The permutation’s coalitional strategy fails – the goal of class struggle is conflict and antagonism, not cooperation or assimilation
ZIZEK 2004, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIOLOGY AT LJUBLJANA UNIVERSITY, [SLAVOJ, “ETHICAL SOCIALISM? NO, THANKS!” HTTP://JOURNAL.TELOSPRESS.COM/CGI/REPRINT/2004/129/ 173]
As to the “rainbow coalition” motif, the first thing to take not of is the fundamental difference between feminist/anti-racist/anti-sexist etc. struggle and class struggle: in the first case, the goal is to translate antagonism into difference (“peaceful” coexistence of sexes, religions, ethnic groups), while the goal of the class struggle is precisely the opposite, i.e., to “aggravate” class difference into class antagonism. So what the series race-gender-class obfuscates is the different logic of the political space in the case of class: while the anti-racist and anti-sexist struggle are guided by the striving for the full recognition of the other, the class struggle aims at overcoming and subduing, annihilating even, the other – even if not a direct physical annihilation, class struggle aims at the annihilation of the other’s sociopolitical role and function. In other words, while it is logical to say that anti-racism wants all races to be allowed to freely assert and deploy their cultural, political and economic strivings, it is obviously meaningless to say that the aim of the proletarian class struggle is to allow the bourgeoisie to fully assert its identity and strivings. . . . In one case, we have a “horizontal” logic of the recognition of different identities, while, in the other case, we have the logic of the struggle with an antagonist. The paradox here is that it is the populist fundamentalism which retains this logic of antagonism, while the liberal Left follows the logic of recognition of differences, of “defusing” antagonisms into co-existing differences: in their very form, the conservative-populist grass-roots campaigns took over the old Leftist-radical stance of the popular mobilization and struggle against upper-class exploitation. Insofar as, in the present US two-parties system, red designates Republicans and blue Democrats, and insofar as populist fundamentalists, of course, vote Republican, the old anti-Communist slogan “Better dead than red!” now acquires a new ironic meaning – the irony residing in the unexpected continuity of the “red” attitude from the old Leftist grass-root mobilization to the new Christian fundamentalist grass-root-mobilization....
We must break from state structures—the permutation recreates the failed socialist experiments of the 20th century.
Hardt and Negri 2009 [Michael and Antonio, Commonwealth 91-5]
It is no coincidence that in the last decades of the twentieth century, when the "great hope" of really existing socialism falls into disenchantment, the three great socialist experiments are all enveloped in a common crisis. In the case of the Soviet Union, what was its model of development if not a mirage of liberation translated into the language of capitalist development? It envisioned an exit from economic dependency through stages of development, through the awkward absorption and transfiguration of capitalist modernity into the rhetoric of socialism. Marxism was simplified into an evolutionary theory of progress from which all elements of antimodernity are excluded as backward, underdeveloped. The Soviet crisis involved all aspects of social development, along with the democratic status of the political structures, the ruling mechanisms of the bureaucratic elite, and the geopolitical situation of Soviet quasicolonial expansion. In China the crisis led not to collapse but to an evolution of the system that refined the strongly centralized political management of development along the lines of the capitalist organization of labor. This can be directed through socialist, bureaucratic, and centralized means or in a more socially decentralized way, giving space and support to market forces in the framework of a unified global market that offers profits and competitive advantage from wage in equalities and poor labor conditions. The Chinese road to neoliberalism is different from that of the capitalist countries—with limited privatization, continuing state control, the creation of new class divisions with new hierarchies between urban and rural areas, and so forth—but no less effective. In retrospect, the current neoliberal regime in China helps us identify more clearly how powerful the developmentalist ideology was all along within the socialist regime. Cuba, finally, has managed so far to hold at bay the ultimate consequences of the crisis but only by freezing itself in time, becoming a kind of preserve of socialist ideology that has lost its original components. The enormous pressure of the crisis, though, continues to have profound effects. And Cuba constantly has to ward off the two threatening alternatives that seem to prefigure its future: the catastrophic end of the Soviet experience or the neoliberal evolution of the Chinese. This same socialist ideology also traveled for several decades through the so-called underdeveloped or developing countries, from India and East Asia to Africa and Latin America. Here too there was a strong continuity between the capitalist theories of development and the socialist theories of dependency.49 The project of modernity and modernization became key to the control and repression of the forces of antimodernity that emerged in the revolutionary struggles. The notions of "national development" and the "state of the entire people," which constantly held out an illusory promise for the future but merely served to legitimate the existing global hierarchies, was one of the most damaging regurgitations of socialist ideology. In the name of the "unity of the entire people," in fact, were organized political operations that pretended to overcome class conflict (while merely suppressing it) and thus confused the political meanings of Right and Left, along with fascist and communist. This reactionary project of modernity (behind the mask of socialism) emerges most strongly in moments of economic crisis: it was part of the horrible experience of the Soviet 1930s, and in certain respects it is repeated again today, not in the name of the "unity of the entire people" but rather in the mad rush of Left and Right elected political forces toward parliamentary and populist "centrism," to create what Etienne Balibar calls "extremism of the center."50 The "mistaken standpoint" of the three great socialist experiences, to take up ironically an old term of Soviet bureaucrats, is due not so much to the fact that the progressivist norms of capitalist development were internalized in the consciousness of the ruling classes of "really existing socialism," but rather to the fact that, paradoxically, these norms were too weakly internalized. Although these experiments in socialism failed, capitalist development in Russia and China did not. After relatively brief crises those countries returned to capitalism much richer and more powerful than they were when they supposedly broke with capitalist development. "Really existing socialism" proved to be a powerful machine of primitive accumulation and economic development. Among other innovations, in conditions of underdevelopment it invented instruments (like those of Keynesianism, for instance) that capitalist states adopted only in phases o f cyclical crisis; and it anticipated and normalized the tools of governance to rule over the exception that (as we will see in Part 4) continue to be used in the current global order. Considering the exhaustion of global capitalist development today, the crises of "really existing socialism" take on an acute contemporary relevance. De te fabula narratur: the story is really about you. It would be wrong to forget or minimize, however, how much the victorious socialist revolutions in Russia, China, and Cuba aided and inspired anticapitalist and anti-imperialist liberation movements around the world. We should be careful that our critique of them does not simply reinforce the vulgar attempts of the dominant ideology to cancel them from memory. Each of these revolutions initiated cycles of struggles that spread throughout the world in a kind of viral contamination, communicating their hopes and dreams to other movements. It would be useful, in fact, at this point in history, to be able to measure realistically the extent to which the definitive crisis of the socialist states hindered or actually aided the course of liberation movements. If we say, in other words, that the "brief twentieth century," which began in 1917, came to an end between Beijing and Berlin in 1989, that does not mean in any way that the hope and movement for communism ended then but only that another century has begun. We will explore some of the ways that the forces of antimodernity today act within and against the processes of capitalist globalization and discover an escape route from the cage of developmentalist ideology in which the socialist states were trapped. In any case, one fact that emerges clearly from this history is that liberation struggles can no longer be cast in terms of modernization and stages of development. The power of antimodernity, which was unrealized in the socialist revolutions and the struggles for national independence, comes to the fore again, intact, in our times. Che Guevara seems to intuit this fact during the final years of his life when he tries to break away from the structural determinism and the historical linearity of socialist doctrine, which, he recognizes, merely reproduces the basic features of capitalist modernity. "Pursuing the chimera of realizing socialism with the help of the blunt weapons left to us by capitalism," he writes, leads to a dead end. "To construct communism it is necessary to make, simultaneous with the new material foundation, a new humanity [el hombre nuevo]."51 Che certainly knows firsthand the constraints of socialist developmentalism. He serves as president of the national bank and minister of industries in the years after the revolution. But in 1965 he mysteriously disappears from public view and leaves to join revolutionary struggles first in the Congo and then in Bolivia, where he is killed. Some see this decision to leave Cuba and his government posts as a sign of a romantic's restlessness for adventure or an unwillingness to roll up his sleeves and face the hard work of building a national economy. We interpret it instead as a refusal of the bureaucratic and economic straitjacket of the socialist state, a refusal to obey the dictates of development ideology. The new humanity he seeks to build communism will never be found there. His flight to the jungle is really a desperate attempt to rediscover the forces of antimodernity he knew in the liberation struggle. Today it is even more clear than in Che's time that only movements from below, only subjectivities at the base of the productive and political processes have the capacity to construct a consciousness of renewal and transformation. This consciousness no longer descends from the intellectual sectors that are organic to what was once called socialist science but rather emerges from the working classes and multitudes that autonomously and creatively propose antimodern and anticapitalist hopes and dreams.
Negativity is key – the perm doesn’t solve because pure negation of current political coordinates is necessary to open new forms of resistance
Bruce-Novoa, Lecturer in Mexican and Latino Literature and Culture @ UC Irvine, 2005
[“Eroticism, Counterculture, and Juan García Ponce.”CR: The New Centennial Review 5.3, 1-33]
In One-Dimensional Man, a less optimistic Marcuse analyzed the manipulation by advanced industrial societies of communication media and concepts of modernity to stifle cultural revolution, voiding any possibility of the erotic liberation of the masses. Instead of facilitating expression of creative instincts, society created an array of imaginary needs and desires, the acquisition of which—through participation in the rites of consumption—constituted a sinister, complex, and highly developed form of sublimating human sexual energy. By making individuals feel part of an illusory integration of national life, the potentially great variety of modes of social expression were funneled into a one-dimensional system in which the capacity to think and act freely in manners other than those sanctioned by the system eventually disappeared. By monopolizing the means of consumption as well alternative or oppositional forms of expression, advanced societies blocked development of an eroticized society. Marcuse warned that control mechanisms even provided outlets for eroticism that channeled its energy into merely distracting and addictive consumption. All expression of rebellion, including literature and the arts, would be turned into chips in the game of competition and economic gain. The efforts to recapture the Great Refusal in the language of literature suffer the fate of being absorbed by what they refute. As modern classics, the avant-garde and the beatniks share the function of entertaining without endangering the good conscience of the men of good will. This absorption is justified by technical progress; the refusal is refuted by the alleviation of misery in the advanced industrial society. The liquidation of high culture is a by-product of the conquest of nature, and of the progressing conquest of scarcity. (Marcuse 1991, 70) Marcuse's answer: a Great Refusal beyond what the scandalous but ineffectual vanguards had achieved, a break he called a "rupture"—especially and significantly in the chapter "The New Sensibility" in An Essay on Liberation (1969a, 33–34, 36). This rupture signaled the withdrawal from the system of organized social conduct, or in 1960s parlance, the "establishment." Borrowing elements of his analysis from Eros and Civilization, Marcuse postulated that a society that had won the basic struggle for survival and eliminated excessive domination and repression should open itself to the development of a new being, an orphic-narcissist who would reject utilitarian goals or social standing in favor of love, pleasure, play, and contemplation. This eroticized being would be a product of an essentially new human reality, able to achieve the ultimate "break, the turn of quantity into quality" (1991, 231) and establish "the realm of the irrational [that] becomes the home of the really rational—of the ideas which may 'promote the art of life'" (247). This rupture must not fall into the trap of oppositional collaboration; rather it must counter the system's capacity for appropriating everything in its path with "the politically impotent form of the 'absolute negation'" (Marcuse 1991, 255). To support his claim while simultaneously offering an example of such an act of refusal in the guise of surrendering to appropriation, Marcuse cites Maurice Blanchot, a writer whose work would also become key reading for counterculture intellectuals in their passage to postmodernity, particularly for García Ponce. [End Page 7] What we refuse is not without value or importance. Precisely because of that, the refusal is necessary. There is a reason which we no longer accept, there is an appearance of wisdom which horrifies us, there is a plea for agreement and conciliation which we will no longer heed. A break has occurred. We have been reduced to that frankness which no longer tolerates complicity. (Blanchot, quoted in Marcuse 1991, 256)
AT: Pragmatism/Need Blueprint
The absence of a practical roadmap is irrelevant – the real revolutionary act lies in the enactment of negativity to clear intellectual space for authentic alternatives
Johnston, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHER, 2007 [ADRIAN, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ZIZEK STUDIES, 1.0, PGS. 23 - 24] http://zizekstudies.org/index.php/ijzs/article/view/8/24
Perhaps the absence of a detailed practical roadmap in Zizek's political writings isn't a major shortcoming. Maybe, at least for the time being, the most important task is simply the negativity of the critical struggle, the effort to cure an intellectual constipation resulting from capitalist ideology and thereby truly to open up the space for imagining authentic alternatives to the prevailing state of the situation. Another definition of materialism offered by Zizek is that it amounts to accepting the internal inherence of what fantasmatically appears as an external deadlock or hindrance127 (with fantasy itself being defined as the false externalization of something within the subject, namely, the illusory projection of an inner obstacle128). From this perspective, seeing through ideological fantasies by learning how to think again outside the confines of current restrictions has, in and of itself, the potential to operate as a form of real revolutionary practice (rather than remaining just an instance of negative/critical intellectual reflection). Why is this the case? Recalling the earlier analysis of commodity fetishism, the social efficacy of money as the universal medium of exchange (and the entire political economy grounded upon it) ultimately relies upon nothing more than a kind of "magic," that is, the belief in money's social efficacy by those using it in the processes of exchange. Since the value of currency is, at bottom, reducible to the belief that it has the value attributed to it (and that everyone believes that everyone else believes this as well), derailing capitalism by destroying its essential financial substance is, in a certain respect, as easy as dissolving the mere belief in this substance's powers. The "external" obstacle of the capitalist system exists exclusively on the condition that subjects, whether consciously or unconsciously, "internally" believe in it—capitalism's life-blood, money, is simply a fetishistic crystallization of a belief in others' belief in the socio-performative force emanating from this same material. And yet, this point of capitalism's frail vulnerability is simultaneously the source of its enormous strength: Its vampiric symbiosis with individual human desire, and the fact that the late-capitalist cynic's fetishism enables the disavowal of his/her de facto belief in capitalism, makes it highly unlikely that people can be persuaded to stop believing and start thinking (especially since, as Zizek claims, many of these people are convinced that they already have ceased believing). Or, the more disquieting possibility to entertain is that some people today, even if one succeeds in exposing them to the underlying logic of their position, might respond in a manner resembling that of the Judas-like character Cypher in the film The Matrix (Cypher opts to embrace enslavement by illusion rather than cope with the discomfort of dwelling in the "desert ofthe real"): Faced with the choice between living the capitalist lie or grappling with certain unpleasant truths, many individuals might very well deliberately decide to accept what they know full well to be a false pseudo-reality, a deceptively comforting fiction ("Capitalist commodity fetishism or the truth? I choose fetishism.").
The alternative’s refusal is not a passive withdrawal but the most positive act possible – the refusal to articulate an alternative vision is the strongest possible condemnation of the current order
Wark 2011 McKenzie, Assoc Prof of Media and Cultural Studies at The New School, “McKenzie Wark on Occupy Wall Street: 'How to Occupy an Abstraction'” Verso Blog http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/728
The abstraction that is Wall Street also stands for something else, for an inhuman kind of power, which one can imagine running beneath one's feet throughout the financial district. Let's call this power the vectoral. It's the combination of fiber optic cables and massive amounts of computer power. Some vast proportion of the money in circulation around the planet is being automatically traded even as you read this. Engineers are now seriously thinking about trading at the speed of light. Wall Street in this abstract sense means our new robot overlords, only they didn't come from outer space. How can you occupy an abstraction? Perhaps only with another abstraction. Occupy Wall Street took over a more or less public park nestled in the downtown landscape of tower blocks, not too far from the old World Trade Center site, and set up camp. It is an occupation which, almost uniquely, does not have demands. It has at its core a suggestion: what if people came together and found a way to structure a conversation which might come up with a better way to run the world? Could they do any worse than the way it is run by the combined efforts of Wall Street as rentier class and Wall Street as computerized vectors trading intangible assets? Some commentators have seen the modesty of this request as a weakness of Occupy Wall Street. They want a list of demands, and they are not shy about proposing some. But perhaps the best thing about Occupy Wall Street is its reluctance to make demands. What's left of pseudo-politics in the United States is full of demands. To reduce the debt, to cut taxes, to abolish regulations. Nobody even bothers with much justification for these any more. It is just sort of assumed that only what matters to the rentier class matters at all. Its not that the rentier class buys politicians in America. Why bother when you can rent them by the hour? In this context, the most interesting thing about Occupy Wall Street is its suggestion that the main thing that's lacking is not demands, but process. What is lacking is politics itself. It may sound counter-intuitive, but there really is no politics in the United States. There is exploitation, oppression, inequality, violence, there are rumors that there might still be a state. But there is no politics. There is only the semblance of politics. Its mostly just professionals renting influence to favor their interests. The state is no longer even capable of negotiating the common interests of its ruling class. Politics from below is also simulated. The Tea Party is really just a great marketing campaign. It's a way of making the old rentier class demands seem at least temporarily appealing. Like fast food, it will seem delicious until the indigestion starts. It's the Contract on America, its Compassionate Conservatism, but with new ingredients! The Tea Party was quite successful. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time, and no doubt there's a new marketing campaign waiting in the wings for when it runs out of steam. But none of this is anything but the semblance of a politics. So the genius of the occupation is simply to suggest that there could be a politics, one in which people meet and propose and negotiate. This suggestion points to the great absence at the center of American life: a whole nation, even an empire, with no politics.
This is Interpassivity – fixation on anti-dogmatism conceals an individualistic politics that fetishizes difference and remains content with endless minor reforms
Dean ’11 [Jodi, Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, “What is to be done? (4)”, http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2011/02/what-is-to-be-done.html]
1. Lenin: "The worst sin we commit is that we degrade our political and organizational tasks to the level of the immediate, 'palpable,' 'concrete' interests of the everyday economic struggle; yet they singing to us the same refrain: Lend the economic struggle itself a political character!" Sometime I find it so strange, so puzzling, that the spontaneity, immediacy, concreteness, amateurism, and emphasis on the everyday that Lenin condemns as primitivism and economism is taken so widely for granted among so many left activists and intellectuals. Is this uncritical acceptance a reaction to what many see as the mistakes of the Soviet period? Is it a more recent response to the failures and compromises of communist parties in other countries (I'm thinking mostly of Italy here)? Is it a reaction to the rigidity of some communists in the US and the UK, a reaction by those who associate themselves with a new left? Or are other explanations equally or even more compelling--absorption of a 100 years of anti-communism, cooptation by the pleasures of capitalism, relief through forfeiture of responsibility for the terribly hard work of organizing? So many strands of intellectual ideology converge: don't speak for another, appreciate differences, celebrate locality. It's no wonder that a politics can't emerge. Dogmatism, demands, and organization are discounted in advance. I should put this differently. There is a politics here: an individualist politics whose sole principle is that of individual freedom, where this freedom is reduced to particular choice and decision, even as it blocks access to organized contestation and rebuilding of the conditions of choice and decision. Did I choose to live in a society where security is privatized, where required home and car insurance is subject to a market and a set of corporations whose interest is in profit and not my well-being? Did I choose to live in a society where wealth is held in more esteem than fairness, creativity, or scientific curiosity? Did I have a choice to live in a society where a collective good like space exploration is subordinated totax breaks for the top one percent? 2. For Lenin, mass movement and "professional revolutionaries" are not alternative organizational forms. Each is necessary: Such workers, average people of the masses, are capable of displaying enormous energy and self-sacrifice in strikes and in street battles with the police and the troops, and are capable (in fact are alone capable) of determining the outcome of our entire movement--but the struggle against the political police requires special qualities; it requires professional revolutionaries. Lenin gives one reason for the need of professional revolutionaries--the police make every strike and every demonstration a secret. They prevent news of the strikes from spreading. Do we have the same problem? Cutting of Internet services in Egypt suggests a contemporary version of this kind of policing role, as do the attacks on journalists and the disruptions of Al Jazeera's signals. Yet news from Cairo was getting out and it was circulating in the country, even more, news of the struggles in multiple cities reinforced the struggles' as dimensions of one struggle. No one will deny that Egypt has been under authoritarian rule for decades. It's not surprising, then, that there are resonances with Russian at the beginning of the 20th century. The situation of the US, UK, and Europe under communicative capitalism suggests a different problem. The effect of the police--non knowledge of strikes and resistance--is achieved differently, now via over-kill, deluge, distraction, and obfuscation. Too much information becomes too little. Too much analysis and commentary deflects and displaces. The culture of media circulates and redirects energies away from direct confrontation. No wonder turning off the internet in Egypt had energizing effects--people had to get information from each other on the streets.
Their excessive anti-essentialism prevents actual opposition to capitalism
Barbara Epstein, Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, 1998 [“Interpreting the World (Without Necessarily Changing It)” in New Politics http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue24/epstei24.htm as]
"The question becomes," she writes, "what to do with the monster? Should we refine it, cut it down to size, render it once more acceptable, unremarkable, invisibly visible?" No, she writes; for in doing so, we might lose sight of its grotesqueness. Capitalism -- refined and redefined -- would still be capable of "relegating noncapitalism to a space of necessary weakness and defeat." Gibson-Graham calls for an anti-essentialist project of "supplanting the discourse of capitalist hegemony with a plurality and heterogeneity of economic forms." (ibid. pp. 8-10) Capitalist production, then, should be seen as only one set of economic practices among many -- not as an integral system encompassing and subordinating "non-capitalist" forms such as self-employment and household economy, but as something on a par with these and other alternative forms. By this account, the U.S. economy is no longer capitalist. Instead, it is a site of diverse economic practices -- none with more power to shape society than any others. Capitalism has been brought under control; discursively, at least, it is largely de-fanged. We can challenge capitalism, it seems, by refusing to believe that it holds sway over our society. Gibson-Graham argues her political economy on grounds that her commitment to an anti-essentialist perspective requires it -- not that it makes reality more intelligible.
AT: Transition Wars
Transition wars are limited and peaceful and can’t resolve capital’s internal antagonisms.
Mészáros 2008 István, Prof Emeritus in Philosophy and Political Theory @ U of Sussex The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time, 310-311
The second blocked avenue is even more important. It concerns the removal of the possibility of solving the system’s aggravating problems through an all-out war, as it was twice attempted in the world wars of the twentieth century. I wrote at the time of the onset of capital’s structural crisis, toward the end of the Vietnam war that: …the system has been decapitated through the removal of its ultimate sanction: an all-out war on its real or potential adversaries…Exporting violence is no longer possible on the required massive scale. Attempts at doing so on a limited scale—like the Vietnam War37—not only are no substitutes for the old mechanism but even accelerate the inevitable internal explosions of the system. Nor is it possible to get away indefinitely with the ideological mystification which represented the internal challenge of socialism: the only possible solution to the present crisis, as an external confrontation: a ‘subversion’ directed from abroad by a ‘monolithic’ enemy. For the first time in history capitalism is globally confronted with its own problems which cannot be ‘postponed’ much longer, nor can they be indeed transferred to the military plane in order to be exported in the form of an all-out war.38 I added in a note to the last sentence that “Of course such a war can happen, but its actual planning and active preparation in the open cannot function as a vital internal stabilizer.”39 This is so even if the neoconservative “vision guys” of the Pentagon—whose “theories” border on insanity40—are more than willing “to think the unthinkable.” But even such extreme forms of irrationality cannot undo the far-reaching implications of this blocked avenue. For the underlying issue is an insoluble contradiction within the reproductive framework of the capital system. A contradiction manifest, on the one hand, through the ongoing relentless concentration and centralization of capital on a global scale, and on the other, through the structurally imposed inability of the capital system to produce the required political stabilization on a global scale. Even the most aggressive military interventions of global hegemonic imperialism—at present those of the United States—in different parts of the planet are bound to fail in this respect. The destructiveness of limited wars, no matter how many, is very far from being enough for imposing everywhere on a lasting basis the unchallengeable rule of a single imperialist hegemon and its “global government”—the only thing that would befit the logic of capital. Only the socialist hegemonic alternative can show a way out of this destructive contradiction. That is, an organizationally viable alternative that fully respects the dialectical complementarity of the national and international in our time.