Friday, October 20, 2006

Deep Currents Rising: Some notes on the global challenge to capitalism
by Harry Cleaver

Despite neo-conservative illusions of a hegemonic Pax Americana, the persistent efforts of supranational state institutions such as the IMF and the WTO to impose neo-liberal policies throughout the world and the US government’s efforts to use its post-9/11 “war on terrorism” to leverage the power of capital against all opponents, the basic institutional structures of modern capitalist society continue to be challenged on all levels by diverse currents of grassroots struggle. In their increasingly common rejection of business priorities these struggles recall Marxist notions of class warfare. Yet the common opposition to capitalism is not accompanied by the old notion of a unified alternative project of socialism. On the contrary, such a vision is steadily being displaced by a proliferation of distinct projects and a common understanding that there is no need for universal rules. In response to these struggles, the threatened global order is responding in various ways, sometimes by military and paramilitary force, sometimes by co-optation aimed at reintegrating the antagonistic forces. The problem for us is finding ever new ways to defeat these responses and continue to build new worlds. To find those new ways, we need to understand the character of the currents of struggle now in motion. Among such diverse currents conceptual approaches have naturally differed. In the notes that follow I evaluate a few of those concepts and offer some new ones.
1. Global Challenge and Theoretical Innovations
2. Transnational networks and social netwars
3. The Zapatista Rebellion
4. From Static Networks to the Dynamics of Struggle: Swarming
5. The Dynamics of Struggle: Rhizomes
6. The Dynamics of Struggle: Currents
7. Harnessing flows
8. Civil Society?
9. Social Movements?
10. Working Class?
11. Multitude?
12. Conclusion

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