19. What are revolutions, and when are they necessary?

19. What are revolutions, and when are they necessary?

00:00 / 00:56:34

“…we like to think it’s the opposite and we claim it’s the opposite, but I think a good case can be made for the fact that social, the social media have become more and more an alienating rather than a collectivizing element in our society. And we’ll pay for that alienation.”

—big mike

Listen: iTunes, Spotify, Mixcloud | Transcript

In this episode:

00:00 What are revolutions? What historical examples do we have to draw on—like the Spartacus rebellion—and what do they have to teach us? How have the ideas of liberal democracy, which saturate the present and our vision of the past, obscured or warped our ideas of revolution, or made revolution seem historically unnecessary?

13:16 How do we view revolution today? Why do we fear it? How is it depicted as violent, and why should we consider it in relation to the normalized institutional violence of the conditions that lead to revolution?

19:45 In America particularly, why haven’t we seen more revolutions? What is specific to our political conditions—as compared to others across history—that inhibit revolutionary action? How has the idea of revolution been domesticated, particularly in our distorted view of American history?

32:05 What is the process of revolution, and how can its processes lead to brief utopias, as in the case of the Paris Commune? How do revolutions model themselves after one another?

42:03 What are the limits and possibilities of contemporary movements, like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street? How have class politics been evacuated, and what does this have to do with a Cold War intellectual project? What is the influence of anarchism on contemporary movements? What is the impact of new technologies—most especially, social media?

Further Reading:

Luciano Pellicani, Revolutionary Apocalypse

[on violence and revolution] Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence

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