This post is written jointly by Ekrem Ekici and Jörg Nowak*
The publication of Rupture Magazine aims to address the necessity of a rupture with the social relations that comprise capitalism as a type of society and mode of production. After the long crisis that began in 2007/2008 we are witnessing the severe crisis and breakdown of earlier mediations of different social demands like social-democratic and green parties – with a few exceptions in specific countries, accompanied by a resurgence of authoritarian right-wing politics. The neoliberal social-democratic third way in its different variations (Clinton-Obama in the US, Congress Party in India, ANC in South Africa, New Labour in the UK, the Workers Party in Brazil etc.) prepared the recent surge of right-wing authoritarian politics, thus we are not talking about two completely different formations. The market-driven elite and its sprawling corruption paved the way for the right-wing idiocracy.
Despite a rebirth of Marxist analyses and of left-wing protest movements worldwide, reformulations of left party politics (Podemos, Bernie Sanders, Corbyn’s Labour, Hamon’s Socialist Party, the surge of Sinn Fein) and in some cases more (Portugal, Iceland) or less (Greece) successful left governments in the wake of the crisis, there is still a huge ideological and political vacuum on the left. The recent cycle of protests was impregnated with the dogma of rhizomatic rank-and-file democracy without a central coordination, rather mimicking the gig economy than providing viable alternatives to the present society. In some instances, more long-lasting networks of resistance were emerging from those earlier rhizomatic structures (like the Marchas de la Dignidad in Spain that regularly mobilise hundreds of thousands), but this is still the exception.
We think that the following is needed for a revitalisation of more successful strategies of a revolutionary Left:
A) a more serious engagement with political economy and the ensuing contradictions and problems that confront any movement that wants to seriously engage in taking over the power, or break the capitalist power relations. Some factory occupations or sharing networks are not enough to replace a national economy that is internationally connected and dependent on international finance;
B) a thorough analysis of neoliberal subjectivity including those types of identity politics that break up global relations of domination into packagable “issues“ and “sustainable development goals“, the neoliberal nature of state power, individuality as a life-form and legal relations in general as the bigger matrix of domination; and
C) a more coherent analysis of the political strategy necessary to get out of the current malaise.
We are not only confronted by a rise of authoritarianism and better equipped technological surveillance. Multiple crises overlap: ecological collapse, food crises, water shortages – and all these tendencies give rise to more inequality and poverty which is in turn aggravated by deteriorating natural conditions. We seem to be caught in a vicious cycle. We believe that a sober analysis of the political economy of capitalism and its various bases and anchors in social relations is a first step towards identifying ways out of this impasse. The slogan “socialism or barbarism“ was never that urgent and imminent.
*Ekrem Ekici is an independent researcher focusing on Marxist macroeconomics, Althusserian Marxism and early modern European history of political philosophy. Based in Berlin, Germany, Ekici is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on Louis Althusser’s theory of Aleatory Materialism/Philosophy of the Encounter. His latest publication is Althusser: Die Reproduktion des Materialismus (Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot: 2016) of which he is one of the co-editors together with Jörg Nowak and Frieder Otto Wolf.