Experimental Geographies

"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)

Neil Smith on Revolution

The late Neil Smith‘s wonderful 2007 commentary on revolution, Foucault and the relationship between ethics and politics has never seemed so timely. A few quotes:

“There can be a politics to ethics,then, and ethics is inevitably bound up with politics, but politics is a lot more than, and sometimes less than, ethics, and an ethics unhinged from politics runs the danger of nestling inside a status quo of which it may yet be superbly critical. This is precisely the dilemma of a social liberalism which properly abhors all of the deleterious effects of capitalism without mobilizing that ethical revulsion toward a practical confrontation with causes” (192).

“If, as Gramsci once put it, one can predict the future to the extent that one is practically involved in making it happen, the prudent course would seem to be to diagnose the kind of revolutionary change one thinks necessary and to find a way of making it happen-making it happen under conditions which are, as much as possible, those of our own choosing. This in no way precludes incremental political change, but especially today when a globally connected ruling class has felt empowered to effect its own revolution in the conditions of capitalist social and political economy, not to mention a certain discursive economy -identifiable under the most generalized label, neoliberalism – and when the majority of ethically driven progressive forms have been swept aside, it does suggest that a commitment to incremental change which does not at the same time have an ambitious political eye on the `irreducibility’ of revolution, is itself unrealistic” (193).

“A politics without strategy is inconceivable and a `theoretical ethics’ that holds itself separate from politics to preserve a well-reasoned `antistrategic’ impulse is in the end destined to be spectator…” (193).

 

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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