Sketches on Antagonistic Non-Resolution

The issue at hand is not if the dialectic[1] is universal. Nor is it whether there is in fact a functioning dialectic behind the happenings of the world. Both of these statements are givens: there is a universal dialectic that operates in all worldly, existential, and temporal realities. What is the issue, however, is the skewering of this dialectic into irrelevancy and eventually into debt.

Bourgeois society hasn’t changed: there still is two primary oppositions– that between the ruling capitalist class and the exploited working class[2]. What has changed is resolution. Within the imperialist center there is rapidly dwindling the ability for the dialectic to reach resolution, or synthesis. Bourgeois ideology and hegemony have created an elaborate anti-dialectical system aimed precisely at eradicating the ability for contradiction to be resolved; while normally quantitative change leads to qualitative change this is no longer becoming the case.

As stated shortly ago this is due to an anti-dialectical system, something which ruling class ideologues have slaved over ever since, and even before, the fall of the Berlin Wall. Incorporating ideology, religion, nationalism, and the expanded mass-media social networking apparatus, the goal for this system was to ensure constant turmoil in the subject production process. Every culture, person, gender, sexuality, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, and age had to be juxtaposed as an accomplice to a million reflections: fashion, the specific sub-set of a religion or political orientation, and even film, music, and video game interest; untold particles demanded to be mashed with another set of untold particles without any ever being split.

The consequence of this vast multiplicity in identity was, in fact, twofold: (1) the cultural arm of the bourgeoisie could allocate resources to new “cultural sectors” in an effort to squash a resurgence in “use-full” identities, those personalities which minimized danger to capital and maximized the ability for a subject to comprehend passed identity politics. (2) No one has a true identity. Instead of a host of divergent “Use-Full” identities there is an ocean of “useless” identities; those consumption-oriented personas[3] promoted to expand capital and its reign. In any cultural sector, be it pop culture, high culture (decadent bourgeois culture), nominal culture (the typical mass culture in a territory defined as a blending of that territory’s various identities), or sub-culture the bourgeoisie has the ability to utilize this non-identity to railroad how the dialectic would naturally lead to a synthesis; however, instead of the decline of capital forcing the decay of identity politics and Useless identities, the opposite has transpired: more emphasis has been channeled into the creation of these false identities because now more than ever it is vital for the capitalist class to maintain hegemony in the post-“end of history” period. The challenge of a communist project cannot be allowed to be legitimated among the working class; Use-Full identities cannot be allowed to take precedence and shatter the multitude of other illusions which lie just beyond the subject creation process. In other words what is seen is an antagonism which never reaches fruition. In all the spheres which the dialectic operates, the cultural managers of capital wage a merciless battle to combat the Use-Full subject producing power of the dialectic with their own Useless based identity project.

Why antagonistic? Because the mode of resolution is external. It is not internal, something which is dependent on the individual themselves. In order to reach synthesis the contradiction (the subject: Use-Full vs. Useless identity) must find passage through the external world which surrounds them. However, as alluded to in the second half of the title, Non-resolution denotes a lack of synthesis; meaning, an empty void of actual resolution. So how can these two concepts share the same idea?

The basic understanding concerns with interpenetration: even when a contradiction fails to reach resolution there passes a moment of conflict. As we know every contradiction possesses two side: a dominant and a non-dominant. In failing to reach resolution one of the two sides of the opposition triumphed over the weaker, non-dominant. However, this lack of a resolution comes from the overwhelming interpenetration that resulted from the great nexus of identities, from these identities being unable to separate themselves from the cultural-state apparatus. This moment of conflict, though ending in disrepair for the non-dominant aspect-the Use-full identity-still retains its social promise, the ability to remerge one day when recovered, albeit in a lessened quality. It does not go away despite the all-engulfing battle; which, when examined, is precisely because it does not fade: the huge proportion of the battle between the dialectic and anti-dialectic in all social spheres maintains the non-dominant side, almost as though the weaker aspect were in a coma. The non-dominant side, after all, is connected, like a limb, to the remaining battle: when healed it reserve the ability to re-enter the conflict; the only issue being the danger of false-starts in re-entering the fray, of connecting once more in a meaningful manner despite being rendered pointless for a long time. So while there was no resolution the concept of resolution still lingers in the air. The violence done to it, the attempt to resolve and reach synthesis, which was dependent on the other branches of the contradiction, therefore constitute the antagonistic quality. The stage which it passed through merely indicated a false start, not a final form.

This is not to say though that the method of resolution merely lies in surmounting the dominant side. While this is true in a technical sense this attitude ignores the additional danger posed to the contradiction, to the dialectic: that of debt, a concept which is that critical stage in the battle where the contradiction faces almost imminent defeat at the proverbial hands of the anti-dialectic, where every assemblage of the contradiction is in the process of being thrown into the coma-like state of inaction.

[1] Italicization here denotes when a term has a specific philosophical meaning. The reader will know when a word means not its usual definition but an exact one rendered through the Marxist dialectic. For a list of definitions and their meanings see Thomas Weston’s “Basic Concepts of Dialectics” on the Marxist Philosophy website.

[2] Here widely defined as everyone who is not a capitalist or a small capitalist.

[3] While it is not limited to merely consumption, for the basic imagining of this idea think of mainstream music. How many bands, groups, and artists have special “clubs” or pseudo-organizations for paying members? Many do while a defining characteristic of both this group, as well as the image which comes to be associated with the idea which the musician(s) promote, is for their “army” members to dress in certain clothes and define a definite social idea; this requires for the person in question to purchase commodities, usually directly from the musician’s website, in order to fulfill this idea. This person, who has built an entire persona around a specific idea bias to capital, has what I define as a “use-less” identity- that persona which is dependent on orders from above, can be renovated and re-directed to fill new needs, and which serves capital while deluding its follows into being separated from the herd when, in fact, they are merely one number among many. An identity built isolated from the class dynamic.


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