highly recommend doing so as soon as is practicable. So inspiring it was, in fact, that it literally moved me to tears!

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