Alberto Toscano, Amanda Armstrong, and Delio Vasquez on periodization and proletarian self-activity in “the new era of uprisings.”
While Clover’s effort to historically situate and draw our attention to the riot as a form of anti-capitalist struggle outside of the workplace is certainly valuable, his insistence on interpreting its political value primarily through its relationship to the utopian keeps his analysis from accounting for the function and meaning that riots have for most of the people who participate in them, to say nothing of whether or not riot is really best understood through its relationship to consumption and circulation.
Clover argues against the continued viability of industrial strike organizing, suggesting that the time of the strike has passed, and that we now inhabit the time of the riot. But the conceptual and periodizing demarcations that Clover deploys in advancing these claims tend to obscure the actual forms of class struggle that broke forth during the supposed era of the strike – forms of struggle that may yet have something to offer us.
Can the riots really express and explicate our historical moment, serving as the “holographic miniature of an entire situation, a world-picture?” What I want to address here is the overarching principle that governs the composition of the book’s various conceptual elements, and which in the final analysis is Clover’s name for theory: periodization.
As we know, Marx never wrote a distinct tome on either international trade or on war and geopolitics – a tome that would have problematized the spaceless assumptions of either a stagist conception of world history or a universalizing capitalist world market. And in that sense International Relations – less as a discipline but more as a problematic – remains very pressing and urgent for Marxists to reappropriate.
While a Trump presidency is not impossible, in this topsy-turvy election it has turned out to be foolish to make predictions. It seems fair, however, to ask a question that is being ignored or suppressed: if eight years of Bill Clinton gave us George W. Bush, and eight years of Obama gave us Trump, what would eight years of Hillary Clinton give us?
By reading his work as animated by antagonisms and countervailing tendencies – where fundamental concepts are open to translation into different registers – we can detect the nodal points of Althusser’s oeuvre.
Audiotapes of Althusser’s 1964-65 seminar on Marx’s Capital will allow for the most accurate genealogy of one of the most important texts in 20th century Marxist philosophy.
Just as Marx’s Capital can be read in different ways and its theories brought to bear on different things, so too does Althusser’s Reading Capital offer various lessons.
We will only explore certain relations between Althusser and the philosophical formulations of workerism — elaborated by Mario Tronti and Antonio Negri — respectively and from the decidedly limited but nonetheless revealing point of view of the relations between political practice and theoretical practice.