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left of the Left

written 2020-10-26

in 1994, in his book Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology1, André Gorz wrote:

... it is not the opposition between Right and Left that is losing its pertinence, but the (media, party political) opposition between the political apparatuses which claim allegiance to one or the other. Increasingly, the real frontier between Left and Right does not run between these apparatuses but, rather, between the parties which occupy the institutional centre stage, on the one hand, and the movements rising up on their margins and contesting them, on the other. The established political organizations are falling into discredit, except where they succeed in incorporating, in a process of renovation, the themes with which the new social actors are now outflanking them.

when I first read this, a number of months ago now, it conjured a visceral image in my mind - the Left & Right as two warring behemoths who, in the excitement of their contest, had drifted far past the bounds of the arena we laid out for them.

interesting, they had drifted right… and since power has centralizing tendencies, this makes intuitive sense to me. it seems that the representative structures we conjured up have turned the tables on us, the commoners.

who are the “new social actors” of whom Gorz writes?

to me it is a new breed of network-savvy commoner - nomads in the rhizomatic war machine of Deleuze & Guattari2.

  1. unfortunately, there’s no wikipedia article exclusively for it. the chapter in question is “A Left in Need of Redefinition”.↩︎

  2. I intend to explore the concept of Rhizome more in future posts, as I think it’s immensely valuable. Wikipedia’s summary is nice:↩︎