Today’s crisis brings not just destruction, but also opportunity for creation. But to take advantage of this rare opening, we need to know exactly what we are up against.
The operaist inversion must be understood in light of the irreducible partiality of the viewpoint: first the class, then capital. Capital is not the subject of History, it is not that which does and undoes, that which determines development and the conditions for its own overcoming. Rather, history is non-teleological, and at its center is class struggle, its power of refusal and its autonomy.
However much upheaval the global COVID-19 pandemic has generated, a great deal more is coming. The economic disaster is already the object of frantic analysis, much of which tells us we can expect a bottom that matches or exceeds the Great Depression of the 1930s, at least as measured by conventional economic indicators like GDP, unemployment, and bankruptcies.
The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have provoked great uncertainty among state managers regarding the future of capitalism. But the perspective of capitalist reproduction is not the only one available to us.
In the surreal, suspended atmosphere characterizing our current predicament, it would be easy to focus our attention only on the catastrophe unfolding in front of our eyes. But this strange, anxious time we are experiencing is also filled with struggles, acts of solidarity, and processes of class composition and self-organization.
It is legitimate to ask whether a democratic or even communist biopolitics is possible.
The surprising trajectory of the Bernie Sanders campaign has revived discussions of socialist politics. And renewed interest in socialist politics has brought a renewed interest in Marxist theory, specifically about the state. This isn’t surprising, because there’s a lot to explain.
We have initiated an emancipatory process that has a transnational character, and this March 8th and 9th will be an important milestone. We also know that this will not be the only one: we will continue weaving and convening ourselves to build the life we desire and dream of.
We must think of capitalist society as something in which there are a number of engines running at the same time; and we must take them all into account if we want political action with concrete meaning, in other words, if we want a chance to practically realize the goals that we seek.
The provisional hypotheses of 1972 appear to be less a ruptural betrayal than an experimental development (however controversial and contingent) in Tronti’s uniquely political theorizing of relations between workers’ struggle and capitalist development.