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PAUL, Ian. Flowering of Subjectivities: Rethinking Antagonism in the Desert of Crisis
Article published on 16 January 2012
last modification on 22 December 2012

by r-c.
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Published by the International Anarchist Institute

How the G20 demonstrations in Pittsburgh prefigured new models of resistance in North America

Over the last decade, we have experienced the collapse and disintegration of broad-based resistance movements within the United States. The antiglobalization movement largely dissolved in the tides of repression following the emergence of post 9/11 security apparatuses. Soon after, the antiwar movement preceding the invasion of Iraq that had animated social machines across the globe crumbled under the weight of its failure to prevent the war.

The collapse of economic and political models which have defined the first breaths of the 21st century have been accompanied by this collapse of our capacity to be antagonistic and act against such systems. Two basic models continue to be activated by antiauthoritarians and anticapitalists in the U.S. despite this – that of the organizational model (which draws its structure from the collectives of civil-war Spain) and that of the summit protest (which pulls largely from the autonomous movements of the 1980s and 1990s). As capitalism stumbles and stutters and its structures globalize and transform, the radical left has continued to operate within these same failed models which have become increasingly ineffective.

The collapse of these models should not frighten us however, and it is within the rubble of these trajectories that we begin to find the blossoms of new antagonisms within which to stage conflict and struggle. While the struggles of the past have largely operated within traditional modernist subjectivities (which were first articulated largely by Marx and then were later rearticulated by the theorists of feminism and identity politics), new subjectivities have begun to develop which may offer us different trajectories in which to move forward.

An Identity Crisis


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