Three models of “resistance” — Notes

Notes


[1] “[The] political beginnings [of ‘resistance’] in the West are conservative; this helps to explain some of the politics of resistance.  It’s Edmund Burke, the British conservative, who actually counsels resistance against the radical change of the French Revolution in 1790.  About 75 years later, the same call was taken up by Mathew Arnold, who essentially argues for culture as a means of resistance against the tides of anarchic progress…Marx and Engels, when they [were] writing the Communist Manifesto, actually single out resistance in the form of reactionary socialism as a major stumbling block to any sort of revolution…Resistance has this sort of conservative cast in the 18th and 19th centuries.”  Albert, Michael; Cutrone, Chris; Duncombe, Stephen; and Holmes, Brian. “The 3 Rs: Reform, Revolution, and ‘Resistance’: The Problematic Forms of ‘Anti-capitalism’ Today.”  Platypus Review.  (No. 4.  April, 2008).

[2]Upping the Anti Editorial Board.  With Eyes Wide Open: Notes on Crisis and Resistance Today.”  Upping the Anti.  (No. 10.  May, 2010).

[3] Postone, Moishe.  Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 1993).  Pgs.

[4] Burke, Edmund.  Selected Works, Volume 2: Reflections on the Revolution in France.  (Liberty Fund.  Indianapolis, IN: 1999).  Pg 180.

[5] Paul, Alexander.  The History of Reform: A Record of the Struggle for the Representation of the People in Parliament.  (George Routledge & Sons.  New York, NY: 1884).  Pg. 138.

[6] Wolfe, Ross.  “Reflections of Resistance, Reform, and Revolution.”  Upping the Anti,  (No. 14.  November, 2012).

[7] Derrida, Jacques.  “Resistances.”  Translated by Peggy Kamuf, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas.  Resistances of Psychoanalysis.  (Stanford University Press.  Stanford, CA: 1998).  Pg. 2.

[8] Ibid., pg. 16.

[9] Ibid., pg. 17.

[10] Dilthey, Wilhelm.  “The Origin of Our Belief in the Reality of the External World and Its Justification.”  Translated by Maximilian Aue.  Selected Works, Vol. 2: Understanding the Human World.  (Princeton University Press.  Princeton, NJ: 2010).  Pg. 19.

[11] “Fichte’s system is the culmination of subjective idealism.  This means simply that it completes the attempt to explain the world through the I, and to derive the nexus of all sensations and intuitions, of all that is given and exists, from the spontaneous, productive subject.  The essence of this system consists in raising all givenness, all beings, into something active, or more precisely, into the active I.  This givenness or reality is not sought for ‘out there’ in the world.  For Fichte there is no ‘out there.’  Rather the ‘out there’ exists only for consciousness itself.”  Dilthey, Wilhelm.  Hermeneutics and Its History.  Translated by Theodore Nordenhaug.  Hermeneutics and the Study of History.  (Princeton University Press.  Princeton, NJ: 1996).  Pg. 100.

[12] “The not-self is posited in the self…but all such counterpositing presupposes the identity of the self, in which something is posited and then something set in opposition thereto.”  Fichte, J.G.  The Science of Knowledge.  Translated by Peter Heath and John Lachs.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 1982).  Pg. 106.

[13] Dilthey, “The Origin of Our Belief in the Reality of the External World and Its Justification.”  Pg. 23.

[14] Ibid., pgs. 49-50.

[15] “As is the case with many other opinions of this great author [i.e., Schopenhauer], this opinion constitutes a development of propositions set forth by his teacher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, although he does not refer to him on this occasion, and rarely mentions his name at all without piling abuse on it.”  Ibid., pg. 12.

[16] “We know that multiplicity in general is necessarily conditioned by time and space and is thinkable only through them; in this respect, we call them the principium individuationis.”  Schopenhauer, Arthur.  The World as Will and Representation, Volume 1.  Translated by Christopher Janaway, Judith Norman, and Alistair Welchman.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 2010).  Pg. 152.

[17] Dilthey, Wilhelm.  Selected Works, Volume 3: The Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences.  Translated by Rudolf A. Makkreel and John Scanlon.  (Princeton University Press.  Princeton, NJ: 2002).  Pg. 55.

[18] Dilthey, “The Origin of Our Belief in the Reality of the External World and Its Justification.”  Pg. 42.

[19] “This activity then becomes the ego’s highest function; decisions as to when it is more expedient to control one’s passions and bow before reality, and when it is more expedient to side with them and to take arms against the external world — such decisions make up the whole essence of worldly wisdom.”  Sigmund Freud, The Question of Lay Analysis: Conversations with an Impartial Person.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.  New York, NY: 1978).  Pgs. 23-24.

Compare with Dilthey: “A volition first produces an impulse to move, which, in the course of the imagined motion, is accompanied by barely noticeable feelings of pleasure: then the experience of resistance arises.  Does the impulse simply disappear in it? Does it vanish by turning into a mere sensory state? No, it persists, supplemented by the consciousness that the will is being restrained.”  Dilthey, “The Origin of Our Belief in the Reality of the External World and Its Justification.”  Pg. 20.

[20] Dilthey, The Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences.  Pg. 185.  My italics.

[21] Dilthey, “The Origin of Our Belief in the Reality of the External World and Its Justification.”  Pg. 14.

[22] Schmidt, Konrad.  “Final Goal and Movement.”  Pgs. 210-211.

[23] Bernstein, Eduard.  Selected Writings, 1900-1921.  Translated by Manfred B. Steger.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 1996).  Pg. 64.

[24] Luxemburg, Rosa.  Reform or Revolution? Translated by Integer.  (Haymarket Books.  Chicago, IL: 2008).  Pg. 46.

[25] Lenin, Vladimir.  “A Protest by Russian Social Democrats.”  Translated by.  Collected Works, Volume 4: 1898-1899.  (Progress Publishers.  Moscow, USSR: 1977).  Pg. 178.

[26] Lenin, Vladimir.  “Fear of the Collapse of the Old and the Fight for the New.”  Translated by Yuri Sdobnikov.  Collected Works, Volume 26: September 1917-February 1918.  (Progress Publishers.  Moscow, USSR: 1972).  Pg. 401.

[27] “The crude confrontation of subject and object in naïve realism is of course historically necessitated and cannot be dismissed by an act of will.  But at the same time it is a product of false abstraction, already a piece of reification.  Once this is seen through, then a consciousness objectified to itself, and precisely as such directed outward, virtually striking outward, could no longer be dragged along without self-reflection.”  Adorno, Theodor.  “On Subject and Object.”  Critical Models.  Pg. 249.

[28] Clearly, the differences between these two conflicting orders of reality — the natural and the historical — must not to be ontologized by erecting some kind of permanent boundary between them, thereby succumbing to a form of metaphysical dualism.  An underlying material foundation unites both nature and history.  Depending on the way that one approaches this unity, however, diverging pictures can result.  The paradigmatic example of this was given by Theodor Adorno’s student Alfred Schmidt in contrasting Marx’s concept of nature against that of his influential predecessor, Ludwig Feuerbach.  “What Feuerbach described as the unity of man and nature,” Schmidt explained in his 1954 study on The Concept of Nature in Marx, “related only to the romantically transfigured fact that man arose out of nature, and not to man’s socio-historically mediated unity with nature in industry.”  In this sense, at least, Feuerbach remained a materialist in the eighteenth century mold:  “Nature as a whole was for Feuerbach an unhistorical, homogeneous substratum, while the essence of the Marxist critique was a dissolution of this homogeneity into a dialectic of Subject and Object.  Nature was for Marx both an element of human practice and the totality of everything that exists.”  Schmidt, Alfred.  The Concept of Nature in Karl Marx.  Translated by Ben Fowkes.  (New Left Books.  London, England: 1971).  Pg. 27.

To be sure, Dilthey distinguishes the historical world from the natural world at several points in presenting his philosophical system: “[N]ature is a constituent of history only insofar as it has an effect and in how it can be affected.  The proper domain of history is, to be sure, also external; yet the tones that form a musical composition, the canvas on which we paint, the courtroom in which a verdict is pronounced, merely have their material in nature.  Every operation of the human sciences dealing with such external states of affairs has to do merely with the sense and meaning they receive through the activity of spirit and how it serves the understanding that grasps this meaning and sense in themThe difference between the human and natural sciences is not just about the stance of the subject toward the object; it is not merely about a kind of attitude, a method.  Rather, the procedure of understanding is grounded in the realization that the external reality that constitutes its objects is totally different from the objects of the natural sciences.  Spirit has objectified itself in the former, purposes have been embodied in them, values have been actualized in them, and understanding grasps this spiritual content that has been formed between them.”  Dilthey, The Formation of the Historical World in the Human Sciences.  Pgs. 140-141.  Still, the distinction between these two objective forms of external reality is posterior to their common experience as resistant to an individual’s will.

Despite their anthropological predispositions, Feuerbach and Dilthey each fell into the same fundamental error by conceiving nature as merely the baseline condition of human activity.  They failed to take into account the extent to which nature was itself conditioned by human activity.  “Labor is, first of all, a process between man and nature,” Marx wrote in Capital, “a process by which man, through his own actions, mediates, regulates, and controls the metabolism between himself and nature.”  In labor, especially industrial labor, man “sets in motion the natural forces which belong to his own body, his arms, legs, head, and hands, in order to appropriate the materials of nature in a form adapted to his own needs.  Through this movement he…develops the potentialities slumbering within nature, and subjects the play of its forces to his own sovereign power.” Marx, Karl.  Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1.  Translated by Ben Fowkes.  (Penguin Books.  New York, NY: 1882).  Pg. 283.

[29] Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich.  Manifesto of the Communist Party.  Pg. .

[30] Lukács, Georg.  “Class Consciousness.”  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 70.

[31] Marx, Capital, Volume 1.  Pg.  165.

[32] Marx, Karl.  Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts.  Translated by.  (Progress Publishers.  Moscow, USSR: 19).  Pg. 274.

[33] Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich.  The German Ideology.  ‘Pg. 47.

[34] “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat.”  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 185.

[35] Engels, Friedrich.  Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.  Translated by Edward Aveling.  Collected Works, Volume 24: 1874-1883.  (International Publishers.  New York, NY: 1989).  Pgs. 323-324.

[36] Freud, Sigmund.  Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.  New York, NY: 1989).  Pg. 364.

[37] “From what part of the mind does an unconscious resistance…arise? The beginner in psychoanalysis will… answer: it is, of course the resistance of the unconscious.  An ambiguous and unserviceable answer!… Resistance can only be a manifestation of the ego, which originally put the repression into force and now wishes to maintain it.”  Freud, Sigmund.  New Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.  New York, NY: 1989).  Pg. 86.

“We must above all get rid of the mistaken notion that what we are dealing with in our struggle against resistances is resistance on the part of the unconscious.  The unconscious — that is to say, the ‘repressed’ — offers no resistance whatever to the efforts of the treatment.”  Freud, Sigmund.  Beyond the Pleasure Principle.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Co.  New York, NY: 1961).  Pg. 13.

[38] Very little has been written concerning the historical conjuncture of reification, repetition, and resistance that takes place under the conditions of capitalist social life, much less in the moment of profound crisis within international Marxism (1914-1923).  Of the few authors who have touched on the issue, Postone has perhaps gone the furthest toward understanding their interconnection, albeit within a far more general purview.  He calls attention to the homology that exists between individual and social manifestations of this tendency to compulsively repeat.  “One could draw a parallel between [the Marxian] understanding of the capitalist social formation’s history and Freud’s notion of individual history, where the past does not appear as such, but rather in a veiled, internalized form that dominates the present,” Postone astutely notes.  “The task of psychoanalysis is to unveil the past in such a way that its appropriation becomes possible.  The necessary moment of a compulsively repetitive present can thereby be overcome, which allows the individual to move into the future.”  Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination.  Pg. 377.

[39] Lukács, Georg.  “Class Consciousness.”  Pgs. 76-77.

[40] Reich, Wilhelm.  “Ideology as a Material Force.”  Translated by Vincent R. Carfagno.  The Mass Psychology of Fascism.  (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.  New York, NY: 1980).  Pg. 31.

[41] Adorno, Theodor.  “Sociology and Psychology.”  Translated by Irving N. Wohlfarth.  New Left Review.  Pg. 78.

[42] Any attempt to apply diagnostic categories acquired from the analysis of single subjects to larger groups — in moving from individual to mass psychology — obviously runs the risk of careless interpolation.  There is a danger of lapsing into mysticism, thus repeating Jung’s misguided inquiries into the so-called “collective unconscious” (and various speculations concerning its contents).  Yet as Adorno correctly pointed out, the applicability of theories pertaining to particular, individual subjects to a more universal, social subject is vouchsafed by the specific historical milieu out of which they both commonly emerged.  Inasmuch as psychoanalysis takes the individual patient as its point of departure, it already presumes a context in which persons come to be individuated — lifted out of self-enclosed, organic communities rooted in tradition.  In a word, the entire discipline takes for granted the existence of society.  More specifically, it takes for granted the society of exchange, wherein structures such as the family still play a powerful role in psychological development but consciousness is principally organized around the individual: “The social moment is…the origin [of] the individual with whom psychoanalysis concerns.  [This] itself is an abstraction vis-à-vis the social context in which individuals find themselves…through the dominant form of exchange between individual contracting parties.”  Adorno, Theodor.  Introduction to Sociology.  Translated by Edmund Jephcott.  (Stanford University Press.  Stanford, CA: 2002).  Pg. 112.

Of course, this recognition cannot by itself suffice to justify this procedure.  At the very least, it does not eliminate the need to exercise a certain delicacy when handling psychoanalytic concepts in a sociological key.  Nevertheless, it explains the partial legitimacy and the overwhelming suggestive power of notions like Jung’s “collective unconscious” or Durkheim’s “collective consciousness.” Ibid., pg. 113.  The real problem with such forula was not so much their illegitimacy, according to Freud, as it was their superfluity.  Repressed material belongs not only to the individual; its content belongs more broadly to humanity as a species.  Freud indicated as much in his final published work: “The term ‘repressed’ is here used not in its technical sense.  Here I mean something past, vanished and overcome in the life of a people, which I venture to treat as equivalent to repressed material in the mental life of the individual.  It is not easy to translate the concepts of individual psychology into mass psychology, [but]…not…much is to be gained by introducing the concept of a ‘collective’ unconscious the content of the unconscious is collective anyhow, a general possession of mankind.”  Freud, Sigmund.  Moses and Monotheism.  Translated by Katherine Jones.  (Hogarth Press.  New York, NY: 1939).  Pg. 208.  Thanks are due to Bruno Bosteels, who alerted me to this passage from Freud’s writings in his excellent Marx and Freud in Latin America.  (Verso Books.  New York, NY: 2011).  Pg. 88.

[43] Marx, Karl.  The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.  Translated by Terrell Carver.  Later Political Writings.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 1996).  Pg. 32.

[44] “[World history] presents the development of spirit’s consciousness of its freedom and of the actualization produced by such consciousness.”  Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich.  Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, Volume 1: Manuscripts of the Introduction and The Lectures of 1822-1823.  Translated by Robert F. Brown and Peter C. Hodgson.  (Oxford University Press.  Pg. 118. 

[45] Nietzsche, Friedrich.  Untimely Meditations.  Translated by R.J. Hollingdale.  (Cambridge University Press.  New York, NY: 1997).  Pg. 61.

[46] Freud, Sigmund.  The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Company.  New York, NY: 1966).  Pgs. 62-63.

[47] Freud, Sigmund.  “Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through.”  Translated by Joan Riviere.  Pg. 150.

[48] Freud, Sigmund.  Beyond the Pleasure Principle.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.  New York, NY: 1978).  Pg. 12.

[49] Freud, “Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through.”  Pg. 151.

[50] Cutrone, Chris.  “Adorno and Freud: The Relation of Freudian Psychoanalysis to Marxist Critical Social Theory.”  Platypus Review.  (No. 24: June 2010).  Pg. 4.

[51] Marx, Karl.  Collected Works, Volume 34: Economic Manuscripts, 1861-1864.  (International Publishers.  New York, NY: 1994).  Pg. 397.

[52] Marx, Karl.  Capital, Volume 1.  Pg. 711.

[53] “The circuit of capital, when this is taken not as an isolated act but as a periodic process, is called its turnover.  The duration of this turnover is given by the sum of its production time and its circulation time.  This period of time forms the capital’s turnover time.  It thus measures the interval between one cyclical period of the total capital value and the next; the periodicity in the capital’s life-process, or, if you like, the time required for the renewal and repetition of the valorization and production process of the same capital value.”  Marx, Karl.  Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 2.  Translated by David Fernbach.  (Penguin Books.  New York, NY: 1992).  Pgs. 235-236.

[54] Maksakovskii, Pavel.  The Capitalist Cycle: An Essay on the Marxist Theory of Cycle.   Translated by Richard B. Day.  (Haymarket Books.  Chicago, IL: 2009).  Pg. 103.

[55] “Variable capital…loses its character of a value advanced out of the capitalist’s funds only when we view the process of capitalist production in the flow of its constant renewal.  But that process must have had a beginning of some kind.  From our present standpoint it therefore seems likely that the capitalist, once upon a time, became possessed of money by some form of primitive accumulation [ursprüngliche Akkumulation] that took place independently of the unpaid labor of other people, and that this was therefore how he was able to frequent the market as a buyer of labor-power.  However this may be, the mere continuity of the process of capitalist production, or simple reproduction, brings about other remarkable transformations which seize hold of not only the variable, but the total capital.”  Marx, Capital, Volume 1.  Pg. 714.

[56] Postone, Moishe.  Time, Labor, and Social Domination.  Pgs. 298-306.

[57] Marx, Capital, Volume 1.  Pg. 727.

[58] Jameson, Fredric.  Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One.  Pg. 106.

[59] Lukács, Georg.  “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat.”  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 83.

[60] Marx, Karl.  Grundrisse.  Pg. 701.

[61] Rubin, Isaak.  “The Reification of Production Relations among People and the Personification of Things.”  Translated by Milos Samardzija and Fredy Perlman.  Essays on Marx’s Theory of Value.  (Black Rose Books.  New York, NY: 1990).  Pg. 24.

[62] Postone, Time, Labor, and Social Domination.  Pg. 377.

[63] Korsch, Karl.  “Marxism and Philosophy.”  Translated by Fred Halliday.  (Monthly Review Press.  2009).  Pgs. 53-54.

[64] Cutrone, Chris.  “Book Review: Karl Korsch.  Marxism and Philosophy.”  Platypus Review.  No. 15: .  Pg. 3.

[65] Korsch, “Marxism and Philosophy.”  Pg. 88.

[66] Lukács, Georg.  “What is Orthodox Marxism?” Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 19.

[67] Lukács, “Class Consciousness.”  Pg. 52.

[68] Ibid., pg. 59.

[69] Lukács, Georg.  “Towards a Methodology of the Problem of Organization.” Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 304.

[70] Jacoby, Russell.  Social Amnesia: A Critique of Contemporary Psychology from Adler to Laing.  (Transaction Publishers.  New Brunswick, NJ: 1996).  Pg. 4.

[71] Adorno, Theodor and Horkheimer, Max.  Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments.  Translated by Edmund Jephcott.  (Stanford University Press.  Stanford, CA: 2002).  Pg. 191.

[72] Lukács, Georg.  “Legality and Illegality.” Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.  (MIT Press.  Cambridge, MA: 1971).  Pg. 168.

[73] Marx, Karl.  “Theses on Feuerbach.”  Translated by.  Collected Works, Volume 5: 1845-1847.  Pg. 4.  My italics.

[74] Lukács, Georg.  Tailism and the Dialectic.  Translated by Esther Leslie.  (Verso Books.  New York, NY: 2003).  Pg. 81.

[75] Lukács, Georg.  “Intellectual Workers and the Problem of Intellectual Leadership.”  Translated by Rodney Livingstone.  Tactics and Ethics: Political Essays, 1919-1929.  (Harper & Rowe Publishers.  New York, NY: 1972).  Pg. 17.

[76] Reich, “Ideology as a Material Force.”  Pg. 6.

[77] “The social situation is only the external condition that has an influence on the ideological process in the individual.  The instinctual drives through which the various social influences gain exclusive control over the emotions of an individual are now to be investigated.”  Reich, Wilhelm.  “The Authoritarian Ideology.” Translated by Vincent R. Carfagno.  The Mass Psychology of Fascism.  (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.  New York, NY: 1980).  Pgs. 64-65.

[78] Reich, Wilhelm.  “A Practical Course in Marxist Sociology.”  Translated by Mary Boyd Higgins.  People in Trouble.  Pg. 36.

[79] Freud, Sigmund.  The Question of Lay Analysis: Conversations with an Impartial Person.  Translated by James Strachey.  (W.W. Norton & Co.  New York, NY: 1969).  Pg. 53.

[80] Reich, Wilhelm.  “The Emotional Plague.”  Translated by Mary Boyd Higgins.  Character Analysis.  (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  New York, NY: 1990).  Pg. 511.

[81] Reich, Wilhelm.  “An Abortive Biological Revolution.”  Translated by Mary Boyd Higgins.  The Function of the Orgasm: Discovery of the Orgone, Volume 1.  (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  New York, NY: 1973).  Pg. 238.

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