Accepted paper:

The leverage potential of popular sovereignty in an era of total(?) technical domination: an historical exploration.


Gavin Smith (University of Toronto)

Paper short abstract:

If power bloc dominance of liberal democracy makes popular demonstrations mere rituals and the technical apparatus of capital and the state delimits direct action, can history help us to find effective forms of leverage for a revolutionary future?

Paper long abstract:

This paper starts from two assumptions. First that, because dominant blocs now use liberal democracy unapologetically as an instrument of rule (rather than 'representation'), so the persuasion effect of popular mobilizations cannot be translated into very effective political leverage. And second the leverage of more direct actions is limited by the technical apparatus at the disposal of capital and the state. The operative question then becomes, what leverage tools and sites might be identified for an effective revolutionary politics of the left? The paper takes a highly selective view of historical moments as a means for starting such an enquiry.

panel PE39
Capitalism and global anthropology: Marxism resurgent