Whose Precarity Is It Anyway?
“The condition today described as that of the precarious worker is perhaps the fundamental reality of the proletariat. And the modes of existence of workers in 1830 are quite close to those of our temporary workers.”
-- Jacques Ranciere, The Nights of Labor: The Workers’ Dream in Nineteenth Century France
Feb 27, 2015
“Autonomy is both the goal sought after and that whose presence--virtual--let us say, has to be supposed at the outset of an analysis or a political movement. This virtual presence is the will to autonomy, the will to be free.”
-- Cornelius Castoriadis
There exists a tendency, shared across different strains of radical political thought, to see the horrors of our present as comprising a false totality, that when torn asunder, will reveal a more liberatory existence hidden beneath. This is to understand revolution as revelation; as the dispelling of the conditions of false consciousness, and a reclamation of an autonomous existence that continues to live on, albeit deformed, within this world we must leave behind.
Feb 18, 2015
Militant research and the business school
The autonomist political theorist and strategist Mario Tronti in his classic book Operai e capital argued that weapons for working class revolt have always been taken from the bosses’ arsenal.
At first glance this easily can come off as a kind of hyperbole or even a contradiction. Has not it often been argued, to use feminist writer Audre Lorde’s phrasing, that it is not possible to take apart the master’s house with the master’s tools? Despite the contradictions and tensions contained within his argument, Tronti said this with good reason, for he was writing from a social and historical context where this is just what was taking place. Autonomous politics in Italy emerging at this time greatly benefited from borrowing ideas and methods from bourgeois sociology and social sciences, as well as tools of management theory and industrial relations. And using these tools proceeded to build massive cycles of struggle that vastly changed the grounds of politics in the country and from which people have drawn much inspiration since then.
May 18, 2014