Defiance or emancipation?

Defiance or emancipation? peter hallward

What is resistance? Rather than offering a conceptual definition, Howard Caygill’s new book* approaches resistance as a problematic and elusive practice that calls for reflective judgement in the Kantian sense. His point of departure is the claim that resistance demands appreciation on its own evolving terms, rather than as an instance of a more general faculty or as a means to some deeper or more normatively binding end. Rather than posit a concept up front and apply it to a range of examples, then, Caygill assembles a constellation of diverse figures from a broad ‘archive of resistance’ (13) and works through them in order to tease out an interpretation of resistance as a distinctive experience.

The figures under consideration range from pioneers of the revolutionary Marxist tradition (Lenin, Luxemburg and Mao) and anti-colonial fighters (Gandhi, Fanon, the Zapatistas, the Black Panthers) to campaigners like the women of Greenham Common, theorists like Freud and Vaneigem, and artists like Pasolini and Genet. This range of reference, along with the warmth of Caygill’s evident sympathy with most of the many characters he considers, is enough to set this remarkable book apart from the great majority of recent philosophical reflections on our contemporary moment, most of which serve, one way or another, to help justify quiet acceptance of a version of the status quo. Though reluctant to return to openly revolutionary motifs (for reasons I’ll address in a moment), Caygill’s ‘philosophy of defiance’ marks a stirring and striking break with the prevailing philosophy of resignation.

The drama that links Caygill’s varied cast of characters is his quest to explore what he calls an ‘affirmative capacity to resist’, understood as an ability or ‘energy’ that links traditional virtues like courage and fortitude with a readiness to hold one’s ground, whatever the cost and for however long it takes. Fully committed resistants are those who dedicate their lives to the cause they embrace, to the point of effectively laying it down in advance and of thereby assuming the position of being, as the German Communist Eugen Levin put it, ‘dead men on leave’ (98). The Zapatistas in particular offer Caygill an illustration of what it means to commit to ‘the death in life of a resistant’, and at the price of being ready to die to a world of oppression and injustice, to escape the condition of being held ‘hostage to life’ (126). Perhaps the most concise way of describing the theoretical arc of the book is as a movement that culminates in an affirmation of ‘vital energy’ that nevertheless resists an attachment to life as it is currently administered or governed.

The book begins with consideration of Carl von Clausewitz’s post-Napoleonic analysis of newly powerful forms of ‘military energeia’, forms that have become ‘capable of drawing political logic into a selfdestructive escalation of violence’ (20). As Caygill explained in the pages of this journal last year, Clausewitz has a special place in the history of the concept of energy. [He was] one of the most consistent users of the term before it was taken over in the midnineteenth century by the theory of thermodynamics, where it remains. He understood energy in terms of the Kantian modal category of actuality, as an Aktus or event, deviating from the standard idealist focus on the modal category of possibility and its correlate of freedom. [1] On Resistance builds on this insight drawn from Clausewitz’s On War, and explores various ways in which resistant energy might be converted into forms of life or affirmation. It considers, for instance, with Luxemburg, the way that ‘ceaseless economic struggle with the capitalists keeps [the workers’] fighting energy alive in every political interval’;2 or, with Benjamin, the way ‘interruption and the potential vested in the future can serve to energize the capacity to resist in the present’ (144); or again, with Vaneigem and the Situationists, the way that ‘intensification’ of * Howard Caygil , On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance, Bloomsbury, London, 2013. 264 pp., £20.00 hb., 978 1 472522 58

0. ^ Numbers in paren theses in the main text refer to pages of this book. a ‘level of lived experience’ deeper than the domain of ideological representation might fuel ‘a capacity to resist that provide[s] the energetic resources for actualizing resistance to the spectacle’ (179–80).

Over the course of their long campaign against the British military and its nuclear weapons, the women of Greenham Common arrived at an especially clear understanding of the link between resistance, energy and a committed way of life. As Caygill presents it: [their] capacity to resist is actualized, as in Clausewitz, through energy, but not the destructive energy released by nuclear weapons. It is an energy capable of arresting the evil course of the world, with resistance conceived as an empowering nonviolent interruption of these routines of evil… The energizing of the capacity to resist, as in [Gandhi’s] Satyagraha, requires concentration and singleminded attention to the objective of resisting the military. (119, 121)

Danger! revolution

Caygill positions his analysis of an ‘affirmative capacity to resist’ between two pitfalls. The first danger resistants must avoid is that of being dragged down into a relation of simple reaction, of being extinguished in a logic of retaliation or vengeance. This is to collapse resistance into mere violence or force. In so far as resistance is understood as force it remains ‘essentially determined by the forces that oppose it’ (13), and it cannot then move beyond reaction to become affirmation. Caygill hitches his critique of this impasse to Nietzsche’s critique of ressentiment and revenge, and illustrates it with reference to Mao and other examples of ruthless guerrilla war, where the determination to prevail leads the forces of popular resistance to match their oppressors in brutality and resolve. Here resistance is effectively turned into a pure end in itself, and consumes itself in the dynamics of force. The path taken in Peru by the neo-Maoist Sendero Luminoso indicates some of the political consequences of this reduction of resistance to warfare. Caygill’s own references include theoretical accounts of domination that reduce resistance to a minimum: for instance, Arendt’s critique of totalitarianism and Grégoire Chamayou’s formulation of the ‘man-hunt’ doctrine, which relegates the hunted object of power to the brutalized status of ‘prey’ (158). Caygill’s resistance to such reduction explains his preference for Vaneigem’s affirmation of creative disobedience and our everyday ‘desire to live’ over Guy Debord’s critique of domination and call for ‘self-emancipation’, on the one hand, and over ‘the logic of confrontation and its lure of dialectical resolution’ (181), on the other.

The second danger that Caygill wants to avoid is one that might pull resistance up, so to speak, into the apparently simpler or purer domains of consciousness, freedom and reason. Here the danger is that resistance might be reduced to the status of a mere means to some freely chosen end, and dissolve in favour of a crypto-idealist emphasis on intention or purpose, an emphasis on the prescriptions of practical reason or rational will, without adequate regard to the conditions of their actualization. Caygill associates this danger with Lenin’s neo-Cartesian emphasis on ‘clear and distinct class-consciousness’ (68) in particular, with the programmatic Marx of the Communist Manifesto (30–31) and also with centralizing approaches to resistance like the one led by Jean Moulin and the French Conseil national de la Résistance (12). ‘The exclusive focus of some early twentieth-century Marxists on consciousness’, Caygill argues, ‘led to the underestimation of the concept of resistance that was met by a critique of consciousness both in the work of Lukács and outside of Marxism by Freud’. According to Caygill, what was lost to consciousness was then gained by resistance:

One outcome of the relegation of consciousness to the margins of political action was the reemergence of resistance as the expression of the new, the unprecedented or the messianic – an affirmative understanding of resistance framed in terms of interruption and invention rather than consciousness. (139) A less hard-edged version of this zero-sum game is also brought to bear on the relation between resistance and revolutionary practice, again on terms rooted in Clausewitz. ‘The emphasis on energy and capacity to resist in Clausewitz’s thought distances it from revolutionary and reformist projects of realizing or conserving freedom.’ [3] Caygill acknowledges that many thinkers have sought to explore the link that may exist between resistance and revolution, and he lingers in particular over Mao’s effort to make sense of forms of peasant resistance as means to national and then international revolution (68). On balance, though, Caygill considers this effort to be problematic and restrictive, and his own concern lies not with the dialectical passage from one practice to the other so much as with a questioning (after Freud) of the ‘assumed affinity between resistance and revolution’ that exposes ‘its complicity with repression and suppression’ (52), or with a recognition (after the Zapatistas) of the need to ‘break with the revolutionary project’ in favour of ‘protracted resistance to the illegitimate power of the state’ (124–5). What Caygill derives from his reading of both Gramsci and Benjamin is again ‘the realization that enhancing the capacity to resist [is] distinct from the revolutionary project of realizing freedom’ (146). In an article on the Black Panthers published in this journal last spring, Caygill likewise notes how ‘the politics of resistance is generically different from revolutionary politics’, and stresses that ‘one of the major and enduring contributions of Huey Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide to the work of the Black Panthers, and to radical politics generally, is its status as a rare case of theoretical clarity regarding the often blurred distinction between revolution and resistance.’ [4] Overall, Caygill seems more comfortable alongside Genet in the situation of ‘a vagabond, not a revolutionary’ (128), and wherever it presents itself he appears to share Genet’s determination to treat ‘the mutation of resistance into revolution as one that he must resist’ (133). He clearly prefers the energy of insurrection over the constituent power and organized consequences of revolution.

Insurrection is resistant but not constituent, opening spaces rather than constituting them and mobilizing a rhetoric of action, even violent action, to inspire its uprisings. Perhaps it is now a more salient term than revolution, with its promise of completed movement, placing beside this a sense of sustained defiance appealing to a capacity to resist that can disappear, return or re-emerge later and elsewhere, always surging up, resistant in the face of counter-resistance. (199)Caygill takes it more or less for granted that the route which restricts resistance to matters of mere consciousness or purpose is a dead end, and he dispatches the issue with some relatively brief appeals to Nietzsche and Freud, and by pitting Vaneigem against Debord, or Luxemburg against Lenin. By contrast, the route that links resistance and violence, at the risk of our first pitfall, sees rather more two-way traffic. If the general movement from reactive to affirmative resistance shapes the overall theoretical dynamic of the book, by the same token it provides Caygill with his point of departure and recurring point of reference, in the work of von Clausewitz. With some justification, Caygill suggests that Clausewitz’s celebrated treatise On War (posthumously published in 1832) is best understood as a study of resistance. The purpose of war, Clausewitz explains, is to render one’s enemy ‘incapable of further resistance’. Against a background conception of a world shaped by relations of enmity and the unpredictable hazards of conflict, much of On War is dedicated ‘not only to compromising or annihilating the enemy’s capacity to resist, but also to preserving and enhancing one’s own capacity in the face of the enemy’s application of force’ (10).

Among the several things that Caygill derives from Clausewitz’s approach, alongside his well-known analysis of how unbridled warfare can spiral out of political control, is a typology of the forms of energy that these warring capacities can assume, from the ‘solid’ ranks of a conventional army through the more ‘liquid’ mobility of the French Revolutionary armies to the ‘gaseous’ dispersal of partisan resistance to an occupying force. Clausewitz counters the unprecedented threat of ‘liquid violence’, in the form of Napoleon’s mobile columns, with an alternative dynamics of ‘vaporization and condensation’ characteristic of new forms of guerrilla war.

From the defeat of the massed solids of the armies of the Ancien Régime by the liquid mass of the revolutionary army emerges the People’s War (Volkskrieg) of episodic and pointillist attacks, momentary condensations of an intangible political vapour or cloud that is the actualization of a new capacity to resist. (24)As I’ve already suggested, Caygill is particularly struck by the way Clausewitz uses ‘the term “energy” in its classical Aristotelian, pre-thermodynamic sense’ to describe war as the ‘actualization or the bringing to event of a political logic with varying degrees of intensity’ (20). Clausewitz conceives ‘actuality as energy – that which makes something happen, that which provokes events (sometimes described as Aktus)’, and ‘it is essential for him that things do not happen just because they are possible or that someone willed them to happen – events depend as much on enmity and chance as on the free will of a subject.’ Napoleon’s reckless invasion of Russia, for instance, was thwarted by a mixture of bad luck and the steps taken by his enemy to resist him. According to Clausewitz, this sort of outcome needs to be understood in terms of actuality, rather than possibility.

Events for Clausewitz are acts and not the outcome of possibilities – they are singular conjunctures in which chance and enmity are salient: his point of departure is the predicament of risk and not the expression of freedom. This is very far from Hegel’s dominant version of post-Kantian philosophy where enmity and chance and the unpredictable quality of events are swept up into a speculative unity driven by the realization of the idea of freedom. [5] Although Clausewitz accompanies Caygill as a point of reference through to the end of the book, the limits of his account are indicated in advance, by its initial configuration in terms of enmity and war. It is hard to escape the logic of self-destructive escalation if the issue remains framed in these terms, and Caygill has little difficulty in showing how twentiethcentury readings of Clausewitz (by Kojève, Aron and then Girard) all fail to convert the Clausewitzian conception of protracted warfare into a sustainable practice of equally protracted but affirmative resistance. Schmitt’s attempt to come to terms with ‘the epoch of total resistance’ (105) stands condemned for the same reason, in so far as ‘absolute enmity provokes a war of annihilation in which any political negotiated peace is ruled out’ (110). All of these post-Clausewitzian accounts suffer, in short, from an inability to distinguish affirmative from merely reactive or destructive practices of resistance.

The main question that needs to be addressed to Caygill’s book is this: how far does it succeed in avoiding a similar impasse?

Resisting politics

However you answer this question there’s no denying that Caygill, to his credit, makes no attempt to dodge it. He recognizes, right from the start, that the practices of resistance and defiance are themselves neutral or disorientated. They can be invoked to describe counter-revolutionary attempts to withstand popular pressure for change just as easily as they can be summoned to counteract colonial oppression or capitalist exploitation. Recourse to defiance per se does not settle the question of what is thus defied – injustice, or the efforts of those battling to eliminate it. The preface to Caygill’s book (the section that he admits he found the hardest to write) already bears eloquent though rather tortuous witness to the complexity of the term and of the political orientations it can harbour, via consideration of how mobilizations both for and against the continuation of the French war to maintain Algeria as a colony could, in 1960–61, seek legitimacy through appeal to the ambiguous legacy of the earlier French resistance to Nazi occupation. The anti-Nazi Resistance, with a capital R, in France as in several other European countries, can be remembered either as an exemplary instance of autonomous popular self-determination, or as an essential moment in the reconsolidation of the state. Rather than rig in advance an answer to the question of whether resistance ‘in itself’ might be understood as progressive or reactionary, Caygill’s preface accepts that there is nothing in the concept or practice of resistance that might decide the issue. He insists on the multifaceted complexity of the experience.

There is never a moment of pure resistance, but always a reciprocal play of resistances that form clusters or sequences of resistance and counter-resistance responding to each other in surrendering or seizing initiative. (5) It is precisely this complexity that leads Caygill to approach his topic with the resources of reflective rather than determinant judgement, as a concept whose ‘conceptuality includes within it a countermovement to both unification and dispersal’. Any individual case of resistance, then, ‘does not only demand a change in the concept or rule of judgement, but actively resists its subsumption under such a concept or rule’ (7).

Caygill’s choice of Clausewitz as his primary point of reference is itself an indication of his topic’s political inflection, or lack of it. Clausewitz’s first campaign as a Prussian soldier was the 1792–93 assault on revolutionary France, and he devoted most of his military career to campaigns that sought to resist the consequences of this revolution (and, in particular, of its imperialist perversion). For all the differences between Prussia’s Junker-dominated military machine and the guerrilla wars that Clausewitz observed in Spain or Russia, they have in common a resistance to both French imperial invaders and French revolutionary ideas – and they share this resistance with contemporaries that include the ‘superb’ fighters of the Vendée, whom Clausewitz evokes in passing, and those Caribbean plantation owners and their acolytes, unmentioned by Clausewitz, who during these same years did everything they could to resist their slaves’ self-emancipation in the soon-to-be-independent republic of Haiti. Kant’s own notorious critique of revolution and rejection of the right to rebel against an unjust government can likewise be invoked to sanction the status quo as easily as it can be deployed, by readers of a different political orientation, to condemn counter-revolutionary defiance of the new order of things. [6] So long as we keep our focus on Clausewitz’s contemporaries, it would be hard to dispute the commonplace recognition that the most fertile poetic articulations of themes of resistance should be attributed to variously counterrevolutionary and Romantic opponents of this new order, be it political, social or economic. Both the politics and the pathos of resistance, then, can be harnessed to causes that seek as much to restore as to undermine the established order. Caygill appears to accept this point without flinching, although it is perfectly clear that his own sympathies lie firmly in the anti-establishment camp. The main examples of resistance that he explores and endorses involve opposition to colonialism, racism, militarism and exploitation. If a leader like Gandhi figures prominently in the book, it is only in his role of principled and progressive resistant, one who masters the transition from violent anti-colonial ressentiment to a post-violent affirmation of resistance to oppression in general. Caygill does not dwell on Gandhi’s other and perhaps more troubling resistances: to modern technology, for instance, or to revolutionary internationalism, or to grassroots struggles against a collaborationist police force, and so on. On occasion, Caygill risks some confusion by appearing to lend resistance a degree of political orientation after all, as when he observes that resistance is motivated above all by a desire for justice, its acts are performed by subjectivities possessed of extreme courage and fortitude and its practice guided by prudence, all three contributing to the deliberate preservation and enhancement of the capacity to resist. (12)If, like Gandhi, the women of Greenham Common figure here as exemplary resistants, it’s because they cultivate and sustain, over the long term and in the face of relentless repression, such a desire for justice – a ‘resistant subjectivity possessing the capacity to stage a protracted non-violent resistance’, together with a ‘fragile but also resilient’ network of support whose virtual capacity to resist ‘could be energized at any moment’ (117). What is common to the Greenham women, to the Black Panthers, and to Gandhi and the Zapatistas, is an appreciation of resistance as ‘an energy that gives you the power to overcome powerlessness’, as a ‘vital capacity’ or ‘spiritual energy’ that provides the courage and ‘strength to endure the consequences that will follow from challenging the state’ (119–20, citing the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp’s 1989 Resist the Military). By the time he has reached the end of his book, Caygill is ready to define resistance as a practice ‘engaged in defiant delegitimization of existing and potential domination but without any prospect of a final outcome in the guise of a revolutionary or reformist result or solution’. The resulting ‘politics of resistance is disillusioned and without end’, but it can alsoclaim a lifetime or a life for its pursuit of justice. … The defiant life is not negative, not just the reaction to the ruses of an eternally renewed effort to dominate nested within freedom itself, but one with its own necessities, its own affirmations and its own joy. (208)Once his analysis of resistance has progressed a certain distance from its Clausewitzian foundation, of all the figures discussed in the book Caygill’s own position begins most to resemble that of the writer and perennial fellow traveller Jean Genet. Genet appeals to Caygill as a writer who saw himself first and foremost as a resistant and not a revolutionary, one who led a life of resistance opposed to the self-deceiving rhetoric of both the state and its revolutionary opponents. … The mark of Genet’s resistance to brutality and to the brutalizing of resistance is evident throughout the controversial postures he adopted alongside the Black Panthers, the Palestinians and the Red Army Faction in West Germany. Genet always insisted that he stood beside these movements, never within them. (128)Genet is a writer who stands stubbornly alongside those who resist, but he is forever prepared to resist them in turn, should they allow revolt or resistance to slide into the trap of ‘organized revolution. Genet, in short, is an anti-revolutionary, a resistant who will continue to resist the revolution that he has himself provoked’ (131–2).

Partisans of the actual

Caygill offers a sympathetic reading of each of the figures he considers. The question persists, however: what justifies the association of resistance per se with the pursuit of social justice and vital affirmation, other than the thematics and practice of affirmation itself? Once resistance as such is taken as the object of analysis, and once it is recognized as independent of any particular political orientation, what then might align it with what still appears, for lack of a more neutral or adequate term, as a form of ‘progressive’ politics?

The most obvious, most familiar answer to this problem would be to link resistance to the practice of emancipation. If resistance is defined first and foremost as resistance to oppression, domination or coercion, then engagement in resistance would itself involve some appeal to the normative criteria of freedom and the work of self-liberation. Caygill pointedly rejects this option. He worries that the political pursuit of emancipation can itself be led to justify new forms of oppression and domination. More importantly, he insists that the modality of resistance per se must be understood, with and after Clausewitz, in terms of the Kantian category of actuality rather than that of possibility, and the freedom associated with it. Caygill insists on the fact that Clausewitz was and should remain excluded from the philosophical ‘line of descent that privileges the idea of freedom. This line, moving from Kant through Fichte, Hegel and Marx, remained obsessed with the problem of freedom and its aporias of autonomy, sovereignty and self-legislation.’ [7] This is the most important and most weighted theoretical move in the book. It is worth pausing to consider its implications. In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant’s breakdown of the general categories of the understanding includes, along with the categories of quantity, quality and relation, three basic categories of modality: possibility, necessity, and actuality or existence (Dasein). Like all of the categories, these correspond to three equally basic forms of judgement. ‘Problematic judgments are those in which one regards the assertion or denial as merely possible (arbitrary). Assertoric judgments are those in which it is considered actual (true) [wirklich (wahr)]. Apodictic judgments are those in which it is seen as necessary.’ A problematic proposition, Kant explains, is one that ‘only expresses logical possibility (which is not objective), i.e., a free choice to allow such a proposition to count as valid, a merely arbitrary assumption of it in the understanding’. As examples, Kant cites propositions which assert, without justification, that the world might be governed by ‘perfect justice’, or, alternatively, that ‘the world exists through blind chance’. [8] The modal categories, Caygill notes, determine ‘the relation of a subject to the totality of appearances’, and ‘a focus on possibility leads directly to the centrality of the idea of freedom – that a subject is free with respect to appearances’ (17).

Caygill makes a convincing case for why Clausewitz should be read as a partisan of the actual rather than the merely possible. Clausewitz’s ‘focus on actuality, energy and Aktus’, Caygill argues, ‘testifies to his fascination with Kant’s modal category of actuality, which distinguishes him and his teacher Kiesewetter from the contemporary fascination with Kant’s modal category of possibility’ (17). This means, in turn, that if Clausewitz can be read as a post-Kantian thinker then it is on terms opposed to Kant’s own emphasis on practical freedom and the capacity for autonomy or self-legislation it appeared to underwrite. This is where Kant remains closest to Rousseau and to the revolutionary practice that Rousseau helped to inspire. ‘The philosophical apparatus inherited from Kant, Fichte and above all Hegel’, Caygill recognizes, ‘was adapted to the political logic of revolution and its view of freedom as autonomy that privileged granting oneself laws. Since Rousseau, laws were legitimated by being our laws given to ourselves and which it would be literally folly to oppose’ (21).9 For Clausewitz, however, who endured some of its unanticipated consequences, this emancipatory or revolutionary political logic was ‘incapable of comprehending the Mould of the Death-Mask of Maximilian-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre, nineteenth century. Museum für Völkerkunde Dresdenviolence it had itself actualized, let alone a violence which rejected it along with all the privileges it gave to autonomy and reason’ (21). Clausewitz’s reaction was to turn his back on the prevailing ‘fascination with freedom’: ‘in place of freedom, Clausewitz is interested in the Akt or actuality of war’, and his ‘model of historical action was less the realization of freedom through the exercise of free will than the management of violence released by the workings of chance and enmity’ (17–18).

On this score, Caygill appears to side with Clausewitz unequivocally. ‘The modality of possibility’, he concludes, ‘is not consistent with resistant subjectivity; resistant subjects are not free, they must inhabit actuality’ (210). Again, ‘the resistant subject does not enjoy freedom; on the contrary, the resistant subject finds itself in a predicament that does not admit the luxury of possibility. In this sense … resistant subjectivities deviate from the modern, revolutionary adventure of the pursuit of freedom through autonomy inaugurated by Rousseau and Kant’ (97). This conclusion endures even when the theoretical frame of reference itself changes significantly, as when Caygill pivots from Clausewitz to the subject of one of his earlier books, Emmanuel Levinas. For Caygill, what emerges in Levinas ‘is an implacable description of resistant subjectivity, one which does not enjoy freedom as autonomy but which finds itself in a predicament of survival’, obliged to endure ‘a life whose time is not secure and guaranteed but is only provisionally won or secured against chance and adversity’ (96).

Without freedom

This uncoupling of resistance from freedom inflects the whole of Caygill’s subsequent account, with respect to both the paths he follows and those he rejects or neglects. Strikingly, he neglects Kant’s own most significant conceptualization of freedom; that is, freedom not merely as an implication of the modal category of possibility, or as derivative of any other aspect of the understanding, but as a necessary implication of what really matters both to Kant and to many of his immediate followers – the practical exercise of pure reason. The arbitrary ‘freedom’ of indeterminate possibility counts for nothing in relation to a transcendental freedom we might presuppose as cause and author of its own law-giving acts. Only a rational being endowed with free will, Kant argued, could be capable of the autonomy required to issue universally binding moral imperatives, including the sort of imperative, to resist oppression or injustice, that appears to be tacitly assumed throughout Caygill’s account. Once we accept the exclusively actual dimension of resistance, how then are we to understand Caygill’s own occasional recourse to the prescriptive voice, as when he notes in passing that ‘effective resistance should be much more than fervent resentment’ (163), or when he sketches counter-factual scenarios in his preface and afterword? [10]

Caygill’s Clausewitz further rejects Hegel’s reworking of the category of actuality (Wirklichkeit) in terms of the more concrete mediations that shape ‘objective spirit’; that is, in terms of historically and institutionally determinate practices of freedom. The play of chance and enmity, dominant in Clausewitz’s account, are ‘not effects that could be carried through to some dialectical resolution and brought to yield a positive result; indeed, chance and enmity stand as a sign for the ruin of any dialectical endeavour’ (17–18). Yet Caygill skips rather quickly over this point, and a post-Hegelian effort to interpret relations of enmity in terms of historically determinate forms of actuality (for instance the reasons that might underlie class struggle or the dynamics of exploitation, or that might account for imperialist forms of primitive accumulation) is not so much demonstrated to be futile as dismissed in advance as inadequate or distracting. If the goal is more to resist forms of oppression than it is to overcome or transform them, then indeed dialectic appears to have little to offer.

Rather than try to reconstruct the logic that might underlie social conflict and orient the practice that could eventually overcome it, Caygill appears to follow Clausewitz in assuming that the social world is essentially structured in terms of enmity and thus war – an enmity that figures here almost as a quasitranscendental condition of our possible political experience, without any historically determinate prospect of reconciliation. Relations of enmity are effectively given as a point of departure, and between two enemies the range of possible outcomes seems to be limited to mutual exhaustion, to mutual annihilation, or to destruction of the weaker party by the stronger. In each case, the outcome is determined essentially by the balance of power, by the relative difference in levels of political and military strength. Once resistance is uncoupled from both freedom and autonomous moral imperatives, on the one hand, and Hegelian or Marxist versions of dialectical reconciliation, on the other, what remains is hard to distinguish from a recognition that right is only a function of might – and that might is ultimately a function of energy or life. Once resistance is severed from practices of emancipation or self-liberation, what appears to sustain it as an enduring and affirmative capacity are only the rather obscure neo-Nietzschean resources of endurance and affirmation themselves. The priority is to cultivate forms of courage and perseverance, along with the forms of community and solidarity that might nurture them. Resistance can then be embraced as a ‘form of life’, as sustained for instance by ancestral memories in Chiapas, or by ‘the contagious formation’ of planes of friendship and community affirmed by Tiqqun (197).11 At certain points in the discussion, it becomes difficult to distinguish Caygill’s affirmative resistance from the more limited and problematic notion of resilience. [12]

TO do our will

Caygill builds up his notion of our affirmative capacity to resist on the basis of a series of alternatives that he tends to treat as mutually exclusive: either resistance or revolution, actuality or possibility, defiance or emancipation, endurance or freedom, enmity and chance or dialectical necessity… The option of thinking actuality and possibility together, for instance, is not so much refuted as excluded from consideration. This effectively disjunctive a priori approach creates two sorts of difficulties with this account: one concerns the interpretation of some of the figures Caygill includes, the other concerns an alternative that he excludes.

Let’s take the exclusion first. Caygill wants to build on the link that relates resistance to the traditional virtues of courage and fortitude, while breaking or at least bracketing the link that might relate resistance to emancipation and in particular to revolutionary processes of self-emancipation. As a result he blocks consideration of what I take to be the most fertile and most consequential attempt to think these practices together: namely, the attempt anticipated by Rousseau’s conception of political virtue and volition, and then practised in different ways by what might be called the revolutionary–voluntarist or Jacobin–Bolshevik tradition that runs from Marat and Robespierre through Blanqui to Lenin, Gramsci and their contemporaries. Caygill effectively accepts the French Revolution as an inaugural moment in the history of his theme – both in his choice of Clausewitz as theoretical guide and in his eventual acknowledgement of Babeuf as originary resistant (192) – but his reluctance to think resistance together with revolution sets strict limits to his discussion of the episode and its consequences.

What Rousseau offers is precisely an account of freedom understood as a more or less generalizable capacity. Rousseau insists both that ‘the principle of every action is in the will of a free being’, such that free people only do what they will – but also vice versa, that they only will what they can do. [13] A person’s freedom ‘doesn’t consist in doing merely what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do’ [14] and the point is that any actual determination of this conjunction of being and willing is never given in advance, but emerges as more or less general over the course of disciplined or ‘virtuous’ emancipatory practice. [15] What Rousseau’s Jacobin admirers subsequently cultivated is not simply an ability to resist the predations of absolute monarchy and feudal privilege; they organized the power needed to overcome them. The French and Haitian Revolutions certainly involved all kinds of resistance to domination and to slavery; more importantly, though, they managed to transform such resistance into capacities to abolish slavery and to eliminate certain kinds of domination. The chief résistants, in this foundational drama, are not the sans-culottes or the Jacobins but, on the contrary, the king and his ministers. It is Louis XVI and those who defend him, followed by those who mourn him, who resort to all available means to resist the new forms of popular empowerment and the new threats these pose to the old class hierarchies. As for Marat and Robespierre, what they urge is not so much to resist these enemies of the people as it is to take the steps necessary to defeat them. From the moment it begins, the course of the revolution will depend on the capacity of the people to formulate and impose their collective will as sovereign command, and to oblige their former rulers to respect it. In the immediate aftermath of the Bastille’s fall, Marat recognizes that the decisive question is now how far the aristocracy will succeed in containing the damage that has already been done, and in limiting the concessions forced on them by popular pressure. It would be ‘the height of madness’, Marat argued after a year of relative deadlock and reaction, ‘to pretend that people who for ten centuries have been in a position to rob and oppress us with impunity will simply accept with good grace to become our equals; they will endlessly scheme against us’, and they will resist the new egalitarian order with every weapon in their arsenal. [16]

Are the people organized and prepared to do what is required to overcome those who oppress them, yes or no? This is the question that the people of Paris eventually answered in August 1792, and that the people of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) would decide ten years later. As C.L.R. James notes, the wars of resistance to Napoleon that convulsed Spain and then Russia were first ‘anticipated and excelled by the blacks and Mulattoes of the island of San Domingo. … For self-sacrifice and heroism, the men, women and children who drove out the French stand second to no fighters for independence in any place or time.’ And the reason, James concludes, was itself perfectly ‘simple’: ‘They had seen at last that without independence they could not maintain their liberty.’ [17] Versions of this same question were subsequently taken up by Blanqui, then Lenin, and then Che, Fanon, Giáp and many others. But it is a question that Caygill prefers to leave to one side. One result is that when he talks about resisting oppression, or exploitation, or neoliberalism (173, 185), it is not always clear whether what he has in mind involves enduring them, or wearing them down over time, or actually overcoming them. The distinction is too important for equivocation: there is a world of difference between resisting slavery in the sense of enduring or surviving it, and resisting slavery as part of an emancipatory process that might abolish it.

The alternative that Caygill excludes, in other words, is one that might link capacity and virtue, on the one hand, with autonomy and volition, on the other, as suggested by the old motif, enshrined in the great constitutional documents of the French Revolution, of an egalitarian, emancipatory ‘will of the people’. Practices of resistance, from this perspective, can be assessed in terms of the normative criteria of voluntary and inclusive popular self-determination – that is, less as an apparent end in itself than as means to the end of actualizing an egalitarian will. The old truism remains true, that to will the end is to will the means – and to deny or downplay the link between ends and means is to close down any prospect of realizing your ends. Clausewitz himself hints at such an approach, when in his opening definition of war he encourages us to imagine it as a ‘duel on a larger scale’, or as the struggle of ‘a pair of wrestlers’. ‘Each tries through physical force to compel the other to do his will; his immediate aim is to throw his opponent in order to make him incapable of further resistance. War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.’ [18] Caygill repeatedly cites Clausewitz’s formulation of the immediate aim, but never cites the final, italicized sentence of this quotation, and so tends to downplay its actual purpose: our need to overcome an enemy’s resistance only arises in so far as that enemy refuses to do our will. From a Clausewitzian perspective, if war is the ‘continuation of political action through its mixture with other means’ (19), it would seem that the effort to wear down or exhaust the enemy should still be understood as the extrapolitical means to a voluntary or political end. By putting the issue in these more Rousseauist terms, we can then draw on the resources of neo-Jacobin political theory and practice in order to distinguish the kinds of will that can rightly compel general assent from those that cannot.

Conjunctural actuality

Caygill’s disjunctive approach also complicates his interpretation of some of the figures he does include in his account of resistance, notably figures who are more easily understood in terms of revolution. In order to read Marx’s account of the Paris Commune as a polyvocal instance of affirmative politics, for instance, Caygill first goes out of his way to read it via Nietzsche’s jarring condemnation of the Communards as driven by ressentiment and vengeance. He wants to show that more was at stake than a mere rebellion of the oppressed. That is certainly true, but it would have been simpler, I think, to leave Nietzsche’s own reactionary resistance to socialism and democracy to one side, and to recognize more emphatically that what matters for Marx in this sequence is less ‘resisting Empire’ (39) than revolutionary social transformation in the full and proper sense, initiated through the introduction of ‘government of the people by the people’. What matters is the imposition, in the teeth of ruthless opposition, of that ‘political form at last discovered under which to work out the economical emancipation of labour’. [19] This whole emancipatory project, as Marx reconstructs it, is premissed on an understanding that ‘the political rule of the producer cannot coexist with the perpetuation of his social slavery’;20 and it unfolds in keeping with his guiding principle that ‘the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves.’ [21] The problem, then, is not how to resist capitalist exploitation but how best to ensure that a revolution might last long enough, and go far enough, to destroy it. And as is generally the case with Marx, the decisive issue is a matter of power, mastery and autonomy, rather than of resistance per se. While he regrets their subsequent hesitation and lack of military resolve, Marx quotes the Communards’ inaugural declaration (of 18 March 1871) with approval.

The proletarians of Paris, amidst the failures and treasons of the ruling classes, have understood that the hour has struck for them to save the situation by taking into their own hands the direction of public affairs. … They have understood that it is their imperious duty and their absolute right to render themselves masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power. [22]

It is when he comes to read Lenin and Luxemburg, however, that the consequences of Caygill’s decision to isolate resistance from revolution become most apparent. Lenin’s agenda could easily be described in terms of his effort to pick up where the Communards left off, with the conjunction between popular autonomy and the seizing of governmental power: the Russian proletariat is that unique revolutionary actor whose historical mission and conscious purpose is to establish the former by directing the latter. Buoyed by a boundless confidence in the ‘initiative and energy of class-conscious fighters’, the Lenin of What Is To Be Done? believes that ‘the time has come when Russian revolutionaries, guided by a genuinely revolutionary theory, relying upon the genuinely revolutionary and spontaneously awakening class, can at last – at long last! – rise to full stature in all their giant strength.’ [23] As Lars Lih has demonstrated in detail (in a book that Caygill cites and appreciates), if Lenin’s revolutionary optimism came to prevail as the dominant voice in the Russian party during its early years of polemic and division it was because he best reflected the outlook of the grassroots militants or committed praktiki across Russia. As one of the latter put it, this was because Lenin ‘generalized in masterly fashion the organizational experience of the best praktiki’. [24]

Rather than emphasize the characteristic conjunction in Lenin’s work between heroic ideals and practical work (and between conscious purpose and social constraint, between political principles and historical analysis, between revolutionary aspiration and economic tendency, strategic possibility and conjunctural actuality, etc.), Caygill emphasizes instead the single dimension of consciousness as the medium in which an apparent tension between resistance and revolution is played out. ‘Contrary to Marx’, Caygill argues, ‘Lenin’s text is obsessed with the philosophy of consciousness’; with Lenin it is ‘the quality of consciousness that distinguishes mere resistance to capitalism from its revolutionary overthrow’ (43). Merely elemental, spontaneous or defensive ‘tradeunion’ style consciousness tries to improve the terms by which workers must sell their labour-power, without challenging the capitalist relations of production per se; mature proletarian consciousness, by contrast, breaks with reformism and resolves to take the revolutionary steps that alone can secure collective ownership of the means of production. Since in both cases it is a matter of consciousness, the question of organization can be framed in terms of the process whereby (to evoke Lenin’s recurring metaphor) the one might shift, ripen or ‘grow up’ into the other – the process whereby the less conscious might become more so. As an inadequate mode of consciousness, Caygill recognizes that ‘resistance cannot in Lenin’s terms constitute a revolutionary subject’; its ephemeral ‘flashes’ and ‘flickerings’ will always need correction or training by revolutionary theory (45). However, Caygill downplays the degree to which Lenin treats more and less ‘advanced’ or purposeful forms of awareness less as terms of an opposition than as poles of a continuum, and thus as moments of a transition or an education.

Rather than follow Lenin’s apparent ‘subsumption of resistance under the protocols of the philosophy of consciousness’ (46), Caygill prefers Rosa Luxemburg’s alternative conception of political organization. According to Caygill, Luxemburg’s approach is modelled less on matters of conviction or consciousness than on ‘biological metamorphosis’ and a ‘biopolitical discourse of vitality and health’ (49). With Luxemburg, consciousness now ‘followed the movement and metamorphoses of resistance, it did not direct it’ (47). Freed from conscious direction, political practice can now be understood instead as ‘an internally differentiated vital phenomenon’, as ‘an autopoietic process of correction and challenge expressed in a dynamic response to an environment’, or as a ‘dynamic conflict and expansion of forces whose actions produce involutions’ and convolutions. Each passing wave of resistance leaves ‘traces of its passage in the sand, changing the environment of future struggle’, as so many ‘eddies in the stream of becoming’ (48–9). Luxemburg’s break with the model of consciousness, Caygill concludes, liberated resistance from the tutelary role given it in Lenin’s theory. The consistency or coherence of individual acts of resistance is not produced by a conscious synthesis but emerges through a process of metamorphosis. The testing of the hostile environment through resistance leaves an archive of traces inscribed on both the capitalist environment and the emergent organization of the revolutionary proletariat. The history of such acts of resistance has its own consistency, which is not that of consciousness but retains experience of past struggles while remaining oriented towards the future. (49)Caygill is right to draw attention to these differences between Lenin and Luxemburg. Rather than reinforce their divergence, however, I think that reflection on current political practice stands to gain more from remembering, notwithstanding the differences, their multiple points of overlap and convergence. Both sought to link contemporary forms of emancipatory resistance to preparation for revolutionary struggle, and both committed their lives to the ‘actuality’ of the latter. Both stressed the importance of theoretical clarity, deliberate purpose and political will, and both framed these aspects of ‘consciousness’ in an analysis of the economic and historical tendencies of global capitalism. One may have been more lucid than the other about what victory might require, and one more clairvoyant about the ultimate costs of such a victory. But does today’s political theory really need more emphasis on vital energy and complex environments, rather than a renewal of conscious purpose and theoretical clarity?

The same disjunctive approach inflects Caygill’s brief engagement with Lenin’s two most widely read followers, Lukács and Gramsci. Caygill recognizes that consciousness is an important theme in Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, of course, and he knows that Lukács criticizes Luxemburg for her naive trust in the ‘organic’ movement of history and thus for ‘underplaying of the role of the party in the revolution’ and for belittling ‘its conscious political action’. [25] However, without much in the way of immediate textual evidence, Caygill argues, nevertheless, that ‘Luxemburg’s critique [of Lenin] forced Lukács into a philosophical and political confrontation with the problem of consciousness which led beyond consciousness towards a theory of affirmative or inventive resistance’, a theory exemplified in ‘the works of art and philosophy which point to potential sites of resistance to reified culture and consciousness’ (50–51). Furthermore, he continues, ‘it was this possibility of forms and sites of resistance beyond the philosophy of consciousness that stimulated the thought of Adorno, Benjamin and the Frankfurt school’ (51). Later in his book, Caygill adds Gramsci to the list of thinkers who sought to filter a newly inventive conception of resistance through ‘a subtle undermining of any focus on consciousness’ (140).

Caygill touches on important aspects of all these thinkers, but it would be more accurate to say that neither Benjamin nor Gramsci lost their appreciation of the importance of revolutionary consciousness. ‘The consciousness [Bewußtsein] that they are about to make the continuum of history explode’, Benjamin recognizes in his final text, ‘is characteristic of the revolutionary classes at the moment of their action’, [26] while much of Gramsci’s work is dedicated to an analysis of the modes of organization and awareness that contribute to the ‘formation of collective wills’, and of the processes whereby ‘such wills set themselves concrete short-term and long-term ends’ and then either take, or fail to take, the steps needed to implement them. [27] The same Gramsci who aims ‘to put the “will”, which in the last analysis equals practical or political activity, at the base of philosophy’ [28] also defines the will as a ‘consciousness of ends, which in turn implies having an exact notion of one’s own power, and the means to express it in action’. [29] On the other hand, if Adorno and Horkheimer did indeed distance themselves from anything resembling Lenin’s heroism or Gramsci’s voluntarism, in the 1940s and after, it was surely in large part as a result of the conclusions they drew regarding the apparent futility of resistance, first in the face of fascism and then in the face of commodification and the fully administered society.

Caygill’s reading of Fanon might serve as a final example of the price he is willing to pay in order to preserve his modal distinctions. With good reason, Caygill celebrates Fanon’s contribution to both the psychological and the political dimensions of resistance, and rightly draws attention to the way he underlines the necessity of rebellion in the face of insufferable oppression. In the conclusion to his Black Skin, White Masks, for instance, Fanon recognizes that if the colonized inhabitants of French Indochina have begun to rebel, it is not because they have ‘discovered a culture of their own [but] because “quite simply” it was, in more than one way, becoming impossible for them to breathe’. [30] It would be hard to imagine a more emphatic assertion of the actuality of resistance. In the same text, however, and just as emphatically, Fanon recognizes that he has ‘one single duty [un seul devoir]: that of not renouncing my freedom through my choices’. Precisely because ‘I do not have the duty to be this or that’, because I am not obliged to be black or to pretend to be white, because ‘I am not the prisoner of history’ and so ‘should not search it for the meaning of my destiny’ – so then my one duty is to accept and cultivate my freedom, and to persist in the ongoing ‘creation of myself’. [31] We are not so far, here, from a version of Kant’s prescription, that one should not use oneself or others as means to an end.

Against the grain of Caygill’s reading, Fanon stresses the need to think the actuality of both necessity, actuality and possibility, in an emancipatory dialectic whose essential ambiguity is already expressed in his own choice of modal verb. With its literal meaning of duty and obligation, devoir or on doit means both ‘one must’ and ‘one should’, and there is nothing to be gained by trying to pry these meanings apart. What is essential is instead, as Fanon repeatedly puts it, to treat resistance to domination and a capacity for emancipation as aspects of one and the same revolutionary process, one that he formulates precisely in the neo-Rousseauist terms of a general or popular will. What will decide the outcome of the imminent ‘African Revolution’ is the determination of the ‘will of the people’, the ‘national will of the oppressed peoples’, their ‘will to independence’, their ‘will to break with exploitation and contempt’, and so on. [32] Any consideration of revolutionary Algeria in particular, Fanon insists, must recognize ‘the will of twelve million men; that is the only reality’. [33] With all of these figures, from Marx to Fanon and after, there is indeed an important distinction to be drawn between resistance and revolution, between vitality and consciousness, and between endurance and emancipation. No one has done more than Caygill to explore the line that separates them, and to show what may be achieved when we isolate the one from the other. There is more to be gained, however, by trying to reconnect them.


1. ^ Howard Caygil , Also Sprach Zapata: Philosophy and Resistance’, Radical Philosophy 171, January–February 2012, p. 21.

2. ^ Rosa Luxemburg, Rosa Luxemburg Speaks, Pathfinder Press,

New York, 1970, p. 185; cited in Caygil , On Resistance, p. 49.

3. ^ Caygil , Also Sprach Zapata’, p. 23. 4. Howard Caygil , ‘Philosophy and the Black Panthers’, Radical Philosophy 179, May–June 2013, p. 9.

5. ^ Caygil , ‘Also Sprach Zapata’, p. 22. 6. See in particular André Tosel, Kant révolutionnaire, PUF,

Paris, 1988, pp. 86, 118–19.

7. ^ Caygil , ‘Also Sprach Zapata’, p. 21. 8. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Paul Guyer and Al en Wood, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997, p. A75/B100.

9. ^ Cf. Caygil , ‘Philosophy and the Black Panthers’, p. 9. 10. Both Preface and Afterword evoke alternative possibilities, precisely, through reference to a representation or fiction. Confronted with a painting of a 1960 anti-colonial demonstration that was attacked by the police, Sartre cannot grasp the complexity of the ‘reciprocal play of resistances’ and counter-resistances, and is censured for proceeding ‘as if initiative rests entirely with the crowd and that it is their decision that counts’. He should instead have avoided the trap that ‘forc[ed] the anticolonial demonstrators into a violence and unwinnable confrontation with the state’ (5). And finding himself isolated before the door of the law, Kafka’s Man from the Country ‘should have pursued the solidarity of other resistants …, he should have sought them, and not the law’ (211).

11. ^ As indicated in the previous note, Caygill stresses this primacy of solidarity through a discussion Kafka’s parable ‘Before the Law’, in his Afterword. Isolated before the door of the law, the Man from the Country slowly exhausts his vital capacity to resist and dies a futile death. ‘Instead of retreating to ressentiment and assuming the hunted posture of one closely observing and responding to the initiatives of his persecutor, he should have pursued the solidarity of other resistants, aligned his own individual with a shared capacity to resist’ (211).

12. ^ Cf. Mark Neocleous, ‘Resisting Resilience’, Radical Philosophy 178, March–April 2013, pp. 2–7.

13. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile, in Œuvres complètes, 5 vols,

Gal imard (Pléiade), Paris, 1959–95, vol. 4, pp. 576, 308–9.

14. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Reveries of the Solitary Walker, in Œuvres complètes, vol. 1, p. 1059.

15. ^ For more on this aspect of Rousseau’s work, see Peter Hallward, Rousseau and Political Will, forthcoming.

16. ^ Jean-Paul Marat, L’Ami du Peuple 177, 30 July 1790.

17. ^ C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint l’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, Random House, New York, 1963, p. 357.

18. ^ Carl von Clausewitz, On War, book 1, ch. 1, §2, trans.

Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1976, p. 75.

19. ^ Karl Marx, The Civil War in France, in Col ected Works of Marx and Engels, vol. 22, International Publishers, New York, 1986, pp. 339, 334.

20. ^ Ibid.

21. ^ Karl Marx, ‘Rules of the International Working Men’s Association’ (1864/1867), Collected Works, vol. 20, p. 441; cf. Hal Draper, ‘The Principle of Self-Emancipation in Marx and Engels’, Socialist Register, Merlin Press, London, 1971, pp. 81–109.

22. ^ Marx, The Civil War in France, p. 328.

23. ^ V.I. Lenin, What Is To Be Done? [1902], in Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 5, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1960, pp. 392, 448.

24. ^ Lars T. Lih, Lenin Rediscovered, Haymarket Books (Historical Materialism), Chicago, 2008, p. 434.

25. ^ György Lukács, ‘Critical Observations on Rosa Luxemburg’s “Critique of the Russian Revolution”’ [January 1922], in History and Class Consciousness, trans. Rodney Livingstone, Merlin Press, London, 1971, p. 275. What Luxemburg fails to grasp is that socialist revolution cannot proceed on the organic or unconscious model of the bourgeois revolutions.

The conscious, the organized planning of the economy can only be introduced consciously and the organ which will introduce it is in fact the proletariat, the soviet system.’ Ibid., p. 282. On the other hand, in his earlier defence of ‘The Marxism of Rosa Luxemburg’ (dated January 1921), Lukács defends in particular, alongside her rejection of all ‘economic fatalism’, what he takes to be her recognition of the importance of class consciousness, precisely as an emancipatory, anti-determinist dynamic. ‘The class consciousness of the proletariat, the truth of the process “as subject” is itself far from stable and constant; it does not advance according to mechanical “laws”. It is the consciousness of the dialectical process itself.’ Lukács further credits Luxemburg for recognizing, early on (and very much in line with Lenin), how in the current moment ‘the Party is assigned the sublime role of bearer of the class consciousness of the proletariat and the conscience of its historical vocation. … By realising that the party is the historical embodiment and the active incarnation of class consciousness, we see that it is also the incarnation of the ethics of the fighting proletariat. This must determine its politics.’ Ibid., pp. 41–2.

26. ^ Walter Benjamin, ‘On the Concept of History’ [1940] §15, trans. Harry Zohn, in Illuminations, Schocken Books, New York, 1969, p. 261 (trans. modified). Or as Benjamin put it ten years earlier, in a review of Siegfried Kracauer’s Die Angestellten, since ‘false consciousness in the lower classes has its roots in the interests of the upper classes … , the eliciting of correct consciousness – initial y in the lower classes, which have the most to expect from it – is the first priority of Marxism’. Benjamin, ‘Ein Außenseiter macht sich bemerkbar’ (1930), cited in Esther Leslie, Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism, Pluto, London, 2000, p. 33.

27. ^ Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1971, p. 194; cf. p. 364; Gramsci, ‘The Revolution against Capital’, in Pre-Prison Writings, trans. Virginia Cox, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994, p. 40.

28. ^ Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, p. 345. 29. Gramsci, ‘Our Marx’, in Pre-Prison Writings, p. 57. 30. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks [1952], trans. Charles Lam Markmann, Pluto, London, 2008, p. 176.

31. ^ Ibid., pp. 178–9.

32. ^ Frantz Fanon, Toward the African Revolution [1964], trans.

Haakon Chevalier, Grove Press, New York, 1967, pp. 159, 113; cf. Peter Hal ward, ‘Fanon and Political Wil ’, Cosmos and History, vol. 7, no. 1, 2011, pp. 104–27.

33. ^ Fanon, Toward the African Revolution, p. 74.