Brown Redux: Not So Bad!


I had some disagreements with Wendy Brown based on reading the excerpt from her interview that Joshua posted earlier.  I think she errs in thinking that the deep-self realm is not a realm for democracy, that democratic politics and struggle “will not be able to reach to those Foucaudian depths…of the conduct of conduct at every level…”, and so Foucault’s or D&G’s explorations there are of no use for democracy.  I think we very much ] need to figure out how care of the self is linked to (or the same as) care of the community, how democracy is a personal struggle to remake oneself just as much as it is a collective struggle to remake ourselves…

But in the longer interview she also has some nice points that I very much agree with.  She takes the right position on the question of democracy: we should continue to struggle for a radical conception of democracy, rather than abandon it, with Jodi Dean, to the neoliberals.  Right.  And the most productive work to be done is probably, as she says, in the interval between democracy’s thin actualization in the liberal-democratic state and the promise of radical democracy.

She also thinks there is much to be gained from exploring the theoretical and political resonance between democracy and communism.  Again right.  And then she makes the important point that such resonance is easier to achieve at a small scale (e.g. worker-run factories) than at the national or global scale.  But that does not mean that we must–like Zizek, Harvey, and so many others–accept that we need a violent state to manage those larger political communities.  Rather we must work on the problem of how to think and realize communist and radical-democratic forms of life at larger scales.  Here I think Gene’s concept of free-market communism is one potentially promising avenue for further exploration, as is H&N’s thinking through the ongoing production of an emerging common and global multitude…

1 thought on “Brown Redux: Not So Bad!

  1. Pingback: Way to go, Wendy Brown! | Path to the Possible

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