[lbo-talk] Shoplifters of the world, unite

Charles Turner vze26m98 at optonline.net
Sat Aug 20 06:18:07 PDT 2011

On Aug 19, 2011, at 10:23 PM, 123hop at comcast.net wrote:

> Am I seeing this right? But then this begs the question whether the rioters are actually representative of the people that can be organized into a fighting/progressive force. Or whether these will be drawn from other spheres, more capable of organization and direction.

At the risk of being stupidly obvious, where do these truths come from? Don't they have to travel from you to the rioters? (Or from someone holding similar truths the rioters are receptive to?)

It may be true that the rioters "have no programme" in a strict sense, but doesn't Zizek's statement help to vacate the social space of Tottenham? If there's no there there, what are these videos about?

Genesis Elijah - "UK Riots (part 1)" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-rQpkvLuv0>

Fresharda - "Tottenham Riot" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGigWLtwc8A>

(Can't take credit for finding these. See this great article by Dan Hancox: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/12/rap-riots-professor-green-lethal-bizzle-wiley>)

Crudely though, as stirring and infectious as they are, these videos are pretty much propaganda, which I mean in a general, categorical way. Isn't there a lot of left propaganda these days? And isn't there a lot of rebellion these days?

One thing that struck me about Jodi Dean's presentation at No Alternative is that she didn't offer a "big take" on the trade union movement and a party's role in it. Conceivably, she just hasn't gotten to that point. I've recently been reading vol. 1 of Lefebvre's _Critique of Everyday Life_, and there he stresses the need to develop the social collective against individualism, to create collective identity within everyday life as a way to attain/regain a sense of humanity.

So isn't the trade union movement, in the sense of winning a social, collective identity in the heart of alienated labor, the fundamental process that fuses "truth" to propaganda and creates discipline out of "troths"? It seems to me that without a communist trade union movement, we're forever stuck in the weak ties of individuality courtesy Facebook and Twitter.

Isn't the trade union movement today far more constrained than opportunities for propaganda and rebellion? Wouldn't an incipient party see that as the critical place to build itself, establishing a social collective prior to the revolution, taking its first steps toward the Communist Horizon?

Best wishes, Charles

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