Negativity and Revolution: Adorno and Political Activism
Fernando Matamoros, Sergio Tischler
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How can activists combat the political paralysis that characterises the anti-dialectical Marxism of Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze, without reverting to a dogmatic orthodoxy? This book explores solutions in the 'negative dialectics' of Theodor Adorno.
The poststructuralist shift from dialectics to 'difference' has been so popular that it becomes difficult to create meaningful revolutionary responses to neoliberalism. The contributors to this volume come from within the anti-capitalist movement, and close to the concerns expressed in Negri and Hardt's Empire and Multitude. However, they argue forcefully and persuasively for a return to dialectics so a real-world, radical challenge to the current order can be constructed.
This is a passionate call to arms for the anti-capitalist movement. It should be read by all engaged activists and students of political and critical theory.
dominion, which antagonistically rends human society, is the same principle which, spiritualized, causes the difference between the concept and its subject matter; and that difference assumes the logical form of contradiction because, measured by the principle of dominion, whatever does not bow to its unity will not appear as something different from and indifferent to the principle, but as a violation of logic. (1990: 48) So, identification and the absence of identity, which this identification
more than entity will be transfigured into a metaphysical αρχή” (1990: 106, see also 2006). Despite its immanentist intensions and rigorous critique of transcendental philosophic traditions, the Deleuzian philosophy of difference ends up postulating a similar principle.11 The assertion of difference itself, associated with the Nietzschean will to power, already seemed implicitly elevated to Holloway 01 chap01 55 2/10/08 11:09:22 56 NEG AT IVITY AN D RE VO L UTI O N a transcendental
something immediately perceptible. Conceptualisation thus means to dissolve the immediate appearance of things in order to recognise the thing in its now pregnant immediacy – a mediated immediacy [vermittelte Unmittelbarkeit]. It melts what appeared at first hard and solid. Every act of conceptualisation implies this effort. Conceptualisation is an act of revolt against immediacy. It does not bow to things. It wants to know what they are, and what they are is within them. It thus does not pretend
(1941) “Spengler Today,” in Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, vol. 9. Adorno, T. W. (1969) Stichworte Kritische Modelle 2, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp. Adorno, T. W. (1972) Soziologische Schriften in Gesammelte Werke, vol. 8, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp. Adorno, T. W. (1973) Negative Dialectics, London, Verso. Adorno, T. W. (1974) Minima Moralia, London, New Left Books. Adorno, T. W. (1975) Gesellschaftstheorie und Kulturkritik, Frankfurt, Suhrkamp. Adorno, T. W. (1993) “Einleitung,” Der Positivismusstreit in der
“micro,” as an effect, reflection or expression of the imposition of near-exclusive genital sexuality, which in turn is part of the larger disciplining effort that created the modern subject. The domestication of the partial drives in the form of genital organisation of sexuality, capital’s precarious insurance policy against its subjects’ regression into childlike leisure, created the modern form of the idea that there are exactly two sexes, men and women, and that “being” one or the other