Posted by: Ian Bruk | June 12, 2008

John Holloway via P2P Foundation

Link to full post:


“Time is central to any consideration of power and counter power or anti-power. The traditional left is centred on waiting, on patience. The social democratic parties tell us “Wait until the next election, then we will come to power and things will be different?? The Leninist parties say “wait for the revolution, then we’ll take power and life will begin??. But we cannot wait. Capitalism is destroying the world and we cannot be patient. We cannot wait for the next long wave or the next revolutionary opportunity. We cannot wait until the time is right. We must revolt now, we must live now.

The traditional left operates with a capitalist concept of time. In this concept, capitalism is a continuum, it has a duration, it will be there until the day of revolution comes. It is this duration, this continuum that we have to break. How? By refusing. By understanding that capitalism does not have any duration independent of us. If capitalism exists today, it is not because it was created one hundred or two hundred years ago, but because we (the workers of the world, in the broadest sense) created it today. If we do not create it tomorrow, it will not exist. Capital depends on us for its existence, from one moment to the next. Capital depends on converting our doing into alienated work, on converting our life into survival. We make capitalism. The problem of revolution is not to abolish capitalism but to stop making it.

But there is also a second temporality. To give force to our refusal, we have to back it up with the construction of an alternative world. If we refuse to submit to capital, we must have some alternative way of living and this means the patient creation of other ways of organising our activity, our doing.

If the first temporality is that of innocence, this is the temporality of experience. This is the temporality of building our own power, our power-to, our power to do things in a different way. Building our own power-to is a very different thing from taking power or seizing power. If we organise ourselves to take power, to try to win state power, then inevitably we put ourselves into the logic of capitalist power, we adopt capitalist forms of organisation which impose separations, separations between leaders and masses, between citizens and foreigners, between public and private. If we focus on the state and the winning of state power, then inevitably we reproduce within our own struggles the power of capital. Building our own power-to involves different forms of organisation, forms which are not symmetrical to capital’s forms, forms which do not separate and exclude. Our power, then, is not just a counter-power, it is not a mirror-image of capitalist power, but an anti-power, a power with a completely different logic — and a different temporality.

The traditional temporality, the temporality of taking power, is in two steps: first wait and build the party, then there will be the revolution and suddenly everything will be different. The second temporality comes after the first one. The taking of power operates as a pivot, a breaking point in the temporality of the revolutionary process. Our temporality, the temporality of building our own anti-power is also in two steps, but the steps are exactly the opposite, and they are simultaneous. First: do not wait, refuse now, tear a hole, a fissure in the texture of capitalist domination now, today. And secondly, starting from these refusals, these fissures, and simultaneously with them, build an alternative world, a different way of doing things, a different sort of social relations between people. Here it cannot be a sudden change, but a long and patient struggle in which hope lies not in the next election or in the storming of the Winter Palace but in overcoming our isolation and coming together with other projects, other refusals pushing in the same direction. This means not just living despite capitalism, but living in-against-and-beyond capitalism. It means an interstitial conception of revolution.”


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