Wandering Abstraction

… Since the ‘we’ is constituted by the class relation, the self-overcoming of the ‘we’ is the overcoming of the relation that constitutes it. This is certainly theoretically uncompromising (and admirable because of it). But it is also paradoxical, and its paradoxical character exacerbates its status as a claim that articulates conceptual and social abstraction at an ontologicallevel. The paradox is the following: if ‘we’ are constituted by the class relation that we have to supersede, then the supersession of this relation is also the overcoming of the agent of the supersession, and therefore the cancelling of the supersession and the re-instatement of the ‘we’. Since ‘we’ have no position apart from the class relation, ‘we’ are nothing outside of it. But then the moment of the abolition of this relation is also that of the abolition of its abolition. Can revolutionary agency – which is supposed to track ‘the real movement abolishing the present state of things’ – really be constructed on the basis of such an apparently disabling paradox? If the answer is affirmative, we need to clarify the precise sense in which Endnotes’ articulation of conceptual and social abstraction has an ontological purchase …

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Foto: Bernhard Weber

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