Saturday, December 6, 2008

Revolution of the Mind (Pimping Transformation)

The idea is at the beginning of each month I say something about what is going on with this blog. A few choice words will be followed by a convenient menu of the entries on the corners, the various accumulator sites displaying the goods, so the Johns cruising in their new Praxis (Janes too of course) can pull over for a look. Employing Madison Avenue - sex and money. Well, not the money part, but sex you can at least use words. Last month I used "Adults Only", this month "Pimping Transformation".

Transformation... "I can't give it away on 7th Avenue".. I'm shattered. I been talking Alain Badiou on the Communist Hypothesis:

"What is the communist hypothesis? In its generic sense, given in its canonic Manifesto, ‘communist’ means, first, that the logic of class—the fundamental subordination of labour to a dominant class, the arrangement that has persisted since Antiquity—is not inevitable; it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labour. The private appropriation of massive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away."

All I wrote about, and most of what I read about in the last month was the Maoist debate in Nepal. Why? Will the Nepali Maoists manifest a novel form of communism in their vision of a people’s republic? There is nothing about this vision that a priori precludes the possibility of revolution against the logic of class despite the obvious dangers. We are in a completely different historical period calling not for a victory of the hypothesis as it existed and ultimately succumbed in prior phases, but as it calls for practice in the context of conflict between old and new theory in the modern context. I built up for three entries to making this statement. I made it in reference to a description of the historical development of the Communist hypothesis by Badiou.

What I am pimping here is something novel. Its a very strong argument, considering the evidence of history, that human nature exists such that it precludes the possibility of actualization of the Communist hypothesis. The only answer to this I see is that human nature is not in a finished condition, that it holds potential for transformation such that the hypothesis may be actualized in successive approximations. Nothing new in this idea itself - it may be the old saw "a better world is possible".

What is novel nonetheless is the nature of the new approximation. To be explicit, I am pimping a revolution that is something more than taking control of certain geographical regions through armed rebellion, though this may open an opportunity such as in Nepal, rather there needs to be a transformation of some critical mass in the minds of the people, a literal transformation of human nature. Given the current coordinates of global capitalist power it need be a global enterprise against imperialism. A taking of control to establish the opportunity by armed rebellion is obviously highly problematic. I am in fidelity to the revolution on an ideological basis.

"Revolution of the Mind" is about the task in the world today. A task Badiou asserts can occur "through the combination of thought processes—always global, or universal, in character—and political experience, always local or singular, yet transmissible, to renew the existence of the communist hypothesis, in our consciousness and on the ground." In an earlier entry on the reforms of the current Chinese regime the critical point was on Badiou's formulation for actualizing a novel direction for world communist activism: "it will involve a new relation between the political movement and the level of the ideological—one that was prefigured in the expression ‘cultural revolution'..the proposition that the subordination of labour to the dominant class is not inevitable—within the ideological sphere."

At the beginning of last month I expressed some intentions regarding topics for future posts. Not knowing exactly, I projected it would surely include taking up themes in Alain Badiou's Logic of Worlds and Savoj Zizek's In Defense of Lost Causes and his recent extension of a certain line in the book Violence. Certainly the ideas of Badiou were deeply in play in the discussions on the Nepali Maoist debate. This was followed by participation in several of the commentary exchanges going on at various blog sites. At the same time I have been reading more but not writing as yet about Badiou on St. Paul as a revolutionary icon. Very recently I became involved in discussions started by a critical review of Zizek by the New Left Review. This has led me to the immediate intention of further introduction of Zizek, why he is an important cultural theorist and how his practice relates to that of Alain Badiou. Then also at some point it will be very useful for my own further understanding to go more deeply into Zizek on how to read the psychoanalyst Jaques Lacan.

Here is the history so far through last month:

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