The recent global wave of revolt has reinvigorated a crucial (and longstanding) question on the Left: what kind of a politics is to be pursued, here and now, if we are to build a more democratic and egalitarian society?
Is the prevailing narrative about the recent global wave of uprisings—that they are "prefigurative" and "leaderless"—really representative of the majority of political organizing today, and of the relationship between movements, the state, and power? Is horizontal “prefigurative politics” the dominant mode of organizing against contemporary global capitalism, or are other forms of politics still flourishing? This forum is a space for counter-arguments to the prevailing story, including and beyond the recent uprisings.
Occupy Wall Street participant Jonathan Smucker takes a critical look at the movement’s “prefigurative politics” through the theoretical lenses of Gramsci and Habermas.
When revolutionaries do not produce ideology, demands, and leaders, does this mean that the revolt will have no ideology, demands, and leaders? Cihan Tuğal discusses the limits and traps of Egypt’s “leaderless revolution” in light of the nation’s current military rule.
How do relationships between left-leaning political parties and social movements change over time? Rebecca Tarlau looks at the case of the Brazilian Landless Worker’s Movement (MST) and the Workers’ Party (PT), examining the complexity of state-society relations — asking whether social movements can be “prefigurative” while still contesting state power.
Few know more about democracy and governance in Iceland than Jón Ólafsson. Thomas Hintze interviews Ólafsson, asking if it is fair to characterize Iceland’s “cutlery revolution” of 2009 as prefigurative or leaderless.