American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army by Fredric Jameson

By Fredric Jameson

Arguable manifesto through acclaimed cultural theorist debated via best writers

Fredric Jameson's pathbreaking essay An American Utopia notably questions common leftist notions of what constitutes an emancipated society. endorsed right here are—among different things—universal conscription, the total acknowledgment of envy and resentment as a primary problem to any communist society, and the popularity that the department among paintings and relaxation can't be overcome.

To create a brand new international, we needs to first swap the best way we envision the area. Jameson's textual content is preferably positioned to set off a debate at the choices to worldwide capitalism. as well as Jameson's essay, the quantity comprises responses from philosophers and political and cultural analysts, in addition to an epilogue from Jameson himself.

Many may be appalled at what they are going to come upon in those pages—there might be blood! yet might be one has to spill such (ideological) blood to offer the Left a chance.

Contributing are Kim Stanley Robinson, Jodi Dean, Saroj Giri, Agon Hamza, Kojin Karatani, Frank Ruda, Alberto Toscano, Kathi Weeks, and Slavoj Žižek.

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Example text

Traditionally, of course, it is to labor unions which the left has always turned to as its base and its natural constituency: the very nature of the proletariat has been transformed and enlarged by the transformation of peasants into farmworkers, by underpaid service industries, and by the white-collar workers in a now immense government bureaucracy. On the other hand, as everyone knows, the original industrial character of work has itself been reduced by information technology and the power of the unions greatly diminished; traditionally, in any case, there was always a tension between the unions and the political parties, which had different aims.

Without trying to assess the cultural limits this mythological conflict places on that internationalist refusal of the war credits so crucial to Zimmerwald and the future communist movement, it is only fair to underscore Jaurès’s insistence on the pursuit of an essentially defensive war, a precondition which leads him to the question of the reserves and their use. They must be territorial and integrated into their local societies. Unlike the initial function of national conscription, meant to remove locals from their provincial habitats and instill in them some awareness of the new national framework and the national language, Jaurès’s proposal aims at emphasizing the commitment of the reserves to their local terrain and social life, thus foreseeing a resistance of localities on the ground to impede the forward movement of an enemy army of the old style.

Thus the globalization of crime leaves a local void into which different kinds of small-scale collectives flow: a void filled by gangs and groupuscules organized along neo-ethnic and identity-political lines, and suggesting a more general pattern of development: a dialectic whereby the well-known “weakening” of the nation-state gives rise to a new reorganization of binary oppositions and a new set of coordinated but polar developments. Global and local: this idiotic formula, which has known extraordinary and indeed worldwide success in furnishing a brand-new stereotype for new yet still incomprehensible developments, is little more than a caricature of a dialectic of space acted out on all conceivable levels of postmodernity, from the economic and the social all the way to culture and individual existence.

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