Announcement: First Issue of Resistance Studies journal

Republished Via the Negations blog:

The first issue of Resistance Studies has just been made available online. You can find it in PDF format here and read a press release about the project here.

The following is a summary of its content (provided by the publishers):

The article by Karl PalmÃ¥s discusses the possible rupture in the strategies of activist groups, where the abstract mechanism of the motor is replaced by another abstract mechanism – the computer model. PalmÃ¥s draws from contemporary debates in philosophy and sociology, as well as from recent societal and economical developments. In his case study of the Adbusters movement, he notices a shift in how the practice of resistance is modelled. Instead of “jamming” or “blocking” capitalism, Adbusters have turned to a computer-like model where capitalism is “hacked” or “re-written” just like software. This, in turn, leads to a new agenda for resistance, an agenda which works by making new arrangements instead of blocking the old ones. PalmÃ¥s’ text introduces an interesting perspective on resistance and social change, which instructs us to look at the abstract mechanisms and models, both in order to understand resistance as such, but also to understand power.

Tim Gough’s “Resistance: Under what Grace” is another theoretical article on how to understand the concept of resistance. He invokes the paradoxical nature of resistance, and its relationship towards the existing prevailing order. When an order is opposed and changed, and resistance triumphs, it immediately turns into a new order, which in turn may be resisted. Since this paradoxical logic is always at work, we must displace the question of a beginning and an end in terms of our common-sense understanding of the concept of time.

Instead of separating resistance and order, Gough suggests an “awareness which in the context this cunning and simultaneity becomes the act of a being which, in its difference, makes that difference an issue for it; this folded characteristic being the very possibility of resistance”.

Jeffrey Shantz too challenges the grand theories of revolution, and instead discusses how anarchist futures are made right now. He draws his examples from the “anarchist transfer culture”, which is attempting at building sustainable communities within the context of the old society. Instead of purely speculative social analysis, the desirable society must be made, and the only way of doing that is to learn the practices. The capitalist relations between consumers and producers, for example, can be overturned, at least on a small scale, by developing gift-economies. We have seen this trend on a large scale in computer software and copyleft media. However, this model is also applicable in building alternative forms of welfare based on mutual aid and autonomous networks, which could endure the trends of the market or the budget of the State. The concept of resistance, then, turns into something readily available in everyday life, not merely reacting against obvious structures of power, but primarily with a potential positive task of building new arrangements. This is why, Shantz argues, the anarchist futures need to be understood in a present tense, since they are already in the making right now.

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