“Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” has become one of the classic clichés of politics. It is supposed to suggest that one should have clear-eyed recognition of how bad things are, without losing hope; it means the conscious volition for changing the world nevertheless. Nevertheless, it might be wise to be somewhat suspicious of a slogan which seems so reassuring, applicable to every context without modification.
We were attempting to find other ways to exert pressure, formulate our positions, and establish contact with different strata of the university. The news sheets were an organizational mechanism, a bridge between the ebbs and flows of activity which exist even in the midst of a wildcat strike. We then began to recognize that producing propaganda was not only a communicative effort but also an endeavor of theoretical and practical self-clarification, especially as the strike itself gained more momentum.
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.