"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)
One of the many lessons of Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is that the very being and becoming of protest and revolution is necessarily bound up with a process of self-reflection. “Proletarian revolutions,” for Marx, constantly engage in self-criticism, and in repeated interruptions of their own course. They return to what has apparently already been accomplished in order to begin the task again” (Marx, 2010 [1869, 2nd ed.]: 150).
Amidst accusations of factionalism and recent criticisms of the treatment of the current NUS president (for an excellent riposte see), it is comforting to see that the student movement in the UK has returned, if you like, to the task at hand and engaged in a process of composition, organization, and reflection. It would have been much easier to cash in the activist Nectar points and call it a day. Instead, we see the assembling of new connections and trajectories that have the potential to create constituent spaces of debate and dissent. Perhaps, I’m just stubbornly optimistic. Whatever the case, I do hope that the recent release of Fight Back, an E-book on the student protests, will open further points of contact and solidarity as well as stimulate healthy disagreement and vigorous discussion.