Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More notes on Louis Althusser

--"Marxist revolutionary experience shows that, if the general contradiction (it has already been specified: the contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production, essentially embodied in the contradiction between the two antagonistic classes) is sufficient to define the situation when revolution is the 'task of the day', it cannot of its own simple, direct power induce a 'revolutionary situation', nor a fortiori a situation of revolutionary rupture and the triumph of the revolution.  If the contradiction is to become 'active' in the strongest sense, to become a ruptural principle, there must be an accumulation of 'circumstances' and 'currents' so that whatever their origin and sense (and many of them will necessarily be paradoxically foreign to the revolution in origin and sense, or even its 'direct opponents'), they 'fuse' into a ruptural unity: when they produce the result of the immense majority of the popular masses grouped into an assault on a regime which its ruling classes are unable to defend." (Althusser 99)

--there are a number of things occurring in this:

            1.  the general contradiction can be in a mode of 'displacement', that is to say that 'relations of domination of subordination develop and change but in a seemingly unrelated, independent fashion that is relatively "non-antagonistic."' (Resch 63)

            2. or the general contradiction can be in a mode of 'condensation' which exists when the 'principal contradiction' (that is produced by its separation from the secondary  contradictions) is fused with those secondary contradictions to form a "'real unity' whose effectivity then becomes 'the nodal strategic point for political practice" within is 'reflected the complex whole (economic, political, and ideological)'"

            3. The "principle contradiction" is not necessarily dominant within the general contradiction at any given time.  That is to say it is only dominant at the last instance, and that instance never occurs, as that it cannot be isolated.

1 comment:

  1. In short, while contradictions are formal, overdetermined and structural, crises are contingent, indeterminate and content-driven... which kinda sorta (to these eyes) causes problems for idea of primacy, secondariness, etc., no?