Levi Bryant was kind enough to continue his reflection on Rancière’s book ALTHUSSER’S LESSON while referencing my previous post. In appearance he is talking about Marxism, but he is clear that he considers that the ethical (or ethico-political) core of « Marxism » is the practice of « radical egalitarianism ». Levi distinguishes 4 levels in any theoretical assemblage:
(1) meta-theory: this is the theory’s own account of what it is doing or trying to do. It is often less formalised (despite existing at the « formal » level), consisting of « good » intentions attributed to the very structure of the theory
(2) theoretical content (what he calls the « gnomic » level of concepts, claims, and arguments; one could also call it the « thetic » level)
(3) dispositifs or apparatuses: these are the material inscriptions of the theory or system of ideas, treated as a « disciplinary network embodied in institutions ».
(4) effects: this is the level of acts of resistance and of inventiveness, or of submission, of the affirmation of equality or of domination, effectuated by humans and non-humans
As Levi is steeped in Deleuze and Guattari, it may be appropriate to consider levels 1&2 as belonging to the enunciative dimension (expression and content) of a theoretical assemblage, and 3&4 to the machinic level (idem). The important point is that there is no guarantee of convergence of the four levels onto a unified correspondence of theory and practice and onto a harmonious self-consistent subjectivity and its action in the world. There is a gap and a tension possible between each level and one or more of the others.
So for example my Marxist egalitarian (level 1, meta-theory) colleagues were scientistic dogmatic experts (superior academics or masters who know, level 2, content), acting in an institution (a university philosophy department, level 3) that positioned them as the class enemies of their students (except for mimetic disciples aspiring to an equivalent position at the cost of anyone and everything else), excluding (effects, level 4) poor students, women, unorthodox beliefs and marginal practices from equal access to employment or even equal representation in assemblies, composition of classes, thesis topics presented in the department.
Levi’s conclusion resembles Guattari’s pragmatic rules for the practice of schizoanalysis. Levi says:
(1) have faith in the capacity of the masses: we know from the introduction to THE DEMOCRACY OF OBJECTS (html version here ) that « every object is also a crowd of objects », so the masses are the post-human agents of history
(2) do not betray radical egalitarianism, according to its 4 levels or dimensions, in form, content, material pracices, or effects
Have faith in the masses, do not betray equality, are the basic principles of Levi’s « Marxism » ,which could I think also be called « post-anarchism ».
when have the masses acted in ways which would warrant our faith?
some historical analysis/attention to actual human/civil rights struggles would be a welcome addition to such speculations.
see/listen to what you think of 117 and 119: http://dietsoap.podomatic.com/
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